My ARCs!!!

My ARCs (advance reading copies) arrived last week! It is so exciting to see my words on real book pages 🙂 and a little weird — seeing the story in a book rather than on my printed manuscript pages feels almost like someone else wrote them. It is definitely an awesome experience and I can’t wait to hold the actual hardcover in my hands!

I will be having an arc giveaway soon — May 2- May 8th to be exact — coinciding with the YAmazing Race!

What is that you ask? The “YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes” is a blog hop/race beginning May 2nd.  The starting line is The Apocalypsies website. There you will soon find (not up quite yet though)  specific directions on how the race works. Basically readers will hop from author blog (or website ) to author blog, reading the book synopsis for that author’s 2012 debut title. At the end of each leg, readers will answer questions specific to the book descriptions they read — and those readers who answer correctly will be eligible to win tons of MGnificent prizes! For the YAmazing race, I am donating a Blind Spot notebook and Blind Spot bookmarks, but as I mentioned above, I will also be hosting a Blind Spot  ARC giveaway for those who hop by my blog along the race. So stay tuned for more details!

Truth or Dare Challenge — My teamTEENauthor Initiation

Would you believe, I have NEVER played Truth or Dare? I know! Crazy, right? But now as a married, mother of three, I am about to play.

Why?

Because I was dared to by Julie Cross author of Tempest as an initiation into the super cool “Team TEENauthor” — an awesome network of soon-to-be or already published Young Adult authors — and. . . okay, yes, I’m also doing it so I can display this really cool medal:

So, here goes my Truth or Dare Challenge:

 

MOST COMMON TRUTH OR DARE QUESTIONS
1) If your significant other said it was alright would you cheat on them? Definitely not — even with a free pass, we’d both know it happened, and that can be hard to forget.

2) What is there about your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse) that embarrasses you?  He doesn’t always remember people’s names, but he is so respectful, he always makes a point of calling a person by their name — so sometimes he calls someone the wrong name!

3) What is more important than money? Being happy.
4) When have you loved some one who has not loved you back? When I was a sophomore in high school, I was so  in love with my boyfriend — and he claimed to love me — but he was always going out with other girls — he evn broke up with me for two weeks once so he could go out with this girl he thought he might “like better”. It hurt bad when I realized he didn’t really love me.

5) When was the first time you had your heart broken? Ditto on number four. My junior year, when I finally wised up. It killed me to walk away from him.
6) When is it alright to mix love and business? When the person is not your boss (or anyone that holds any sort of power over you) and not your competitive rival in the business.
7) If you were given a chance to become invisible for one day, what would you do with this ability? I’d go into some super-secret, heavily-guarded facility and see what’s really going on, then write a massive whistle-blower book. Not sure where those super-secret, heavily-guarded facilities are, but hey, I’m invisible, maybe I have ESP too.
8) If you could see 24 hours into the future what would you do with this ability? Nothing. I’d leave it alone. I don’t think I could handle always knowing how things would turn out.
9) Who was your first crush with? Do I have to name names? Eeek. Brett Carlson, kindergarten through fifth grade. Sorry Brett! Hope you aren’t a blog-reader!

10) When is it alright for your boyfriend/girlfriend to lie to you?  When you look awful and you know it — it’s okay for him to lie and say you look awesome.

11) If you were the opposite sex for one day, what would you look like and what would you do? I wouldn’t care so much what I looked like, but I would definitely go to the beach and spend all day without my shirt on. I HATE that dudes can do that and we can’t 🙁

Whew! I’m done. That wasn’t so bad.

Wait. . . what?

Julie says I’m not quite finished yet.

I get to let you play now!
To play, just answer one of the above truth questions in the comment section, then it’s your turn to ask me a question. . . and offer me a DARE. I’ll pick ONE question to answer or pass on it and go with a dare!

And yes, if I go with the dare, I will post pictures of me performing it so you can verify I didn’t cheat 🙂

 

Laura Ellen and the DEAR TEEN ME Anthology

Zest Books has teamed up with E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally to publish an anthology based on their popular Dear Teen Me blog, and I am thrilled to announce that I will be one of the 70 YA authors included in the anthology!

Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves will be released October 31, 2012 and covers a range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium as each author dissects critical moments from their own young lives. My letter “Losing Your Sight Shouldn’t Mean Losing Your Rights” discusses the struggles I went through as a teen dealing with macular degeneration.

The line-up of authors is so amazing, I cannot believe I am among them! Here’s the complete list:

1. E. Kristin Anderson—Want.Take. Have

2. Jessica Lee Anderson—Contents Under Pressure

3. Tom Angleberger—Shhhhhh!

4. Sean Beaudoin—Frame Meand Nail Me to the Wall

5. CharlesBenoit—Reinventing Me

6. Robin Benway—9 Things YouNeed to Know

7. Ilsa J. Bick—The Knife

8. Marke Bieschke—DanceDance Revolution

9. Joseph Bruchac—First Kiss. . .ish

10. Jessica Burkhart—TrustIs as Important as Love

11. Josh A. Cagan—Thank You,Oily Pizza

12. Riley Carney—Nothing’sImpossible

13. Tera Lynn Childs—TheFuture Isn’t Everything

14. Jessica Corra—ThePrincipal’s Office

15. Heather Davis—Raising Me

16. Daniel Ehrenhaft—GettingStood Up

17. Laura Ellen—Losing Your Sight Shouldn’tMean Losing Your Rights

18. Beth Fantaskey—I HopeYou Dance—to the Theme from Bonanza

19. Caridad Ferrer—Jekyll& Hyde

20. Michael Griffo—Be Honestwith Yourself

21. Janet Gurtler—The SkinnyGirl

22. Kersten Hamilton—It’sAbout to Get Worse

23. Bethany Hegedus—GoingAll the Way

24. Geoff Herbach—You Arethe Electric Boogaloo

25. Faith Erin Hicks—NoCalls from Spielberg Yet

26. Nancy Holder—When DanceWas Your World

27. K. A. Holt—Lois Lowryand the Space-Time Continuum vs. Boys

28. P. J. Hoover—SeepingThrough the Cracks

29. Ellen Hopkins—FindingYour Voice

30. Stacey Jay—Who NeedsLuck?

31. Carrie Jones—Seizures

32. Mike Jung—Regarding YourCommendable Decision to Live

33. Stasia Ward Kehoe—Getting Past the Fear

34. Tara Kelly—Bad Girl

35. Miranda Kenneally—PickUp the Phone and Call Him Back. Right. Now.

36. Stephanie Kuehnert—HeBroke More Than Your Heart

37. Mary Lindsey—Hope Untilthe Last Second

38. Nikki Loftin—TheRamifications of Mouthing Off to Cute Boys

39. Katherine Longshore—TheBest Days of Our Lives? Really?

40. Ken Lowery—Winging It

41. Kekla Magoon—TheBalancing Act

42. Mari Mancusi—What theBully Stole

43. Gretchen McNeil—All theWorld’s a Stage

44. Jodi Meadows—The Pursuitof (Moments of) Happiness

45. Saundra Mitchell—This IsNot Your Story

46. Hannah Moskowitz—GetBetter

47. Jenny Moss—What I ReallyWant

48. Sarah Ockler—Dancing withthe Dead

49. Lauren Oliver & Elizabeth Miles—Best Friends Forever (for Real)

50. Stephanie Pellegrin—JustBe Yourself

51. Mitali Perkins—FirstKiss

52. Cheryl Rainfield—KeepHold of Your Strength

53. Dave Roman—SpecialDelivery from Your Excellent Future

54. Jess Rothenberg—StopObsessing, Kiss That Guy, and Party Like It’s 1999

55. Jennifer Rush—All RoadsLead Somewhere

56. Amy Kathleen Ryan—Smile!

57. Tom Ryan—Sing It Out

58. Leila Sales—I’m NotGoing to Give You Any Good Advice

59. Cynthia Leitich Smith—Friends in Dark Places

60. JessicaSpotswood—Finding Him

61. Erika Stalder—Boys,Boys, Boys


62. Rhonda Stapleton—Chunky

63. Mariko Tamaki—KeepingQuiet

64. Don Tate—Stolen Jeans,Smoke Rings, and Self-Esteem

65. Melissa Walker—You’re SoRight But So Wrong

66. Tracy White—100% True,Guaranteed

67. Jo Whittemore—All Kindsof Sexy

68. Sara Zarr—What Is aFriend?

69. Jennifer Ziegler—FacingFacts: Makeovers Don’t Change a Thing

Isn’t that just an awesome line-up of authors? Can’t wait to read all those letters! Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves is available now to pre-order through BAM! and Amazon.

PRETTY CROOKED Release and Swag Giveaway!

Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig releases TODAY!

Today is the official release day for Pretty Crooked by fellow SS&A blogger Elisa Ludwig. Pretty Crooked is a smart, funny novel about Willa Fox who, after discovering some rich kids are bullying the poor kids at her new school, decides to even the score, Robin Hood style.

To celebrate the release of Pretty Crooked we’ve been running a giveaway on the SS&A blog. We have three Mystery boxes of swag to give away. This giveaway ends March 18th at midnight, so head over to the SS&A blog to enter for your chance to win!

PRETTY CROOKED Swag Giveaway

Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig releases March 13

My friend and fellow Sleuths, Spies, and Alibis blogger, Elisa Ludwig, is celebrating the release of her YA novel PRETTY CROOKEED on the 13th of March. To help her celebrate we are giving away three mystery boxes of PRETTY CROOKED swag 🙂 We will also be giving away a copy of PRETTY CROOKED on the blog next week.

Don’t miss out! Pop over to the blog and follow the directions to win the swag.

To Swag or Not to Swag — THAT is the question!

As I get closer to my book release, my focus is shifting from edits to marketing, and more specifically, swag.

Now some of you may be asking: what the heck is swag?

Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Six months ago I thought it was what guys like Mick Jagger have — but no, that is swagger. I’m talking swag — the stuff authors and publishers hand out to promote a book.

The most common swag are bookmarks and stickers, but there are so many things authors can have printed up with their book cover on it these days — hats, tote bags, mouse pads, Christmas ornaments, t-shirts, notebooks . . . . and that’s just to name a few!

All that swag can be cool, but it can also add up, and despite what many believe, authors don’t make all that much money. So I’ve been deliberating a lot about what swag to spend my money on. If I couold afford it, I’d put my cover on everything because I love seeing it. (It is such a cool cover! And it’s MINE!)

But since I can’t do that without my husband having a heart attack at the amount I’ve spent, I need to narrow it down. And so I pose the question:

What swag do readers actually like getting? And more importantly, what swag gets readers to buy a book, if at all, since ultimately, that is the goal?

I would love any and all comments on this subject. The more POV the better!

Blog Smooches for the Blog Love

I have been so amazed at the cover love I’v e seen since my reveal January 20th. Thank you to all who tweeted and facebooked my cover. You made my day!

Since then, BLIND SPOT keeps popping up on blogs 🙂 So, with this being the month of lave and all —  I thought I’d send out some big hugs and slobbery kisses to all the bloggers who have shown their love for it!

BIG Smooches to:

Jen Bigheart at I Read Banned Books

Giselle at Xpresso Reads

Ella at Deliriously Falling

Shannon at Stalking the Books

Rebecca at Kindle Fever

Gabbi at BookBreather

Kristi at The Story Siren

Nicole at Nicole’s YA Book Haven

Ky at Can’t Find a Bookmark

♄ ♄♄♄♄ You all ROCK!!

 

COVER REVEAL and WINNERS!!

Thank you for all the awesome comments on my cover! And thank you to all those who tweeted and facebook-ed and blogged it too! It was great to see all that cover love. 🙂

As part of my cover reveal, I had giveaways: two $20 Barnes & Noble gift certificates and a signed copy of BLIND SPOT to be sent to the lucky winner when the book is released in October!

Guess what?

I have winners! I will be contacting the following fans by email:

$20 Barnes and Noble Gift Card: Alicia Marie

$20 Barnes and Noble Gift Card: Petra

A signed copy of Blind Spot: Grace Redford

If you didn’t win this time, don’t worry! There will be plenty of giveaways leading up to Blind Spot‘s release in October. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss anything! In the meantime, Blind Spot is now available to pre-order! You’ll find links on the side-bar. Want a SIGNED copy? You can pre-order one — even get it personalized – exclusively through my local Indie bookstore, Nicola’s!

BLIND SPOT HAS A COVER!

There’s nothing quite like seeing the artwork someone else has created to represent the words I’ve written! Wow! I am in awe!

Before I get to the big unveiling, I thought I’d share a wee bit about the design process. After HMH acquired Blind Spot, several people asked me what I wanted my cover to look like, and to be honest, I didn’t have an answer. I truly hadn’t envisioned one for it. Many authors I talked to thought that was strange — they had definite ideas for their books and some even expressed disappointment because a cover wasn’t anything like what they had pictured.

As my cover design process began, the only real input I gave besides the characters’ physical descriptions, what they would never wear, etc. was that if a design played on  Roswell’s vision, it had to be correct — that I was adamant about. Macular degeneration means her central vision is blocked and I didn’t want that incorrectly represented in any way.

When I saw the preliminary art, I was blown away. I’d never seen such a beutiful cover! I know all new mamas say that, but seriously. It was perfect! That awesome feeling soon faded to dismay, however,  when my editor told me they were unable to secure the artwork rights and would be returning to the drawing board.

I couldn’t imagine another cover after seeing that first one. I understood why my friends who’d had definite ideas for their covers had expressed disappointment  — because it is really hard to imagine another cover once you’ve attached a specific image to your work.

In my case, I wasn’t disappointed for long. HMH reached an agreement with the artist, and after some slight changes, like adding a killer tagline . . .

I was in cover love 🙂

Are you? Leave a comment, tell me what you think. Two lucky commenters will win a $20 Barnes & Noble gift card and one lucky commenter will receive a signed hardcover of Blind Spot after it’s release October 23!

Want extra chances to win? Share my cover on your blog, facebook,  or twitter! Sign up for my newsletter and grab another chance! Giveaway ends Friday, January 27 at 11:00 PM EST. Having trouble leaving a comment? You can leave one through the contact form.

Please note: All comments must go through a moderator before posting to avoid spam. If your comment doesn’t show up immediately, don’t worry. it will!

 

On Book Trailers

Since I have begun my inquiry into making a book trailer for BLIND SPOT, I thought I’d talk about them a bit. First of all, if you are like my husband, you may not even be aware that there is such a thing — don’t be embarrassed. It’s something relatively new to the book promotional industry. I started seeing them pop up more and more around 2009, but authors and publishers were probably using them long before that.

A book trailer is like a movie trailer. It introduces the plot and some characters in an interesting, intriguing way. Book trailers are then run on an author’s site and/or YouTube channel, the publisher’s site, on review forums like Goodreads, on entertainment industry sites as ads — I’ve even seen them run in hotel elevators during large book events. For a visual world, the book trailer is a great way to quickly incite the interest of a teen reader.

Trailers usually run no more than two minutes. Anything longer is just too much. A trailer is meant to tease the viewer, not give them the entire beginning, middle, and end!  Most trailers use stock photos, text, and background music put together in a slideshow format. This approach suits books well because it views much like a book would play-out in a reader’s mind. It is also a realtively simple and inexpensive approach, and can be easily put together by the author himself using a program like Windows Movie Maker.

Another approach is to shoot some live action video and mix it with the stock photography and use an actor to do a voiceover instead of using text. Another more expensive but increasingly popular approach, however, is actually creating the trailer as a live action video using real people to play the characters. The first trailer I saw like this was Jeff Sampson’s trailer for Vesper.

This blew me away. I loved the idea, the concept.  But then I thought about how, as a reader, I like to imagine the characters myself. I wondered if a live action trailer would somehow taint that for readers by supplying the visual image for them?

I still don’t know the answer to that question, and it has been one that I have struggled with as I have begun to plan my own trailer. What do you think? As a reader, do you mind having pre-conceived images of a character before you begin reading? Have you ever watched a movie before you read the book and been able to think of the characters as people other than the actors who played them in the movie? Or does it even make a difference to you? I’d love the input!

While you ponder that, let me share some truly awesome trailers for upcoming books:

BORN WICKED

HARBINGER: 

LIES BENEATH: 

GLITCH: