Friday, October 30, 2009

Freebie Friday Mystery Bag!

Happy Friday!

Apologies to anyone clicking through hoping to find a Rosemary Clement-Moore interview/giveaway today. She had a personal issue she needed to deal with so we are giving her a pass and rescheduling. She'll be back in a couple of weeks to talk about THE SPLENDOR FALLS.

So for today, we're going to have a mystery giveaway! In this cute little tote I won in a raffle, I have placed 5 books from my overflowing book collection. In keeping with Halloween, each book is either a paranormal or mystery. Each book has been released in the past ten months. Three of these books hit the NYT bestseller list their first week out. All of the books are fabulous reads!

This week's drawing will be for the tote and all five books - but I won't reveal what they are until the drawing closes on Wednesday.

To be entered to win, leave a message below telling me your favorite Halloween treat.

Have a happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WInners and What's up Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! Halfway to the weekend!

Thanks for weighing in on Jake vs.Edward. I do remain firmly in the team Jacob and Team Taylor camp, but I respect your opinions: ). The lucky winners of NEW DAWN are:

Jenni Bailey
Gellie E
Kristina Shields

Please send your mailing instructions to gerb @ lindagerber dot com and we'll get those sent out to you. Be sure to write "winner" in the subject line so you don't get lost in my overflowing inbox!

Everyone else, be sure to come back on Friday for a special, spooky Freebie Friday with Rosemary Clement-Moore!

What's up?

Saturday was the super fabulous Books, Blood and Bones signing at the North Little Rock Books-a-Million. Loved the people at BAM! They know how to throw a party. Giveaways, costume contest, trivia contest, decor. They even named drinks at the cafe for all our books! I'd go back in a heartbeat. PLUS I got to hang out with some very cCathool authors - Rosemary-Clement Moore (who will be here Friday!), Marley Gibson, Melissa Francis, Stacey Jay (who will be here next week!) and Chloe Neill. Very classy ladies. Great times.

Kids around here go Trick-or-Treating tomorrow night. Anyone else's community do this "beggar's night" thing instead of just letting the kids Trick-or-Treat on the actual day of Halloween? I do understand the police enforcement issue, but it just seems weird to me. Different than what I remember as a kid.

Speaking of what I remember as a kid - I'm over at Sunshine Edition this week, sharing a spooky Trick-or-Treat story...

Happy release week to Kate Brian (PERFECT MISTAKE), Catherine Murdock, PC and Kristin Cast (TEMPTED), Robin McKinley (FIRE, TALES OF ELEMENTAL SPIRITS) and Kristina Springer (THE EXPRESSOLOGIST)!

See you Friday!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Freebie Friday and A NEW DAWN

Hey, Twilight fans!

Today's Freebie Friday celebrates the release of the updated edition of the completely unauthorized TWILIGHT anthology,

If you, like me, are counting the days until the movie release of NEW MOON, this is the book for you - it's filled with essays by your favorite YA authors on such Twilightish subjects as
  • Pity and fear for Bella Swan
  • Native American werewolf myths & the Quileute boys
  • What Bella and Edward's romance says about free will
  • Vampires and the fear of aging
  • Monster love
  • and much more...

A NEW DAWN was edited by Ellen Hopkins and includes essays from such fab authors as Rachel Caine, Cassandra Clare, Cara Lockwood, Megan McCafferty, James Owen, Janette Rallison, Anne Ursu... and me! (Plus, the amazing authors below:)

Today's mini-interviews come to you from A NEW DAWN contributors Rosemary Clement Moore, Robin Brande, K.A. Nuzum and Ellen Steiber. Here we go!


Can you share with us your favorite passage from the Twilight saga - and translate it into Shakespeare-speak?
Um, this may lose me points, but I gave my books away, so I can't go pull up a favorite passage. (To someone who didn't have her own copies! She gave me puppy dog eyes! What was I going to do?) I say this so you don't write in my margins like my english teacher would. "Substantiate this point with citations! Nothing is true unless you quote from the book!" (It occurs to me my dislike of Romeo and Juliet might not have been due to the text so much as the teacher.)

But as for Shakespeare... Well, I should avoid the obvious Henry V quote, despite it being one of my favorite ever, except that I really do think it when Jacob gets his feral fur on: "Cry havok, and let slip the dogs of war!"

When you're not contemplating the importance of hope and fear and Bella Swan, what are you working on?
I'm working on a gothic mystery romance type story, similar to my current release (The Splendor Falls). It's got ghosts, magic, buried treasure, an anthropologist, a cowboy (I promise these go together) and not much relationship to Sophocles or Shakespeare.

Team Edward or Team Jacob? (Or, Team Robert or Team Taylor?)
I really like Jacob (and I would probably chose werewolf over vampire, generally speaking), but it was always clear to me that Edward and Bella would be together. As inevitable as the reaction when fire meets gunpowder.


What are some of your favorite romantic classics?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, of course—both the novel and whatever movie version anyone wants to make of it. I’m also a HUGE fan of Austenland, by Shannon Hale, because she totally nails what we lovers of P&P adore about the book, and especially about the BBC series based on it (hint: the wet shirt scene with Colin Firth. Say no more). (Bridget Jones’s Diary also speaks to that obsession. Love that, too.)

I also enjoy rereading classics like Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (despite the general psychoness of Heathcliff—still can’t resist!), Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (more psychoness, this time from the secret wife—what is with those Bronte sisters?) and David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (love the childhood crush that finally blossoms into an adult love). I’m all for modern romance, like in any Nora Roberts novel ever written, but sometimes the oldies just hit a spot no modern writer can. Siiiiigh.

When you're not contemplating Edward's romantic hero status, what are you working on?
For some reason I’ve decided to devote my adult life to writing romantic comedies that involve science. I did not know this was a career option when I was a little girl. And of course, back then I really hated science. So it’s very confusing for me, and the real answer to your question is that right now I’m heavily into the research for my next novel, which involves quantum physics and string theory. Trust me, it’s very romantic.

Team Edward or Team Jacob? (Or, Team Robert or Team Taylor?)
Dude, Team Edward. Although certainly the trailers for the New Moon movie coming out next month make an excellent case for Team Jacob. Seriously—he built all those muscles in less than a year? Is it special effects? CGI? Whatever the movie magic is, I think we can all agree that that scene with him chopping wood is going to be worth the price of the ticket. But still, Edward has my heart. (Although it wouldn’t hurt him to work out a little, would it?)


You're an old movie monster buff... who is your favorite monster of all time?
Gotta say, Barnabas Collins, the vampire in the old Dark Shadows soap opera from the 70s. Jonathan Frid played him originally; Johnny Depp is supposed to play Barnabas in the upcoming movie. Yay!

When you're not contemplating monsters and the passage of time, what are you working on?
Just finished my third novel The Music Box, which opens on the Day of the Dead in 1918 in way-northern New Mexico; everybody has a skeleton in his closet in this epic fable. Look for it in 2011.

Team Edward or Team Jacob? (Or, Team Robert or Team Taylor?)
Team Jacob, def. He is SO like my high school boyfriend (only taller). I never realized I’d dated a werewolf till I “met” Jacob.


Can you describe your ideal of ageless beauty (or hunkiness?)

That’s a tough question, one that really made me ask: What is ageless beauty—and who has it? And the best definition I could come up with is: Someone who seems completely comfortable in themselves and—this may sound hokey—lets their spirit shine through. Here are some well-known women whom I think have, or have had, this quality: Helen Mirren; Meryl Streep; Jessica Tandy; Katherine Hepburn; Julie Christie; Michelle Yeoh; Frances McDormand; Julia Child; Olympia Dukakis; Susan Sarandon; Michelle Pfeiffer; Eunice Shriver; Lauren Hutton; the amazing yoga teacher, Angela Farmer; and the writer Toni Morrison. Most of these women, you’ll notice, are older because “ageless beauty” seems to hint at beauty that’s there even when you’re no longer young.

But I have a feeling that these women will also prove to be ageless beauties: Michelle Obama; Penelope Cruz; Uma Thurman; Queen Latifah; Drew Barrymore; Gabrielle Anwar; Liya Kebede; Chloe Sevigny; Angela Bassett; Salma Hayek; Norah Jones; and Libba Bray.

As for guys, I’m regularly smitten by Clive Owen; Johnny Depp; Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Billy Crudup; Alexander Skarsgard; George Clooney; Bruce Springsteen (what can I say, I’m a Jersey girl); and at least half of the NBA. .

Okay, seriously, and on a related tangent. . . This summer I saw an exhibit of Richard Avedon photographs. Avedon was a fashion photographer who photographed many of the most beautiful and glamorous people of his time. Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Twiggy, and Brigitte Bardot all posed for him. But the most striking and truly gorgeous photos in the exhibit were taken in 1985 when Avedon traveled out west and took pictures of “ordinary” people: miners and rodeo cowboys, truckers and ranchers and migrant workers on the farms. And those photos are amazing. Though the people in them are often poor and rarely well dressed, Avedon seemed to capture the essence of their lives—hardship but also dignity and strength and humor. All of Avedon’s “ordinary” people have ageless beauty. So maybe the truth is, we all have it. We just have to look closely so that like Richard Avedon, we can see it in each other.

When you're not considering the extremely long shelf life of vampire lore, what are you working on?
I’m about two-thirds of the way through a sequel to my fantasy novel, A Rumor of Gems, which is all about gemstone magic. And my friend Deborah and I are plotting a YA together. All I can tell you is that it’s fantasy set here in the Sonoran Desert, and it involves two fifteen-year-old girls, their horses, and a number of shape-shifters, including one very snarky cat.

Team Edward or Team Jacob? (Or, Team Robert or Team Taylor?)
It’s a split-decision: As far as the actors go, Team Taylor. But, as far as the movies and the books go, I’m definitely Team Edward. To me, Edward is a sexier and more interesting character. But Jacob’s pretty sweet….

* * *
You can find out more about A New Dawn and other Smart Pop anthology titles at, your link to teen lit.

Up for grabs this week - BenBella books has generously offered three copies of A NEW DAWN for three lucky winners! To be entered to win, leave a comment below answering the all-important question - Team Edward or Team Jacob (Or, if you prefer, Team Robert or Team Taylor?) This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, October 28th.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WInner and What's Up Wednesday

It's Hump Day! The week is half over! (Is this a good or bad thing?)

The winner of Janet Lee Carey's STEALING DEATH is:

Kristina Shields

Congratulations! Please send your mailing instructions to gerb(@) lindagerber (.) com and we'll get that out to you.

Everyone else, be sure to come back on Friday for a special Freebie Friday for a Twilight fan-ish celebration for the new edition release of A NEW DAWN, edited by Ellen Hopkins. A lineup of your favorite authors will be on hand, talking vampires, werewolves and answering the all-important question: Team Jacob or Team Edward? Check out our guest list - Rosemary Clement Moore, Janette Rallison, Ellen Steiber, Robin Brande and Kathy Nuzum. BenBella Books is throwing in three copies of A NEW DAWN for the giveaway. That's right - three winners. You won't want to miss it!

Meanwhile, don't forget Teen Read Week all this week. Readergirlz is hosting nightly chats with your favorite authors @ 9 p.m. You have three nights of chats left! Be sure to check it out.

Happy release week to Robin Brande (FAT CAT), Barry Lyga (GOTH GIRL RISING), Catherine Murdock (FRONT AND CENTER), Dan Elconin (NEVER AFTER) and L.K. Madigan (FLASH BURNOUT)!

Alyson Noel fans - the SHADOWLANDS trailer is live and on YouTube!

And finally, friends in Arkansas, I'll be at the Little Rock Books-A-Million Saturday, October 24 @ 5 pm for an event to die for -
Books, Blood & Bones
featuring killer authors
Rosemary Clement Moore
Melissa Francis
Stacey Jay
Marley Gibson
Chloe Neill
& Moi

Monday, October 19, 2009


We interrupt our Middle Grade Mondays this week in celebration of

READ, READ, READ! Even if you're not a teen, I challenge you to pick up one of the many outstanding YA and MG books out there and get your read on!

While you're at it, check out Readergirlz's Teen Read Week celebration here:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Winner and Freebie Friday with Janet Lee Carey

The winner of ALIBI JUNIOR HIGH is:

Penny Hull

Please send me your mailing instructions to gerb (@) lindagerber (.) com and we'll get that sent out to you.

And now, I'm pleased to bring you award winning fantasy author Janet Lee Carey for today's FREEBIE FRIDAY. Janet is the author of MOLLY'S FIRE, WENNY HAS WINGS, THE DOUBLE LIFE OF ZOEY FLYNN, THE BEAST OF NOOR, and STEALING DEATH. She's also a founding founding member of the Readergirlz book community. She lives and writes near Seattle, Washington.

I could tell Janet was a kindred spirit when she talked of spending her school time gazing out the window, imagining worlds and what-ifs instead of concentrating on her schoolwork. She says you can spot a writer as a child by these "warning signs" - 1. Overactive imagination 2. Library fines (which indicate the child does not want to part with their beloved books - not that they have lost them!) 3. A good deal of staring out the window. I can relate.

Janet's newest book, STEALING DEATH was just recently released to rave reviews. You can see the book party photos here. And, for all of us who missed the party, let's celebrate a little more, right here on the blog. Here's a little book blurb:

“I want that soul sack,” he said suddenly.
“What?” the witch asked around the scrap of meat she was chewing.
“I want it so no one I love will ever, ever, ever have to go inside again.”
“It’s not for mortal hands to have.” The witch spat out a bit of bone.
“You know magic. Give me the power to steal the sack.”

When fire steals his family from him, Kipp is left with only his little sister to protect as best he can, and he’s determined that death will not come to her–or to the girl he loves but can never approach.

But who would dare to master death? As Kipp finds out, it’s complicated, and possession of the soul sack is no guarantee of success.

Dragon’s Keep
author Janet Lee Carey has crafted a stirring and original fantasy set in a harsh and beautiful desert landscape, in which a young man who has lost everything finds the strength within himself to care for those he loves–and to allow those he cannot keep close to him to take a path he cannot follow.

Here's what School Library Journal had to say about STEALING DEATH:
With this novel, Carey goes beyond common fantasy fare in several dimensions. Unusual for this day and age of series that go on and on, Stealing Death is a complete story in a single volume. “Pales” are immigrants who have fled south from their northern continent’s troubles and who are looked down upon by the native Zolyans. One morning Kipp, 17, leaves his little brother in charge of lighting the stove so that he can attempt to capture a wild horse whose sale might save the family farm during this time of drought, when there is no money to pay the landlord. He fails and returns to find his home engulfed in flames. Kipp manages to save his sister, but not his parents or brother. It is at this moment that his Naqui powers come to him, allowing him to see the Gwali, “the collector of souls.” Kipp cannot stop his family’s souls from entering the Kwaja, the Gwali’s sack, but vows to do whatever it takes to steal it and prevent others he loves from dying. Steal it he does, but that is only the beginning. Carey’s wonderful language weaves family, love, wise teachers, and petty villains together in a vast landscape. It calls to mind Hilari Bell’s “Farsala” trilogy (S & S), but this is truly a unique work. Verdict: This is quite simply fantasy at its best–original, beautiful, amazing, and deeply moving.

And now for the interview:

What inspired you to write Stealing Death?
There were several sources for Stealing Death. I like reading the old fairytales and the Brothers Grimm stories have a few interesting tales that deal with tricking Death. But a number of years ago I got chills when I discovered the Appalachian folktale about a young man who captures Death in a sack and hangs him in a tree. The day I found that story I knew I’d work the idea into a novel. Of course I planned to put my own spin on it. The idea remained underground for years until it began to emerge in my YA fantasy The Beast of Noor. There you’ll see my first Death Catcher, the Darro. Quote from pg. 19 “All shadow and bone the Darro was, being Death’s own man, and he rode his dark horse through the storm right here to Enness Isle.” After writing that scene, I still craved an entire novel to expand the story. When I journaled my way into Kipp’s unique problems created by the loss of his family, and his love for Zalika, I knew I was ready to write Stealing Death.

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?
Kipp is loosely based on my youngest son. I say loosely because each character has to unique. Half the fun of writing is discovering what a character will do with all the challenges and frustrations of the plot. I want the character to take action, to fight back, to be passionate, to surprise me. If a character’s reactions aren’t interesting or surprising, I know the story is in trouble.

What excites you?
Giving back excites me. When I was researching drought-ridden lands for the Stealing Death setting I saw a lot of suffering from the lack of clean drinking water. I knew I had to respond. Happily I found PlayPumps International a charity organization that builds clean water systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. The pump is designed as a child’s merry-go-round. Children at play. Water pumps. We created the Stealing Death Water for Life Challenge for readers inspired to help with this fantastic project. Anyone is welcome to pop over to the site, learn more about PlayPumps, and make a tax deductable donation large or small if they want to pitch in. Our goal is to raise $14,000.00, enough to build a new pump! I’ll be talking about PlayPumps International at my readings and school visits this year. I’m really excited about it.

Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?
I gather symbolic things for each book. I have some dragons (not the large kind which would be problematic in suburbia) just small statues. I also have a black sack for the soul sack Kwaja from Stealing Death. But I don’t strap Kwaja to my leg as Kipp does. Yikes!

What's one thing most people don't know about you?
At age four I ice-skated on the Baltic Sea. I still love it and ice-skated in the park to celebrate my birthday last year.

What's your favorite quote?
~Sometimes I go about pitying myself. And all the while I am being carried across the sky by beautiful clouds. ~
-- Ojibway saying

What are you working on now?
I’m drafting a sequel to Stealing Death, raising the stakes for Kipp and Zalika. Revising the medieval fantasy Bound By Three as a companion read to Dragon’s Keep. The story follows four friends who dress as lepers and go on the run to escape the witch hunter. Bound By Three is due out with Dial Books 2011. I’m also revising a sequel to The Beast of Noor due out with Egmont USA 2010. All three are in the pipeline, but I focus fully on one novel at a time. If I didn’t I’d go nuts.

What is an interesting writing quirk of yours?
I have a Tarot deck I don’t use for readings, just for the pictures. Sometimes when I need to challenge my imagination, I flip a Tarot card and force myself to use something from the card in the next scene whether it’s a sword, a black swan, a wolf . . . whatever. The challenge keeps me on my toes. If I were writing a modern novel, I might challenge my imagination to put something in the next scene from the newspaper, magazine, or a found object from the street. The plotline of Bound By Three changed in a thrilling and unforeseen way when I pulled The Hanged Man from the Tarot deck!

Milk Chocolate or Dark?
Milk chocolate with almonds.

You can read more about Janet on her website:

Want to chat with Janet and other writers in the readergirlz circle of stars? Readergirlz is hosting first annual rgz Homecoming Party on readergirlz blog Monday, November 30 at 6:00 Pacific Standard Time/9:00 Eastern Time. Come join us.

If you would like to be entered to win a signed copy of STEALING DEATH, please leave a comment below, telling us what you daydream about when you stare out the window. This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, October 21.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WInner and What's Up Wednesday

It's still Wednesday! *Whew*

The winner of Lisa Mangum's THE HOURGLASS DOOR is:

Please send your mailing instructions to gerb @ lindagerber . com and we'll get that out to you. Remember to put 'winner' in the subject line.

Everyone else, come on back on Friday for another freebie with Janet Lee Carey, author of STEALING DEATH.

And don't forget - two more days to enter the drawing for a copy of Greg Logsted's ALIBI JUNIOR HIGH.


Check out my guest post on Jeri Smith-Ready's Blogtoberfest for a chance to win a signed copy of DEATH BY DENIM as well as the Blogtoberfest grand prize - 23 YA books!

That's a lot of what's up! And I gotta go help kids with homework. So how about I just leave you with a smile...

Monday, October 12, 2009

MG Monday with Greg Logsted

For today's MG Monday, I'm pleased to bring you another favorite MG author, Greg Logsted.

Greg is the author of SOMETHING HAPPENED, co-author of The SISTERS EIGHT series with his wife Lauren Baratz-Logsted and daughter Jackie Logsted, and the recently-released ALIBI JUNIOR HIGH. He lives and writes in Danbury, Connecticut.

I knew I had to read ALIBI JUNIOR HIGH the moment I saw the awesome cover. Love it. And I loved the story inside even more. Cody, the MC in AJH, is clever and clueless, tough and vulnerable, a perfect fish-out-of-water protagonist. For example, here's a line from the book when Cody was contemplating how to approach Renee, the girl at school he is smitten with. To me, this so defined how 13-year-old Cody thinks:

For the last week I've spent most of my time in class thinking about the best way to talk to her. Should I just introduce myself? Ask her about homework? Give her something? Write her a note? Hack into her computer?

Greg's great at showing instead of telling, such as the moment Cody arrives at his new home, where his neighbors are welcoming back their Iraq-and-Afghanistan-war-veteran son and a firecracker goes off. Both Cody and Andy immediately hit the ground. Shared experience. Like Minds. Perfect.

AJH reminded me of the Alex Rider series, in that the protag was raised with military/spy sensibilities and use their know-how to get themselves out of precarious situations, but I liked Cody even better than Alex because he was more real. But don't take my word for it. Here are some of the nice things others have said about ALIBI JUNIOR HIGH:

"...will resonate with readers of all backgrounds... Funny and fast paced." - Kirkus Reviews

"Logsted does a good job of combining crime-fighting action and middle-school angst with current issues." - School Library Journal
"The writing in "Alibi Junior High" is funny and honest and feels very real." "Cody's... one of those characters... we can all can relate to in some way." - PBS Kids

This is another book I highly recommend, especially for hard-to-please boy readers and reluctant readers.

And now, an interview with Greg:

What inspired you to write Alibi Junior High?
The title. It just popped into my head one day while I was driving around. Then it was like, hmm, that’s interesting…what would it be about? I guess it was kind of backwards, like starting in the center of a maze and working your way out.

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?
Sure, but very rarely pure people from my past. They’re more like complicated cocktail recipes. One part this person, one part that one, a splash of him, a pinch of her, stir, and serve between pages lined heavily with me.

What excites you?

My wife and my daughter. Standing on the top of anything high. An unexpected smile, compliment or surprise. Living in the moment. Pushing the envelope. Skiing. Surf-fishing. A glance, a kiss, or a touch that leads to more. Vacations. Writing when the words flow. Watching one of my teams win. Writing when the words are slow. Good reviews of something I’ve worked on. Proving people wrong. Not forgetting the dry-cleaning. A great idea. Fridays.

What turns you off?
Mondays. A stupid idea. The first day after a vacation. Traffic tickets. People who talk on cell-phones in small public places. Toll booths. Sour old lumpy milk. Stepping in dog crap right before climbing on a ladder and it then gets all over your hands and clothes. Someone who vomits in front of you while you’re waiting for your morning coffee. Rainy weekends. Watching one of my teams lose. Falling from high places. Accidentally poking something in my eye. Gumby. Bad reviews of something I’ve worked on. Forgetting to return library books for months at a time and then having to put up with that look librarians give you. Crossword puzzles. Crashing computers.

If you could invite anyone you wanted - living or dead - to hang out with you at a weekend retreat, who would you invite and why?
I’m guessing you mean celebrities, like actors, artists, and writers, or maybe even a politician, right? Unfortunately I’ve discovered that most of these people don’t really exist. They’re all fairly normal people playing parts and we’ve all built them up to be much more than they really are. The worst thing you can ever do is sit down and talk to one of your heroes. It’s like revealing the Wizard of Oz from behind his curtain.
So maybe…with that in mind. I’d spend a weekend with my parents, long before I was born, when they were both young and full of dreams and hadn’t yet been slowed down by life’s realities and conformities. Can you imagine spending a weekend with your parents but being the adult and watching them interact with you as children? I think it would reveal so much about them that you never understood and maybe even something about yourself that lies buried just beneath your surface but never discovered or explored.

What would it take for you to get top-secret clearance?
I’m not sure. I’ve never tried. But I’m basically a good and honest trustworthy guy so I imagine it would be really difficult.

Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?
I love to have a cup of tea or coffee by my side. If I can’t get motivated I’ll go for a run or listen to some really loud music.

What songs would make the playlist for Alibi Junior High?
I was listening to In Rainbows by Radiohead while I wrote Alibi. That whole CD feels like Alibi to me.

What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I’m one of the world’s worst spellers. Thank God for spellchecker.

What's your favorite quote?
A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” John Lennon

What are you working on now?
I just finished something called The Stuttering Tattoo and my agent’s shopping it now. I really hope someone picks it up because it’s a whole lot of fun. (Linda's note: LOVE that title!) It’s a YA mystery featuring a 17-year-old high school student, Steven Bishop, who’s a large guy with a slight stuttering problem and a love of motorcycles and hard work. After he gives a mysterious and attractive transfer student a ride home from school on his bike, they discover her dog chewing on a severed arm. Steven very quickly gets himself pulled into something that’s far more complicated and violent than he ever bargained for.

My present project is a new departure for me. It’s a combination time-travel/ paranormal adventure centered around a small private school buried in the mountains of Vermont. It’s tentatively titled Out Of The Woods.

What is an interesting writing quirk of yours?
I like to write late at night and sometimes I’ll fall asleep while I’m writing. Yup, I just nod right off. I’m sure it looks bizarre, me sitting there, hands on the keyboard, back straight, head up and my eyes closed.

Who's your all-time favorite spy/operative/agent?
I guess I’ll go with Jason Bourne from The Bourne Identity. I love the whole, ‘oh I’ve got all these powers I never knew I had and by the way who am I and why are people trying to kill me’ routine. (Linda's note: Oh, yes! Love Bourne. Especially as played by Matt Damon! : ) )

If you could choose one CIA (or, from the answer, MI6) gadget to keep for your very own, what would it be?
Some of those James Bond cars were kinda cool. I’d never be late for an appointment again.

If you had to disappear tomorrow, what kind of alias would you choose?
Linda Gerber seems like the ultimate alias but I doubt I could pull it off. (Linda's Note: No, really. I'll help you. And then you can take my place at the next *yawn* PTO meeting...)

You can find more about Greg and his books on his website, his blog, or by following him on twitter.

If you would like to be entered to win a signed copy of ALIBI JUNIOR HIGH, leave a comment below, telling us how you would use super-agent skillz at home, work or school. This drawing will remain open until Friday, October 16.

Friday, October 09, 2009

WINNER and Freebie Friday with Lisa Mangum

Happy Friday!!!! Good stuff on the blog today. First off, the lucky winner of Kate Coombs's RUNAWAY DRAGON is:

sally apokedak

Congratulations, Sally! I see you just ordered RUNAWAY PRINCESS as well. You are in for a treat! Send me your mailing instructions to gerb (@) lindagerber (.) com and we'll get RUNAWAY DRAGON sent out to you. Please write WINNER in the subject line so you don't get lost in my overflowing inbox. (I promise, you guys - if you have written me a note, I will get to it.) Everyone else, please join us on Monday for another fab MG giveaway featuring Greg Logsted and ALIBI JUNIOR HIGH.

And now, please help me welcome Lisa Mangum to today's Freebie Friday. I discovered Lisa's book, THE HOURGLASS DOOR at a signing in Utah. It came highly recommended to me by one of the booksellers at the store. Now, those of you who know me, know I take very seriously book recommendations. Especially from librarians, teachers, booksellers, reviewers and other book lovers like me. All she had to do was say the word and THE HOURGLASS DOOR was mine. I devoured it on the ride back home and now I can't wait for the next books in the triology.

For bibliophiles like most of us, Lisa has the dream job(s). She works as both a book editor at Deseret Book, and as an author. She says she knew she was always destined to work with books. In elementary school, she used to stay in from recess to help out in the school library. Her first paying gig was as a 'page' at the Sandy, UT library. (And she dreamed of one day becoming a 'chapter.' Ha!) She also worked for a bookstore during college, and then on to editing. And writing. Yup. I'd say she was destined.

Here's the official blurb for THE HOURGLASS DOOR:

His past. Her future. Can love bring them together in time?
Abby s senior year of high school is going according to plan: good friends, cute boyfriend, and college applications in the mail. But when Dante Alexander, foreign-exchange student from Italy, steps into her life, he turns it upside down. He's mysterious, and interesting, and unlike anyone she's ever met before. Abby can't deny the growing attraction she feels for him. Nor can she deny the unusual things that seem to happen when Dante is around. Soon Abby finds herself drawn into a mystery whose roots reach into sixteenth-century Florence, and she uncovers a dangerous truth that threatens not only her future but the lives of those she loves.

And the interview:

What inspired you to write The Hourglass Door?
The idea for Hourglass Door was actually quite unexpected. I was working on another book (an adult fantasy story) at the time. One afternoon, I was driving to a writer’s conference for YA authors and starting thinking about what I might write about if I were to write for YA. I knew I would want it to be a love story, and that led me to think about Dante’s Divine Comedy, and thinking about ways to incorporate that literary inspiration led me to think about a time travel angle. And then it was like Abby and Dante just jumped in my car with me and said, “Oh, write our story! It’s great!” By the time I arrived at the conference, I had all of book one outlined, plus character relationships and development arcs sketched out. I knew some key lines of dialogue; I knew where book one was going to end, where book two was going to end, and where book three would start. It was a story that almost wrote itself and I just did my best to keep up with it.

Since you work as an editor as a profession, is it ever difficult to turn off your internal editor when you write?
Yes. One of the hardest things for me to do when I write is to ignore the editor part of my brain that keeps chiming in with “Are you sure you want to use that word?” “Are you sure the comma goes there?” I used to be frustrated with authors who would say, “Oh, the editor will fix it,” but now I find myself saying that as I write. On the other hand, one of the best things I did during the revision process was to read the manuscript again with my editor brain fully engaged. I asked myself, “If this wasn’t mine, what would I do? What would I think? What would I advise the author to change?” Learning to let my writer brain do the writing and my editor brain do the editing was a tricky skill to master, but one that helped me immensely.

Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?
I really enjoy listening to music while I write. Not too loud, of course, but I find certain songs help get me in the mood to write a particular scene or connect with a character. I also love writing stretched out on the couch with my laptop on and my cat asleep on my legs.

What songs would make the playlist for The Hourglass Door?
It’s funny you should ask this. My husband loves to make me mix CDs and not too long ago, he made me playlist of songs. I listened to some of these songs while I wrote the story; some of them are songs that remind me of the story; some of them are songs I think the characters would enjoy listening to.

“The River” by Live
“11:59” by Doubledrive
“Born for This” by Paramore
“Get Ready” by Live
“Time after Time” by Cassandra Wilson
“Bliss” by Alice Peacock
“Bravado” by Rush
“Now Is the Time” by Damone
“Blue on Black” by Kenny Wayne Shepherd
“Times Like These” by Foo Fighters
“Helpless” by Geoff Tate
“Lovers in a Dangerous Time” by Barenaked Ladies
“Winners and Losers” by Social Distortion
“Time Stand Still” by Rush
“When the Time Comes” by Magni
“Save Me” by Juke Kartel
“See a Little Light” by Bob Mould
“Dante’s Prayer” by Loreena McKennitt

What's one thing most people don't know about you?
Thanks to my older brother, I grew up on a steady diet of hard rock music. Pop music from the 80s? Not so much. But hair-metal bands? That’s a different story. I could identify a Judas Priest song in two notes, and I could tell the difference between Cinderella, Great White, and Whitesnake. I read “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” strictly because Iron Maiden wrote a song about it.

What's your favorite quote?
One of my favorite quotes come from Disneyland (which is also one of my favorite places to visit). My husband and I were vacationing there one year and we spotted a wall of quotes from Disney imagineers. One of them said, “Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. Don’t stop.” I like it because it helps me remember that I don’t have to hurry my craft. Take the time to get it right. Don’t worry if I make a mistake. Don’t worry if it takes a long time. Whatever happens—don’t stop.

What are you working on now?
I’m working hard on book two, The Golden Spiral. And as soon as turn it in, I’ll be hard at work on the last book in the trilogy. I have a couple of ideas for other stories bubbling up as well—a stand alone novel and maybe a collection of short stories.

Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?
Yes and no. I’ve always known I loved books. My mom is an author too, so I grew up with words and how they worked. Growing up, I wrote lots of poems and short fiction; I was even the editor of my high school literary magazine one year. But by the time I headed to college, I had changed my focus a little from writing to editing. I sort of set down my writing when I moved into the publishing world and didn’t write anything for several years. Then, about five years ago, some friends from work and I started a writing group together. Their feedback and encouragment were instrumental to me as I worked on and finished Hourglass Door. And the deadlines didn’t hurt either!

Milk Chocolate or Dark?
Hands down—dark chocolate. No contest.

If you would like to be entered to win a signed copy of THE HOURGLASS DOOR, leave a message below, telling us what you would do with a time-travel portal if given the chance.

This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, October 14.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

WInner and What's Up Wednesday

Kind of glad we're halfway through the week... I already need a weekend! This will tell you how overbooked I am... it's 4:30 p.m. and I am just now getting online - for the first time today. Okay, so that may not sound horrible to you, but truly - for me, that's drastic.

What's up this week?

It's fall! Seriously. One day it was summer and then next the leaves are swirling down around me and there's frost on the ground when I walk the doggie in the morning. When did that happen?

This weekend we had our first ever SCBWI conference here in Columbus. I got to hang with a bunch of fabulous writer friends and meet up again with editor Kaylan Adair, who is made of awesome. Did you know editor Ruta Rimas is a dead ringer for Kirstin Dunst? It's true!

My book-blogging friends are contending with a new FTC ruling regarding "endorsements" and disclosure that basically holds them to a different set of regulations than magazines and newspapers. Not cool.

The first swine flu vaccines hit the market this week. Anyone here planning on getting vaccinated? I'm still on the fence about it. But not because I'm afraid of piggies. Not at all. In fact, I love the newest pet craze in the UK - micropigs. I am not kidding. Teacup-sized pigs. But aren't they cute?

Registration opened for the next season of America's Got Talent. Does anyone even watch that show?

I actually watch (via recaps on youtube) X Factor - on which the top 12 was just announced. Anyone else watch that one? What do you think of Danyl advancing despite a couple of reeeaaally bad performances? (I actually liked him a lot but thought some of the other contestants deserved it more. *shrug*

And finally - it's time to announce the winner of Marissa Doyle's BETRAYING SEASON. And that person is.... *drumroll*


Congratulations, Kelsey! Please send your mailing instructions to gerb @ lindagerber . com and we'll get that sent out to you!

Everyone else, thanks for playing. I loved thinking about the various time periods you suggested. Be sure to get in on this week's MG Monday - Kate Coombs's RUNAWAY DRAGON. That drawing will remain open until Friday.

And don't miss the next Freebie Friday featuring Lisa Mangum's THE HOURGLASS DOOR.

See you Friday!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Mid-Grade Monday with Kate Coombs

I'm excited to kick off Mid-Grade Mondays by sharing with you one of my favorite MG authors of all time, Kate Coombs. In the spirit of full disclosure, Kate is a friend and a crit group sistah, so I may be a little prejudiced, but seriously? Her writing speaks for itself. Her books are clever and witty and just plain fun to read.

Some of you may have already discovered Kate's blog, The Book Aunt. If you haven't, you should, if you are interested in intelligent book reviews and discussion. Kate knows more about Children's Literature than about anyone I can think of. You also should check out Kate's fabulous website. Go on. I'll wait. That website epitomizes Kate to me. Intelligent, creative and lots of fun. I love Vantor's Swoon Club. And - did you notice Kate did the artwork? She is multi-talented!

For today, we're going to talk about Kate's latest release, THE RUNAWAY DRAGON, the sequel to the award-winning THE RUNAWAY PRINCESS. Like the first book, THE RUNAWAY DRAGON is a delight to read with lovable characters and laugh-out-loud moments. But don't take my word for it - check out what others have to say about THE RUNAWAY DRAGON:

Coombs again takes a familiar setup—feisty princess, fractured-fairy-tale kingdom—and makes it fresh with droll humor, brisk plotting, and multidimensional characters. Even as the world they inhabit grows increasingly zany, the characters themselves are never satirized, which allows the narrative to function at two levels: the ironic send-up and the earnest hero tale. Combined, they make for a warm, witty story that will leave readers clamoring for the next installment. - Horn Book Magazine

In this funny, lighthearted follow-up to The Runaway Princess (2006), it's the dragon's turn to spread his wings and fly the coop... Enchanted forests, rampant transmogrification, evil sorceresses and giants are all fine fodder for Coombs's inventive twists on traditional fairy tales, as illuminated in the author's note. - Kirkus

Further, Booklist says THE RUNAWAY DRAGON "will resonate with princess fanatics" and School Library Journal observes that it "catches readers' attention from the start and doesn't let go."

And now for Kate's own words:

What inspired you to write The Runaway Dragon?
In the first book, The Runaway Princess, an adventurous princess named Meg avoids an arranged marriage while rescuing a witch, a dragon, and some bandits from the very same pack of princes who are trying to destroy them in order to win her hand. Meg is envious of the princes because she'd love to have her own adventure, specifically a quest. This idea is what prompted the second book: Meg's rescued dragon, who's grown up a bit, flies away from home in a huff, so she sets out on a quest to find him. Further adventures ensue as Meg and her friends encounter an enchanted forest, a giant, and a "mean girls"-type teen sorceress.

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?
No, but I suspect there's a tinge of Homer and Marge Simpson in the king and queen in my Runaway books. The queen is more sensible than the king, who tends to make pronouncements without thinking. (I have had friends tell me they see some of Meg in me!)

What excites you?
Beautiful-cool-weird things. For example, I recently posted on my book review blog about some guys who wove a tapestry entirely out of spider silk. (It came out golden, not gray, as you might imagine!) I bought a couple of steampunk pins this summer that made me smile because they were lovely in an off-the-wall way. Along those same lines, I love fresh ideas in books--such as Shaun Tan's The Arrival, which is a new and wonderful act of creativity. Such works enrich the universe, as do small moments of greatness, like the look of a certain leaf or the sky at one particular moment, also a perfect line in a poem.

If you could invite anyone you wanted - living or dead - to hang out with you at a weekend retreat, who would you invite and why?
I would have to pick author Terry Pratchett, who's one of the funniest people on the planet. And perhaps Neil Gaiman, though his cool factor is a bit terrifying these days. Holly Black--I heard her at the SCBWI Conference and really liked her. Dipping into the dead pool, I'll bet William Shakespeare and Jane Austen would be a kick. And of course, I'd love to invite some of my favorite literary characters, maybe Megan Whalen Turner's Gen and J.K. Rowling's crew of Harry and friends. It occurs to me that some people might be more fun to read about than hang out with, though. For instance, I'm crazy about Pratchett's Granny Weatherwax as a character, but in real life she'd put everyone in their place within seconds!

What do you do in your day job?
I drive around L.A. teaching students who are seriously ill in their homes for the school district. It's a unique and rewarding thing to do--I meet some really fantastic kids.

Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?
Well, I inadvertently developed the habit of buying knickknacks for my desk that represent book projects. For example, there's a small paper mache hedgehog for an upcoming picture book called Hans-My-Hedgehog, a jeweled frog for the frog princes in The Runaway Princess, an excellent bronze dragon for The Runaway Dragon, and an alligator for my current manuscript, Curses.

What are you working on now?
My new book is a teen paranormal, but I promise it's not about vampires. There is a witch, hence the curses. My main character has a power of her own. At first she simply uses it to undo what the witch is doing, but eventually she and the witch have to face off. It's a very fun book to write!

If you could choose one magical power for your very own, what would it be?
I'm an avid reader of children's fantasy, so I've come across a lot of intriguing magical powers. But to use the sci-fi term, being able to teleport sounds wildly useful, especially since I deal with L.A. traffic on a daily basis. I could easily visit my mom in Utah and my friends in Chicago. And I could show up in places like London or Singapore without a nasty long flight! I do know I wouldn't want to read people's minds--as my sister would say, TMI (too much information).

Milk Chocolate or Dark?
Milk, preferably with entertaining additions such as toffee, strawberry filling, or nuts.

If you would like to be entered to win a signed copy of THE RUNAWAY DRAGON, leave a comment below, telling us what magical power you would choose for yourself if you had the choice.

This drawing will remain open until Friday, October 9th.

Reminder: Only two days left for the Marissa Doyle BETRAYING SEASON drawing!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Freebie Friday with Marissa Doyle

Happy October!

This month, we're going to go supernatural with our Freebie Fridays. To kick it off, I'm pleased to bring you Marissa Doyle, whose magical YA novel, BETRAYING SEASON hit the shelves this week.

Marissa studied archeology and history in college, and loves bringing the past alive in her writing. She lives in historic Massachusetts with her family and what she calls a "ludicrous number of books" and has a love for rabbits.
BETRAYING SEASON is the sequel to book one of the Leland sisters' adventures, BEWITCHING SEASON. Here's the book blurb:

Penelope (Pen) Leland has come to Ireland to study magic and prove to herself that she is as good a witch as her twin sister, Persy. But when the dashing Niall Keating begins to pay her court, she can’t help being distracted from her studies.

Little does Pen know, Niall is acting upon orders from his sorceress mother. And although it starts as a sham, Niall actually falls deeply in love with Pen, and she with him. But even if he halts his mother’s evil plan, will Pen be able to forgive him for trying to seduce her into a plot? And what of Pen’s magic, which seems to be increasingly powerful?

Booklist calls BETRAYING SEASON a "…full-bodied story that wonderfully combines elements of romance, fantasy, and history.... invigorating."

Kirkus says, "The mixture of historical detail and magic makes this...another page-turner...."

And VOYA calls it " utterly delightful."

Now on to the interview:

What inspired you to write Betraying Season?
I wrote it because I wanted Pen to have her chance to prove herself as a witch and find her own Lord, Mr. Right. The twins are very separate, distinct people for me, and I couldn't not give them each a book.

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?
No...that way lieth lawsuits and lost friendships. :) But all authors "borrow" from the world around them, and that includes aspects of people, known and unknown. I've ripped pages out of catalogues because a model looks exactly like my mind's eye picture of a character. I actually get asked this a lot because my books feature a set of twins and I have twin daughters, but Persy and Pen aren't at all my daughters, except for one thing--I modeled their close relationship on my girls'.

If you could invite anyone you wanted - living or dead - to hang out with you at a weekend retreat, who would you invite and why?
Just one? Oh, c'moooooon... Okay, I'll compromise with one living and one dead: Queen Victoria, because she saw so much in her lifetime and was the inspiration for an entire empire, and Connie Willis, because she's one of my favorite writers and I wish I could someday begin to approach her skill, wit, and light touch.

What are some of the special challenges of writing fiction in a historical setting?
Keeping your head in your chosen time period as well as you can, and resisting the temptation to write 21st century characters in pretty 19th century dresses. This can be a challenge because today's readers like "spunky", independent heroines who want it all...but who are not necessarily going to be accurate for their time and place. So it's challenging to create characters who are true to their period, but satisfying to today's readers.

It can also be challenging to present accurate history, because quite often readers have bizarre pictures of the past in their head that they think are fact...and assume that your researched-out-the-wazoo story has it wrong. All you can do is sigh and continue to do the best research you can and present it as well as you can in the context of your story.

Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?
Sort of. It's not quite a ritual, but a trick I use to get quickly into my writing each day: I choose a scented candle that seems to go with my story, buy about a dozen of them, and light it every time I sit down to write. Within a week or two, that scent just becomes so associated with the story that smelling it is like flipping a switch into "write" mode. Of course, it means that the scent is FOREVER associated with that book, so I can't burn it later on without being dragged back into that story. :)

What's your favorite quote?
It is better remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. Voltaire, I think.

What are you working on now?
I'm nearly done with the prequel to Bewitching Season and Betraying Season, due out next year or the year after...and after that? We'll see...things are in the works... (she said mysteriously).

What is it about rabbits?
They're incredibly cute and cuddly, use a litter-box as well as a cat does, are incredibly cute and cuddly, don't bark, get parsley breath instead of tuna breath (which makes getting your face licked much more pleasant), are incredibly cute and cuddly, and are just as companionable as a cat or dog. And did I mention that they're incredibly cute and cuddly?

If you could choose one magical power for your very own, what would it be?
Hmm. Depends...sometimes I think flying would be an incredible power to have (and huge fun), but teleportation would be wonderful too. Dinner in Marseilles or Lisbon tonight? Great! Breakfast in Paris tomorrow, followed by shopping in London? No problem!

Milk Chocolate or Dark?
Oh, dark. Definitely. Preferably with a hint of coffee.

To learn more about Marissa, her books, rabbits or the 19th century, you can find her on her website, on myspace, and at the nineteen blog she writes with YA author Regina Scott.

If you would like to be entered to win a signed copy of BETRAYING SEASON, leave a comment below answering this question - if you could choose to live in any historical period, when would it be and why?

This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, October 5.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. Don't forget to stop by Monday for our inaugural Middle Grade Monday freebie.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Party Time!

Here is the news I promised to share. I know, I know, it's been a long time coming, but I had to wait for the official announcement and, as many of you know, this is a slooooow business. Here's the Publisher's Marketplace announcement for my upcoming MG mystery series:

Linda Gerber's CASS AROUND THE WORLD, featuring a tween celebritant and vlogger, whose parents' popular travel show takes her around the world, mixing it up with the natives, sampling the local flavor, and finding trouble in the most unexpected of places, to Angelle Pilkington at Puffin, in a very-nice deal, by Elaine Spencer at The Knight Agency.

I'm very excited to be able to continue to work with my amazing editor Angelle on these books. It's not common for an author to have the same editor for so many projects and I consider myself extremely blessed. And I owe huge thanks my uber-fabulous agent Elaine for making it happen. A four-book deal, no less! THANK YOU, Elaine and Angelle!

To celebrate, I'm going to be adding a Middle Grade Monday feature on the blog, similar to the Freebie Friday format, so be sure to check back next week for our first guest!

Meanwhile, we'll be going supernatural with our Freebie Fridays for the month of October. Be sure to join us here tomorrow for a special Freebie featuring Marissa Doyle, who is celebrating the launch of her new book, BETRAYING SEASON.