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Exclusive Q&A with A Thousand Pieces of You Author Claudia Gray: Part 3

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Today, we’ve got part 2 our exclusive Q&A with A Thousand Pieces of You author Claudia Gray. Thanks for taking the to chat with us, Claudia. Readers – if you missed it, check out part 1 here and part 2 here. Today, it’s time for FLASH QUESTIONS!

Claudia GrayFavorite decade?

Depends on what for? Pop music? The 1980s. The amount of fun I’m having? Toss up between the 1990s and now. For fashion? … wow, I hope we haven’t seen that decade yet. I hope that one is still to come.

Must-have writing snack?

Bananas. NOM NOM NOM.

Favorite Disney movie? 

“Tangled,” as anyone who follows my Tumblr can attest.

The beach or the mountains?

The mountains — I prefer cool weather to heat. Also, beaches tend to get crowded; you can have some privacy in the mountains.

Song that can always get you dancing? 

Oh, God, it’s “Call Me Maybe.” Tell no one.

Name 5 things currently on your desk (or in your writing space), and share a photo, if possible.

1) A lamp shaped like a pug that is more attractive than you are currently imagining it, I promise.

2) My iMac, which now functions less as a computer and more as a stereo and a Netflix-viewing device.

3) The speaker system for the iMac. (See stereo mention above.)

4) Some glass vases, which aren’t there to hold anything, just to serve as decoration. I felt sort of impractical when I bought them, but IMHO they look great. (And when you work at home, it’s important to enjoy your workspace! Otherwise, the couch gets to looking too attractive — or maybe the bed — )

5) A candle from Fandlemonium, which is Harry Potter-scented. No, really! He smells delicious!

Exclusive Q&A with A Thousand Pieces of You Author Claudia Gray: Part 2

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Today, we’ve got part 2 our exclusive Q&A with A Thousand Pieces of You author Claudia Gray. Thanks for taking the to chat with us, Claudia. Readers – if you missed it, check out part 1 here. We’ll have part 3 on Friday.

Claudia GrayThe different worlds Marguerite visits are all based on the concept of “what if.” What are some of the “what ifs” you considered but ultimately did not use in ATPOY?

I’m hesitant to share too many, because I might still use them! But one alternate world was deleted — a dystopian, totalitarian state where Marguerite worked in a factory, Theo was an imprisoned rebel and Paul was one of the elite state guards. That made it all the way to the draft of the novel I turned into my editor, and I loved a lot of things about how that world worked, but in the end it was too grim to fall where it did in the story, and moving it never quite worked. Now I doubt I’ll have time to get back there again. Maybe I’ll revisit it in some stories on Wattpad …

AThousandPieces_hc_cWhat sort of research went into each of the different realities Marguerite visits?

Varying degrees. I looked up some locations in London, talked with my friend Marina the Russian oceanographer about Russia and oceans, and spent a lot of time working with the world clock. (The Firebird allows you to travel through dimensions, but not through time, so if Marguerite leaps out of, say, Madrid — into, say, Beijing — she’ll appear at the time of day in Beijing that aligns with the time of day in Madrid when she left. Does this make sense? I won’t blame you if it doesn’t, because honestly it confused me so much.)

Ironically, the dimension I had to do the most research for was “ours,” the world Marguerite leaves from. In any other world, if some details didn’t align with reality, I could always say, well, that’s how it is in that universe. Not as much leeway here at home! Marguerite’s family lives in the Bay Area of California, so I arranged a house swap with someone who lives in Oakland. That gave me a chance to see the neighborhoods Marguerite would live in and visit most often, to check out a few of the most important real-life locations, and generally soak up local color.

There are definite positives and negatives to the alternate realities that Marguerite visits. What is one of the positive things you wish would make it into our world?

I wouldn’t mind some of the holographic technology from the futuristic world. And how about those personal-defense bracelets? Cute, practical and deadly: Just how I like my accessories.

And one last question: Paul. Can I have him? Like, can I just keep him?

Some versions of Paul are unavailable — but since everything that can happen does happen, in some dimension out there, you’re in luck. :D

I’ll take him! Thanks, Claudia.

Help Light the Night in Honor of My Dad

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I’ll never forget the day my parents told me my dad had cancer. I was 11 years old, and terrified of what it meant. Would I get sick too? Was my dad going to die? What would happen to him?

IMG_1558editedHe was diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer called Mycosis Fungoides — a non-Hodgkin lymphoma. My dad was lucky. 20 years later, he is alive and healthy and here to be a big part of my life. In the past 20 years, he has helped me complete high school and graduate college; he helped my purchase my first home. He helped me start a new career – twice – and now I work with him on a daily basis, and will one day take over the company he founded. He walked me down the aisle. He even helped me brainstorm this very website. That’s right. Novel Novice owes a LOT to my dad.

I am so lucky and grateful that he’s around; that he survived. And it’s thanks, at least in part, to the work of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and their researchers

100That’s why, on October 25th, I will be participating in the Light the Night Walk, supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). My husband and my parents will also be walking, as we celebrate 20 years since my dad’s diagnosis. It’s weird to think you’d celebrate something as somber as a cancer diagnosis — but when the patient is still alive and kicking 20 years later, heck YES you celebrate!

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is on the brink of incredible breakthroughs that have already begun to change the lives of thousands of patients like my dad; treatments that can manage a person’s condition with a daily pill, therapies that seek out cancer cells and kill them, and the use of a patient’s own immune system to eradicate cancer not someday, but today.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk funds those treatments. Please consider donating to my walk and help us support the continued fight against these lesser-known cancers.

Book Review: Winterspell by Claire Legrand

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The Sugar Plum Fairy is not coming to the rescue in this darkly reimagined version of a holiday classic. Claire Legrand’s Winterspell is a luscious and seductive twist on The Nutcracker, which will enchant readers from the very beginning.

winterspellNew York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

Winterspell is a mesmerizing read, with a richly imagined world, enchanting characters, and unexpected twists at every turn. The Nutcracker is a brilliant source of inspiration, and the story’s influence is sprinkled throughout the book — and yet Winterspell does not rely on this source material. Legrand has crafted her own plot, her own mythology, and her own dark turns for the story and her characters.

Most of my memories of The Nutcracker come from the Tchaikovsky ballet — and I remember a growing Christmas tree, a dancing teddy bear, and Clara being whisked off to the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy, where delicious treats dance for her delight. But Legrand has tapped into the story’s darkest elements for Winterspell: the kindly but mysterious (and sometimes sinister) Heir Drosselmeyer; the battle between the rats and the Nutcracker; a young girl’s disappearance from her home on Christmas Eve.

Winterspell is an intoxicating blend of fairy tale romance and darkness; there is beauty and evil interwoven throughout the book, from start to finish. The result is a mesmerizing story, and the inability to ever think of The Nutcracker in the same way again.

Winterspell is in stores September 30th.

What the Moon Said Review by Abby Bingham

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Review by 12-year-old, Abby Bingham.

When I read this book my heart just melted over Ester, a little girl from Chicago moon saidwho lived during the Great Depression. Ester doesn’t quite fit in with her family. Her ma is superstitious and is very strict. She believed if you do something wrong it could bring bad luck. For example, once Ester buttoned her shirt wrong and her ma made her go take it off , shake it out, and then put it back on. Ester found her mother’s rules to be difficult but they were deeply ingrained in her. After reading What the Moon said, I actually do some of the things Ma told Ester to do!

Life is hard for Ester and then one day her pa loses his job and they decide to move to a farm. Ester’s family is not happy but she is determined this is her chance to prove she is a hard worker and can do the job right. Ester has high hopes for a new life, but the farm isn’t everything she dreamed it would be. Ester continues to find peace with her mother and herself.

One of the reasons I loved this book is the emotions. I almost felt as if I was there feeling and hearing Ester’s thoughts. What the Moon Said is a book I definitely recommend because I know that you’ll fall in love with the characters , just like I did. You might even find a piece of yourself in one of them. I think everyone should read this book at least once in their lives. This book I will read again. I also hope Gayle Rosengren writes many more books.

 

 

 

More Ideas for Book Promotions

Sara | Novel Novice:

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Expanding on last week’s post, here are even MORE ideas for ways to promote your book. I’d LOVE to work with any of you authors and/or publishers out there through my family business, Jag Forms, on coming up with fun, creative ways to promote your latest title(s).

Originally posted on Jag Forms:

Last week, we featured some real-life examples of projects we’ve done for authors and publishers looking to promote their books. And in the past, we’ve talked about some popular promotional product ideas for books and authors.

Today, we want to share even more! These are some of our favorite ideas for authors and/or publishers to consider when promoting different books:

Character Swag

Maybe your character is known for wearing a plastic ring or a special charm bracelet. Or maybe he loves Hershey’s miniatures. Or maybe she wears a certain piece of jewelry, or has an iconic pair of sunglasses. Simon & Schuster recently sent out pairs of red heart-shaped sunglasses for Morgan Matson’s new book Since You’ve Been Gone. You’ll notice they’re the same sunglasses one of the characters is wearing on the book’s cover:

since you've been gonesince you've been gone mailer

Whatever this item is – why not produce it for your fans to wear…

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#RockTheDrop 2014: Some Thoughts

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So today was #RockTheDrop – an annual effort organized by readergirlz and partners to promote Teen Reads Day, by encouraging people to leave YA books out in the wild for teen readers to discover them.

tbd2014I’ve participated for several years now, and I discovered something this year: teachers and librarians have no idea what this is.

It was raining something wicked today here in Portland, OR, so I decided to leave most of my books inside at a couple of local high schools. I’ve left books at high schools before, but usually I darted in during quiet parts of the day and never encountered any school staff. I snuck in, left books, and snuck out.

This year I ventured out during lunchtime. (A mistake, perhaps?) At both high schools I visited, I checked in with the front desk, since it was so crowded, and I didn’t want security giving me the stink eye.

And at both schools, I was met by the most confused reactions. At one school, the woman I spoke to actually seemed cranky that I wanted to leave free books for students to find — and the security guard thought I was wasting my time. (I kindly told him to give the students more credit; not all of them may be readers, but I promised him there were readers at his school, and the right students would find the books).

At another school, I spent probably 20 minutes trying to explain the concept to the school librarian, who just seemed baffled by the entire thing. “But how do they find the books?” she asked. I tried to explain, the book was for anyone who walked by and discovered it. The administrator at this school was at least kinder than the first — but she also seemed sort of baffled.

So readergirlz and future #RockTheDrop organizers, here is my suggestion:

Every year, you give us a fantastic book plate to print out and affix to our books before we drop them out in the world. Maybe give us a pamphlet or brochure we can print at home and hand out to the teachers, librarians, etc. we encounter while trying to execute these book drops.

And maybe, you know, work to expand awareness of what #RockTheDrop is all about.

Meanwhile, here’s a look at all the books I dropped off this year:

rtd1 rtd2 rtd3 rtd4 rtd5For the comments: How do you think we can increase awareness of #RockTheDrop?

The Blessed Giveaway Winners!

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The Giveaway for The Blessed sets have been picked and we are happy to announce our TWO lucky winners!

They are: Alicia Ezell and Breana Montgomery!  Precious Bloodpassionaries

Thanks for entering and happy reading! :)

Book Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

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By the time you finish reading this review you will be online purchasing both ‘Pivot Point‘ and Kasie’s next book in this duo ‘Split Second‘ which hit bookstores Feb 12th, 2014!

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Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought.  One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

So, Addie is a Searcher.   She lives in a safe community where everyone has different abilities.  Her mom is a Persuasive, meaning she can persuade others to do as she wants, and her father is a Discerner, meaning he is able to see truth from lies.

Addie’s big decision that Pivot Point is based around her parent’s decision to divorce.  Her parent’s give her the choice on which parent she would like to live with.  If she lives with her mom, Addie will stay in the home she grew up in surrounded by her friends and in the same school.  However, if she moves to live with her dad she will be living the safe community and unable to talk about her abilities with anyone.

Addie starts off with her mom and uses her Search ability to see how her life would be if she chose to stay there.  She also uses her Search ability to see how her life would be if she goes out of the community to live with her father.  These choices are told in alternate chapters.

At first, it was hard to know which future I hoped for more but after 2 chapters of each I figured out what I hoped would happen.  I won’t tell you which one since I do not want to spoil any of the fun for you!

I loved meeting Trevor and was dismayed with Addie’s friendship with Laila.  It’s great that she has such a dramatic friend but I would be happy for her to leave Laila behind.

I’m really excited to find out what happens in Split Seccond which came out this week.  GO and BUY both books!

Check out Kasie West online at her Website, Twitter and on Goodreads.

Book Review: Passionaries by Tonya Hurley

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One would hope that if you are visiting our review for ‘Passionaries’ (The Blessed #2) by Tonya Hurley you have read ‘Precious Blood’ (The Blessed #1) but even if you haven’t we have for you a spoiler free review.

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Agnes, Cecelia, and Lucy watched as Sebastian sacrificed himself for what he believed in. Will the girls trust that their destiny as saints and martyrs and perform the miracles as Sebastian instructed? Or lose faith in themselves and each other in his absence? Time is running out for them to make a decision, and the fate of the world lies in the balance.

The end of ‘Precious Blood’ was a shock but also completely fitting for the storyline Tonya has woven with Agnes, Cecilia, Lucy and Sebastian.In Precious Blood, we met Dr. Frey.  Fear not, for Dr. Frey is BACK and the creep(y) factor is still there.  He continues to wreak havoc between the girls.  While I do not want to be a patient of Dr. Frey, I do love what he brings to the storyline.

As with ‘Precious Blood’, death is not in short supply.  I am definitely looking forward to book 3 and am wondering who we will end up with at the end.  After the tough situations the girls have lived through I am wondering what life afterward will look like.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Prepare to fall in love with a young boy named Jude.  No, I am not giving out information about him because YOU should go read this book!

Not only do we learn more history of the Saints thanks to Dr. Frey’s intrigues, we also go behind the scenes of the Catholic Church.  Reading ‘Passionaries’ inspired me to go online to find photos and floor plans for the Vatican.  I enjoyed reading up a bit on what different areas were built for and how they are currently being used.  One area I looked into is the Borgia which is included in my Q&A with Tonya in the previous post.  Go and check out the picture!

One of my favorite parts about The Blessed series are the illustrated pages that have character hymns, elegies and visions.  In fact, I admit to going back and reading them twice as they are so intricately written.  Plus I am always trying to figure out if they are dreams or actually happening.

While I haven’t talked about what Agnes, Cecilia and Lucy they are of course the most important part of the story.  However, I want you to discover, as I did, how hard it will be to put down this book while you continue to learn more about their backgrounds and what they are up against in ‘Passionaries’.

Stop by our Giveaway post and enter to WIN copies of ‘Precious Blood’ (book 1) and ‘Passionaries’ (book 2). Then check out our Photo based post about the characters! Plus check out the Q&A post.  To learn more stop by the newly updated ‘The Blessed’ webpageTonya’s Webpage and THEN go follow Tonya on Twitter. You know you want to.