Sunday, June 30, 2013

The time it was a cover reveal

You guys.  I am so excited to be part of the cover reveal for Origin.  I mean, it's Daemon Jennifer L. Armentrout, so of course I was in.

Without further ado...

Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on? And will they even be together?

I don't even have words for this...

Yeah...that pretty much sums it up.
Make sure you add it to your GoodReads shelf.  Origin releases on 8/27, but you should preorder it now at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.
Huge thanks to Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Heather Riccio from Entangled Teen for including me!
USA TODAY Bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout, lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you've heard about her state aren't true.  When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki.Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class where she spent most of her time writing short stories....which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Lynn.
You can find Jennifer on her website, Twitter and Facebook.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The time there were sips

So. If you follow me on Twitter, then you know how much I wanted a copy of The Distance Between Us. The ever so awesome Jaime let me borrow her arc and I instantly fell in love. I went around and entered all of the contests [it was really just the one on Kasie's website] trying to get my hands on a copy of my very own. Amazingly, I found it at a local library's on site book store [for a dollar] where I immediately snatched it up and hugged it. There may or may not have been some loud squealing and dancing. I cannot confirm or deny that.


After I read it, I flailed all over Kasie about it and begged asked for an interview. Since she's so amazing [and perhaps immune to my fangirling, I mean, we did hang out at Disneyland], she agreed! Before we get to Kasie, let's check out Distance Between Us.

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Sounds good, yes? [It totally is. And that cover is gorgeous!]
1. Where did the idea for Distance Between Us come from?

Oh my gosh, I just had a surreal moment with this question because I realized you are my first interview ever for The Distance Between Us. I'm so used to answering this question for Pivot Point that I almost immediately typed in that answer. Okay, so you don't want to hear Sliding Doors. Ha. Annnnnyway, I got the idea for The Distance Between Us on a Tuesday. I know this, because it's the day I used to take my daughter to guitar lessons. Her lessons are only a half an hour so I never really had time to do anything while she was there. So I usually would just sit in my car and read or get on twitter. Well, next door to the music store where she takes her lessons is a dollstore called 'Dolls, Bears, and More.' The main thing they sell there are porcelain dolls and as I sat there one day staring at the window display of these creepy dolls, I thought to myself, that would make a fun book--a girl who works in a porcelain doll shop. And thus, this book was born (well, the idea was born). :)

2. I love all of the sarcasm. Caymen's sense of humor is a lot like mine. How did she develop as a character?

My husband will die if I say this but I have to. Caymen is basically the girl version of my husband. I mean, of course she's different, but her humor was very heavily influenced by his humor. He has this dry humor that has always made me laugh. So whenever I thought about what Caymen might say in a situation, I pictured him. Which sounds really bad and please don't picture my husband as Caymen as you're reading because that would completely take all the romance out of this book. :)

3. Xander. I don't even have words for this boy. I cant tell you how much I flailed over the sips of Caymen's drinks. Where did he come from and would you ever consider doing something from his POV?

I love Xander. He was one of those rare characters that came to me fully formed. He was so easy to write. He just was. If that makes sense. Maybe that's why I like him so much. Because he was easy. In more ways than one. Ha. No, just kidding. He was only easy in one way. :)

And a book from his POV?? Hmmm. I have a confession (I know, another one) I'm terrified to write from a male POV. I don't know that I could do it. So my knee jerk, scaredy pants reaction to that question is no, I probably never would. BUT, I've learned to never say never. So....maybe. :)

4. The dolls are creepy. Why a doll store as the family business?

Well, as I stated above, the store that I sat in front of weekly was the main reason. But I also had a very unpleasant history with porcelain dolls dating back to my childhood and my grandmother who made us sleep in a guest room full of them. It was not fun. They really are creepy. And they used to stare at me. And my older sister thought it would be funny to tell awful stories about them and then proceed to fall asleep. So yeah, I thought there needed to be a book in a porcelain doll store.
5. Distance Between Us is a lot different from Pivot Point. Was it easier to write?

Yes and no. It was easier in that I didn't have to worry about alternate realities and keeping track of what she knew in one life versus what she knew in another and if it is this time in one life, I have to make sure it's this time in the other. All of those detail type stuff that made my head want to explode were not in DBU. But when you take out all that stuff, you realize how much contemporary depends on emotions and relationships and characters. And that's hard.

Speed [ish] round:

1. What's your go to guilty pleasure thing to eat?

Cookies (I also eat a lot of Jr. Mints but for some reason don't feel guilty about that)

2. What are you reading right now?

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

3. Who are your favorite swoony boys?

Jace (Mortal Instruments), Perry (Under the Never Sky), Wes (The Truth About Forever)

4. Are there any authors that you fangirl over?

Absolutely. A lot of them. :) I would love love love to meet Sarah Dessen though.


Huge thanks to Kasie for taking the time to deal with my fangirling answer my questions.

Go find Kasie on her website or on Twitter. And go add all of her books on GoodReads.  

Now. The Distance Between Us has quickly become by go-to-when-in-a-slump book and I want everyone to read it and flail right along with me.... Soooooo.

Haven't read The Distance Between Us yet? Well, you're in luck. I'm giving away three [YES, THREE] copies. This is an international giveaway [as long as TBD ships for free to your country, so check first!]

Rules for the giveaway are listed under the "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget.

**Good Luck!!**
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 21, 2013

The time I was talked into it

I didn't plan on going to Leigh's signing at MGRB once I knew that I was going to Vegas. I had arcs for Robin LaFevers and I wanted to get them signed, but I was more than happy just to drop them off. And then Michelle convinced me to go.

Michelle got to my apartment just before 3 and we left immediately. Traffic was bad, but not too bad for Friday. We got to MGRB around 5:30. Nicole was already there. We chatted for a minute, bought books, and then I took Michelle to the super secret back room. 

We ended up hanging out by one of the side tables in the event area and chatting about all thing books. Kristin came over and said hi and also let me borrow her copy of These Broken Stars. Around 6, Carlos and Nicole informed the small crowd that they were moving the event area to the middle of the store. 

I helped Carlos set up the rows and then asked if I could have priority seating. We ended up in the front row with Anasheh and Vivian.

The ladies got to the store at 7:40 and launched into how they decided to do the event together. They talked on twitter about packing for tour, and Robin wanted to be involved. Then Leigh asked her to join her at the event. 

Robin first asked the question about who in the audience was a reader and who in the audience wanted to learn about the writing process.

It started out as a conversation between Robin and Leigh. [And FYI: I didn't take down all of the questions. I thought there would be a lot of the same questions that were posted in the lengthy Vegas interview.]

Which your favorite character?

L: Sturmhond, he's a privateer, sort of the Han Solo character. He's actually the Lando character. Writing the second book was much scarier, no one was watching. He never struggles with "can I do this?" Spends less time worrying, not sure if power will corrupt him.

R: It's like asking which child is the favorite. Usually says whichever character is being written at the time.

R: Loves the subtext that Alina gets more beautiful as she uses her power. Was that intentional?

L: Magic is usually draining. Alina doesn't become stunning all of a sudden, she becomes the best version of herself. The message of the book that the scariest part of yourself is what makes you...[I didn't get this entire answer]

Beauty is a trigger issue for YA. There is something in the water in towns. There are zombies, but they're hot. Vampires? Especially hot.

Worked in makeup in Hollywood, knows what it's like to be beautiful and what it's like to lose it and what people will do to get it back. 

Oblivious pretty? Come on. Standard of beauty in high school is very narrow. The tall girl with gorgeous skin and glossy hair that doesn't know it until the hero comes around and tells her? No. 

R: Authors write half of the story. Readers fill in the other half. And writers have no control over what the readers will see.

The Q&A started then. Carlos raised his hand first and asked how Leigh had been since the last time they saw each other. 

If you had to pick one song for your writing process what would it be? 

L: Is there a song about getting punched in the face? "Blinding" by Florence + the Machine.

R: Is that question for both of us? "Roll away your stone" Mumford & Sons.  Every character has that process. 

What character would you want to be in each others books?

L: I love her heroines, but they have to go through so much. Can I be the God of Death? I would want to be in the convent, working alone. 

R: I want to be Sturmhond 

With the worlds that you both wrote, do you have an academic background in those fields?

R: I don't have an academic background. Wanted to be an author the entire time, time for graduation and all adults said to go to college. Lasted one year at school. Life long learner, passionate about the Middle Ages. 

L: Was an English major with a lot of history classes. Big history reader. Knew there wanted to be guns. What happens when you bring a fun to a magic fight. 

Do you ship the characters in your own books?

L: I ship everything. I'm team story. I can't get attached to anyone. And you shouldn't either.... I believe in every relationship and I have to serve the story more than the relationship. 

R: That is the best part of having different heroines. I can always ship them in the next book.

Would you ever consider writing from another POV?

L: The truth is that we could?

R: The abbesses POV. 

L: Darkling POV. Has written some, may release it, but not until after the trilogy is over. Likes to write bonus content, but doesn't want to have puzzle pieces, wants the original book to be able to stand alone. 

R: There are a lot of extra scenes on the website about the girls being trained. So happy that there are books to prove she needed the research just in case the government is watching. 

When the Q&A came to the end, Nicole came out and offered books to anyone who asked a question. It could be anything. After another 30 minutes or so, Leigh said that she had swag for the first 10 people who showed up. So I got this awesome bag:

The signing started then and the people who didn't have seats got to line up first. We got to line up next. 

Kelly was awesome and grabbed me some nail polish. She also took some of my books up with her, since we were asked to only take 3 at a time. 

I got to Robin first. We talked about my arc for Grave Mercy and how it didn't have a title page. She laughed and said it was made wrong and then amended her statement to say it was special. I thanked her for driving down from Santa Barbara and she thanked me for coming up. 

I got to Leigh and butted in on the conversation Michelle was having. We talked about her being at SDCC and how I would stalk her properly there. I told her that I had the giveaway book she signed in Vegas, but now I had the winner's name and just wanted to get it personalized. 

She happily did that, then I thanked her and left. 

We sort of made the rounds, saying goodbye and then made our way home. As always, Leigh and Robin are just absolutely amazing. I highly recommend seeing them as soon and as often as you can.

Soooo.  I have a couple of books up for grabs.  I got signed paperback copies of Shadow & Bone and Grave Mercy...

Rules for the giveaway are listed under the "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget.
**Good Luck!!**

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

The time it was about boys

The lovely Meg got me an arc of Siege & Storm when she was at ALA in January when it was in Seattle.  As soon as I got done with it, I was flailing all about and begged Leigh to do an interview.  She is absolutely amazing and agreed!
But before we get to Leigh, let's see about the book.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Sounds good, right?
1. What prompted the idea for the Grisha trilogy?
In fantasy, darkness is usually metaphorical, but I wanted to see what would happen if I gave it physical form. That idea became the Shadow Fold and just about everything else in Ravka grew out of it.
2. How did you go about building the world?
That's a big question, but for me world building breaks down into sense of order and sense of place. When I wrote the first (very rough) draft of Shadow and Bone, the only things I really understood were the elements of order i.e. how power—personal, political, magical—functioned in the world. It was in the later drafts that I tried to give a real sense of how the world looked and felt. At some point, those two types of world building started to influence each other and I think that's when the story started to feel real for me.
3. Sturmhond is a fun new character. Did you have the idea for him right away or did he come to be as a reaction to another character?
I'm a plotter and Sturmhond was in the earliest outlines of the series. But I think his character and more importantly his sense of humor may have also been a response to the darkness in the books. I love harrowing and gritty, and believe me when I say I'm out to break your heart, but I think the darker moments lose impact if the world is too unrelentingly bleak.
4. And speaking of your boys, they're all so different.  Who is the easiest for you to write?
Sturmhond. No question. Most of my characters spend a lot of time fighting themselves, grappling with what's right or wrong. Sturmhond knows exactly who he is and what he wants. He is pure confidence, perfect clarity of intent, and that's so much fun to write.
5. Will there be kissing in book 3?
Indeed. A lot of it. And I suspect some of it will be unexpected. I sometimes joke with my editor that it should be called Ruin and Racy.
Speed [ish] round:
1. What's your go to guilty pleasure thing to eat?
Eggs Florentine. Actually, any iteration of Eggs Benedict. I should probably just get around to naming a character Hollandaise.
2. If you could wake up one day, just knowing how to do something, what would it be?

Play guitar. Or sew. Maybe sew while playing the guitar?
3. Who are your favorite swoony boys?
Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond, and right now, my heart belongs to Richard Armitage in the BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Haskell's, North and South. I also have a soft spot for Jaime Lannister, but I'm not sure I'd call it a swoon.
4. Are there any authors that you fangirl over?
So. Many. George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman. Glen David Gold. Holly Black. Gillian Flynn. I was on a panel at ATBF and it took me about ten minutes to actually hear what the moderator was saying because all I could think was "IamsittingnexttoLibbaBrayIamsittingnexttoLibbaBray."
Huge thanks to Leigh for taking the time to deal with my fangirling do the interview!
Go find her on her website, Twitter, and Facebook pages.  And go add her books on GoodReads!
Noooow.  Haven't had a chance to pick up Siege & Storm? I have a signed copy up for grabs. Also? I'm going to see Leigh again on Friday, June 21st, so I can have the book personalized if the winner likes. Of course, assuming the winner emails me back before the event. And assuming that I go to the event.
Rules for the giveaway are listed under the "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget.
**Good Luck!!**
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The time I confused the dates

I was always planning on going to Elana K Arnold's launch party for Burning. I read the book early and loved the entire story. Plus I met her at the launch party for Sacred and I just adore her.

On the day of Burning's book birthday, I tweeted about going to the launch party that night. I had looked at the website for Gatsby books the night before and I would have bet money that it listed the 11th as the date. Turns out, I was waaaay off, it was the 15th. So, I scrapped my initial plans of going to a different signing event and planned on Long Beach instead of Hollywood. 

I got up to the bookstore around 3:30 and stayed in the car, trying to finish The 5th Wave before heading inside. Just after 4, I decided to head in. 

Right by the back entrance door, they had this:

And on the counter, there was this display:

Gatsby books is a gorgeous little used book store. I ended up spending over 30 minutes wandering around from shelf to shelf. I bought some books and then settled into front row to wait for the event. And still try to finish The 5th Wave.
Elana came to the store just after 4:30. The event area is right next to the front entrance, so she saw me right away. We hugged, said hello and then ended up talking about The 5th Wave. Before heading toward the back of the store, she handed me a flyer with directions to the Burning after party. 

Just before 5, Elana came over and sat near me. We discussed the books we've recently read [she's reading Leigh Bardugo's books], the idea of a trilogy versus a stand alone and the possibility of her writing companion novellas for some of the characters in Burning. [Yes. Please.]
Around 5:30, Shawn, the owner of Gatsby books went to the front of the crowd.  He talked about how books were magical and the latest magician was at the store to share her book, then introduced Elana.

Elana started talking about writing process. Burning was completely easy to write. Wrote it in 7 weeks and it was unlike anything else experienced. Her editor didn't want to change a word and it was sent straight to copy editor. She thought it was maybe something that happened with every second book, but then it didn't happen with her third book.

She wrote the book 2 summers ago and knew it needed to be published in summer. The planned title was Gypsy, but was told [by her editor? I'm not sure who said it] was a boring title. 

She is always asked if the books are autobiographical? No. She's not a mystic or a gypsy and never been to Burning Man. So, no, not at all. And then she got the arc and after reading, realized that there was parts of her in it. 

Book was written for all of the kids in her life. Adulthood is not something to be afraid of. There is something equally magical to childhood. Also for all of her girlfriends. For all of the joys of being a woman that may be forgotten when doing dishes. 

And for her husband. 21 years ago, she looked across a room and saw a boy playing table tennis ["and kicking ass!"] and said, "that one". Might not have meant the one she was going to marry, but she knew he was a good one. 

After she read from her planned speech/presentation, Elana read two passages from Burning. 

After she did the reading, she talked again about the after party [at her house] and how everyone who attended was invited.  And then the signing started!

I was the fourth person up to her.  She thanked me again for driving up. Before she opened my book, she started spelling my name [correctly!!] to confirm. She asked if I was going to the party, when I said I wasn't sure, Elana started playing dirty. She offered me an arc of Splendor if I went to the house... Unfortunately, I was unable to go.

Elana is the sweetest person ever.  She is absolutely charismatic and her books are amazing. I highly recommend getting them and meeting her as soon as you can.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The time it was about witches

I was able to get my hands on an arc of Star Cursed in January.  When I was done with it, I had no one to flail to since I didn't know anyone who had read it yet. So, I took to twitter and was vaguely flailing about when Jessica Spotswood told me that I could email her. 

I ended up sending her this ridiculous email with all of my flails and as an afterthought, added a request for an interview.  I never expected to hear back from her, let alone for her to say yes! [I swear, one of these days, I'm going to get served with a restraining order. Elizabeth Norris, Sarah J Maas & Tamara Ireland Stone, I'm looking at you.]

Before we get to Jessica, let's check out Star Cursed.

With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess's quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

Sounds amazing, right? [It totally is]

1. What prompted the story and why witches?

Well, like Cate, I'm the oldest of three sisters. I had a dream in which my sisters and I were fighting over a magical locket we'd inherited from our mother. There is no magical locket in the Cahill Witch Chronicles, but the idea of writing about the complicated mix of love and competition between sisters really intrigued me. As for why witches...historically, the women accused of witchcraft tended to be outsiders. I liked the idea of taking women who were too educated or eccentric or powerful and making them actual witches in a society where that's the ruling male class's greatest fear!

2. Which sister is the easiest for you to write?

Cate, because I'm in her head / point of view, so I'm most familiar with her thoughts! But Maura is always FUN to write because she's, opinionated. Yes. I'll go with opinionated. And I am probably most like Tess in that I am bookish and observant and always want everyone to get along. I love all three of them!

3. When you wrote the ending of Star Cursed, did you sit back and laugh knowing you'd be killing people with the cliffhanger? [You guys.  Be prepared for this ending.]

No! But that specific plot point was intended from the beginning. I rewrote probably 75% of the book during revisions with my editor, but that stayed. It's tricky - I wanted people to feel all the feelings, but I also wanted to make sure it didn't feel sensationalistic or gimmick-y, because it was a very organic and important part of their story from the beginning. (Ack, it's hard to talk about without spoilers!)

4. You said in your email that you rewrote 75% of it in edits. Can/will you share something that happened that didn't make it in the book?

In the original first scene, mean girl Alice was cruel and gossipy toward Cate and Lucy, and Lucy lost control of her magic and almost set Alice on fire. It was a bit of an echo to what happens with Maura losing control at the end of Born Wicked. Lucy was more of a little-sister substitute for Cate because Maura and Tess didn't show up until 2/3 of the way through the book. There was also a super-convoluted plot involving secret papers in which Maura and Finn worked together to rescue them and Finn got shot! It was very exciting but it never actually made sense, so that all got scrapped.
5. Will there be kissing in book 3?

Oh yes. :) Two of the Cahill girls get kissed! I also have a new favorite minor couple who don't kiss, but they banter deliciously and were so fun to write.

Speed [ish] round:

1. What's your go to guilty pleasure thing to eat?

Vegetarian nachos with pinto beans & queso. Or brownies. Or both.
2. What are you reading right now?

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr. I love it! Next up: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

3. Who are your favorite swoony boys?

Eldric from Chime by Franny Billingsley and Po from Graceling.

4. Are there any authors that you fangirl over?

Yes! Kristin Cashore! I love her series and I was such a dork when I went to one of her signings - like, "Hi. I LOVE YOUR BOOKS. I'm a Penguin author too?" I also adore Sara Zarr, E. Lockhart, Ruta Sepetys, and Carrie Ryan.


Huge thanks to Jessica for dealing with all of my flails fangirling questions.

Find her on her website, blog, Facebook and Twitter pages. And go add all of her books on GoodReads.

Now.  To celebrate the book birthday of Star Cursed, I've got a signed hardcover copy of Born Wicked to give away!

Rules for the giveaway are listed under the "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget.
**Good Luck!!**
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The time it was a homage

Perhaps you didn't know that I am a huge fan of Pride & Prejudice. It is my all time favorite, go-to, slump breaking book.  And of course, I am a firm believer that Mr. Darcy is one of the original swoony boys.  I mean...

Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy FTMFW

Imagine my delight when I saw there was going to be another P+P retelling, I was thrilled.  Mostly because I think I've read every other one that's out there. [Seriously.  It's like a sickness.] But, Spies & Prejudice wasn't just a retelling. It is entirely unique and I was beyond excited for it.  Especially when I was able to read it early. [Thank you, NetGalley.]

Of course, I absolutely fell in love with it. And Tanner. Annnnnd, of course I stalked asked Talia if she had the time to do an interview... But, before we get to her answers, let's check out Spies, yes?

Fields’ Rule #1: Don’t fall for the enemy.

Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She’s busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she’s sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either.

So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her “nothing amazing,” it’s no loss for Berry. She’ll forget him in no time. She’s more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother’s death.

But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can’t Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?

With a playful nod to Jane Austen, Spies and Prejudice will captivate readers as love and espionage collide.

Sounds amazing, yes?

1. Where did the idea for Spies & Prejudice come from?

I was driving home from work one day, thinking about the summer I spent working my own father’s private investigation firm.  Not much happened that summer, but I started to play the “what if?” game and imagining things that could have happened if, you know, my marks were actually doing anything interesting.  By the time I got home from work, I had the idea for a book about a teenage private investigator who stumbles onto a clue to her mother’s disappearance and decides to investigate it on her own.  Once I had Berry’s character in place, I knew it would take a strong guy to break through the walls around her heart and her natural suspicion- someone like a modern day Mr. Darcy.  With the Darcy connection, it seemed natural to weave elements of Pride and Prejudice into the story.

2.  I love Berry, it's a lot of fun being inside of her head. How did she develop as a character? 
Berry was a blast to write!  I figured a teenage girl who spent her free time spying on cheating boyfriends and husbands would be independent, tough and a little jaded.  From there, Berry started talking in my head almost immediately.  She’s the first character that ever developed so quickly.  At times, I felt like a reporter, just writing down Berry’s words.  A friend of mine read the early version of the manuscript, and said, “no offense, Talia, but you’re not this funny.”  My response to her (mostly true) statement?  “I know, but Berry is.”   
3.  Let's talk Tanner. [thank you for letting me have him, swoon] He's a very Darcy-esque character, but not an exact replica.  Would you ever consider writing something from his POV?
Tanner was a little harder to figure out.  In early versions of the story, he had more of an edge to him, but he needed to soften a bit before Berry could really start to connect with him.  Tanner kept a lot of secrets hidden, and it took me a while to find (and exploit) his weaknesses.  I probably will write some scenes from his point of view for my website, but I haven’t yet…

4. To me, the nods to P+P were obvious because it's my favorite book. However, I think they were subtle [except the direct mention of Pemberley] if the reader wasn't as familiar with it. Was that intentional?
Definitely.  I like to think of Spies and Prejudice as more of a homage than a retelling.  Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books, but it was important that Berry and Tanner have their own story.  I tried to incorporate some of my favorite characters and scenes from Pride and Prejudice without detracting from the modern story I wanted to tell.  The first draft actually had quite a few more characters and plot lines from Pride and Prejudice, but it weighed down the mystery and took away from Berry and Tanner’s romance.  I hope that fans of Pride and Prejudice will be able to pick up on the overlapping scenes, plot points and characters inspired by the original story, overt, subtle or slightly twisted.

5. Describe Spies & Prejudice in 5 words, without using the words pride or prejudice. 
Careful what you look for.

Speed [ish] round:
1.  What's your go to guilty pleasure thing to eat? 

Burritos.  Too many carbs, but I can’t resist.

2.  What are you reading right now?

The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise.  It’s romantic and fun!
3.  Who are your favorite swoony boys?

Perry from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi; Thomas Wyatt from Tarnish by Katherine Longshore; Archer Cross from the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins; and Kaleb Ballerd from the Hourglass series by Myra McEntire.  Wow.  I wrote those down in like ten seconds.  Obsess much?

4. Are there any authors that you fangirl over?

See all the authors mentioned above.  Also, I think I would freak out if met Stephen King.  That man gave me nightmares in high school and college, but in the best possible way.
Huge thanks to Talia for taking the time [and giving me Tanner!!].

Find her on her website or on Twitter. And go add all of her books on GoodReads!

Now. To celebrate the book birthday of Spies & Prejudice, I've got a signed hardcover copy up for grabs that Talia so graciously donated.

Rules for the giveaway are listed under the "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget.
**Good Luck!!**
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The time I was impressed

When Richelle Mead was announced in San Diego, it was a pretty sure thing. Colleen had gotten me a copy of VA when Richelle was in Seattle as a way to persuade me read the series. Because texting me pictures of the hot Russian guy who is playing Dimitri apparently wasn't enough.

The event was ticketed, so I got Hubs to call the day the book went on sale. Michelle and I were numbers 3 & 4. 

We got down to MG around 4:30. We popped into the store, but the event area wasn't set up. Michelle and I got some coffee and then headed back to the store to stake our claim. Anasheh was also able to come down from LA, so it was really nice to see her again! 

The store filled up fast. Around 6:15, there were at least 50 people wandering around. We were able to get front row and we settled in to wait. Richelle came in just before 6:30, took a look at the crowd and left to wait in the back office. 

Patrick came around to the crowd to tell us how many books Richelle would sign [four] and if she would take pictures [yes]. He also passed out raffle tickets, apparently Richelle was going to be giving things away. 

She came out right at 7. She talked about how she has been reading from a certain scene that had fighting.  Recently, she did it while in a church. She didn't feel right about it, so she has since decided just to talk about the book.

Gameboard of the Gods started while working on her Masters degree in comparative religion. Wondered what would happen if religion was taken away. Book is set 100 years in the future and to have religion, must have a license. 

MCs are flawed, dysfunctional. Girl lead has repressed emotions in a solider situation. Guy lead is loosely based on a guy that went to grad school with. A total party guy at night and then in school the next day would be totally on.

After about a 10 minute introduction, the Q&A started.

Which was your favorite VA book to write?

Shadow Kiss. Biggest emotional ending. Got a lot of hate mail for it, sometimes still gets some. Doesn't enjoy the suffering, but likes the reaction readers have. 

Fiery Heart is book 4 in Bloodlines. Will be out in November. It is the favorite of the series so far. Doesn't say that about all of the books. Usually sends an email to editor about how career is over when a book is finished. If you thought Indigo Spell was hot, just wait. 

The term crazy is tossed around a lot and it's a dark journey that Adrian is on. And sometimes you'll be "oh Adrian" [hugs] and other times you'll be "oh Adrian" [fans self].

When you wrote Shadow Kiss, did you know the plan to get to Last Sacrifice?

Yes. When I sit down to write down any book, I know the big things. Knew it was something pivotal that had to happen between Rose and Dimitri to get them to the end.  

How many books for Bloodlines and Gameboard?

BL: six. Game: not sure yet. Usually takes about 2 books to find out how long it'll take to tell. 

For Rose and Dimitri. Will they have kids?

Can't answer anything about future plot lines. Can't give away anything that may or may not happen. 

In Spirit Bound, the small part where Sydney says Adrian is cute. Did you already have feels for them?

Whenever Jill was introduced [side note: when needs info about previous books, will ask Twitter for it. "Hey guys, what was the name of the such and such character in this scene?" "Oh you knew that too, yeah, so did I." ], had idea that there would be something with Jill and Sydney. 

Who was your favorite Doctor and companion?

Writing a short story for BBC for the 6th doctor, so sort of biased. Only American woman who is writing in it. Had a lot of fun, but he's a darker doctor and loves Peri. For every story, had experts going over every word to make sure that it was proper within the universe. 

What person inspired you to write VA?

Similar process to Game. A bunch of ideas jammed together. One was a girl in love with her instructor, then Russian and Romanian vampire lore. 

What advice do you have for aspirating authors?

Write and write often. Don't take time off. As a professional writer, much harder to get back into it when time is taken off. Tell the story you want to tell. Don't compare it to anything else. If you're passionate about it, you can re-tell something. 

Love the blog, read it more than books. Never seen a mention of son's name. Is that for privacy? 

Yes. Wants to keep him out of it. It's very ordinary name. It's not Vladimir. 

About Storm Born series. Will you ever finish? 

Had to wrap up for contractual reasons. Thought people would appreciate the edgy ending and they didn't. If possible to write a million pages a day, there would be lots of spin offs. 

What can you tell us about the movie?

Valentines day, 2014 is the release date. Filming in UK. Cast is having a lot of fun. Script is pretty true. When you sign away film rights, you really lose it all. Expected to walk into the theater and see a werewolf army movie. 

Do you want a cameo?

I don't know what I'd do. I'm 36, it would be like 21 Jumpstreet. "What is she doing? Is she here to narc on them?" Has scene one still from the scene of Christian and Lissa in the attic and it's beautiful. 

Is Game romance?

There is romance in it. It's dysfunctional. It's a slow burn.

Are you okay if they miss important details from the movie?

Yes. I knew what I was getting into. They're two different mediums, many books to movies don't work. Willing to take what comes. The script shown was amazing. 

Did Rose really love Adrian?

I think her choice proved her decision. 

You write many series at the same time. How do you keep them straight?

It's easy. The hardest to to have to switch out. Working on Game 2, had to work on copy edits for Fiery Heart. Takes a couple days.

After the questions, Richelle pulled tickets for the giveaway.  She had a couple of t-shirts and a copy of a book [I didn't catch which one].

When the giveaway was done, and before everyone was sent outside, Richelle told everyone how many books she would sign.  She also said that she would take pictures, but to make sure that someone knows how to use the phone or the camera to take a picture.  That even if it's 30 extra seconds with each person, it does add a lot of time by the time it gets to the end of the line.

Since Michelle and I were so close to the beginning, Patrick said we could stay in the store.  We helped fold up the chairs while the two women in front of us met with Richelle.

It was quickly my turn with Richelle.  While I handed her my books, I thanked her for coming.  I was seriously impressed that she can sign her name perfectly without even looking at the book.  She posed for my picture while signing.  That's ninja status right there.


After my books were signed, Michelle when up.  I was taking her picture and Richelle asked if we were from San Diego.  When Michelle said yes, Richelle said that it must be nice to be able to be close to events.

From the start of the event, to the time we walked out the door, it was under an hour.  As we left, I got this photo of the line, which was only part of the crowd, since they had allowed a partial line up inside.

Richelle Mead was definitely worth it.  She's funny and charming and absolutely worth whatever crowd it takes to fight in order to see her.

The time I took a day trip to Vegas

When I was offered designated blogger for the Vegas Fierce Reads tour stop, I was floored. I had already planned on driving out to Vegas, but Macmillan's offer made it so much sweeter.

We left San Diego around 9am. We had to stop for road snacks, so we were officially on the 15N at 9:30. 

11:30 found us at our first stop: the Flying J truck stop in Barstow. It was already 90+ degrees. More snacks were bought,then we were back on the road and I was back to my book. Driving to Vegas could be the most boring drive ever. Well, it rivals driving through Utah and Texas. 

Never done it? It's a lot of this...

Seriously. Miles and miles and miles of it. And then, all of a sudden, BAM!!

Our first stop was Gordon Ramsay's Pub & Grill. I've been a fan of Gordon for as long as I can remember, yet I've never eaten at one of his restaurants. 

We each ordered pub spots and they were worth every penny of the $17 they cost. 

They served the water in glass bottles with the restaurant name and logo etched on it. I offered to buy one, but they're not for sale. The awesome server I asked pointed to the empty bottles and told me he wouldn't stop me if I walked out with one. Alas, I didn't. 

Hubs gambled for a little bit, but we pretty much left right after eating. Neither of us knew where the B&N was located [we lived on the other side of town], so we wanted to head over to find it. 

We found the store and the event area as it was in the process of being set up. 

I introduced myself to the events manager, Crystal, and she told me that she was just about to go pick up the authors. She said they'd be back at the store around 6, [my meeting time was 6:15] so we could figure out the where then. 

From there, we just had time to kill...

We got back to the store at 5:45, but the event area hadn't changed too much. Chairs were not set up, so I waited off to the side with another woman who was attending the signing.  Just after 6pm, one of the employees asked if we were waiting for the event and offered chairs. She said we may have to move when they actually started setting up, but at least we'd be able to sit down. 

At 6:30, Crystal came over and told me that the ladies were in the cafe.

Now.  My initial plan was to record the entire interview and then post it here, so you could decide if you wanted to listen or not.  That didn't happen.  Below is the shortened and transcribed interview.  I took out most of the fun stuff, just because there were a lot of tangents, a lot of snark, a lot of laughing and a lot of Jessica singing One Direction songs.  Since I'm already making this a wall of text, I tried to narrow it down to just the answers.

Don't want to read? Scroll until you see a picture of candy. Oh. And the audio on my phone didn't pick up the very first question about desert islands...

What song best describes your writing process?

A: Tainted Love -- Marilyn Manson

J: Up All Night -- One Direction

E: #Beautiful, just to be silly. I don't know the lyrics, but it's for the title. I can't think of a better song.

L: Has to be something by Queen. Not Bohemian Rhapsody, not We Are the Champions.  I think we'll go with Princes of the Universe from Highlander.

What's the theme song for your book? [Thank you, Michelle for letting me take your questions!]

E: It's the End of the World as We Know It -- REM [Everyone: oooooh! Emmy wins!]

A: What is that song in Pretty in Pink? [cue conversation about different songs and Jessica singing] Ooh. The Promise by When in Rome.

J: Please Remember Me by Tim McGraw [more singing]. That's my first serious answer all day and I'm done now. That's all you get.

L: Every song I think of is a spoiler.  Wide Awake by Katy Perry. [someone said: That's a horrible song] Okay, I'm going with Tainted Love by Florence + the Machine.

What character other than your own do you want to hang out with?

E: Fire from the Graceling series. She would be so fun, just to go out and kick some ass.

L: Howl from Howl's Moving Castle.

A: Scarlett O'Hara.  I love her.  That's why my pen name is Anna Scarlett.

J: Park from Eleanor & Park.

Describe your book in 5 words.

Emmy just answered this question in my interview with her, so I said she didn't have to answer.  Everyone else wanted her to answer so they could have an idea.

E: Torque. Heart. Danger. Velocity. Family.

J: Some memories are better forgotten. [Everyone: Oooh, that's good.] Well, it's one of the tag lines.

A: I don't know...

L: Adventure. Romance. Darkness never dies.  [This started: sample choices such as "Adventure never dies. Buy me!" and "Buy this book right now" and "Who wants coffee? I brought cake!"]

A: Betrayal. Politics. That's a horribly boring word. Intrigue. Did you just say those were boring? I'm not playing this game anymore.

L: Now flip the table, Anna.

J: How about New York Times Bestseller Debut?

What's the weirdest thing you googled while researching?

A: How long do you stay unconscious when you chloroform someone?

E: How do you set a dislocated shoulder?

L: Maybe it's not very interesting, but a fun one was ancient hair dyes.

J: I know I have a more interesting one, but one I know I used was is personality in your DNA?

What sort of Hangover type shennanigans have you been up to while in Vegas?

L: Anna kidnapped a monkey.

J: We just got here.

E: I think you should ask us what will we do, because we haven't done anything yet.

L: I had blood pudding. Free blood pudding!

A: I almost knocked myself out in the shower. I dropped the soap, slipped on it and then hit my head.
At this point, Crystal came back over to the table and handed me chocolates with each of the book covers on a piece.  She gave me a set of them so I wouldn't have to dig through the bowls. We chatted for a few minutes longer, but the event was about to start, so I left them to have a few minutes to themselves.

Just after 7, Crystal introduced the authors and they started talking about their books. Then the Q&A started. 


For Emmy: Are we going to find out more about Astrid situation?

Plot described as handcuffed and thrown down the stairs, just finished draft of 3. Odd to go on tour for book 2, when book 3 was just finished. As a mother, hard to keep putting kids in danger. Wants to have a medivac take them to Hawaii.

What author would you want to write with?

A: John green. Just learn by sitting next to him. 

L: George RR martin. "Let's not work on our project, tell me how the series ends." 

J: Meg Cabot and James Dashner. [L: I would read that!] Exactly. 

E: Stephen King. 

Have you ever fangirled over an author?

E: Lish McBride. Acted like a 5 year old, wanted to hold hands and skip around. 

J: Friends with a lot of authors and still does it. At Leigh's launch party with Marie Lu and started to make bad puns about her book titles. The next day tweeted that she was sorry. 

L: Libba bray on a panel and didn't hear the first 10 minutes because she was next to Libba. The first time met George RR Martin, cried. Then met him again and he didn't remember, so acted really cool. 

A: No, I don't fangirl. Very shy. Can't approach authors because will take things too far. Maybe actually drool. 

How much did you know about your series when you started? 

L: S&B was first book, goal was just to finish. Halfway through, knew it wasn't the ending. Could potentially end, took notes for books 2 and 3 in case. Some things changed, planned on killing off a character in book 2 and they wouldn't let it happen. Does outline. 

J: Save the cat method. 15 beats to break down any great story. Doesn't start until the 15 beats are done. Outlines to have something to deviate from. 

E: Serious outliner. Can communicate with editor or publisher as to what the book will be. Every night when in the trenches, reads the scene that will be worked on tomorrow and will think about it. By the time computer is up and ready the next day, it's right there and is ready to write. 

A: Despise outline. Can't do it. Stops progress. Have you ever gotten in the shower with your bra on? Don't like to be told what to do, even if it's from herself. 

What was inspiration for book?

J: With Unremembered, an article about a girl who was the only survivor on a plane crash. Started brainstorming all sorts of crazy sci-fi things and it turned into the trilogy. 

E: Has a stew pot in the back of imagination. Adds stuff until it's ready. Male dynamics and power. Loves survival stuff. On dates, would say, "we have 6 hours to get out of Manhattan, what are we going to do and get?" One date said:  "drugs [meaning penicillin] and musical instruments." Ended up marrying him. 

L: Everything came from shadow fold. Fear of the dark never goes away. That second you can't find the light switch or a dark parking lot. What would happen if the darkness was real? What would it take to beat it? 

Takes daily inspiration. There's an idea that you'll get this BIG IDEA for a book and all of this inspiration and it's easy to write. 

A: Giant squid documentary and too much candy. 


Who were your writing inspirations? Is there a crazy weird thing that you saw that made it into your book?

L: George RR Martin, Neil Gaiman, Frank Herbert. Stephen King. She named a lot. 

Snatches of dialogue will make it in, but will change. Relationship between David and Genya is based on friends. 

J: Suzanne Collins. Meg Cabot. JK Rowling. 

Choice of 2 boys. One was completely done. For the other, stole one from past, gave him the same name and car and aspirations. Hadn't talked to him since high school. Turned in manuscript and the next day, he messaged on Facebook asking "do you remember me?" Couldn't tell him that he was in the book. 

E: Remember the stew pot? Uses everything. Probably stuff from Anna tonight. Husband used to wake up and shimmy up neighbor's trees and would drink the hummingbird nectar. Wants to write that with 2 old women watching out the window for him. 

Tends to remember the last 5 books she reads. Kristen Cashore. Loved Eleanor & Park

A: The reason started writing was Stephenie Meyer. Said if this girl can write a book, I can do it. One day I'm going to meet her and she's going to give me a black eye that make up won't hide. 

A lot of pranks that were in the books were things she did. 

Do you have any advice for people who want to publish YA? 

A: Get people to read it and critique. Can't be your mom. Scariest thing was sending to a stranger and who wasn't afraid to hurt feelings. Find a group who will critique and not afraid to red pen. 

L: Choose readers wisely. Believing in a dream that is a crowded market place, etc. doesn't mean you won't do it. Need to be able to trust the person who reads. Keep your voice, but be open. Research agents. You don't take a shotgun approach, it's like a marriage. They're your champion and a fan of your work. 

J: Learn how to pitch your book. Write a summary in one page, then one paragraph then one sentence. If you can do that, you're ready. Need a 30 second pitch and you need to capture all of it. When you write a query letter, you'll have it. 

E: Started as an actor, worked at an unknown improv company that no one ever saw because they did school shows. Then started auditioning for movies and everyone thought she was a huge breakout star, but had been working on it for years. It's all practice. 

L: People always ask about self publishing. Your book that you turn in to publisher will be revised. And then with the editor will be revised. And that learning process is important. 

E: You can hear different models and see what works for people. 

J: There's not one true path. 

For Jessica: what's the biggest difference between writing other books and Unremembered?

Unremembered set in this time, but different world. Playing in this world can be boring. Wanted to make up own rules and own weapons. Can't say which is better to write because contemporary girl comedy comes natural. 

You have 30 minutes of free time. Do you write or read?

L: Watching reality tv isn't a option? If working, will only read non fiction and research. Only really reads when on tour. 

J: Read. Because 30 minutes isn't enough. Needs at least 3 hours. Would get really angry at you. If I have to pull away from the zone, I get cranky. 

E: Write. Guessing in the optimal zone: rested and just have this little gem and it's time to get the ladle out. 

A: Would read and write. When I start reading, I think "I can one up this person". 

Favorite book to movie. Not Harry Potter.

E: Children of Men

J: Really liked The Devil wears Prada. Thought the movie was so wonderfully done. 

L: Like Water for Chocolate. Incredibly visual and lived up to the book. Shawshank Redemption. The short story was her comfort read in high school. 

A: Gone with the Wind. Not many people have heard of it. Really liked to see Scarlett O'Hara come to life. Really entertained by her. 

What do you do when you have writers block?

E: Dealt with it when doing improv. Internal critic telling you your work is crap. If in a scene and thinking you're not funny, like a robot with a stone in your mechanics, has exercise. Tanya Harding was asked "How do you leave drama of real life off the ice?" Treeing: deep breath, hand on something made of wood, exhale. 

J: Step one: don't use the term writers block. Think it's a mental thing. I do sometimes get stuck. Step two: step away and do something else. Step three: write through it. Don't be afraid to write crap because it makes a great fertilizer. 

L: Agreed with everything said. Change things. The problem is when you get stuck. Try to type faster than think, go for a walk, dance break, a different scene, write a different POV. Also be kind to yourself. You're going to have bad days. Days where you think you're a fraud. 

A: Writers constipation. No matter how hard you push, only a little comes out. We've established that I like to one up people, so I read. 

What are you reading right now? 

E: Eleanor & Park. So excited for early tour event time on Sunday to be able to watch Game of Thrones finale.

J: The Selection. Just bought The Elite. Loves Nashville and New Girl and How I Met Your Mother.

L: Has different humor than everyone else. Three's Company was a tragedy. Loves Elementary. Didn't expect it to be good. Hannibal. Game of Thrones

A: Reading Pushing the Limits and loving it. Such messed up the characters, but not beyond repair. The Walking Dead. Terrified of the walkers and will fast forward to see if there are things that jump out. 

The signing started just after 8 and I waited until the very end since I had so many books. 


When the line dwindled, I jumped in. I chatted with each of the authors while getting things signed. However, with that many books [and being the last one], I was trying to hurry. Finally, I had Hubs feeding books to Leigh while I did the same with Anna. 


We then took a group photo before thanking everyone and then jumping in the car to start the drive home. 


Huge, mega, insane thanks [and eternal devotion] to Macmillan for the offer and to Emmy, Leigh, Jessica, and Anna for playing along. I had a blast.  

Now.  Part of the offer for being designated blogger means Macmillan sent me hardcover copies of each of the author's newest book for a giveaway.  Each book is signed!! 

Rules for the giveaway are listed under the "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget.
**Good Luck!!**
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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