Friday, April 18, 2014

GIVEAWAY: IN A HANDFUL OF DUST

Back in January I did my 2013 wrapup. Yes, in January. I was a little behind. Nevermind. That's not the point here. The point is that one of the 'hug these pages and praise the book gods for delivering it to me' very most favorite books of 2013 was Mindy McGinnis's NOT A DROP TO DRINK. So, of course, I have been anxious to get my hands on the companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST. And since I know people, and Mindy McGinnis is one of those people, an advanced copy was sent directly to my doorstep.

So here's the deal with IN A HANDFUL OF DUST. First of all, if you haven't yet read NOT A DROP TO DRINK, this is normally the part where I'd tell you to go away and read it now and not come back until you finished it. And while I do think you should read DRINK (really you seriously should), you don't have to read it to understand DUST.

Unlike most trilogies and duologies and books that are serial in nature, the events in DRINK and DUST are self-contained. You could pick up one book and read it without any knowledge of the other and enjoy the heck out of it. BUT (and this is the fun part) if you read both books, then you get to fall in love with the characters, (and you will fall in love with the characters) and then when you meet them again in the next book, it will be like seeing old friends again. One of those old friends (my favorite character, Lynn) carries a gun, but she won't shoot you cause you're friends now. Well... she probably won't shoot you.

Personally, those are my favorite types of books, where the characters seem so real you feel like they could step off the page and possibly shoot you. And when you finish the book, you want to find out what their next adventure will be and where it will take them.

So, like I said, whether you've gotten around to reading DRINK (which again, you should) or not (yet anyway), you definitely want to get your hands on IN A HANDFUL OF DUST. And lucky you, I am giving away my copy! Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter!

BUT WAIT! That's not all! Act now by going to Mindy McGinnis's blog and you can have a chance to also win my next book: (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME.

I know, you are wondering: What are all these book giveaway shenanigans? Well, Mindy and I are both members of the Class of 2K13 and although 2013 is behind us, we are still excited to celebrate each others new books coming out in 2014! Instead of throwing confetti in the air which is messy and needs to be vacuumed up and if it gets in your mouth yuck... what was I saying? Wait, I got it. Instead of confetti we are doing this giveaway! So yay for us not having to clean up confetti and yay for you getting to win books! It's a win/win because we are giving away two books AND because everybody wins... Well, except for the people who enter the giveaway and don't win books, for them its more of a, "Try again next time!"

The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Writing Process - Blog Tour

So today I am doing this blog tour thingy where writers answer these questions on their own blog and then tag more writers to answer the same questions! It's fun! In theory!

Okay, so I was tagged by the one and only Mindy McGinnis, which pretty much explains how I got pulled into this whole thing. Mindy is one of those people who when she asks "Are you in?", well you just immediately say yes and then later ask, "Um, so what exactly did I agree to?"

So without further explanation here are the writing process questions along with my super awesome answers.

A. What am I working on?

At this exact moment I am working on about four different things and deciding which one I want to focus on next. It is not an easy decision. I have two different futuristic sorta sci-fi ideas. A superhero thing. And a romance thing. I love/hate them all equally. 

B. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Ummm, ergh. Dude, this is a tough question. Okay, well, my debut novel ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE has lots of jumps in time, some scary imagery, a romance between two weirdos, and some paranormal happenings. It's a mystery that needs to be pieced together, a horror story, and a love story. As it straddles so many different genres, it's hard to pinpoint how it's different from all of them. You could sorta describe my next book--another YA standalone also with HarperTeen coming out June 10th!-- (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME in a similar way, although it's a totally different story. 

C. Why do I write what I do?

I just follow the ideas I find most intriguing and that I can get excited enough about to write an entire novel around them. And apparently the ideas I get excited about are the weird ones.

D. How does your writing process work?

Sometimes slowly. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes easily. Sometimes so damned hard that I just want to quit. Sometimes the words flow. Sometimes I have to dig out each one out with my bare hands. 

Or in other words, I sit in front of my laptop and alternate between typing, staring into space, and procrastinating by checking my email for the bazillionth time that day.

So how does my writing process work? Like a junker car that you never know when it's gonna break down on you, and yet for some reason you have such affection for it, you wouldn't have it any other way.

******************************************************************************

And that's it for the questions! Again thanks to Mindy for including me in this blog tour and now it's my turn to pass the fun on! Next Monday you can look for these three people to answer these questions on their own blogs:


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Find Me On Tumblr!

Hey blog-lovers, I will continue to blog here using my current once-in-a-blue-moon schedule, but if you want a place to peek inside my head on a more frequent basis (and if you don't I certainly won't hold it against you, god knows I find it a bit tiresome at times) then look for me on Tumblr. After years of saying I didn't get Tumblr, I finally caved and admitted that I was just too lazy to even figure out what it was all about it. Of course, once I did join the rest of the Tumblr-ing loving world I realized that I had stupidly been missing so much fun and awesomeness. So now I am trying to make up for lost Tumblr time and I hope you'll join me! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Belated 2013 Wrap-Up

Around this time last month, as everyone was getting ready to flip their calendars from 2013 to 2014, bloggers everywhere were posting lists of their favorite reads of the year. I, meanwhile, was eating Christmas cookies. Here's the thing, cookies get stale if you leave them too long. I mean, that's what I've heard, I've never actually left a cookie uneaten long enough to find out if that's true - it's just too risky of an experiment. The Christmas cookies are long gone, the leftover New Year's bubbly has gone flat and been poured down the drain, and I am nearly out of excuses for why I have not been to the gym in several weeks. All that might mean that it is now far too late to write my 2013 wrap-up post, but I decided that as long as I get it up before January was over, I could simply say that I needed that extra time to process and take stock of such a momentous year.

To those following this blog, you obviously know that 2013 was a big year for me. Yes, it was the year that I discovered the awesomeness of the electric toothbrush. It is amazing how after using it, you have that just got home from the dentist clean feeling. I can tell you with maybe just a teensy bit of hyperbole that it is CHANGED MY LIFE. Seriously, I'll never go back to non-battery operated toothbrushes again.

Besides the amazing toothbrush breakthrough, 2013 was also the year that my debut novel ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE was published by HarperTeen. Hmm... it occurs to me that maybe that should have come before the toothbrush thing. But you guys, seriously, stop using those lousy manual toothbrushes - you are missing out! So yes, my debut year was overwhelming and wonderful and scary and amazing and well, to be honest, it will take me at least another year or two before I am able to sort out all the feelings and talk about it in any sort of coherent way.

Also, in 2013: I read some books. Many of those books were debut novels from amazing YA and MG authors who I've been fortunate enough to become friends with through the Class of 2K13 and The Lucky 13s.  

Okay, so this is the part where I am supposed to list the best books I read or favorites or something like that, but I have a really hard doing that because I love so many different books for so many reasons. Some entertain, some make me swoon, others make me think. I get different things from different books and I don't really find one of those things more valuable than any other. So instead, of ranking favorites, I am just going to talk about a few books that I especially enjoyed and why.

Okay, so one of my favorite types of books are ones that focus on survival. As a kid I loved ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS by Scott O'Dell and Jack London's stories that focused on the battle between man vs. nature. More recently I loved THE HUNGER GAMES and LIFE AS WE KNEW IT. So it should come as no surprise that two of my favorite books this year fall into the survival genre: NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis and IN THE AFTER by Demitria Lunetta. 

Both books take place in a post-apocalyptic world. The future in DRINK is scarily plausible with water shortage leading to the disintegration of society as we know it. The story itself focuses on Lynn, a girl raised to be tough and ruthless. I loved reading about the many ways she worked to survive in this harsh world, but even more I loved the journey her character took from the beginning of the book to the end. Speaking of the end, the way the resolution to this book is just so perfect. Even the best books don't always stick the landing, but DRINK nails it.

IN THE AFTER takes place in a world that's been invaded by aliens with bad eyes but amazing hearing, this means that Amy, the heroine of this story, must learn to live in silence. That makes this book so incredibly gripping, that I literally could not put it down. I even read it on the elliptical. I don't want to say too much and give anything away but the action and suspense is amazing and the relationship that develops between Amy and a little girl she rescues and calls Baby, was so true and lovely that it had me completely emotionally invested in both of the characters.

Speaking of being emotionally invested, I usually favor books that end happily or at the very least try not to break my heart. Yet, there are times when I can't resist a book that gives me a case of the sads. My two favorite books that had me fighting back tears were INFINITE SKY by CJ Flood and CHARM & STRANGE by Stephanie Kuehn (which also just won The Morris Award - Yay Stephanie!). 

INFINITE SKY has the feeling of books that I read when I actually was a young adult and that have still stuck with me years later like SAY GOODNIGHT GRACIE, SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER, and BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA. It has the feel of a novel that is timeless and will continue to speak to readers fifty years from now.

CHARM & STRANGE, on the other hand, was unlike anything I've ever read before - in a good way. I kept turning the pages with no idea what was going to happen next. And the ending - I was braced for some terrible revelation, but when it came it was so shocking and terrible that I felt sucker-punched by it. This book literally made my heart ache and I feel fairly certain that I will never fully shake those final horrible images.

There are so many MORE books I want to talk about, just looking through my Goodreads account, I see so many books that I absolutely loved like POINTE by Brandy Colbert, THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black, DIRTY LITTLE SECRET by Jennifer Echols, A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT by Laura Whitcomb, ANGELFALL by Susan Ee, and so many more!!

Since I can't talk about every single book (well I could but to be honest it's a bit overwhelming) I want to focus on just one last one. Besides YA, I read a lot of romance and one book stood out and has earned a spot on my "will re-read and stalk author to see when she has more books coming out" shelf - that book was THE TYPEWRITER GIRL by Alison Atlee. This book would appeal to anyone who reads romance or woman's fiction (it probably fits a bit more into the latter category, but the HEA ending means that romance readers will be happy with it as well) or historical fiction. Honestly, I love this book so much that I was shocked to see that it had any bad reviews - it was one of those books that I loved SO MUCH that I had a hard time understanding how anyone else could not feel the same way. 

Okay, so that's about it for my belated year in review. It feels good to have last year all packed away - and now onto 2014!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trick or Treat Surprise!

I have been a terrible blogger lately... again.

Soon, I promise, I am going to write a super awesome blog post. 

But in the meantime - here's a quick announcement: 

Today ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE is the Kindle Daily Deal! For those unfamiliar with this (wonderful and sometimes evil, because OMG it is sooo hard to resist) program - Amazon picks a few books to be discounted to $1.99 for only 24 hours. 

With Halloween only a few days away, this is a great time to start reading ALP and get into the spooky holiday mood!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Entitled

Blog time has come around once more and Alyson is getting things started with this question:

How do you come up with titles for your work? Does it just come to you or do you spend hours stressing about it? Do you use silly working titles? What have you read recently with a great title? An awful title?

Okay, so I just recently read THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black and OMG do I LOVE that title. And then with paired with that cover = swoon. The book inside is also pretty amazing and that, I believe, is what they call a triple threat.

Other titles I love: THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE by Leila Sales (Haven't read it but have heard lots of amazing things), NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis (This book comes out next Tuesday, but I urge you to find the pre-order button now on your favorite book-buying website or bribe your local friendly indie bookstore owner to illegally sell you a copy early. Yes, it's that good.), and SOMEDAY THIS PAIN WILL BE USEFUL TO YOU by Peter Cameron (I also have not read this book yet, but I plan to because this title is just so so so good.)

So those are titles I love. And then there are titles that I really like but for some reason my brain refuses to remember them. For example WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead. I couldn't remember the title while writing this post, so I typed LIAR & SPY (the title of her  most recent novel) into the search box to find it. I don't know why my brain refuses to remember WHEN YOU REACH ME, the title is beautiful AND ties into the book in a way that took my breath away. Or maybe in a way that rotted my brain away and that's why I can't remember it. EVER. Seriously, it is embarrassing to be in the midst of recommending this amazing book that references A WRINKLE IN TIME and is just awesome in so many ways and then someone asks me what it's called and I'm like, "...umm...err...umm..." 

And that brings us to titles for my own books. If it is embarrassing to forget the title of someone else's book, then it would be even worse to forget the title of my own book. This is why I try to make my titles memorable. So far I have found that the best way to get a good title is to steal one from a song. This way someone else has already tested the title out to make sure it works well and also it is set to music which means that if I can't remember the words of my title, I can at least hum it. 

ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE was taken from the song "Piece of My Heart" made popular by Janis Joplin. 

My next book, coming out next year, is (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME. If this song doesn't make you immediately think of the image below then I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of THE BREAKFAST CLUB and watch it ASAP.


I could just watch that GIF all day. *Sigh*

Oh, I guess I should mention that the book has nothing to do with the breakfast club, it does however have to do with forgetting. And also I have been told that I look a bit like Molly Ringwald, so if you're sad about missing out on a Breakfast Club connection, that's something... right?

And that's enough from me, I think. So, while I drool over a GIF, I hope that you spend your time in better ways - for example you can keep following this blog chain! Sandra is next in line so head there first!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Terrible Confession

I am here today with another blog chain post and this time around Michelle asked the group this question: 

What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation? Why? What's your least favorite and why?

Okay, so my favorite book-to-movie adaptation is probably A ROOM WITH A VIEW by E.M. Forster. It is probably the only time EVER in my ENTIRE LIFE when I can say with absolute certainty that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the book and also LOVE LOVE LOVE the movie. See how they both got three loves? That's because my love for them is equal. 

Usually when I enjoy a movie adaptation it's usually with the caveat that the book is still better. Or that I like it, but they changed so much that it's less an adaptation and more of an "inspired by" situation.

This is NOT true of A ROOM WITH A VIEW. The movie is true to the book. Tone, plot, characters, and romantic swoon are all carried from one to the other without any bending or squeezing (as in leaving parts out that made the book so good because they will not fit within the time limits of a movie).

I really cannot recommend this book/movie combo highly enough! And yes, really you will want BOTH. Watch then read, or read than watch. Do NOT think that with them being so similar it is redundant to watch AND read, because I assure you it is NOT. It is really just the movie/literary equivalent of the Doublemint gum cause like the jingle you can, "Double your pleasure, double your fun..." etc. And unlike Doublemint gum, which is kind of crappy despite having a jingle so incredible that I remembered it just now after not having heard it for years, A ROOM WITH A VIEW is just terrific and wonderful in every way that I can think of.

(This is the swoon I was talking about.)
And now onto the terrible confession that I promised in the title of this blog post. It concerns my least favorite adaptation. It concerns a movie/book combo beloved my pretty much every single person on the planet. Well every single person except me. 

Can you guess what movie it is? No, probably not, I haven't really narrowed the options down very much or given any hints, so I am just gonna blurt it out and then everyone reading this can gasp in shock and say things like, "No!" and "How is that even possible?!?"

So here goes....
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
THE PRINCESS BRIDE
(I actually first typo'd this as The Princess Bridge, which to be honest, sounds like another movie I would not really enjoy.)

How is it possible that I dislike this film? Well, it goes back to fourth grade. I was invited to a friend's birthday party and we were going to see Cinderella at the movie theater. I was excited. I had never seen Cinderella and also I didn't belong to a family that went to the movies a lot. In fact, we usually only went once a year during Christmas time and we all saw whatever big new Disney movie came out. So, to see two movies in the same calendar year was extra super exciting. 

But then I got to the party and all the other girls didn't want to see it because it wasn't cool to see cartoons, or something. I don't really know exactly what the issue was, because I did not get the "things that are and are not cool" memo that went out sometime in fourth grade. I believe there may have been some follow-up memos throughout my middle and high school years that I also missed. Thank goodness those types of memos stop getting sent out when you're an adult. Ummm... the memos do stop in adulthood... right guys? I mean, if they were still getting sent out, I would get them now, because I am much cooler. Right? Right? Ummm... why is no one saying anything?

Huh.

Well, anyway, we went to see THE PRINCESS BRIDE and I can tell you this: She was NOT animated. The animals did NOT sing. And the Prince was decidedly NOT charming. 

All in all it was a BIG disappointment.

Of course, I've watched the movie again as an adult and with the passing years have realized it does have quite a bit of charm... but I still think it would be better if it were Cinderella.

More like this. See?

Not it's not that bad. But it's also not Cinderella.

It's okay. Everyone does.
Aren't animated GIFS (Fun fact: it's supposed to be pronounced like the peanut butter: JIF. But I REFUSE and use the hard G. Yep, I'm a rebel.) fun?

Oh! I forgot to mention THE PRINCESS BRIDE book!!

OH THE BOOK. I LOVE the book. I actually read it in high school. Some of the other english classes got it as required reading, but my class didn't and still I thought it would be a good idea to read it anyway (see the not getting the "things that are cool" memo above). I was expecting a book that was a little challenging or a bit of a slog or the opposite of fun. But it was NONE of those things. It was pure awesome, actually and I LOVED it.

So yeah, I am sure there is some sort of important life lesson to be learned here about expectations and how only Cinderella can be Cinderella and how if you are not cool in fourth grade you will probably not be cool ever, but this blog post has gone on long enough so I'm just gonna direct you to the next blogger in the chain: Sandra. Go forth and see what she has to say about book to movie adaptations.