Thursday, February 27, 2014

Team KEEPER Continued!

***UPDATE***

It looks like the 200 comment limit glitch doesn't apply to blog posts like this one--only to the static pages. (that's what I'd been hoping for, and why I moved the conversation over here). SO. Feel free to keep commenting away. You'll just need to click that "load more" link at the bottom of the page in order to see the comments past 200) 

So wow. You guys have already maxed out the 200 Comment Limit on the new Team KEEPER page that I just built you--which is AWESOME, btw (clearly the KEEPER fandom is growing).

But it also leaves me with the *tiny* problem of not having anywhere for you guys to comment/interact with each other.

I've looked into lots of different things, but so far I haven't been able to find anything that lets you comment anonymously (since I know some of you have parents that don't want you creating accounts or using your name) and lets the comments be "threaded" (meaning you can reply to each other in a nice, organized, easy-to-follow way)

So for now, the only solution I can come up with is to move the conversation to another new place. Like oh, hey, RIGHT HERE.


You might want to bookmark this post so you can find it again, since this isn't a "page" like the others (though I have also added a link to this post on the Team KEEPER page, in case you can't find it). And if you fill all the comments on this page, I'll just create another.

SO.

As you were and carry on. Feel free to continue your Team debates (side note: I love that you guys are calling for me to make teams for characters who don't have them yet). It's also awesome that you guys have started discussing theories about things--though please, please, PLEASE make sure you keep that discussion spoiler-free, so we don't ruin the fun for anyone who hasn't read.

Also, if you need a refresher on who the teams are:


Ever feel like you don't belong? Then you look no further--you belong with Team Sophie! You may not always have the answers, but you're brave and smart, and if you trust yourself, you can handle anything. And as for who holds your heart? Only time will tell how you decide . . .


Ever feel like the underdog? Then welcome to Team Dex! You may have people constantly underestimating you, but you'll prove them all wrong someday. And while you may be the ultimate BFF, you're hoping to break out of the "friend zone" eventually. (you might have pretty great dimples, too . . . )


Ever caused a mess of trouble--and loved every second of it? Then you definitely belong with Team Keefe!  Jokes and pranks are the highlight of your week--but that doesn't mean you can't be serious when you need to be. In fact, you care very deeply about . . . well, maybe you're not ready to admit *who* yet. But you're having fun driving the girls crazy in the meantime!

Ever feel pressure to be who everyone expects you to be? Then Team Fitz is the place for you ! You have the looks, the talent, and the family everybody envies--but that doesn't mean you do everything perfectly. And sometimes you can be a little oblivious when it comes to other people's feelings. But you'll hopefully figure it all out--eventually. . . 

Ever made a mistake and had to work to set it right? Team Biana knows how you feel! You may sometimes say or do the wrong thing, but it's only because you're fiercely protective of the ones you care about. And once you make a true friend, you're friends for life. You're also the best person to ask when it comes to style--but there's so much more to you than you're stunning looks. You're brave, smart, and incredibly talented. And the world hasn't seen anything yet!





Ever feel like no one understands you? Then find lots of people you can relate to on Team Iggy! You may be small and good at making a mess of things--but you always know when someone needs you. And you're happy to provide them with a cuddle, a purr, or a nose-full of toxic breath--whatever they need. And hey, you can rock every crazy fur color there is!




Ever feel like you're all alone? Then you'll find lots of friends with Team Silveny--plus more sparkles than anyone could ever need! You're special and one-of-a-kind and extremely loyal and caring. And no one can deny you have great taste in friends--even if they give you the craziest nicknames.








Ever found that doing the wrong thing can sometimes be right? Then you belong with Team Black Swan! Some may think of you as a rebel, but really you're just seeing the world differently. And you're not afraid to bend or break a few rules--so long as it's to help others. 

Okay, and ............ GO!

Monday, February 24, 2014

MMGM Shout Out: SORRY YOU'RE LOST (plus links)

I am officially buried with EVERBLAZE edits and LET THE STORM BREAK launch stuff, but I'm feeling a little ashamed of the fact that it's almost March (OMG HOW DID THAT HAPPEN???) and I have yet to do a proper  MMGM. So I'm going to try something new.

From now on I'm going to try to at least give a quick shout-out to a middle grade book I've either bought or am planning to buy or hearing good things about or in the process of reading whatever. That way I spread at least SOME middle grade love every week, even if I'm too buried to do a full feature.

So for this week, my shout out goes to SORRY YOU'RE LOST, by Matt Blackstone, the book I started reading before I got slammed with edits and had to drop everything:


I've sadly only read about three chapters (seriously, I'd only been reading for like 20 minutes when the doorbell rang with the giant envelope of deadlined work from S&S). But I can't wait to get back to it--not just because Matt's writing is so strong, but because I love the idea of this book so much. It's a dealing-with-loss-from-cancer kind of book--but its FUNNY. Which is such an important thing for kids who are going through something like that, imho. As soon as I meet this deadline I am diving back in.
If you would like more info about it, you can find it on Goodreads HERE. And make sure you also check out these other MMGMs happening throughout the blogosphere:
-  Charlotte Ritchie joins the MMGM fun with a feature on CONFESSIONS OF A SO-CALLED MIDDLE CHILD. Click HERE to welcome her to the group. 
- Birdie Reader is singing praises for NUMBER THE STARS--with a GIVEAWAY! Click HERE for details.  
 - Susan Olson is in love with FOUND (The Missing, book 1). Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Sue Heavenrich is highlighting FAMOUS LAST WORDS. Click HERE to see why.
- Barbara Watson has feels for BELOW. Click HERE to see her feature. 
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is caught up in ESCAPE FROM MR. LIMONCELLO'S LIBRARY. Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Greg Pattridge is taking it to THE SEVENTH LEVEL.  Click HERE to see why.
- Daniel Johnston is gushing about TWO HOT DOGS WITH EVERYTHING. Click HERE for his review.   
- Shari Larsen has chills for CASE FILE 13: ZOMBIE KID. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Dorine White has an awesome 2-book GIVEAWAY going on. Click HERE to see what's up for grabs.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out 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.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!   
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.   
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

Monday, February 17, 2014

MMGM Links (2/17/14)

Deep in the edit cave on EVERBLAZE (and I finally have a plan of attack!) so all I have are links this week. But here's all the awesome MMGMs:
-  Fleur Bradley is highlighting GEORGE WASHINGTON, SPYMASTER. Click HERE to see why  
- Suzanne Warr is spreading the love for HOW TIA LOLA CAME TO STAY. Click HERE to see why.
- Mark Baker is spotlighting FAIREST OF ALL Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is interviewing author Dianne Salermi. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Greg Pattridge is cheering for THE YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY. Click HERE to see what he thought.  
- Sue Heavenrich is gushing about THE VINE BASKET. Click HERE for her review.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out 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.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!   
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.   
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

On trusting characters (aka: why I let them make mistakes)

Okay, so, I get this question a lot (like, a LOT, a lot--it's also a heavy topic of discussion over on the Team Keeper page):

HOW COULD YOU LET FITZ BE SO MEAN TO SOPHIE?????????????

Which, as those of you reading the KEEPER series know, this is referring to something that happens in EXILE. And I'm going to try to keep this discussion relatively spoiler-free for those who haven't had a chance to read yet, but I still thought it might be time to address the issue, since clearly a lot of you are wondering about it--and are maybe even a little sad about it. 

And here's the thing: it made me sad, too. 

In fact, I avoided writing those scenes as long as I could, and when I finally wrote them it broke my heart. I love Sophie. And I love Fitz. So to let him say and do such hurtful things was very, VERY hard for me. 

But I had to do it.

Because here's my number one rule when it comes to writing: I have to trust my characters.

I know this might sound a little weird, but my characters are very real to me. I know their strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams, fears, regrets, and deepest, darkest secrets. And because I know them so well, I have to trust them. Even when it means letting them do something I don't like. Because that's the other thing we all have to keep in mind: characters aren't perfect. 

Sometimes they do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, even feel the wrong thing. That's what makes them real. But it also means that sometimes we all want to scream, "NOOOOOOO!" as it's happening. And that's okay, because that's what makes the story interesting. It gives us something to root for, hope for, keep turning those pages to see how it all works out. And maybe sometimes it doesn't work out as well as we'd like. But that's okay, too, because it's something we can all relate to. Life is messy. Characters' lives need to be the same.

So in Fitz's case, yes, he was mean. And it was sad and wrong and we all want to yell at him for it. But he had to. Think about it. Overnight, he'd basically lost everything--and that's about 10,000 times harder for a character like him because remember, he's grown up in a world where things like that just don't happen. And while there are lots of ways he could've reacted, I knew in Fitz's case he was going to be angry. 

So angry. 

I also knew that his anger was going to be targeted at poor Sophie, because of the role she played (in *his* mind) in what happened, and that it was going to be this ugly, explosive thing. But I had to let it happen because I had to trust Fitz. I had to let him work through his grief in whatever ways he needed to. Only then would he be able to heal. And now that he has, he can start making it right. 

So I hope that answers your question--and I hope you guys can see that I (and Fitz) had very good reasons for why things happened the way they did. 

Also: Can I tell you how much I LOVE that you all care this much about Sophie and Fitz??? You guys are the best. fans. EVER! 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

LET THE STORM BREAK Launch Party--and a pre-order giveaway!!!

Wow--I can't believe it's already time to launch another book baby into the world (hee, every time I say that I imagine myself hurling a baby like a football--which is *probably* why it's a good thing I have cats, not kids, right now).

ANYWAY, despite my disbelief, I've checked the calendar and YES--IT'S TRUE. LET THE STORM BREAK will be hitting shelves in a bookstore near you on March 4th (OMG THAT'S BARELY MORE THAN THREE WEEKS AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!)

Which means, I've got some events to tell you guys about--and I'm *hoping* some of you will be able to come:



Tuesday, March 4th

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

LET THE STORM BREAK Launch Party!!!!

Barnes & Noble, Oceanside
2615 Vista Way 
Oceanside, CA 92054
*with Kiersten White and Kasie West*





Wednesday, March 5th

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Barnes & Noble, Monctlair Plaza
5183 Montclair Plaza Lane

Montclair, CA 91763
*with Kasie West*



Thursday, March 13th

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Mysterious Galaxy Books
7051 Clairmont Mesa Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92111


April 25 - 26th
9am - 2pm


Knicely Conference Center
654 Campbell Ln.
Bowling Green, KY


I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!! And it's *possible* I might add a couple of other things.

BUT.

I know that *is* a fairly Southern California dominant list. And I know some of you might be a *little* disappointed that I'm not coming to your state. All I can say is SORRY. I'm a *wee* bit behind on writing and deadlines right now, and I learned last year that it definitely comes back to bite me if I don't scale back on the events/travel and focus on the writing a little more.

I'm hoping to branch out a bit wider in the summer and fall, after I catch up a bit--and I promise if I do I will keep you all posted.

But I also wanted to TRY to make it up to those of you whose states I won't be visiting. And so, I give you: THE LET THE STORM BREAK PRE-ORDER GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

Anyone who pre-orders LET THE STORM BREAK before it releases and fills out the form at the end of this post will get this:



1 *signed* LET THE STORM BREAK Bookplate (which can be personalized with your name)
1 *signed* limited edition LET THE STORM BREAK bookmark
1 sticker

As usual, I'm not requiring proof of purchase to enter--though I AM hoping you'll do the right thing and be honest. And I'm willing to mail the prizes anywhere--even internationally. All you have to do is pre-order the book and fill out the form at the end of this post before 11:59 pm on 3/3/14. And if you already pre-ordered the book before you found out about this contest, that totally still counts. It doesn't matter when you ordered it, just that you did. Also: there's no limit on how many times you can win. If you buy five books and fill out the form five times, then you get 5 prizes (also, you're my new favorite person EVER!)

I *think* that covers everything--but if I missed something, feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments.

And I just want to end with my deepest and sincerest thanks for all your amazing support for my books. You all totally blow me away (hee) and I CAN'T WAIT for you guys to continue with Vane and Audra's story and experience the haboobs, mainly so you'll know I'm being inappropriate when I make haboob jokes. (well, okay, I'm being a LITTLE inappropriate. But... can you really blame me?)

;) 

Only a few weeks left--EEEEEEEE!!!

**Form has been removed because this giveaway has ended. Huge thanks to everyone who entered!**


Monday, February 10, 2014

MMGM Links (2/10/14)

I'm currently battling some cross between the zombie flu and the head cold of doom (just in time for my EVERBLAZE edits, oy) so I'm not 100% sure how accurate these links will be. But here's my best attempt at where you can find all the awesome MMGM's going on:

-  Barbara Watson is going BACK TO BLACKBRICK. Click HERE to see why 
- Xander is showing off the newest books he's added to his collection. Click HERE to see what they are.
- Media Sharif is ALSO spreading some love for THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Andrea Mack is geeking out for GEEKS, GIRLS, & SECRET IDENTITIES. Click HERE to see why.  
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is cheering for KELSEY GREEN, READING QUEEN. Click HERE to see his feature.  
- Daniel Johnston is talking about the many different feels he got for THE HUNGER GAMES. Click HERE to see what they were.  
- Rosi Hollinbeck has a feature--and a GIVEAWAY--for A HUNDRED HORSES. Click HERE for all the fun.
- Greg Pattridge is taking sides in THE PET WAR. Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Dorine White has discovered THE SECRET BOX. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Susan Olson is highlighting THE ACCIDENTAL TIME TRAVELER. Click HERE to see why.
- Kim Aippersbach is wondering at THE CABINET OF WONDERS. Click HERE to see her feature. 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out 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.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!   
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.   
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.