Friday, November 27, 2009

Freebie Friday with Marley Gibson and Cecil Murphy

It's snowing! Yipeee!!!

Pardon the excitement, but this is the first snow of the year. My window looks out to the woods behind our house where the branches of the trees are beginning to be outlined in white. Sigh. It's so pretty.

Today is what a lot of people in the States call Black Friday. Not sure how that name originated; I think it sounds ominous. When I worked in retail, we used to call it Frantic Friday. Not much of an improvement, but at least it didn't sound like a stock market crash or something.

ANYWAY, today, to kick off the holiday season, I'm pleased to bring you my friend Marley Gibson and her co-author Cecil Murphy to talk about how their new book, CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, came about. I love this because it shows how serendipitous life can be:

Marley: I’ve had a lot of questions from folks wanting to know how we met, what brought us together, etc. So, I thought we’d do a back and forth on how it all came to be. Of course, I have to give props to our amazing agent and friend, Deidre Knight, for bringing us together. For those of you who don’t know, Cec co-authored the runaway New York Times bestselling hit 90 Minutes in Heaven with Don Piper.

Cec: I have to say thanks to Deidre Knight as well. Between Deidre and my assistant, Twila Belk, I've been able to sell quite a few books. 90 Minutes in Heaven has been my big book. I'm also proud of a book I wrote in 1990 called Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. The book has never been out of print and has hit close to four million in sales. Early this year, Cuba Gooding Jr. starred in the made-for-TV film version.

Marley: That’s amazing! You are truly prophetic and definitely “the man behind the words.” Now, people ask how we teamed up. Sadly, there was a personal tragedy that brought Cec and me together as friends.

Cec: True. In early 2007, our house burned and our son-in-law died. Aside from the grief over Alan, we lost everything. Deidre and Jan, my-then-assistant, sent the word out of our tragedy without telling me. I'm immensely grateful for every gift people sent, but I probably wouldn't have admitted I needed help and wouldn't have asked. They taught me how much we need other people.

Marley: Deidre put out a call to other clients of The Knight Agency, to help Cec and his family out in any way in their time of need. At the time, my company was moving and we were cleaning house. We had a ton of office supplies that we were either going to throw away or give to some of the charities the company worked with. I got my boss’ permission to send a large care package to Cec…full of office supplies for him to re-stock his writer’s office. You name it…post-its, staples, paper clips, pens, pencils, markers, white out, ruler, scissors, paper, notebooks, notepads, envelopes, a laptop case, tape, glue, folders, binder clips…etc. A veritable potpourri of office delights. I was hoping that it would help Cec have a sense of getting his office back so he could keep working.

Cec: Marley's gift was the most unexpected I received. We hadn't met, although Deidre Knight had spoken of her many times and kept telling me she was wonderful. I wonder if you can imagine what it was like for me to open that box from someone I didn't know. I saw all those practical things for my office and yelled for my wife. I felt as if I were reading a first-grade book. "Look! Look and see! Oh, look!" I was overwhelmed by the gift and even more to receive it from a stranger. Those supplies were the most practical gift anyone could have given me. I'm still using black paper clips and red folders from Marley.

Marley: Awww…thanks, Cec! I didn’t have to think twice about doing it. Writing is such a solitary “sport,” but the writing community always astounds me with how they help their own. Not long after that, over plates of spinach and Gouda omelets, Deidre introduced me to Cec in person and I was thrilled to finally meet the man behind the words. Deidre knew we needed to work on a project together and thus began our brainstorming. What did you think of that first meeting, Cec, and cooking up the idea to work together?

Cec: Deidre and I had already spoken about a Christmas book and I had some idea about what it should contain, but nothing had come together. One day Deidre told me that Marley was coming to visit her and she wanted us to work together on a Christmas project. Marley and I talked before we ate and again during the meal. Everything felt right to me. I knew my strengths and Marley knew hers (and Deidre knew both of us). Everything clicked. Marley, a far better networker than I am, immediately sent out the word for submissions. Within days she had almost four times more than we could use. (She read every one of them!)

Marley: I was truly impressed with the submissions we received and it was hard narrowing it down to the ones we chose for the book. We’re fortunate to have such a go-getter agent in Deidre Knight. Cec, can you share how the whole idea of Christmas Miracles came about and what you thought of the project originally?

Cec: For me, it actually started while I was on the rapid-rail train from the Atlanta airport when I listened to teens talk about Christmas and it was mostly about gifts. I had the idea then, but nothing really came together. Months later when Deidre I and had a meeting, she brought up the idea of a compilation and mentioned my working with Marley. I've been Deidre Knight's client since 1997 and I've learned to listen carefully when she comes up with an idea. I said yes before she gave me all the information.

Marley: That’s the truth about Deidre! Getting back to those submissions, Iwant to say we got more than two hundred submissions for Christmas Miracles. So many wonderful stories to read through and select for the book. It was a challenge to pick and choose which ones were right for the book, but I loved every minute of it.

For today's freebie, I want to hear about serendipity in your life. Have you ever had a chance encounter that led to something big? Did you make what you thought was a small decision and it had a greater impact? Tell me about it to be entered to win.

Since I know that not all my readers celebrate Christmas, this week's freebie will be your choice of either a copy of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES (which, aside from being a great read, would make a perfect gift or stocking stuffer!) or a $15 Amazon gift certificate.

This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, December 2.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

WInner and What's Up Wednesday

Happy day-before-Thanksgiving, US readers!

The winner of Laurie Faria Stolarz's DEADLY LITTLE SECRETS is:

Jill of the O.W.L

Please send your mailing instructions to gerb(@) lindagerber (.) com and we'll get that sent off to you. Everyone else, come on back on Friday for a special Freebie kick-off of the holiday season!

What's up this week?

It's my daughter's birthday today!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JENNA-BEAR!!!!

Like I mentioned above, the US Thanksgiving holiday is tomorrow. I'll be doing turkey dinner with family, watching lots of football and going to see BLIND SIDE for our Thanksgiving Day movie. But mostly, I'll be thinking of all the things I'm thankful for. A big part of that is you, my online friends. Being an author is a dream for me. None of this would be possible without readers willing to invest their time and imagination to step into my stories with me. Thank you for the support. Thank you for your notes and emails. Thank you for buying my books!

Happy Thanksgiving!

And happy release week to Jessica Bendinger (The Seven Rays), Lili St. Crow (Betrayals) and J.B. Redmond and S.R. Vaught (A Prince Among Killers).

See you on Friday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

FREEBIE FRIDAY with Laurie Faria Stolarz

Happy Friday! Who went to see New Moon last night? Some of the reviews have not been very kind and I’m hoping to hear from fans that it’s not so bad.

But we’re not here to talk about New Moon! We’ve got more than enough to fill the post with today’s guest, YA author and GCC sister Laurie Faria Stolarz. Laurie’s one busy author, with a growing list of popular YA books to her credit, including Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Project 17, Bleed, and the bestselling BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES series. Today we’re discussing her two latest releases, BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS and DEADLY LITTLE LIES, and the special paperback edition of DEADLY LITTLE SECRETS.

BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS is a companion book to the BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES series. Laurie has a background in screenwriting, so when her editor talked to her about the idea of writing a graphic novel, she was really intrigued. She said it gave her an opportunity to try something new and to picture her book as a movie. She wrote it in a screenplay format, including notes for illustrations and sidebars. “It was an absolute thrill to write,” she says, “to have the opportunity to work with an illustrator, and to see my work come to life in this way.”

DEADLY LITTLE LIES is the second book in the TOUCH series, and the sequel to DEADLY LITTLE SECRET (which is now out in
paperback. See below how you can enter to win a B&N exclusive edition featuring bonus excerpts from Ben’s secret blog!*) “I’m really excited about (DEADLY LITTLE LIES),” Laurie says, “because I think it has even more suspense, romance, and twists than the first book. It starts up a few months after Ben’s departure at the end of DEADLY LITTLE SECRET. Camelia’s spent those months researching everything she can find on psychometry (the ability to sense things through touch).”

How cool is that? Here’s the official book blurb:

Last fall, sixteen-year-old Camelia fell for Ben, a new boy at school who had a very mysterious gift – psychometry, the ability to sense the future through touch. But just as Camelia and Ben's romance began to heat up, he abruptly left town. Brokenhearted, Camelia has spent the last few months studying everything she can about psychometry and experiencing strange brushes with premonition. Camelia wonders if Ben's abilities have somehow been transferred to her.

Ben returns to school, but he remains aloof, and Camelia can't get close enough to share her secret with him. Camelia makes the painful decision to let him go and move on. Adam, the hot new guy at Knead, seems good for her in ways Ben wasn't. But when Camelia and Adam start dating, a surprising love triangle results. A chilling sequence of events uncovers secrets from Ben’s past – and Adam's. Someone is lying, and it's up to Camelia to figure out who – before it's too late.

You can learn more about Laurie and her books, see the book trailer for Deadly Little Secrets and read up on Psychometry – and enter the TOUCH SERIES CONTEST** on Laurie’s website,

And now for the interview:

Are you superstitious? In any way?
Yes, people have to leave my house the same way they came in, i.e. through the same doorway or entryway. If not, I’ve come to believe it takes the luck out of the house. I know, I know, but I can’t stop this superstition now. I’ve lived with it my whole life.

What songs would make the playlist for DEADLY LITTLE LIES?
**I actually have a contest going on that involves this very question. In celebration of the release of DEADLY LITTLE LIES, I’m launching a very exciting contest, the winner of which will have a minor character in DEADLY LITTLE GAME, the third book in the TOUCH SERIES, named after him or her. Please see the official rules here: I had a similar contest for the release of BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS. See the winning entry here:

What inspired you to write THE TOUCH SERIES?
I wanted to write a story where the main character has to struggle with the idea of falling in love with someone who could potentially be dangerous. I tinkered with this concept in the first three books of my Blue is for Nightmares Series [(Blue is for Nightmares (Llewellyn 2003), White is for Magic (Llewellyn 2004), and Silver is for Secrets (Llewellyn 2005), as well as in Bleed (Hyperion 2006)]. In Bleed, in particular, there’s a young male character who was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend. His next relationship consists of pen pal letters he exchanges with a young girl while he’s in prison. Without giving too much away, the relationship is briefly pursued once he is released, but I wanted to bring this concept to another level.

Additionally, I wanted to continue experimenting with the supernatural (which I also use in my Blue is for Nightmares Series as well as in Project 17), showing how we all have our own inner senses and intuition, and how with work we can tap into those senses and make them stronger.

I started researching different types of supernatural powers and discovered the power of psychometry (the ability to sense things through touch). The concept fascinated me, and so I wanted to bring it out in a character, showing how sometimes even the most extraordinary powers can also be a curse.
Lastly, I wanted to apply these concepts to be part of a series. I love the idea of growing a main character over the course of several books.

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?
No, though sometimes I’ll steal a character quirk from people I’ve known. For example, in the Blue is for Nightmares series, Amber carries around a pair of chopsticks for whenever she’s eating out. I once knew someone who did that.

What excites you?
Feeling like I’ve made a difference. Seeing people happy. Hearing success stories and stories of triumph.

What turns you off?
Narrow-mindedness, intolerance, ignorance, cruelty.

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?
Gary Zukav. I find his insights and perspective on life fascinating. It’d also be fun to kick it with Oprah.

What's your favorite quote?
Perseverance is key

*To be entered to win a signed limited edition paperback copy of DEADLY LITTLE LIES, leave a comment below... about anything that interested you in this post. The drawing will remain open until Wednesday, November 25.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What's Up Wednesday -er, Thursday

Good Morning!

Sorry this is a day late. Busy day yesterday with sick kids, crit group meeting and a presentation at the COSCBWI meeting last night. I got behind!

So, without further ado, the winner of Stacey Jay's YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME book and t-shirt is: *drumroll*


Please send your mailing instructions to gerb (@) lindagerber (.) com and we'll get that sent out to you. Don't forget to write WINNER in the subject line so it doesn't get lost in the inbox.

Everyone else, please come on back tomorrow for another freebie with Laurie Stolarz, who is celebrating the release of her new book DEADLY LITTLE LIES.

And now, What's Up?

Are you kidding? New Moon opens at midnight. Is anyone going to the midnight showing? I'd love to hear what you think (I will sadly not be at a midnight showing. Kids in school and all that...)

Totally cried during last night's GLEE episode...

Got my copy of Alyson Noel's latest, SHADOWLAND this week! Happy release, Alyson!

See you all back here tomorrow!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

FREEBIE FRIDAY with Stacey Jay

Yes, only one week until New Moon. Anyone else kind of excited for it? I'm thinking it can't possibly be as awful at the Twilight movie was (although the New Moon trailer with Edward flinging Bella out of the way is pretty funny... and that "What drives Edward" Volvo commercial is the epitome of cheesy...) My hope is that it will all be worth it, seeing our new buff Jacob and the Quileute boys. : )

ANYWAY, lets give a warm Freebie Friday welcome to Stacey Jay, who is joining us for this special Friday the 13th, bearing gifts! The second book in Stacey's undead series is already coming in January, so here's your chance to get prepared by reading the first, YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME.

Here's the book's blurb:


Megan Berry is a Zombie Settler by birth, which means she's part-time shrink to a whole bunch of semi-dead people with killer issues. All Megan really wants is to go to homecoming, but when you're trailed by a bunch of slobbering corpses whenever you leave the house, it's kinda hard to score a date. Let's just say Megan's love life could use some major resuscitation.

Megan's convinced her life can't get any worse - until someone in school starts using black magic to turn average, angsty Undead into scary, hardcore flesh-eating Zombies. Now it's up to Megan to stop the Zombie apocalypse. Her life - and more importantly, the homecoming dance - depends on it.

BookKids Recommends calls YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME "Part Buffy the Vampire Slayer, part Night of the Living Dead" and says this is a book you don't want to miss. Romantic Times agrees, giving it four stars, and KidLiterate Reviews says Stacey is "a cross between Stephenie Meyer and Joss Whedon." (Wow!)

*Megan's adventures continue in UNDEAD MUCH, which will hit the shelves Janauary 21, and again in MY SO-CALLED DEATH, which will come your way in March.

And now on to the interview:

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?
Not really. I'll confess that Megan and I both have the tendency to over think EVERYTHING, but that's simply a shared neurosis. I actually try my best not to use people I know as inspiration. I'm afraid they'll recognize themselves as they read and call me on my shoplifting their personality for my evil, fictional purposes!

What excites you?
Cheese. Scary movies. Sunny days. Rainy days. Playing with my kids. Fleeing my kids to play with my husband. Books. Man...just about everything. I'm really easy as far as getting amped-up is concerned.

What turns you off?
People with bad manners. Rude people stink and bring down the enjoyment level of everyone around them.

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?
My dad. He died when I was nineteen, before he finished the novel he was working on. I'd love to chat with him about writing now that I'm published. I'd also love to tell him that I just sold a grown up book with the same title he was using for his old Work in Progress. I know he'd get a kick out of that.

What can you tell us about the psychology of zombies?
Zombies are a lot like people. They have issues. Lots and lots of issues. And some of them want to eat your yummy flesh--which isn't much like most people, thank goodness!

Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?
My working chair is very hard, very wooden, and very uncomfortable. It helps inspire me to get to work and curb any procrastination urges. That's my biggest writing ritual--getting my butt in the chair and making those words. Every day. As far as my muse is concerned, I don't take any crap from her. She knows she's expected to bring it at least five days a week and she does. I think she's a little afraid of me, but that's okay. I'm fine with being scary in the name of keeping the words flowing.

What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I can stand on my head for a really long time. Don't challenge me to a contest. I will win.

What's your favorite quote?
"Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy." --Benjamin Franklin

What are you working on now?
THE LOCKET--a love triangle, time-travel, YA thriller, with a really scary piece of jewelry in it. It will be out in 2011 from Razorbill books!

You can read more about Stacey and her books on her website, blog and on twitter.

For today's freebie, Stacey is offering not only a signed copy of YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME, but also a special YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME t-shirt for the winner! To be entered, leave a comment below, telling us about your favorite zombie book, movie, TV show or moment.

This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, November 18.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Winner and What's Up Wednesday

Thanks for all the video links. Made me laugh. The winner of this week's Freebie is:


I can send the gift card via email, so if you want to just confirm your email addy, Yan, I can send that off to you. Please shoot me a note at gerb (@) lindagerber (.) com.

Everyone else, come on back on Friday when Stacey Jay will be with us, with YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME. Bonus - Stacey is offering up a signed copy of the book and a YOU ARE SO DEAD TO ME t-shirt. You don't want to miss it!

Meanwhile, Yan's Single Ladies video links had me giggling. Kind of embarrassed for Joe Jonas, but loved the Justin Timberlake one. Have to say, though, one of my all time favorite Single Ladies dancers is this baby:

Or the football players in Glee:

ANYWAY, what's up this week?

Today's VETERAN'S DAY. My daughter's school did something awesome today - everyone in the building is wearing dogtags with a real serviceman's name, where and when s/he served (or is serving) and s/he's from. What a fantastic way to personalize this holiday and make the kids aware that there are real people in the service making sacrifices to ensure the freedoms that we take for granted every day. HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY!

Tomorrow begins the final appeal for women ski jumpers to be allowed to compete in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Unbelievably, the IOC has continued its stubborn discriminatory stance that men can compete in Nordic Ski Jumping in the Olympics, but women cannot. Please send all your good vibes to Canada in hopes that the court will see things differently!

Happy Release Week to Margaret Peterson Haddix (CLAIM TO FAME), Julie Hearn (HAZEL), Debby Dahl Edwardson (BLESSING'S BEAD), David Almond (RAVEN SUMMER), Neal Schusterman (EVERWILD), Norma Howe (ANGEL IN VEGAS), Katherine Sturtevant (THE BROTHERS STORY), Margaret Mahey (THE MAGICIAN OF HOAD), Laurie Stolarz (DEADLY LITTLE SECRETS), Lucy Silag (THE BEAUTIFUL AMERICANS) and Lauren Kate (THE BETRAYAL OF NATALIE HARGROVE)!

So many great books! Better start reading!!! See you Friday!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Freebie Friday - Viral Videos

Happy Friday! We are without our guest interviewee today, so we're going just have a little fun for today's Freebie Friday. Up for grabs is a $15 Borders gift card. (If you haven't noticed, Borders has recently tried pumping up their teen selections with Borders Ink. Don't know how it will work out for them, but gotta give them props for trying.)

In the first book of my new series, my MC has to deal with a video of hers going viral. So, today's freebie is all about sharing our favorite viral videos. I love the e-Trade baby, but for my selection, I've got to go with one a little more recent - Christopher Walken reading Poker Face. What are your favorites? Include the link in your reply to be entered to win!

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Drumroll, please...

The books in this week's mystery bag are:

FADE by Lisa McMann
(Second book in the series, following WAKE, both of which are NY Times bestsellers. Watch for the next book, GONE in February.)

SENT by Margaret Peterson Haddix
(Second book in the MISSING series, after FOUND. Hit #4 on the NY Times list its first week out.)

WINGS by Aprilynne Pike (First of a four-book series. Debuted at #6 on the Times list its first week out and has been optioned for a movie by Disney.)

DEATH BY DENIM by yours truly
(Book three in the DEATH BY series. Imposter among these NY Times listers, but a fun read anyway!)

BLUE MOON by Alyson Noel (Second book in IMMORTALS series and a #1 NY Times bestseller. Watch for the third book, SHADOWLAND, which will be out in less than two weeks! (November 17.))

And now, by random drawing, the winner of this intense collection of books is:


Please send your mailing instructions to gerb (at) lindagerber (dot) com and I'll get them sent out to you. Please write WINNER in the subject line so your email doesn't get lost in my inbox.

Everyone else, please join me back here tomorrow for another freebie. I'm not quite sure at this moment if our guest blogger will be joining us, but either way, we will do a giveaway here on the blog. Which makes now a good time to ask for your feedback...

What would you like to see more of on the Freebie Friday posts?
A. Author interviews and giveaways
B. My overloaded bookshelf-clearing giveaways
C. Bookstore card drawings
D. Quizzes and contests
E. Other

Thanks! See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

It's coming...

Sorry you guys... I'm stuck out of the house so I'm giving you one more day until the drawing. Check back for the winner tomorrow!