Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sweet Six with Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner!!!

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about the two authors on the blog today, taking on our "sweet six" interview!

That's right--it's Amie Kaufman and Meg Spooner! If that still doesn't ring a bell...maybe this will:

From the minute I first heard about THESE BROKEN STARS, I've been dying to read it. It sounds absolutely AMAZING. And oh my holy cover of gorgeousness. It still makes me drool whenever I see it. Can't wait to own that beauty!!
Here's a little more info on Amie and Meg (who both happen to be agency and agent sisters, respectively!):
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are longtime friends and sometime flatmates who have traveled the world (but not yet the galaxy), covering every continent between them. They are sure outer space is only a matter of time. Meagan, who is also the author of the Skylark trilogy, currently lives in Asheville, NC, while Amie lives in Melbourne, Australia. Although they currently live apart, they are united by their love of space opera, road trips, and second breakfasts.
Visit the These Broken Stars website for the latest news on the series and follow the authors on Twitter at @AmieKaufman and @MeaganSpooner. You may also sign up for their newsletter as well! These Broken Stars will be available in North America onDecember 10, 2013.
Now...on to the interview!

1) Tell us about your book!

THESE BROKEN STARS is a science fiction epic set in space, following two people from opposite ends of the galaxy who end up shipwrecked together on a mysterious planet. Lilac LaRoux is a sheltered heiress and Tarver Merendsen is a backwater-boy-turned-war-hero, but they must set aside their differences (and boy, do they have differences) in order to work together and survive the strange things that start happening to them while they search for rescue.

2) What scene in your book do you LOVE the most?

Meg: My favorite scene is too spoilery to describe in detail, but something very shocking happens about 3/4 of the way through the book, and there's this gorgeously written and completely heartbreaking chapter from Tarver's point of view (and therefore written by Amie) that had me weeping the first time I read it. You'll know it when you get there!

Amie: A lot of people have shouted at me about that scene, but it’s the sort of good shouting that book lovers totally understand. For me… ack, this is a HARD question! Once they’re shipwrecked, Tarver and Lilac set out to try and reach the wreck of the Icarus itself, hoping rescue craft will head to the main crash site. When they arrive there, there’s a scene featuring just Lilac (so Meg wrote it) that’s horrifying and inspiring all at once. It’s a huge turning point for Lilac, and I love it.

3) If you had to pick a character you LOVE (and not your own!), who would you pick and why?

Meg: Amelia Peabody from the series by Elizabeth Peters. Amelia is an independent woman living in Victorian England who decides to travel the world, and ends up in Egypt, working with archaeologists and uncovering murder mysteries. She is so sassy, and funny, and strong, but still feminine--I've loved her as a character since I was little!

Amie: Alanna from the Tortall series by Tamora Pierce. She’s strong, determined, often hot-headed enough that she makes bad decisions, but never lacking in courage. We see her as a teen and in later series, as a parent, and Tamora Pierce always resists the urge to make Alanna perfect. I love her!

4) What's the craziest/most memorable valentine you've ever received?

Meg: When I was little, in either first or second grade, there was a boy in my class named Alex who HATED me (and I hated him too). He once made fun of me for reading my own book in class while everyone else was doing spelling/reading lessons, which basically made certain that I'd hate him forever. Anyway, come Valentine's Day, everyone was handing out valentines (as you do in elementary school) and his to me read "Will You Be My Valentine"--only he'd scratched out "Valentine" and written in "HATE YOU." (Yes, so the whole thing read 'Will You Be My HATE YOU." Well done, Alex.) I still find that hilarious, to this day.

Amie: Valentines aren’t as much of a tradition here in Australia—you don’t tend to hand them out much at school. My husband’s an amazing cook though, and we tend to stay in on February 14th, have a kickass meal and a bottle of wine. From now on, though, I kind of want to mail Meg a Will You Be My HATE YOU card, because that’s TOO funny.

5) If you were a Brach's Heart, what phrase would be written on you?


Amie: “BOOK ME UP”

6) The all-important choice: flowers or candy?

Meg: Although I'm a die-hard chocoholic, I'd actually go for flowers. I can buy my own candy when I really want it, and have earned it (I use food bribery for writing, y'all). But I never buy myself flowers. You can put the flowers on your desk and look at them for days and be reminded of your beau... I like that.

Amie: I agree—flowers for me. I’ve always got plenty of chocolate to hand already!

Thanks so much Amie and Meg for stopping by! (I agree with Amie, can I get a Will You be My HATE YOU card, too?) 

And don't forget to check out THESE BROKEN STARS on December 10th, and Meg's SKYLARK trilogy!! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Birthday post!

Amy Rolland here. This is the happiest of Fridays (for me, at least) because it's my birthday!! Hooray!!!

Bahahaha. So I had to choose this image because, for one, I couldn't stop giggling at the monkey butt (I'm extremely mature for my old age), and two, my kids picked it out. They've been watching Ice Age: Continental Drift over and over (and over...) again, and they've picked up on a darling little phrase: "Kick his monkey BUTT!" Even my two-year-old is now telling people in the grocery store in his angelic little voice: "kick his monkey butt; kick his monkey butt." It's special. My five-year-old tries to say it without getting into trouble by spewing out: "Butt? Butt, but it's in a kid's movie. Butt? Butt? Why is that a potty word? Potty, potty, potty. Butt, butt, butt. Butts go in the the potty." For for my birthday, all I want is for my children to leave their Tourette syndrome at home.

So for today's post, the Valentine crew answered one of the following:
-What they wish for on their next birthday
-What their main character might wish for on their next birthday
-What they will do on their BOOK birthday

. Fun stuff! 

Lindsay Cummings

On my book bday I'm getting the same tattoo Meadow has in The Murder Complex!                                               

-Lindsay Cummings, THE MURDER COMPLEX

Sara Raasch

My MC would wish for a home. Being a refugee makes life rather bare, so all Meira wants is a place where she can be safe -- and not just any place, but Winter. 

- Sara Raasch, SNOW LIKE ASHES


Charley's wish for a perfect birthday? Easy. Hanging out with Thad, in Atlanta, watching a movie and just chilling out--because it would mean they both survived NIL, and found each other in this world.

- Lynne Matson, NIL

Bethany Hagen

On my next birthday, I'm wishing for a case of beer and The Hollow Crown DVD set (for Hiddles reasons.)

 - Bethany Hagen, LANDRY PARK

Daughter of Chaos

Darlena hopes her seventeenth birthday will be way better than being sixteen; declaring to Red Magic and learning she had the power to blow up the world sort of made it a rough year for her.  She's just wishing for a normal celebration at home with her witchy parents...cake, a magical fire, and some flashy spells; you know, the usual.  She also wouldn't say no to a forbidden kiss from Justin, the ex she can't stop thinking about, but that's not a gift she's prepared to ask for.


Defy (Defy, #1)

For Alexa's birthday, she would celebrate having made it another year without her secret being discovered, and she'd love to get a new dagger or some more arrows to add to her weapons collection. 
 - Sara B. Larson, DEFY

Kristen Lippert-Martin

My MC would wish for VENGEANCE.

- Kristen Lippert-Martin, TABULA RASA

Bethany Crandell

Cricket would say, "World peace *dies laughing* A wheelchair free night with my hot boyfriend, obviously."

-Bethany Crandell, SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)

The sequel to PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG starts on Gretchen's  birthday. I can't say more without giving away too much, but she does NOT get what she wants. 

The Art of Lainey

For her birthday, Lainey wants to go see the new Caleb Waters movie, Flyboys, with her friend Bianca. Caleb Waters is a soccer champion turned movie star, and both Lainey and Bee have idolized him forever.

  - Paula Stokes, THE ART OF LAINEY


For her birthday, Becca would want the new Cynthia Swann bag (to paraphrase Cher from Clueless: "She like...a totally important designer.") or some other designer fashion merch. That's what she usually buys with her Break-Up Artist income.
- Philip Siegel, THE BREAK-UP ARTIST

Jaye Robin Brown

For her birthday, Amber would be flabbergasted to have her best friend, Devon, and his brother, Will, take her on a road trip to Nashville. It'd get even better when she found out they'd figured out a way to get her on to the empty stage of the Grand Ole Opry so she could see what it would be like to sing there.
- Jaye Robin Brown, NO PLACE TO FALL

Burn Out

For my MC's next birthday, she would love to have found a way off of Earth--preferably to a planet that still has air and water.
  -Kristi Helvig, BURN OUT 

Of Breakable Things

After Chase is gone, Alex only wishes for no more birthdays. 
 - A. Lynden Rolland, OF BREAKABLE THINGS

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Valentine Files--Mushy Gratitude Edition

It's that time of year when some of us (okay, me) stuff ourselves until we're in a food coma and look sort of like this:

Or this:

Yet it's also the perfect time to give thanks and practice gratitude. The Valentines were asked to share what either they and/or their MC's of their book are thankful for. Here are our responses (in random order, because I was too tired to alphabetize):

Paula Stokes:
Lainey is thankful for the fact that she got good enough grades that her parents are only making her work part-time at the family coffee shop during the summer. She is also grateful for glitter makeup, gossip websites, and her two best friends, Kendall and Bianca.

I am thankful for the usual stuff, plus the awesome writers and bloggers I have met since I started my publication journey. And Cadbury Creme eggs. And firefighters...with or without shirts :)

Bethany Crandell:
I am thankful for too much food. (And elastic waistbands)
Cricket, my MC, is thankful for separation of the classes.

Bethany Hagen:
Madeline Landry is thankful for her beautiful estate, which she loves almost more than anything else.  I, on the other hand, am grateful for long naps, cold beer and good books.

Lynne Matson:
At the start of NIL, Charley is thankful to find clothes since when she wakes up on Nil, she's stark naked. And Thad is just thankful to see another day. 

Me, I'm thankful for my patient husband, my four sweet boys, my
friends and fellow Valentines, and readers everywhere. I'm also thankful for the beach, cookies, school holidays, and an endless supply of good books.:) 

Lindsay Cummings:
Zephyr and Meadow are thankful for living to see another day..

I'm thankful for my husband! And my pets…and my sexy husband. Oh wait, I already said husband. I'm a newlywed, okay?!
Kristen Lippert-Martin:
My MC is thankful for having stayed alive for the last hour, but she's not sure she's going to make it much longer.

Jaye Robin Brown:
Amber is thankful for her Mama, who is not only an excellent cook, but also very forgiving. She's also super thankful for her best friend, Devon, who makes small town life a lot more bearable.

Me, I'm thankful for dogs and horses and the invention of cake.
A. Lynden Rolland:
When Alex was alive, she was thankful for her next door neighbors, the Lasalles. On most mornings, she wakened to the aroma of stale whiskey and the melody of her father's drunken snores erupting from the living room couch. On holidays, she'd wait patiently for the phone call from Chase Lasalle telling her to come over. Once the Lasalles were gone, she was thankful for death.

I'm thankful for my two little boys, who are my entertainment, my inspiration, my heart, and my motivation. I'm thankful for my husband who has never once questioned why I need to suddenly run out of the room and hide in the office to write. And I'm thankful for the Valentines, that we can go through this publishing journey together.
Sara Larson: 
Alexa doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, but I am thankful for my husband and three children who put up with the *crazy* that comes with having an author for a wife/mommy. And also, food. Especially dessert. I'm very thankful for dessert. 
Anne Blankman:
Since Gretchen doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, I'll just talk about myself. I'm thankful for good health, good food, and good books. And sleep. :) 
Philip Siegel:
Becca is most thankful for her best friend Val and sister Diane. Oh, and that she hasn't been caught.
Sara Raasch:
My MC is in the middle of a war, so she is most thankful for her chakram -- her weapon-of-choice that she wouldn't be caught without!  
Jen McConnel:
I'm thankful for my family, my writing community, and a husband who loves reading as much as I do.

Kristi Helvig:
My MC Tora is grateful for her pet gun, Trigger, and for her computer program that allows her to pretend that oceans and her sister still exist. 

I'm grateful for my awesome family, followed in no particular order by caffeine, chocolate, and wine.

All the Valentines:
We're grateful for each other and all the goofy/angsty/encouraging emails we send each other on a daily basis. We're also incredibly grateful for you, our fabulous readers! Feel free to share what you're grateful for in the comments. :)  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Team Valentine

What up, Valentinians!



Valentines. Let's go with that one.

With 2014 right around the corner (like, literally, RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER -- I can see its head peeking around that building over there like it thinks it's still incognito but no, dude, everyone can see you), we're doing a round up of all the awesome Valentine promo things happening for our books! Street teams and pre-order contests, oh my!


Paula Stokes has formed a street team for her book THE ART OF LAINEY. Gain points, get swag, and help spread the art of THE ART OF LAINEY by joining #TeamLainey!

Lynne Matson has started #NILtribe to gather the followers of NIL into one awesome place!

Find Lindsay Cummings' street team for THE MURDER COMPLEX with #booknerdigans!

Sara Raasch hosts seasonal giveaways for SNOW LIKE ASHES through the #JointheBlizzard campaign!

Jen McConnel's street team for DAUGHTER OF CHAOS can be found under #witcherific!


Sara B. Larson's DEFY pre-order contest runs now through January 7, 2014!

So much swag! So much team-building! SO MUCH EPICNESS!

And you know what? It's only going to get MORE epic as 2014 continues to inch closer. Are you ready? WE SO ARE!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I managed to stumble onto the best Halloween book ever, only I managed to do it after Halloween, because I decided to read the new Bill Bryson book first (I'm a history nerd.)  Anyway, here's the description from Goodreads:

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

Coldest is the best kind of book--a book that takes big leaps, makes big, daring choices, all while deftly convincing you that it is entirely real, entirely plausible.  Teenagers make life or death choices in the cold light of truck stops, people find ways to charge their iPhones in the middle of quarantine zone, and the world watches predators and prey mingle on YouTube.  

I'll be honest, I felt some reluctance picking Coldest up.  As a lifelong fan of vampires, I'm still in vampire-recovery from the vampire/werewolf glut of young adult and adult fiction in the middle of the last decade, and I had my doubts that even someone as talented as Holly Black could make vampires interesting for me again.  Well, she did.  She managed to capture the essential terrifying truths of vampires--their undeath, their all-consuming thirst--as well as the cool parts, like walking around in slinky red dresses and un-ironically using a cane.  There's some graphically bloody scenes and some frank talk of sexuality which would probably lead me to say that this might be a sixteen-and-over read (depending on the teen, of course, everybody is able to handle different things at different ages) but other than that, I would say this book is a must for fans of paranormal, fans of horror or even just fans of edgy fiction.  So celebrate Halloween late and pick up Holly Black's latest.  You won't regret it.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Writerly Habitats Contest #5!

**The winner of our last Writerly Habitats contest is Alyssa Susanna! 
Sara B. Larson will be sending you that surprise box
which I'm sure does not contain any snakes. 
Or, at least, not all that many snakes. Congratulations, Alyssa!**

Now. Onto new matters. Who could possibly sit at this desk, I wonder?

Well, of course *I* know, but you should try to figure it out. Go on. Do please scour this photo for clues.

*waits impatiently*

No, no, no. You're looking in the wrong places. I'll give you a hint. The owner of this desk writes about ancient, unearthly powers unleashed upon the unsuspecting modern world. So put your monocle on its highest setting and see if you can make out anything incriminating written on the dry erase board to the right of the desk. Perhaps something like, “Human sacrifice, noon; pick up a Box o’Joe at DD to bring.” Something like that.

I will tell you this much. The Resident Feline Overlord is missing from the picture. Yes, like so many writers, the owner of this desk normally toils under the watchful eye of a fuzzy, demanding overseer.  

Obviously the reason the cat is not in the picture is because the desk is unattended. As we all know, cats cannot tolerate a human who is exhibiting signs of industry. The steady gaze of someone trying to concentrate on a computer screen is especially loathsome to them. Had the owner of this desk been hard at work, however, a cat would have appeared within five seconds to sit upon the keyboard and swish its tail back and forth in a most distracting manner. 
You know what you’re supposed to do now.  A comment = a guess = an entry to win something cool. And this week’s prize is a copy of Bridget Zinn’s POISON. 

Let the comment-guessing begin! But, please, don’t think too hard about it because that will attract the cats.