Monday, February 28, 2011

Back From Branson Giveaway - Part 2!

It's time for part two of my Back From Branson Giveaway! This one is INTERNATIONAL! (Open to anywhere The Book Depository ships.) With one winner guaranteed to be outside the US!

This time I'm giving away pre-orders to any of the upcoming (or recently released) books by the authors at the Branson retreat. TWO winners will get their choice of ONE book out of the SEVENTEEN awesome books shown below!

Beyond The Sea And Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
Luminous by Dawn Metcalf
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
The Revenant by Sonia Gensler
Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready
Supernaturally by Kiersten White
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
Taking Off by Jenny Moss
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
Wanna Go Private by Sarah Darer Littman
XVI by Julia Karr

- There will be TWO winners. One guaranteed to be INTERNATIONAL. (Any country The Book Depository ships to. See list HERE)
- You MUST BE A FOLLOWER to win. I check.
- +2 if you tweet this contest.
- +5 each if you follow my group blogs Tangled Fiction and Sisters in Scribe
- +5 if you link to this contest on your blog.
- Contest ends March 14, 2011 at 11:59pm ET

To enter, FILL OUT THE FORM. (I will delete any comments left with email addresses in them - you don't want spambots getting your email!)


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Filling In The (Fantasy) Gaps

I'm discovering lately that I seem to have missed out on the fantasy phase in my youth. (I was big on horror, sci-fi, and contemporary as a kid, like Stephen King, Christopher Pike.) There seems to be all these sort of common knowledge things for people who have read a lot of fantasy that I have no idea about and I don't like that. It's like I'm missing a whole layer of experience that could enrich my writing so I've decided I'm going to fix it. Here's what I've come up with so far:

The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
The Wrinkle In Time Quintet by Madeline L'Engle (Already read A Wrinkle In Time)
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix

I would love some high/alternate world fantasy recs! I've heard good things about Diana Wynne Jones, Shannon Hale, as well as Robin McKinley and Tamora Pierce's other books but they have so many that I have no idea which book to choose. I'm especially attracted to stories based in mythology or folklore, and I love anything with magic, but I'll read anything that's well-written! That includes Middle Grade.

Note: I've already read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Graceling, and Fire is in my TBR pile, I'm up to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in the Narnia chronicles. So please, rec away!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Back From Branson Giveaway! Part 1

I've been promising a contest for months. FINALLY, here it is! I'm giving away three books!

This is part one of my contest. It's open to US residents (or US mailing addresses) only. Sorry but I'm low on cash and shipping overseas is expensive. BUT next week I'll post part two which will be open internationally!

So here's what you can win:

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater and Signed Bookplate
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff and Signed Bookplate
Across The Universe ARC by Beth Revis and Signed Bookplate

- There will be THREE winners. One for each book.
- You MUST BE A FOLLOWER to win. I check.
- Open to US mailing addresses only.
- +2 if you tweet this contest.
- +5 each if you follow my group blogs Tangled Fiction and Sisters in Scribe
- +5 if you link to this contest on your blog.
- Contest ends February 28, 2011 at 11:59pm ET

To enter, FILL OUT THE FORM. (I will delete any comments left with email addresses in them - you don't want spambots getting your email!)


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reading To Write

Lately I've been feeling sort of stymied. The creativity just hasn't been flowing in my re-writes. Not to mention it's getting to the point where I need to start thinking seriously about what I'm going to write next. I have a few promising ideas, but no real inspiration to flesh them out.

As I've been laying around sick these last few days, unable to stare at my computer screen for more than a few minutes thanks to the sinus pressure, it finally hit me. I haven't been reading!

I've been spending so much time revising and thinking about revising and nitpicking sentences that I haven't read just for fun. And I need it. That's when I feel the most inspired, when I'm surrounded by exciting, interesting, absorbing stories. So yesterday, when actual reading was an impossibility, I started listening to an audiobook, and already I feel revived.

(Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, read by Jennifer Ehle who is awesome at the multitude of voices and British accents in the book.)

So what about you? Do you read when you write? I can't read fiction that is similar in topic to what I'm writing but I like to read things that are similar in tone.

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

So I'm like two days late, but you'll forgive me won't you? Especially when I've been sick and I come bearing gifts like this?

Yep, that's right, the mysterious A from Pretty Little Liars has been at it again, catching me by surprise just as I was ready to bash Valentine's Day with this lovely box of chocolates that has so far not proved to be poisonous. (You never know with A!)

If you missed this week's episode due to your own Valentine's Day celebrations (or any others) you can get caught up by watching them online. Hope your Valentine's Day was better than mine, which I spent with Thera Flu and a big box of kleenex!

Friday, February 11, 2011

What Happens In Branson...

Hopefully, when this posts, I will FINALLY be on a plane home from Branson. After the big winter storm on Wednesday we all ended up trapped in the lodge for another day. I couldn't get a flight out until Friday morning.

Running low on food, and feeling pretty stir crazy, we had a wild last night in Branson, and thanks to Jackson Pearce's video camera, this is the result:

Hope you have a great weekend! I'm going to be catching up on sleep.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Greetings From Branson!

So, if you've been wondering where I've been the last week, I've been (and still am in) Branson for the AWESOMEST WRITING RETREAT EVER. I don't say this to gloat or make you feel bad, but to encourage you to get together with your writer friends for a few days and just hang, because it is amazing.

Writing retreats are awesome, not because of the inside jokes you come away with, but because you get to spend time with people who get you. People who don't think it's strange that the first thing you do in the morning is turn on the coffee pot and the computer, rather than shower. People who don't judge you when it's 5pm and you're still in your pajamas. People who aren't afraid when you talk about the voices in your head. It really doesn't get better than that.

I honestly can't explain how awesome it is to sit down to write and hear nothing but the soft click of fingers on the keyboard and see this:

(Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff)

(Kiersten White - below Freddy The Moose - not pictured)

(Victoria Schwab, Sarah Darer Littman, Julia Karr, Jessica Spotswood)

Not only is it inspiring, but it's demystifying. NYT Bestselling authors sit down with their laptops and write, just like me. There's no magic, just hard work.

If there's any wisdom I can offer from my time here in Branson, it's that writers need time with other writers. It doesn't have to be far away at a lodge, or for a week, with 22 other writers. It can be a weekend in your backyard, the results will be the same -- a feeling of kinship that we miss sometimes when we're on the other side of computer monitors.

So go make your own retreat, or mini-retreat, or weekly sit down with another writer. It's so worth it! (And if you can get Maggie Stiefvater to come and bake you cookies from scratch, all the better!)

Don't miss the last live chat from Branson! Tonight at 8pm EST at:

You'll be able to ask questions and hear answers from:
- Maggie Stiefvater (LINGER, FOREVER, BALLAD)
- Jackson Pearce (SISTERS RED, SWEETLY)
- Jeri Smith-Ready (SHADE, SHIFT)
- Dawn Metcalf (LUMINOUS)
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