Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Pictures!

My apologies that the last post did not have any pictures. Something about the Wi-Fi in the Denver airport would not let me upload pictures. *shrug* No idea why.

So as promised, here they are!

LA was gorgeous. We are suffering experiencing a lot of snow and very cold weather here in Utah so I was so overjoyed when I walked out of the airport into light sweater weather and saw green bushes. Sure, they were just bushes, but they were green!

I was lucky enough to have a great view from my hotel room not only of the skyline where I could see a strip of the ocean . . .

but also a beautiful garden in the courtyard behind the hotel.

I could have looked at that garden all day! It was so beautiful and I really enjoyed having a break from winter. (On a colder note, it is supposed to be freezing in New York next week. *sad*

The dinner was amazing. It was at this quaint little restaurant called Derek's Bistro and had lovely ambiance. And we got to meet Derek himself while we were there!

It was really a lovely, lovely dinner.

In Denver I stayed at an older and very beautiful hotel. Denver has a different feel to it. I don't even really know how to describe it, but I really liked it. My view wasn't quite as green as the LA view (ha!), but I really enjoyed seeing the Denver skyline.

I love how things like views can be so different and equally gorgeous.

The lobby of this hotel was so homey and beautiful. I wish I'd gotten a chance to sit in it longer. especially in front of that warm fireplace!

And look at that wood floor. SO incredibly gorgeous!

We had dinner that night in downtown Denver at a restaurant called Bistro Vendome. Really, really incredible food! I forgot to get a picture inside the restaurant, but John (Harper's rep and the fabulous host!) took some pics of me a couple of the guests.

It really was such and amazing, beautiful, delicious, unforgettable trip and I hope you guys have enjoyed sharing part of it with me.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

First Leg Done!

Oh my lovely readers! I have missed you! Or perhaps I have simply missed the internet connection that leads to you . . . or some of both.;)

I am back from the first leg of my pre-publication tour and it was . . . is there a word better than marvelous? Stupendous maybe? Glorious! Electricying! Stellar! Pick a word; they all apply.:)

This week I hit Los Angeles and Denver. Oh, they were so awesome! Each dinner had about ten people there who were all bookstore workers or librarians. (And in LA there was a teen reader! That was so cool!!) Basically we all sat around for four hours talking about books and enjoying excellent food. It just doesn't get much better than that!

And I signed ARCs! I actually signed my books! That was quite surreal. Of course, it's a bit surreal that strangers are even reading my book at all. I mean, my family and friends HAVE to. But these people? They read it on their own AND came to a dinner to talk to me about it! The ultimate compliment, IMO.

We talked a lot about the Newbery's and, since Neil Gaiman is published by my house, the Harper reps in attendance were particularly excited! It's an honor for the publisher as well as the author when a book is selected for such a prestigious award, and I will count myself in good company just to be included in the stable of authors at his house.:)

Books that were also talked about heavily at both dinners: Savvy, by Ingrid Law, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (you just say the words "Hunger Games" and everyone at the table bursts into chatter!), Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer, and Blueberries for Sal, which everyone lamented going out of print.:(

Books that were heavily recommended to me: Death By Bikini and Death by Latte, Gossip Girls (if you believe it!), Arrival (a wordless graphic novel!), and Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, which is apparently selling like popcorn in the south.

Things that I learned: if anyone hands you a bottle of water, take it! There were bottles of water in all of my car rides and they were a lifesaver. I knew that flying made you dehydrated, but I've never flown this much in so few days so I'd never experienced it. Water=good.:) My hair always takes ten minutes longer to do than I think it will. I will plan accordingly next week.:D Just hold still when the car stops. If you and the driver are both trying to open the door, you run into each other. (I feel a little strange always having someone open my car door. Fun! but a little weird.)

I am SO stoked to go to New York next week! I went for three days last summer and found my true love. I am anxious to go back! I am also anxious to see my editor and agent and to meet my publicist! The team behind the book is truly what makes a book shine and I love, love, LOVE my team!!!

Till then, I have tons to do. My pages arrived on Tuesday and rather than 1000 pages, there are 1371 pages. Whew! There will be much signing and when I get home (I am sitting in the Denver Airport at the moment . . . BEST airport I have ever flown from!!!!) there will be pictures.:)


Monday, January 26, 2009

EBay Goodness and Where to Start

This morning I officially became a REAL author!!!

How, you may ask. Did my book come out? Nope--still waiting for Cinco de Mayo. Did I get my first review? Nope--look for those in late March or April. Did I get my first publishing contract? Don't be silly. That happened AGES ago.;)

So, what's the big deal?

I'M ON EBAY!!!!!

Yes, yes. My ARC is now on sale on EBay. Whoo-hoo! This is totally a rite of passage I have been waiting for since my ARCs first came out. Please don't be enraged on my behalf, as some authors are. I think it's awesome!

A bit pricey though. What happened to five buck ARCs???

Also, we are down to double digits till release day! 98 days!!! I am considering making a paper chain . . . but we'll see. You want to hear about my February? It's CRAZY!!

I am touring for the next two weeks, sometime this week I will be getting 1000 title pages to sign (special promotion) that are due in three weeks, I will be recording a 25 minute podcast *nervous*, and I should be getting an ed letter for the sequel to Wings soon. Good thing my hubby has a light class load. I sense much child-watching in his future.:)

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I am *so* excited that promotion is really starting to roll! I've been looking forward to the next three months for a year and a half!! Bring it on!!!

Okay, in some semblance of seriousness, two posts ago, Miranda made a comment and asked, "If I want to write a book, where do I start?"

It's a great question.

The answer is!!!!

I don't know.

No seriously. I have written five books (well, six, technically, but after I finished two of them, I put them together and cut about a third of the words and made them one book instead.) and I have started all of them in different ways.

Book 1 (which is the 2 book hybrid)= I woke up with a magic system and the vague wisp of a plot. I started writing immediately.

Book 2= I decided I wanted to write a romance and I sat down and thought up a plot. It simmered for weeks before I started writing.

Book 3= Wings, I came up with a mythos and a hint of a MC. I also started writing this one immediately.

Book 4= I woke up with a very clear first chapter and the MC's voice. Not his face, not his hobbies, not his character. Just his voice. I wrote that first chapter within hours and then sat on it for a long time until I slowly developed a plot.

Book 5= A sequel. It was a plot that has been in my head for a long time, but it did a lot of changing as book one changed in edits. It was in my head for over six months before I wrote the first word of it.

As you can see, I don't have a hard and fast answer. The simple, and perhaps too obvious answer, is that you just start. I don't even know exactly what that means. Start thinking? Start outlining? Start writing?


Whatever works for you, for this story.

I have a degree in Creative Writing; do I think you need one? No. Do I recommend that you take a creative writing course or two? Sure, if you want to. But every author and every story is different. All I know, is that at some point, you DO have to start. I know so many people who say, "Yeah, I want to write a book someday."

Do it! Just start! Sometimes I think starting is the hardest part.

Then I remember edits and realize that starting is only the second hardest part.;)

But the point is that writing is a personal thing and you have to figure out for yourself what works.

Some advice that I think applies to everyone: read. You can't write a good story if you don't read a good story. And in addition, I think everyone should read some bad books too. Force your way through a really terrible book once in a while to remind yourself what NOT to do. But no matter what else you do, read. You have to read to be able to write. Absolutely.

In accordance with Steph (Reviewer X)'s request (LOL!) there will be plenty of updating this week as I share a bit of my travels. So stay tuned!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Foxfire and Hauntings and Spellbooks, oh my!

Welcome to the first in the DebsTour 2009!!! In the spotlight this week, a book that is probably fairly familiar to you, Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell the magnificent!:)

"Nothing ever happened in Ondine, Louisiana, not even the summer Elijah Landry disappeared.

His mother knew he ascended to heaven, the police believed he ran away, and his girlfriend thought he was murdered.

Decades later, certain she saw his ghost in the town cemetery, fourteen-year-old Iris Rhame is determined to find out the truth behind "The Incident With the Landry Boy."

Enlisting the help of her best friend Collette, and forced to endure the company of Collette's latest crush, Ben, Iris spends a summer digging into the past and stirring old ghosts, in search of a boy she never knew.

What she doesn't realize is that in a town as small as Ondine, every secret is a family secret."

I've been lucky enough to read this book in ARC form and it is one of my very favorites of 2009. It is also a Junior Library Guild selection and had a very nice review from Kirkus! And for your reading pleasure, a few questions for the author, Saundra Mitchell!

What kind of soda does your MC drink?

It's in the book I swear- Iris Rhame drinks RC Cola, and a wicked lot of it, at that.

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

Iris' favorite kind of flower is swamp mallow, AKA scarlet hibiscus. My favorite kind are orchids.

Does your MC believe in magic? Do you?

Oh yes. On both counts.

Superman or Batman?

Batman. Always. Ever. (But not Batman Forever.)

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

"Wind kissed my ear, cool and soft, and I heard a voice. It sounded like clover tastes, green and new and sweet."

Look for Shadowed Summer in a bookstore near you on February 10!


Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Idea . . .

Dear Book Idea,

I'm so glad you came to visit. I've been looking for a new idea! And so complete too; a whole storyline! You've been very generous. And I am grateful, don't get me wrong.

But did you have to come at 5:00 A.M. on Saturday morning? I was sleeping!

Was being the key word.

*yawn* *sigh*


Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's Finally Here!!

We are kicking off the new year at 2009 Debutantes!! And one of the coolest things we are doing in called the 12 Months of Debsness. On the fifteenth of every month you can enter to win a huge bag of goodies! As a bonus, two of those bags (random) also come with a fifty dollar gift certificate to a bookstore of your choice!! And all you have to do is click on the icon below and go comment. No jumping through hopes or posting stuff on your blog or anything. Just comment. And throughout the year you will have twelve chances to win!!

And now, the icon of awesomeness!!!

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

Along with the 12 Months of Debsness, I will also be doing twelve months of Deb interviews. (There will still be regular content too--consider it bonus content.:)) So about once a week you'll find an interview of one of the illustrious Debutantes. First up! Saundra Mitchell, next week, followed by Stacey Jay the week after. Stay tuned!!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Adrienne Kress, Timothy, Alex, and Kenny

Good Morning!

One of the coolest things about being an author is making author friends. Authors are some of the nicest people I have ever met. And they come with the bonus of fun books to read too! (Really, how many friends come with bonus features??)

One of my favorite author friends is Adrienne Kress, author of a MG novel called Alex and the Ironic Gentleman. Fun FUN book that has such a classic feel to it. All of the chapters are called "In Which . . . . " As Eoin Colfer said, "There was a nod to Lewis Carroll and a wink to Charles Dickens." And it is such an apt description!

The reason I'm mentioning this is that Adrienne's second book is being released today! Timothy and the Dragon's Gate. More of the same classic voice, zany adventures with hidden meaning, and unforgettable characters. And speaking of unforgettable characters . . . Alex is back! She makes an appearance and Timothy's Comrade in Arms! I am so excited for that!

So seriously, if you are looking for an example of literary-esque writing in a story that is unput-downable, check out Adrienne's books. Also, you can check out her blog or her website.:)

Congratulations Adrienne!!!

I don't brag about my husband very often *attempts to hold a straight face* Okay, fine. I brag about him all the time.:) But I'm going to do it again. My husband is an incredible editor. He's a great second eye for all of my books and if I am willing to listen, he always knows how to make it better.

He's my cheerleader, but not in the way you would think.

Here is how the situation generally goes. I finish my book. I don't hand him a first draft. I clean it up, do usually 2-4 drafts, find every typo I can, etc. So I hand him something that I would feel confident handing in to my agent. And there is always one part that I am so tickled for him to read because, Man! I really think I've nailed it!

He's fast. He usually gets it back to me in a day or two. And we do track changes for his comments and edits. I always get it and start at the beginning, meaning to go slowly through the whole thing. There are comments and edits that make me go, man, I suck! But eventually, I skip them and go right to the part I am SURE I've nailed.

And I have never, not once!, actually nailed it.

And even though I always hate it at the moment, I love that my husband is brave enough to tell me so.

He really is my cheerleader. But instead of cheering, "Yay! You can do it! You're the most awesome author ever!!" He cheers more like this: "Yay, you're done with a first draft! Now make it better!"

Kenny's edits are always tough on my confidence. Because he is brutally honest. But they make my book SO much better. Plus, when I am slaving away at my edits and inevitably have to turn to him and ask, "Is this just a bad book?" He will always come back and remind me that it's a great book . . . it's just not done yet.

I hope you all have someone like this in your life. Someone willing to shatter your illusions. Who will help you see that you are not at the top of the mountain, you're only halfway. And then give you a boost to start climbing again.

But they are only half of the equation. The other half is you. You have to listen.

Is my husband right all the time? No, of course not. I ignore some of his suggestions. (usually the little ones.) But most of the time, he is.

Plus, he gets me prepared for my ed letter from Tara because she does not pull any punches. And my books are way, way better for it.

I love my cheerleader.:)


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

In Which Aprilynne Catches Up On A Ton Of News

I love 2009. Best. Year. Evar!!!! Lots of exciting things are happening, but first, some things that have already happened.

Foreign Rights: I'm pretty sure I announced on my blog that my series has sold into Germany. Random House Germany will be publishing WINGS in the summer of 2010, but then they will release the next three books about nine months apart so that by the time the final book rolls around, it will be published at about the same time in Germany and the U.S.

In November I found out that Harper UK had also decided to buy the series. This was a huge surprise to me because Harper UK actually passed on WINGS this summer. It was rather disappointing, to tell the truth. But the person who passed on my series got replaced this Fall and the new person asked if they could have a second look. They apparently liked it a lot better than the previous person, and decided to buy the whole series and rush it a little for a simultaneous release. Everyone repeat after me: Publishing is an extremely subjective business!! One person anywhere on the chain can make a HUGE difference.

Lastly, just before Christmas, my first two books sold into Estonia. (I'll wait while you Google it . . .) See! isn't it a cool little country! And it is now one of my favorite four countries in the whole world. :D I don't have any other sharable details about that, but hopefully soon!

Next . . . are you ready . . . ?

I FINISHED MY BOOK!!!! I'm really excited about this, can you tell? This is my klepto ghost book that I have been working one (and you poor readers have been hearing about, I'm sorry!) for two and a half years now. I have never had to work on a book for that long, but it just kept getting pushed to the back burner. I am working on just a few tweaks (I mess with even finished books constantly!) but I am going to make myself stop messing with it and send it to my agent on Monday. Yay!!

Okay, on to future news.

I gush about The Feast of Awesome (aka 2009 Debutantes) ALL the time, but with 2009 finally being upon us, we are launching some really great contests, one of the funnest being the 12 Months of Debsmas!

The 12 Months of Debsness Giveaway is Coming!

Awww, look at them. Aren't they pretty!! We will be doing goody-bag giveaways, book giveaways, gift card giveaways There are shirts! Mugs! Buttons! Dude, we have it ALL. How do you join in the fun? Simple. Become a watcher. And if you don't want to, that's cool too. You can just stay right here at my blog.:)

With May fifth being only 117 days away, there are going to be lots of exciting things happening both here at my blog, and in my life. I am headed on a pre-publication tour in two and a half weeks (not that I'm counting . . . . ) and I will be heading to L.A., Denver, Chicago, Ann Arbor, and New York City. Unfortunately, this isn't a traditional tour where I can say, "Hey! If you're in the area, come to the signing and then let's go for dessert!" However, if you ARE in the area and are really Jonesing for some late-night dessert after the dinners are over, feel free to email me and we'll see if we can work something out.:) I promise lots of pictures and a fully-detailed write up! (Hopefully night by night, but no promises.;))

I have had a few people ask, and I WILL be doing an ARC giveaway for WINGS. However, due to the craziness of the winter break with holidays, vacations, and etc. I decided to wait a bit. So since my book is very romantic anyway, I will be doing an ARC giveaway around Valentine's Day and there will be runner up prizes too.:) I did not forget you guys in my ARC-iness!!!

Oh! I got an awesome review from Teen Book Review. I cetainly can't complain about five windows from Jocelyn.:) *Please note that there are spoilers in this review. They are clearly marked, but they ARE there. You've been warned.:)* Considering some of the other five window books there, I am feeling in quite fine company.:)

Okay, I think that's all the news . . . or at least all the big news . . . for now . . . I think . . .:) I promise to not post any more boring news next blog entry. In fact, I'll give you a teaser. My next entry will be about why I love that my husband tells me, "Honey, you can do better."


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy Year of Awesomeness!!!

Happy New Year!!!!!

I have never, in my whole life, been as excited for a year as I am this year! And not just because of my book. This is a really big year for my whole family.

In April, after three long and grueling years, my husband will graduate from law school!! Go Kenny! (He's *almost* there!)

Twelve days later, WINGS will come out! (Happy Dance!)

And then sometime this summer we will move.

Which leads to the first exciting thing that will happen this year which is that Kenny will hear from his prospective PhD programs and we will find out WHERE we are moving to.:)

A lot of big things happening this year and--at least at the moment--all of them are good.:)

Catching up from last entry, the winner of What I Saw and How I Lied is Arya_Darcy!! Arya, please email me with your address so I can send you the book!

And secondly, I won a blog award!! Yay!!! Check it!

Thank you Jen for awarding me this lovely award!!!

And I know everyone is listing goals and resolutions, but I'm not going to.:) I am out to enjoy this ride to the fullest possible. So, yes, I have goals, but I am not going to make them public and then stress over reaching them to save my public face. (LOL!) I am just going to spend the entire year of 2009 partying like it's . . . 2009.

Here's to the start of one of the best years of my life so far!!!!! Hooray!!!!!!!