Thursday, December 31, 2009

Covers, News, and the Year in Review

Wow. What year. Most amazing year of my life! But I'll get to that later. First! Covers!!!!!

An anonymous commenter (I kid you not) left me a link to my Russian cover and it is gorgeous!! I am so stoked by it! Very sexy!



I mean, really. Isn't that awesome!!!!

And then we spotted my first foreign Spells cover this week too!



It has a silver chain for a stem, people! Height of awesomeosity. (Yes, I did just make that word up.)

Long-time readers will know this, but in case you don't, generally authors have little to no say in their covers. Closer to the "no" than the "little." And even less in the foreign covers! So all my awesome covers? I can brag about them endlessly because I had absolutely nothing to do with them. Nuh-thing. Nothing.

But aren't they great!!!:D

In news, I have my first event of 2010 next week! Whoo-hoo! Changing Hands, the illustrious Phoenix Indie, is hosting Yallapalooza! Check it out! No seriously, check it out. It is going to be AWESOME!!!! There is going to be live music! I have never been to an event with live music! And free food. Who doesn't love free food?? Anyway, there will be a ton of us there, including my new author friends Janette Rallison, James Owen, and the inestimable Janni Lee Simner. But the AZ authors are getting with a bunch of L.A. authors I've never met and we are SO going to par-tay! I am so excited! It is going to be amazing! There will be exclamation points! So if you are in the greater Phoenix area, or, indeed, anywhere in the Southwest United States, you should come! It's Saturday, January 9th from 4-7PM, at Changing Hands Bookstore. Seriously, come! All YA, all the time. :D

Anyway, it has been an amazing year. And not just for me! So here is my whole year in review:

January and February saw me on a pre-publication tour. It was my very first event for Wings and also my first time signing books. Yay! This was an amazing experience for so many reasons. I met a ton of librarians, readers, and bookstore staff who just fell in love with Wings. I also had to prick my head with a pin every night as they were determined to blow it up to astronomical sizes. :D

April was my husband's month. After three grueling years, he graduated law school! What a momentous day!! I was so proud. :D

May was Wings month. I spent the whole month traveling, often to places I'd never been before. I also went to BEA for the first time and became a NYT Bestselling author. Whoa. I have never had such a whirlwind month! And even if the release of Spells is exactly the same, this year will still be the most special release, because it was the first time, with everything new and sparkly!

June was my first event with other authors (Supernatural Summer, which I will be doing again this year, yay!). It also was the month I moved back to Arizona, which I have been looking forward too since I moved away from Arizona three years earlier.:D I moved into my gorgeous new house (courtesy of the crappy housing market) and have my own office for the first time and everything is wonderful here!

In July my movie deal was announced and I got to watch my own little media frenzy happen. I was mentioned on People.com, mtv.com, Variety.com, ONTD.com and on the TV segment The Soup on E! It was very strange, and unreal, and exciting!!

In August I finally fell off the list after spending eleven weeks there. Completely unreal. Eleven weeks!! And I promise you this; every week was a gift. Makes for some jittery Wednesdays though.:D

In October I got some really wonderful news I can't share yet, but it was important, so I'm mentioning it.:D

In November I hosted Thanksgiving with fifty people in attendance. 'Nuff said.

In December I kind of pulled away from the world and gathered my family in close and had a quiet holiday. Honestly, it was just what I needed. Because despite the wonderful, amazing things that happened this year, my life revolves around my husband and my kids. And they are what make everything worthwhile.

So, yeah, an amazing year. It wasn't all roses and clover. I cried over my books at least three times, determined I was a hack author who couldn't do anything right. I had someone I thought was a friend stab me in the back. I was separated from my family for almost three weeks when they moved while I was touring and that was really hard. And revisions . . . well, they are always soul-sucking.:D But all of that pales in the face of how many great things happened to me this year and the readers, bloggers, and fellow authors who have joined me for the ride. I got to meet so many amazing people in my travels. And readers. Oh, I love my readers! Especially the teen readers. They have such enthusiasm! I have been laughing at my Google alerts the last couple days as I have been placed on both Best of and Worst of 2009 book lists--because no list is as cool as a thirteen-years-old's sparkling eyes. That's what's important to me.

And you, dear readers, thank you for joining me again this year. It's been a long time since I started this blog in January of 2006. Quite. A. Ride. Thank you for coming with me. Whenever you started.

And buckle your seat belts, because this roller coaster ride isn't over yet!

For your viewing pleasure...



Happy New Year!!!

Ciao!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jacket Copy

One of the things that I always worry about on my books is jacket copy. This is the little bit of text and/or description that goes in the inside jacket flap. This little bit of text, that--second only to the cover--is generally the biggest reason people buy books, is infamous for being written by interns anxious to cut their teeth on new projects. I don't know who writes mine, but for the second time in a row, I have FAB jacket copy!! I've had it for a while but it is now starting to pop up on my google alerts in sale listings, so now I get to share!

"I can't just storm in and proclaim my intentions. I cant 'steal' you away. I just have to wait and hope that, someday, you'll ask," Tamani said.

"And if I don't?" Laurel said, her voice barely above a whisper.

"Then I guess I'll be waiting forever."

Although Laurel has come to accept her true identity as a faerie, she refuses to turn her back on her human life--and especially her boyfriend David--to return to the fae world.

But when she is summoned to Avalon, Laurel's feeling for the charismatic faerie sentry Tamani are undeniable. She is forced to make a choice--a choice that could break her heart.

Yay! I love the quote they picked!

In other news of awesomeness, Wings has been selected as one of five nominees for Best YA Paranormal/Fantasy Novel of 2009! I am in the excellent company of The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong, Tempted by P.C. and Kristin Cast, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, and Shadowland by Alyson Noel! You can download the PDF of all the nominees in all categories here! Lots of lovely books in there!

And something I think is cool--though you may not :)--is that Wings is being released in large print in January! As someone who has awful eyes, that makes me happy.:D

Also, my German cover has come up on Amazon!!! I think it is SO beautiful and I am so pleased to share!!



*lesigh* The German edition is expected to hit shelves in March! I'm expecting my friend Jen to take a pic for me. *koffkoff* ;)

Later this week I will take a break from Wings stuff and will be doing a large, picture-filled candy making entry.

You've been warned.:D

Ciao!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Coolest. Picture. Ever.



I have a billboard!!

*runs breathlessly around in circles and falls over and dies of glee*

Okay, how awesome is that!! My agent sent this to me this morning. It is advertising my French copies in Canada, and the foreign rights' agent said they are everywhere!!

Eeeeeee!!!!!!!

Ciao!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Housekeeping

I survived my Thanksgiving!!! Not only survived it, but had a really great time! Three days of partying. Really, it just doesn't get any better than that!

But words are cheap, I know you all just want to see the picture of my sixteen pies.:D

Here you go!



*drools* They were beautiful!

Okay! So this is mostly a post full of catch-up and housekeeping!

It has been an incredible six months of foreign rights sales and I haven't updated you guys in ages. And . . . well . . . somebody ads it to my Wikipedia page and I'm vain. Deal with it.:D


UK/ Harper UK

German / Random House

Brazil (Portuguese) / Editora Bertrand

Estonian / Kirjastus Pegasus

Italian / Sperling & Kupfer Editori

Hebrew / Matar

Canada (French) / Ediciones Ada

Spanish / Urano

Turkish / Pegasus

Polish / Wydawnictwo Dolnoslaskie

Lithuanian / Media Incognito

Russian / Exmo

Greek / Livanis

Portugal / Bertrand

French / Pocket Jeunesse

Japanese / Take-Shobo

Croat / Mosaik Knjiga

Indonesian / PT Gramedia

Dutch / Standaard

Hungary / Konyvmoly

Bulgarian / Studio Art-Line

Catalan / La Galera

And I have three more currently being negotiated, so by the end of 2009, Wings will be set to be published in 25 foreign countries. Can we say better than I ever dreamed of? *swoon*


Tons of people have been asking about the movie. Sadly, the movie industry moves about as slowly as the publishing industry. But the good news is, we are still moving! Still progressing! Things are happening and we are still heading in the right direction! (How's that for a vague update?!?!)

Probably the biggest housekeeping announcement is that I am taking a break from email for the month of December so I can spend a bit more time with my family. Also, I am hoping most people are just too busy with the holidays to email me, so I won't miss very many.:D We are big Christmas people in my house and along with it being family time, I also make hand-dipped chocolates and truffles and that takes up a huge chunk of my time in December. So I won't be doing much writing or reading, just snuggling kinds and hubby and rolling in chocolate . . .er . . . I mean rolling fondant centers in chocolate. Yeah, that's what I mean.:D

I will still be blogging and tweeting, I just need a small break from emailing. If I have your email already, you'll get a response. But if not, wait till January to write me.:D And have a great holiday while you're waiting!

And lastly, don't forget Holidaze With the Debs!! Live in Chicago? Near Chicago? Near an airport than flies into Chicago?? Come see us!!! All info here!


It's going to be way fun! So come if you can!

Ciao!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pictures, Pictures, and More Pictures!

Okay, I have owed you guys pictures for a long time. So here's a big post full of them!

Remember a few weeks ago when I did the faerie tea party? It was so fun! I went to a Boys and Girls Club and they invited girls from five clubs who were all part of a reading program called Smart Girls! (Love that!) A group of women who throw tea parties professionally volunteered to come and to the tea party part! They laid out long tablecloths so the girls could have "tables" complete with faerie party favors! (Oh, and that gorgeous chair? That was mine.:))



And the girls came in, most of them having read the book, a bunch wearing wings, and all of them excited for the party!



And, of course, what kind of party would it be without my Late Bloomers, Espe (who organized) and Jen (who wore a tutu!)?



Thanks guys!!!

A bit of randomness; my husband and I discovered the most amazing Asian market a few weeks ago. Uh. Maze. Ing!! Most Asian markets I've been to are boutique sized. This one is the size of a large grocery store! And they have everything! One of our favorites, they have an entire aisle of Ramen. Every kind of ramen you could imagine. This is just one side of the aisle--the other is just as packed!



For our anniversary next week, instead of going out to eat, we are going to the Asian market and picking up a ton of stuff and having a cooking night! (Mmmm, steam buns . . . .)

Okay, since I was a little girl, I have always wanted a canopy bed. What little girl doesn't? Sadly, it took me till I was 28 to get one.



*sigh* I'm in love with my bed!

Then, last weekend, I went to the faerie festival in Goodyear! It was so fun! Hardcore faerie fans! And I got to meet back up with one of my favorite authors, in word and in person, Janni Lee Simner (watch for her new book, Thief Eyes, next Spring, and the sequel to Bones of Faerie in 2011!!) Here's Janni reading for her fab novel, Bones of Faerie!



But Janni was far from the only author there! I got to hang with Janette Rallison (who won the award for the best author in costume) and James A. Owen (who did that little air-kiss greeting thing with me--that always makes me feel chic and sophisticated . . . which . . . I'm not.:)) And here we are!




Gee, what IS that little book in the bottom left hand corner??? (I promise the table was not just full of my books. The others cleared them off before the pic, I' don't know why. In actuality the table was mostly full of James' books.:D)

And the tutus made another appearance! This time everyone got one!! Jen's awesome SIL Malinda was very busy making tutus for everyone. You can't see mine in the picture, but it is fluffy and wonderful!!!



So that is my last month in pictures! Next up, feeding 39 people for Thanksgiving and making sixteen pies from scratch! It's going to be epic and you'd better believe there are going to be pictures!!!:D

Ciao!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Live in Chicago??

Then come see me!! And not only me, but several of the Debs!! Introducing:



You can find more information about the entire tour here. But here is the part of the Deb Tour that I will be participating in!

CHICAGO

Dec. 5, 1-3 p.m.
Borders
161 N. Weber Road
Bolingbrook, IL
Including: Cynthea Liu, Saundra Mitchell, Aprilynne Pike, Kristina Springer, Darcy Vance, Lara Zielin

Dec. 5, 7-9 p.m.
The Book Cellar, Inc.
4736-38 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL
Including: Cynthea Liu, Saundra Mitchell, Aprilynne Pike, Kristina Springer, Darcy Vance, Lara Zielin

There will also be stops in New York, Toronto (Debs go international! Yay!!), and San Francisco! So if you live around any of those areas, please go see the Debs! This is our final big event for the year and we intend to make it a good one!!!

Ciao!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Spells!

Well, my title and cover kinda got out this week. Which means I get to post them both early!! (I'm pretending to be really sad about that. So some of my Tweeps have already seen this, but here is my cover for SPELLS, the sequel to WINGS!!!


Yay! I just love it! I especially love the font, which is just a bit different than on Wings.

But you know what I really love? That it will be on the shelves in less than six months! I really love Spells. *whispers* I think it's better than Wings . . . Of course, I think every author thinks each subsequent book is better than the last so, well, I'm probably biased.:D But at the very least, I hope you all love the cover as much as I do!

Ciao!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Firsts

Happy Halloween everyone!!! As a huge sugar-bug, Halloween is one of my very favorite holidays!! I am so looking forward to trick-or-treating with my three munchkins tonight in our new neighborhood and in fabulous weather. (The 60's!)

Okay, I have been thinking a lot about firsts lately. And by first I mean, your first agent, your first book deal, your first publisher, etc. In case you are not familiar with my history, I spent almost two years looking for an agent and then spent a year with that agent (and two different books) before I got a contract. By the time I got an agent, I was basically desperate enough that I probably would have taken any legit agent I could get. By the time I got published, I would have taken just about any legit publisher I could get. I know a lot of aspiring authors have felt and do feel the same way.

But maybe it's not that simple.

I owe my agent connection to luck. I will state that right out front. But because I did end up with my incredible, fabulous agent, she matched me with a wonderful editor and a house I could not be more happy with. But, also luck, I managed to get the idea for a genre I am more than happy to spend my whole career writing in. All of my firsts, set me on the path I want to be in. On the path that my fit my goals. But, what was not luck, is that when it became obvious that my book was not going to sell, I looked for another way to meet my goals. I wrote another book. It eventually lead me to the career I have now.

The reason I have been thinking about this is that I have been communicating with a lot of aspiring authors lately. And some of them have quite literally stumbled into great positions, some have settled for less than ideal positions, some are quite happy in positions I would not be happy with, and some are reaching that awful, gut-wrenching point of desperation that I am very familiar with.

I think that sometimes we don't realize how important those firsts are. Most authors tend to spend their careers in the genre they first break out in, and at the level at which they break out at. Bestsellers tend to continue being bestsellers (whether or not it's justified), mid-listers often talk about how hard it is to break out of the mid-list range, and it is surprisingly difficult to move from a small publisher to a big one. (I do want to point out some lovely exceptions: Maggie Steifvater, James Dashner, and Ally Carter--for genre--to name a few.) So it does happen, but it's generally the exception rather than the rule.

So what that first book is, can be so crucial. I think that sometimes you have to sit back and really examine your goals. And be honest. Not dreams, not fears, goals.

Here are some examples of goals I have heard in the last little while:

I just want to see my book on the shelf of a brick and mortar store.
I want to have copies of my book available for my family.
I want to win awards.
I want to make my living writing. Not a millionaire, but writing full-time.
I want to be a bestseller. Not necessarily THE bestseller, but A bestseller.
I want to publish a book a year. I don't really care about the money.
I have this one story inside me. I don't know that I will ever write another book.

What are YOUR goals? And what are you doing to make sure that your firsts are going to satisfy those goals?

I have a friend who wrote and published several books without an agent, and eventually, when she felt it was prudent, signed with an agent. Now, after several years, her agent is not meeting her requirements, and she is leaving her. Honestly, I think it's a good move, but I can't help but wonder (No offense! I know you know who you are!!) if her whole career could have been a bit different if, way back then, she had really put a lot of research into her agent choice and not signed with the first agent she contacted, just because she was nice. I suspect that because of all the books under her belt, she will not have trouble finding a new agent, but it can be really hard to break out of the track you have already established yourself to be on.

I had dinner with another friend the other night and about halfway through the conversation, I realized that her goals are not the same as mine were when I was in her position. She falls into the, I would like to see this book in stores, category. And the next realization struck me rather hard. It was that that's okay.

To be very honest, I have always had very high goals for myself. I wanted to be a very commercial author and write for a very broad audience. That was important to me, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. But that doesn't mean that is the path for every author.

You want to release a book a year to a loyal audience and maybe be nominated (and perhaps win!) awards? Maybe a small publisher is perfect for you. Do you seriously want to be a bestseller and anything less would be disheartening? Then you probably shouldn't sign with a small publisher. It *probably* will not help you reach that particular goal. I could go on endlessly with more examples. (But I won't.;))

It's really hard for us as writers to be honest and objective about our work. I remember the first time this summer that my agent meh-ed a story idea I thought was really great. I was wounded! It took me several days to realize she was right. Is it still a decent idea? Probably. Is it too literary and obscure for my current goals? Yes. And since my agent's job is to help me reach my goals, she was right to suggest I put it to the side. And I have.

But it's even harder when you don't have an agent to tell you hard truths. It means you have to tell yourself.

So if you are reaching that point of desperation, and you are starting to think you are willing to take anything, even if it is not going to help you reach your goals, can I suggest something?

Take a step back, realize this is a long-term journey. And write another book.

I'll say it again.

Write another book.

I have never, ever heard an author express regrets that they wrote another book. (Generally that is synonymous with, "I wrote a BETTER book.") But I am starting to hear a lot of regrets that authors did NOT write another book. That they rode their MS into the ground, that they signed with an agent they didn't actually want instead of writing a book that could get a better one, that they signed with a tiny publisher just to get their book out there, even though they hoped to do better.

I empathize! I do!! I wrote three and a half books before I wrote Wings. Shelving the book that got me an agent, but not a publisher, was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

And it was worth it.

Don't settle.

Not everyone is going to be a bestseller/lead title/ next big things/etc. That's not the point. But whatever your personal goals are, don't settle for less just because the other option is shelving your book and trying again. Those firsts are so important. Make them the right firsts.

Ciao!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Potpourri

Links for everyone!:D

Okay, some fun things lately; I was asked by my lovely friend Saundra Mitchell to do a write-up about a brush with the supernatural. Problem is, I've never had one!! So, being the dirty-rotten liar that I am, I decided to write the ghost story I wish had happened to me. It's a bunch of lies mixed up with a bunch of truth, and I really had fun writing it! You can check it out here!

Secondly, Leave A Mark is auctioning off a copy of my book. This is a very special copy though. Basically, I have gone through and made notes in the margins throughout the whole book. Sometimes just a comment about writing it, sometimes further insights, and--in a couple of places--little spoilers.:) I don't normally link to places to buy my book, but this is a charity auction and every single dollar that is bid goes right to First Book, a really great book charity. Plus I have had so much fun "leaving my mark" on this copy of the book. So if you are interested, you can check it out here!

Also, I am coming to Chicago in December! I will have more details soon, but the Debs are doing several nation-wide appearances and I've signed up for the Chicago stop! I will be there with about five other Debs and we are doing two appearances in the greater Chicago area. So stay tuned for more details about that!

This is not a public thing, but I am going to a Boys and Girls Club tomorrow for a faerie tea party! I suspect there will be many fun pics to share when I get back! Also, so I don't forget, sometime in the next day or two, I will be posting about firsts, and how important they are in the writing industry.

Till then, Ciao!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Messages and Brainwashing and Graffiti, Oh My!

Welcome back to blog tour! I am so excited to be presenting you with CANDOR by Pam Bachorz today! I "met" (online) Pam probably a year ago . . . maybe a year and a half . . . and ever since I found out what CANDOR was about, I have been dying to read it! I was very glad to get an ARC of it shortly after BEA (thanks Elizabeth Law!!) and dove right in! Here is a bit about CANDOR: Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town where his father brainwashes everyone, he’s found a way to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He’s got them all fooled: Oscar’s the top student and the best-behaved teen in town. Nobody knows he’s made his own Messages to deprogram his brain. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor, and Oscar falls in love. He must choose whether to let Nia be lost to brainwashing—or to sacrifice himself.

And look at that cover. Isn't it awesome?!?!

Okay, and here is a bit about Pam, who I actually got to meet at BEA, and she has as lovely a personality as she does a face! Pam Bachorz grew up in a small town in the Adirondack foothills, where she participated in every possible performance group and assiduously avoided any threat of athletic activity. Pam attended college in Boston and finally decided she was finished after earning four degrees. Her mother is not happy that Pam’s degrees are stored under her bed.

Pam lives just outside Washington, DC with her husband and their son. She likes to read books not aimed at her age group, go to museums and theater performances, and watch far too much television. She even goes jogging. Reluctantly.

As far as she knows, Pam has never been brainwashed. Or maybe that’s just what she’s supposed to say.

Pam was kind enough to cyber-sit down with me to do our Feasty Five! So here we go!

AP: My dear Pam, welcome to the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Pam: *blinks*

AP: Oh sorry, wrong cue card. Welcome to Apparently! Let's talk about Oscar. What kind of soda would Oscar drink?

PB: Soda? No soda allowed in Candor, Florida! It has no nutritious value! Oscar gets six ounces of OJ every day at breakfast; his father marks the side of the OJ container with a pencil to make sure Oscar doesn't sneak extra.

AP: Okay, I admit that I have been waiting to post that answer for ages, because the reason my main character drinks soda is because, for her, it does have nutritional value.:D But Oscar has to be forgiven for being human, I guess.;) What is Oscar's favorite kind of flower? How about yours?

PB: Oscar loves lilacs because that's the scent his love, Nia, wears. I picked lilacs for Nia because they're one of my favorite flowers, and also because they don't thrive in Florida (just like Nia). When I moved from Florida to Maryland, we planted a lilac in the backyard!

AP: I adore lilacs. Does Oscar believe in magic? Do you?

PB: We've never talked about it, Oscar and me, but I don't think he's a big believer in magic. He's a believer in himself and his cleverness, more.

Me, I'm a big believer in magic. Someday I'm going to write a big exciting book filled with magic. Or maybe a small creepy paranoid one. Either way... there WILL be magic.

AP: *laugh* Nice. Okay, let's move away from Oscar and focus on the really important issue: Superman or Batman?

PB: Batman. He's cool because he does all his superhero stuff with zero super powers. Plus I like all the broodiness.

AP: Fair enough. Give us one line from your book. You don't even have to give it context.

PB: A little something from my main character, Oscar:
"But I’d seen his bank balance—all the buyers have to give that information to my father, including their kids’ accounts—and I knew he could be worth my time. "

AP: *squeals* I love that line! Pam, thanks for being here, readers, this is an awesome book and it is one of the first wave of books out from Egmont, a publisher that recently started up in the US (it has been popular in the UK, IIRC) and is off to a flying start with novels like Candle Man and an awesome book I will be spotlighting later next month, The Dark Divine, by Bree DeSpain. I've been impressed by them, and CANDOR certainly didn't let me down. You don't often see present-day dystopias, but this is a good one. And though Nia is not the point-of-view character, you will love her!

You can visit Pam at her website, it's lovely and orange!! And something extra fun, you can visit the Candor, FL website and see what kind of advertising Oscar's dad may have used to woo parents into moving to his town! Check it out HERE!

Ciao!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Streotypical Stereotypes??

Prepare for a long, rather rambly, slightly rant-y post. You've been warned.

Several days ago, my husband stumbled across another author's great blog entry on bucking gender (both genders) stereotypes. My husband was delighted to find, in his words, a blogger so clearly "intelligent and academic!" So he dived in and joined the conversation.

Only to have it suggested that his input was unwelcome because he is male.

I kid you not.

So after a few pert words, he took his shovel and pail and left them to their tea-party.

But since I actually like boys here at my playground (Hi James! Hi David! Hi Graham!) I really did want to look at some of these issues in a nice, neutral marketplace of ideas.

We'll start with a story that you may have seen if you follow me on twitter. Last week I was at the airport waiting at the curb for my mom to pick me up. Two men (looked like a father and grown son) were also waiting. A pretty blonde woman starts to drive by, sees him, and pulls in at a sharp angle. The man (husband, I assume) gestures for her to pull up into the enormous empty space in front of her and says, "Pull forward!" The woman gets this utterly, completely vapid look on her face, I see her "get it," she giggles rather insipidly, and pulls forward. . . . about twenty feet. The husband's shoulders slump a little as he picks up his bags and mutters, "Not that far," and tromps after her. The father follows and in response to the little giggles that went through the crowd says, "She's pregnant." Everyone surrounding me goes, "Ahhhh."

What?? How is that justification?? Talk about perpetuating a stereotype that is completely false! She's not being a moron because she's pregnant, she's just a "dumb blonde," pregnant or not.

Don't get mad at me yet. I know I vilified one stereotype and used the other. I'll come back to this.

One of the issues that my hubby brought up that was instantly misunderstood and attacked, was the question, is it always wrong to write stereotypical characters? He may as well have asked, is it always wrong to ritually sacrifice children? But if I were writing the above scene into a story, would it be my responsibility to change the woman's hair color to brown so that I was not perpetuating the "dumb blonde" stereotype? But she was blonde! Is it politically incorrect for me to change that?

The word "stereotype" is pretty much always used in the pejorative sense. Why is that? Well, no one wants to be defined by a stereotype, and no one wants to read a book that is drowning in clichés. But there is very little you can do that someone else can't use to stereotype you--especially in high school, in my opinion. How often are the valedictorian and the captain of the football team the same person? How many members of the chess team are finalists in the Junior Miss pageant? How often is the fastest runner on the cross-country team one of the chain-smoking bad boys?

Never say never! But let's say... rarely. Sometimes (except maybe the chain-smoking bad boy!;)), but not often. Call it cliques, call it social borders, but if you see a high schooler walking down the hallway, and guess what their extra-curricular activities are based solely on their appearance, you will often be right.

So why do we abhor them so much, in life and in writing? Don't we write about real life? Certainly, if we don't like a stereotype that is being applied to us, it's good to remember that it is possible to cross those boundaries--even to cut them down. And teenagers especially will often do things with no more reason than to "be different," because that is part of understanding who we are! But I think a lot of people have become so fixated on bucking gender stereotypes that main characters who "buck stereotypes" have become their own cliché.

Like if I hold up a book and say, "This is a kick-a$$ chick book," you instantly know what I am talking about. And so the idea that we can "never" write stereotypes, seems like one of a million other "never" rules. It can't always be true--it must be a stereotype!

I think maybe what people really mean when they say don't write stereotypes, is to make strong, unique characters. See, that is a phrase I can live with. Because sometimes the interesting story IS a character who resides within a stereotype. I recently read the ARC of a book called A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker, out next year. It is hilarious! I loved it! However, as time passes, the character who really sticks with me is a side character. She is every cheerleading stereotype you could imagine. She is popular, blonde, skinny, mean, slutty. She is a cookie cutter. I should not like her! The author sets you up not to like her. But as the book went on, she became redeemed in my eyes.

**MINOR SIDEPLOT SPOILER ALERT** Not because you see her soft side, or because she changes. In fact, the only real vulnerability you see is from her boyfriend's point of view, which is--at least somewhat--biased. But the character you really get to see is the boyfriend. Despite being quite cruel at the beginning, you come to realize that he really is just a show-off with a good heart, and he loves this cheerleader. I thought the author was setting things up for the well-rounded boyfriend to leave the two-dimensional cheerleader for the main character. But he doesn't, he keeps loving her, and because he does, the reader does too. If this cheerleader had not been such a stereotype, it would not have been nearly so compelling of a story line.**END SPOILER**

I sometimes get really frustrated with all the "rules" and "responsibilities" and "politics" that everyone likes to perpetuate around the web in the writing community. We are "supposed" to make our female characters strong and confident! But I mention that Laurel knows she's pretty and some readers assume that means she is "stuck up." We are supposed to present diversity, but despite Tamani being dark-haired and dark-skinned (there is no "race" as such among faeries, just appearances), some readers see blonde Laurel and say I am equating goodness with light hair and skin. (Aren't there good blondes in this world too?) And on the other side of the spectrum, some people think that it is unbelievable that Laurel comes in and attracts the "hottest guy in the school," and I am like, uh . . . really? You think the science geek is the hottest guy in the school? No one is ever going to be one hundred percent happy with your text--but what's more, people will stereotype your characters in ways you never intended.

So what do we, as writers, do? Honestly, I think the way to go about this is to go old school. Just write the story that wants to be told. If your main character is ethnic/gay/female/handicapped/whatever, great, but if that's the most interesting thing about their story, you may be writing yourself into a cliché! And definitely don't write in token ethnic/gay/female/handicapped/whatever characters--people will see through that. Rather, focus on writing unique characters in an interesting story, and remember that doing the "stereotypical" thing can be just as "unexpected" as being a rebel!

I'm going to wrap up (yes, really, I'm ending it now) with a quote from Neal Stephenson that I think applies to SO many aspects of life (and was rebuffed in the blog entry because, yes, Neal Stephenson is a boy so his input doesn't count). At the end of a book called Diamond Age a young woman is asked by a mentor-figure whether she will “conform or rebel,” and she answers, “Neither . . . . Both ways are simple-minded--they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.”

So when faced with this litany of rules that I am expected to follow, I ask myself, will I follow them, or refuse? And, like the girl in Diamond Age, I reply, neither. I will follow when I see fit, and break away when I feel necessary. In that, I feel I am more free to tell the best story.

Hehe, you made it to the end, eh? I'm impressed!

Ciao!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tryouts and Crushes and Secrets, Oh My!

Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it's Blog Tour time!!!! Cool Readings!!!!!

Yes, yes, I am teh lame.:D But welcome back to DebsTour 2009! Tonight we have the lovely Lauren Bjorkman with her new book MY INVENTED LIFE, shown here. *gestures all Vanna White-ly to the left. . . no, the other left* This book definitely wins one of my top favorite covers award. Something about it, I don't know. But anyway, here's a bit about MIL! Roz and Eva are sisters, close friends, and fierce rivals. Roz fantasizes about snagging the lead in the school play and sexy skate god Bryan as her boyfriend. Sadly a few obstacles stand between her and her dreams. For one, Eva is the more talented actress. And Bryan happens to be Eva’s boyfriend. But is Eva having a secret love affair with a girl? Inquiring minds need to know.

Roz prides herself on random acts of insanity. In one such act, she invents a girlfriend of her own to encourage Eva to open up. The plan backfires, and Roz finds herself neck deep in her invented life. When Roz meets a mercurial boy with a big problem, she begins to understand the complex feelings beneath the labels. And she gets a second chance to earn Eva’s trust.

I have not yet gotten a chance to read this one, but it is on the top of my TBR pile as soon as I finish up my edits. (It's my re-ward.:D)

And a bit about the fab Lauren: I grew up on a sailboat, sharing the tiny forecastle with my sister and the sail bags. We are still friends. Visiting exotic lands continues to be a big part of my life. I once learned how to make bread in Yemen Bedouin style. I’ve played Hacky Sack with children in Thailand. My passion for travel is second only to my love for books because take me to every world imaginable. I live in Taos, New Mexico with my husband, two sons, a cat that thinks he’s a dog, and another cat that thinks he’s a rabbit.

Mmmm, you lost me at "I grew up on a sailboat." Have I mentioned I am rather obsessed with boats? I love boats.

Ahem. Okay, without further ado, here is Lauren with our Feasty Five!

AP: What kind of soda does your MC drink?

LB: BlueSky. Roz's mom is into everything organic. But then again Roz might sneak out to the Zip-Stop for a Dr. Pepper later.

AP: Dr. Pepper's not organic? Huh, who knew. What is your MC's favorite kind of flower? How about yours?

LB: Yellow roses. I especially love ginger flowers woven into a lei.

AP: I *think* that is a first for both those answers. Does your MC believe in magic? Do you?

LB: Yes! and Yes! Roz is particularly addicted to online ouija.

AP: With enthusiasm! Gotta love it! Superman or Batman?

LB: Batman. Superman is too good.

AP: Too good? Explain.

LB: *helpless shrug*

AP: I guess it really doesn't have to make sense.:D Give us one line from your book. You don't even have to give it context.:)

LB: "I'm not one to give up, especially when common sense dictates I should."

AP: My kind of woman! Whoo-hoo!

Okay, Lauren's book is out in stores now and you can visit her at her awesome website! (There are pictures of boats!!! I'm just sayin'.)

Thanks for stopping by, Lauren!!! (Whose name I keep trying to mis-type as Laurel . . . I wonder why . . .:D)

Ciao!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bleh!

I am in the revision cave. My kids are sick. I think I'm coming down with it too.

But I didn't want to leave you hanging!

More next week, I promise.

Ciao!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Mazes and Grievers and Wicked, Oh My!


We have a guest on DebsTour today. Well, considering his book, he's probably more of an intruder, but hey, you say po-TAY-to, I say Pa-TAH-to.:D

So welcome to the blog tour James Dashner and his new book, out today, THE MAZE RUNNER. A book that is better than mine.;)

Here's a bit about The Maze Runner: When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

*Aprilynne's note: Seriously, people, Hunger Games has got nothing on The Maze Runner. Incredible book!!*

And a bit about James: James Dashner lives and writes in Utah.

Wait, wait, is that all we've got? *scratchy whisper* Seriously? That's all it says on Amazon? *rolls eyes* AmazonFAIL! Looks like it's time for . . . COLOR IT UP GIRL!!!!!

Okay, James Dashner bio Aprilynne style. *Ahem*

The first time I met James I was late to a luncheon in which James was bet five bucks by the illustrious Sara Zarr that he could not finish a rather ginormous Cobb salad. By the time I arrived James was a bit fatter, a little green, and five dollars richer. That is pretty much James in a nutshell. Raised in Georgia, James now lives in Utah with his wife and four really cute kids. He is the author of six other books and loves Mountain Dew and Cheese. Not necessarily in that order.

His greatest accomplishment to date is being friends with me.

See! That's way better.:D

Okay, James was kind enough to answer my Feasty Five, so away we go!

AP: What kind of soda does your MC drink?

JD: Apocalyptic Dew.

AP: *blinkblink* Funny, I don't remember that in the book. Hmmmm. What is your MC's favorite kind of flower? How about yours?

JD: Venus Fly Traps. Me? Venus Fly Traps.

AP: *long silence* This is what I get for asking a guy . . . who writes about a guy . . . a question about flowers. Let's pretend that question didn't happen. Next! Does your MC believe in magic? Do you?

JD: He absolutely does not believe in magic. I, however, do.

AP: *warm fuzzies* Awwwwwww. Superman or Batman?

JD: Batman doesn't even have any powers! But Batman movies trounce Superman movies. Hmm. I refuse to answer!

AP: CHEATER!!!! I'm going to give you one more chance to make a real decision.

JD: *silence*

AP: *Evil Eye*

JD: *moar silence*

AP: *grumble* Fine, Mr. Decisionally Challenged. Give us one line from your book. You don't even have to give it context.

JD: "Everything is going to change."

AP: Good that!! (Read the book, you'll laugh at me later.;)) Thanks you James for Guest-Deb-Touring with us!

You can find James' incoherent ramblings at jamesdashner.com and you can order The Maze Runner here. Better yet, go see James on tour!

Ciao!

Monday, September 28, 2009

In Which I Share Pictures!

Starting with a banned one! Not that the picture is banned, but that it is about something that should not be banned.

BOOKS!!!

Support the First Amendment, Read a Banned Book

(Graphic courtesy of Random House)

This week is banned books week!

I am not going to make much of a statement except to say that nearly every future dystopian book in which the society falls apart has banned books as part of its mythos. Fiction or not, there's a reason for that. Letting someone else decide for us what is and is not appropriate takes the power of judgment out of our hands. Do not give that power away! Some of my favorite books have been banned.:D Many others have been challenged. So I support Banned Books Week! To steal the old adage, I may not like what you read but I will defend to the death your right to read it!!

Okay, so the rest of these pics are seriously random. However, I am going to connect them all with very bad segues; you've been warned.:D

I love giraffes. A lot. Did you know that giraffes have purple tongues that can be as long as twenty-four inches? And did you know that despite having such a long neck, giraffes still only have seven neck bones, just like you? (And most vertebrates, not including the Arabian horse.) Yes, I adore giraffes. So when we went to the zoo last week and you could go feed the giraffes, I was SO all over that!!! So this is my up close encounter with a giraffe.:D Made me very happy. So worth the three dollars it cost.

And you know what was totally worth the entire four dollar admission to the zoo??? Watching a raven eat a rat. And not just eat a rat ***squicky details to follow!!*** but watching him rip this thing apart and carefully eat specific organs first and then swallow the tail whole. I kid you not. That was an amazing sight. Visceral, yes, and several people walked by us and surely wondered if we were future serial killers, but amazing none the less.

And speaking of amazing, my husband is amazing. Look at him sitting at our piano. He plays every day since we got it. It is not only beautiful, but it calms the children and makes me happy. I can't help but sigh and smile when I hear my husband play.

And while we are on the subject of playing, my son loves to play the DS. So much so that the other night he fell asleep with the stylus still clutched in his hand. That is a determined player.

And speaking of players . . . I kid, I kid!! I won't put you through another of my awful segues!! I will, however mention that I accidentally deleted the last picture I wanted to share which was of a car, about fifty feet off the road, crashed and propped up on a very steep mound. No other damaged cars in sight, I have no idea how it happened. But it was quite an impressive sight! (Especially since no one got hurt. Phew!)

So there is my picture journey this week. I have discovered that I have fully arrived in book land and find it difficult to focus on anything else. So I apologize that my blogs have been so infrequent.

Hopefully my pictures of awesomeness make up for it.:D

Ciao!

Monday, September 21, 2009

What. A. Weekend.

Wow! I have just had one of the craziest weekends ever! Whoo! So on Friday I had a doula client who was scheduled to be induced at 8:00 AM

At 5:00 AM I started puking.

Let's just say I spent the next twelve hours seriously contemplating if "puking your guts out" could be literal. And I was leaning toward the yes side.

Also luckily (although I suspect that she would disagree with my definition of the word luckily) the hospital my client was delivering at got really busy and couldn't take her for her induction. So I laid around and was sick all day on Friday and managed to feel better on Saturday. However, no luck at the hospital. Still super-busy. I figured we'd hope for Sunday.

Nope! A spot opened up for her at about nine on Saturday night. Gotta love all night births.:)

So I went to the hospital and we got started. And proceeded to have a birth that went slow, slow, slow, slow slow, slow, and then suddenly went so fast that, um, let's just say I had a "hand" in the delivery.:D It was very cool. Something I doubt I will ever do again as, well, doulas are NOT supposed to help deliver the baby. They just deal with the mom.

But still, it was fun. And mom and baby are doing great.

Every time I do a birth, I awaken this inner desire to go back to school for my nursing degree and be a labor and delivery nurse. And I always have to remind myself that now is not my time. I have other things to do, including, but certainly not limited to, raising my kids and writing my books.

But I want to!

When I was little, I pretty much always said one of three things when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. A doctor (at one point I specifically wanted to be a neonatal surgeon), an author, an actress. I find it very interesting that as I have gotten older, that really hasn't changed. The three things that I really, really want to do, are be an author (which I get to do, yay!), a labor and delivery nurse (because I am so not trying for med school), and an actress (I am determined to get back into theatre one of these days.)

Maybe I am thinking about this so much because Laurel's future, including a potential career, are a big part of book three. Which gets me thinking about all the life-changing decisions teenagers in high school have to make, and how many more they have to make in paranormal books.:D

Seriously though, think of the life-changing decisions you make at seventeen and eighteen. You decide what college to go to. If not college, you decide where you are going to live after high school. You decide what job to do, what you want to major in in college, and some people (including myself) meet their future spouse in their teens. Wow!

On top of that, teens are making moral choices that will affect the rest of their lives. Are they going to have sex? Drink? Do drugs? High school is a time when a lot of kids first try and get addicted to cigarettes. What a time to make these kinds of decisions! Throw peer pressure and the human's natural urge to experiment (and add a heady dash of hormones) into the mix and wow, that is a tough time to make these kinds of decisions!

I think teenagers are amazing, if, for no other reason (and there are a LOT of other reasons) than that they are making more life changing decisions in a course of about four years, than they probably will in any other four-year-period in their entire lives! Is it any wonder that so many authors find it so fascinating to write for this age group?!?! I certainly find it both a challenge and a pleasure.

So adults, if you are a parent, a teacher, a friend, or in any way associated with teenagers, respect them. They are making some truly pivotal choices in their lives right now!

And if you are a teenager? Choose wisely, your decisions now may have more more far-reaching consequences than you imagine. But have fun too.:D

Ciao!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Late Bloomers

One of the most amazing things about fans, is when they get inspired enough by your book to go through the trouble to create something involving it. It is the very highest of compliments, in my opinion. I feel that way about all kinds of fan creations--fan art, fan fic, song lyrics (I got some of these the other day; very squee-worthy!), fansites, forums, etc. I already told you guys about wingsfansite.com, created by the amazing and fabulous Ben (thanks again Ben!!!). This is a comunity open to anyone, anywhere and I am part of the community there and comment in the forums etc.

But I also wanted to tell you guys about another fan forum that I'm really excited about! A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting two fans, Espe and Jen, at FiestaCon and we sat and talked books (not just Wings!:)) for about an hour and exchanged info, etc. Well, they have been busy ladies the last month and have created another forum that launched today! This community is a little different than Ben's--modeled a lot like both Twilight Moms and Mundie Moms, Late Bloomers is a community for fans aged 15 and up, and has a lot of older (well, compared to tween;)) women who are discovering how young their hearts are! So if this fits you, come on over and say hi at Late Bloomers! I will also be an active part of this community. Sp if you see someone on either this or Ben's site who looks like me . . . . it is.:D

On that note, it's been pretty amazing to see these two forums open and become active the last couple of weeks. I have to tell you, I am amazed by my readers! Have I thanked you guys lately?? I write the books, sure, but it's the readers and fans who really bring a book to life. You guys have brought Wings to life in a way that I honestly never thought possible. *blows kisses* You guys are amazing!!!!

Little update, just this week, I finalized my twentieth foreign rights deal. Twenty!! Blew. My. Mind. I'll post the list as soon as I can, for the little bird who keeps that kind of thing current on wikipedia. *Big smile at whoever it is. That's some fun coding there!*

In other news, I'm going to finish the first draft of book three next week. *Eeeeeeee!!!!!!!*

Ciao!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I'm Speshul!!

Wow. Okay, so I left for Show Low on Friday and came back to almost 150 entries!! Wow!

Hey, wait a second, I didn't even get that many entries for a contest for MY book! What gives, James!!! *glares* No, I'm totally kidding. This is a book worth 150 entries!

And without further Ado, the lucky winner is . . .

Molly! (As in the Molly who has a blog called Utterly Absurd and only made it to comment on other people's blogs. Love that!)

Molly, please email me at aprilynnepike at gmail dot com with your address and I will get this well-loved copy of The Maze Runner in the mail to you asap so you can enjoy it and gloat to your friends as far ahead of publication as possible.:D

Big thanks to everyone who entered!!!!

Okay, I have managed to cool down about this, but now that I am getting ready to write about it, it's kinda ticking me off again.

Okay, I read a blog called Editorial Anonymous. She's great. She is a children's book editor and she gives some really great advice and insight into the industry. I adore her. The other day she put up this post. (Language alert.)

And it has sixty comments, half of them informing this editor that she is wrong.

Now, she may be wrong (I highly doubt it) but the point is, most of her readership are aspiring authors, and they are given a piece of advice and the first thing that pops into their heads is, "Well THAT'S just WRONG!" and they are so convinced that they are right, and she is wrong, that they say so on a public blog.

In any other industry, people would laugh at you.

Let's take my husband's industry for example:

Law Professor: *expounds upon some rule of law* When you do X, Z happens.

Law Student: *raises hand* No, that's wrong. You're wrong.

Law Professor: You're kidding, right?

Law Student: Well I know this person who broke X law and Z did NOT happen, so you must be wrong.

Law Professor: *thinks student is a moron*

Other Law Students: *think student is a moron*

When you are an amateur, you should listen to the professionals. I'm not saying the professionals are always right--they aren't--but you should listen. And then consider. And then try to be really, really honest with yourself.

Do you just think they are wrong because their advice goes against your book? No seriously, ask yourself that again.

Editors are not perfect. And there are always exceptions to the rules. But feedback from an editor, always, always has value.

And if your first reaction to a post like that is "I'll show her how wrong she is!" I'm fairly willing to bet that you are not published and, without changing that attitude, you never will be.

Maybe your book is speshul. Maybe it's the next JK Rowling/Dan Brown/Bible, whatever. No one is going to know that if you don't take a little advice from professionals and learn how to work within the system instead of this bull-headed determination to make the system work around you. It rarely works that way.

And if your first though upon reading that statement was, "Well, I know a guy who . . ." you need to read this entry again.:D

Ciao!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Fall Is Bustin' Out All Over!!!!

So, um, yeah, if you were raised on old-time musicals like I was you'll get the reference in the title. If not, it's waaaay to obscure to explain.:D

Anyway, it's September first! (For a couple more hours anyway.:)) I have been waiting for today since probably the middle of July. Why? Because publishing slows down in the summer. I'm ready for my cover! Marketing news! First pass pages! A very important acquisitions meeting! For Europe to wake up!

But even more than that, I am looking forward to the ESPLOSION of amazing books this Fall! There are so many huge books coming out this Fall and many of them are debuts. Here's the run-down:

CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins: Cannot talk about the Fall books without mentioning this one. Nuff said.:D

THE HOLLOW by Jessica Verday: I admit I was about a third of the way through this one when I got my edits and I sent it to a friend so I could share the luscious love. And the perfume. I haven't gotten it back yet. But the cover? Gorgeous! I want this book just so I can have that cover on my shelf!

DEVIL'S KISS by Sarwat Chadda: I lost my heart to Sarwat at BEA this summer. Even if I hadn't read the ARC he so splendidly signed, I would still be buying this book. But on top of that, the book is GOOD! Modern day Knights Templar with the first female knight. Need I say more?

FOREST BORN by Shannon Hale: A new Bayern book. Are you a Shannon Hale fan? You should be!

ODD AND THE FROST GIANTS by Neil Gaiman: I admit, I don't have the foggiest idea what this book is about, not do I care. See who it's written by? I'm convinced!:)

FIRE by Kristin Cashore: The woman who is single-handedly putting high fantasy back on the YA map. Go Kristin!

LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfield: People, I stood in line for 45 minutes to get this ARC at BEA. A new series from the author of the UGLIES series!

THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner: Book of overwhelming awesomeness that I am giving away at the end of this post. In. Credible. Awesomeness.

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS by Jeff Kinney: My children want this. They have eaten up the first three.

HUSH HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick: A debut by a friend of my husband's friend. We're, like, related!

SPLENDOR by Anna Godbersen: My guilty pleasure. I actually always wait for these to come out in hardcover before asking my editor for them because the covers are so amazing!

And that is just September and October!!! There are more amazing books coming out in November and December (like Beautiful Creatures *koffkoff*) and I will do another rundown when we get there.

So this fall is amazing for readers. Let's just say that when the Publishers Weekly On-Sale calendar came out, I gulped and was supremely glad Wings came out in the summer.:) So yeah, publishing is exploding and I am very happily reading everything I can get my hands on in the very limited time I have between writing and keeping my two-year-old from dumping salt all over the floor.:D

Are you still reading? Wow, you're awesome. You deserve something cool.

You deserve a chance to win the most awesome book coming out this fall!!!!

I was kindly gifted an ARC of The Maze Runner by James back in April (okay, I stole it in front of his wife so he couldn't be mean and rip it back out of my hands, actually, but hey, let's not be picky about definitions!) and that one is going nowhere except under my pillow every night. (I kid, I kid! . . . it has its own bed.:D) but while I was at BEA, they were cleaning up and I happened to wander through a nearly deserted room and looked down and what did I find at an empty table but another ARC of The Maze Runner. And, well, everyone knows that when it comes to ARCs at BEA, the whole Finders Keepers Rule is law. So I picked it up, put it in my bag, and now you have a chance to win it!

Now, unlike most book giveaways I do here, this ARC is not new. I've passed it around a lot the last three months and its been well loved. (See exhibit A.)


But I bet you'll forgive me if it's signed, right??
So, one signed copy of James Dashner's THE MAZE RUNNER up for grabs a whole month before you can get it in stores! All you have to do is comment. I will keep this contest open until after I get home from Labor Day weekend because, well, I'll be busy till then.:D

Comment away!

Ciao!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fan Sites and Forums!!!

I am SO excited to share this!

Ready?

No really, ready?

I HAVE A FANSITE!!! *glee*

A lovely guy (a GUY!) in England named Ben has made a really lovely fansite, complete with a forum, for Wings! I am so exceptionally thrilled! It is at www.wingsfansite.com and has a link to the forums. (Gee, can you tell I am excited by the forums?) I am a member of the forums there with a pic and everything, so if you see someone named Aprilynne Pike posting there, it actually is me.:D

I have been meaning to do a bunch of these links and now seems as good a time as any.:D

I have a Facebook fan page that you can find here: my husband maintains it, and I do a lot of commenting, and again, if I comment there, it actually is me.:)

There is a mini-site here by my lovely friend Mai.

And just because I think fan art is awesome, here are some links from Deviant Art!

http://pologurl.deviantart.com/art/Wings-128063936

http://unsinkable-spirit.deviantart.com/art/Laurel-126153468

http://swiftstardawn.deviantart.com/art/Faerie-Girl-127247411

So yeah, enjoy!!!

And, um, join the forum.

I mean, have a nice day. :D

Ciao!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How I'm Spending My Summer

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned. It has been nine days since my last blog entry and I don't actually have a good reason for it. Well, kind of. I mean, I did spend five days in Utah.

So, um, yeah, with that extremely eloquent segue, let's go with Utah.:D Utah was fun! I signed at the BYU Bookstore on Wednesday and the coolest part was that they made me a really big sign. (Why yes, I am easily amused.:))

And they spelled my name right!!! (Seriously, I was worried. Very few people spell my name right on the first try.)

My brother is a chick magnet (no, not you Richard, the other one.;)) This will relate in a second, trust me. He meets cute girls everywhere he goes and then, he keeps contact with them and they hook up all over the Western United States! This is like ten times cooler than actually calling the next day. So this week he was in Utah too and not only did he hang out with several girls he met in Utah earlier this summer (see, calling the next day, and week, and month!) but he sent them to my signing!!! Such a good brother. As proof, here are the uber cute girls who came to my signing all because of my brother, Corbett.

Thanks Corbett!! And thanks K&K for stopping by!! (I forgot to ask them if I could use their full names, so initials is all you get.:))

Then, on Friday, I did a signing at a Barnes and Noble in Sugarhouse, which quite frankly, sounds like an awesome place to live.

Where are you from?

Me? Oh I live in Sugarhouse. *flips hair*

It works, don't you think??:D

Okay, so at the Sugarhouse signing, the coolest thing that has ever happened to me at a signing happened. If you follow me on Twitter, you already know this.:D I had a girl fly up from San Francisco with her parents for the sole reason of coming to my signing.

How. Freaking. Cool. Is. That!??!?!?

Not only that but she is only nine years old and (obviously) very advanced for her age and reads voraciously! So thank you so much Breanna for coming to my signing! I hope it was worth it!!!


A bit off topic, a friend of mine, Janette Rallison (As You Wish, My Fair Godmother, etc.) is doing an article on author's workspaces and I've submitted a picture of mine. But I thought the picture looked cool (because, well, I'm in love with my office!) and as a sneak peak to her article, here is the picture I submitted to her. It represents all of the moving and unpacking I have done this summer.:D

*le sigh* Seriously, I love my office.

Because when I am in my office (did you catching THAT staggeringly amazing segue? Sometimes I even impress myself! *koffkoff*) . . . I write my books!!!! And that is the main thing I have been doing this summer. Or at least the last half of this summer.:D This week I hit 50k words on the third Wings book, tentatively titled Book Three.:D I'm almost done!!! Well, with the first draft. Several months of work to be done after that, but I LOVE finishing first drafts!! It is so fun to fit all my plot pieces together and see how they fit. The further along I get in the series the more I find myself working from an outline. There are just so many things I need to get in there to set up the final book that I need a general list. But there are a lot of sideplots that I just throw in, and those are so fun too. And making them all fit, well, it's just a blast!

And sometimes it really is a lot of work, but I am feeling quite optimistic tonight because I wrote two scenes (that just happen to come back-to-back) that I have been looking forward to writing since before the first draft of Wings was done. Two years, people.

It was so satisfying.

And in another two to three weeks, I should be done! Whoa!!! That is still freaking me out. I try not to think about being done until I am well past the half-way point. And for me, 50k is way past the halfway point. That finish line is in sight, and the last third of this book is SUCH a wild ride.

I can't wait for tomorrow. Eeee!!!!

And that's how I'm spending my summer! (Requisite wrap-up sentence.;))

Ciao!

Monday, August 17, 2009

All Good Stuff!!!

Winning is always good, right???

Okay, the winner of Secrets of Truth and Beauty is . . . .


Devon Hernandez!!!

Devon, please email me at aprilynne pike at gmail dot com (no spaces and the dot becomes a period, etc.) with your address and I will get SECRETS in the mail to you!! . . . I think I have some Late Bloomer decals left-over too.

Thank you everyone for entering!! I love seeing that people like things about themselves!! One of the criticisms I frequently get for WINGS is that readers don't like that Laurel thinks she is pretty and I always want to be like, hey! Don't we spend millions on school programs to help young girls gain confidence in themselves? Why is it suddenly bad for a teenage girl to think she is pretty? So yes, I will totally defend Laurel's confidence and hope that my readers feel the same about themselves!

Okay, I have been bursting to tell you guys this, but was waiting a little while to make sure that Harper did not change their mind. But the paperback is up on Amazon now with the new scheduling, so I think it is official!! You remember how I announced about a month ago that the sequel to Wings would be coming out June 8th?? Well, they changed their minds. In a good way!!

Now it is coming out MAY 4th!!!!!

I have to tell you I don't know why a month seems to make such a big difference, but it does! I am so stoked to have it come out a month and four days earlier than I thought!

Also, they've decided to release the paperback of Wings a month early too, so it will be out April 6th! A whole month before the sequel hits! So yeah, that makes me really happy.:)

Also, a reminder to Utah people that I am doing two Utah events next week. Details here!!

Ciao!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program For . . .

FREE STUFF!

Enter by commenting! Check it out!


Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today



Ciao!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Goats and Sisters and Pageants, Oh My!

I have been looking forward to this blog entry for almost a year. In the Debs we do something called DebSwap. What happens is that when a Deb gets ARCs, she offers one up for DebSwap (or he, we do have a couple of guys . . . I'm looking at you Kurtis!!:D). The ARC gets sent from Deb to Deb and before we send the ARC on, we sign it, write a message, leave notes in the text, we even have a super-talented Deb who draws illustrations. It's a really fun thing. Well, last summer, I managed to be the first one on the list for Secrets of Truth and Beauty. And it was the first DebARC I ever got in the mail.

To be totally honest I wasn't that interested in it. I like my fiction with a big scoop of supernatural and I don't read a lot of real-life contemporary. But there was something about a goat farm and goats are cool and it was my first DebARC! So I sat and started to read.

And I fell in love with this book. In. Love. This is an amazing book. So exquisitely, perfectly done. It is a deceptively light book that sucks you in before you realize that you are in a very deep place (and it makes you want goat cheese!!)

But before I gush too much, here is a bit about the book: When Dara Cohen was little, she was crowned Little Miss Maine. That was then. Now Dara's seventeen and she's not so little anymore. That's just one of her many problems. Another is that her control-freak mom won't get off her case about anything. Yet the one that hurts the most is the family secret: Dara has an older sister her parents tried to erase from their lives.

And a bit about Megan: Megan Frazer studied English literature and creative writing at Columbia University. She lives with her husband and baby in Maine, where she is a high school librarian. She loves cheese and cooking, and both of these make their way into Secrets of Truth & Beauty. She was not, however, ever in a beauty pageant.

Seriously people, this is an amazing book about discovering yourself and what family really means. If you love Sarah Dessen, you will love this book. If you love goat cheese, you will love this book. If you love strong, smart heroines, you will love this book. If you love to read you. will. love. this. book. I have been telling everyone I know about this book for months and it was so nice to be able to start telling people last month that they could go out and buy it (because after six months of hearing about a book that is still not available, people start to thing you are *koffkoff* CRAZY!:)) So yes, SECRETS is in stores now, and I recommend that you stop whatever you are doing right now and go out and buy it. Really.

However, if you do feel the need to finish the blog entry before you rush out, there might be a chance to just win it at the end. That's all I'm sayin'.;)

Okay, Feasty Five!!

AP: What kind of soda does your MC drink?

MF: Moxie. She is a Maine girl, after all.

AP: *looks out at the readers in confusion* Moxie? *retreats to Google* Wow! Check this stuff out! Cool!! Anyway, yeah, back to the matter at hand.

MF: *waits patiently*

AP: What is your MC's favorite kind of flower? How about yours?

MF: Dara's favorite flower would be something graceful and dramatic, like a calla lily. I love lady slippers, and I love the smell of lilacs and honeysuckle.

AP: Does your MC believe in magic? Do you?

MF: Dara is too practical to believe in magic. As for me, I want to believe.

AP: Superman or Batman?

MF: I think Batman. I like the idea of someone creating the hero, not being born that way. Although the fact that Bruce Wayne is super rich and that's how he's able to have all the gadgets and stuff, well, that's less impressive to me. I've always kind of liked Spiderman, actually, and the way his mind is so important.

AP: Give us one line from your book. You don't even have to give it context.:)

MF: "So not only was it an ugly unicorn, it was an expensive, ugly unicorn."

AP: Hehe, I love that quote!

One of the things I love about SECRETS, is that it is not your stereotypical "fat girl" book where you have an overweight heroine with lots of problems, who loses a ton of weight and becomes rich, popular, wanted by boys, and admired by all. I hate those kinds of books. Self-confidence comes from the inside, not the outside!! This is a book about loving who you are, insides, outsides, everything.

And in the spirit of that, I'd like to offer a chance to win this incredible book with the simple entry fee of commenting and telling me something you like about yourself. This contest ends when my daughter goes to school on Monday and I will send a copy out early next week.

In fact, if you tell me TWO things you like about yourself, I will give you an extra entry.

I'll even start. I like my hair and my eyes.

And while you are thinking--sorting through the zillions of good qualities I know you all have in order to settle on just two--got check out Megan at her website.

Ciao!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Today, Next Week, and Communication in General

Hey all!! Sorry it's been so long since my last post. I got copy-edits!! But more of that in a minute.

Okay, I have been meaning to post this for about a week--I have two signings next week! Unfortunately, they are in the same place so unless you live in Utah, this isn't very news-ey. However, if you DO live in Utah, you now have TWO choices.:)

Okay, I will be signing at the BYU Bookstore in Provo, Utah on Wednesday, August 19th at 1:00 PM. Technically I am there because it is Education Week at BYU, but you don't have to be attending E.W. in order to come. So if you are in the area, stop by! I would LOVE to see you! (And there will be chocolate.:D)

On Friday, August 21st I will be signing at the Sugarhouse Barnes and Noble at 5:00 PM. So there will be plenty of time to come and say hi, and then grab your main squeeze and got for a date! (After all, convenience is Laurel's middle name.:D) There will be chocolate here too.:)

So if you live in Utah, please stop by! I would love to say hi!!!

Okay, regular readers have probably noticed that I generally do not respond to comments. Sadly, I just don't have time. I do read them all (and often follow links if they are there. I got to see more casting videos on YouTube because of the comments!! Thanks!!) I love comments and try to keep them in mind when I am deciding what to post about next. So you guys may feel like you are commenting into the dark, but I promise you aren't! I read every single comment!

I also get messages on MySpace, FaceBook, Twitter, etc. as well as email. At the moment, I am answering all of my email. Every single one. It just takes about a week. (Two right now because I am under deadline.) So it may take a while, but I do answer! If you haven't gotten a reply and it's been like three weeks, please write me again. It means my spam filter caught you.:D

Twitter I'm not quite as good at because I haven't figured out how to tell if I have responded or not and I will generally choose to skip it rather that look like a total dork by responding twice. So I would say I respond to about half of my Twitters.

Okay, so you know what I have on my docket today??

Reading through my sequel from beginning to end!

I finished the bulk of the copy edits yesterday and am just reading through the whole thing today. I love this part! Things are starting to really get clean, and I am reading through it as much to make sure that I know which parts I left in and which parts I took out as anything. (So I don't answer questions wrong at signings.:))

Funny story, about a month back, a reviewer commented that she thought my book was inappropriate because it contained . . . let's call it Element A. And I was like, "Huh?? There's no Element A in there! Well, there is this one scene where this one thing happens. But I think it is pretty clear that it's an accident. Not on purpose. I would hardly classify that as Element A." But, yanno, whatever.

Then, yesterday, I was reading through copy edits in book two and came across that scene!! I was like, "oh no! There is a scene from book one in book two!!! How did that happen?!?!?"

Nope, I'm just a moron. That scene was always in book two. But working on books two and three while trying to launch book one has officially screwed with my head.:D

Also, now I have NO clue how the reviewer was seeing Element A in my book. And it's a pretty darn specific element so . . . I don't know. Maybe they read the wrong book???

Who knows.

Anyway, so today I am reading book two so I can remember what exactly is in it.:) (And so I don't give away too many spoilers at my signing next week, thinking I am talking about book one.)

So, in sum-up, come see me next week, if you can't then send me an email or MySpace message, and seriously, look forward to book two, I think it's awesome.:D

Ciao!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Video of Awesomeness!!!

Oh, I am so excited!! People are starting to make stuff on YouTube for Wings!!!

This one, by Minea Funk is my favorite so far. It's her dream cast. She is also the first person I found to suggest an actor for Tamani and well, let's just say I like her taste!



It's fun to see "fan art" go to a whole new level! Fan videos! Yay!

*And, standard disclaimer, I STILL have no control over casting, Just having fun here.;)*

Ciao!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

I Am SO Far Behind . . .

So, I always write during the summers. Have for the last three years (because my husband is amazing and wonderful!) This summer I knew I was going to be getting a late start because, um, well, my book came out in May.:D

And my husband graduated law school.

And we moved out of state.

And I spent about six weeks touring.

But hey! I write fast and we figured that we would be able to make up the time in the second half of the summer and just push into September. It would be just fine.

However, after three weeks without their mom (because my family moved before I was done touring) the children--my then one-year-old-son especially--were a little traumatized. And since family comes before work, and we were taking a family vacation in two weeks anyway, we decided to wait for me to start writing till we got back from the vacation and just spend those two weeks having family time. So we got back from our family vacation at the end of June and I got to work!

Except that I got invited to come do four days of WesterCon over July 4th weekend . . . Aw, it's only four days. Got that done and back to work!

Except for, yanno, my, my husband's and my son's birthdays.

Oh, and Kenny went to go present a keynote response speech for a Law and Educators conference in Portland, Maine for four days.

Well, and ten days ago my husband's parents found out on Tuesday night that they had to be out of their house that they have lived in for eleven years with nine children the following Wednesday and be ready to move to Utah. That didn't disrupt our schedule at all. (It's a good thing! Not a disaster; it just happened very fast!)

So here I am on August second, when I expected to be no less that 50-60 thousand words into my draft--or possibly even done--and I am sitting at 27,000 words, and my children start school in one week. Go me . . . .

*laugh* Now, I am one of those people who like to work really far ahead of my deadlines, so don't think I am *technically* behind, because I'm not. Just behind compared to where I had hoped to be, and mostly it's because my life exploded this summer. In all good ways!

However, with this last week before school starts, and nothing (and I mean nothing) on the schedule, I am basically going into my office every morning at ten, and no one is seeing me again until four.:D (Honey, you've been warned.:)) And during that time, I hope to write about 15,000 words, catch up on two DebTours, catch up on Myspace, and return the ten or so emails that are still waiting for me in my inbox.

It's going to be a big week! Wish me luck!

Ciao!