Monday, June 29, 2009

Another ICE ARC Giveaway!

The response to Sarah Rees Brennan's giveaway of Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of ICE and Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER last week really blew my mind. I read through all the wonderful comments to her blog post and was nearly brought to tears by all the people who were looking forward to reading about Cassie's adventure. Thank you all so much. The only downside was that I felt kinda bad that only one person would end up winning Sarah's ICE ARC.


Last Wednesday was a rather big day for me. I got to go into NYC to visit my editor and the publicity/marketing team at Simon & Schuster, which was eleven kinds of awesome! After listening to them describe all their fabulous ideas about the upcoming release of ICE, my publicist gave me a present, another ICE ARC! He probably read my last post and gave me the ARC out of pity... But I choose to interpret this as a good omen, a sign that I should -- dare I say MUST -- give this ARC away!

Now, of course, I could give it to my mother, who has been asking for one for some time... And that is certainly what a good daughter would do... But where's the fun in that?! Much more fun to give it to ONE OF YOU!

Just leave me a comment and raise your hand if you want to be entered in the giveaway. I'll pick a winner at random next week.

Sorry, Mom...

Also, you may have noticed that I FINALLY figured out how to put a Blogger Followers Widget in the sidebar. Not that this is a particularly difficult thing to do... But hey, I'm still proud of myself for figuring it out. Anyway, for those of you who like to read this blog, this should make it easier for you to do so. Just click the follow button and my blog posts will automatically pop up in your Blogger reading list. So easy. So fun! And since I'd love to get new followers, now that the lovely widget is up and all, I'm prepared to sweeten the deal. Anyone who raises their hand in the comments to enter the ICE ARC giveaway AND also becomes a new follower of this blog (or is one already) will be entered TWICE in the giveaway. TWICE! That's, like, a whole extra time!

Finally, I had so much fun reading about everyone's favorite minor characters and character hobbies in the comments to Sarah Rees Brennan's post that I want to do something similar here. Cassie, the heroine of ICE, is by far the most kickass character I've every written. She's way braver and stronger than me. She tracks polar bears across the Arctic sea ice. She scales a mountain, hikes through a blizzard, dives into the freezing ocean, flies through the air on the back of the North Wind... I, on the other hand, am afraid of frisbees. And pretty much any other sport that involves objects flying toward me at high speed. I could never be like Cassie. So I live vicariously through books, through Cassie and all the other kickass heroines I love to read about.

Which brings me to my question for you: Who are your favorite kickass heroines? You don't have to answer to be entered in the contest, but I'd love to chat about your favorites in the comments.

To sum up: Comment. Follow. Chat about kickass heroines. Win free ICE ARC!

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Monday, June 22, 2009

ICE Giveaway on Sarah Rees Brennan's Blog!!

Wanna free copy of ICE, my new, not-available-anywhere-until-October book? Well, I don't have any to give you! My stash of Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) has dwindled. I don't even have one to give to my own mother. Seriously. She's visiting this week and asked for a copy and I had to make her wait until October when the finished book comes out! Sorry, Mom...

But Sarah Rees Brennan has one!! How, you ask? Who knows? She is certainly quite sneaky. And has been known to dabble in the dark magicks... But now that she's finished reading her ARC of ICE, she's kindly offered to give it away, along with an ARC of SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater
. Just click over to her blog and leave her a comment to be entered in the giveaway! Go. Click. Now! That includes you, Mom!!

For anyone who hasn't heard of Sarah Rees Brennan yet -- and I can't imagine there are many of you -- you soon will! She's been writing a hilarious blog for years and her debut novel, THE DEMON'S LEXICON, hit the YA shelves a few weeks ago. I recently read THE DEMON'S LEXICON, and I loved it. The words "brilliant" and "awesome" spring to mind. Plus "wow." It's one of those novels that you stay up ridiculously late to finish and then flip back to the first page to read again, prompting your husband to say, "Did you just start reading that again? Don't you know how ridiculously late it is?" I loved the relationship between the brothers. It's rich, complex, and delicately drawn. I love the dialogue. Everything the characters say is sharp and hilarious. And I love the end, which I'm not going to spoil for you, but is AWESOME. If you liked Buffy's Angel, then you're going to love this book.

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Friday, June 12, 2009


Team David or Team Zane?

There's a new essay anthology out from Smart Pop Books about the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. It's called Mind-Rain: Your Favorite Authors on Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies Series, and I have an essay in it! My essay, called Two Princes, is a lighthearted look at whether David or Zane is a better boyfriend for Tally.

It was a fun essay to write since it meant I had to read and reread all the scenes in the series with the cute boys. :)

The anthology is edited by Scott himself, and it includes essays by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Sarah Beth Durst (hey, that's me!), Linda Gerber, J. Fitzgerald McCurdy, Diana Peterfreund, Janette Rallison, Delia Sherman, Will Shetterly, Gail Sidonie Sobat, Robin Wasserman, and Lili Wilkinson, as well as short stories by Charles Beaumont and Ted Chiang.

You can read more about it here, as well as on the Teen Libris website.

If you haven't read the Uglies books yet, I highly recommend them. In addition to presenting a thoughtful discussion of important social issues, they also have hoverboards! And chases! And chases with hoverboards! And Tally, jumping off cliffs and falling off hoverboards! And did I mention the cute boys?

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

BEA 2009 Trip Report (part 4)

Click here to read parts one, two, and three.

Part Four: Saturday at BEA

Slept for three hours and then trotted back to NYC all
bright eyed and bushy-tailed. Sort of.

Me after three hours sleep

I visited the Simon & Schuster booth first and then headed over with Justin Chanda (my publisher at S&S) to Holly Black, Cassie Clare, and Scott Westerfeld's Alternate History panel. While waiting for the panel to begin, we discussed the impracticality of Wonder Woman's invisible jet. I'm always bothered by the fact that the jet doesn't make her invisible, and Justin pointed out that the jet is never referred to as soundless. So you have this seated woman zipping through the air to the roar of a jet engine. Not so stealthy.

After the panel, I ran into Marie Rutkoski and Jennifer from the Grand Central Branch of the New York Public Library, who invited me to j
oin them for lunch. Lunch plans expanded to include Ally Carter, Jen Barnes, and Sarah Cross, and then contracted again to just Marie, Jenny, and me, and then expanded again so that the final table was Marie, Jenny, Cassandra Clare, Josh Lewis, Theo Black, Delia Sherman, Ellen Kushner, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, and me. It was a bit like musical lunch chairs. Everyone kept swapping seats. You never knew who you'd be seating beside next.

For the rest of the afternoon, I alternated between
wandering the exhibit hall and hanging out in the S&S booth. I talked with a wide variety of people, from Scholastic's Arthur Levine, to a super-nice Massachusetts librarian who had witnessed my dismal Rock Star abilities at MLA the other weekend, to Olivia. (Olivia didn't talk much.)

Me & Olivia

In the evening, I went out to dinner with the fabulous Wendy Mass and Courtney Sheinmel at a fabulous Italian restaurant. I ordered two appetizers as my entree and worried a little that they'd think that was weird, but then Wendy ordered the same thing, proving herself a kindred spirit, and Courtney was later responsible for the chocolate souffle, proving herself a kindred spirit as well.

Me, Wendy Mass, Courtney Sheinmel, and chocolate souffle

After the souffle, Wendy and I bullied Courtney into agreeing to take a taxi rather than a subway to the YA/MG Drinks Night at a bar in Alphabet City (lower east side of Manhattan). (I'm a total subway coward. I thoroughly expect fights to rage over the roofs of the subway cars like in movies and monstrous worms/dragons to attempt to devour us.) After a stereotypically harrowing taxi ride, we were the first to arrive at the party.

Barry Lyga, Coe Booth, Michael Northrop, Courtney Sheinmel, me, Wendy Mass

We were later joined by Ally Carter, Jen Barnes, Bennett Madison, Megan Crewe, Lisa Greenwald, Tara Altebrando, Christopher Paolini, Eric Luper, G. Neri, Lynn Weingarten, Sarah Mylnowski, and many others.

I stayed as long as I could and then scooted out to catch the last train back to Long Island again. I was home by 2am.

And that, my friends, was BEA! I can't wait for next year!

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hilarious Video and BEA 2009 Trip Report (part 3)

Click here to read part one and part two.

Before I get started with part three of my trip report, I absolutely must stop to share with you this youtube video. If you grew up in the 80s watching music videos, or even if you didn't, you are going to piss yourself laughing when you watch this. Via Keith DeCandido via Ellen Kushner, I present to you:

Total Eclipse of the Heart: Literal Video Version

Once you've picked yourself off the floor and composed yourself, please do read on...

Part Three: Friday Night at BEA

Loaded down with books, I waddled myself over to the shuttle buses in order to wend my way to the Brooklyn Marriott for the ABC (Association of Booksellers for Children) Not-A-Dinner and art auction. I love this event. I also loved this year's format for the event which eliminated the sit-down dinner and instead had lots more time for mingling. Sit-down dinners (at least those without assigned seating) stress me out because they're way too much like being in middle school at cafeteria time and wondering if there will be a seat left at the table with your friends. No one should ever have to relive middle school cafeteria. Or gym class on dodge ball days. Or chem class where the teacher thinks it would be "fun" for all of you to wear lab goggles and sing the Elements song by Tom Lehrer at assembly in front of the entire school... But I digress.

I rode in the bus with Betsy Mitchell and Maryrose Wood and had a great time talking with them. I then hung out at the hotel bar with Holly Black, Scott Westerfeld, Lucille Rettino, Bethany Buck, Anne Zafian, and others. After that, I joined Laini Taylor and Jim di Bartolo to watch the keynote speeches. Shannon Hale was witty and charming as the master of ceremonies, and Katherine Paterson and Mike Lupica also gave very entertaining speeches. I laughed; I cried; it was better than Cats.

Seriously, I did tear up during Shannon's speech. She talked about achieving the impossible dream of becoming a writer. As many of you know, I've wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old, so her speech really hit home.

After the talks, I had a lovely time touring the art show with Anne Zafian of Simon & Schuster. I also met Justin and Colleen Chanda, as well as Jon Scieszka. And I got my hair caught on Ally Carter's earring. It took, like, five minutes and three people to disentangle us.

I then made a beeline for the food because I am all about food. I define places by their food. NYC is good tomato soup. Boston is bread bowls. Las Vegas is shrimp cocktail. Orlando is buffalo steak. Texas, fried catfish. Cape Cod, lobster. Anyway, in addition to attacking the food, I also talked to lots of fabulous people, such as Gordon Korman, Kate Schafer Testerman, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Oliver, Lisa Greenwald, Elise Broach (who won the EB White Award that night -- congrats, Elise!), Greg Neri, Aprilynne Pike, and a slew of others.

Afterwards, Laini Taylor, Jim di Bartolo, and I shared the world's slowest cab ride back to Manhattan. (Not that I minded since I was in good company.) I stopped in on Betsy Bird and Cheryl Klein's Kidlit Drinks Night. Saw Betsy, Cheryl, MotherReader, Rebecca Stead, and Molly O'Neill, and then had to book it (no pun intended) out of there to catch the last train back to Long Island.

Coming soon: Part four of my BEA Trip Report: Saturday

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Monday, June 01, 2009

BEA 2009 Trip Report (part 2)

Click here to read part one.

Part Two: Friday Afternoon at BEA

Lots of wandering and lots of conversations with lots of awesome people, including but not limited to Adrienne Maria Vrettos, Donna Freitas, Rose Fox, Sheila Ruth, Sara Zarr, two very nice booksellers from Calgary, and Bob.

Yes, Bob, the Bob, from Sesame Street.

He knows Big Bird

He was standing there, waiting for his signing as if he were an ordinary person and not best buds with Elmo, so I went up to him. I was remarkably inarticulate. I'm not saying that to be self-deprecating. I mean, my grasp on nouns and verbs deteriorated and I was left rearranging indefinite and definite articles in hopes of constructing a sentence.

Anyway, after gibbering incoherently at the very nice and gentlemanly Bob McGrath, I encountered Aimee Friedman and joined her at the BEA Young Adult Editor's Buzz, a panel where several editors pitched their favorite fall books. My favorite line: "The stories in Laini Taylor's Lips
Touch are hot in the same way that Markus Zusak is hot."

After the panel, I decided to hunt for ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). Got a signed ARC of Forest Born from the fabulous Shannon Hale and scooped up an ARC of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan. In general, there were fewer freebies at this year's BEA, which meant that people didn't have the huge tote bags swinging from their shoulders and clocking shorter people in the faces. Bet you never knew the book business was so dangerous. You should have seen the year when Clifford slipped his leash and went all Cujo.

Clifford, Big Red Dog of Terror

Visited the Simon & Schuster booth again in the afternoon and talked with lots of fantastic S&S people, including Lucille Rettino, Paul Crichton, Bethany Buck, Bess Braswell, Elke Villa, and others, as well as Michelle Nagler from Bloomsbury.

By the end of the afternoon, my feet, back, shoulders, and oddly enough that webbed part of one's hand between the thumb and index finger hurt. But I soldiered on. 'Cuz I'm brave like that.

Coming soon: Part three of my BEA Trip Report: Friday night

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