Monday, October 11, 2010

40 In Stores This Week Part 1 (with Interviews & Giveaways)

This week is so jam-packed with tempting new YA books that we're featuring two posts to fit them all in! Thanks so much YALit.com for helping us pinpoint this week's releases. Read on for interviews and book descriptions. Scroll all the way down for a chance to win prizes!

This Week's Interviews


Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences by Brian Yansky
  • From Goodreads: Jesse is in history class when a formidable, efficient race of aliens quietly takes over the earth in less time than it takes him to brush his teeth. Most humans simply fall asleep and never wake up. In moments, everyone Jesse knows and loves is gone, and he finds that he is now a slave to an inept alien leader. On the bright side, Jesse discovers he’s developing telepathic powers, and he’s not the only one. Soon he’s forging new friendships and feeling unexpectedly hopeful. When a mysterious girl appears in his dreams, talking about escaping, Jesse begins to think the aliens may not be invincible after all. But if Jesse and his friends succeed, is there anywhere left to go? Brian Yansky offers a funny, grim novel packed with everything boys and sci-fi fans love: aliens, humor, action, and a healthy dose of triumph.
 
How long did you work on this book?
The first draft took all of a month to write. A month? Yep, a whole month. It was like a gift. The words just kept pouring out of me. It was wonderful. Unfortunately, the rewrites were extensive and took nearly a year. That’s the writer’s life. Writing a novel is never easy. Then, of course, there were more rewrites with my editor at Candlewick.

How long was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
This is actually my third published novel. The first two, MY ROAD TRIP TO THE PRETTY GIRL CAPITAL OF THE WORLD (Cricket Books) and WONDERS OF THE WORLD (Flux), were published by small presses. Even though I’d published two novels, ALIEN INVASION & OTHER INCONVENIENCES did get a few rejections (not everyone loves aliens apparently) before it found a home with Candlewick. I feel very lucky to have them as my publisher. They publish so many great books.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Write what you love to write. Most likely it will be your own unique version of the kinds of books you love to read. Write what you love because when you do get that offer from an agent and then a publisher it will be for a novel you loved writing, a novel you really care about.

What surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The way room service is so slow when you’re on a book tour and staying at yet another four-star hotel. Wait, that was a dream. I don’t know what surprised me most. I can say fan mail surprised me. I was honored and touched by people writing emails to tell me what they loved about the book.
                
Stork by Wendy Delsol
  • From Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Katla has just moved from Los Angeles to the sticks of Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, she learns to her horror that she’s a member of an ancient order of women who decide to whom certain babies will be born. Add to that Wade, the arrogant football star whom Katla regrettably fooled around with, and Jack, a gorgeous farm boy who initially seems to hate her. Soon Katla is having freaky dreams about a crying infant and learns that, as children, she and Jack shared a near-fatal, possibly mystical experience. Can Katla survive this major life makeover and find a dress for the homecoming dance? Drawing from Norse mythology and inspired by The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, debut author Wendy Delsol conceives an irreverent, highly entertaining novel about embracing change and the (baby) bumps along the way.
 
How long did you work on this book?
I had a first draft of STORK in five months, which was incredibly fast for me. My previous novels had taken between 9 and 12 months. I can honestly say I was fueled by this story. I wrote it from October to February (08-09). As winter bore down, I cocooned myself in this imaginary world.
How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?Writing was always my fantasy job. It took a medical scare to turn a dream into resolve. I began my first novel in the fall of 2002; I sold STORK in the spring of 2009. During those seven years, I wrote four books, took writing courses through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival, joined critique groups, and attended writers’ conferences. For each of the three (adult) novels prior to STORK, I queried between 30-50 agents. For STORK, I queried less than ten. Jamie Brenner asked me for a full on a Tuesday and signed me that Friday. It was, needless to say, a pinch-me experience.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
First of all, read both popular and highly acclaimed books. When a story makes you stop, gasp, and reread a line or section—get out a highlighter. Reduce that moment to its essence. These vicarious experiences are why people read.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I suppose it’s that the next book isn’t any easier to write. For me, anyway, there isn’t this swell of confidence that I’ve got this thing nailed. I still want to work on craft, voice, timing—everything, really.

Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
  • From Goodreads: In a secluded village, magic sparkles on the edges of the forest. There, a young girl named Evie possesses unusually strong powers as a healer. A gypsy's charms—no more than trinkets when worn by others—are remarkably potent when Evie ties them around her neck. Her talents, and charms, have not escaped the notice of the shy stonemason's apprentice. But Evie wants more than a quiet village and the boy next-door. When the young king's carriage arrives one day, and his footman has fallen ill, Evie might just get her chance after all . . .

How long did you work on this book?
It’s hard to say exactly, but probably from start to finish, it took about a year, from first developing the idea to finishing the editing process.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I was very fortunate. I started writing humor columns for my local newspaper soon after my fourth son was born. Two years later I entered and MFA program, and two years after that I graduated with a book contract in hand. I met my agent at an SCBWI conference, so she was the first and only agent I ever submitted to. The Amaranth Enchantment, my first novel, sold on its first round of submissions. Of course, there were editors in that round who rejected it, so I know what that feels like, but all in all I consider myself lucky.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
If I place myself on my soapbox, what I would say to other writers is, even as much as you dream and work and devote yourself to your goal, realize that writing, rich as it is, is no substitute for life. It’s too easy to neglect family and friends in one’s ultra-focused pursuit of goals. It’s easy to get obsessive about reading and blogging and writing and critiquing and being in the know. Writing will change you, but it doesn’t have to change you fundamentally. Be true to who you were before you started writing, and to the people who loved you before. They may not understand everything you do, but you still want and need their love. I’ve heard many writers who’ve been at it a while say, “All my friends now are my writer friends.” It’s great that you make new friends in this community, but if it means you lost your old relationships, something went wrong.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy speaking to kids. I wish I could spend so much more time doing school visits. Kids are so excited about books – and often the ones who are most excited are the last kids you’d expect – those unruly boys who can’t sit still for anything. It is such a huge honor and privilege to go into schools as an ambassador for books and get kids excited about reading and writing something new. I hope I can do that for many years to come.

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein
  • From Goodreads: The greatest unsolved mystery of American history--what happened to all the colonists who landed on Roanoke Island in 1587? This novel traces the fortunes and misfortunes of one Cate Archer, banished to Virginia by a jealous Queen Elizabeth because of her dalliance with Sir Walter Ralegh. What will be her fate in this dangerous New World?

How long did you work on this book?
About two years, including the reading I did before I started writing. My books overlap. Between drafts of the book I'm finishing, or while I'm waiting for my editor's comments, I'll start researching and planning out a new one.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I was really lucky in that my first book, Ophelia, found an agent and publisher right after I finished it. I am even more fortunate in that my publisher, Bloomsbury, has been happy to publish the three books after that, including this one, Cate of the Lost Colony. My rejection experience came when I working on Ophelia and looking for an agent. I probably had twenty-five agents reject me in the space of 3 months. I developed a thick skin, then found I didn't need it, because the rest of the publishing process has gone smoothly for me.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Be an observer of the world around you, and especially people. Write as much as you can. Almost more importantly, read as much as you can. Read a variety of well-written books. It's like eating healthy when you're young and your brain is still developing. Everything you read is fuel for a healthy imagination and a strong grasp of language.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
Just the fact that I AM a published author! That I had one book, then another, and now I have...four books? So it's not a fluke. I really am an author! Sometimes I have to pinch myself.

The Beginner's Guide to Living by Lia Hills
  • From Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Will is in turmoil after the sudden death of his mother. His father drifts and his old brother, Adam, stays away from home. Isolated and angry, Will begins to search for answers, using his Mum's old camera and any philosophy books he can get his hands on. Then he falls for a beautiful girl, and things get even more complicated. With his final exams looming, how will he get through the tangle of grief, philosophy, sex, and love?

How long did you work on this book?
I wrote my novel in real time so it took about two months, which was the period of time in which the story took place. It was as if I was following Will on his journey - some days it was almost like I was taking dictation; the book really had a life of its own. Then of course came the editing process, both on my own, and then with my publishers, but the initial 'throwing down' of the novel was incredibly short. I often think that the speed with which it was written added to the sense of urgency in the novel, and even though it was exhausting, I believe it helped create an internal logic within the story that would have been difficult to find working more slowly.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
It's hard to say how long it took me to break into being published as a novelist as I was mostly working around my children, or writing intermittently while I travelled - I spent about ten years working and travelling in different parts of the world - but once I started writing on a more regular, serious basis (still with young kids at home), there was a period of about three years before I got my first major contract. Prior to that I'd had other work published, translated and performed, including libretti, poetry, articles and plays. I was lucky in some ways in that even from the beginning, when my work was rejected, I received a lot of encouragement from publishers who really liked what I was doing and wanted to see more, but I certainly received my share of rejection letters and emails. I started out trying to get verse novels published, which isn't easy in Australia, and my work tended to always sit 'between markets', but with The Beginner's Guide to Living things really changed for me, and suddenly the peculiarities of my work seemed to find their audience.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Be true to what you do, no matter how much rejection you receive, especially if you're doing something a little different. And write as much as you can as often as you can, until you know what your strengths are, and your weaknesses, and the craft becomes second nature to you. In the end, for me, it's all about the work, and if you too caught up in the industry side of things, it can send you crazy.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The different responses people have to my work and what they take from it. With The Beginner's Guide to Living, some people identify with Will and Taryn's relationship more than anything else, whereas others have said that it was the ideas and the way Will's example encouraged them to challenge their own beliefs that was the most important thing about the novel for them. And then there are those who could really identify with Will's experience of grief and who have told me that it articulated something in themselves and their lives that they'd been unable to find an outlet for. All these varying responses remind you that once you've written a book it passes into others hands, and in many ways is no longer your own, which is why I often think that writing a book is like creating a gift that you send out into the world, one you hope will be appreciated, maybe even cherished.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
  • From Goodreads: Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak. Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else. With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

How long did you work on this book?
Well, that’s a bit of a tricky question. The book was originally a short story. A rough of that story first popped up while I was bored in alternative school, which I was only in for a month or two. That short story was terrible. I think it was about a fast food worker (Sam) getting attacked by various mythological creatures while he was on shift and fighting them off with a mop. I worked fast food at the time, so I had a lot of material. Then while I was in college I decided to rewrite it completely, which is where Ramon, Frank and Brooke entered the picture, though Ramon and Brooke had different names. It still wasn’t that great, but it was part of my portfolio, so I guess it helped me get into grad school.

At this point, I was just working on the book in my head. It didn’t actually hit paper until my last year of graduate school where I was working on it as my thesis. My teacher, Amanda Boyden, made me throw the first few chapters away and start over, which was the best thing I’ve ever done. The first draft of the book, then called Zombie Burger was my thesis to graduate, and I wrote it in a few months. (That’s right, I got a degree for this! Mu ah ha ha ha!) I sold it right after graduation, and I’ve been working on it ever since so I guess the short answer should be about three years of actual work and about twelve years of mental preparation.


How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
My publication was actually pretty smooth. Like I said, the book was my thesis to graduate. I got an agent before I graduated, which was in May. We did some revisions—my agent is pretty hands on—and then we sold it to Holt in October. There were some passes, but at this point I was just amazed anyone was looking at it, and even the passes were pretty positive. After a week or two of that, there was a week where I interviewed with some editors, the last of which was the editor from Holt and by then she already had a green light to buy it. All the editors I talked to were great, but I got along with Reka from Holt and her vision was pretty close to mine, and of course, she got there first. So it happened super fast and everything went smoothly. Of course, then I had to wait two years for the book to come out…

The funny part is that I sold my novel before I ever got one of my short stories picked up. (Not counting the journals of the schools I went to.) I guess someone will pay me for it, but I can’t give it away for free.


What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Read as much as you can. Write as much as you can. Revise—it’s a pain, but it’s necessary. Nobody ever writes a perfect first draft, so don’t stress out over it. Find readers you trust to read your stuff. A good outside opinion is worth its weight in gold, even if it’s hard to hear. Submit, submit, submit—no one is going to walk up to you and say, “I bet your writing is brilliant, mind if I take a gander?” You have to get it out into the world, even though it’s a scary prospect sometimes.
Don’t take rejections personally. Sometimes it’s just timing or the taste of the editor. Every great book or short story has a line of editors behind it kicking themselves for not taking it. Keep plugging away. I know this is the same advice all writers give, but honestly, it’s all true.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
Oh, there’s so much. First, I’m still surprised that I’m getting published in the first place. I know a lot of authors who are, quite honestly, much better than I am, but I just happened to get my book done first and at the right time. More than that, I guess I’m most surprised by how nice everyone is being. I mean, you always hear horror stories about skeezy agents, evil editors, venomous reviewers, and so on but my agent is awesome, my editors have been super supportive and never complain when I email them to discuss unrelated topics like the last episode of Bones or the latest Questionable Content comic. The reviewers have all been amazingly kind as well. I guess, when I really think about it, the whole thing has been one great big surprise.

Additional Releases

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  • From Goodreads: Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen. Sometimes life-ending. Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.
The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  • From Goodreads: Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently she’s his girlfriend Piper, his best friend is a kid named Leo, and they’re all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids.” What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea—except that everything seems very wrong. Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he’s in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn’t recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on? Leo has a way with tools. His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What’s troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all—including Leo—related to a god.

The Second Base Club by Greg Trine
  • From Goodreads: Elroy’s got one thing on his mind: girls. In an effort to get to second base, he offers to tutor the hot new girl in math, forms a band with his two best friend (okay, so he gets a face full of tomato for his efforts) and joins the wrestling team. He’s a little vague on the whole bases thing, but the jocks have a club dedicated to getting there with every girl they can. And now that he’s a jock (sort of), maybe Elroy will find out for himself what it means to be a member of the Second Base Club.


Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
  • From Goodreads: “I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.” So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  • From Goodreads: Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more Variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to. In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety... until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago. Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, much of the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated--and with it, order--and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim... and meal. The Gladers are far from done running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them. Thomas can only wonder--does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?
Giveaways

This week is unprecedented. We've got 14 books up for grabs! From today's post, Brian Yansky, Wendy Delsol, Julie Berry, Lish McBride, and Lisa Klein are all graciously giving away copies of their new books. Be sure and check back tomorrow for Part 2 of this week's YA releases. We'll reveal the other prizes from wonderful YA authors. You can enter both days to double your chances of winning! You must leave a comment and fill out the form below for a chance to win. Contest closes Friday, October 15th at midnight EST and is open to US residents only please. Best of luck!

Happy reading,
Martina & Marissa

40 comments:

  1. Great interviews. It is so interesting to read everyone's journey to publication. Everyone's is so different.

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  2. Love the interviews! I can't wait to get my hands on Beautiful Darkness.

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  3. Wow, so many great books this week. Very cool interviews, as well. It gives me hope that my MFA program is actually helpful. :)

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  4. wow, lots of awesome books out this week

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  5. Holy wow! Great books this week (and every week). Great interviews, too. I recently became Facebook and Twitter friends with Wendy Delsol and she's great. I'm definitely reading Stork. Thanks for having such a great giveaway!

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  6. I so look forward to this post every Monday--I usually end up with at least one new book added to my wish list. And the interviews are awesome!! Thanks so much! :)

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  7. GREAT line-up! And wow, a YEAR of revisions with the Alien Invasion book; I can't imagine! I bet it's good now, though! The other books sound super, too. My list of books-to-read is growing longer....

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  8. I'm with Nazarea, I look forward to this post every week. I love seeing what's out, cuz most of it I haven't heard of before, but am interested in. :)

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  9. great, great cover art.

    and I can't get enough of these contests. thanks again!


    -- Tom

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  10. Love the layout of this post and all the fantastic interviews. I'm dying to read Scorch Trials, loved The Maze Runner.
    Thanks so much for the giveaway as well!

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  11. Definitely one of my favorite of your weekly posts. I always discover a hidden treasure I hadn't heard of yet. Thanks!

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  12. I love the interviews so much!There are too much great books to add on my to-read list!

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  13. I love these interviews--it's always so comforting to see how hard everyone works before they get published--thanks and keep em coming!

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  14. I LOVE these posts! Giveaways and interviews are awesomesauce!

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  15. Love these! And I'm really looking forward to reading them! The cover on The Second Base Club is cute.

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  16. Great books coming out. I've been waiting for some of those! TBR pile is just getting higher.

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  17. Congratulations! Lish's book is a must-read on my list for the fall!

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  18. Thanks for the new books update. I have significantly increased my Goodreads to-read list as a result.

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  19. Great interviews - these all sound like great reads.

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  20. Thank you for the great interview and the newly released books. I'm definitely looking forward to some of these.

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  21. Thanks so much for the feedback everyone! Martina and I love hearing that what we're passing along is valuable. We know we're contributing to your bookaholic tendencies with these posts each week, but we just can't help ourselves! I know the authors like reading the feedback, too :)

    The interviews are fascinating. It's great to read how everyone handles the road to publication. As writers, it reassures us that no two paths are the same.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts. Best of luck on the contest!

    Marissa

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  22. Def need to check out the Aliens and Cate sounds fantastic...LOVE history!!! Great roundup girls

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  23. Awesome contest. I'm international so can't enter, but I'm adding these on my to buy/read list. :)

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  24. ACK! Thanks so much for telling me that Julie Berry has another book out. How did I miss that? I loved Amaranth Enchantment. It was so good. Can't wait to read this one.

    Several others look great, too. You gals are too tempting. You're costing me money. grr...

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  25. Secondhand Charm looks sooooo good! And so do the rest, come to that!

    Thanks for inviting me to this giveaway! <3

    Cassandra

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  26. Good luck to all of my US friends - these books sound wonderful!! :)

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  27. *Stork* is the one that grabbed my eye. Now I'm trying to break down why exactly that is...what made it stand out for me (and am powering up my amazon click finger...is it actually out yet?

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  28. Thanks, everyone! Good luck!

    Holly, I just finished Stork and it is very fun! So original! Wendy did an amazing job putting together all the mythology and the various elements into a cohesive whole. Definitely read that one! Of course, my goal is to get through them all. The all look so good.

    Martina

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  29. So many great books, so little time!

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  30. Wow, what a great line up!! Thanks for giving me the heads-up. I'm at a writers conference all week and haven't even hit the blogosphere today. *cheeky*

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  31. Yeah!! Can't wait to Wendy's book! She's my Inkie Sista. And Rick Riordan's new series has me curious. I think my TBR list might just take over the world. Between writing, blogging and other pesky things like family, my reading seems to have slowed down far too much.

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  32. Wow - what a fantastic set of books. I'd be happy with any of them!

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  33. I love hearing about all these new books, but I love hearing about each author's journey to publication even more! Thanks for interviewing them and posting the results!!! : )

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  34. Such a great week for releases! Thanks for all the interviews and inspiration.

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  35. Thank you for asking about the authors road to pub. I always love reading that.

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  36. It's a little weird, but sometimes I get sad when I hear about so many amazing books coming out - because I know I'll never have time to read ALL of them!

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  37. I'm so excited for Rick Riordan's latest. My 13 year old sister HATES reading with a passion but she has recently picked up several of his novels and loves them! I'll be buying this one for her.

    Also, Cate of the Lost Colony looks amazing.

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  38. Mary D

    Wow - what an incredible selection of authors!!! LOL I want Brian's alien T-Shirt ;D

    Thanks for the giveaway, I'm crossing my fingers for luck.

    and a new follower here in GFC

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