Friday, July 30, 2010
By way of a heads up - watch this space starting Monday, August 2, when the countdown for the official launch of TRANCE begins. For the next three months, in addition to our regularly scheduled Freebie Fridays, we will be giving away a bigger, monthly prize to celebrate the upcoming release.
August's prize is brought to you by the good people at CSN. They carry awesome things like home decor, bookshelves, and lights. (You'll want to browse the site, because the giveaway in August is an $80 giftcode for use at CSNstores.com) Come on back Monday for the kick-off, and I'll tell you how you can enter to win.
Also... I just met Melissa de la Cruz and Ally Carter here at RWA, and they have each offered signed copies of their respective awesome books, I'D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU and THE VAN ALEN LEGACY.
Be sure to hang out with us in August for chances to win these and other phenomenal prizes!
And now... I'm slipping back into the workshop...
Thursday, July 29, 2010
The winner of this week's freebie is:
Please send your book preference and mailing instructions to gerb (@) lindagerber (.) com and I'll get it sent out to you after I return from Florida.
My apologies, but anticipating the same bad Internet connection (and the plethora of workshops here at the conference), we're going to have to skip Freebie Friday this week, but we'll be back next week with another author and giveaway.
Meanwhile, there's a Not Going To Conference Conference over at the Romance Divas forum. I'm on the Young Adult Panel, along with Carrie Ryan, Laurie Zeilan, Saundra Mitchell, Brenna Yovanoff, Shannon Delany, Beth Fantasky, and Rhonda Stapleton.
You can check out the YA panel and the other panels over at the Romance Divas NGTCC. (Registration required.) There are some great writing discussions going on - and prizes to be won!
Have a great weekend. See you next week!
Friday, July 23, 2010
I'm probably Jen's number one fan. We've been in our critique group for eight years and I've had the opportunity to read a lot of her work. She's clever and witty and a phenomenal story teller. Jen has been writing since seventh grade (and she totally refuses to divulge how many years have passed since). She served on the newspaper staff in high school, and has studied creative writing at Nassau Community College and SUNY Stonybrook. In her day job, Jen works in scientific publishing, but she's devoted to fiction in her private life. She lives in the greater New York Metro area with three dogs, three cats, two kids, one husband, and a hamster. There used to be a lizard, but one of the cats ate it.
You can learn more about Jen on her website, at Pirate Writers, on facebook, and by following her on twitter.
The Finalist Book:
Here's the official blurb for SPELLING AND GLAMOUR: When new-in-town potion maker Sarah Cooper inadvertently sells an illegal love spell to the conniving Homecoming Queen, she has to act fast to undo her mistake. For Sarah to preserve her potions license and keep her dreams of becoming a full spell caster on track, she must recover that love charm. But to do so, she'll have to infiltrate the coolest crowd on the Harding High campus. Too bad there's no Popularity Potion to help. Suddenly, solving global warming seems easy...
What inspired you to write Spelling and Glamour?
I was out driving. And though the forecast called for rain, not a drop had fallen. Then I turned west onto a main drag, and the sky ahead was black as soot and truly kinda scary looking. A new song started on the radio: Highway to Hell. The perfect timing made me laugh, and relaxed me enough, I guess, that I was able to think creatively. I got a sort of a vision in my head of a girl leaning inside the doorframe of the back room in a retail shop, looking out over the landscape of a new town she just moved to, watching a wicked storm roll in. And behind her, a cauldron bubbled. From that point, from that one image that I couldn’t shake, the book began.
Can you tell us what it means to be a Golden Heart finalist?
The Golden Heart is the pinnacle of writing contests for unpublished romance writers. It’s run each year by the Romance Writers of America, and competition is fierce. So not only is becoming a finalist somewhat prestigious, it’s also deeply validating. To be a finalist is to know, for one book at least, you’ve got the goods. But the most rewarding experience of being a Golden Heart finalist is becoming a part of the GH community. This year’s “class” came together in the days immediately following the finalist announcements and we’ve comforted, supported, and cheered one another – via internet – every day since. It’s been a phenomenal experience. I’m particularly thankful for the tight knit group the Young Adult finalists has become. They’re a great bunch of writers and I can’t wait to meet them face to face!
What is the best writing advice you've ever received?
“Read. Write. Repeat.” I’m not sure who said that, though I suspect it was Diana Gabaldon. I’ve heard a lot of advice, but that’s the one that sticks most for me. Simple and true. Words to live by.
Can you tell us about The Trail of the Tudor Blue?
Tudor Blue is an adventure romance, the story of a young woman who travels to the south of France to recover a stolen necklace and becomes entangled with a hot “recovery agent” with a killer smile and questionable motives. It releases in e-book format this winter from The Wild Rose Press, and I’m pretty sure you have to be eighteen to purchase it (it gets a little…er…steamy).
Who is Gwen Roman?
Gwen Roman is my alter ego, writer of romantic tales and mystery yarns. I needed a way to separate my teen fiction from my adult fiction, and using a pen name is the easiest method of informing a reader that the story might be different than what they’re accustomed to.
As to the name itself, I chose Gwen because my dad used to call me Gwenevere as a kindhearted tease. And Roman is an abbreviated form of a family name. I’m happy to be able to put together a pen name so reflective of family.
Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?
I do keep some photographs of writer friends around and I think that helps me feel less like I’m on the journey alone. But I’m very fortunate in that I don’t have a lot of trouble connecting with my muse. That said, I am a little… um… weird… in that if I’m really struggling with forgetting my own troubles and tapping in to my characters, I’ll put on a hat or a scarf or even a pair of shoes I think my character might wear (Steve Madden inspires me!). Anything that helps me lose track of me and focus wholly on the character. No matter how ridiculous I look. Which is why sometimes I just don’t answer the door.
What songs would make the playlist for the Spelling and Glamour?
Wow. This is a really tough question! I know the main character, Sarah, is very into classic rock – but she also loves The Killers and Blue October. If I were making the playlist it would definitely include Queen’s “A Kind of Magic”, but that’s really reaching into the past. Maybe your readers could help out on this question? What kind of current music really reminds you of everyday “magic”?
What's your favorite quote?
You know, I should have a favorite quote from Rumi or Buddha or, like, John Lennon. But in truth my favorite quote is a quick line from the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. Indiana Jones decides he’s going to stop the truck that’s carrying the ark of the covenant. His friend asks, in a bewildered voice, how he’s going to do that. Indy says, “I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go.” It’s barely even a quote but I’ve always loved that line. For me it reflects a willingness to go after your goals no matter what, no matter if you’re sure of the method or not, you’re still going to go after it. And it’s OKAY not be entirely sure of yourself, as long as you give life your best shot. So, apologies to Shakespeare and the Bible and all, but I’m going with George Lucas as the author of my favorite quote : )
What are you working on now? I’ve just completed a manuscript that tells a story of Maid Marian. She’s been a strong female character since her introduction to the Robin Hood tales, and I wanted to give her a chance to be as beloved and respected as Robin. I had a lot of fun re-visioning the story. I hope I’ve done Marian justice! (note from Linda - Yes! You've done Marian supreme justice!)
While I’m going back through Marian’s story and cleaning up things like commas and verbs, I’m outlining another story of high school magic and also starting work on a murder mystery. If only there were more hours in the day!
What is an interesting writing quirk of yours?
Gosh, I don’t know how interesting this would be, but I start all books by writing longhand. For me, to start longhand forces me to take my time with my characters and really get to know them. It’s more personal than working on a computer, I think. And I’m very particular about my notebooks and pens. (Okay, not just particular. Obsessive.) What’s nice is that in the past year or so I’ve decided that to honor my craft as a writer, I should stop writing in ten cent spiral notebooks. Now I pick up whatever pretty journal catches my eye. I’ve also been given some fabulously beautiful journals as gifts and can’t wait to find the right story to go in each. But right now I’m writing in a funky notebook given to me by one of my best writing friends, so it’s doubly special.
The Freebie: This week's freebie celebrates writers. Since special potions and soothing salts are part of SPELLING AND GLAMOUR, part one of the freebie are these bath salts from Bath and Body Works. Part two is your choice of the following writing books: BREAK INTO FICTION by Mary Buckham and Diana Love, WRITE AWAY by Elizabeth George, THE WRITER'S JOURNEY by Christopher Vogler, or THE NOVEL WRITER'S TOOLKIT by Bob Mayer.
To be entered to win, leave a comment below, answering Jen's question above. What current music reminds you of everyday magic? This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, July 28th.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Congratulations! Please send your mailing instructions to gerb (@) lindagerber (.) com and we'll get that sent out to you.
I hope everyone will come on back this Friday for a special Freebie Friday. This week I'm doing something a little bit different... I've invited pre-published author and very good friend Jen McAndrews to visit the blog. I think you'll be hearing from a lot from her the future. She is a Golden Heart finalist this year with her book SPELLING AND GLAMOUR and has some very clever projects up her sleeve. You writers especially will want to stop by and say hello (and enter for a chance to win!)
Some absolutely phenomenal book bloggers are helping to kick off the TRANCE buzz this month with a huge giveaway in the BUY A BOOK, GET A PRIZE promotion. Please stop by Shooting Stars Magazine for the master list of prizes. Huge thanks to these bloggers for their support and for kicking in some amazing swag. (I love you guys!!!)
Eleni at Lafemme Readers
Tina at Fantastic Book Reviews
James at Book Chic Club
Lauren at Shooting Stars Magazine
Sammi at Word Search Puzzle Dreams
Jessica at Jessica's Coupons
Kelsey at The Book Scout
Jane at Jane Story Blog
Candace at Candace's Reading Blog
Brent at Naughty Book Kitties
Kit at Reading Teen
Jessica at Total Bookaholic
Alicia at Shooting Stars Magazine
Please visit their blogs and let them know how awesome they are!
Friday, July 16, 2010
And now with that out of the way... please help me welcome our next guest to the blog - Maryrose Wood. Maryrose sat next to me on the panel at the Teen Author Carnival and I was so fascinated by what she was telling us about THE POISON DIARIES, I cheekily asked her if she happened to have any ARCs with her she'd be willing to part with. She had one. And she gave that one to me. And now (after I devoured it, of course) I am passing it along to you.
Maryrose grew up in the wild suburbs of Long Island, moved to New York City at age 17 to study acting at New York University, then dropped out to be in the chorus of a Broadway musical — which flopped.
She spent the next few years doing stand-up comedy and writing for the theater and film, as a lyricist, librettist, playwright and screenwriter. She was the first recipient of the Georgia Bogardus Holof Lyricist Award, and is a three-time recipient of the Richard Rodgers Award for New Musicals.
You've probably read some of her books (and if you haven't you should!) Maryrose is the author of SEX KITTENS AND HORN DAWGS FALL IN LOVE, the Morgan Rawlison series, WHY I LET MY HAIR GROW OUT, HOW I FOUND THE PERFECT DRESS, and WHAT I WORE TO SAVE THE WORLD, MY LIFE: THE MUSICAL, and the middle grade series, THE INCORRIGIBLE CHILDREN OF ASHTON PLACE.
Maryrose did eventually graduate from NYU’s Gallatin School. She enjoys gardening, biking, kayaking, napping, reading books and trying new vegetarian recipes. She lives in New York with her two children, two cats and a small, feisty, red-headed dog.
In the right dose, everything is a poison. Even love . . .
Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible powers of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure -- or kill.
When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined . . .
"Lyrical and lovely..." - Ally Carter, author of Heist Society "Intriguing fantasy..." -Booklist
What inspired you to write The Poison Diaries?
My editor at Balzer + Bray, Donna Bray, called me up one day and told me about this very cool idea they were excited about: a boy who had the power to communicate with poisonous plants. The concept had been created by the Duchess of Northumberland, who built a real-life poison garden at Alnwick Castle and is fascinated by the history and uses of these powerful plants. We talked about how this intriguing idea might be developed as a YA trilogy, and Donna asked me to come up with a treatment for the book. The best part was being invited to visit the Duchess at Alnwick and spend time with her exploring the environment there, hearing about the history of the castle and its surroundings, and taking a tour of the poison garden itself. It’s not often that the setting of a book comes to life in such rich detail! It was a great experience.
What was the most interesting thing you learned while doing research for this book?
One of the places the Duchess took me to see was Soutra Aisle. It’s in Scotland, on this windy hilltop with panoramic views. All that’s left now are some ruins, but it was the site of a medieval monastery that included a hospital. The monks there had a sophisticated knowledge of how to use plants for medical purposes. They even had a way to make anesthesia for performing surgery. Most sources will tell you that the first surgical anesthetic was ether in the 1840s, but these monks had an herbal formula that they were using five centuries before that. It was mind-boggling.
What is an average writing day like for you?
I usually have some kid-related responsibility to attend to in the morning, whether it’s rousing the young’uns, packing a lunch, driving somebody somewhere, etc. Cats need to be fed and the dog must be walked. So I usually get up, deal with kids and pets, and then regroup with a cup of coffee and breakfast and then get my workday started. I sometimes deal with emails and interviews and business things for a while if I need time to wake up. if I’m raring to go I’ll plunge right into book mode and save the administrative stuff for later. I tend to drag my computer all over the place and find different places to work. I find it helps prevent me from getting too sluggish if I go sit outside on the porch for a while, or take the computer out to some fresh locale. Needless to say, the Internet is the devils’ own invention and must be avoided as much as possible while writing! However, I do tend to look things up a lot as I write, so I don’t usually go cold turkey in terms of online access.
Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?
Not at all. I write on trains, in parks, anywhere I can grab some time and a place to sit. I’m not sure about this muse business, personally. To me, writing is no different than kids playing in a sandbox. Nobody asks them where they got the inspiration to build the sandcastle, or what they do when they get “sandcastle block.” We just accept that kids have imaginations and play and make stuff up. That’s what writers do, too!. Why grownups think they need a muse to make stuff up is puzzling to me. Also, when it’s your job to write, you can’t really make a fuss about it. Other people go to work whether they feel like it or not; authors must do the same!
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
Did you know that I have a purple belt in karate? Or that I’ve been to the Taj Mahal? Whoops, now everyone knows. Next someone asks me this question I’ll be stumped.
What’s your favorite quote?
“Don’t look now, but everything’s about to change.” Another nugget of pithy wisdom brought to you by Agatha Swanburne, a fictional character of my own devising! Agatha Swanburne’s sayings are scattered through the Incorrigible Children series; I have a lot of fun making them up.
What are you working on now?
I just turned in revisions to The Hidden Gallery, the second book in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series. That book will be out in March of 2011. Now I’m about to start drafting the second book in The Poison Diaries trilogy (and when I say “about to start,” I mean, as soon as I finish this interview!)
What is an interesting writing quirk of yours?
I often stop and read the text aloud as I’m writing and revising. I need to hear the sound and rhythm of a sentence to know if I’ve gotten it right. This is a habit I developed while working as a lyricist. When you’re crafting the words to a song, they have to fit the music exactly. You have to come up with words that say what you want them to say, while also having the right combination of singable consonants and vowels and the right number of syllables with all the stresses in the right places. Often they have to rhyme, too! It’s like doing a puzzle. It made me very sensitive to all those issues, even when writing prose.
If The Poison Diaries were made into a movie, whom would you like to see in the role of Jessamine? Weed? Thomas?
I really hope that The Poison Diaries is made into a movie, because the setting of Northumberland is so spectacular, it kind of begs to be filmed. Given how long it takes movies to get made, the actors who would play Jessamine and Weed a few years hence are probably currently unknown, so we’d have to do a big talent search for them. Get your resumes ready, young British stars of the future! As for Thomas Luxton, the obsessed apothecary, wouldn’t Robert Downey Jr. be great? (Linda's note... YES!!! I love Robert Downey, Jr., and I could see him making this a memorable role!)
The Freebie: To win the ARC of THE POISON DIARIES, leave a comment below, telling me, what is your favorite plant? Is it poisonous? This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, July 21.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Please send your mailing instructions to gerb(@)lindagerber(.)com and we'll get that sent out to you!
Aaand... sorry this is a short post this morning - we're on our way to Williamsburg today - in fact, in about three minutes so I've got to make this fast! But be sure to come back tomorrow when we will be welcoming Maryrose Wood, and celebrating the upcoming release of her new YA novel, THE POISON DIARIES.
Friday, July 09, 2010
The winner of the TRANCE ARC is:
Please send your mailing instructions to gerb (@) lindagerber (.) com and I'll get that send out to you.
Book reviewers - if you want to read TRANCE and you haven't received an ARC, We Love YA is putting together a One ARC Tour. You can sign up to get on the list here.
Meanwhile, everyone, check out who we have for Freebie Friday this week! Cory Doctorow! Woo!
I met Cory in May at our Books of Wonder signing in NYC, and I admit to being a little intimidated. I mean, he's CORY DOCTOROW! He is legend!
Now, just in case you've been living under a rock these past few years and don't recognize a "Web Celebrity*" in our midst (*according to Forbes Magazine), let me tell you a little about him. Here's the short paragraph version per his website, " Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger -- the co-editor of Boing Boing (boingboing.net) and the author of the or Teens/HarperCollins UK novels like FOR THE WIN and the bestselling LITTLE BROTHER. He is the former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in London."
What this one paragraph doesn't tell you about him and his accomplishments is a lot! I refer you to his website for his list of involvements and accomplishments. Prepare to be amazed.
What the paragraph also doesn't tell you is that he's the most genuine, funny, down-to-earth person you'd ever want to meet in real life.
His latest fiction book, FOR THE WIN, is "a dazzling piece of fiction" (Quill and Quire.) Here's the official back cover blurb:
In the virtual future, you must organize to survive
At any hour of the day or night, millions of people around the globe are engrossed in multiplayer online games, questing and battling to win virtual “gold,” jewels, and precious artifacts. Meanwhile, others seek to exploit this vast shadow economy, running electronic sweatshops in the world’s poorest countries, where countless “gold farmers,” bound to their work by abusive contracts and physical threats, harvest virtual treasure for their employers to sell to First World gamers who are willing to spend real money to skip straight to higher-level gameplay.
Mala is a brilliant 15-year-old from rural India whose leadership skills in virtual combat have earned her the title of “General Robotwalla.” In Shenzen, heart of China’s industrial boom, Matthew is defying his former bosses to build his own successful gold-farming team. Leonard, who calls himself Wei-Dong, lives in Southern California, but spends his nights fighting virtual battles alongside his buddies in Asia, a world away. All of these young people, and more, will become entangled with the mysterious young woman called Big Sister Nor, who will use her experience, her knowledge of history, and her connections with real-world organizers to build them into a movement that can challenge the status quo.
The ruthless forces arrayed against them are willing to use any means to protect their power—including blackmail, extortion, infiltration, violence, and even murder. To survive, Big Sister’s people must out-think the system. This will lead them to devise a plan to crash the economy of every virtual world at once—a Ponzi scheme combined with a brilliant hack that ends up being the biggest, funnest game of all."
Check out this review of FOR THE WIN, wherein John Clute compares the book and author to Robert Heinlein in his heyday! Booklist gave FOR THE WIN a starred review and said, "Doctorow is indispensable."
Impressed yet? It gets even better... Cory was kind enough to sign a copy of FOR THE WIN for our Freebie Friday giveaway (after I read it first, of course...) And all you have to do to be entered to win is to leave a message below. Have you played any virtual games online? If so, what are your favorites? If not, what's your favorite online activity? Bonus points for birthday greetings (you figure it out...)
This drawing will probably remain open until Wednesday, July 14. I say probably, because I'll be on the road again and I *think* I'll have Internet on Wednesday, but just in case I don't, keep checking back!
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Yes, I'm still "off" from the vacation and catching up. Sorry. But the Freebies are back!
This week with the GCC tour, we're celebrating the dual release of Jenny O'Connell's RICH BOYS and LOCAL GIRLS.
You may remember Jenny from previous visits to the blog. She received her BA from Smith College and her MBA from the University of Chicago. She lives outside of Boston with her family. Her books include PLAN B and THE BOOK OF LUKE.
Here's the official MTV Books blurb about LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS:
There are two kinds of people on the island— those who leave at summer’s end…and those who are left behind.
Bestselling author Jenny O’Connell presents a sizzling series for summer. Her first two Island Summer novels, LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS highlight the lives of the summering visitors, the year-round locals living in the beach towns of Martha’s Vineyard, and the fireworks that explode when they combine for three steamy months.
In LOCAL GIRLS, friendships are in danger of ending with the summer. Kendra and Mona are best friends, local girls who spend their summers catering to rich tourists and the rest of the year chafing against small-town life. Then Mona's mom marries one of the island's rich summer visitors, and Mona joins the world of the Boston elite, leaving Kendra and Martha's Vineyard behind. When Mona returns the following summer, everything is different.
Unlike his sister, Mona's twin brother Henry hasn't changed. He's spending his summer the way he always has: with long, quiet hours fishing. Early mornings before work become special for Kendra as she starts sharing them with Henry, hoping he can help her figure Mona out. Then Kendra hatches a plan to prove she's Mona's one true friend: uncover the identity of the twins' birth father, a question that has always obsessed Mona. And so she begins to unravel the seventeen-year-old mystery of the summer boy who charmed Mona's mother. But it may prove to be a puzzle better left unsolved--as what she is about to discover will change their lives forever...
In RICH BOYS, Winnie jumps at the chance to babysit for a wealthy summer family and earn some extra money—but soon learns that life in the Barclay’s beautiful vacation home isn’t as perfect as it appears. And what was supposed to be a carefree summer quickly becomes more complicated than she ever thought possible.
Cosmo Girl calls RICH BOYS and LOCAL GIRLS "sweet romance with relatable characters trying to find themselves."
This week's Freebie will be a little different, with two chances to win... You can enter to win an Island Summer T-shirt on Jenny's blog: http://jennyoconnell.blogspot.
And on this blog, I have one of the few remaining TRANCE ARCs up for grabs. To be entered to win that one, leave a comment below and tell me about your summer vacation plans or travels, OR what's on your summer reading list.
I'll start off that one with this picture... this was the view from my room in Mazatlan. *Sigh* That was such a dream vacation. All we did the whole week was lounge in the cabanas by the pool and at the beach, eat fish tacos and shrimp tacos and other yummy food and READ. I devoured THE POISON DIARIES by Maryrose Wood (future Freebie Friday giveaway - watch for it!) and THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE by Carla Buckley. That one's not YA, but was an intense, suck-you-in read that stuck with me long after I finished.
Since I was so late getting this Freebie post up here, I'll leave the drawing for TRANCE open until next week's Freebie Friday. See you then!