Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The time it was a readathon

Hi guys!

So, apparently, Liza Wiemer at WhoRuBlog does an annual holiday #readathon and this year I'm going to participate! [Thank you, Jaime for tweeting about it!!]

As the pretty picture says, it's from December 6th-8th and the amount you choose to read [as well as what you read] is entirely up to you, just make sure you use #readathon while tweeting your progress!  Head over to Liza's blog to sign up and get more of the details.  There's also all sorts of mini-challenges and giveaways!

Will you be joining us? [The answer to this is yes.]

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The time we stayed classy

Anchorman is one of my favorite movies and we quote it daily. When I saw that Ron Burgundy [not Will Ferrell] was going a book signing at The Grove, it wasn't even something I had to think about.

Hubs has a new job now, so taking days off to wait for wristbands in the morning won't be able to happen as much as it did before. I decided to take a chance and see if I could take Lita up on her offer of saving wristbands for me. I sent an email and she responded almost immediately in a affirmative! 

We got up to the bookstore around 5:30. While in line, we heard the cashiers telling people that they had sold out of wristbands by 9:45am. There was a stand by line going, but there were no guarantees that those people would be able to get in. 

We went upstairs to check out the signing area and ended up briefly talking to another person attending the signing. He had overheard that Ron [not Will] was going to arrive by cop car, complete with sirens and lights. We had also heard some of the people working in the cafe saying that if he came in, they had to call him Ron, he wouldn't answer to Will. 

Ron walked by just before 7pm. The screams were out of control. They took him to a staging area right away for something...

They had a paparazzi corral and had him pose with the book for a few minutes. 

And then the line started moving. We were only allowed to take photos from the signing line. 

As we got closer...

You handed your book to one person, who handed it to Ron, Ron signed and then the book was handed to someone else who have it back. Once I got up to Ron, he said hello. I said hi and this was our brief conversation:

Me: We drove up from San Diego.

Ron: Where specifically?

Me: Escondido

Ron: Ah. Yes, Escondido. Beautiful city. That's where the swallows go right?

Me: Yes. Exactly. 

Ron: Thank you for coming. 

And then with Hubs:

Ron: Have you ever been to Rancho Penasquitos? 

Hubs: Yes. 

Ron: Me too. Have a good night. 

We were ushered out pretty quickly after having our wristbands cut off. Ben & Jerry's was there giving out samples of Scotchy Scotch Scotch. 

All and all, we were out of the store about 30 minutes after he got there. And on the way out, we took dorky photos with the cardboard cutout. 

Meeting Ron Burgundy was a once in a lifetime opportunity [especially since this was his only book signing]. This event at The Grove was the best one we've been to so far. Security was amazing, the staff was helpful and polite.

Extra special thanks to Lita for being awesome. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

The time it was my 2 year blogiversary

Well.  It's been another year. [Technically, it was a year on 10/26, but whatever.]

This year has been a little different from my first year of blogging.  I hit some pretty major [for me] milestones, expanded into author interviews and blog tours as well as being invited to be a Throne of Glass Ambassador by Bloomsbury and the designated blogger for Macmillan. Twice.  Not to mention all of the new and awesome friends I've made and authors I've stalked found.

And seriously, you guys, I can't thank you enough.  You've come along with me on this crazy, amazing ride and I wouldn't still be doing this if it wasn't for all of you.  Extra special thanks to the few of you who have been with me from the beginning...your support means everything to me.

Now, let's get to the good stuff, yes?

We can't have a blogiversary celebration without a giveaway and I think this one is pretty good.  I've been hoarding these books through out the year, with this in mind.  I give you.... my blogiversary arcstravaganza!

Up for grabs to one winner are the following signed arcs:

Icons by Margaret Stohl
Asylum by Madeleine Roux
Tandem by Anna Jarzab
Crewel  and Altered by Gennifer Albin
SYLO by DJ MacHale
School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
The Program by Suzanne Young
Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza
Parallel by Lauren Miller
Reboot by Amy Tintera

This giveaway is US only. [I went back and forth with the idea of offering INT with the stipulation that the winner pays for some of the shipping cost. And while it seems shitty, it would be necessary with this stack of books. If you're international and you want to enter, email me and we can discuss it.]

As always, the rules are listed on the "terms & conditions" of the Rafflecopter widget.

Before I let you loose to run amok and enter, stand there and let me hug you.

**Good Luck!!**
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The time it was about a goddess

I'm not sure how I found Tellulah Darling and her books.  I do know that I've loved every word of them and I definitely need to spread the word of her awesomeness.

And, we've all seen my recent posts about the Sassy Girl Swoony God Tourney, yes? Well, that fun adventure is almost over and I just wasn't ready to stop fangirling all over Tellulah, so I begged asked her for an interview and she agreed! 

But before we get to her awesome answers, check out two of the books in the Blooming Goddess trilogy!
Sixteen-year-old Sophie Bloom wishes she’d been taught the following:
a) Bad boy’s presence (TrOuBlE) + teen girl’s brain (DraMa) = TrAuMa (Highly unstable and very volatile.)
b) The Genus Greekulum Godissimus is notable for three traits: 1) awesome abilities, 2) grudges, and 3) hook-ups, break-ups, and in-fighting that puts cable to shame.

Prior to the Halloween dance, Sophie figures her worst problems involve adolescent theatrics, bitchy teen yoga girls, and being on probation at her boarding school for mouthy behaviour. Then she meets bad boy Kai and gets the kiss that rocks her world.


This breath stealing lip lock reawakens Sophie’s true identity: Persephone, Goddess of Spring. She’s key to saving humanity in the war between the Underworld and Olympus, target numero uno of Hades and Zeus, and totally screwed.

Plus there’s also the little issue that Sophie’s last memory as Persephone was just before someone tried to murder her.

Big picture: master her powers, get her memories back, defeat Persephone’s would be assassin, and save the world. Also, sneak into the Underworld to retrieve stolen property, battle the minions of Hades and Zeus, outwit psycho nymphs, slay a dragon, rescue a classmate, keep from getting her butt expelled from the one place designed to keep her safe …

… and stop kissing Kai, Prince of the Underworld.
My Ex From Hell is a YA romantic comedy/Greek mythology smackdown. Love meets comedy with a whole lot of sass in book one of this teen fantasy romance series. Compared to Kai and Sophie, Romeo and Juliet had it easy.
Sophie Bloom’s junior year has been a bit of a train wreck. After the world’s greatest kiss re-awakened Sophie’s true identity as Persephone (Goddess of Spring and Savior of Humanity), she fought her dragon-lady guidance counselor to the death, navigated mean girl Bethany’s bitchy troublemaking, and dealt with the betrayal of her backstabbing ex, Kai (sexy Prince of Darkness). You’d think a girl could catch a break.

Yeah, right.

With Zeus stepping things up, it’s vital that Sophie retrieve Persephone’s memories and discover the location of the ritual to stop Zeus and Hades. So when Aphrodite strikes a deal that can unlock Sophie’s pre-mortal past, what choice does the teen goddess have but to accept?

The mission: stop media mogul Hermes from turning Bethany into a global mega-celebrity. The catch? Aphrodite partners Sophie and Kai to work together … and treat this suicide mission as a date. Which could work out for Sophie’s plan to force Kai to admit his feelings for her–if she doesn’t kill him first.

Add to that the fact that BFF Theo’s love life and other BFF Hannah’s actual life are in Sophie’s hands, and suddenly being a teenager—even a godlike one—seems a bit like … well, hell. Whatever happened to dinner and a movie?

The YA romantic comedy/Greek mythology fireworks continue to fly in
My Date From Hell. Love meets comedy with a whole lot of sass in book two of this teen fantasy romance series. Breaking up is easy; dating is deadly.
Sounds good, right? [Trust me, they totally are.]

 1. Where did the idea for the Blooming Goddess series come from?

I was a huge myth and fairy tale lover growing up. And I've always loved the idea of playing around and retelling them. When I got serious about doing that myself, it was Persephone who spoke to me. This was back in my days as a screenwriter and so I was thinking of the idea as a possible series. But in the end, I realized I wanted to tell it in novel form. I didn't want to retell the original or just move the same story to modern day. I wanted her past mostly as is (with some liberties like Kai) and then make it firmly about a human struggling to be a goddess. To be divine. What does that mean for her? Sophie suddenly has to deal with all these expectations of herself on a global scale. It's hard enough figuring out who we are as teens, so adding the goddess layer just made it that much more of a pressure cooker.

2. What do you love most about Sophie and Kai and why should we root for them?

If I've done my job right, then Sophie and Kai will have earned their happy ending. I love romantic comedies. Between books and movies, I've consumed thousands of them. And the thing that drives me nuts is when the leads end up together without working for it. Without overcoming those flaws that make their love seem to insurmountable at the start. Sophie and Kai are highly flawed. Their respective families have done a number on them. Not to mention, the spectre of Persephone complicates everything. Teen or god - self-awareness is not big on either's agenda. But if they can acknowledge some hard truths about themselves, let themselves be vulnerable to the other, their love will be magic.

3. Did having these books rooted in mythology help or hinder the research process? Do you think there were any limitations on your characters because of it?

 Even though I took some fairly big liberties with the story -- i.e. the invention of Kai -- I still wanted many of the details to be rooted in the canonical understanding of the story. For that reason, it was great to have an established pantheon to be able to explore. And while I don't think it necessarily limited how I portrayed my characters, what did perhaps pose a challenge was the fact that Greek mythology is such a richly mined territory. I didn't want my stories to come across as a pale imitation of anyone else's. So I was really conscious of "how do I make my story balance being true to the original while feeling fresh and unique?"

4. What has been your favorite part about writing the series?

Back in my screenwriting days, I always enjoyed flipping between writing features and series. Features allowed me to tell a self-contained story in a two hour period while series allowed for a deeper exploration of character and theme. I find it's the same with my novel writing. When I wrote by stand alone romcom Sam Cruz's Infallible Guide to Getting Girls, all I wanted was to tell this funny, contained story. It wouldn't have worked as a series. But Sophie's story always demanded a trilogy. And in fact, each book had a specific thematic journey. It's been wonderful having the freedom to play with those concepts on a book-by-book basis.

5. Describe the series in five words.

Sassy goddess saves world romcom

Speed [ish] round:

1. What three things would you take to a desert island?

1) Sharp Hatchet

A very  handy tool for both chopping of kindling and decapitation purposes when the zombie apocalypse happens.  Sure, you say, what are the chances the virus will spread to my particular deserted island and infect the local animals> But do I really want to take that chance? I think not.

2) Vat of Ground Espresso -- preferably Lavazza Rossa.

This desert island stay can go one of two ways. I can be happy (with espresso) or very very cranky. Believe me, no one wants the latter. Since I'll have my hatchet to both chop wood for the fire and cut open a coconut which I'll turn into a stovetop (firetop?) expresso maker, it's just common sense.

3) MAC paramount lipstick

I don't leave home without it because I was not raised by wolves. And even if I'm only facing angry hyenas or zombies, there is no need for me to look as scary as they do. Plus at least my epitaph can say "She was stupid enough to get herself stranded on a deserted island, but boy, did she look good!"

2. What are you reading right now?

I just finished tearing through the Shifters series by Rachel Vincent which was a blast! I would love to read The Dream Thieves next, but I think I'm number 2 billion on hold at the library.

3. Who are your favorite swoony boys?

I've been thinking a lot about that because: a) why not and b) I'm planning on writing a post soon about my favourite book boyfriends. So I don't want to give too much away right now, but I will say my absolute swooniest is Jericho Barrons from the Fever series. *fans self*

4. Are there any authors that you fangirl over?

So many! Neil Gaiman, Karen Marie Moning, David Levithan, Haruki Murakami, Oscar Wilde to name a few.


Huge thanks to Tellulah for taking the time to answer my questions.  Make sure you check out her website, blog, Facebook and Twitter pages. And go add all of her books to your TBR shelf on GoodReads.

Now.  Haven't had a chance to check this series out? Well, I definitely think you should. [You can check out my review here.] And when I contacted Tellulah about getting some signed copies for the giveaway, she offered to donate them! So, there will be two winners.  The first winner will get signed copies of My Ex from Hell and My Date from Hell. The second winner will get a copy of My Ex from Hell.

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

**Good Luck!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The time it was a weekend in Vegas

Going to Vegas Valley Book Festival was pretty much a given. I heard about it from Crystal when we went to her B&N for the Fierce Reads tour in June. She had said something about it in passing and when I looked it up and saw the glorious list of authors, my head almost exploded.

I slowly accumulated my books and made stacks around my office. The stacks fluctuated as authors were added and canceled....eventually, my total number of books was 47. 

We had plans to get to Vegas on Friday, the 1st, which was also Hubs's birthday. When I heard that AG Howard was doing an offsite signing at Crystal's B&N, I forced persuaded Hubs to go there first. 

We got there around 3:30 and sat in the cafe until Anita got there. And just after 4pm, I went over to the table armed with Godiva truffles, a couple of bottles of wine and some other prizes. Anita jumped up and we hugged and gushed and hugged some more. 

I ended up sitting at the signing table with her and in between her talking with other readers, we chatted about all sorts of things. 

She signed all eleventy billion copies I had for her and gave me some super cool Unhinged swag. Once the signing time was over, I fed Anita the books for her to sign and I may or may not have put some on the "YA Bestsellers shelf". 

We hugged and took photos with a promise to see each other tomorrow....and then started talking on twitter. From there, Hubs and I checked into our hotel and then headed to Gordon Ramsay's BurGR. 

The maĆ®tre d' offered us a seat at the bar that faced the kitchens and by accepting it, we got to skip the 45 minute wait in line. While he was talking to us, he learned it was Hubs's birthday and gave him a free shot of Jameson. 

And the food? Gah. It was beyond amazing. 
After stuffing ourselves, we wandered the strip for a while before heading back to our hotel for some much needed sleep. 

Saturday morning found us heading down to the event area early. We found excellent parking and headed in around 10am. Mostly so I could make sure to get a finished copy of Crash into You. We grabbed some food and wandered back to the tents to see some panels.

We caught the last ten minutes of the Serial Killers and Surprise Endings panel. At the end of the panel, Kasie West turned around and saw me and shouted "STACEEEEEE". I went into the tent and hugged her and said hello. Natalie Whipple came over and said hi and then Michelle Gagnon came over and we chatted a bit.

We got to the Classical Remix panel just in time for it to start. It had AG Howard, Vivi Barnes, Gena Showalter, Mary Lindsey, Claire LaZebnik, Eileen Cook and Stacey Jay. [I wanted to take notes, but my phone just wouldn't let me.  I did do some live tweeting, so check out #vvbf for tweets during the event]

When Anita introduced herself, she saw me and said hi. [This woman is so damn adorable. Are you reading her books yet?] After watching most of this panel, we snuck over to the other tent. We ended up watching the last 15 minutes of the Then and Back Again panel with Tamara Ireland Stone, Rachel Harris, Alexandra Monir and others.

After that panel, I went over to say hi to Tamara [who waved while up on the panel]. We chatted for a minute and then went back over to find Anita and say hello again.

While we were standing there, Gena Showalter was signing books and taking photos with a small group of people who were waiting for her. I briefly thought about doing that, but I have so many books, it would be near impossible. I got a picture with Gena and told her I had eleventy billion books for her. She said that's what she liked to hear. :D

I then went to Anita to say hi and tell her how amazing her panel went. We chatted for a bit and then we had to go check on our parking situation. We stayed in the car until around 3:30. Hubs was sleeping and I was charging my phone.

We went straight to the Resurrecting the Future panel with Alexandra Bracken, Kimberly Derting, Anna Carey, Chris Howard, and Lydia Kang.

They started setting up the panel signing area around 4 and Hubs and I went over to set up a HQ of sorts.

I went to Stacey Kade first. We talked about The Rules and how she had arc requests of the second one up already. I told her that I had just gotten an e-arc of The Bitter Pill and we chatted about that. And of course, our conversations on Twitter.


From Stacey, I went to Mary Lindsey. She was surprised to see my arcs of Fragile Spirits and said they were the first she had signed. We talked about a possible third and when I told her that she sent me one of them for review, Mary asked my twitter handle. And with my telling, she jumped up and we hugged. We ended up chatting about what the tag line was going to be. And when it was all over, we took some pictures.


Gena Showalter was next. There were a couple of people in line for her, but it went quickly. She laughed when she saw my stack and said she remembered that I said I had a lot of books. She's a quick signer and had the stack done in no time. 


Josie Angelini was the last person I had for the tent one authors. We talked about the ending of the series, if I had liked it [I did], and the ending of Allegiant. Before we were able to really get into conversation about it, a line started forming.

While we waited for the switch over to the tent two authors, we chatted with Gretchen McNeil, Chris Howard and Tamara Ireland Stone. Then we took over the same table and Hubs watched my stuff while I ran around, getting stuff signed.

First up was Kasie West. We were chatting it up, talking about Tee Fury shirts and how many copies of The Distance Between Us I had while she signed. I got her to sign Xander over in one of Jaime's books. Annnnnnnd then we noticed that there was a huge line waiting for her.


Rachel Harris was the next author who was available. She asked who I was on twitter and I admitted that I was horrible at self promotion. She stocked me up with all sorts of swag after she signed.

I started to get in line for Amy Plum, but saw that the line for Katie McGarry was pretty short, so I went to her first. She told me that it was her first time being in Vegas, that she didn't travel a lot when she was young and in the past year, she's been all over the place. We talked about the awesomeness that is Crash into You and Isaiah and Rachel. I gushed over the book and the ending and really, just all of it.

I really wanted a photo, but Hubs was still standing guard. Thankfully, Crystal got in line behind me and was willing to take one for me.

Since her line had gone down a bit, Amy Plum was next. She was excited to see a big stack of books to sign. I told her that I was stocking up for giveaways since it's rare that she signs in the US. When she got to my arc of Die for Me, she said that the cover of Kate in the boat was super rare now. Amy offered bookmarks while signing.  I was able to get the woman standing behind me [not Crystal] to take a picture of us before I ran back to my table.


Seeing Jennifer E. Smith was a quick thing.  She signed my books, saying that she hadn't seen an arc of This is What Happy Looks Like in a while.  As she was signing, she started laughing, saying that her handwriting is already bad and it was only getting worse. 


While I was walking up to Lydia Kang, she immediately noticed that I had an arc of Control. She said that she only had one and people kept asking her if they could have it and she wanted to know where I got my copy.  I said that I thought I got it from ALA [now that I've been thinking of it, I think I actually got it from the super secret back room].

After she signed the book, she started pitching Chris Howard's book.  I told her that I already had it and Chris said, "Yeah, we went to Disneyland together." That made me start to laugh because it made it sound like we were BFFs who went to Disneyland together all the time.  Lydia admitted that she had never been to Disneyland and somehow that led to Chris telling Lydia that I needed to be her tour guide.


Alexandra Bracken was a quick stop. We said hi and she said it was so nice to meet me and then got to signing.  It was nearing the end of the time for the signing, so people were running around.  After she was done, I thanked her and ran back to the table.


Jennifer Lynn Barnes was also a quick stop.  I had her sign my arc of The Naturals and when she commented on it, I told her that I won it from Hyperion and showed her the post-it that they wrote me.  After thanking her, I ran off to see the last person I had books for.


Tamara Ireland Stone was my last authors for the entire event.  We chatted while she signed, she asked if she should sign my UK copy of Time After Time "To Kevin" since I'm her Kevin Bacon.  She said that it was a lot harder to sign to people that she knew, so I started laughing and saying, "You can have Bennett forever, I will never, ever give him to anyone else."

Did you see? Yep, Bennett is STILL mine.

After she signed my things, she stood up and we got some photos.  Tamara mentioned how we didn't get any photos of us during her launch party [I'm still bummed that I didn't remember to take photos when I was in Berkeley] and wanted to make sure that we took some. We hugged a few times and then I went back to the table/HQ to pack up the books and head back to the hotel.

As we were walking out, we saw Gretchen one last time.  I congratulated her [again] on the wedding and told her that I expected to see the dress...

Vegas Valley Book Festival was amazing.  The line up of authors was unlike anything I've seen before and I'm sure it'll be an annual trip for us...whether Hubs likes it or not.

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