Monday, April 4, 2011

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

We've never had a post like this before. Prepare yourself for seven amazing interviews and 13 red hot giveaways!!! And that's just today. We'll have part two of this post tomorrow, featuring even more interviews and giveaways. We hope you return for the chance to enter this mega-giveaway twice. Read on to find out what releases this week and how these authors reached this moment.

This Week's Interviews

Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) by Holly Black
  • From Goodreads: After rescuing his brothers from Zacharov's retribution and finding out that Lila, the girl he has loved his whole life, will never, ever be his now that his mother has worked her, Cassel is trying to reestablish some kind of normalcy in his life. That was never going to be easy for someone from a worker family tied to one of the big crime families and a mother whose cons get more reckless by the day. But Cassel is also coming to terms with what it means to be a transformation worker and figuring out how to have friends. But normal doesn't last very long--soon Cassel is being courted by both sides of the law and is forced to confront his past. A past he remembers only in scattered fragments and one that could destroy his family and his future. Cassel will have to decide whose side he wants to be on because neutrality is not an option. And then he will have to pull off his biggest con ever to survive.
How long did you work on this book?
I worked on the Curse Workers world for a couple of years, but it took me about a year to write RED GLOVE. The sequel is always easier, especially because I knew this was series.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
My first book, TITHE, actually went to the first editor I sent it to -- Kevin Lewis, who would become my editor on the SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES as well. A friend who worked with him asked him to look at the book and he agreed. After a few months of considering it, Kevin decided that he wanted to make an offer. I was completely floored, since at first I thought that he was just going to tell me whether or not he thought TITHE could be published as a young adult novel. I had no agent and no idea what I was doing. I just sort of stumbled into it.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
To write the book that pleases your reader self instead of your writer self.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
That I am actually making a living as a writer. It has surprised my father even more.

Huntress by Malinda Lo
  • From Goodreads: Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn't shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people's survival hangs in the balance. To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls' destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.
How long did you work on this book?
About one and a half years.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I worked on my first novel, Ash, for about six years before I decided it was finally ready to submit to agents. At the time I was a full-time freelance writer, doing entertainment reporting. I did about three or four major revisions of the manuscript on my own. I submitted to eight or so agents in January 2007, and received several requests for the manuscript right away, but it wasn't until 11 months later that I received an offer of representation. I felt like I really clicked with the agent, so I said yes. She asked me to do some light revisions on Ash, which I returned to her in January 2008. By February we had our first offer, and ultimately we received five offers for Ash. It was really a dream come true.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
You have to believe in yourself. Nobody else can make it happen!

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
Oddly, I've realized that I don't especially love bookstore events! I love to meet readers, but unless you're pretty well-known, not that many people come to bookstore events these days. It can be a little depressing to be in the bookstore with one or two audience members there to hear your talk. However, I think it's also something every writer has to go through -- paying your dues, if you will. Now that I'm past my debut, I'm more selective about bookstore events, and I feel better about that. I want to be able to give it my all, but I also need to make sure I'm not wasting my time or the bookstore's time.

The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder
  • From Goodreads: At Penford High School, Britney Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone's life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her.   For April Bowers, Britney is also the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don't even know she exists. But one lunch spent at Britney's table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity.   But Britney's friendship comes with a high price tag. How much is April willing to pay?
How long did you work on this book?
The Lipstick Laws took me about six months to write and revise. Once it was picked up for publication by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, it went through the editorial process which added on quite a bit more time. When the final product is on bookshelves, it will have been about two years since I first submitted my original manuscript.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
My journey to publication for The Lipstick Laws was surprisingly short and smooth! I was lucky to have the manuscript picked up by the first and only publisher that I submitted it to within six weeks of submission. However, I have had my fair share of rejection letters with other manuscripts before The Lipstick Laws. I’m not sure of the exact rejection count, but it was enough to make me appreciate the quick sale of my debut!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
I have several pieces of advice that I think are important: practice your writing craft daily, study the publishing market, read the genre you want to write, never give up, and network your tail off (you never know who might become a personal referral)!

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I have been so pleasantly surprised by the community of other writers and book bloggers who are all so supportive, friendly, enthusiastic and encouraging. I’ve always heard that writing is a very solitary profession, but thankfully I’ve found that to be untrue so far.

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Cathy Jinks
  • From Goodreads: I still hadn't fully absorbed the terrible possibility that I might actually be a werewolf. A werewolf. I kept stumbling over that word; it made no sense to me. How could I be a werewolf? Werewolves didn't exist. When Tobias Richard Vandevelde wakes up in hospital with no memory of the night before, his horrified mother tells him that he was found by the police. At Featherdale Park. In a dingo pen. As if that isn't weird enough, suddenly a very menacing looking guy and a priest show up at his door. As the mystery unfolds, Toby finds himself keeping company with some very strange and sickly looking people - members of a suburban vampire support group. And when he's abducted in broad daylight, he will need all their help to break free ... and to come to terms with his own incredibly rare condition.
What routines do you find helpful for you to stay actively writing?
Getting to work first thing in the morning. I'm freshest first thing in the morning and get a bit dozy after lunch. This means I have to sit down at my computer around 9 am even when it's a glorious day out and I'd much prefer to be shopping or gardening or walking or whatever ...

There's a LOT of self-discipline involved in writing fiction. A lot. You always come to a point in any novel where it's just sheer, unmitigated slog, and you're trudging from one paragraph to the next like a a mountain climber. Not that I'm complaining, but there IS work involved. There really is.

As a published writer, do you feel pressure to balance your creative writing license with what the audience wants? If so, how do you balance the two?
I could write an essay on this topic. Once upon a time I used to write purely for me. Now I'm MUCH more conscious of what the audience wants (for 'audience' read 'publisher') because publishers are now more focused on the bottom line. And of course I now have to be conscious of what will appeal to overseas audiences, rather than just Australian ones. There are some wonderful Australian writers who haven't had much overseas coverage because their style and content are very 'local'. So when I think of an idea, I have to consider not only what age group it's for, but also whether it's 'high concept' and 'international' enough to sell overseas. Sometimes I have to beat the idea into submission a bit, to make it more palatable for non-Australians.

I've also noticed that a lot of my readers are increasingly demanding more and more action in their stories - perhaps because of all the movies they watch and computer games they play. They tend to think a book is 'slow to start' if you don't immediately plunge into the action. This has serious consequences for me because (a) I like to explore my characters a little in more laid-back circumstances before I throw them into the deep end and (b) if you start at a high pitch, where do you go from there? How do you create a climax? I feel that I can only go so far in this direction, and then I'm going to have to retire from the field because it will have become an arena for comic-book and TV writers (whom I admire very much, but with whom I can't really compete).

What advice would you offer writers to build their platform before they become published?
I don't know what 'build their platform' means. It's computer terminology, isn't it? If it's something to do with becoming skilled as a writer, then that's easy enough: practice, practice, practice. If it's something to do with creating your own 'brand' or getting yourself known ... I've no idea. If I knew, I'd be famous.

How much do trends influence your writing?
General social trends have an ENORMOUS influence on my writing. The 'Genius' series, for instance, has been fed and nurtured by all the cutting-edge technology coming out. My new book 'The Paradise Trap' (due to be released next year) was heavily influenced by the recent flood of fantastic animated films. But if you're talking about publishing trends ... well, I may LOOK like a slavish follower of trends because I wrote a book about vampires, but the truth is, when I first thought of that, I didn't know Stephenie Myer even existed. I think there's a kind of gestalt that affects a lot of writers, and I'm one of them. I can smell something in the air and not know I'm doing it. Then I write a book about it and suddenly it's everywhere. I'd just finished 'The Paradise Trap' when I saw 'Inception' and I thought: Wow. There are similarities. How did that happen? How did I DO that? I'm at the bottom of the world, over here, and I'm still somehow plugged in ...

Flip by Martyn Bedford
  • From Goodreads: One December night, 14-year-old Alex goes to  bed. He wakes up to  find himself in the wrong bedroom, in an unfamiliar house, in a different part of the country, and it's the middle of June. Six months have disappeared overnight. The family at the breakfast table are total strangers.And when he looks in the mirror, another boy's face stares back at him.  A boy named Flip. Unless Alex finds out what's happened and how to get back to his own life,  he may be trapped forever inside a body that belongs to someone else.  Questions of identity, the will to survive, and what you're willing to sacrifice to be alive make this extraordinary book impossible to put down.
How long did you work on this book?
FLIP took about 15 months altogether – but I always try to take a few weeks off between drafts, so probably a year of actual writing and rewriting. I also spent several weeks letting the idea for the book “ferment” in my mind before I felt ready to make notes or begin a first draft.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Although this is my first teen/YA novel, I’ve written five previous novels for adults so my route to publication wasn’t the same as it would have been for a first-timer.

I sent the manuscript of FLIP to the literary agent in London who represents me for my adult fiction and, because he doesn’t deal with teen/YA books, he passed it to one his colleagues at the agency who specialises in that category. She had some editorial suggestions to improve the novel so I did the rewrites and she set about pitching the book to publishers.

From there, it went better than I could have hoped in my wildest dreams.

In the UK, seven different publishers made bids to publish FLIP and in the U.S. there were four bids, so my task then was to weigh up the various offers and decide which publishers to go with.

The whole process, from completing the final draft to signing the contracts took about two months.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
The only piece of advice that really counts is this: write. Write as much as you can as often as you can. Everything you’ll learn about writing will come from writing (and rewriting) and no “how to” book or creative writing class or writers’ group can teach you anything you wouldn’t discover for yourself simply by writing.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
Well, as I mentioned just now, I’ve been a published author for some time – since 1996, in fact, with my first adult novel ACTS OF REVISION, which was also published in the U.S. But being published for the first time as a teen/YA author has been wonderful. The publishers on both sides of the Atlantic have been great – very enthusiastic and supportive – and I’ve entered a whole new world of blogs, online forums, school visits and reader reviews that you don’t really get with adult fiction. When a teenage reader says they love your book it means so much more than a favourable write-up from a professional critic.

Rotters by Daniel Kraus
  • From Goodreads: Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It's true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey's life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school. Everything changes when Joey's mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey's father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey's life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating.
How long did you work on this book?
This question is trickier than it sounds because there are periods of intense activity followed by periods where I step away from it for a month or so to clear my head or to let other people comment on it. Adding all of the active times together, though, I'd estimate that it took a year.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
This book was sold in advance of writing it, so there were no rejections and not even much of a journey. Random House put out my first book, THE MONSTER VARIATIONS, in 2009, so I already had a relationship with my editor, who picked up ROTTERS. Sorry this answer is not more dramatic, but for a writer like me, the less drama in these things, the better.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
That's tough. As a reader, I want to tell other writers to fully commit to whatever they're doing. If they're writing a book that's supposed to be gross, make it the grossest they can. If it's supposed to be erotic, same thing. Fiction is full of half-fulfilled notions. I want books that are so focused and obsessed that they alienate a portion of their readers. But that's why this is tough. As a writer, alienating readers means, well, less readers. And in some ways mediocrity -- romantic vampires and whatnot -- is going to make it easier to have a financially lucrative career. So I am sympathetic to both sides.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
That it doesn't get easier. In fact, I have a hunch that if it gets easier, you're doing it wrong. That said, there are certain elements of the process that get easier -- I know what kind of work I need to do before I start writing, I know the most effective way to edit my drafts, I know the shorthand I use to mark up my manuscripts, that sort of thing. But the writing itself fights me harder each time, but hopefully that's because I keep inventing tougher and tougher opponents.

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer
  • From Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Tansy Piper moves with her grandfather and her mother, a horror writer, to the setting of her mother's next book--a secluded house outside of a tiny, desolate West Texas town. Lonely and upset over the move, Tansy escapes into her photography and the dark, seductive poems she finds hidden in the cellar, both of which lure her into the mind and world of a mysterious, troubled young man who died sixty years earlier.
How long did you work on this book?
That's a really difficult question to answer. I'm not sure how many actual months went into it because I worked on the story on and off again over a period of years. During that time, I was writing and publishing women's fiction novels for another publisher, so I could not devote full-time to writing Through Her Eyes. I think something like six years went by between the time I first conceived the story until it sold to Harper Teen.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I wrote for five years before selling my first published novel, Body and Soul, which is a paranormal romantic comedy. I wrote one complete novel and a lot of short stories that never sold. As for rejections, I lost count! In the beginning, I always tossed rejection letters into the trash. But after a year or so, I changed my attitude about them and started saving them; I decided to look at each rejection as taking me one step closer to the editor that was going to make an offer. Sometimes that wasn't easy to do, especially when my 'rejection letter folder' began to get nice and fat! I'm really glad I saved all those letters now, though. I often bring them along when I teach a writing class or give a workshop so the students will understand that receiving rejections doesn't mean they won't eventually sell -- it's just a part of the business.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Read, read, read. And write, write, write. As much as you can, as often as you can. You will learn the most from sitting down and practicing, and from studying the work of other authors.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
Achieving my dream of becoming a published author has been wonderful! However, I think many unpublished writers (and I was one of them!) think that once they're published all their struggles will end, and that isn't the case. Publication comes with a whole new set of challenges and difficulties. But I admit that it never gets any less exciting to see one of my books for the very first time!

Additional Releases

Plague: A Gone Novel by Michael Grant
  • From Goodreads: This is a blood-pumping, white-knuckle sci-fi thriller of epic proportions. The FAYZ goes from bad to worse...The darkness has been foiled once again and the resurrected Drake has been contained. But the streets of Perdido Beach are far from safe, with a growing army of mutants fighting against the humans for power in the town. In a small room of a house near the edge of town, Little Pete lies ill on a bed. In his fevered dreams, he continues his battle with the hidden evil that seeks to use his power to bring about anarchy and destruction.
Giveaway

Where to even begin? We have a copy of RED GLOVE, HUNTRESS, THE LIPSTICK LAWS, ROTTERS, THROUGH HER EYES, and 3 copies of FLIP. Wait for it... We have 5 pairs of Abused Werewolf and Reformed Vampire t-shirts as seen below! For a chance to win, please fill out the form below and leave a comment on this post. The contest is open to US residents and we'll announce winners on Thursday morning. Don't forget to come back tomorrow to see what else is included in our giveaway and enter again. Good luck!

Happy reading,
The Ladies of ACP

71 comments:

  1. I am getting anxious to read Plague. I have read the rest of the series and I am dying to see where this is going.

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  2. So many great books this week and interesting journeys to publication. Thanks for the contest.

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  3. Fantastic post! I love Cathy Jinks's point about the pace of writing. I've had a lot of contest critiques and editing advice about revving up the story and jumping in faster. But Cathy and I must be writing soul-mates...I like to give the characters time to grow and expand, and I just can't keep too fast a pace! As a reader, I feel like the books I love best are the ones that let me get to know the characters. Great post!

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  4. There's so many good books this week! I really want to read Plague and Red Glove

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  5. Such great books this week! I loved Black Cat, so I'm dying to read Red Glove!

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  6. I agree, great books this week and great interviews. Can't wait to see part 2 :-)

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  7. Intriguing choices and great interviews. Thanks!

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  8. These all sound great. I've never read Black Cat, but Red Glove sounds good. I also want to read Flip now, too!

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  9. Holly Black is one of my favorite writers! And Malindo Lo is an inspiration. Great interviews!

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  10. Great post:)
    jlhsperry624@hotmail.com

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  11. It is kind of scary that the common denominator I see with a lot of published authors is that it takes self-discipline to get to it... I need to bulk up on that!!!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    jlelliott08 AT gmail DOT com

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  12. My goodness! You have been busy!

    I'm looking forward to reading Through Her Eyes.

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  13. Such great interviews and books this week! Love this quote from Martyn, "Everything you’ll learn about writing will come from writing (and rewriting) and no “how to” book or creative writing class or writers’ group can teach you anything you wouldn’t discover for yourself simply by writing."

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  14. Wow another great week of releases and this is only part one!

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  15. Wow! There are so many great releases this week!

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  16. Unbelievable. What an amazing line-up of releases this week. My son and I have been waiting forever for PLAGUE to come out. :-)

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  17. The Society for Abused Werewolves sounds awesome! THANKS again for the giveaway.

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  18. What a great lineup of books! Rotters and Abused Werewolf look like fun reads. Lipstick Laws looks good too.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  19. This week is awesome!! I can't wait to read Plague and Rotters really really sounds amazing. You can't go wrong with zombies!!

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  20. Great interviews- especially loved hearing from Malinda Lo- love her books!

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  21. So many good books I'm going to have to check out. I'm especially interested in Rotters. Looks like a great read. Thanks for helping my "to be read pile" to never get to small. And thanks for the chance to win!

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  22. Flip looks so great! I can't believe all the great stuff on here! Thanks!

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  23. I really want to win this awesome contest.

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  24. Yay...this is exciting! Great Interviews! Thanks for the chance to win something:)

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  25. I really appreciated your questions and the thoughtful answers by the authors. Lots of exciting new books to read. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  26. Wow. Through Her Eyes looks fab! Actually, they all do. Great giveaway and wonderful interviews.

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  27. This is a great post. To hear from so many wonderful authors about their work on their books and their journeys to publication was great. The books and other great stuff offered here today is absolutely amazing. I love the idea of 'abused' werewolves, it's so original.

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  28. ohh Huntress is almost out! I loved Ash.

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  29. ohh Red Glove should rock and I am also waiting for The Abused Werewolf.
    Great books!

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  30. Can feel the writing passion with this group. Awesome giveaways!

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  31. Awesome post! So excited to read "Plague", just finished rereading the first 3 in the GONE series. Really love these books. And "Flip" sounds amazing. Actually, they all do.

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  32. All of these books look freakishly good. FLIP, ROTTERS and RED GLOVE are pulling me in like a tractor beam. Don't fight it!

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  33. I just finished White Cat and now I can't wait for Red Glove! <3!

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  34. You guys do the BEST giveaways!! <3 <3 You guys! :D

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  35. I <3 Holly Black! I'm so excited for Red Glove! Catherine Jinks is also one of my absolute favorite authors, thanks to her fantabulous historical fiction.
    Flip looks really awesome too!
    New follower here, thanks for this giveaway! This blog looks awesome!

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  36. Wow thanks for this awesome giveaway! All these books sound amazing. I can't wait to read Plague!

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  37. All of these sound so good!! I already have the rest of the Gone series so I'm really looking forward to reading Plague soon. And I have heard so many great things about Red Glove lately. I need to go out and buy those books, too!

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  38. OMG--so many awesome giveaways this week! :D

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  39. Oooh, lots of great releases this week. Is it time for Huntress already? I've been looking forward to that one for a while.

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  40. Awesome giveaway! Such fantastic books!

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  41. There are so many releases tomorrow!! I absolutely cannot wait for COFA. I still have to read White Cat. And I received an ARC of Huntress a while ago and finished it! Great book.

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  42. OhMyGoodnessGracious. LOL. This is awesomeness. hehehe :)

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  43. Can't wait for Plague and some of the other books look pretty fantastic too.

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  44. This is a great giveaway! The tshirts are so funny. Thanks for giving us a chance at this.
    Kristie W.

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  45. Super book overload! These are all fantastic books and I can't wait to get my hands on them. Wow, blown away with such beautiful covers too.

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  46. Several of these books are ones I've been wanting to read - and a few new ones I hadn't heard about yet that sound really fun!

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  47. Flip and Lipstick Laws seem so nice! I hope I get to win some!

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  48. A lot of these are on my wishlist :)

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  49. Thank you for pointing out books that I never heard of. I love the interviews that you have every week.

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  50. Lots of great books this week - I'm off to add them to my wishlist for payday (if I don't win one) :) Thanks for the awesome giveaways and for making us aware of what is out this week!

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  51. I loved reading about Holly Black's journey to publication. Thanks!

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  52. I like reading the interviews and I hope to win one of the books! :)

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  53. lots of fun books to look forward to

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  54. Sooo excited about all the books coming out this month! Loved the interviews :)

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  55. It's so interesting to see such different experiences with publishing that these authors all had. Some great books are coming out too! I cannot wait to read several of them.

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  56. I love the cover on Through Her Eyes.

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  57. HOLY WOW what a give away! INCREDIBLE amount of interviews too. Thanks for all your hard work on this post!

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  58. Lots of great books on this list. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  59. Lots of great releases yet again, I have been wanting to read Huntress and Red Glove.

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  60. Loved reading about how different each authors road to publication was, very interesting. ^_^

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  61. I read Huntress and enjoyed it very much. It made me want to go back and reread Ash.

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  62. I love this blog! So much great information in one place. I find I'm always bookmarking posts or favoriting your tweets. Great mini interviews with the authors too and some of these books...they are new to me. I love adding to my TBR list. :)

    Thanks for everything you do for the reader and writer community.

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  63. OMG - I've been DYING for RedGlove to come out! I actaully "squee'd" when I saw it was part of this giveaway. Yay!

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  64. I'm such an abused Werewolf! I love seeing the author photos with their books. Also, I LOVED Red Glove!

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  65. Oh wow, so many great books. My copy of City of Fallen Angels is in the mail. *drums fingernails impatiently against desk*

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