Friday, July 4, 2014

The Warrior Heir is Booksplosion July Book of the Month!

If you've been thinking about reading The Heir Chronicles, now might be a good time to begin! The Warrior Heir is the book of the month at Booksplosion, and there will be a live show August 2. Find them on Twitter, Pinterest, and the discussion on Goodreads here

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Looking for Signed Copies of My Books? Want to Pre-Order from an Indie Bookseller?

OK, you've seen the cover, you've read the first chapter...if you would like to order signed copies of The Sorcerer Heir or any of my
books, you can order through The Learned Owl Bookstore in Hudson, OH. The signed copies of The Sorcerer Heir will be sent out on or around the release date. Let the staff know if you would like them personalized.

Saturday, May 3, 2014



You Asked For It

We Aim to Please
The Sorcerer Heir will debut
 on October 21, 2014! Mark your calendars!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Readers: Step Away from the Book

It’s happened again. The literati (agents, editors, and the like) have spoken One trend in teen fiction is over, and another begins. Dystopian novels, paranormal romance—in fact, the entire genre of fantasy is SO last year. Now we want—well, we’re not sure. Maybe realistic contemporary fiction. Maybe anything that is not one of those things.
Vampires, werewolves and angels—head to the unemployment office. Wizards, pack away those wands and learn a useful skill, like—like—well, we told you not to go to wizarding school.
All over the world, writers are deleting files, tucking manuscripts away in drawers, or trying to figure out how to convert a dystopian vampire romance into contemporary realistic fiction.
            All over the world, teen readers are...hey! Readers! I’m talking to you. Close your books NOW.  Haven’t you heard? Time to move on. Just stop already.
            See how well that works.
            Trends begin because a reader falls in love with a book. This one particular book. Often, it is not the kind of book that is supposed to be, well, popular. It’s the kind of book that ambushes a reader. And this ambushed reader tells another reader, who tells another reader who talks about it at school, or posts it on Facebook or Pinterest or wherever they hang out.
When a reader falls in love with a book—this one particular book—she asks librarians and booksellers and teachers, Do you have any more books like this one that I love? The smart librarian or bookseller or teacher knows that she is not just looking for another book with a moody boy or a dragon on the cover. She is looking for another book that will give her that same rush of joy, that recognition of self, that feeling of context and connection.
This brushfire of reader love burns more and more brightly as it spreads until the flames are high enough that somebody in publishing notices. And, says—aha! THIS is what readers want. But what exactly is it?
What it is, is a vampire book.
And the call goes out to agents, and editors, and those few journalists that are still out there (journalism is over, too) that vampire books are HOT. Buy more of these. And writers get the message—write more of these. And somewhere, a writer pulls her beloved vampire manuscript out of the drawer and knows that NOW is her  hour. Other writers put aside their contemporary realistic fiction, grit their teeth, and begin to craft stories about vampires. And, because it's not from the heart, maybe it's a bad story.
Eventually, a reader has her heart broken one too many times by a book that promised to be just like that book she loved, and wasn’t. She has learned through bitter experience not to judge a book by the moody boy cover; not to listen to the seductive words of the publicists who tell her that THIS book is just like that book that she loved. She knows that she is going to have to work a little harder to find that next book.
An agent sits with a slush pile full of bad vampire romance, and realizes that he cannot stomach another one. And a publisher with a list of bad vampire fiction that is not selling says, WHOA! Send me something else. Anything else. And a trend dies an ugly death amid disillusionment and disappointment.
But that reader is still looking. And, like as not, the book that started the firestorm in the first place is still selling, because that was the book that readers fell in love with in the first place. Guess what—it’s STILL a great book.  There are STILL great books out there in every genre. The hard part is finding them.It's not about the genre, or the pitch--it's the execution.
            The ugly secret is, nobody knows what readers want until you tell us.
Author’s note: I was all ready to post this, and then I learned that the blog is dead.  So for those of you who are offended, I'm sorry. I never was all that good with authority.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Yallfest--Charleston, SC 11.9.13 My Schedule

My Yallfest Schedule 
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Charleston, SC

MUSIC HALL = Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St. (Amazon Mainstage)
BALLROOM = American Theater Ballroom, 446 King St.
(Epic Reads/HarperTeen Stage)
CINEMA = American Theater Cinema, 446 King St. (CreateSpace Stage)

11 am
Libba Bray (The Diviners), Cinda Chima (The Heir Chronicles),
Melissa de la Cruz (Witches of East End), Mike Johnston (Frozen),
Lisa McMann (Crash), Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky)
Moderator: Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy)

12 pm
Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King St.

2 pm
Presented by CreateSpace
Cinda Chima (The Heir Chronicles), Kami Garcia (Unbreakable), Nancy Holder (Teen Wolf), Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me), Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky)
Moderator: Lev Grossman (The Magicians)

6 pm
MCs: Gayle Forman and Adam Gidwitz

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Keeping Busy at the Bookfest

I love bookfests. For one thing, there’s always someone to talk to, even if it’s just the author at the table next to you. Networking is important, right? Plus you’ll usually get traffic, even if you’re a debut author and nobody has heard of your book. Even better, the people you meet actually came there to buy books. How cool is that?
The downside of bookfests is that they often require you to sit at a table for seven or eight hours, trying to look warm, engaging, and interesting, e.g., not desperate. 

Author Looking Warm, Engaging, and Interesting
 Any daylong author event is going to involve a certain amount of downtime, when the crowd thins out. Like during the Panel featuring the Really Popular Authors. Or the chocolate dessert demo in the auditorium. I was once at a bookfest where Paula Deen was the keynote, and let me tell you, I was totally the bridesmaid at that wedding.
Sometimes the customers who are there are not your target audience. For instance, you’re pitching a middle grade book about serial killers. The crowd is mostly grandparents buying for their grandchildren. Middle graders would be all over it. Grandparents—not so much. 
            So most authors have developed strategies for making good use of that downtime. There’s only so many times you can straighten up the piles of books or refill the candy dish, right? The savvy author doesn't waste a minute.
Author tweeting to college roommate: Guess where I am?
Fortunately, I recently attended the Buckeye Bookfest in Wooster, OH, where there were many good examples of authors with stellar time management habits. I'm going to share some of their strategies here. 

For instance, a lull in the crowd might be just the time to catch up on your correspondence. There was that really important email from your agent, for instance. And you do need to sign off on that half million dollar publicity campaign.

Actual Customers Will Be Lucky To Get Any
Smart authors maintain healthy habits. That candy dish looks mighty tempting. It's important to keep up your strength, right? But authors know better than to fill up on sugary treats. Besides, that candy is for CUSTOMERS.
Author Trying to Figure Out How This Thing Works

Speaking of strength, physical fitness is important. Maybe a little physical therapy is in order to limber up those writing muscles.  Much can be accomplished in a few minutes of downtime. 

Author Stealing Other Authors' Ideas
Many readers don't realize that downtime at bookfests can be  a great time to begin researching  your next novel. 

Author practicing his autograph
In fact, this may be a great time to WRITE your next novel.  Why not? It's interesting for readers to see authors at work. Now that you know what you're doing, how hard could it be? Also note the savvy marketing strategy.
Hiding People Magazine Inside
Maybe you'd like to catch up on your reading. Prospective readers will be impressed with your literary eye. 
Author Reaches Next Level on Dungeon Hunter
This might be just enough time to review possible designs for your next book cover.
Authors Sharing Latest Gossip
Group events can be a great time for developing mentoring relationships. Most authors are more than willing to share their wisdom with others. 
Author succumbs to candy-induced sugar crash
Just remember: it's important to pace yourself. A day at the bookfest can be grueling. There's nothing wrong with taking a little break now and then.

With thanks to authors Faith Durand, Mindy McGinnis, Geoffrey Girard, Sam Thomas, Tricia Springstubb, Rae Carson, Mary Ellis, and Kylie Logan.