Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Interview with Middle Grade Author J.S. Lewis

He's here! He's HERE! Jon Lewis is finally here!

*jumps up and down*

OMG--I've been looking forward to this day for MONTHS!

I know some of you may not know who he is yet, but seriously guys, he is AWESOME! Hands down one of the kindest, funniest, most inspiring and helpful authors I've met. And, as you can see from the super-long list in my sidebar, I've met a LOT of authors. 

Now if I can only get through this interview without any Shannon Shame--that would be awesome. 

*clears throat*

*shifts into serious interview mode*

*giggles*

*kicks self into gear*

Okay! Everyone, I'd like you to meet the fabulously amazing Jon S. Lewis. 


He publishes under the pen name J.S. Lewis, and he's very busy important so I'm going to jump right into the interview!

Me: Thank you SO much for stopping by my blog today. If all the giggling and jumping around didn't clue you in, I'm so thrilled to have this incredible opportunity to share your wisdom and advice with my followers. Since there might be some who haven't heard of the Grey Griffins series before today, can you give a brief summary of what the books are about?

JSL: It’s an adventure series that has a dash of GOONIES with a sprig of HARRY POTTER, except instead of witches and wizards, the kids are monster hunters. The story takes place in a small town in Minnesota that looks a lot like the little town that I lived in – one stop light, a movie theatre with one screen, a Main Street straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, and a lake with a island in the middle.


Me: Wow, that sounds like such a cool place to grow up. I've always loved the setting of the books, so it's really cool to know it's based on a real place. You write the series with Derek Benz, and I must confess, I'm always amazed by writers who collaborate. Can you give us a glimpse of your writing process? Do you ever disagree? How do you settle disputes? (rock paper scissors? hand to hand combat?)

JSL: It’s definitely a lesson in compromise, which can be great. The best part about writing with someone else is that you have a built in audience who can see what you might be missing. And it’s nearly impossible to get writer’s block, because you can bounce ideas off of one another. Our writing process has changed for every book, and we’ll continue to hone it until the series is over. By the end, though, we’ve each touched every sentence in one way or another.

Me: Cool, so it's kind of like you're writing and revising all at once. And as someone who requires HEAVY revision for my drafts (it's kind of pathetic how much revision I do) that sounds awesome. But does that mean there's really no arm wrestling or anything going on?

JSL: *mysterious smile*

Me: Ah! Gotcha. Say no more! *winks* What I love most about the Grey Griffins books is the characters. You have such a diverse group of kids, and they each have such distinct personalities. Are certain characters easier to write than others? Do you have a favorite?

JSL: Thanks! Character development is something that I continue to try and work on. There are elements of our main character, Max, that are definitely a part of my experience growing up. Max’s parents are
billionaires, and it’s hard for the average reader (me included) to really understand what that means. So to ground him, I thought it was important to give him an experience that many of us have gone through,
which is why his parents are divorced. Small touches like that ground characters and bring them to life. My favorite – at least when it comes to the kids – is Ernie. He’s kind of the nerd, and he’s a comic book fanatic just like Derek and I were (or still are, actually). He’s also the comic relief, and I definitely want to start writing more humor into my books moving forward.


Me: Well, your books already make me laugh, so I can't wait to see how the humor develops as the series progress. And I have to say, I am amazed (and jealous) of all the concept art you have for the series. Where do you get these amazing masterpieces? Do they help your writing process, or are they mainly a treat for fans?

JSL: Derek and I did some of them, but the really good stuff is either done by friends, or people I’ve commissioned. A few were going to be a part of a trading card game based on a game the kids in our books play, but unfortunately that company was an early casualty in the economic crunch and the game was never finished.

Me: Aw, that's really too bad--because the card game they play sounds like so much fun. And BTW, there's a chance to win some of that fabulous art--signed, no less--in the contest I'm running this week--but we'll get to those details later. We have more important things to discuss first! The newest Grey Griffins book (The Brimstone Key) has an awesome infusion of steampunk, along with the more traditional fantasy elements. What inspired that change? Was it a challenge blending genres?

JSL: We live in a world fueled by technological advancement, so we thought it was important to introduce technology into our books. However, just as important, we didn’t want to date that technology. A few years ago, cell phones were the size of a shoebox, and we wanted to avoid our technology pinpointing an exact era. Steampunk was the perfect solution. It offered us technological advancement beyond what we have today, but it looks and feels old world – perfect for our series!

In terms of blending genres, we just wanted to make sure it was authentic enough to give the readers a pleasing experience – one where they never have to wonder if a goblin can drive a steam-powered
car. As long as it “feels” real, then in their minds it will be.


Me: Right. Plus, Steampunk ROCKS! *fist pump*

JSL: *shifts in seat, looking embarrassed by the spectacle I'm making*

Me: *blushes* *clears throat* As a fellow MG writer, I have to ask about school visits. How did you develop your school visit program? And even though I've seen you work a room--flawlessly I might add--I can't help wondering if you get nervous facing an auditorium full of energetic kids. Any tips for those of us who aren't so naturally hilarious?

JSL: I am so thankful to Scholastic Book Fairs for helping us get into schools from coast to coast. That’s one of the many benefits of working with Scholastic! Their sales reps have great relationships with schools in virtually every city in America, so we teamed with them whenever we could. Public speaking was definitely a learning process.


At first, we gave very boring commercials about our books. That’s not what kids were interested in. They wanted the stories behind the books – what in our lives inspired the stories they were reading. And nobody likes to get preached at, so instead of going through the writing process in a dry way, I try to keep everyone laughing. That way the kids are learning, but they don’t even realize it. The teachers are happy, the kids are happy, and ultimately everyone wins. And I’ll tell you, the older the kids the more nervous I get. Junior High can be a tough crowd, but I just remind myself that I was that age once as well. And since I haven’t matured past 8th grade anyway, it’s easy for me to connect.

Me: Yay for not maturing! I think being a large child is crucial for being a MG writer. Or at least that's how I like to justify my often immature behavior. And my huge toy collection. *blushes* Since a lot of my followers are unpublished writers--including myself--can you share a piece of advice to help us on our journey? Is there anything you've learned along the way that you wish you'd known at the beginning? Any mistakes we should try to avoid?

JSL: There are million things I wish I knew now that I didn’t know then… and I’m still learning today. The best advice I can give is to not give up! The only people who are guaranteed failure are the people who quit. This is a business filled with rejection, but you only need one agent and one editor to like your book – then the masses will decide if you get to keep writing. I’ve talked to dozens of authors – many of them with awards and huge sales numbers – who always worry that their last book might be their last. We’re all filled with self-doubt, but you have to push through. It’s incredibly rewarding, but writing isn’t for the feint of heart.

I also recommend any book on writing written by Donald Maas or Noah Lukeman – both are brilliant agents who know what they’re talking about – and the fact that they are giving this insider info on writing is worth the cover price and more!

Also, write what you love – not what you think the world is looking for. Glittering vampires will fade, and so will fallen angels. Don’t worry about what’s hot, write what’s in your heart – that passion will translate through the computer, onto the page, and the readers will connect with your story in an exciting and intimate way.

Me: That is fabulous advice! I'll have to check those books out--once I catch up on the mountain I call a TBR pile. Or make a dent in it at least. :) And even though this is Grey Griffins week, I know you also have another project coming out--which you have been very hush hush about in the past. Can you give any hints or secrets to satisfy those of us who are a tad on the impatient side?

JSL: I signed a three-book deal for a new YA series that are collectively being called “CHAOS BOOKS.” The first is titled INVASION, and its an underdog story, which I love because let’s face it, most of us in this life are the underdog.


The hero, Colt McAlister, is forced to move from San Diego (my dream home) to a Phoenix suburb after his parents are killed by a drunk driver – but he soon finds out the driver wasn’t drunk at all – he was sent to kill Colt’s mom, who was about to blow the lid off of a mind control program being run by a multi-national biotech company. That company is actually a front for something much bigger that is
happening, and if Colt doesn’t step up to save the world, we’re in a lot of trouble --- I don’t want to give away the ending or some of the plot twists, but you can kind of tell from the title what the world faces. There’s a little bit of the TV show FRINGE, some STAR WARS, and even my first attempt at a bit of a love story.


It was a blast to write, and I’m really proud of the final outcome. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!


Me: Ooo, sounds AWESOME! I can't wait. And San Diego is my dream home too! Maybe I'll end up there someday... *wistful sigh*

Well, thank you SO much for taking the time to come hang out today, and for sharing such incredible information with my followers. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed it. And thank you for writing your amazing books. I know how much I love them, so I can only imagine how much kids must love them--which is the most important thing.

For those of you who want more information about Jon and his books, check out his fabulous new blog and website. And he's been kind enough to donate some awesome prizes for a contest--signed books, signed posters--even a signed ARC. AND he drew inside the books!!!! Could he be any cooler?

To enter, you need to fill out the contest entry form here.

AND--I'll give one extra contest entry to everyone who comments on today's interview. Just make sure you let me know what name you entered the contest under, so I can find you in the spreadsheet.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow as Grey Griffins week continues with another giveaway--one I've been inspired to do because of what an awesome help Jon's been for me. You'll see all the details tomorrow. :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Grey Griffins Week MEGA Giveaway!

You guys! You guys! 

It's Grey Griffins Week!

YAY!!!!!

OMG--I'm so excited! 

I spent all weekend reorganizing my blog, just so it'd be extra fancy and shiny for the big event.
(thanks for all the feedback about the new layout, btw)

And I know some of you are probably wondering--what the heck is Grey Griffins week?--so let me explain.

Those of you who've been following my blog for a little while know that sometimes I organize awesome weeks in honor of authors and books I love. And this time I'm SUPER stoked because I get to introduce you guys to one of my favorite authors and one of my favorite middle grade series: The Grey Griffins Series, by Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis. 

(The mega-awesome J.S. Lewis is going to stop by my blog tomorrow for an interview!!!!!!! Fangirl SQUEE!!!!!!)

There's three books in the first Grey Griffins trilogy: The Revenge of the Shadow KingThe Rise of the Black Wolf, and The Fall of the Templar--and they are all absolutely fabulous. As if that weren't cool enough, they just launched a new trilogy called The Clockwork Chronicles--the first book of which came out this June: The Brimstone Key. I'll save my gushing for the review I'll be posting on Thursday, but I will say this: they've taken the series to a whole new level of awesomeness. 

So yeah, you guys need to check these books out--and you'll be learning a lot more about them as the week progresses. 

But I always like to start the week with something extra special--A CONTEST--and this time the prizes are freaking fantastic. The authors were kind enough to donate a ton of prizes and I swear you guys--it's a good thing I'm honest because I SO wanted to keep these for myself. 

Here's what I have to give away:

One grand prize winner will win a signed ARC of The Brimstone Key, along with 5 signed posters featuring some of the awesome art from the series. (If your curious about the specific prints email me and I'll send you pictures--I just didn't want to clutter up this post).


AND--as if that weren't cool enough--the supremely talented Jon Lewis (it's kinda hard not to hate him) drew inside the ARC when he signed it:


But I'm not done yet!

Two runners up will win SIGNED, hard covers of The Brimstone Key
(look at the awesome cover)

Oh, and because he's too fabulous for words, Jon Lewis took the time to draw in those too:


So yeah...

THREE Winners!

THREE AWESOME PRIZES!!

And all you guys have to do is follow these simple rules:


To enter...

1. You must be a follower of my blog 
2. You must fill out the form at the end of this post
3. You must enter before 11:59 pm PDT on Sunday, September 5th

- New followers who fill out the contest form will get one (1) entry
- Old followers who fill out the contest form will get two (2) entries

And yes--in case you're wondering--international entries are welcome!!!

For EXTRA entries:

- If you leave a comment on today's post you get one (1) extra entry 
- If you write an actual post about this contest on your blog/website you get five (5) additional entries
-If you post a link in your sidebar you get two (2) additional entries
- If you tweet a link to the contest you get two (2) additional entries
- If you post about the contest on your Facebook page you get two (2) additional entries
-I will also give one extra entry for every follower you send my way

All entries will be made into a spreadsheet and I will let randomizer.org decide the winners. I'll post the winners on Monday, September 6th and email them for their mailing address. If I haven't heard back within three days I will be forced to choose an alternate winner.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments, and I reserve the right to make adjustments to the rules should problems arise.

You can:
ENTER HERE

Or you can fill out the form below. Make sure you fill out all the required fields and click submit or I will not receive your entry. And, if you have any problems, email me and I will send you the form directly.

And...GO!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Don't Worry-You're in the Right Place!

Ta Da!

So...if you can't tell--those of you reading this through google reader are probably confused--I finally updated my blog template!

I'd had a few people tell me the other one wasn't loading properly on their browsers, and I'm guessing that had something to do with the fact that blogger has updated their templates a million and a half times over the last few months and I was still using an older, more outdated one. Plus I was kinda bored with the other one, so it seemed like time for a change.

I went for something a little more simple this time, and I went with a teal look because it's my absolute favorite color (anything that reminds me of Tiffanys is a good way to go).  And I'm still playing around with it (be warned: I will probably be moving things around for the next few weeks. I'm OCD like that) but I think the major elements are now in place. I'm just trying to figure out which widgets I do and don't want to keep, cause it feels a little crowded at the moment. 

What do you guys think? Love it? Hate it? Think I need to try again? I'd love some feedback, if any of you are actually around the blogosphere this weekend. :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

An Incredible Week, a Winner, and a HUGE way to say Thank You!

Just when I think the blogging community can't get anymore amazing, there's a week like this one and I'm absolutely blown away. Thank you all so much for helping C.J. raise money for her adoption fund--with your help she's more than halfway there. To anyone who blogged, tweeted, or donated I wish I could reach through the screen and hug you. But I'll have to settle for this:

{{HUGS}} 

Which really isn't the same. So I've come up with another way to thank you. But first, I have a winner to announce.

The lucky winner of free registration for C.J.'s next Query Workshop--according to Randomizer.org--is...

*drumroll please*


Yay! 

*tosses confetti* 

Enjoy it Marsha--that workshop is AMAZING! And check your email, there's one from me with all the information you'll need. :)

And I know I'd also promised to give away 5 critiques by yours truly, that way more people would walk away with a reward for their generosity. But the more I've thought about it--and the more I've watched everyone rise to the occasion and jump on the cause--well...that didn't seem like enough.

So I decided--in what I *hope* isn't a moment of insanity--to do a free query critique for all the other entrants. Um, yeah, you're reading that right.

I can't guarantee that you're going to like any of my advice, and you certainly don't have to take me up on the offer. But if you entered Monday's contest, check your inbox. There's one from me telling you how to send your query to me if you want the critique. 

*prepares for a flood of email*

Thank you again to everyone who helped out. C.J.'s not there yet, but we've closed a HUGE chunk of the gap, and we couldn't have done it without you. And if you missed the earlier post and would like to help bring an orphan home from China, you can find instructions for how to donate here.

Have a great weekend everyone! 

And be sure to stop by next week. It's time for another one of my awesome theme weeks--this time highlighting a middle grade series you SERIOUSLY need to check out. The authors have been kind enough to donate some pretty stinking amazing prizes--and I have a few tricks of my own--so be sure to stop by all five days. I promise not to disappoint! :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bookanista Review: Matched, by Ally Condie

Okay, I'm not sure how it's possible that it's already Thursday. (Anyone else feel like time has somehow sped up on them and they can't keep up?) But the silver lining to having the time goblins steal my week is that Thursday means it's time for another Bookanista gush fest--er, review. And this time I get to rave about one of the biggest buzz books of the season: MATCHED, by Ally Condie--which happens to have one of my all time favorite covers. I mean, LOOK at it, it's gorgeous!


Here's what the publisher has to say about it:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.


Sounds intriguing, right? Well, it is!

And yes, dystopians are popping up like daisies and it would be easy to think that MATCHED is just more of the same old, same old. BUT IT'S NOT! It's elegant and page-turning, and I have no doubt it will fill the huge gaping hole we're all feeling now that THE HUNGER GAMES are complete. In fact, that's exactly what it did for me.

I read MATCHED yesterday. All in one day. Almost in one sitting. It's that good. But the day before I did the same thing with a little book called MOCKINGJAY--maybe you've heard of it? (yeah, I read 2 books in 2 days. My eyes are a little blurry). And when I finished MOCKINGJAY--as I sat there filled with awe, with tears streaming down my face (thanks to certain scenes), fighting the urge to give up writing because I will never be that good--there was one question that haunted me. Now what?

What was I going to read now that Katniss' story was told? Where would I turn? What world could possibly swallow me up the way Panem did? And I found the answer in The Society. In the pretty girl in the green dress, trying to burst out of her perfect little bubble.

That's not to say the books are the same. Cassia is every bit as innocent, obedient, and angelic as Katniss is rebellious, stubborn, and jaded. And while Panem is about fear and deprivation, The Society is about order and control--about sacrificing freedom to escape worry and unnecessary problems. And that's what's so refreshing about MATCHED. It fills the void left by THE HUNGER GAMES, but is still very much its own creation. A new story that wraps its hooks around you and doesn't let go.  And hopefully a new series--because there's more story to tell there.

So yeah...I guess you could say I liked it. But LOVED is probably a better word. And I can't wait till it comes out in November, so you guys have a chance to read it too. Add this one to your TBR list, people. You're missing out if you don't.

And...I think that's enough gushing for today. But if you want to hear about some other awesome reads, check out what my fellow Bookanistas are up to:



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Things I Learned About Shannon Messenger

So...I googled myself yesterday, and I learned some crazy stuff!

(Yes, I google myself. I also have google alerts. If something has my name on it I wanna know about it. I'm a nerd like that.)

First: I'M A PURSE! A kinda ugly one. But a purse all the same. The 'Shannon Messenger Bag' by Cafe Press:

Also, one of my Shannon-as-Rainbow-Brite pictures from Comic Con ended up on a British Website dedicated to all things Rainbow and Brite. *sigh*

There also appears to be a Shannon Messenger who works for the Criminal Court system or something, because there are a lot of Shannon Messenger posts with a .gov and the word Criminal in them--and I SWEAR I have nothing to do with them 
*adjusts halo* 
*bats eyelashes*

And then of course there's a CRAZY amount of things that are actually me--which is really weird. Thanks to WriteOnCon my name is all over the internets. Like Wowza.

What about you guys? Any funny stuff pop up when you google yourself? Anyone else have an ugly purse named after them? :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Skip A Starbucks, help an orphan, and win AWESOME prizes!

It's not often I get a chance to give back to someone who's been an inspiration to me, but today is one of those days. And I'm going to need your help--you, my wonderful, supportive blog followers. Yes, that's right, this time I'm asking for a tiny favor from you guys. But don't worry, you will be greatly rewarded for your efforts!!!

Not sure if you guys have *met* the fabulous C.J. Redwine (if you haven't, you NEED to follow her blog, she. is. awesome!) but I was fortunate enough to stumble across her last year, in this crazy little place we call the blogosphere. And I can honestly say that I would not have finished a book or signed with an agent without her. She is a smart, talented, supportive friend who has given me priceless advice and the kicks in the butt I've needed to survive this scary publishing world. 

But today, she needs help.

A little over five years ago, after surviving cervical cancer and a full hysterectomy, C.J. and her husband began proceedings to adopt an orphaned baby girl from China. They filled out paperwork, saved for the expenses and waited patiently as China stalled and made them jump through hoops and broke their hearts time and time again. They have the nursery built. They have the name picked out (Johanna Faith). And still they have no baby girl.

Then a few weeks ago they got news: a court date was set. Pictures and paperwork would soon follow. Their daughter was finally going to come home. 

Only problem? Travel and adoption fees had gone up over the last five years, and even with the cushion they'd saved, they were still $8000 short. If they can't come up with the money, they'll lose their chance--and an orphaned girl in China will lose the happy, loving home made for her. They're refusing to let that happen.

Which brings us to Skip A Starbucks day. 

The basic idea? Give up one tiny indulgence today (like a $5.00 coffee) and use it to help save an orphaned baby girl and make a family's dream come true. In return, you get a chance to win some seriously AWESOME prizes. 

C.J. has a ton of amazing giveaways going on at her blog--ARCs, book sets, and all kinds of other cool stuff--and anyone who donates to her adoption fund can enter to win. 

Even better? She's asked some of her friends in the blogosphere to run contests of our own. So anyone who donates can enter a number of other awesome contests with some incredibly fabulous prizes (tons of ARCs--including ones from Bree Despain and Rachel Hawkins--gift cards, merch, it's some crazy awesome stuff)--not a bad deal if you ask me.  

Which brings me to today's giveaway.

C.J. regularly holds the most amazing online query workshop ever--and I can testify from personal experience that it is something every aspiring writer should take. It's how I met C.J., and with her help--and seven drafts (I *may* have set a record for most revisions needed)--I wrote a query that had a 50% request rate and landed me an offer of representation in only 2 weeks of querying. Yes--you read those numbers right. And I can't take the credit. I never could have done that without her workshop. It. works!

Normally it costs $50.00 to attend the workshop (and believe me--it's worth every penny) but one lucky winner will get to attend for free! (The next workshop is September 13-24) 

So think of it this way. You give as little as $5.00 and you not only get to help an incredibly worthy cause, but you get a chance to win a $50.00 prize. Win--WIN!

But wait--there's more! 

Because I want to reward as many people as possible for donating to a worthy cause, I'm also going to give away five query critiques by yours truly, to be given to five runners up. And I know I'm not as skilled as the awesomesauce C.J.--but she's taught me a lot over the last year, and I'm happy to pass that wisdom on to five lucky winners. 

So let's recap--because this has all been a little rambling and confusing, I know. 

How to Enter:

(The link is in the upper right corner, and she's suggesting a $5.00 minimum)

-While you're there, enter her grand prize drawing, and check out the links to all the other awesome contests.

-Come back here and fill out the form at the end of this post

-Mention this contest in a blog post, facebook post, or a tweet and get 2 extra entries

You have until Wednesday, August 26th to make a donation and fill out the contest entry form. I'll use randomizer.org to choose one winner for the Query Workshop and 5 runners up for the personal query critiques and post the winners on Thursday, August 27th. All winners will be notified via email along with instructions for how to collect their prizes.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments of this post. I reserve the right to modify this post should corrections need to be made.

Good luck everyone!


*Form removed--contest now closed**

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mega-Epic-Contest-of-Awesome Part One Winners!!!!!!

Wow you guys--just WOW! Clearly this was a popular contest because oh BOY did I get a lot of entries. And since I have 5 fabulous prizes to give away, I'll cut right to the chase. I'm listing each prize and the winner (according to randomizer.org) below...

Pegasus
By: Robin McKinley

The Winner is:
Faith Hochhalter






Matched
By: Ally Condie

The Winner is...
Melissa Remshard






Virals
By: Kathy Reichs

The Winner is:
Nicole Ducleroir



The Search for WondLa
By: Tony DiTerlizzi

The Winner is:
Jared Larson






The Kneebone Boy
By: Ellen Potter

The Winner is:
Nicholas Rose





Thank you to everyone who entered and everyone who supports my blog and HUGE congrats to all the winners. And if your name is listed, make sure you check your email. There's one in there from me begging for your mailing address.

Now, clearly the name of this contest (given that it's Part ONE) gives away that I have more in store--and I do, I promise. But I won't be posting Part Two for a couple of weeks--because I have some other, awesome things planned in the meantime. 

Please come back tomorrow--there will be a different kind of contest, with what I think is an incredibly awesome prize--and a chance to enter a ton of other cool contests too. But even better than that, you'll have a chance to give something back to a very worthy cause. The post tomorrow will have all the details. :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

WriteOnCon gets more EPIC!!!

Todays post is going to be short (I know, I'm going to be brief--can you believe it?) because I don't want to clutter up the fabulousness with my usual ramblings. Instead, I'll just say this:

WRITEONCON MADE PUBLISHERS WEEKLY!!!!!!!!

If you haven't already read the article, click here. And one more time, I have to say a huge, HUGE thank you to everyone who attended, participated in, and supported our event. It wouldn't have been what it was without you guys. *hugs*

Happy Friday Everyone!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bookanista Review: Nightshade City, by Hilary Wagner

I love Bookanista Thursdays, because it gives me an excuse to gush and rave about amazing books and hopefully spread the word. And today's book is one I've been especially excited about, not only because it's Middle Grade--you all know I have a soft spot for Middle Grade--but because it carries an amazing blurb from one of my favorite middle grade authors. But we'll get to that in a second. First, the cover:


And what the publisher has to say:

Deep beneath a modern metropolis lies the Catacombs, the kingdom of remarkable rats of superior intellect. Juniper and his maverick band of rebel rats have been plotting ever since the Bloody Coup turned the Catacombs, a once-peaceful democracy, into a brutal dictatorship ruled by decadent High Minister Killdeer and his vicious henchman, Billycan, a former lab rat with a fondness for butchery. When three young orphan rats--brothers Vincent and Victor and a clever female named Clover--flee the Catacombs in mortal peril and join forces with the rebels, it proves to be the spark that ignites the long-awaited battle to overthrow their oppressors and create a new city--Nightshade City.

Sounds awesome, right? Well, IT IS!!!

Here's what I love about this book: the main characters are rats and worms--two of the most under appreciated creatures on the planet--and yet she makes you feel for them. Care about them. She's kinda made me feel sad for every dead worm I've ever seen on the sidewalk, or every rat my cats have caught--and believe me, I did NOT feel that way before. Not to mention she gave them just the right mix of animal and human qualities, so you could never *quite* forget that you were reading about rats and worms, while still being completely able to relate to them. NOT an easy thing to pull off, I'm sure.

I could keep going, but--as per usual--the amazing Rick Riordan put it SO much better than I ever could (*turns green with envy about her Rick Riordan Blurb*)

"Fans of Redwall and the Warriors series will love this heroic tale of good versus evil in a subterranean society of rats. The world of the Catacombs is so compelling readers will wonder if it really might exist under our city streets. Expect great adventures in Nightshade-City."
-Rick Riordan

Well said Mr. Riordon. And well done Ms Wagner. My hats off to both of you! *applauds*

For more awesome book recommendations, be sure to check out what my fellow Bookanistas are up to today:




Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tell The Truth Tuesday--Er--Wednesday

Time for a round of Tell The Truth Tuesday Wednesday
(the alliteration's not as snappy, but it'll have to do)

1. When I started this post, I honestly thought it was Tuesday.

2. When I realized it was Wednesday, I knew I should probably hold off until next week. But I drew a blank on another blog post idea so T.T.T.TW it was. (How's that for a confession?)

3. And while we're on the subject--how in the heck is it already Wednesday?!?!?!?!? Dear Universe: Can you slow down time for me? kthanxbai

4. I'm still trying to figure out what I did with my Tuesday.

5. I'm pretty sure there was email involved.

6. And Twitter.

7. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd...um...nope, I've got nothing.

8. I'm now realizing this is a pretty pathetic post--which is a bad thing considering that I have over 1000 followers. I mean, you guys put faith in me by clicking that little button. I think I need to up my game.

9. Does it help that I'm holding a Mega-Epic-Contest-Of-Awesome and giving away 5 ARCs? (*shameless self promotion*)

10. How about if I add in a completely irreverent but totally hilarious lolcat?


No takers? Well, that's the best I've got, people. Brain still a tad fried from WriteOnCon. (Hm...I wonder how long I can use that as an excuse...)

So help me out: What are your truths this Tuesday Wednesday? Feel free to unload in the comments.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mega-Epic-Contest-of-Awesome Part One: Win 1 of 5 ARCs!!!!!!

Okay, I know I promised that today's contest would have ARCs and signed books and swag--but the thing is, I just have too darn much stuff to have it all be one contest. There'd be like, a zillion prizes and you would all probably whine about having to choose between them--so instead I'm splitting them up. That's right--instead of only one Mega-Epic-Contest-of-Awesome, you'll get as many as it takes to give all this cool stuff away. Not too shabby, right?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

And to start things off with a bang, I'm giving away five ARCs!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's what's up for grabs:



PEGASUS by Robin McKinley (Available in November, 2010)

Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pegasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.

But it's different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close—so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo—and possibly to the future safety of their two nations.

New York Times bestselling author Robin McKinley weaves an unforgettable tale of unbreakable friendship, mythical creatures and courtly drama destined to become a classic.

~~*~~

MATCHED* by Ally Condie (Available September, 2010)
*Note: The ARC I have does not have the now famous cover, but otherwise it's exactly the same.

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

~~*~~

VIRALS by Kathy Reichs (Available November 2010)

Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot—if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends— they're a pack. They are Virals.

~~*~~

THE SEARCH FOR WONDLA by Tony DiTerlizzi (Available September 2010)


When a marauder destroys the underground sanctuary that Eva Nine was raised in by the robot Muthr, the twelve-year-year-old girl is forced to flee aboveground. Eva Nine is searching for anyone else like her, for she knows that other humans exist, because of an item she treasures—a scrap of cardboard on which is depicted a young girl, an adult, and a robot, with the strange word, "WondLa." Tony DiTerlizzi honors traditional children's literature in this totally original space age adventure: one that is as complex as an alien planet, but as simple as a child's wish for a place to belong.




Breathtaking two-color illustrations throughout reveal another dimension of Tony DiTerlizzi's vision, and, for those readers with a webcam, the book also features Augmented Reality in several places, revealing additional information about Eva Nine's world.

~~*~~

THE KNEEBONE BOY By: Ellen Potter (Available September 2010)


Life in a small town can be pretty boring when everyone avoids you like the plague. But after their father unwittingly sends them to stay with an aunt who's away on holiday, the Hardscrabble children take off on an adventure that begins in the seedy streets of London and ends in a peculiar seaside village where legend has it a monstrous creature lives who is half boy and half animal...


In this wickedly dark, unusual, and compelling novel, Ellen Potter masterfully tells the tale of one deliciously strange family and a secret that changes everything.


Um yeah...there's some pretty awesome books in there. So awesome, I kinda don't want to give them away. But I owe you guys. I mean, you helped me reach 1000 followers. This is the least I can do. Which brings me to the contest rules:

To enter...

1. You must be a follower of my blog 
2. You must fill out the form at the end of this post
3. You must enter before 11:59 pm PDT on Saturday, August 21st






















- New followers who fill out the contest form will get one (1) entry.



















- Old followers who fill out the contest form will get two (2) entries




























And yes--in case you're wondering--international entries are welcome!!!
























For EXTRA entries:




























- If you leave a comment on today's post you get one (1) extra entry 











- If you write an actual post about this contest on your blog/website you get five (5) additional entries. 









-If you post a link in your sidebar you get two (2) additional entries







- If you tweet a link to the contest you get two (2) additional entries.





- If you post about the contest on your Facebook page you get two (2) additional entries


-I will also give one extra entry for every follower you send my way




All entries will be made into a spreadsheet and I will let randomizer.org decide the winners. I'll do my best to give you the prize you want most, but since there are multiple winners there's no guaranteeing what you'll actually win. Luckily, these are all amazing prizes, so I'm sure you'll be happy with any of them. :)

I'll post the winners on Sunday, August 22nd and email them for their mailing address. If I haven't heard back within three days I will be forced to choose an alternate winner. 
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments, and I reserve the right to make adjustments to the rules should problems arise.








You can:




Or you can fill out the form below. Make sure you fill out all the required fields and click submit or I will not receive your entry. And, if you have any problems, email me and I will send you the form directly.

And...GO!