Monday, October 31, 2011

Show Gratitude for Books...and win 19 SIGNED YA BOOKS!

It's fall--and despite the candy from Halloween and the (early) Christmas decorations, the holiday I'm most looking forward to right now is Thanksgiving.

I've got a lot to be thankful for--this year, the dream I've held dear for most of my life came true with the publication of my first novel. And in all honesty--it's been even better than I dreamed.

So this month, in honor of Thanksgiving and all that I've got to be thankful for, I want to thank you, the wonderful people who've been with me on this insanely glorious journey. And to do that, I've turned to some of the fantastic friends I've made along the way.

I tracked down every author I thanked in my acknowledgements--the ones who blurbed me, the ones who critiqued me, the ones who became my friends, and I got a signed copy of each of their books. Add that to a copy of Across the Universe and an ARC of A Million Suns, and this giveaway is...HUGE. 19-signed-books-plus-swag-and-more HUGE.

One winner. One giant prize.

First, let me tell you about the prizes. 
ONE winner is going to win ALL the following prizes:

SIGNED Advance Reader Copy of A Million Suns
SIGNED paperback of Across the Universe
Swag: bookmarks, bracelet, pin button, and poster

Thankful for my blurbers!
SIGNED paperback of Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
SIGNED hardback of Graveminder by Melissa Marr
Signed bookmark of Supernaturally and swag from Carrie

Thankful for the people who helped me crit!
SIGNED paperback of Solstice by PJ Hoover
PRE-ORDER of Incarnate by Jodi Meadows, with SIGNED bookplate 
Stickers for Incarnate trading cards for Solstice

Thankful for the League!
SIGNED hardback of Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
SIGNED hardback of The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
SIGNED hardback of Possession by Elana Johnson
SIGNED paperback of XVI by Julia Karr

Thankful for the touring buddies and advice-givers!
SIGNED hardback of Hourglass by Myra McEntire
SIGNED hardback of The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
SIGNED hardback of The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Bookmarks, swag, and a signed bookplate from Saundra
(which you could use for the sequel, The Springsweet)

Thankful for the friends who listen and share!
SIGNED hardback of Wither by Lauren de Stefano
That includes a hand-written sneak-peek of the sequel, Fever!
SIGNED paperback of The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker

Thankful for the Elevensies and the Bookanistas!
Swag from Matt Blackstone, Keri Mikulski, Stacia Kehoe, Helen Landalf, Caroline Starr, Carrie Harris, Sonia Gensler, Ruta Sepetys, Terry Johnson, Kristen Hubbard, Sara Bennet Wealer, and Kim Harrington--much of is signed!

That's right!
One person will win 19 signed books, a box of Turkish Delight, and a metric ton of swag and book goodies!

There's also going to be four runner-up prizes:

Sharing Book Joy Runner Up:
SIGNED paperback of Across the Universe
Bookmarks, poster, pin button, and bracelet swag
Box of Turkish Delight (to celebrate the book I'm most grateful for!)

Celebrate the Launch of the Paperback Runners-up
THREE WINNERS will each get:
SIGNED paperback of Across the Universe
Bookmarks, poster, pin button, and bracelet swag

So, how do you enter to win these prizes?
Create a post in which you tell everyone about the one book YOU are most grateful for
Include a link back to the contest in your post
Include a picture of the following graphic somewhere in your post
(Lost? I'll be doing an example of this tomorrow with my favorite book!)

Win 19 Signed Books

To earn an extra entry each day, you can also spread the word about the contest.

And finally:
Don't forget to fill out the form below to enter to win!
Remember: a post about your favorite book is mandatory for entry, and each time you spread the word is an extra entry.

If you'd like to share the post you've made with everyone else, please feel free to put it on the Mr. Linky widget below! (Don't feel obligated to do the "add a comment" thing; that's a default of the widget.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Word Count Meter

There are a lot out there, but this is the one I've been using. I like the simplicity, and that I can edit it to only show the percentage.

On Goals, Failure, and Success

So, last week I set myself a pretty lofty goal.

I didn't make it.

I came close--and I like what I've got done so far, but in terms of the actual goal, all I got done was...

62% done!

So--in a way I failed. I didn't get the number of words that I wanted. But I did get the quality of words I wanted, and that's important, too. And that's a huge chunk that didn't exist a week before. 

But then again, I did make a bet. With y'all. I bet I'd get 100% done in my goal, and I only went a little over halfway. And so it's time to pay up.

At the beginning of the week, I said I'd give a signed copy of the paperback ACROSS THE UNIVERSE to someone who commented or tweeted this week. And the random winner is...

(who doesn't have an email address associated with her blog profile; 
Emily, please email me at bethrevis @ with a mailing address)

And even though I wasn't 100% successful with my goal this week, I do think it helped to set a goal. And I also rather liked doing the meter thing--I don't like it much with a whole project (it intimidates me, I'll be honest!) but with a smaller goal, the meter goes up faster. 

Same bet: if I don't make my goal, a random commenter or twitter-er will get a signed paperback of AtU.

Now I just have to start the new goal!

0% done!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bookanista Interview: Anna Staniszewski, author of MY VERY UNFAIRYTALE LIFE

I first had the pleasure of meeting Anna Staiszewski (aka Anna Stan) online through her blog and I still remember the excitement I felt for her when she announced her first book deal, for the funny and magical middle grade MY VERY UNFAIRYTALE LIFE.

The book officially launches in November--but drop by your local bookstore and see if there are copies available, because a lot of them are showing up early! And Anna's here to tell us all about her charming book!

We can read all about your life from your bio in the jacket flap of your book. So, what's a completely random fact about you that most people don't know?
I once jumped out of a plane! In Australia! It was by far the craziest—and most amazing—thing I’ve ever done. I totally blame Keanu Reeves. Ever since I watched Point Break when I was in middle school, I knew I had to go skydiving one day.

As a kid, what was your favorite book? Have your tastes changed since growing up?  
There were so many books that I read over and over when I was a kid: Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I was always drawn to stories that transported me to a different time and place, and that’s still very much true today.

Your book, MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE, the main character, Jenny, works in a magical kingdom. Would you live in a magical kingdom if you could?
Jenny’s job is to visit magical kingdoms and solve the problems she encounters there. If I had the opportunity to live in one of the magical kingdoms Jenny travels to, I think I’d pass! Magic is great and all, but Jenny discovers that magical creatures can be pretty clueless and a tiny bit…annoying.

It's the inevitable question: what inspired MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE? 
A few years ago, I was working on a very dark YA novel that was starting to suck the life out of me. I knew I needed something fun to work on to get me out of my funk. I sat down and started writing a scene about a girl who comes home from school one day to find a talking frog on her bed. What interested me about the scene was that the girl wasn’t surprised or excited to discover the frog in her room; instead, she was annoyed. It was such an unexpected reaction that I knew I had to find out more about this girl.

One of the great things about MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE is the way it turns ideas about fairy tale creatures on its head: the unicorns are bloodthirsty and the magical kingdom is falling apart. Can you tell us a little more about how you built the world of your novel?
I’ve always loved stories about young people who are swept off on magical adventures. But in this story, I wanted to play around with what happens after you’ve been an adventurer for years and you’re tired and fed up. Once I knew I wanted to do that, it was fun to take elements we expect in fairy tales (talking animals, mythical creatures, etc.) and make them into obstacles that get in Jenny’s way.

Can you tell us a little bit about the process--particularly the timeline--of writing MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE?
The process was pretty sporadic. This was the fun story I came back to when I was stuck on other projects, so I would write it in spurts. Once I signed with my agent (with a different project that never sold) she asked me if I had anything else in the works. I’d just finished a huge revision of the story—which was then titled JENNY THE ADVENTURER—so I sent it to her. She liked the concept but said the story needed more focus, so I worked with her on several major revisions before it was ready for submission. From the moment I first began writing the book to the day it actually sold, the span of time was about four years.

If your reader could only take away one emotion, theme, or idea from MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE, what would you want it to be?
Oh this is a hard one! The story is about adventure and magic, but most of all it’s about discovering—and accepting—your identity and your purpose in life.

What's the most surprising thing you've learned since becoming a writer?
How loooong everything takes. Patience is not exactly one of my virtues, but I’ve been forced to become much more patient as I’ve trudged along through the writing and publishing process. I’m still tempted to have a little tantrum once in a while, but I’m getting much better about it.

Beyond the typical--never give up, believe in yourself--what would be the single best advice you'd like to give another writer?
Never stop writing. I had a few other projects that I thought would get me published: they didn’t. Luckily, I kept working on new things and one of those projects was finally The One.

What do you think are your strongest and weakest points in writing?
Because I have a theater background, dialogue is something that seems to come fairly naturally to me. In fact, my first drafts tend to be almost all dialogue. As for my weakest points? Where do I start! One major thing I have to work on as I go through my later drafts is putting a concrete sense of place into my stories. In early drafts, the characters are just floating around in space. I have to work at grounding them in a specific time and place so that readers can see what I’m imagining.

Thanks so much for having me, Beth!

Thanks for coming by, Anna!

Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was named the 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Currently, Anna lives outside of Boston, Mass. with her husband and their adopted black Labrador, Emma. When she's not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. You can visit her at

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday's Live-Blog

Read this First!

The lovely Gwenda Bond did an interview with me at Lightspeed Magazine (which you might recall I talked about last week here). You can now read the full interview online, for free. This is one of the most specific, detailed interviews I've ever done, so if you've ever had any questions about Across the Universe, my writing process, or my road to publication, I definitely suggest checking it out. And while you're there, you should also totally check out Lightspeed--it's a reasonably priced online magazine that is chock full of fantastic information on super cool authors and short stories by some faves--the story ahead of my interview is a steampunk by Cassie Clare and is brilliant.

Now on to the Live-Blog!
As usual, this will be updated throughout the day as I continue writing.

10:04: Wake up. No shame.

10:05-12:55: Things happened. I dunno. I guess I was there, but I don't remember most of it.

12:55: Ban myself from Twitter, open up Scrivener.

32% done!

12:56: I need to write 33% of my another 33% tomorrow to win my bet with Steph--and with you guys. *sigh* Procrastination can suck it. Now is GO TIME.

1:06: Right. Now is GO TIME.

1:16: When I get 35% done, I can eat lunch. *chugs coffee* I have to force myself to get through this scene; I hate writing scenes where people are angry at each other. I have no idea how JK Rowling wrote Book 6.

1:19: Ha! Caught Steph on Twitter! ...except, to catch her on Twitter means I was on Twitter... *ignore that fact*

1:53: Kiersten White is totally conspiring to distract me. She blogged about Nathan Fillion today!

2:08: Woot! I earned lunch!

36% done!

Just a quick one, though--still stuck in that terrible scene, and I've got to write my way out of it.

3:02: Quick lunch what?

3:19: You guys, I am so caught up with this whole Much Ado About Nothing thing. I mean--zomg! Nathan Fillion AND Sean Maher in a film by Joss Whedon based on a play by Shakespeare?!?! With original music?!?! I cannot focus with this much awesome pumping through the interwebs.

3:21: Joss Whedon, btw, is my hero. Like, for realsies.

3:45: Going strong.

40% done!

3:58: Back in.

42% done!

5:16: I have been productive! I did the dishes! By which I mean: I put them in the dishwasher. SHUT UP IT STILL COUNTS.

8:05: I...don't wanna work..

9:33: I'm going to take a notebook and sketch out ideas for the next bit of the book--maybe that'll help me get a jump start tomorrow.

Monday, October 24, 2011


The winner of the October contest is:

Kristin C!

Now, there were a couple of Kristin C.'s, but I don't want to put last names/email addresses online. But the winner is the Kristin C who got an email at 9pm tonight from me :)

Also: zomg, you guys are awesome. I'm working on adding a little more material to the Password Protected Page, but it's giving me a little of a hangup--I want to make sure it's not spoilery. And I'm also working on November's giveaway. I'm rather excited about it.

In Which I Send You Elsewhere

It's almost Halloween! Yay! So I wrote you a scary story. least the first part of one. The girls over at the #YASpooktacular organized a choose-your-own-adventure style spooky story, and my story opens one of the three they are featuring! Go here to read--and enter contests for books--and start clicking on to read the continuation of the story from other authors.

PS: My story is called "The Pond in the Forest." Can you tell that, while writing that scene, I was I also working on another Across the Universe story dealing with Kayleigh and the pond and the goldfish?

Also, Phoebe North was kind enough to do a guest post for me on the League today, so if you'd like to read all about the classic sci fi titles you should know as a lover of YA, go there and check it out!

And while you're at it, be sure to also check out Phoebe's YA sci fi review blog, a new venture called The Intergalactic Academy. Here I was, thinking I had a good handle on what YA sci fi is being released now, and I've already found two new titles to read through this awesome review site!

And speaking of review sites and finding good new books, I'd like to also point you in the direction of Destination Elsewhere. This is a ning that Penguin's made to feature all the fantasy and sci fi titles. Basically, if cool, strange stuff happens in the book, it's the perfect fit for Destination Elsewhere. The background is made of the cover art for Eona, one of the best fantasy novels on the market today, so check it out at least to see the beautiful cover art!

Visit Destination Elsewhere

(Also, for those of you who don't know--because I didn't!--a ning is basically an online community. This one is focused on fantasy and sci fi books in the YA market. There are forums, chats, photos, videos, and more. And if you'd like to friend me there, my page is located here.)

And might have noticed that Stephanie has already thrown down the gaultlet and started up a live blog today! Eeep! This means...I should probably get to work.

Current status?

24% done!

But--that's going to get cut down later today. So that number will have to go DOWN before up....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Weekend of Words

Saturday. Oh, Saturday. I did housework instead of write. That's the level we're at.

12% done!


10:30: Overslept. Missed church. Oops.

12:30: Still in pajamas. But laptop is open. That's a good sign, right?

12:41: I should exchange this caffeine-free Sprite for a coffee. 

12:47: When I get the umption to move again, I'm putting three peppermints into the bottom of a cup and making hot cho-coffee. Am considering adding marshmallows. 

12:48: At this point in the morning, I've spent more time thinking about what to put in my coffee cup than what to put in my book.

1:30: Coffee acquired.

2:04: Spent more than an hour looking at the art of this artist. Love practically everything she's done. Also: ordered three t-shirts (one for me, two for Christmas presents). Also: still haven't written anything. 

2:54: Relocate to office. If I want to serious work, I need to get off the couch and do the serious work. PS, I am still in my pajamas.

4:33: Some words written:

15% done!

Personal goal: 20% by the end of the day. That leaves. Er. About 25% to do each on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday...

5:03: Added another 1%, then talked to the husband about current status. Realize that pretty much all the work I've done today...has to be scrapped. It doesn't fit logically within the story. So, back to...

12% done!

5:53: Hrm. Not sure if I like this direction, either. Seems very talky-talky as I try to explain the point I'm trying to make...

24% done!

6:08: The problem is, I'm going to have to cut about 500-1000 words of that--I've essentially written the same scene two different ways, and can't decide which way is better...

6:25: Tweaking to combine the two scenes, but I'm still going to have to cut some. I think I'll wait and see which scene works better after supper...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Daily Percentages: Friday

Live-blogging really helps me stay focused. Mainly because when I record my times, I feel guilty when I look at how much time I just WASTE.

This won't strictly be a live-blog, because I'm not going to post at each stop...I'm just going to work all day and record my times.

So, right now:

1% done!

12:53pm: I've updated the blog, updated Twitter, updated Facebook, turned away from my overloaded email in shame, etc., etc....there is no reasonable excuse for me not to get to work.


12:55: I know. I know.   *sigh*   *opens up Scrivener*

1:03: Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuut! *whining*

1:11: Maybe I should set a timer. Steph updated her liveblog hourly...perhaps I should shoot for that? I'll finish this chapter (and lunch) first.

1:29: Finished the chapter, but had to go into the next one to finish the scene.

11% done!

1:43: I think I earned lunch! 

2:30: I specifically ate at my computer rather than in front of the TV. But instead of feeling energized and ready to dive straight back into work...I kind of want a nap.

I ended at a natural end--the final bit of a scene. I know the next scene I want to write, but I'd have to start it. It feels a little...daunting. I've heard it's often easier to get back in the swing of things if you stop mid-scene...maybe that's what I should have done...

2:39: Dilemma. It's so cold, all I want to do is snuggle into something warm. If I snuggle into something warm (my bed) I will take a nap. If I turn the heat up....I will take a nap. I think nap = inevitable.

2:56: After staring at Tumblr the computer screen for much too long, the idea of a nap has triumphed. 

Words? What words? *stricks fingers in my ears* Tralalalalalalalalalala I can't hear you!

5:06: Unholy bleep! Look at the time!!! *mad scurrying around the house to try to make it at least some semblance of clean so I can cook supper and then hope to write more after that....*  Eeep! No more naps for me!!

5:34: Opened dishwasher to find that the soap hadn't dissolved all the way. Lovely. Stack dirty dishes in sink and re-wash "clean" ones. 

5:36: Stare at still-messy kitchen. Wonders if it's too late to order the hubs to pick up take-out on the way home from work.

5:37: It is.

5:38: Retreat. For now.

5:41: Realize entire house is just as messy (or moreso) than kitchen. Contemplate a "fall cleaning" on top of crazy word deadline thingy for the weekend...

6:20: I am so braindead. I am officially calling it a day today, and telling myself NOT to open Scrivener again. I need a break. 

Today's Final Goal Meter:

11% done!

Challenges & a Winner

So, this week was the week of Crazy Challenges. And while my challenge to myself WAS crazy (15k in a week!) I am so so so certain that I would never have written that many words if (a) Steph hadn't challenged me to it and (b) you guys hadn't cheered both of us on. After meeting with Steph yesterday, we decided to randomly select one person who had cheered us on--either in our blog comments, Twitter, or any other way--and send them a copy of both of our books. Sorry it took so long--there were a LOT of supporters out there!

And, for the record, I totally disqualified Kiersten White. She plays dirty.

(Please ignore the fact that I played dirty, too.)

(And that I started it.)

(And that she was playing dirty against us both, actually. An equal-opportunity-dirty-player.)

(Yeah. Ignore all that.)

So, without further ado...the winner of the random-selected cheerleader surprise contest is....

Charlee Vale 

*throws confetti* Congrats Charlee! Send me your address and we'll get the books out to you!

And now for the challenge...

See, I really want to finish Book 3 ASAP, in part because I have a shiny new idea I want to work on, in part because I want to finish it before it gets too close to the holidays, in part because I want to give my critique readers time to, you know, critique. And read. And in part because I really work well under deadlines and pressures. And because I'm insane.


I'd like to really push through with Book 3. I know pretty much how everything goes, and what's slowing me down isn't so much that I'm stuck, but that I'm being lazy.


I am challenging myself to another crazy deadline. A lot of words. In one week. From Thursday to Thursday. I'm meeting Steph again, and she knows my crazy deadline, and if I fail it, then the result = I have to pay for all her coffee next week.


So...I am also making you guys a promise. If I do not make my crazy deadline (it's so crazy I'm not even going to tell you how many words--it's a lot)...anyway, if I don't make my crazy deadline, I am going to give away a signed copy of the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE paperback (plus all the swag that'll fit in the box) to one random person who comments on my blog at any point in time between last Thursday and next Thursday (deadline day). 

And everyday, I'm going to post a percentage meter of how much of the crazy deadline I've done for that day. 

I figure between buying coffee and sending out books, my pocketbook (and my husband) will MAKE me stick to this crazy deadline.

Also, the possibility of public humiliation when if  I have to admit that I failed to you guys.

SO! The CHALLENGE! It is afoot! 

And today's update so far....

1% done!

(PS: the winner of the October Password Contest will be revealed October 24th. If you're still struggled to figure out the password, you can get the answer on the Facebook Page, or, if you can't get there, you can consider this clue: What do you do with a leader?)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thank You to the Cheerleaders!

I woke up this morning with trepidation in my heart. See, I had retired last night around 2am. And Steph...had not.

In the end, neither of us made out (crazy, ridiculous) goals. But! We did both make a noble effort and really got a ton of work done. For me, I've planted myself firmly in the murky middle...but quite a few scenes from last night were actually stuff I really really liked, so...I'm happy! And Steph wrote a ton in one night alone which is gobsmackingly amazing.

And the best part? You guys.

Dude, I cannot tell you how boring it is to stare at the screen and know that I need to work and want to bash my head onto my keyboard.

But last night? You guys were totally just cheering me on, and it was AMAZING and filled me with JOY and fueled my fingers towards SPURIOUS WRITING.

So, I texted Steph and said...what do you think about giving something to our cheerleaders?

And she said: YES.

And so:

Today, while we meet up at the coffee shop, we're going to give one person who commented or tweeted us or otherwise encouraged and/or harassed us LAST NIGHT during the writing session of DOOM will get a signed copy of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and a signed copy of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS (paperback editions) and I'm throwing in some new swag that I just got for AtU in the bucket, too (a poster, pin and brand-spanking-new rubber band bracelet that you can't see in the pic).

We'll announce the winner later today, after I force Steph to purchase all my coffee for me BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Live Blogging: Extreme Deadline Edition

I made a bet.

A crazy, crazy bet.

I bet another writer friend that I could finish 15,000 words and a short story in one week. That was last Thursday. I took the weekend to write the short story. Monday I wrote 5k words, and Tuesday I wrote 1,600 words. That leaves me with today, Wednesday, and I've got...8,400 more words to write.

Eight thousand four hundred more words to write.


Will I make that goal? I have no idea.

But I decided last night to try a live-blog. For you new kids, a live-blog is where I update a post (this post) regularly throughout the day with the status of what I'm doing. Typically, this helps me keep track of how much time I end up wasting (for example, online) and is also often hilarious as people watch me flounder around under the microscope.

SO: Come back throughout the day to see how far I get!

8:15am: Wake up. Stay in bed for another 15 minutes to avoid work.

8:30-9:15: Breakfast--leftover pasta from last night, a diet Sprite, and an episode of How I Met Your Mother.

9:16: Start working on this live-blog

9:16: Realize that working on this live-blog = working on the novel =  I have to do some actual work.

9:26: Oh, look! The shiny internet has neato things!

9:30: Best. Kid. Halloween costume. EVER.

9:48: Crap. I should,

Current word count: 0.

10:18: Coffee made: an espresso shot with hot chocolate and three melty peppermint candies. Sweatshirt: on. This one. Thank goodness it's a cold, rainy day.

Current word count: 0.  I know! I know! Quit pressuring me!!!

10:51: Finished up the chapter I was working on last night. The problem--and this is the reason why I've been stalling, and why I'm using this live-blog to kick my butt in gear--is that I know what needs to happen in, oh, fifty or so pages. I've got that, all the way to the end, nearly figured out. But to get to those fifty or so pages away...that's where I'm struggling. And I'm not the kind of writer that can just skip ahead fifty pages and write the scenes I know. I need to write the next fifty-ish pages to get there before I can really get swinging in this story...

Current word count: 571. 

10:54: Oh, look, the internet's out! Which means I can't update...but I guess this means I can't goof off online, either....

11:17: I was right. No internet is preventing me from wasting time. I have noticed that after I hit a stopping point--the end of a scene, the end of dialog, heck, even the end of a paragraph--my default reaction is to click onto the still-open internet window. But my connection is completely dead, and so instead of spending five or ten minutes goofing off, I go right back to Scrivener.

Current word count: 1387

11:23: Of course, even without internet, I'm still opening up this window every five seconds. (Exaggeration.)

11:28: Five minutes. I went five minutes between checking online and writing and checking back online. Ugh. That's pathetic.

11:32: When I get 2000 words, I can break for lunch. That's the deal. Also, then I'll connect to the internet with my phone so I can actually post these updates...yeah, that's why...

11:48: Oh, coffee, I can feel you kicking in. *jittery legs while typing too fast and misspelling every other word*

12:05:  I hit a bit of a roll there, rounding out a final chapter. Heh. Maybe a lack of internet + an increase in coffee = words. I'm pretty sure that's a solid foundation in a scientific theory. That discovery's as important as E = mc2, no?

Current word count: 2801

12:06: I earned lunch! Yay!

12:11: But before that...I sent a DM to the author I made the bet with. All it said was "Be afraid. Be very afraid." hehehehe...

1:25: That was...a rather long lunch. But the rain is holding, and my internet isn't, so that bodes well.

1:28: WHAT IS THIS FRESH HELL? I return from my leisurely lunch to discover that... STEPHANIE PERKINS HAS, INDEED, BROUGHT IT. Oh, it is ON NOW, PERKINS. You realize, of course, that this means WAR. 

(I get irrationally pumped up about competition. Have I mentioned this? It's true.)

(Crap. The dog is being cute and demands scratches.)

1:34: I am bringing it.

1:52: I am so NOT bringing it. (a) Had to call my father. Then (b) Dog decided to play. Then (c) Kiersten White decided to TURN ON ME. Proof 1. Proof 2. WHY KIERSTEN WHY?!

1:55: That does it: going offline so I can TYPE LIKE THE WIND.

2:14: The siren song of the internet (and the Twitter War perpetuated by Kiersten) draws me back online. *shaking my fist at Al Gore* Why did you invent the internet?!

Current Word Count: 3047/8400  (which, for the weekly goal = 9647/15000)
Stephanie's Word Count: 212/15000

2:36: There was something I cut in A MILLION SUNS that I think I might be able to bring into Book 3. Off to search for it.

2:43: Found it. Also found this. *sigh* Internet, y u so addictive? *pets the shiny*

2:59: New coffee acquired. *cracks knuckles*

3:20: It's quiet around here. TOO QUIET. *stares at Steph's live-blog* *frets*

Current Word Count: 3626/8400 
Stephanie's Word Count: probably a gazillion

3:40: Had to pause to do a little bit of research. This is unfair. All of Steph's research is kissing based. Mine's just boring ol' science...

4:15: You know what's not boring ol' science? Twitter. Twitter, twitter, twitter.

4:19: The Steph emerges! This fuels me even more. Because...the Steph never sleeps. She will probably start lapping me near the end of the night....

Current Word Count: 3964/8400 (10,664/15,000)
Steph's Word Count: Just Wait Until Tonight.

4:47: Supper's cooking in the CrockPot (Meals of Champions! ...also Meals-of-not-spending-much-time-cooking) but I still had a snack break. It was necessary. Fuel for writing!

4:51: I probably need more Sprite, too. Dang. Lookit the clock. I'm winding down, but I have a feeling Perkins is winding UP...

5:18: Just finished a rather difficult scene. I kind of want to show you all right now. I'll just say this: Amy has more balls than me.

Current Word Count: 4475/8400 (11,175/15,000)
Steph's Word Count: I FEAR HER. 

5:28: Oh Tumblr, you so pretty.

5:35: Remember that time Steph took a nap? Smart move.

5:35-8:15: I don't even know. Stuff happened I guess. Mah belly's full.

8:16: I will admit: I'm a tad daunted by this. I'm a bit over 4k words of making my goal, but that 4k feels like Everest right now. And while I'm all run-down and the coffee's worn off....Perkins has woken from her slumber LIKE A BEAST.

*rolls up sleeves*  Cover me. I'm going back in.

8:23: The husband walks into my office. "I don't hear the clackity-clack of your keyboard," he says.

"I'm looking at the competition," I says.

I show him THIS.

And then I show him THIS.

He says, "You do realize there's a chance she's going to pull an all-nighter for this."

Me: meep.

He says, "You do realize that she might just win, right?"


He says, "You should consider fighting dirty."

Me: ?

He says, "Find out something she likes, and send her links to them."

But! But! But! I have words that I need to write. NOW! So I can win!! Especially because she's already beating me HERE. (the voting link for that is HERE)

So...*I* can't play dirty and send Stephanie pictures of Hot British Boys. Such as James McAvoy. Or Jim Sturgess. Or even, I suspect, Young Colin Firth. BUT YOU CAN, DEAR READERS, YOU CAN.

Here is Stephanie's twitter: @naturallysteph

Any Hot British Male will do. Your quest, should you choose to accept it, is to FIND PICTURES OF HOT BRITISH MEN. And then tweet them at Stephanie. ALL NIGHT LONG.

Is this cheating? ...maybe... But! But! But! It means that Stephanie will have a cadre of pictures of Hot British Men! HOW COULD THAT BE WRONG?   IT CAN'T BE, THAT'S HOW.

Go forth! Track down the Hot British Men! And distract give them to @naturallysteph!

8:49: Having spent the past 20 minutes coordinating an attack against Perkins, I, er, have no new words to show for it. And she's updating her liveblog in...11 minutes. MEEP!

8:58: I have been staring at the clock, waiting for Perkins update. Why is this psyching me out so much?!

9:21: Let it be known that this is the writing session in which I started killing characters off mercilessly. #desperate

9:39: And....there goes the first person. (Well, not the first. I killed three people off in the first three chapters. But that's just how I roll, yo.)

9:48: Finished chapter.

Current Word Count: 5448/8400 (daily goal). (Weekly goal: 11872/15000)
Stephanie's Word Count: 2190/15000

Do not be deceived, gentle readers. It may look as if I have more words than Steph, but I happen to know that she has pulled the rabbit out of the hat before. Also: she took a nap, and is therefore charged and ready for the long night ahead, whereas...I didn't.

10:03: Just finished a furious five minute run on the Gazelle (it's like an elliptical, but less fancy) while talking to the husband about a plot point. Basically, I figured out that I need to get more people injured and/or sick, then do this nasty thing to the characters, then have Amy do this thing...and basically, I can't tell you without ruining everything, but PLANS I HAS THEM.

10:14: Get totally distracted BY THIS.

10:23: CURSES! My plans...are foiled. (Not by Perkins--see comment below.) It's just that I realized...if I do THAT THING now, then the book will end too soon. I need something else before THAT THING happens...but...WHAT??

*frets*   *pulls out hair*

Current Word Count: No change, dangit.

10:33: Five more furious minutes on the Gazelle. I might have an alternate plan. Problem: the husband will go to bed soon. Which means...I'm doomed.

10:42: So I wasn't working. I am still rather stuck.

How stuck?

Let me illustrate with .gifs:

In this one, the camel is my Muse.

In this one, the fish is my Grand Idea.

Note that it got away.

I am going to pour hot water on my head until I figure this scene out (read: shower).

Current Word Count: 5553/8400 (11997/15000)
Steph's Word Count: *too afraid to look*

11:41: Shower acquired. I'm currently in my cupcake pajamas and wrapped in my Sailor Moon quilt and have a pile of peppermint candies by my side. I've also moved to the couch because my bum hurt. Did you know that this is the longest time I've ever continuously live-blogged in one day? And it's soon to be the next day...

Anyway: sally forth! Onto the next chapter!

12:38: For reasons entirely unrelated, the scene I'm working on now reminds me of a story I heard from a Holocaust survivor. It's making me quite sad to remind myself of the details of her story, but also determined to make that scene, at least, as beautiful as possible.

Current Word Count: 12943/15000 (let's just stick to the weekly goal for sanity's sake)
Steph's Word Count: 4010/15000 (but that was an hour ago, and she writes like the wind)

1:19: I have been writing pretty steadily for...almost twelve hours. Sure there've been breaks in there, but...almost twelve hours.

I'm tired.

I'm tired.

Steph's last update put her about 10k behind me, which...well, it makes me feel safe about going to bed right now. But she IS chugging espresso like mad, and that worries me...but if I wake up early enough tomorrow, maybe I can round out my word count and we'll at least tie...

Speaking of word count...

Total Word Count for Today: 7,174
Total Word Count for Weekly Goal: 13,598 words out of a goal of 15,000 words

Stephanie hasn't updated yet, so I'm not sure where she stands on this...*gulp*

But I know, for me, this is what I'm going to do now:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On Communication

I should just admit it:

I'm behind.

On Twitter replies, Tumblr ask box replies, Facebook replies, and--worst of all--emails.

I am terribly, terribly, terribly behind.


I am trying to write Book 3. I mean, I've been trying to write it for some time, but I'm in the long sprint to the finish line right now (read: crazy focused and dedicated to finishing like whoa), and it's too easy to let (literally) hours go by when I venture online.

I know many of you are writers, and you understand. <3 And many of you are readers, and I'm sure you'd rather me write a book than an email. That, at least, is what my publisher must surely be thinking, lol!

So please forgive me, but for the next little bit, I'm going to be a tad incommunicado. I'll pop online between breaks and answer what I can, but it'll probably be a tad sporadic. And by "tad," I mean: very. If it's something urgent, please mark it as such in an email. I may miss Facebook or Twitter posts, but I will eventually get to every single thing in the inbox.


*opens up Scrivener*   *hunches back over the manuscript*   *stares blankly at the screen*

Monday, October 17, 2011

On Big Heads

Whenever I start to get a big head, I think of one of my favorite poems by Robbie Burns (I've pasted it below) entitled "To a Louse." A louse being, of course, a singular of lice.

Burns can be a bit of a pain to read at times, but the story of the poem is, basically, that there's this high and mighty woman sitting in church, rather proud of herself, and the narrator of the poem sees a giant louse creeping up her bonnet. Which, basically sums up as: the bigger the head, the more room for the louse.

On Seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet at Church

Ha! whare ye gaun' ye crowlin ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly;
I canna say but ye strunt rarely
Owre gauze and lace,
Tho faith! I fear ye dine but sparely
On sic a place.

Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn'd by saunt an sinner,
How daur ye set your fit upon her--
Sae fine a lady!
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body.

Swith! in some beggar's hauffet squattle;
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle;
Wi' ither kindred, jumping cattle;
In shoals and nations;
Whare horn nor bane ne'er daur unsettle
Your thick plantations.

Now haud you there! ye're out o' sight,
Below the fatt'rils, snug an tight,
Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right,
Till ye've got on it--
The vera tapmost, tow'rin height
O' Miss's bonnet.

My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an grey as onie grozet:
O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I'd gie you sic a hearty dose o't,
Wad dress your droddum!

I wad na been surpris'd to spy
You on an auld wife's flainen toy
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
On's wyliecoat;
But Miss's fine Lunardi! fye!
How daur ye do't?

O Jeany, dinna toss your head,
An set your beauties a' abread!
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie's makin!
Thae winks an finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin!

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion:
What airs in dress an gait wad lea'es us,
An ev'n devotion!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bookanista Guest Post: Janice Hardy, author of DARKFALL

Today I'm pleased to welcome Janice Hardy, author of THE SHIFTER, BLUE FIRE, and DARKFALL, a trilogy that is superb. I started with THE SHIFTER when it first released, and was hooked. Now I'm just waiting to get my hands on a copy of the last book, DARKFALL! This trilogy takes place in a world where some characters have the ability to shift pain or sickness away from a person. Of course, keep in mind that the title of the trilogy as a whole is THE HEALING a world where healing can be done with a simple touch, healing itself becomes a commodity. 

Whatever your expecting about the books: don't. Janice has twists and turns aplenty throughout, and the ending's impossible to guess. 

Without further ado, here's Janice, author of THE HEALING WARS trilogy!

Yes, I’m Evil. At Least to My Characters

There are some writers who cringe at the thought of putting their characters into danger. Caring authors who encourage and look after their fictional charges as they send them on their literary ways.

I’m not one of those authors.

I love to torture my characters. I cackle with glee when I think up something horrible to do to them. Maybe it’s my dark side coming out, I don’t know.

Take the characters in my teen fantasy series, The Healing Wars. The heroine, Nya, never gets a break from me. First, I kill most of her family (this is before the story opens, so don’t worry). Then, I give her an evil “is it a blessing or a curse?” magical ability (she can heal, but only if she shifts pain from one person to another). To add insult to this injury, I give her a little sister who can heal without the nasty drawback and all its nastier side-effects (because ya know, being jealous of your little sister really bites)

You’d think that would be enough to make my dark side happy, but no. It wanted more. It whispered into my mind…let’s take away that little sister, and make poor Nya have to reveal the one secret she’s been hiding her whole life in order to save her. And while we’re at it, let’s toss in some agonizing decisions, some physical pain and suffering, and a mistake that will haunt her rest of her life. (and all that’s just in the first book, The Shifter)

I’m smiling as I write this. Really. I told you I was evil.

This attitude did trip me up a bit when I got to the third and final book of the series, Darkfall. Okay sure, I got to be the most nasty and horrible I’ve ever been to Nya because it’s the last book, but I also tend to like happy endings (“happy” being relative of course). I do have a light side to balance my dark. Could I do all those terrible things to Nya and just…leave her like that?

Yes and no.

My light side wanted some reward for all Nya’s hard work and pain, but my dark side couldn’t give her a totally happy ending (that’s just not right). So I compromised. I may have torn her world apart, killed off some of her friends and destroyed her home, but I also gave her a few things to ease some of that suffering in the end. I got to be evil, and she got a “happy” ending. Kinda.

Though I bet overall, Nya is happier that I’m finally done with her.

At least for now. But you never know when the urge to be evil will strike again.

If you’re a writer, do you like to be naughty or nice to your characters? For readers, do you prefer a character who gets trouble heaped on them or one who has an easier life?

Janice Hardy always wondered about the darker side of healing. For her fantasy trilogy THE HEALING WARS, she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her books include THE SHIFTER, BLUE FIRE, and DARKFALL from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins.  You can visit her online at or chat with her about writing on her blog, The Other Side of the Story.

About Darkfall

War has come.

Nya’s the one who brought it. And the people love her for it.

With Baseer in shambles and Geveg now an impenetrable military stronghold, Nya and the Underground have fled to a safer location—without Tali. Nya is guilt-ridden over leaving her sister behind and vows to find her, but with the rebellion in full swing and refugees flooding the Three Territories, she fears she never will.

The Duke, desperate to reclaim the throne as his own, has rallied his powerful army. And they are on the move, destroying anyone who gets in the way.

To save her sister, her family, and her people, Nya needs to stay ahead of the Duke’s army and find a way to build one of her own. Past hurts must be healed, past wrongs must be righted, and Nya must decide: Is she merely a pawn in the rebellion, a symbol of hope—or is she ready to be a hero?

To Find out What the Other Bookanistas are Reading, Click the Links below!
And finally: if you live in the California, Washington, Oregon, New York or New England areas, check out the group tour Stages on Pages that features several of my fellow Bookanistas and Elevensies!