Vote for a New Face for BroodingYAHero

So, as many of you know, Brooding YA Hero (found here) is getting a book deal! Woooooo!!!!
And… he’s also getting a makeover!
I’m thrilled to reveal that I’ve been working with the very talented Linnea (check out her site here!) on designing four possibilities that capture Broody in all his gemstone-eyed, swoony jawlined, feeling-avoiding, majesty.
And you, dear reader, get to vote on the winner.

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The winning image will have extra detail added to it, and will be the new face found on his Twitter account.

But it’s not just about giving Broody a makeover. He’s the generous sort of book boyfriend, and wants to give you a chance to win an exciting prize! Vote on your favorite Broody, and you’ll be entered to win a fabulous prize package!

You see, Broody might not admit it, but he’s a big fan of books. And so, to celebrate his new look, we’ve set up a fun giveaway, where you get to vote on your favorite face, and get extra points for other things.

Two Broody Bundles will be given away! Click on the titles for more info on these awesome books!

Ready to vote/enter to win? CLICK THE RED LINK BELOW

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The First, for fans located in the USA, contains new copies of:

OF FIRE AND STARS by Audrey  Coulthurst

NO PLACE TO FALL by Jaye Robin Brown

A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING by Jess Cluess

SWORDSPOINT by Ellen Kushner

IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo

And the second, for international fans, is an ebook bundle of….

SONG OF SUMMER by Laura Lee Anderson

CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber (this is a preorder)

TIMEKEEPER by Tara Sim

Plus an exclusive, hand-written, mailed-to-you love letter by Broody himself.

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Review: ReMade, a Serial Novel

So, do you remember the good ol’ days of fanfic? Of the thrill of rushing to your school’s computer lab to see if a certain now-mega-famous author uploaded a new episode of her fanfic? Or do you still catch yourself checking those incomplete fics that may never be finished?

Well, have I got an app for you! It’s called Serial Box, and it delivers serialized fiction right to your phone, or your computer. In other words, you get an “episode” of a book, once a week. These episodes are more than just a chapter. Like a TV show, they tell a complete tale, building to a season finale. Plus, you get a free audio file with each episode! Here’s the link

Subscribing is super easy, and cheaper than buying each episode. It totally makes my Wednesday when I know I have something new to read–its that same buzz as when a fanfic updates with a new chapter, except these stories are 1. professionally edited! and 2. guaranteed to never leave you hanging for an ending that never comes.

As this is a YA blog, I decided to review their YA serial, called ReMade.

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Every minute, 108 people die. This fall, in one of those minutes, twenty-three of those deaths will be teenagers. Now they are humanity’s last hope for survival. Awakened in a post-apocalyptic world and hunted by mechanical horrors, these teens search for answers amidst the ruins of civilization. Fate, love, and loyalty face off in this adrenaline-pumping YA adventure.

One of the first things I noticed is that ReMade has some seriously amazing writers. I mean, Gwenda Bond AND Kiersten White? Cue fangirl screams from me

The series itself is super fun. It combines dramatic, contemporary elements with a sci-fi/dystopian storyline. It’s also worth noting this is a WAY more diverse cast, both racially and sexuality-wise than any other dystopian out there. It’s like the 100, except way less problematic! Each episode revolves around one (or two!) characters, so it’s worth trying more than one if a character doesn’t strike your fancy.

Have you read a serial novel before? Do you think you’ll give Serial Box a try?

Vacations, Best Laid Plans, and Other Thoughts

This post may actually be shorter than the title of it. I’ve returned, and recovered, and am reliving in my dreams, from a lovely, lovely vacation to the UK. I’ve been planning the trip for months, analyzing, studying, and learning everything I could.

Turns out there’s still mysteries, confusion, and unexpectedly wonderful occurrences, even when you think you planned the perfect trip.

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For example, I went into the trip way, way more stressed than expected. My cat, Skunk, had a mild cold that didn’t seem to be going away, so on my last day before leaving, I took him to the vet, assuming I’d get the usual “You’re being an over-worried cat mom, he’s fine”… I didn’t. He had a condition with a 50% chance he might not pull through. I had to decide then and there if I wanted to cancel my trip of a life time to spend the (possible) last days with my best buddy of five years. Thankfully, he turned out okay, and is currently trying to chew on my laptop. So, all’s well there. But, I didn’t know until about the third day of the trip that he’d pull through. I’m so grateful to have a loyal and trusted friend who watched him.

On the plus side of the unexpected were… billions of things. The amount of amazing live music I heard. Meeting total strangers that ended up becoming fun friends. Getting lost but finding incredible pastries (and falling in love with handbaked Empire Biscuits forever and ever) In general, it seemed as long as I kept a positive attitude, happy surprises could be found everywhere. Like this view, below. We came by it on a total chance, because we’d detoured so I could see where Robert Carlyle filmed Hamish MacBeth. (Because who WOULDNT WANT TO WALK IN HIS SEXY FOOTPRINTS?)

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I also got to meet up with internet friends in person for the first time, which was so, so awesome. (Waves to them–they know who they are) and got to see so many sites I’d only ever read about. It was truly the trip of a lifetime. (And yes, there will be blog posts detailing the adventures)

Weirdly enough, I would have never gone on this trip if it wasn’t for the writing community.

We tend to think of the writing community as a network for…well, writing. But it opened so many doors that led me to the trip. I had met friends, through happenstance and happy accidents, who not only answered billions of my questions before traveling, gave me advice and guidance once I got to the UK!

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However, no one warned me pancakes are cold and jam filled. WHY?

Even the whole process of writing a book, from draft to finished product, made it seem so much more possible for me to travel across the ocean alone.

There are certainly low points in the life of a creative person. Rejection, disillusionment, loss of that elusive “muse,” can all make it seem like the process isn’t worthwhile. But the next time you’re feeling down, or that you’ve “wasted” time on a manuscript, try to look beyond the page, to what goodness and connections that manuscript has helped you make in the real world.

And above all, believe that good things will happen. Perhaps not the good thing you wanted, or set out to achieve, but a good thing all the same.

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Guest Post:Me, A Debut and Twitter: A view from the other side of publication

I have the privilege to feature the awesome Perdita Cargill on my blog today. She and her daughter wrote an awesome, funny YA novel, WAITING FOR CALLBACK, that reminds me of the humor in ANGUS, THONGS, & FULL FRONTAL SNOGGING. I  highly recommend you give this book a try. If you’re in the UK, you can purchase it here: Click here  Perdita’s post today is about social media, publication, and all the emotional swings that entails. She’s a fantastic writer, and what she has to say really resonated with me. I hope it does for you as well.

And without further ado, I’ll turn the microphone over to Perdita!

It’s been a couple of months since we published our debut teen novel Waiting for Callback and now I’m going to do the whole Wise Elder thing and tell you all about me and Twitter, publication and beyond.

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I’ll gloss over the early days. Suffice it to say that I’d barely heard of Twitter before we signed a contract. Honor (my co-writer) maintained – as firmly as only a seventeen year old talking to her mother can maintain – that she didn’t ‘get’ Twitter and that a division of ‘labour’ would save me from making a fool of myself on Instagram and Facebook. I thought this was a good argument but I had yet to realize the potential for making a fool of myself on Twitter.  It took me a good six months to begin to master when to lurk and when to tweet. Ok, maybe not ‘master’, the shame of the unreciprocated intervention… But I did love talking about people’s books and I did start to make friends (oddly including a significant number of book-y people who had a deep and inappropriate appreciation of Poldark). Also there were puppy accounts (I never turned to the cat accounts, not even on dark days, because I had standards). There was @broodingYAhero.  I was getting the hang of it. But this blog (confessional piece) is about what happened round the time when our book was coming out.

Reader it was not my finest hour.

  • By publication day – a day that had become so magnified in my head that it should properly be given capitals (‘PD’)- I’d bored everyone on Twitter, including myself, with a tsunami of tweets and pieces about well, us – very occasionally about our book but yep, mostly us. Don’t misunderstand, we were very grateful for every invitation to talk, I just got a bit over enthusiastic about scheduling everything before PD. I’m not sure what I expected to happen on PD but because everything was going to be, in some unknowable way, ‘different’ I was determined to post everything in advance.

I’m pretty sure that most people had muted me before the first copy was on the shelves.

  • Not to worry, post-PD I set about livening up my feed with enthusiastic retweets of every single thing that anyone said about our book, someone posting that they were ten per cent in was enough to send me into a spin of RTs and comments – there was heavy emoji use. Well, every single nice thing – I didn’t mention the two star Good Reads rating because that hurt. Sadly this had the effect of making me look like an arrogant narcissist. Worse an arrogant narcissist that lived on Twitter and never left the house even to go and see if I could find our book in a bookshop (which if I had I would immediately have tweeted about because it was important to keep everyone absolutely bang up to date).

I consoled myself with the reflection that most people probably still had me on mute.

  • Fate intervened in the form of the second book deadline. So close was this to PD (rookie error) that I no longer had any time to tweet. Excellent? Not so much. First I vanished then I panicked. Was disappearing so soon after PD not the greatest author Twitter sin? Everyone would think I was A Shameless User and a Bad Person.

Well they would if they’d unmuted me.

  • The second book was duly delivered and my co-writer was released back to the relative normality of exam preparation at which point I remembered (in the way of someone remembering where they’d stashed the last bar of chocolate) that I used very much to enjoy reading And now there were new and wonderful books not written by me and they were having their own PDs.

I could talk about them.

Indeed I could tweet about them.

In retrospect I probably went a little mad. I like to think I won’t go quite as mad with book two (It’s probably a good thing that I don’t know the exact PD yet). If I do please do tell me. Stage an intervention if necessary. You can find me on twitter @perditact.

Thank you so much, Perdita, (and I am so so sorry this post came in a wee bit late. Life conspired against me finding time to blog)

 

Book Review: Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard

Confession: I don’t read much middle-grade. I was one of those kids who jumped straight from classics like Little Women and the Narnia books, into the realm of YA. However, as an adult, I have read a little more middle-grade, and some of them are real gems.

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier is the type of middle-grade novel that makes me wish for a time machine to give the book to my younger self. The characters are so dynamic, and the writing is so lush and vivid, that I read the whole book in one sitting.  I, admittedly, didn’t read the first book in this series before, but had no problem catching up. Sophie is brave and bold, and the quest to find the books “Where, What, and When” made me smile long after I closed the book. If you have any young readers in your life, buy this today!

SOPHIE QUIRE AND THE LAST STORYGUARD by Jonathan Auxier

for purchase at  AmazonIndiebound

Official blurb: It’s been two years since Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort. In that time, they have traveled far in wide in search of adventure. Now Peter and Sir Tode have been summoned by Professor Cake for a new mission: find a 12-year-old bookmender named Sophie Quire. 

Sophie knows little beyond the four walls of her father’s bookshop, where she repairs old books and dreams of escaping the confines of her dull life. But when a strange boy and his talking cat/horse companion show up with a rare and mysterious book, she finds herself pulled into an adventure beyond anything she has ever read.
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Little Joys

It’s funny how when I’m busiest, I’m the most aware of all the good that surrounds me. Perhaps it’s because it’s clearer when there are small moments of happy calm, rather than trying to pick the sweetest day of a leisurely week with nothing to do.

Anyway, just a small post. We creative types are so busy making new worlds and getting lost in our work, that sometimes the ordinary world seems rather… ordinary. So, I challenge you, reader, to take this week to notice some wonderful bits of joy in your own life.

Me? I’m happy for loving family (including a new nephew, who I can’t want to hold!) and loyal, enthusiastic friends. I couldn’t be where I am today without their support, and their encouragement has gotten me through many bad days.

I’m grateful for coffee, and for carbs, as well as the park near where I live, because a walk in the fresh air under the trees can be almost as enlivening as a hot cup of coffee. Almost.

I’m grateful for knitting, and running, for always being a challenge and a relaxation for me. I’m also thankful to all the books I’ve read for allowing me to escape between their pages. And I owe so many thanks to that book I read when I was at my lowest as a writer, which reminded me of the magic of the written word.

I’m grateful for the talented  network of authors and creatives who have guided, nurtured, and challenged me. Even if we only crossed paths to swap a chapter or exchange a tweet, I’ve learned so much from you. Thank you.

I’m grateful to my silly cat, for keeping me amused, ever since he walked into the backyard hunting for catnip, but desperately in need of food and TLC. His health and happiness now reminds me that one person (or one tiny, mangy stray kitten) you can be the world.

What joys are you grateful for?

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Cover Reveal! WITHOUT BENEFITS

The talented Nicole Tone’s beautiful  novel, Without Benefits, is out in a little less than three months! But today we get a first look at the amazing cover, designed by Ashley at Cardboard Monet!

I’ve loved this book since the moment Nicole told me about it. It’s a moving lyrical novel, capturing all those complicated adult emotions of love, family, and what-might-have-beens.

More info (plus a giveaway for a Seattle adult coloring book!) below!

Emma will always be a New Yorker at heart, even though she has a perfect life in Seattle. She has a prestigious job fundraising for the Seattle Symphony, a handsome boyfriend who adores her, and a Belltown apartment with views of the Sound. It should be more than enough to keep her pain from not playing the piano, and her 9/11 nightmares, away.

But when her old college crush, Owen, comes back into her life, it’s more than just spending time with him that’s causing cracks in her picture-perfect life. As she steps back on stage, and back into the spotlight, her connection with Owen and his world, dredges up old memories that Emma worked hard to forget.

Emma’s past comes back to haunt her, forcing her to face the truth about more than just her fears of returning back to New York. As her once perfect life begins to burn down, Emma is forced to figure out what she really wants: her fundraiser and cocktail party-filled life with her boyfriend, or forging a new future with the one thing, and one person, she’s ever loved–even if it means returning to New York.

Without Benefits is a beautiful and moving exploration of modern relationships and family written in the vein of Taylor Jenkins Reid and Renee Carlino.

So here it is…

The moment we’ve been waiting for…

 

 

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Isn’t it gorgeous? Pre-order your copy today!
And, click on the below for a lovely giveaway, including an adult coloring book, bath bomb, and nail polish!
Click here to open Rafflecopter giveaway
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About the author:

Nicole Tone is a freelance editor, MFA student, traveler, pet collector, binge-watcher, and a self-proclaimed coffee snob. She lives in Buffalo, NY with her husband, three cats, and two very large dogs, but spends as much of her time in Seattle as possible. You can like her page on Facebook, @ her on Twitter, swoon over dream houses together on Pinterest, and add Without Benefits on Goodreads.

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The Bright Side of Subjectivity

For as long as I’ve been a writer, there’s a term I’ve struggled to grasp: subjectivity.

It always seems to be used negatively, paired with an apologetic shrug. “Sorry that person didn’t like your work. It’s just subjective, you know?”

But I didn’t know. I came from a educational and professional background where (besides, like, Bernie Madoff ) there was a right, and a wrong. A clear cut answer. A way to plug numbers into a formula and receive the correct answer. Subjectivity was a strange, dark cloud, hanging over everything I attempted. Why couldn’t I write something everyone would love? What was I doing wrong?

I thought, hmm. Maybe I should just become better! Then, I shall be able to vanquish subjectivity! But, even after spending a year studying craft books, working with freelance editors, and pushing myself, I still got negative feedback that was… subjective.

Someone suggested that I read one-star reviews of my favorite books. This technique, they suggested, would make me realize even this amazing authors got subjective, negative reviews of their books. Instead, because I am made of fiery passion and undying loyalty, I wanted to fight every deluded fool who couldn’t see the obvious talent of my favorites.

Meanwhile, I was also getting positive feedback. People liked my work, adored certain characters, laughed at my jokes. It didn’t matter to me. I was more concerned with fighting the big-bad subjectivity monster. Surely, there had to be some formula I could apply to make it go away, and have everyone equally love my work.

Spoiler: there’s no way to ever do that. I’m going to skip over the months I spent bashing my head against a wall, and instead tell you about what finally made me realize what subjectivity truly is.

What happened was… I read a book.

Of course, I’d read plenty of books during my battles with the smoggy subjectivity monster, but this book I LOVED. It was one of those books that turned me into a book evangelist, pushing the book at everyone I knew. Shockingly, some of my friends didn’t like the book. Or they did, but they didn’t like the same things I did. I had no real reason for why I loved the book, aside from a fuzzy feeling of it hitting me in just the right brain spots, like the way a cold glass of water quenches more on a hot day. I couldn’t point to any narrative craft, any technique the author used to specifically make me adore the book. I just knew that my world was a better place with the book in it.

I loved the book, subjectively.

That’s the bright side of the mysterious subjectivity-monster we forget sometimes. The same inexplicable force that causes some people to dislike our works (or not love it enough to accept it) also allows people to adore  our work. Subjectivity fuels book deals, creates fanart, causes readers to squee in 5 star reviews. So the next time you get mad at that subjective rejection, remember there’s someone out there who will subjectively love your work.

Don’t give up, darlings!

SCAVENGER OF SOULS-arc review

This week I had the privilege of reading an advanced reviewer copy of SCAVENGER OF SOULS, Joshua David Bellin’s new work, (release date 8/23/2016)

For those of you who haven’t read the first book in the series, SURVIVAL COLONY 9, the books take place in an arid, desolate world, where monsters known as the Skaldi hunt down the few remaining humans. No one is safe, and our protagonist, Querry, faces many challenges in his quest for survival. 27206580

“Answers aren’t always true,” she said. “And the truth isn’t always the answer you want.”–Scavenger of Souls, by Joshua David Bellin.

SCAVENGER kicks off explosively, and the pace never wavers. Querry is a brave, likable protagonist, who is growing into a fine leader. Mercy, who features on the cover, is a new character, and one of my favorite ones in all of YA sci-i. Her charisma imbues all of  her actions, and she’s a force to be reckoned with. The worldbuilding is incredible, creepy and bleak, but populated with characters who will win (and break your heart)

This book is perfect for fans of the TV show, The 100, with its teen characters forced to grow up fast in a cruel, dangerous world. Both teens and adults will like the book, with its well-crafted, tightly crafted plot. and high stakes. Also, can we talk about how INCREDIBLE that cover is?

Haven’t read SURVIVAL COLONY 9 yet? Check out the rafflecopter below! I’m giving out a paperback copy (USA only) or an E-copy (international!)

CLICK HERE TO OPEN THE GIVEAWAY

 

I’m Sorry I Didn’t Read Your Book

Hi Writer-Friend,

It’s been a while. You may not remember me. Or maybe you do, but you recall me with anger and hurt. Or perhaps, you too are a simmering kettle of apologies and regret, wishing things could be different.

I’m sorry I never sent you beta feedback. My life got hectic, and by the time I remembered to read yours, I was afraid of asking for more time.

I’m sorry for reaching out for blog post info, for an interview, for a possible critique partner relationship, only to disappear. My attention span flutters as much as a caffeinated butterfly, and my forgetfulness comes from that, not from a place of disrespect.

I’m sorry I disappeared from our friendship. I was battling anxiety/jealousy/insecurity, and knew I would only hurt you if we kept talking.

I’m sorry I never responded to your request for a blog tour. I barely blog as it is, and wasn’t sure how to tell you that. Would you think I was less of a writer if I told you I didn’t blog on a schedule?

I’m sorry I forgot your release date. My own life got hectic with family/school/work, and then when I checked Twitter, it seemed overwhelming, and I didn’t know how to help.

I’m sorry I never wrote a Goodreads review. I’m afraid that if I did one, all my friends would expect me to read their book.

I’m sorry that I review books on Amazon under a fake name to hide from their silly deletion policies, so you’ll never know I reviewed it.

I’m sorry we got into a huge argument, and now the expanse of the anonymous internet separates us, isolating us from ever finding a way of speaking to each other again. My apology hangs in empty air, like a dead link to a vanished site.

BUT

I’m not sorry for the hours I stayed up, reading your book. It was incredible, and I loved every page-turning moment.

I’m not sorry I keep my fingers crossed for your book to get published soon, and I talk about it to everyone I know.

I’m not sorry I retweet and reblog other’s release day posts for you, trying as hard as I can with my limited time, to show you that your words matter, that your book touched me.

I’m not sorry that I mention your artwork/editing services/skills to anyone in need of that, hoping to send you the customers you so very much deserve.

I’m not sorry I bought two copies of your book, one for me and one for a friend. I wait, ninja-style, for people to ask for book recommendations, so that I may push yours, like a dealer with the enthusiasm of a toddler.

I’m not sorry I still follow you on our social media sites, celebrating in secret for your successes, and mourning your losses. This tiny, dusty window into our former friendship is just enough for me to remember all the good times we had, and learn from the bad.

I’m not sorry we exist in this world together, and I’m so grateful that our paths crossed, no matter how short a time.

May all good things come to you, and may your future be filled with joy.

From the shadows and the silence, I am sincerely yours,

Carrie

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