Monday, October 31, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday Linky Love--the Redux!

Ugh-- I am woefully behind on my reading thanks to all my crazy deadlines and WFC and the CHAOS that is my life these days. (Alas. Alack.) So.... *mournful sigh* once again I don't have an MMGM this week. 

:(

But I am insanely grateful to see the meme getting supported by so many awesome bloggers throughout the blogosphere! If you are looking for some middle grade recommendations--which CLEARLY you should be--check out these amazing links:

- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!


- Joanne Fritz has ALL KINDS of middle grade love going on, including a feature on LIESL AND POE, pictures of a Richard Peck event, and a GIVEAWAY of SECRETS AT SEA. Click HERE for all the awesome.


- Barbara Watson is spreading the love for THE SORTA SISTERS. Click HERE to learn all about it. 


- Pam Torres is highlighting THE PHANTOM LIMB! Click HERE for details.


- Natalie Aguirre is interviewing author Anna Staniszewski and giving away an ARC of MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE. Click HERE for all the fun.


- Akossiwa Ketoglo joins us again with a spotlight on SAVVY. Click HERE to read the review.


- Jennifer Rumberger is highlighting WHEN YOU REACH ME. Click HERE to see what she thinks.


- Michael Gettel-Gilmartin is gushing about Trauma Queen. Click HERE to read more.


- Deb Marshall is featuring GHOST HUNTERS. Click HERE to see why she loves it.


- Danika Dinsmore sings the praises of MOCKINGBIRD. Click HERE to learn more about it.

And if you are planning to participate and haven't had a chance to send me a link yet, no worries. I will be updating this post. Drop me an email and I'll make sure and add you.

Sorry again to miss another week. I'm finding it a bit of a struggle keeping up with deadlines AND reading AND everything else I have to do--but I promise I will figure out a system. And in the meantime, I will do my best to always link everyone else, to keep the MMGM love alive!

Friday, October 28, 2011

WFC!!!!!

Hey!

Just a quick post today because I'm actually not here--I'm HERE!

World Fantasy Convention!!!!

I've never been before, but last night was the first night and it was SO MUCH FUN! Not only are there  amazing authors everywhere, but there's a ton of like... you guys there. I've already met a bunch of people who have been commenting on this blog for years, which is so incredibly awesome.

I promise an update next week, but in the meantime if any of you are there and haven't run into me yet, let me know. I would so love to meet you!

And... that's it for now. But have a great weekend and I will see you guys next week!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bookanista Review: An interview with agent Jen Rofé and author Nick James--AND A GIVEAWAY OF SKYSHIP ACADEMY!!!!

Yay--I'm finally back with a new Bookanista Review (after a few weeks of crazy!), and I wanted to return with a bang so I have something EXTRA special for you guys today. 

I don't just have an amazing book to feature and an awesome giveaway--I have a supercool interview with both the author AND his literary agent, and they share all KINDS of cool things about how they worked together and brought this fabulous book to the world (I don't know about you guys, but I LOVE hearing all that behind the scenes stuff--and boy do they bring it!). 

And the book I'm featuring is one you may not have heard of--though you totally should have: SKYSHIP ACADEMY: The Pearl Wars, by Nick James.


Here's how the publisher describes the story:

A devastated Earth's last hope is found in Pearls: small, mysterious orbs that fall from space and are capable of supplying enough energy to power entire cities. Battling to control the Pearls are the Skyship dwellers—political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth's stratosphere—and the corrupt Surface government.

Jesse Fisher, a Skyship slacker, and Cassius Stevenson, a young Surface operative, cross paths when they both venture into forbidden territory in pursuit of Pearls. Their chance encounter triggers an unexpected reaction, endowing each boy with remarkable—and dangerous—abilities that their respective governments would stop at nothing to possess.

Enemies thrust together with a common goal, Jesse and Cassius make their way to the ruins of Seattle to uncover the truth about their new powers, the past they didn't know they shared, and a shocking secret about the Pearls.

I was introduced to this book by Jen Rofé, a friend of mine who also happens to be Nick's awesomesauce literary agent (ABLA rocks!) (ahem). And she has such an amazing passion for this project that I realized the best way to feature it was to let her hijack my blog with a special interview between her and Nick (you'll see what I mean when you read it--the banter between them is PRICELESS). So take it away Jen and Nick!

***

JEN: Nick, what inspired you to write SKYSHIP ACADEMY?


NICK: I wanted to write the kind of book that I liked to read as a teen. Namely, something that melded an action-oriented story with something more character based. Also, because I'm a huge movie guy, it’s important to me that what I write be very visual and fast-paced. I try to imagine reading the story in one sitting and whether it has a strong enough pull to keep the readers stuck in their seats! 


JEN: You definitely accomplished this with SKYSHIP. It has a rich cinematic sensibility and I particularly love the action; it's exciting and surprising. And that ending!! 


NICK: At the time we started working together, I don't think you represented any sci-fi . What drew you to SKYSHIP?


JEN: There was something accessible about SKYSHIP. First, your query pulled me in right away. I was compelled by the idea of Jesse Fisher being this unmotivated slacker who ends up having a significant power and significant secrets. Then I read your first page, where Jesse is hanging off the side of a building, and I was sold. I also appreciated that there wasn’t an overpowering romance element. Jesse has a crush on someone, but this isn’t a love story by any stretch. 


I believe I requested a revision of you before I offered you representation though, right? Tell us about your revision process for SKYSHIP. 


(Shannon interrupts to say: Ha! An ABLA agent requesting revision? Never!)
(though that's what makes them so awesome, even if it also makes you want to cry a little) :)


NICK: The skeleton of the story has been there from the beginning, but the world-building needed work. I remember having a discussion with you about it and spending the next weekend jotting down pages of world-building ideas. The relationships between the book's three factions — the skyships, the chosen cities, and the fringes — became integral to the overall plot and it elevated what could have otherwise been a more straightforward action/adventure read. 


Also, what was lacking in those initial drafts was a strong motivation on part of each of the characters. One of the things I like about SKYSHIP is that it's not always easy to tell who's the good guy and who's the bad guy. 


JEN: Jesse and Cassius, the protagonists – where do they come from? 


NICK: Jesse is my absolute favorite kind of character to read about. He's sarcastic and self-effacing and doesn't take himself seriously. He's also rather insecure. I consider both he and Cassius to be dual pieces of my own personality. They couldn't be more different from each other. Watching them thrown together, and how they change throughout their adventures, is one of my favorite aspects of this story. 


I remember when I was first querying SKYSHIP, I was always on the internet reading about the publishing process. Can you talk a little about selling SKYSHIP?


JEN: This was not an easy sell. Back in 2009, when I was shopping this, nobody was buying sci-fi. I was getting a lot of “We really like it, but it's sci-fi" rejections. 


What I never shared with you, though, was that after one particular publisher passed, I called Andrea Brown and cried. I was upset because I knew I wasn’t wrong about this book – it’s boy-friendly, action-packed, and things explode. I felt that the passes were coming from a place of fear because the genre wasn’t so popular at the time. 


NICK: Oh no! I'm the one who's supposed to be emotional! 


JEN: Sometimes agents get emotional, too. We just don’t tell our authors that. 


(Shannon interrupts to say: that might be the sweetest thing I've ever heard! THAT'S what you want from your agent--that kind of passion!) 


JEN: Ultimately, two editors were seriously interested, including Brian Farrey at Flux, who stepped up to the plate. I remember he told us that he shared SKYSHIP with a 17-year-old reader who loved it, and that’s what sold him. Hooray for Brian! Now we have THE PEARL WARS and the forthcoming follow up, which is called (drumroll)….. 


NICK: SKYSHIP ACADEMY: CRIMSON RISING. Without giving too much away, at the beginning of this book, Jesse and Cassius are basically wrecked. The Pearl Wars they were so consumed with in the first book segue into a threat far more serious, and Jesse and Cassius have to figure out how to deal with it. 


JEN: There's a scene in CRIMSON RISING that involves a locust invasion. Ack. What bug freaks you out the most? 


(Shannon interrupts to FREAK OUT THAT YOU'RE ABOUT TO TALK ABOUT CREEPY CRAWLY THINGS!!! *shudder*)
(ahem. carry on)


NICK: When I was a kid I was terrified of bees and wasps. I don't like spiders, either. 


JEN: I don’t like hopping bugs -- like grasshoppers and crickets. But potato bugs for me are the worst. I’m not talking about those cute roly polies – I’m talking about disgusting potato bugs; they make me dizzy. 


(Shannon interrupts to say: YOU GUYS ARE KILLING ME HERE!!!!)  


JEN: Jesse and Cassius have some intriguing powers in SKYSHIP, though they’re also dangerous and come with heavy responsibility. I recently did a SKYSHIP giveaway on Twitter, and I asked what super power people would most like to have. The most common responses were the ability to fly and manipulate time. What would your power be? 


NICK: I've given this a lot of thought throughout the years, actually! My initial answer was always flying, but I've decided that teleportation would be better in the long run. Think about it... after a few years you'd get as sick of flying as you did of walking. And I could pop into London and get some fish and chips on the way home from work! 


Is yours flying, or something else?


JEN: Who doesn't want to be able to fly? My super power would be having the power of vision. Not eyesight, but of being a visionary. Being able to accurately read the zeitgeist and predict what trends are coming down the line – in all aspects of our world, like business, technology, the arts, pop culture, politics... and being able to create something based on that insight. 


NICK: That power is so suited to an agent. 


JEN: You’re right; it totally is! 


(Shannon interrupts to say: Seriously, I think we ALL want our agent to have that power!)


JEN: I know you’re a pop culture guru and you even run a popular indie-music blog (alienhits.blogspot.com). What are you loving right now (besides X-Factor, which, as anyone who follows you on Twitter would know, you’re obsessed with)? 


NICK: Definitely obsessed with X-Factor. I have a weakness for singing competitions and Simon Cowell. As far as scripted programming, I'm loving American Horror Story. It’s unlike anything else on television. In current music, there's this Swedish band called The Sound Of Arrows who is about to release their debut album. Very spacey, epic stuff with a cinematic sound. I featured a song of theirs on my SKYSHIP playlist that I created on my blog. They’re uber cool and all of us music bloggers love them. As far as books this year, my favorite read has been Andrew Smith’s THE MARBURY LENS (who just so happens to be another Andrea Brown client, though I’m not biased!). That book has definitely stayed with me for months. Very unsettling. 

I know you were watching Friday Night Lights. 


JEN: Yes, I’m obsessed with it.

(Shannon interrupts to say: she definitely is. I have heard alllllllllllll about how I need to watch the show)

NICK: If you could live in a fictional fantasy/sci-fi world (Harry Potter excluded, because that's obvious), which would it be?

JEN: Twilight. Just kidding. When I was a kid, I wanted to live in the world of the Berenstain Bears. I loved the idea of living inside a tree, and everything seemed so happy and simple and peaceful. Their biggest worries are about going to the dentist or getting a shot at the doctor’s or cleaning their rooms.

You? 


NICK: I want to say Star Wars just because there's so much to explore, but entire planets are blown away and stuff so.... Berenstain Bears is looking pretty good about now

JEN: Well, you're welcome to join me!

NICK: But not if I have to wear that same outfit everyday

JEN: We'll get you a wardrobe.

NICK: Do you remember the one about Brother Bear watching the sci-fi movie and having nightmares?

JEN: What would happen if they read SKYSHIP? Would their heads explode?

NICK: They would be in therapy.

JEN: And there goes their peaceful life.

(Shannon interrupts to say: And... I'm pretty sure they've just singlehandedly destroyed the Berenstain Bears. So I think that's more than enough for today!)


***

Okay, how awesome are they? I LOVE getting that backstage look at all that went on to bring this book to stores, and I'm SO GLAD they got an editor to take a chance on it. I hope all of you reading this will take a chance on SKYSHIP too, and to help you with that, I have two--yes, TWO copies to give away today. AND THEY'RE SIGNED!!!!

To enter, make sure you follow my blog and leave a comment by 11:59 pm PDT on Thursday, November 3rd. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Friday, November 4th. (Weird days this time, I know. But I'm going out of town and want to make sure I pick the winners before I leave) International entries welcome.

For more fabulous book recommendations, check out what my fellow Bookanistas are talking about:


Elana Johnson REVEALS something awesome!!!
LiLa Roecker  announces a winner - plus a Past Midnight series giveaway
Christine Fonseca  reveals books she cannot wait to read
Beth Revis interviews My Very UnFairytale Life author Anna Staniszewski
Jessi Kirby twirls for Audition
Shana Silver burns for Circle of Fire
Carrie Harris devours Deadly
Stasia Ward Kehoe travels to The Day Before

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Finding Balance

Given the CHAOTIC week I just survived trying to crank through my copyedits, I've been thinking a LOT about balance lately. Most specifically: HOW will I make time for everything I need to do without letting anyone down and/or snapping-and-running-around-with-manic-hair-and-wild-eyes-and-scaring-small-children???? 

(Which *might* be a tad counterproductive being that I'm a children's writer and all.) 

Seriously, I don't know how some authors do it. I don't have kids, I don't have a day job, and I am SLAMMED. (Mind you, my schedule has some SUPER insane things going on that I'm probably not supposed to reveal yet--but STILL) It. is. DAUNTING.

And while the awesome Jen Rofe (an agent friend of mine--ABLA FTW!) has been giving me some excellent tips on making "winning" to do lists and setting priorities and stuff, (btw, Jen will actually be interviewed on my blog tomorrow--make sure you stop by!!!) I still can't help feeling like there's this MOUNTAIN of things to do and clearly not enough hours between now and the release of my book to do them all. 

But... I'm starting to realize that that's okay. 

I'm pretty sure there ARE going to be things I don't have time for, and that it's not going to necessarily be so much about juggling and trying not to drop balls as it will be about learning which ones to set down for a moment and pick back up when I can.

Like last week, for example. I HATE taking blogging breaks. (I miss you guys!) But... it had to be done. So I set that ball down and picked it back up again this week when I had the chance. And when something else gets thrown at me that I need to make time for, I'll set it down again. 

So I guess the point I'm trying to make (because really, I DO have a point) (at least I think I do) (my brain IS pretty tired after all those copyedits) is that the next year is going to be a lot of... "figuring it all out."

I've never launched a series before--and I have NO idea what I'm doing. So I'm just going to do the best I can, and hope it's enough. And THANK YOU in advance for bearing with me. My email response time may get a little slower and I may occasionally miss days of blogging (or swap in some guest posts or something...) But I will always pick things back up again as soon as I can. 

It's going to be stressful. It's going to be crazy. But I have a feeling it's also going to be pretty darn awesome. So I hope you'll stick around to watch it all unfold.

(if nothing else "the crazy" should be pretty entertaining to watch)

:)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Epic Milestones!!!

Sorry again for disappearing on you guys last week--those copyedits were a LOT more work than I expected. Here's a TINY glimpse of what my week looked like:


This represents THREE WHOLE DAYS--no, that is NOT an exaggeration--of me mapping out my book page. by. page. trying to figure out where I lost two months of "book time" in the revision and then finding places to fit it back in. Holy Headache, Batman!

And don't even get me started on the "stetting" and grammar correcting and fact-checking for consistency. Seriously, copyedits are NOT FUN.

BUT I FINISHED THEM!

Copyedits are done, fed-exed off to S&S, and I got word from my editor that she got them--and that it even looks like I did them right!!!!!

 *dances* 

Another milestone officially passed! I'm now one. step. closer to KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES becoming a REAL BOOK!

*dances more*

And speaking of milestones, I had another one happen this weekend. I have been going to SCIBA events for a couple of years now (love SCIBA--SUCH a great organization!). But I was always sort of attending unofficially, since SCIBA events are technically designed to put book sellers, teachers, and librarians in touch with published authors--which... I wasn't. (I will be eternally grateful to SCIBA for letting me come anyway). Well, this time, in light of my news--even though I wasn't officially on the program because, uh... my book won't be out for about a year--they wanted me to know that I had crossed over to being "official" now. So they gave me one of THESE badges this time:

(Sorry--took the pic on my iPhone so the resolution's a bit iffy)

Yeah, the red ribbon totally clashed with my outfit--BUT I SO DIDN'T CARE. So, so, so, SO cool getting a real author badge for the first time. Can't wait till the day I can also see my name in the program as one of the "participating authors." SOON! :)

And while we're on the subject of milestones ... I actually had one more happen last week. A BIG one. One that totally made me cry--in a good way, of course.

I can't tell you anything about it--and I certainly can't show you. But... I can give you a *tiny* clue:


Yeah... I got my first cover proof. AND IT HAS MY NAME ON IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(I know that seems like a given--but dude, there is NOTHING like seeing a book cover with my name on it. NOTHING!)

The font and text color and background color are all just placeholders right now and are probably all changing, so... I really haven't shown you anything. But now you know it exists. KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES HAS A COVER!!!

And.
I. 
LOVE. 
it
!!!!

NO IDEA when I'll be allowed to show you but trust me when I say IT IS GOING TO BE PERFECT!!! 

*hugs the cover proof*

*cries again*

So... that was my week. HOW WAS YOURS???????

Monday, October 24, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday Linky Love!

Still a bit buried over here thanks to The Copyedits Of Doom and whatnot, so I unfortunately did not have time to put together an MMGM this week. (Sorry! Will try to be back on track soon!)

But fortunately there is no shortage of awesome middle-grade love going on in the blogosphere today (LOVE to see so many of you participating--thank you!) so you will not be without fabulous reading suggestions. Check out these links:

- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!

- Joanne Fritz is giving some love to seven Richard Peck books. Click HERE to see what they are.

- Barbara Watson is highlighting THE PENDERWICK SERIES. Click HERE to learn all about it. 

- Pam Torres is featuring TOONOPOLIS! Click HERE for details.

- Jennifer Rumberger is highlighting HOW OLIVER OLSON CHANGED THE WORLD. Click HERE to see what she thinks.

- Michael Gettel-Gilmartin is gushing about CALVIN COCONUT: HERO OF HAWAII. Click HERE to read more.

- Ishta Mercerio Wentworth gives some much deserved love to JUSTIN CASE: SCHOOL, DROOL, AND OTHER DAILY DISASTERS. Click HERE to learn more about it.


- Myrna Foster sings the praises of THE MAGIC THIEF series. Click HERE to see why she loves it.


- Deb Marshall is featuring TUESDAYS AT THE CASTLE--and giving away an ARC!!!! Click HERE for details.


- Karen Yingling has a fabulous non-fiction middle-grade recommendation for you guys this week. Click HERE to see what it is.


- Danika Dinsmore is spreading some love for HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY AND NEVER BE FOUND. Click HERE to learn more about it.


- Akossiwa Ketoglo makes an awesome MMGM debut with a feature on THE REMARQUABLE AND VERY TRUE STORY OF LUCY AND SNOWCAP. Click HERE to read the review.

And if you are planning to participate and haven't had a chance to send me a link yet, no worries. I will be updating this post. Drop me an email and I'll make sure and add you.

Also, if you missed it yesterday, I've posted the winners to my EPIC Wish-Granting blog contest HERE. Make sure you check to see if you're one of the lucky ones!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wish Winners Announced!!!

Wow--I can't BELIEVE how many entires I got for this contest. You guys are absolutely awesome for your enthusiasm and support. Makes me wish I had prizes for all of you!

But alas, I only have 6 winners--3 runners up, and 3 grand prize winners.

Oh, but before I get to that, I noticed that several of you asked if you would be able to buy the necklaces if you didn't win, and I checked with Christina (who designed them for me) and yes--YES YOU CAN! So if you would like more info on that, you can contact her through her jewelry design website. Click HERE.

And, okay ... the winners!

There are three runners up--who win:

- an adorable "magic lamp" necklace

 - and some combination of these AMAZING S&S books (many of which are SIGNED):


And the runners up are...


Yay!

*tosses confetti*

And... there are three GRAND PRIZE WINNERS, who get:

- an adorable "wish" necklace

- SIGNED Hardcovers of:

- AND ONE WISH-- WHICH I WILL PERSONALLY GRANT
(within *certain* limitations) 

And the grand prize winners are...


Yay!

*tosses more confetti*

*is TOTALLY afraid of what they're going to wish for*

Okay, if that's you, make sure you email me with your mailing address at packratx (at) hotmail (dot) com so I can ship off your prizes! (And wish winners, we can start coordinating your wishes *gulp*) It'd also be a big help if you could put something like WINNER OF   (insert prize here)   in the subject line. And get on that pretty quick, because if I haven't heard from you by Sunday of next weekend I'll have to draw a replacement winner. 

For everyone else, thank you SO MUCH for your incredible support of this contest. I'm not sure how I'll ever be able to top this--but I'm determined to try! In fact, I happen to have a few extra magic lamp necklaces, so I guess I'll have to find a way to put them to good use. *ponders*

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

10 Things I've Learned From Copyedits

So, I opened my door on Saturday morning and found THESE on my doorstep:


Copyedits for KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES!!! 

*jumps up and down*

For those who don't know, copyediting is a different kind of editing. It's all done on paper, and your draft is COVERED in the strangest and most confusing marks EVER. Most of which--THANKFULLY--apply to the typesetter, not you. But there is a lot of very technical, very grammar and detail oriented stuff you DO need to address, which has taught me ten surprising things:

1. I should have to give back every single "A" I ever earned in English. (No really, I'm sure my copyeditor agrees.)

2. Whenever a copyeditor's note starts with, "Technically," you're going to feel really dumb.

3. Spell check failed me. A LOT.

4. I apparently have NO IDEA how to use commas. (They are being added, deleted, and moved on pretty much every. single. page.)

5. I also seem to have no idea how to use hyphens. And there are a TON of words that are apparently supposed to be hyphenated. For example: good-bye. I have been spelling that wrong MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!!! #mindblow

6. I also have no idea what a dangling modifier is, but I apparently had a bunch of them that needed fixing. (And I still can't tell why the suggested change is better!)

7. But the bright side is, if you consistently break a grammatical rule (even totally unintentionally) you're allowed to keep breaking it. They just mark it as "consistent with the style of the MS." Like... okay, we know this is wrong, but she keeps doing it so we're just going to let her and call it her "style." :)

8. It's also a good idea, if you're going to capitalize something, to do it consistently every time you type the word. Sporadically switching back and forth seems to confuse copyeditors. A lot. 

9. Also, if you're going to make a statement toward the end of the book along the lines of: "X amount of months have passed" it would be helpful if X amount of time had actually passed in the timeline in the book. 

10. And, most importantly: fixing all this stuff takes FOREVER. 

Not gonna lie, this process is TEDIOUS. And I'm actually on a pretty tight deadline for it. So I'm sorry to already be doing this to you guys, but I'm going to take the rest of the week off blogging, and maybe part of next week--however long it takes to get. this. done. 

And then I promise I will be back to normal blogging again. I still have all kinds of exciting things I want to tell you guys about. But it will have to wait till I meet this deadline.

In the meantime, I'm also holding a pretty darn awesome contest--if I do say so myself--that you definitely don't want to miss out on. If you haven't entered yet, I strongly recommend you do that HERE.

Hope everyone has a great rest of the week. See you all once I turn these darn things in!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wishes come true in the biggest blog contest I've ever organized!!!!

Whew--last week was officially one of the most surreal, crazy, amazing weeks of my life. I seriously can't thank you enough for all your comments, tweets, and emails congratulating me about my news. The response was so much more than I ever expected. THANK YOU!

But I don't think a simple thank you is enough for the many, many ways you guys have helped and supported me on this crazy journey toward publication, so I wanted to put together an extra-special contest to thank you all properly with some awesome prizes.

I went through a million and a half ideas, trying to figure out the PERFECT contest (I did have FIVE MONTHS to think about it, after all). And I gotta say, what I finally settled on is pretty freaking awesome. In fact, I dare say it’s frawesome.

The thing is, I love, love, LOVE that my publisher is Aladdin—not just because they’ve published SO MANY of my favorite books. But also, how cool is it that they have a magic lamp for a logo???? I just wasn't entirely sure what to do with that, until I turned to the brilliant team of Lisa and Laura Roecker, and they came up with the winning idea. Huge thanks also go to Simon & Schuster for donating a BUNCH of incredible books, and to the uber talented Christina Lee who made some awesome custom jewelry for me.

Okay, so... THE CONTEST.

I'm giving away six (yes, SIX!!!!) prize packages total (because I wanted to thank as many of you as I could). Three runners up, and three grand prize winners. EVERYONE will win awesome books and adorable necklaces (which I will explain in a second). But the three grand prize winners will win something EXTRA SPECIAL! (So special it might be a little bit crazy for me to give away--but I'm doing it anyway!!!)

Think about it. What does a magic lamp give you? 

Wishes! 

So that’s what I’m giving away too! 

No really, I am.

For three lucky winners, consider me your own personal genie—minus the harem pants: 


and blue skin...
(hee. I had WAY too much fun with bad Photoshop--if you can't tell...)

So here's how this works.

The three runners up will each win one of these adorable "magic lamp" necklaces Christina designed for me (the picture seriously doesn't do them justice--they are SO CUTE!):


AND some awesome books from the following selections:

(Note: Not everyone will get the same books, and no--the winners will not all get THAT MANY books. I have different amounts of all of the above, so the winners will each get some of those.  It'll work out to be FIVE books for each winner, some of which will be signed, some of which won't be, and the actual titles will be given out at random)

And the three grand prize winners will each win a signed hardcover of two of my favorite books edited by Liesa:

(BEYONDERS: A World Without Heroes, by Brandon Mull, and MILO: Sticky Notes and Brainfreeze by Alan Silberberg)

and one of these awesome "Wish" necklaces (again, the picture so doesn't do them justice):



Which will also entitle them to ONE WISH, which they get to arrange with me via email, and I will do everything in my power to grant it for them.

BUT… 

(come on, with a crazy prize like that you HAD to know there was a “but” coming) 

Because—contrary to popular opinion—I do not have any actual magical powers, I do have to put a few … guidelines on the winner’s wishes:

- To quote Genie in Aladdin: “ix-nay on the wishing for more wishes.” (I’m onto you guys!) :) 

- Obviously I can’t grant any wish that will be damaging to my career or require breaking the law (I love you guys, but I draw the line at career suicide or jail time.) 

- This is MY contest/celebration, so I won’t be able to grant any wishes that require me to pull a favor from other people. Then THEY’RE the genie and I’m just … the Messenger (ooo—did you see what I did there?) 

- Since I do have actual like, real deadlines and stuff now, (*tries not to panic*) I won’t be able to grant any wishes that will require an unreasonable amount of time (and we can discuss "reasonable" if you're one of the winners)

- I may have sold my book, but I’m no J.K. Rowling (yet…), so the wish has to be reasonably priced. (again, we'll discuss "reasonable" if you're a winner)

- And—just to be safe—I do have to reserve the right ask the wisher to suggest alternatives until we can agree on something. 

All of which, I know, might make me seem like one of the crappy, fat-and-lazy genies: 



But really—there’s a LOT you can still ask me for, like: 

-ARCs from my sekrit ARC stashes 
(and I have some AWESOME ones you guys don't know about)

- An ARC of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, whenever I have one

-A mention in the acknowledgements of my book

-Naming a character

-Critiques

-Presents

-Shannon Shame 
(you guys wouldn’t waste a wish on that though, would you? WOULD YOU?) 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you live local and want me to take you to lunch/dinner--it can happen! Or something else you dream up. You guys are all writers—I have no doubt you’ll find plenty of super-creative ways to put those wishes to awesome use. (In fact, I’m a little afraid of what you’ll come up with.)

Pretty awesome, right?

You KNOW you want to win. Which means you're probably wondering how to enter.

I wanted to make this as simple as possible so I'm going to try and keep the rules simple. If you would like to enter, all you have to do is make sure you're a follower of my blog and leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm PDT on Saturday, October 22. That will give you one entry in the contest. (International entries are--as always--more than welcome).

You don't have to do anything more than that. But if you would like extra entries, you can earn one additional entry for any of the following:

- blogging about this contest
- blogging about the awesomeness of any of the books being given away in this contest
(because I am ALL about spreading love for amazing books)
-tweeting about this contest
-posting on Facebook about this contest
-adding KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES to your shelf on Goodreads
(and if you've already added it, that totally counts)

If you do all of the above, that would give you 5 extra entries. Which means the maximum number of entries anyone can have is 6. Just let me know in your comment what you'll be doing so I can count your entries accordingly.

I'll then draw 3 grand prize winners and 3 runners up and post their names on Sunday, October 23rd. It'll be up to them to contact me about their prizes, and if I don't hear from them within a week I'll be forced to draw a replacement winner.

And... that pretty much covers it. But if you have any questions feel free to ask away in the comments.

Okay…ready?
Set?
GO!!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday Links--and a winner!

Once again I have to skip this week's MMGM--and no, it's not because I have another huge, mega-epic announcement to make tomorrow. But I do have an AWESOME contest I'm launching, so you will definitely still want to stop by. I've put together some pretty darn cool prizes, if I do say so myself.

And in the meantime, I don't want to overlook all the fabulous middle grade love that will be going on in the blogosphere tomorrow, so here are the links to lead you to all the awesome:

- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!

- Joanne Fritz is featuring HOUND DOG TRUE. Click HERE to see her review.

- Barbara Watson is gushing over ZORA AND ME. Click HERE to learn all about it. 

- Jennifer Rumberger is highlighting THE WEDNESDAY WARS . Click HERE to see what she thinks.


- Michael Gettel-Gilmartin is gushing about A LONG WALK TO WATER. Click HERE to read more.

- Myrna Foster sings the praises of ICEFALL. Click HERE to see why Rick Riordan is the master of middle grade.

And if you are planning to participate and haven't had a chance to send me a link yet, no worries. I will be updating this post.  So drop me an email and I'll make sure and add you.

I also have a lucky winner to announce....

The winner of the signed (and doodled in) ARC of THE WHITE ASSASSIN is...


Yay!

*tosses confetti*

If that's you, please drop me an email at packratx (at) hotmail (dot) com with your mailing address so I can send off your prize. And it would be a HUGE help if you could put something like: THE WHITE ASSASSIN WINNER in the subject line so it catches my eye. My inbox has been a bit flooded these days...

HUGE thanks again to all of you who are participating in MMGM. I am hoping to get back to normal by the following week--but even if not, I promise I will keep linking you all on the Sunday. Gotta keep the middle-grade love spreading!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!