Friday, April 29, 2011

11 Best Articles This Week for Writers 4/29/11

Huge CONGRATS! to Carol Riggs who signed with Kelly Sonnack of Andrea Brown this week. WOOT!!! We're so happy for you, Carol!

After the Sale
Book Reviews
Craft of Writing
Issues, News, and Trends
Just for Smiles
  • Voices in your Head, Part II [The Blood-Red Pencil] LOVE this. Do you have a Cousin Irene in your head?
  • Are You Prepared?? [Paranormal Point of View] Great post. You'll laugh. You may even see yourself. via @LisaGailGreen
  • THE SIX PHASES OF WRITING A NOVEL [Grab a Pen] Great post on conversations with yourself during the different phases of your ms. :D via @TaherehMafi
  • Underachiever [The Misadventures In Candyland] Love this: Set the bar low and you'll amaze yourself. :D via @candylandgang
  • BlogEEversary! [Evil Editor] Happy blogEEversary stuff from Evil Editor. LOTs of writerly stuff for everyone.
Social Media
To Market
Other Weekly Round-Ups:
Did we miss anything? Anyone? Please leave a comment!

Happy reading and joyous writing,

Martina, Marissa and Clara

Thursday, April 28, 2011

10 In Stores This Week: Contest Winners!

Let's find out who won awesome new YA books!

The winner of K. Ryer Breese's FUTURE IMPERFECT is...


The winner of Megan McCafferty's BUMPED is...

a eberting!!!

The winner of Diane Stanley's THE SILVER BOWL is...


The winner of Todd Strasser and Nola Thacker's THE SHORE: SHIRT AND SHOES NOT REQUIRED is...


The winner of Alyson Noel's FOREVER SUMMER is...

Riv Re!!!

The winner of Emily Wing Smith's BACK WHEN YOU WERE EASIER TO LOVE is...


The 5 winners of Diane Lee Wilson's RAVEN SPEAK are...

Jenni Merrit, Kayleen Hamblin, Yat-Yee, Jessy, and Teril!!!

Bonus!!! We have two copies of Maureen Johnson's THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE to give away!

Congrats Ashley Holt and Valia Lind!!!

Week after week, authors amaze us with their generosity. Thank you to the kind authors who participated in our post. Thank you, awesome readers for returning each week to support ACP!

Happy reading!
The Ladies of ACP

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

32 WOW Wednesday: Caitlin Kittredge - Even Pro Authors Get the Blues

This week's WOW post is by Caitlin Kittredge, the author of The Iron Thorn, Book I of the Iron Codex trilogy, and the bestselling Nocturne urban fantasy series for adults. She lives in Massachusetts and is represented by Rachel Vater of FinePrint Literary. Visit her website at www.caitlinkittredge,.com to read her blog or find her on Twitter, where she goes by @caitkitt.

Even Pro Authors Get the Blues

by Caitlin Kittredge

The rejection blues, that is. When I was working on my first YA novel, my book The Iron Thorn was far from the first thing I attempted. It went a little something like this:

ME: I will write a YA book about fairies set in Victorian England! It will be the Best Thing Ever!

MY LOVELY AGENT: Um, you do realize there are no actual Young Adults in this novel?

ME: DRAT. Okay, I will rework it so that a teenage girl TIME TRAVELS to Victorian England.

MLA: This partial book you have delivered me doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Also, your time travel science is totally inconsistent. I have gone cross-eyed.

ME: [Assorted swearing.] Okay, forget Victorian England. It is a silly place. I'm going to write about a teenage Grim Reaper, and she will be sarcastic and dark and bad-ass, and have an awesome Goth sidekick who reanimates dead Pomeranians!

MLA: This is not making me cross-eyed, but I feel you could do better. I get the distinct sense you pounded a case of Diet Coke and wrote this in a weekend.

ME: HOW DOES SHE ALWAYS KNOW. Okay, fine, I'm just going to give up, cry, eat a box of Hostess cupcakes, and then work on this silly half-formed idea about a steampunk world inhabited by evil faeries and Lovecraftian monsters.

MLA: I LOVE IT. Can you write me 50 pages and an outline?

ME: BWAH? But also, OKAY! [Writes frantically, pulling a plot and supporting cast out of thin air because thinking that far ahead is for writers who don't like going insane.]

BOOK: [Sells to Random House.]


All of this is to illustrate one simple point—don't give up. I still deal with rejection, and I've published nine books. It doesn't stop when you get published, it just reaches a different level—you can talk to your agent, hash things out, etc. But if you're struggling with being on submission, or just finishing a first novel, press forward. You can do it. It takes a lot of resilience and persistence to make it in this business, but if you know that going in, you're ahead of the game.

We have a copy of The Iron Thorn for a lucky winner. Enter by 5/4/2011 to win.

Want to read more from Caitlin Kittredge? Jump on her blog tour:

Cleverly Inked—Tuesday, April 26th

Kiss the Book—Thursday, April 28th

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

27 In Stores This Week (with Interviews & Giveaways) Part 2

If you thought yesterday's post introduced you to some fantastic YA books, wait until you see what's in store for today. We hope you'll enjoy the author interviews and find something new to read. Be sure to scroll all the way down to enter to win some of these books!

This Week's Interviews

Future Imperfect by K. Ryer Breese
  •  From Goodreads: Ade Patience can see the future and it's destroying his life. When the seventeen-year-old Mantlo High School student knocks himself unconscious, he can see days and decades into his own future. Ade's the best of Denver's "divination" underground and eager to join the heralded Mantlo Diviners, a group of similarly enabled teens. Yet, unlike the Diviners, Ade Patience doesn't see the future out of curiosity or good will; Ade gives himself concussions because he's addicted to the high, the Buzz, he gets when he breaks the laws of physics. And while there have been visions he's wanted to change, Ade knows the Rule: You can't change the future, no matter how hard you try. His memory is failing, his grades are in a death spiral, and both Ade's best friend and his shrink are begging him to stop before he kills himself. Ade knows he needs to straighten-out. Luckily, the stunning Vauxhall Rodolfo has just transferred to Mantlo and, as Ade has seen her in a vision two years previously, they're going to fall in love. It's just the motivation Ade needs to kick his habit. Only things are a bit more complicated. Vauxhall has an addiction of her own, and, after a a vision in which he sees Vauxhall's close friend, Jimmy, drown while he looks on seemingly too wasted to move, Ade realizes that he must break the one rule he's been told he can't. The pair must overcome their addictions and embrace their love for each other in order to do the impossible: change the future.
How long did you work on this book?
I wrote it about two and half years ago. It was originally very, very different. Aimed at adult readers, it featured a female protagonist who had uncontrolled visions of the future and had to take an illegal drug to try and stop them from overrunning her life. A cool book but not exactly working. So, over many months of discussion with my agent I rewrote it. It was bought by St. Martin's a little over a year ago. A long process but not uncommon.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
While I don't actually publicize it, this is in fact my third novel. The first two are under another name and in another genre entirely. Stepping away from those books, however, was a bit of a challenge. I was thrilled with the fact that we got a deal on our first round of editor submissions with Future Imperfect.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Persevere and grow a very thick hide. Learn to embrace criticism. The publishing world is a rough and tumble place and it's changing now more than it has in the past 100 years. Don't go into it blindly. Don't get drunk on the idea of fame or fortune. If you want to get your work published you need to know the reality out there: 90% of authors never quit their day jobs and only 5% of writers get agents. The barriers to publication are very, very high, but if you believe in your writing and view the industry as the business it is, you can succeed. The other thing is read. Read. Read. Read. They say with screenwriting that you must read at least 100 screenplays before even writing the first word on a script. The same is true with novels. To be a writer you need to love reading.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I'm always surprised when I hear from readers. I'm not sure why I don't assume people would write, but when they do -- regardless of why -- it's an electric sensation. To know your words are reaching people is priceless.

Exile by Anne Osterlund
  • From Goodreads: Crown Princess Aurelia stands in the face of exile. Behind her are the sister who tried to kill her and the father who ignored it. In front of her are the entire kingdom and Robert—the friend she can't help but fall in love with. Aurelia may finally be living her dream . . . but danger is not far behind. When Aurelia and Robert are betrayed by the very guards assigned to protect them, their expedition becomes a fight for survival that carries them from frontier to desert sands. Even with a hunter on their tail, the risks—to their lives, the throne, their hearts—only fuels Aurelia's determination to see her kingdom. And when their perilous journey is finally complete, she will discover just how much her people need her, and just how much of a risk loving Robert can be.
How long did you work on this book?
I began my brand new third novel, Exile (Aurelia and Robert’s expedition through the tangled Asyan Forest, over the Gate, across the raw frontier, and onto the burning sands of the Geordian desert) the same week I completed the original submission of my second book, Academy 7, which means around April 7th 2008. I finished the final edited revision of Exile in 2010. So . . . three years. Though for some perspective, I should add that I squeezed in thirty months of teaching sixth grade, three bouts of directing Shakespeare productions, several graduate level ed courses, a number of author appearances, edited revisions of Academy 7, and about a draft and a half of my upcoming fourth book, Salvation, into that time as well.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
For Exile, the sequel to Aurelia, a year and several months of writing the first draft and half of the second. One rejection. Five months of having Aurelia screaming in my head that I should be writing her sequel anyway. An absolutely glorious moment of being able to tell her that she was right all along! Which, of course, she already knew. And four months of the most intense writing I have ever done in my life.

Exile was quite literally an expedition.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Write the stories you love! Choose the one that is the most demanding, the one that refuses to leave your head, and write that one first. Then the next and the next and the next.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I think the greatest surprises come from within the writing, especially how sneaky the villains are. In Aurelia, Robert and Aurelia’s first story (think Cinderella inside out and with an assassination plot), the villain changed. I did not realize who the real villain was until the fourth revision of the book. In my second novel Academy 7 (a young adult science fantasy about two teens who risk everything to attend the most prestigious school in the universe), two of the villains introduced themselves as main characters. Very duplicitous.

I’ve also blogged about a few of my greatest writing surprises in my 2010 posts, The Emergence of a Villain and Surprise! I’m Dead in case your readers would like to check them out. You can reach my blog via my website.

As for the greatest surprise about becoming published, I suppose that is simply that the dream came true. Though again, of course, Aurelia insisted that it would.

Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith
  • From Goodreads: What's worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you've been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan—the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah—unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California, and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan's former-best-friend Noah.
How long did you work on this book? How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
My road to publication was fraught with disappointment and peril. When I give a quick recap of my journey, it ends up sounding easy. It was not! It also ends up sounding shorter than it was. I submitted my first manuscript fall 2001. I saw my first novel in print fall 2008.

I started seriously writing young adult fiction in college. As an English major at BYU I took a class on writing the young adult novel and knew that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wrote one (still unpublished) YA novel and I started BACK WHEN YOU WERE EASIER TO LOVE. I submitted my completed manuscript and the book got very close to being published—but ultimately didn’t make it.

It was disappointing, but other things were going on in my life so I moved on. I got married. I graduated from college. I bought my first house. Then I submitted more. I got rejected more. I applied to the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. I learned tons, had great advisors, and made terrific friends.

I graduated from Vermont College with a novel finished that I felt good about (it was not one of the manuscripts submitted/ rejected previously). I looked for an agent. I just looked up how many agents rejected this manuscript—thirteen. Very unlucky. Then, luck: Carrie Jones, one of my VC BFFs, read the manuscript and liked it. She recommended I submit to her editor, so I did, and he liked it, and THE WAY HE LIVED was published a year later.

During this time, I got a terrific agent. He asked me if I had a new book ready to submit. I had been dabbling with BACK WHEN YOU WERE EASIER TO LOVE since college, but I hadn’t finished it yet. My agent is amazing and was able to sell it to Dutton based on a proposal and a few sample chapters.

I don’t know why, but it pleases me that the book debuts in 2011, exactly ten years after I started writing it! Although I wasn’t working on it the entire decade, you definitely have to wait for the time to be right.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
The best advice I ever received as a young writer was this: “Revision is what separates the writers from the dabblers. Be a real writer. Oh, and of course that includes FINISHING your book.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child, and it’s a double-edged sword because as thrilling as it is to achieve something you’ve wanted your whole life, there is also a certain sadness to it. I am lucky and proud to be a published author, but publishing will not make you smarter or prettier or (necessarily) happier. You will still be the same person you were before you got published.

The Break-Up Diaries by Ni-Ni Simone and Kelli London
  • From Goodreads: Hot Boyz Ni-Ni Simone
    Chance Kennedy always gets what she wants, even if she has to bend the truth to do it. She's set her sights on extremely fine and college-bound Ahmad King, and she will do anything to become his girl. There's only one problem: she didn't count on love entering the picture. Now she's scrabbling to make things right before the tiny white lie she's told to lock down her guy blows up in everyone's face. Now, the girl with everything may lose it all. . .
    The Boy Trap Kelli London
    Pretty, popular, and with mad potential, Gabrielle Newton is, hands down, the girl to know. But Gabrielle only has time for Tyler Scott, Lakeview High's hottest new athlete. He's the golden ticket to her dream: becoming an NBA star's pampered wife. But when Gabrielle plays Tyler one time too many, suddenly more than their relationship is on the line ...
What routines do you find helpful for you to stay actively writing?
Writing everyday, reading, reading, and more reading! I can't stress enough how reading will keep you writing more and writing better. I also find that sticking to a routine helps, my routine is a five a.m. rise and I write from five a.m. until about seven a.m. After that it's time to get my children ready for school and me for work.

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?
Sometimes, I do, but in the end I try my best to stick to what I feel is best for the story--and sometimes that's what the reader wanted and sometimes it's not. However, either way it has to be something that I'm loving, because if I'm not at least liking the plot nothing will happen and the pages will be bone dry.

What advice would you offer writers to build their marketing platform before they become published?
My best advice would be to work the social networking sites. Everybody's up there and they are great places to talk to all sorts of people and introduce yourself. Try and stay away from interviews I would say, to far out from your book's release, because if people interview you and no one can get your book, quickly, then you've wasted your time.

How much do trends influence your writing?
With my teen fiction I write with a lot of trends in mind, as teens are trendy, however I am learning a balance between trendy and what gives a novel lasting shelf life. Sometimes writing too trendy can kill your staying power.

Additional Releases

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
  • From Goodreads: Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny's backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end. Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he's found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.
The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow
  • From Goodreads: Fourteen-year-old Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But to the bullies at his school in Naziera Berlin, it doesn't matter that Karl has never set foot in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by relentless attacks on a heritage he doesn't accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth to everyone around him. So when Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl's father to give Karl boxing lessons, Karl sees it as the perfect chance to reinvent himself. A skilled cartoonist, Karl has never had an interest in boxing, but as Max becomes the mentor Karl never had, Karl soon finds both his boxing skills and his art flourishing. But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: protector of his family. Karl longs to ask his new mentor for help, but with Max's fame growing, he is forced to associate with Hitler and other Nazi elites, leaving Karl to wonder where his hero's sympathies truly lie. Can Karl balance his dream of boxing greatness with his obligation to keep his family out of harm's way?
Carmen by Walter Dean Myers
  • From Amazon: Into the summer heat of New York’s Spanish Harlem strides Carmen, a chica who is as hot as the sizzling city streets. When she first meets José, she falls for him hard. He’s not like the gansta types she knows—tipo duros who are tough, who think they are players. But José has a quick temper, and he likes to get his own way. And nobody gets in Carmen’s way. When Escamillo rolls into town, everyone takes notice of the Latino Jay-Z—a quadruple-threat singer/rapper/producer/businessman. But he only notices one person—Carmen. And Carmen has given up on José—he’s not going to get her out of her tough neighborhood, el barrio, and into the action. Escamillo will. But José won’t let that happen.

Would you like to get your hands on a copy of FUTURE IMPERFECT or BACK WHEN YOU WERE EASIER TO LOVE? Fill out the form below and leave a comment on this post for a chance to win. You'll automatically be entered to win the books we announced for giveaway yesterday. Don't forget you can enter both days to double your odds of winning! Winners will be announced Thursday. The contest is open to US residents only please.

Happy reading!
The Ladies of ACP

Monday, April 25, 2011

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

If the Easter Bunny didn't deliver, this week's authors surely will. Read on for author interviews, YA releases, and a must-see giveaway all the way at the bottom of this post! Don't forget to come back tomorrow for part two, where you can enter our giveaway a second time.

This Week's Interviews

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
  • From Goodreads: When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job. Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from. When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.
How long did you work on this book?
I started thinking about BUMPED back in 2008, when the infamous Gloucester High School “pregnancy pact” made news. I researched for more than a year (on everything from the history of surrogate motherhood to IVF to how religion affects sexual activity to twins separated at birth and reunited as adults and so much more) before I started writing in September 2009. I finished the first draft in nine months—which is appropriate for the subject matter!

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I always say that my debut novel SLOPPY FIRSTS took six months and ten years to write. The actual draft took half a year, but all the preparation that went into it started a decade earlier when I took the first of many writing workshops.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Don’t Google yourself. The good reviews are never good enough and the bad reviews can make you never want to write another word again.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
That after six novels in ten years I’d still have to fight the urge to Google myself!

Forever Summer by Alyson Noel
  • From Goodreads: Summer. A break from the burdens of school. Deep tans, deeper thoughts. Far away from the everyday. Closer to making dreams come true . . . What does summer mean to you? For the two teenage girls in these two unforgettable novels, summer means being torn away from the familiar and finding new friends. A new place in the world. A new sense of self. And maybe even new love along the way . . . When you’re having the time of your life, you never want it to end.

What routines do you find helpful for you to stay actively writing?
While having really tight deadlines helps me stick to a routine, the main reason I choose to write everyday, including most holidays and weekends, is because it makes it a lot easier for me to stay in the voice of the character. Every time I take a break, I find it takes me an equal amount of time to get back into it, so sticking to a daily word count—I aim for 2,000-3,000 words a day—really helps. Though that’s not to say that I don’t spend the first three hours of every morning procrastinating on Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail, because I do. And so far, I’ve yet to discover a cure for that!

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?
While I think it’s important to be aware of publishing trends and audience expectation, at the end of the day I just write the story I’m driven to tell. I have to like the characters and believe in their journey in order to spend that much time with them. And while readers always know what they want for the characters—the author knows what’s needed for the characters—and the two don’t always match!

What advice would you offer writers to build their marketing platform before they become published
I know this is an unpopular and old school way of thinking, but if you are trying to become published in fiction, writing the book is the most important thing. Your number of Twitter followers and Facebook friends is all very nice, building a community of readers and writers is always a good idea, but in the end, a publisher cares only about the quality of your story.

That said, if you have a publishing contract in hand and are trying to broaden your name, then building ties through social networking, joining professional and online writer’s groups and chat loops, blogging, vlogging—it’s all good. But, it’s also a time drain, so do the stuff you enjoy and don’t worry about the rest. I think there’s a tendency to feel like you need to be everywhere at once because everyone else seems to be everywhere at once. If you can manage that, great—go for it. But if not, don’t worry—focus on the stuff you enjoy and forget the rest. The most important thing you can do for your career is to write your next book—don’t let your marketing efforts get in the way of that.

How much do trends influence your writing?
I’m aware of them, but they don’t influence what I choose to write next—my own life experiences usually determine that. I wrote The Immortals and the Riley Bloom series after going through a time of great loss that got me thinking a lot about man’s age old quest for immortality. And it was the research I did for those books that ultimately led me to the idea for my next YA series, SOUL SEEKERS, set to debut in Summer 2012.

The Silver Bowl by Diane Stanley

  • From Goodreads: Unwanted at home, Molly goes to work for the king of Westria as a humble scullery maid. She arrives at the castle with no education, no manners, and a very disturbing secret: She sees visions, and those visions always come true. One day, while she's working in the king's great hall, young Prince Alaric passes by. Molly finds him unbearably handsome—but also unbearably rude. But what does it really matter? She'll probably never see him again. In time Molly is promoted to polishing silver and is given a priceless royal treasure to work on: the king's great ceremonial hand basin. But there's something odd about it. The silver warms to her touch, a voice commands her to watch and listen, and then the visions appear. They tell the story of a dreaded curse that has stalked the royal family for years. There have already been deaths; soon there will be more. As tragedy after tragedy strikes the royal family, Molly can't help but wonder: Will the beautiful Alaric be next? Together with her friends Tobias and Winifred, Molly must protect the prince and destroy the curse. Could a less likely champion be found to save the kingdom of Westria?
How long did you work on this book?
About a year. The first draft went really quickly, say three months. The revision and all the many steps that followed (editor’s notes, copy-editing, etc.) took much longer.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Rejections aren’t an issue. I don’t work that way. Since I’ve been in children’s books for 34 years and have published fifty books, I long ago settled in with particular editors and we just do a contract for the next book. Sometimes I know what it’s going to be and write them a proposal. Often it’s for an “untitled fantasy novel” or, in the old days, an “untitled picture book.” I’m currently busy revising the sequel to THE SILVER BOWL, THE RAVEN OF HARROWSGODE, and I have an outstanding contract for the last book in the trilogy, THE PRINCESS OF CORTOVA.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Big, open-ended question! Here are two quick quips that happen to be true: The best way to get published is to polish your craft. And . . . Many people don’t really want to write—they want to have written; real writers love the process more than the product.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
Well, that happened back in 1978, so I don’t exactly remember! But I will say, looking back on a long career, that writingand making art are exceedingly joyful pursuits, and I’m incredibly lucky that I get paid to do it.

The Shore: Shirt and Shoes Not Required; LB (Laguna Beach) by Todd Strasser and Nola Thacker
  • From Goodreads: Building off the success of the reality TV show "The Jersey Shore," a hot summer bind-up of two Summer Share books.
What routines do you find helpful for you to stay actively writing?
Certainly spending money on travel and summer rental homes helps keep me going, but seriously, I wouldn’t know what else to do.

As a published writer, do you feel pressure to balance your creative writing license with what the audience wants?
Yes. How do you balance the two? Every now and then I start to write something for me, but then I get another book contract and got back to writing for them.

What advice would you offer writers to build their marketing platform before they become published?
You mean once they’ve focused mostly on the primary goal of writing a good book? I’d say, “Get ye an agent.” Although I think it’s pretty cool how some writers are now starting on Kindle and other platforms and building an audience with blogs, tweets, Facebook, etc.

How much do trends influence your writing?
I take on contrarian view. When vampires first got big, I went toward realistic thrillers. Now they’re telling me dystopian stuff is big so I think I’ll do an updated version of Cheaper by the Dozen.

Raven Speak by Diane Lee Wilson
  • From Goodreads: Asa Coppermane is the proud daughter of a Viking chief. Asa and her horse, Rune, are creatures of the sea and the cold northern lands. But this winter has been the worst one Asa has ever seen. Her father and the other men have gone to sea to search for food, leaving behind the women and children, many sick with fever. Also left behind is Jorgen, the clan's wise man. His stories are meant to comfort them all, but Asa suspects that what Jorgen really wants is power. Now that her father is gone, Jorgen demands Asa give up Rune -- for food, and as a sacrifice to the gods. When Jorgen comes to kill Rune, Asa fights him off and she and the horse flee. They find shelter with a one-eyed old woman who speaks to her two pet ravens, and who seems to have a strange power over Asa. The old woman hints that Asa must make a sacrifice to save her clan -- but how? And what kind of sacrifice? What are the secrets of the raven speak?
How long did you work on this book?
RAVEN SPEAK had an interesting journey. I originally began Asa’s story after publishing my first young adult novel, I RODE A HORSE OF MILK WHITE JADE. At the time, I envisioned it as a children’s picture book, but my editor kept telling me it had the makings of another novel. I didn’t see it that way and set the project aside. Over the next few years I completed three more novels and had them published before returning to Asa Coppermane’s world. By then I had a new vision for her story, one that would encompass the complexities of a novel, and RAVEN SPEAK took a little over a year to write.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I was fortunate. The first agent I spoke with signed me, and the second publisher we contacted, Orchard Books, published my manuscript. I’ve just sold my sixth novel to Simon & Schuster.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
I tell aspiring writers that writing is more about discipline than talent. You have to do it every day—no excuses; because it’s hard work! There’s no one patting you on the back at the end of the day, no ready paycheck, no assurance that what you’re producing is even any good. You just have to trust yourself and keep going.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I guess the most surprising instances for me occur when I visit classrooms and students want me to autograph any and all objects they can produce: books, napkins, pieces of scrap paper. Of course I’m happy to do so, but I want to tell them “I’m just a person, not a celebrity.”

Additional Releases

Summer and the City: A Carrie Diaries Novel by Candance Bushnell
  • From Amazon: Summer is a magical time in New York City and Carrie is in love with all of it—the crazy characters in her neighborhood, the vintage-clothing boutiques, the wild parties, and the glamorous man who has swept her off her feet. Best of all, she's finally in a real writing class, taking her first steps toward fulfilling her dream. This sequel to The Carrie Diaries brings surprising revelations as Carrie learns to navigate her way around the Big Apple, going from being a country "sparrow"—as Samantha Jones dubs her—to the person she always wanted to be. But as it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile her past with her future, Carrie realizes that making it in New York is much more complicated than she ever imagined.
family by Micol Ostow
  • From Goodreads: i have always been broken. i could have. died. and maybe it would have been better if i had. It is a day like any other when seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco, leaving behind her fractured home life and a constant assault on her self-esteem. Henry is the handsome, charismatic man who comes upon her, collapsed on a park bench, and offers love, a bright new consciousness, and—best of all—a family. One that will embrace her and give her love. Because family is what Mel has never really had. And this new family, Henry’s family, shares everything. They share the chores, their bodies, and their beliefs.  And if Mel truly wants to belong, she will share in everything they do. No matter what the family does, or how far they go.
Abandon by Meg Cabot
  • From Goodreads: Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back. But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid. Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most. But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Thanks to these generous authors and publishing houses, we're giving away copies of BUMPED, THE SHORE: SHIRT AND SHOES NOT REQUIRED, THE SILVER BOWL, FOREVER SUMMER, and 5 copies of RAVEN SPEAK. And that's just today. We'll announce more awesome giveaways in our second post tomorrow morning, where you can enter again. Please leave a comment on this post and fill out the form below to win. The contest is open to US residents and winners will be announced Thursday morning.

Happy reading!
The Ladies of ACP

Sunday, April 24, 2011

11 In Stores This Week: Bonus Giveaway!

The generous folks at Viking have offered a copy of Alison Goodman's EONA as a bonus giveaway for last week's 'In Stores This Week' post....

Congrats, Tiffany Drew!!!

And just because this is too cute, I have to share a picture of how Martina's Easter Bunny dog Auggie is celebrating the Easter holiday...

Happy Easter!
The Ladies of ACP