Judith, one of the fabulous FinePrint interns started a new book blog :)

I love the title:

I got something special in the mail today.  In the very advanced bound form.

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers.

So exciting!  (Yes, I walked around with one all day yesterday and showed it to everyone in the office at least several times.)  And now, it is on display with the other books in my office.  (Excuse the cell phone photo quality.)

My Seanan McGuire Contest has now officially come to a close.

I'm excited to be giving away a copy of Rosemary and Rue and an ARC of A Local Habitation. After using the Research Randomizer,the winner is...
Congratulations. I've sent you an email. Send me your address so I can ship out your new book! :)
When Evie's father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly.  But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories.  When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe's company in postwar Austria, shows up, Evie is suddenly caught in a complicated web of lies that she only slowly recognizes.  She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the secrets that surround him . . . until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two.

As she begins to realize that almost everything she believed to be a truth was really a lie, Evie must get to the heart of the deceptions and choose between her loyalty to her parents and her feelings for the man she loves.  Someone will have to be betrayed.  The question is . . . who?

I just finished What I Saw and How I Lied last night on my train ride home, and it was fabulous.  Evie is an identifiable character that I liked and sympathized with - and at times pitied a little.  Her  voice is consistent and historically accurate (I wasn't there to know, but after reading What I Saw... I feel like I was).  The setting matches the voice, and I love how Blundell managed to bring smaller elements of life in 1947 into all facets of the story - minor and major plot lines alike.

But my favorite thing about What I Saw and How I Lied is the way Blundell manages to keep tension high throughout the entire novel, pacing it in such a way that you can't read it without feeling a sort of eerie sense of foreboding from the first page until the end.  And though I realized the secrets Evie was still trying to figure out, before she did, the tension was still there until she uncovered everything, because I couldn't predict what Evie would do.

For my first guest blog ever, I'm lucky enough to have Seanan McGuire, brilliant author of the October Daye Series (Rosemary and Rue and the upcoming A Local Habitation) tell us a little about what it's like to be a new writer on multiple deadlines.  To win a copy of both Rosemary and Rue and an ARC of A Local Habitation, click HERE.



"You're the most disciplined person I know!"
"Wow, you sure work a lot."
"Are you sure you can't come out this weekend?"
"Come on, it's not like you're really doing anything..."

This is the exciting progression I travel through with my friends and loved ones every few weeks; from "wow, it's great how you can keep working like that" to "dammit, put down the keyboard and come outside for once."  Writing looks exactly like goofing off on the Internet if you can't see the screen, after all, and it can be a bit wearing to deal with someone who regularly vanishes into fictional worlds for days at a time.

Welcome to life with a writer on deadlines.

Like every idealistic young writer, I came to the business with a head full of stories, a strong desire to tell those stories, and not a damn clue what I was doing.  People periodically compare releasing a book to having a baby.  There are a lot of places where this comparison falls down...but I'll say that working to deadline, especially on multiple projects at the same time, is something like trying to plan a wedding, put on a musical, and organize a school bake sale...all at once.  With no delegation.  And three hundred singing mice trying  to "help" by composing inspiring ditties about your struggles.  (If you think I'm kidding about this last part, you've never seen a writer under deadline who's given up sleep in favor of word counts.)  Selling a book was barely the beginning.

Of course, being an over-achiever in the "slightly crazy" department, I wasn't content to launch one series, and instead came out the gate with two different sets of books, in two different genres, under two different names.  Fun for the whole family!  This means that even when I meet one deadline, there's another one lurking, getting ready to pounce.  There's a monster under my bed, and the monster's name is "Manuscript Due."

I've always been a fairly disciplined writer; becoming a professional has only magnified that.  There's a famous quote that goes "I love deadlines, I love the whooshing sound when they go rushing by."  This is sort of my definition of Hell.  An ordinary day in my life when under a deadline, which is pretty much every day:

5:00 AM: Get up.  Check email.  Discover that manuscript has not finished itself in the night.  Swear.

5:30 AM: Go to day job.  Do not smack anyone for asking if I'm rich and famous yet.  Do not release the robot army.

5:00 PM: Get home.  Discover that manuscript has not finished itself while I was in the office.  Swear some more.

5:10 PM: Pet the cats.

5:30 PM: Start writing.  Break only for dinner, petting the cats, and new episodes of Fringe.

9:30 PM: Go to bed.

This cycle functions for about a week at a time, before people get frustrated and drag me out of the house by my thumbs.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

I have no regrets about becoming a professional writer.  It really is what I've wanted to do since I was seven (well, be a writer, and be the new Princess of My Little Ponyland).  It's come with some exciting lessons in time management, and that's pretty awesome, too.

Now if you'll excuse me, I hear my deadlines calling...
Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.
New York Writers Workshop Presents
Building Your Author "Brand"
Instructor: June Clark, Partner, Get There Media/Agent-at-Large, FinePrint Literary Management

Whether seeking a publisher, self-publishing, or simply wanting to attract an audience for your work, it's all about your “brand.” In this 6-week class, you'll discover platform-building tactics and social media tools that will cultivate readers and fans, create buzz, and get you and your book noticed!

6-Week Class
February 24 - March 31, 2010
6:00-8:00 PM

Classes will be held at:

Pearl Studios
500 Eighth Ave., Room 408
New York, NY

To sign up or for more info, email June Clark at june@juneclark.com or call 917-677-9600
In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

Monday, in my mailbox (or more appropriately on my desk) I got copies of the following books:

Wish by Alexandra Bullen: Olivia looks up from the wreckage of many months following the death of her twin to find herself uprooted across the country to San Francisco by her grieving attorney-mother and inconsolable contractor-father. Without Violet as a social and emotional crutch, Olivia doesn't know how she can face Golden Gate Prep. The touch of magic is subtle as the teen stumbles upon a hole-in-the-wall seamstress who agrees to mend an old dress of Violet's for a gathering at her mother's new firm. Instead, Olivia finds herself wearing a beautiful custom creation with a butterfly that bursts from fabric into life as Violet is wished back into Olivia's life. No one else can see or hear her, but Olivia's confidence is bolstered enough that she soon becomes friendly with Calla, the most popular girl in school, and catches the eye of skater cutie Soren. Complications ensue when Soren breaks up with Calla, and Olivia launches a clandestine romance, with a couple of dresses left to wear and wishes left to spend. This first-time novelist has produced an enjoyable variation on the three magical wishes scenario with nicely executed and believable characters, not so much fairy tale as realistic story—with some teen drinking. Olivia works through the wishes to realize her strengths and learn to face the world on her own.

Ash by Malinda Lo: Described as "Cinderella…with a twist," Ash is in many ways the familiar fairy tale about a girl's move from comfort to despair to true love (with a little help from fairies and magic). Standard Cinderella images set up the story: after losing her mother and later her father, Ash is treated as a servant in the home of an unkind stepmother and two unfriendly stepsisters. She has ties to the fairy world, attends the royal ball in an enchanted dress, catches the eye of the prince, and finds love by the end of the story. However, while structural similarities exist, ideologically Lo's beautiful and dark tale takes the story to a new place. It is not about Ash being found and saved by a charming prince; instead, it is about her courtship with Kaisa, the King's huntress, a relationship that burgeons over time and is based on more than just initial attraction. Despite Ash's grief, oppressive guardianship, and dangerous flirtation with the fairy Sidhean, who promises to steal her away from her sadness, the protagonist finds her own salvation and chooses to live and love in the real world and on her own terms. Ash will appeal to readers looking for GLBTQ titles, but fans of romance, fantasy, and strong female protagonists will also embrace this fine debut novel.

Poseur by Rachel Maude: Charlotte Beverwil, Janie Farrish, Melissa Moon, and Petra Greene attend exclusive Winston Prep in the Hollywood Hills. And that's all they have in common. But hang out together? They'd rather be hanged. Borrow one another's clothes? They'd sooner borrow a zit. So when these four sophomores are forced into a class to create their own fashion label, they Clash with a capital C. Janie thinks Melissa and Charlotte are Beverly Hills brats. They dismiss Janie as a Valley rat in sheep's clothing. And Petra, well . . . Petra couldn't care less. Can a cool coquette, a shy punk, a hippie goddess, and a ghettoglam egomaniac make beautiful couture together? At Winston Prep, survival of the fittest comes down to who fits in-and what fits.

The Daughters by Joanna Philbin (ARC): Fourteen-year-old Lizzie Summers always expects fawning photographers and adoring fans to surround her gorgeous supermodel mother.  But when Lizzie is approached by a fashion photographer who believes that she’s “the new face of beauty,” Lizzie surprises herself and her family by becoming the newest Summers woman to capture the
media’s spotlight.  In this debut young adult series tailored for younger teens, author Joanna Philbin explores what it’s really like to grow up in the thick of the celebrity world. As Lizzie and her two best friends (and fellow daughters-of-celebrities) juggle normal high school events with glamorous family functions, they discover the pitfalls of fame and the importance of friendship.  (Pub Date: 5/1/2010)

Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson (ARC): Torn between two destinies...Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday.  her pool party is a big success, and gorgeous Matthew keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she's the only girl there.  But that night, she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: She's a werewolf.  As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she must deal not only with her changing identity, but also with a rogue werewolf who is putting everyone she knows in danger.  Claire's new life threatens her blossoming romance with Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt.  Now burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love, Claire is struggling to feel comfortable in either skin.  With her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, she will make a choice that will change her forever. (Pub Date: 5/18/2010)

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready (ARC): Best. Birthday. Ever.  At least it was supposed to be.  With Logan's band playing a crucial gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night for her boyfriend's life.  She never thought it would be his last.  Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.  Well, sort of.  Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and talk to ghosts.  This mysterious ability had always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it.  But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around.  Because Dead Logan is almost as real as ever.  Almost.  It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding - and so very alive.  HIs support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.  As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary.  Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift. (Pub Date: 5/4/2010)
Check out Richard Bowes' thoughts on Catcher in the Rye, and why no book can survive assigned reading.

Though it wasn't my favorite school assigned reads (The Great Gatsby and Cry the Beloved Country are tied for that spot), I definitely enjoyed Catcher. In what I thought a strange turn of events, however, when I was teaching, most of my students didn't identify with Holden and his drinking and swearing rebellion.  They found him whiny and unlikable.
CONTEST: One lucky commenter will win a brand new copy of Rosemary and Rue and and ARC of A Local Habitation, the first two novels in the October Daye urban fantasy series. Be sure to include your email address so I know how to contact you.

Extra entries:
+1 Commenting on my review HERE.
+1 New followers
+2 If you're already a follower
+1 Linking to my contest on your blog, twitter, etc. Include links. (up to 5)
+3 For posting about my contest on your blog. (Must be actual post)
+2 Add me to your blog roll
+3 for referring someone to the contest
+3 for being the person referred

This contest is open internationally! It will end February 20th at 11:59 pm Eastern time. Winner will be announced February 21st. Good luck and happy entering!