Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Smart Chicks Kick It In Michigan!

Michigan people! Have you heard? Next Tuesday, October 4th, the Smart Chicks Kick It tour is coming to Schuler's Books in Lansing (Towne Center)!

There will be an amazing lineup including Kelley Armstrong, author of the Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies, Melissa Marr, author of the bestselling Wicked Lovely series; Jennifer Lynn Barnes, author of seven young adult novels including Raised by Wolves; Rachel Caine, internationally bestselling author of over 30 books, including the Morganville Vampire series; Melissa De La Cruz, author of the bestselling Blue Bloods series; Simone Elkeles, author of the NYT-bestselling Perfect Chemistry series; and Carrie Ryan, author of the bestselling Forest of Hands and Teeth series.

Including signing their own books, they will also be celebrating the release of the new HarperTeen anthology Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong, which features short stories by several of the authors on the tour. (And many more, like Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Ally Condie, and Jeri Smith-Ready.)

The event starts at 6 pm, but you can get (FREE) tickets in advance over the phone or at the store to reserve your spot in the signing line. Get all the details HERE.

I'm going to be there, are you?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dreamland Winner!

The random number generator has spoken once again and the winner is Patsy! Be on the lookout for an email from me Patsy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review - The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland...

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn't . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.

What a fun book! It's classic in the best way, reminding me of both The Wizard of Oz, and Alice in Wonderland, and it's got a modern touch with issues such as September's father gone to war.

The vocabulary and wordplay in this book is fantastic. I would give it high marks just for the sheer amount of new words a young reader is bound to pick up. Plus, the wordplay adds another level to the story that makes it fun for adults to read as well.

September is a spunky girl and a bit of a tomboy who doesn't quite realize how strong and brave she is, but as her adventures into the world of fairyland continue, her confidence in herself grows. What I loved most about this book is it's subtle way of getting it's "messages" across (I hate to use that word in the sense that it can sound like it's preachy, which it isn't, but I can't think of a better one) without making September's experiences feel like LESSONS. It is truly charming.

This is a great book for parents and kids to read together, especially because younger ones might find some of the words challenging, although I don't think they will be off-putting. If you're looking for a fun classic (in the best sense of the word) story, you should definitely check out THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Does Your Character Have An Arc?

If you're not following Dear Editor you really should be. She takes all sorts of writing questions and answers them on her blog. Today she's got a great post on Character Arcs. I won't post everything she said, because you should check out her site yourself, but this really stuck out to me. About your MC:

"When he reaches The End, extract him from that last scene and drop him back onto Page 1. He should handle himself so well that you wouldn’t even have a story if this were the guy to really start it."

I thought this was a really great way of putting it. I'd never thought of it quite that way. But I can see this is an easy quick check to see if you've created growth in your character. Not the be-all end-all by any means, because of course every story is different and some characters might change in a way that still doesn't allow them to easily handle the problem, but you can still determine whether or not they would handle the situation differently. Because your character needs to have picked up some new skill, or way of thinking, or understanding that would allow them to take a different approach to the same problem.

I'm going to use this line of thought from now on when plotting. What about you, what do you do to ensure your character is growing an changing? Do you have a trick? Do you plot or outline or whatever you do with the character arc in mind?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Win DREAMLAND (Riley Bloom 3) by Alyson Noël!

I'm excited this week to have a Middle Grade book to give away! Thanks again to MacMillan and Zeitghost Media for the chance to give out the third book in the Riley Bloom series DREAMLAND by Alyson Noël.Check out the trailer below:

"Riley's finding that the afterlife can be a lonely place when all you do is focus on work. So she goes to the place where dreams happen, hoping to find a way to contact her sister, Ever. She meets the director, who tells her about the two ways to send dreams. As a Dream Jumper, a person can jump into a dreamer's dream, share a message, and participate. As a Dreamweaver, an entire dream can be created in a studio and sent to the dreamer. But Dreamweaving was outlawed decades ago, and the studio was boarded up. Thinking it's her only way to reach out to her sister, Riley goes in search of the old studio. There she finds a ghost boy, who's been creating and sending nightmares to people for years. In order to stop him and reach out to Ever, Riley is going to have to confront and overcome her own fears.

This book is being sent straight from the publisher so at their request, unfortunately this contest is for US and Canada mailing addresses only.(But I swear I'm working on a giveaway for all you international folks!)

To enter, leave a comment here with your email address so I can contact you. (Be sure to spell your address out to avoid spam bots! Example: yourname at gmail dot com.) For an extra entry, tweet about this contest (or retweet my contest tweet) and be sure to @ me, I'm @valeriekwrites so I can include your entry.

Contest ends Thursday, September 22nd at 11:59pm PT. I will announce the winner here on Friday, September 23rd.

Friday, September 16, 2011

All These Things I've Done Winner!

The Random Number Generator has spoken, and the winner of ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE by Gabrielle Zevin is Bookish in a Box!

Congrats! Be on the lookout for an email from me! And everyone else check back. I've got another giveaway coming very soon!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

This summer, I wanted to do something exciting. Something I'd never done before. So I decided, rather on the spur of the moment, to go to Amsterdam (The Netherlands) for a month. Alone. To explore and to write, and to see if I could.

And I'm so glad I did! I rented an apartment a bit outside the city center with a gorgeous rooftop terrace that, once it stopped raining, I sat outside on and wrote longhand. I had forgotten how much actually writing helps me think through things.

I also met up with the awesome Corinne Duyvis, YA writer and Amsterdam inhabitant. She showed me the city and we even got a chance to do some writing in a coffee shop (the kind that actually serves coffee). The coffee shop had this cute little cubby upstairs where you could sit, but you couldn't stand.


When I wasn't writing, I spent time just wandering around, and taking in the city. I don't think I could ever get tired of looking at the canals.

I had an amazing time. I didn't write the Great American Novel, but I did figure a lot of things out, explored ideas, and worked out a solid outline for a story I'm really excited to tell. To me, that spells success. How about you? How did you spend your summer vacation?

Also, my short story THE LAST BEST DAY is up this week at Tangled Fiction!

Monday, September 12, 2011

WIN All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin!

Once again I have an awesome giveaway thanks to Macmillan and Zeitghost Media! This week I'm giving away ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE by Gabrielle Zevin! Check out the trailer below.

ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE is a dystopian, set in near future NYC, but to me, it sounds more like a horror novel. Take a look at the blurb and I think you'll see why!

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

Did you see that? NO COFFEE!! The horror! I just can't even imagine...

To win this book, you need to have a US or Canada mailing address. Sorry about that, this book is being sent straight from the publisher and that's their condition. I will be doing an international giveaway soon though!

To enter, just leave a comment here with your email address so I can contact you. (Be sure to spell your address out to avoid spam bots! Example: yourname at gmail dot com.) For an extra entry, tweet about this contest (or retweet my contest tweet) and be sure to @ me, I'm @valeriekwrites so I can include your entry.

Contest ends Thursday, September 15th at 11:59pm PT. I will announce the winner here on Friday, September 16th.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hades Winner!

The random number generator has spoken, and the winner of HADES is:
Martha Lawson

I will be emailing you shortly for your mailing info!

I will also be posting a new giveaway soon!
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