Happy Book Birthday to The Light Fantastic!

Fellow Candlewick author Sarah Combs is one of my favorite writers and people in the world. Her debut, Breakfast Served Anytime, got me teary because it was so beautifully written and so full of love and hope and feels. So obviously I’ve been way excited for her next book, and I am thrilled to say that The Light Fantastic is out today! A little about the book:

Delaware, the morning of April 19. Senior Skip Day, and April Donovan’s eighteenth birthday. Four days after the Boston Marathon bombing, the country is still reeling, and April’s rare memory condition has her recounting all the tragedies that have cursed her birth month. And just what was that mysterious gathering under the bleachers about? Meanwhile, in Nebraska, Lincoln Evans struggles to pay attention in Honors English, distracted by the enigmatic presence of Laura Echols, capturer of his heart. His teacher tries to hold her class’s interest, but she can t keep her mind off what Adrian George told her earlier. Over in Idaho, Phoebe is having second thoughts about the Plan mere hours before the start of a cross-country ploy led by an Internet savant known as the Mastermind. Is all her heartache worth the cost of the Assassins machinations? The Light Fantastic is a tense, shocking, and beautifully wrought exploration of the pain and pathos of a generation of teenagers on the brink and the hope of moving from shame and isolation into the light of redemption.

I’m so excited to see how Sarah brings together these viewpoints to craft a sensitive and thoughtful story of grief and anger and pain and hope.

In case that all sounds awesome to you, too, friend and fantastic book blogger Ginger is celebrating The Light Fantastic‘s release with a giveaway! Inspired by one of the book’s associated discussion questions, Sarah and Ginger are sharing their lists of five good things/things that matter. Check out their lists and sign up to win a copy of the book!

Even though I’ve already ordered my copy, I want to share my list of five good, real things. In no particular order:

  • The smell of bread baking, the magic of seeing how such simple ingredients can become something so delicious.
  • When a song comes on the radio and you have to turn it up and sing along and make ridiculous emotive hand gestures.
  • The first sip of coffee.
  • Jokes you have with loved ones that go so far back, you don’t even remember exactly when or how they started.
  • When you’re watching a movie, sneaking a glance at the rest of the audience and seeing them engrossed in the story.

Head over to Ginger’s to share your five, enter her giveaway, and most importantly, get yourself a copy of The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs!

Giveaway Winners and the Notorious RBG

Thanks to everyone who entered my International Women’s Day giveaway! I had such a great time hearing about your favorite women from history and sharing a few of my own that I ended up picking two winners. They are:

Emily and Jen!

You guys each get a signed copy of The Chance You Won’t Return! Keep an eye out for an email from me about shipping info.

Thank you to all who entered, and if you didn’t win this time, don’t worry–I’ll be having future giveaways and conversations about awesome ladies in history.

And speaking of awesome ladies, today is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 83rd birthday. Happy birthday, Justice Ginsburg! Here’s to many more years of you being an inspiration to all.

Last Day for Giveaway!

Earhart Maps Hawaii - 1935
Today’s the last day to enter my International Women’s Day giveaway! Share your favorite awesome woman from history, and enter to win a signed copy of The Chance You Won’t Return.

Having a hard time narrowing it down? A few of my favorites (along with Amelia Earhart, of course), are Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida KahloCoretta Scott KingSally Ride, Julia ChildHarriet TubmanKathrine SwitzerJane Austen, Eartha Kitt, and pretty much anyone Mackenzi Lee has mentioned in her #BadassLadiesofHistoryYouShouldKnow series. So if you’re like me and like talking about awesome women in history, get yourself over to the giveaway and enter to win!

International Women’s Day and The Chance You Won’t Return Giveaway!

Amelia Earhart
Today is International Women’s Day and considering female pioneer of aviation Amelia Earhart plays into my novel in a big way, it seems like a fantastic day for a giveaway. First, a few cool facts about the famous aviatrix:

Want more historical trivia about Amelia Earhart (plus some family drama, driver’s ed, mental health, and kissing)? Enter this giveaway to win a signed copy of The Chance You Won’t Return! Entries are open until March 15.

Want bonus points? Share your favorite female historical figure (or figures, there are a lot of great ladies to choose from) in the comments!

 

Friday Fifteen and Giveaway Winners

Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway for The Chance You Won’t Return this week! I liked hosting the giveaway so much, I ended up choosing two winners. They are:

Andrea T. and Julie R.!

Andrea and Julie, keep an eye out for my email so I can get your shipping info for your prizes. And everyone, thank you so much for entering. I’ll definitely do another giveaway soon, so keep checking in for your chance to win.

In the meantime, here’s a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or fewer:

Reading: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Felt more human and better crafted than Gone Girl; not a favorite, but intriguing.

Writing: They are my constant, from here to the end of the universe.
First draft of my WIP is done! Full steam ahead into the revisions!

Happy Amelia Earhart Day! Plus Giveaway!

Photograph showing Amelia Earhart sitting in the cockpit of an Electra airplane. (via Wikicommons)

Happy birthday, Amelia Earhart! Today would have been the famous pilot’s 118th birthday. Despite having been born over a hundred years ago and having disappeared over the Pacific seventy-eight years ago, she still fascinates and inspires the public. And, obviously, her presence and history are a big part of The Chance You Won’t Return.

What better way to celebrate Amelia Earhart’s birthday than to host a giveaway?

Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a signed copy of The Chance You Won’t Return, plus some book swag and a few extra goodies. For extra entries, follow me on Facebook and Twitter, tweet with the hashtag #TCYWRgiveaway, and comment below about where you’d go if you could travel anywhere.

Thanks to Amelia Earhart for her continued inspiration, and happy Amelia Earhart Day to all my wonderful readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: Giveaway for US residents only. I love international readers, but postal is expensive.

Madcap Writing Retreats: Retreat to Advance – Guest Post by the Amazing Natalie Parker

MCR_bannerIf you ask me about writing retreats, one name comes to mind: Natalie Parker. I’ve been to two Natalieorganized retreats so far, and absolutely loved both of them. They’re the perfect way to seriously write in a beautiful setting, bond with amazing fellow writers, and get inspired about your craft.

And now Natalie is taking her retreat organization skills to the world at large! Check out the post below from Natalie for more on her new program, Madcap Retreats, and find out how to get the Natalie retreat experience:

Madcap Writing Retreats: Retreat to Advance by Natalie C. Parker

Nothing has changed my career so much as writing retreats.

In the winter of 2011, I was invited to attend a large retreat in Branson, MO at which there would be 25 established YA authors. I was unagented at the time and though I found the idea of joining such a gathering an intimidating one, I also found it was impossible to pass up.

The experience was a game-changer. Not only did I meet a group of authors who were as encouraging as they were successful, but I sat in a room in which those same authors opened laptops and worked quietly together. There were headphones and tea and snack breaks and chat breaks and there were word documents that looked much like my own, growing one word at a time.

I left the Branson Retreat with a new network of contacts who would guide my career in different ways, determined to repeat the experience as quickly as possible. Only this time I wanted to be the one issuing invites. One year later, that’s exactly what I did: I made my first retreat of 11 authors on the side of a mountain, in a house that also had a turret.

Since that time, I’ve hosted 1 or 2 retreats every year, always with the goal of bringing authors together to create the kind of community we just can’t get in 140 character bites. I’ve hosted authors in turreted mansions in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in French Quarter apartments, in the Texas Hill Country, in historic Savannah townhomes, and in the sleepy Smoky Mountains. And here are the top three lessons I’ve learned from organizing retreats for writers:

  1. There must be Internet. It does not matter if you write to your group ahead of time and say the words “there is no Internet in this mountain chateau IS THAT OKAY?” It does not matter if they uniform answer is, “Yes, Natalie, we are not so addicted to the Modern Age that going without Wi-Fi for 3 days will kill us.” I promise you, none of that matters because when you get to the house someone will build an antenna out of aluminum foil and desperate tears and stand on the roof searching for a signal.
  2. Never underestimate the importance of every bedroom having its own bathroom. End of explanation.
  3. You may begin the adventure with plans of leaving the house, but trust me, this will not happen. To appease any group of authors, I advise picture windows and something that suggests power and mystery. Mountains are an obvious choice, but lakes work very well as do abandoned sugar plantations, rolling hills, and oceans. This way, even if you get snowed in after throwing out all the perishable food so that all that remains are Oreos and a handle of gin, no one will every complain about the view!

I love retreats. They’re fun and exciting and sometimes lead to creating things like Sh*t Writers Say. But I started this by saying that retreats have altered the course of my career in significant ways and that is absolutely true.

After Branson in 2011, I had half a dozen authors willing to weigh in on my query and help me cull my agent list.

After the Wi-Fi-less chateau in 2012, there were authors ready to blurb my first book.

After the Hill Country in 2013, I received crucial advice on how to develop a retreat business.

But more than that, I’ve seen anthologies born over the course of a retreat, I’ve seen mentor and critique relationships gain footing, and I’ve seen the direction of manuscripts shift dramatically and to great effect. And I know there’s even more I haven’t seen.

Like so many writers, my writing time is bound and hedged in on all sides. My writing time is also my “down” time, my “free” time, my “in between this and that” time.” It’s a challenge to find hours that flow from one into another with nothing binding them except the promise of words. Madcap is one way I can offer time and opportunity to myself and to others, and I’m truly excited to be able to do that.

Madcap is for writers at any stage in their career – aspiring, agented, and published. My goal is to continue what was done for me at that first Branson retreat and create the kinds of opportunities it’s nearly impossible to create for yourself. Welcome to Madcap Retreats, join us for an adventure.

MADCAP RETREATS: Web | Twitter | Tumblr

And now we come to the giveaway portion of this post!

I’ve asked a few amazing bloggers to help me spread the word of Madcap far and wide via a Blog Hop. Each participating blog will be giving away 2 e-copies of my debut novel Beware the Wild. And each of those winners will be entered to win one of two grand prizes! They are:

  • A $300 discount on the upcoming workshop – The Anatomy of Publishing: Story & Marketing, August 27 – 30. The workshop will be lead by Courtney C. Stevens and will feature a few fancy guest authors who will workshop pages and queries one-on-one! (More info can be found here).
  • A short stack of ARCs including: JUBILEE MANOR by Bethany Hagen, DUMPLIN’ by Julie Murphy, and THE ANATOMY OF CURIOSITY by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, & Brenna Yovanoff.

The contest is open to US/Canada ONLY. You may enter via each blogger if that pleases you. Contest closes at midnight on Sunday, June 7th. Winners will be announced by noon on Monday, June 8th.

Additionally! If you’d like to stay up to date on all retreat and workshop offerings by Madcap, you can subscribe to the mailing list by visiting this page. The first 50 subscribers will be offered a free download of either:

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below about what your dream retreat experience.

Full list of participating blogs:

Actual view from the TN retreat.

Actual view from the TN retreat.

Thanks to Natalie for sharing her retreat skills with the world! Make sure to check out Madcap Retreats and comment below to win in the Madcap giveaway.

In the meantime, I’ll be daydreaming about my next retreat with Natalie and Madcap.

The Chance You Won’t Return ARC Giveaway!

It’s March, which means that when I’m ready for spring and flowers and greenery, the weather is usually more like:

But March also means that The Chance You Won’t Return hits shelves next month. Holy cow, guys, just one calendar page turn away!

And since my book’s going to be out in the world soon, this sounds like the perfect time to have an ARC giveaway! The details:

  • To enter, leave a comment on this post about why you’re excited for spring.
  • Extra points for tweets with the hashtag #TCYWRgiveaway
  • Extra points for sharing on Facebook (Make sure to tag me so I can see your share.)
  • US and Canada residents only. (Sorry, other international readers!)

The giveaway is open until Wednesday, March 12 at 11:59 pm EST. After that I’ll compile the entries into a random number generator/particle collider and post the winner on Friday, March 14. (Pi Day! That’s totally a reason to look forward to spring.)

Start commenting/tweeting/sharing and soon you could have a signed ARC of The Chance You Won’t Return in your hands!

Or, you know, paws.