Friday, March 30, 2012

Movie Friday: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

When I went to see the Hunger Games (for the second time) this past week, I saw a movie trailer for the book to movie adaptation of the incredible ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER book. Haven't read it yet? You really, really should. Here's the trailer. What do you think?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Author Mad Libs: E.C. Myers

Today's Author Mad Libs guest is E.C. Myers whose book FAIR COIN (which has garnered some very stellar reviews!) hit the shelves this week. I sent E.C. a parts of speech list. He sent back words. This is the result.

Sixteen-year-old Ephraim Scott is _bounced_ when he comes home from school and finds his _sloth_ unconscious at the kitchen _ninja_, clutching a bottle of pills. The reason for her suicide _tricycle_ is even more dis­turbing: she thought she'd identified Ephraim's _waffle_ at the hospital that day.

Among his dead double's_clowns_, Ephraim finds a _woeful_ coin--a coin that grants wishes when he flips it. With a flick of his _dolphin_, he can turn his alcoholic mother into an _industrious_ parent and catch the eye of the _turducken_ he's liked since second grade. But the coin doesn't always change _chopsticks_ for the better. And a bad flip can destroy other people's _banshees_ as easily as it rebuilds his own.

The coin could _investigate_ Ephraim everything he's ever wanted--if he learns to _zoom_its power before his luck runs out.

Thank you, E.C., for joining in the fun! To learn more about E.C., go here. To purchase FAIR COIN head to Indie Bound, Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Interview with Elizabeth Norris

Today's guest is Elizabeth Norris, author of the upcoming debut novel UNRAVELING (April 24th!). I met Elizabeth through our editor, Kristin, and was privileged to read an advance copy of her book. It had me at the edge of my seat from the word Go! If Fringe and Veronica Mars had a baby, this book would be it. Full of heart-stopping action, fringe-y science, mystery, romance, and characters who are both complicated and relatable, this is a book worth devouring. If that doesn't convince you, let me add this. 1. There's a debate scene that will melt your face off. 2. There's a countdown. Literally. To the end of the world. 3. You won't see the ending coming.

Here's a peek at UNRAVELING:

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

Elizabeth decided to take on the ever-suave Captain Jack Sparrow. Let's meet today's guests.

Captain Jack Sparrow

Elizabeth Norris

Of course, before we get to the interview itself, we get to see the cupcake my hubby designed in honor of UNRAVELING. I mentioned a countdown (literally) to the end of the world, right? Well, my hubby decided to make an end of the world cupcake. It is both edible and apocalyptic. Without further ado, I give you Elizabeth vs. Captain Jack and the cupcake that will end the world in 3 - 2 - 1.

1. Would you classify yourself as a pirate or a member of Her Majesty’s Royal navy? Why?

Pirate. Most of the time I tend to deviate from rules and structure. For instance, I don’t even like to write in chronological order. I’ll write scenes, snippets of dialogue, and descriptions, and then eventually throw them into the manuscript somewhere. I’m also a big fan individualism.

2. Darling, I like your style. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

Pirate watch! I’m more on the introverted side anyway, which means that in large groups of people, I do more observing than anything else. I love to people watch wherever I go (Time Square is another great place to just watch people and what they’re doing). Unique clothing and hairstyles, interesting behavior—it all captivates my attention and sometimes is really inspiring.

3. I'm all for watching people, as long as we're keeping a running tally of all the shiny valuables we're planning to remove from their personage in the very near future. I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

Oh, this is tough. I’d be game for going just about anywhere. I’m a huge fan of sun, sand, and warm water so there are a number of tropical islands I’m dying to vacation to (like Fiji, Tahiti, St. Lucia, etc). I’d also love to take an Alaskan cruise because I’ve heard how lovely some of the views are. But I guess if I had to pick just one place I’m dying to go, it would be Greece. (I actually tried to go once when I was studying abroad in college, but I was traveling by bus and ended up having to go back to Budapest where I was staying instead). In addition to the beautiful setting, it has so much history and culture that I’d love to be able to see firsthand.

4. I know this lovely string of islands where the tediously loyal members of His Majesty's Royal Navy never visit. Who is the hero of your story most like: me (savvy, debonair, and unquestionably smooth with the ladies), the insufferably honorable Will Turner, or that deceptive little minx Elizabeth?

My main character, Janelle Tenner, is probably a mix of all three. She’s definitely savvy. Her dad is in the FBI so she knows a lot of things that he taught her and a few things he didn’t. But she’s also pretty honorable and definitely focused on saving the people she loves.

5. Savvy and honorable? An intriguing combination. Rum? Or more rum?

The more the merrier.

6. A woman after my own callous heart. Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

Probably because it’s good.

7. *gives you the side eye* You're a lovely wench, there's no denying. But if you consume all of my rum, I'll strand you on a deserted island faster than you can say Tortuga. What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

When I was a senior in high school, my English teacher had a lot of boxes that she needed to load into her car. She asked me and two of my friends to carry them out to the parking lot and put them in her trunk. We did.

But we couldn’t just stop there. To play a joke on her, I drove her car around the back of the school and parked it in substitute parking.

Luckily she was the kind of teacher who loved a good prank. The next day my desk was missing from our classroom and she told me she walked around for fifteen minutes looking for it so I’d have to stand all period.

It was worth it.

8. You have potential, my dear. A true pirate would've driven to the nearest chop shop, sold the car for parts, and then used the money for more rum. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

Guidelines. If we listened to every rule and never challenged those rules, nothing in our society would ever change. We’d still be ruled by Her Majesty!

When I was in high school, I read Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and he said “[A person] has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” and that always stuck with me.

9. I find any law that denies me what I want to be highly unjust. I understand you’re a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?

No undead monkeys in Unraveling, but there is a sequel so maybe one will turn up there.

10. Any curses? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

No curses or monsters. Unraveling is pretty grounded in reality (and then some science fiction). But it does have a countdown that’s possibly to the end of the world and an Unidentified Improvised Explosive Device, which is a fancy way of saying a potential bomb that no one can figure out how to stop.

And Janelle is definitely one of those girls who insists on taking matters into her own hands (I’m a huge fan of those girls, after all I am one). She’s also someone who is aware of her own limitations. There are even several times that she recognizes that she’s gotten in over her head, but at the same time, she knows this is a mystery she has to see through to the end—she has to solve it.

11. Usually, I'm not a fan of women taking matters into their own hands. The last one who did that landed me in the belly of the Kraken. But since this one is trying to save me from the end of the world, I'll make an exception. One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

I love the word “sporadic.” I love the way it sounds and I love anything without a pattern.

12. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

I always try to parlay first, but I won’t hesitate to draw my sword if it’s needed.

13. That's my girl. You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?

I would hope one of my best friends was with me. She’s the type to walk into a room and always plan exactly how she’s going to escape if the zombie apocalypse starts. I’m not a big planner when it comes to escapes, but I am a pretty good runner and a really good swimmer, so I’d hopefully be able to use one of those skills.

14. I say toss your friend to the monsters and then swim for it while they're distracted. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

Why not both? Adventure first, then some quiet time alone. There’s nothing like adventure to get your heart rate up and make you appreciate the people you love.

15. Both it is. My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

“This above all: to thine own self be true.”

Thank you, Elizabeth, for such an entertaining interview. To learn more about Elizabeth, visit her site. To pre-order your copy of UNRAVELING, visit Indie Bound, Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Of course, the fun isn't over yet! Elizabeth is offering a pre-order of UNRAVELING to one lucky commenter. To enter, simply fill out the form below and be sure to leave a comment in the Blogger comment box at the end of the post. The contest is open to North American residents and will run until 8 p.m. Central Time Monday, April 2nd.

Good luck and happy reading!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trailer Tuesday: PRETTY CROOKED

Here's a book that just hit the shelves last month. I'm usually not drawn to contemporaries, but who can resist a modern day Robin Hood? What do you think?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Author Mad Libs: Jodi Meadows

Today's Author Mad Libs guest is Jodi Meadows, author of the lovely and compelling fantasy INCARNATE. The book is available now! I sent Jodi a parts of speech list. She sent back words. This is the result.


Ana is _slimy_. For thousands of _knitting needles_ in Range, a million _coffee cups_ have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their _tissues_ and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul _plopped_, and no one knows why.

Even Ana’s own _cloud_ thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of _shimmery_ things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her _bear_ and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana _crunches_ to the city of Heart, but its _ferrets_ are suspicious and afraid of what her _pushpin_ means. When dragons and sylph _squelch_the city, is Ana to blame?


Sam believes Ana’s new soul is _joyful_ and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their _yarn_ blooms. But can he love someone who may _grunt_ only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and _the Force_ alike—let them be together? Ana needs to _spin_ the mistake that gave her someone else’s _bunny_, but will her quest threaten the _hair_ of Heart and destroy the promise of _blankets_ for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly _splats_ soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an _orange_tale of new life.

Thank you, Jodi, for playing along! To learn more about Jodi, visit her site. To purchase your copy of INCARNATE, head to Indie Bound, Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trailer Tuesday: Double Feature!

Today's book trailer is for CROAK, which came out in March. I love this trailer like I love munching on cookies while watching Grimm. High praise indeed. What do you think?

Also, today I bring you the extended movie trailer for one of my most anticipated movies of this year: Snow White and the Huntsman. Can't WAIT. What do you think?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Causing a Scene

1. Oh, look! My children summed up in one pithy little picture.

2. I just typed a list all the way out to ... #19? 20? Forgot to look. And then deleted it.

3. It wasn't truly entertaining, and there are just some things that no matter how hard I try to clearly communicate, end up sounding like maybe I need to visit a proctologist and have the uptight precociousness surgically removed from my never you mind.

4. So.

5. I will leave you all to wonder what that lovely piece of writing was and move on.

6. To something that I think has shoved my hubby one large step closer to never taking me out in public again.

7. You'll recall that a few weeks ago, we had media passes to a sneak peek of John Carter, and he had to drag me out of the aisle after the movie ended so I wouldn't cause a scene with the incredibly rude person sitting behind us.

8. Well.

9. First, please understand that I don't actually go looking to cause a scene whenever I leave the house.

10. Most days.

11. Second, please understand that while there are many things that are special to me, few things are as sacred as a basket of still-warm chips and a bowl of delicious salsa.

12. It is a very foolish person who comes between me and my chips and salsa.

13. My hubby and I have been so busy lately, we've had very little time together. So, the other night we decided to go on a date.

14. We had dinner at Chuy's, a restaurant whose dips are, frankly, right up there with Johnny Depp and titanium sporks.

15. Halfway through, the waiter refilled our basket of chips. And then returned to the table a bit later to clear our plates.

16. Which was fine. I was done with my dinner.

17. But then.

18. THEN.

19. He grabbed the basket of still-warm chips and started to take those as well.

20. I didn't even think. I just reached out, grabbed the basket as it rose off the table, slammed it back down, and said "NOT THE CHIPS."

21. He thought it was funny.

22. My hubby looked like he wanted to either laugh or have the floor swallow him whole.

23. *sigh*

24. But he knows he gets me unfiltered and often unintentionally inappropriate.

25. And he goes out with me anyway, so really, it's half his fault.

26. =D

27. I will end this post by telling you that Harper pulled stuff from my blog to put together my bio. (Shockingly enough they left out any reference to were-llamas and unintentional injuries) It's a nice, brief bio, and the second I showed our group of friends my ARC, they began mocking my hubby over it.

28. Why?

29. Because it says I live in Nashville with my amazing husband ... etc.

30. So, naturally, every guy in the room had to go up to my hubby, slap him on the back, and say "Oh, Clint. You're just so amazing."

31. I'm going to leave it.

32. Half because he really is amazing.

33. Half because I enjoy watching him squirm.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Who's Responsible?

Two nights ago, I saw the following picture on Pinterest.  (Link to original pic and comment trail here.)

It took maybe 2.5 nanoseconds for anger to kick in. Because honestly? This is a dangerous, dangerous statement. It's a slap in the face to both men and women. I figured others would immediately see that, but the comment trail proved otherwise. Not only was this posted by a woman, but other women commented their approval. (And thousands of people repinned this.) In the comments, sprinkled in among outrage and disagreement, were statements defining what it means to be a lady (dressing up to go grocery shopping, smiling when you feel like crying, deceiving your husband into thinking he has the power ... all of those were mentioned).

And it occurred to me that the underlying assumptions in this statement are still firmly rooted in our culture, and are therefore being passed down to the next generation. So, I want to take a stand. Explain why the statement above is a dangerous lie and why I feel so strongly about it. If the discussion I opened on Twitter about this issue is any indication, there are many who have feelings about this, one way or the other. You are welcome to share your opinions in the comment trail. I welcome a respectful discussion.

Here's what is wrong with that statement:

1. Assumption #1: Men are sheep with a surplus of moral bankruptcy who cannot figure out how to behave unless a girl shows them the way.

This is a lie. Men and women alike are perfectly equipped to understand the difference between right and wrong. And they are able to choose their actions for themselves. There are men who choose to be jerks. Men who choose to be honorable. The key word is choice. A man of integrity treats others with respect, regardless of that person's appearance, economic status, behavior, culture, or beliefs. An honorable man does not allow his behavior to be dictated by the behavior of another. There are many, many men who daily live honorable lives. The men who choose not to live honorably do so for reasons far more complex than the fact that the woman they are treating like a piece of crap isn't wearing a dress to the grocery store. And a man who chooses to behave dishonourably is not going to suddenly "feel challenged" to change his ways simply because a woman is willing to "act like a lady."

2. Assumption #2: There is one perfect ideal that all women must strive to fulfill.

What's your definition of a lady? Maybe it's the same as mine. Maybe it isn't. If you look at the comment trail under the original post, you see that definitions swung wildly from "putting one's best foot forward every day" to "dressing up when you leave the house." Which is right? And what does it mean, specifically, to put one's best foot forward every day? Or, for that matter, what items of clothing are specifically required to count as being "dressed up" when one leaves the house?

Do you see the problem here? With no specific definition for "lady," we slide deeper and deeper into the dangerous "well, she deserved it" territory. And we remove all responsibility for a man's actions from his shoulders and shove it at the woman instead.

3. Assumption #3: The woman is responsible for the man's actions.

This is the most dangerous underlying assumption in the quote. If a woman must be willing to change herself in order to challenge a man to step up to the plate and start behaving like a gentleman, then the reverse is also true: when he fails to behave like a gentleman, it's because she hasn't sufficiently altered her own behavior.

It becomes her fault.

Several commenters couldn't seem to see past the "dress up and more men would step up to open a door for you" mentality to the real sickness that lies inside of this assumption. When men don't behave like gentlemen, they do a lot more than fail to open a door for a girl. They beat her with their fists. They tear her down with their words. They rape her.

According to this way of thinking, those actions are the woman's fault. Before you leap forward and say I'm taking this too far, that people don't actually mean that, allow me to open your eyes. I'm a rape survivor (my story). And I then went on to date an abusive boy who hit me and regularly tore my self-esteem to shreds with his words. Guess what both abusers had in common? They both blamed me for their actions.

But it doesn't stop there. Throughout the years, I've encountered people who after hearing my story say things like "But what were you wearing?" or "Well, you must have done something to set him off."

Why are they saying things like this? Because deep down they believe that if I'd acted more like a lady, the abusers in my life would've been challenged to behave like gentlemen.

And that is a dangerous, dangerous lie.

It's a LIE.

I want to be so very clear about that. Because some of you reading this post have a man in your life who tells you what he does to you is your fault. And he is lying. Some of you have abuse in your past and you can't look past the moment where you're sure if you'd just done THIS instead of THAT, the entire landscape of your life would have changed. And that is a lie, too. The question isn't "What could I have done to change the way this man hurt me?"

The question is "What kind of sick freak would hurt a woman in the first place?"

Listen to me. Please. Until we rid ourselves of the belief that a man is constantly controlled by his desires and his baser instincts and cannot be held responsible because a woman was "asking for it" or was "allowing it," we will continue to raise girls who don't realize they have the right to be respected. We will continue to have debates over whether a woman dressed up to go clubbing deserved to be raped. We will continue to question how a smart girl could be telling the truth when she says she told her boyfriend no.

Here's the TRUTH: We are each of us fully responsible for our own actions. Fully responsible. I am raising my boys to treat everyone with respect. I am raising my girl to do the same. And I am raising all of my children to understand that if someone hurts them or disrespects them, they should walk away because they deserve better. Not because they fit a certain image of lady or gentleman, but because every person has a right to be treated with dignity and honor.

It's hard to believe we still have debates about mutual respect and responsibility, but apparently we must. Because until asinine statements like the one above disappear from our culture, those of us who see the danger inherent in this line of thinking must step up and speak out.

Feel free to join the discussion in the comments.

One last note: If you (man or woman) are in a situation where someone is hurting you--emotionally or physically--or someone in your past has hurt you, there's help and hope available. Here's a place to get started: RAINN

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Author Mad Libs: Gina Damico

Today's final Author Mad Libs Hat Trick Day guest is Gina Damico, author of the upcoming (and fabulous!) CROAK. The book will be in a bookstore near you on March 20, 2012. I sent Gina a parts of speech list. She sent back words. This is the result.

Fed up with her wild _tugboat_, sixteen-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate _Sir Puffington Huffington_to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few _laser guns_ of dirty _velociraptor_ work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true _Q-tip_ is much dirtier than _humping_ manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the _flugelhorn_ business.

She quickly assimilates into the _engorged_ world of Croak, a town _exploded_ by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the _trombone_. But Lex can’t stop her desire for _a two toed sloth_—or is it vengeance?—whenever she encounters a murder _trombone_, craving to stop the attackers before they can _snorkel_ again. Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her _Macarena_ skills?

About the Author:
Gina Damico grew up in Syracuse, New York. She received a degree in _candyland_ and _spaceships_ from Boston College, where she was active with the Committee for Creative _Monkey Butlers_, the country’s only _squirrely_ murder mystery improv comedy troupe. She has since worked as a tour guide, _ninja_, theater house manager, _awesomesauce_ artist, and movie extra. Croak is her first _black hole_. She lives outside of Boston with her husband, two _underpants_, and a closet full of black hoodies.
Thank you, Gina, for playing along! I personally can't wait to get my hands on CROAK next Tuesday! If you missed the other two posts in today's Author Mad Libs Hat Trick, they are here and here. To learn more about Gina, visit her site. To buy CROAK, head to Indie Bound, Books a Million, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.

Author Mad Libs: James Mihaley

The second author in our Author Mad Libs Hat Trick Day is James Mihaley, author of the book YOU CAN'T HAVE MY PLANET: BUT TAKE MY BROTHER, PLEASE. Feel like reading a fun adventure? This book hits the shelves April 10, 2012. I sent James a parts of speech list. He sent back words. This is the result.

Thirteen-year-old Giles is the last _wombat_ anyone would expect to save the planet. He's not as _cartoony_ as his little sister, and not as brainy as his goody-goody older _yogi_. But when Giles witnesses an alien _whoopy cushion_ showing Earth to possible new tenants, he knows he'd better _empurple_ something. With the help of an alien "attorney" and the _tawniest_ scientist in middle-grade fiction, Giles just might save _pygmies_ from eviction from Earth. Let's hope so. The alternatives are...not so _peppy_.

About the Author:
James Mihaley has milked _tusks_. He drove 1,000 miles in one day for a _spectral_concert. Once, he almost got eaten by _manure_. He lives in L.A., where he avoids the _leeks_ and _quibbles_ the pigeons. This is his first _curmudgeon_.

I can't wait to get this book for my boys! Thank you, James, for playing along. To learn more about James, visit his site. To purchase his book, head to Indie Bound, Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

If you missed our first Author Mad Libs of the day, here's the link. And don't forget to come back at 3 p.m. when our final Mad Libs madness posts!

Author Mad Libs: Elisa Ludwig

Today is Author Mad Libs Hat Trick Day! Check back throughout the day for two other featured Mad Libs authors. Our first guest is Elisa Ludwig, author of the much anticipated PRETTY CROOKED. This modern day Robin Hood story hit the shelves this week, and I can't wait to pick it up. I sent Elisa a parts of speech list. She sent back words. This is the result.

Willa's secret plan seems all too _rabid_.

Take from the rich _piccolos_ at valley prep and give to the _spiffy_ ones.

Yet Willa's turn as Robin Hood at her _clammy_ high school is anything but. _Crystallizing_ her "friends"—known to everyone as the Glitterati—without them suspecting a _girdle_ is far from easy. Learning how to break into lockers and _zephyrs_ is as hard as she'd thought it would be. Delivering _auspicious_ packages to the scholarship girls, who are bullied just for being _torpid_, is more fun than she'd expected.

The _rutabaga_ Willa didn't expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, VP's most notorious ace-degenerate. His mere existence is _cumbersome_ Willa from what matters most to her—evening the _splendiferous_ playing field between the haves and have-nots. There's no time for _tangoing_, especially with conceited trust-funders like Aidan. But when the cops start _navelgazing_ the string of thefts at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek _a phlebotomist_, could Aidan wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?

Elisa Ludwig's Pretty Crooked is the first _Zamboni_ in an adventurous teen caper series filled with mystery, _rigmarole_, and heart.

I'm so intrigued by this book! Thank you, Elisa, for being a good sport. :) To learn more about Elisa, visit her site. To purchase your own copy of PRETTY CROOKED, head to Indie Bound, Books a Million, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Interview With Rachel Hawkins

Today, I'm thrilled to welcome back my talented and hilarious friend Rachel Hawkins, author of the best-selling HEX HALL series. Yesterday, the final book in the trilogy came out, and I freely admit I can't wait to find out if Sophie ends up with Archer or with Cal. Um ... and also, yanno, if she saves the world and stuff. But MOSTLY to see if she ends up with Archer or Cal. =D  Here's a peek at SPELL BOUND:

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Rachel agreed to return to the blog (see her earlier interviews here and here) as long as she had the honor of taking on our newest interviewer: Giselle the Pink Sock Monkey. Let's meet today's guests.

Giselle, the French pink sock monkey

Rachel Hawkins

Of course we also have the beautiful cupcake my hubby made in honor of SPELL BOUND. This time, Rachel requested a cupcake to represent Ireland, which is a significant setting in the book. (Does she end up with ARCHER or CAL in IRELAND???) Ahem. Where was I? Oh, yes! The cupcake. My hubby wishes to thank Rachel for not requesting the southern gothicness of her first cupcake which, while stunning, took him far longer than this one. Without further ado, I give you the Irish cupcake and Rachel vs. Giselle.

Irish cupcake

1. I believe a girl should be able to describe herself in a single word. Naturally, the word I’d use for myself is “perfect.” What word best describes you?

Shenanigans. I realize this is not an adjective, but I believe it’s the word most people would agree comes to mind the fastest when one thinks of me.

2. I am unfamiliar with this word. *looks it up* Mischief and prankishness? *sniffs* I would never stoop so low. What's that? Someone messed with your TiVo and recorded Swamp Loggers over all your episodes of Dr. Who? *bats eyes* I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.

A common misconception about sock monkeys is that we adore socks. This is foolishness. Speaking only for myself, I adore Jimmy Choos and diamonds from Tiffany’s. What are a few of your favorite things?

I have SO many favorite things! I’m very attached to Ink Joy pens, Earl Grey tea, Game of Thrones (both the show AND the books), Doctor Who, and my iPhone. YAY MATERIALISM!

3. Game of Thrones? Spoiler Alert: I win. What? Not that kind of game? That hardly matters. I win anyway. Many crave my approval, but few are clever enough to win it. What are you willing to do to win my favor?

I am a terrible knitter, so I could knit you a truly heinous Sock Monkey Sibling who would always make your gorgeousness THAT MUCH MORE EVIDENT in comparison.

4. I am oddly pleased by this idea. Be sure to use gray yarn. That way we can call her Ellie. Short for Elephant Trunk. If I was a dessert, I’d be a French macaron. Strawberry, of course. Why? Because I am French and pink and altogether lovely. What kind of dessert best describes you and why?

My mom AKA The Mama makes this amazing four layer chocolate pie, so I’m going to go with that. I TOO have many layers and, like The Mama’s pie, one is entirely made of Cool Whip.

5. *pats lips daintily* You mean you had a layer made entirely of Cool Whip. I understand you write stories. Please tell me why the hero of your book would be my perfect boy toy for a day.

I actually have TWO boys. Archer would be a nice fit for you as he is suave, handsome, and could fend off your many admirers with his sword. Cal is ALSO handsome, but a good deal quieter and more stoic. However, he can heal anything, so you’d never have to worry about snagging your yarn on diamonds EVER AGAIN!

6. Lovely. I'll take them both. You Americans love your movies. One day, when Hollywood tells the story of my life, it will be called Gone With The Perfect Pink Monkey. If your life was a movie, what would be the title?

Stealing on of my favorite internet memes, “Oh God, WTF? (And Other Amazing Tales.)”

7. I've had similar thoughts when perusing American reality television. Especially the one located in New Jersey. Pink? Or some lesser, inferior color?

Piiiiiiiiink! And I’m not just saying that to suck up. My entire BEDROOM is pink right now, which was a very valuable lesson for my husband in why one should never say, “I don’t care, do what you want” to me.

8. Darling, your first lesson is to never bother asking for an opinion in the first place. I love fairy tales. If I was a fairy tale character, I’d be Snow White. The fairest in all the land. Which fairy tale character would you be and why?

I’d be one of the 12 dancing princesses. Going out to a magical fairy land every night, dancing so much you wear holes in your shoes? YES PLEASE. (Although I would NOT be the one who marries that Tattling Dude, thus putting an end to all Fun Dancey Dancey Times. I’d punch him in the junk. )

9. Preach. I am, of course, a fashion trend setter. (Glitter eye shadow? Six inch heels? Retro gowns making a comeback? Yes. You may thank me with your undying adulation.) If you were to start a trend, what would it be?

I would really like to make wearing pajamas all the time an acceptable thing. I mean, I own more jammies than clothes, and some of them are VERY NICE and would be TOTALLY FINE to wear outside.


10. *imagines leaving the house in pajamas* Words fail me. I am addicted to all things French—baguettes, macarons, Chateau Lafite, moi … the list goes on and on. What is your favorite thing from France?

Oooh, I love so many French things! Croissants are really high up there, especially that kind with the little sliver of dark chocolate in the bottom, and… excuse me, I need to go wipe my drool now.

11. Understandable. The French are experts in creating things that cause others to lose control of their salivary glands. *looks in the mirror* Yes. Experts. A smart woman always maintains an air of mystery. Often the art of being mysterious involves doing the unexpected. What is the most unusual thing you’ve ever done?

I DID get stabbed in the head with an arrow once. Seriously. That happened. I had to go to the hospital and everything. I was five at the time, and had been Playing Inappropriately with one of my friends and her dad’s hunting gear (see above, RE: shenanigans). But that was an unusual thing done TO me. AND DON’T THINK I’VE FORGOTTEN IT, GREER CRAWLEY.

12. The level of Inappropriate to which your play must have sunk to involve arrows to the head boggles the mind. I also believe a smart woman always gets the last word. Any last word you’d like to leave with my readers?

BADOW. I believe in always leaving people with FLAIR. And also onomatopoeia.

Thank you, Rachel, for the entertaining interview! (And for letting Sophie end up with Cal. Archer. CAL! ARCHER! *dies*) To learn more about Rachel, visit her site (where you can enter a super cool contest to redesign the cover of SPELL BOUND!). To purchase SPELL BOUND, head to Indie Bound, Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

The fun isn't over yet! Rachel is giving away a signed copy of SPELL BOUND to one lucky commenter. The giveaway is open internationally, and you have until 8 p.m. central time Monday, March 19th. To enter, fill out the form below. Good luck and happy reading!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

That's Right, I said YO MOMMA

1. I laughed so hard when I saw this pic, I nearly injured myself.

2. If you know me at all, you realize I've injured myself on far less.

3. It's sort of a talent of mine.

4. Princess J's birthday was Sunday. She turned two!

5. Her new favorite words are "zombies" and "darn it." Yesterday, she wandered around the house saying "Zombies?? Oh no! Darn it!"

6. In case of a Zombie Apocalypse, I have a built in early warning system.

7. You wish you were as prepared as me.

8. The writing of DEFIANCE's sequel has been both a difficult and rewarding experience. I'm happy with the draft (finally) and the scenes are flowing faster for me now.

9. But writing stories with the level of emotional authenticity I want to bring to the table takes a lot out of me sometimes. Maybe I'll blog about that process one day...

10. Today is release day for book 3 in two of my favorite series! Tomorrow, I'll be interviewing Rachel Hawkins in honor of the release of SPELL BOUND, so today I wanted to share Bree Despain's THE SAVAGE GRACE with you:

Here's a peek at the plot:

Grace's life is a mess. Daniel is still a werewolf, Talbot can't be trusted, and Caleb is still out there. With Sirhan's impending death, war seems imminent. Will Grace give in to the wolf to save her family? What will happen to Daniel . . . and can their love survive one last test?

Book one in this series (THE DARK DIVINE) remains one of my all time favorite YA books. I loved the characters, the world building, the tension, the characters, the stakes, the complexity, the characters, and the characters. =D

Book two (THE LOST SAINT) literally made me yell unkind things about Bree (and maybe her mama) and throw the book across the room when I read the last chapter. She broke my characters and LEFT THEM BROKEN. Which left me kind of broken, too.

So now, finally!, book three is here, and I can't wait to curl up with my characters and see them fight hard to get their happily ever after.

Side note: If they DON'T get a happily ever after, I know where Bree lives, and I have the Spork of Doom at my disposal.

If you haven't snatched up this series yet, do! It's not your usual werewolf fare. It's Hounds of Heaven, a broken family that still clings to each other and to their faith, and characters that deserve redemption as much as they deserve to be punished. It's honest, and complex, and full of little moments of tenderness that make you ache for more.

Okay, I'm off to organize a veritable feast of blog posts. Rachel Hawkins is interviewed tomorrow, Thursday is Mad Libs Hat Trick Day with three amazing YA authors participating, and it's possible the Were-llama will return from terrorizing the southern hemisphere and give us his opinion on something this Friday.

Meanwhile, I'll be in my bat cave writing a sequel.


This book came out in 2010, but finding this book trailer was my first introduction to it. I'm interested by the premise! What do you think?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pants, Voices, & Ron Burgundy!

Not that wearing pants helps me any. Just last week, I ran several errands, talked to any number of people in the course of those errands, and then returned home to discover I'd neglected to zip up my jeans. I'm just going to start color-coordinating my undies with my outfit so that when this kind of stuff happens (And let's face it ... this wasn't the first, and it won't be the last.), I can just call it accessorizing and move on with my day.

Considering my track record, there's a 2 in 10 chance you'll see more than you bargained for if you come to a book signing of mine.

*remembers the time she flashed her orange bra at her photographer*

Um ... better make that a 3 in 10 chance.

Who needs swag when you can just roll film and get a viral video out of it, amiright?

The problem with writing this post is that a) I've forgotten to number my thoughts and so now you all are expecting a coherent post instead of a collection of random, disjointed thoughts, b) I'm too brain dead at the moment to go back NOW and number things, and c) I had no idea what I was going to say until I put that pic up and got inspired.

But the pants inspiration has left me.

It's over.


So, I guess I should probably choose another visual.

Actually, I'm not 100% convinced the voices aren't real ...

But! Speaking of voices, I went to see John Carter (a sneak peek) last week. I'm not going to give my opinion on the movie because the Were-llama is DESPERATE to give his (tune in Friday), but I will give you a veritable earful (eyeful ... whatever) on something else.

Theater Etiquette.


Guess what is a nice, polite, proof that you were not raised by a pack of mentally deranged weasels way to behave while in a public theater surrounded by other people who (shockingly enough) wish to actually pay attention to the movie?

Silence. Laughter at the funny bits. And then more silence.

If you really want to be polite and non-mentally-deranged-weasel-ish, you even hold back on scrounging around in the bottom of your obscenely loud cellophane candy bag for the last Skittle during crucial moments of quiet conversation on screen.

But if you want to be the OPPOSITE of nice, polite, and non-mentally-deranged-weasel-ish, then you behave like the man who sat behind me during the sneak peek of John Carter.

First, allow me to tell you this man proved himself to be perfectly capable of holding a rational, intelligent discourse before the film. I was sitting directly in front of him listening as he and his friend discussed books. He showed no signs of rudeness, verbal tics, or an inability to comprehend the wrath of those sitting around him.

But from the very first second of the film, he became Movie Moron: able to enrage others, ruin films, and sound like an idiot without once breaking a sweat!

You want proof? Here it is. Every ten to fifteen seconds, he made a ridiculously loud "Huh, HUH, huh!" sound. For reference, as an expressive sound it registered somewhere between having an epiphany and having a bowel movement. And he used it for EVERY. SINGLE. THING. The character learns something new? Huh HUH huh. The character stares pensively into the distance? Huh HUH huh. The camera pans over a body of water? Huh HUH huh.

I kid you not.

AND he complemented that behavior by answering questions asked of the characters before they could open their mouths and speak for themselves.

You have no idea how much I longed to turn around and say "It's water. Not an epiphany! Water. And fyi, all questions asked on film are considered rhetorical for us. ALSO, FYI, YOU SHOULD SHUT YOUR MOUTH BEFORE I COME OVER THIS SEAT AND DO IT FOR YOU."

But I couldn't. Because we were in special media seats due to my hubby's job. And we'd checked in by name. I was the only girl in the entire media row. If I started something (and by golly FINISHED it), it wouldn't have been hard to pinpoint the source of the conflict. So, for the sake of not embarrassing my hubby and ruining his relationship with the Disney rep, I did not say what needed to be said.


Now, I should probably end this strange pants meets deranged weasel-ish post with another visual, don't you think? Here you go! Happy Wednesday. :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Winner of the DEFIANCE ARC!

Thank you to all who entered to win the first ARC of DEFIANCE! As always, I used to help me generate the winning entry. And the winner is


Congratulations, Valia! You will receive a confirmation email from me shortly. Your ARC will ship out to you as soon as Kristin has permission to send my book out into the wild. :) Thanks for entering and happy reading!


I admit, when I heard there was going to be a new Spiderman franchise, I rolled my eyes. After that disastrous emo-Spidey film foisted upon us by Sam Raimi, I was ready to say adios to Spiderman. Seeing this trailer changed my mind. It feels gritty and full of unexpected depths. I got a similar feeling from Christopher Nolan's Batman reboot, and I'm a huge fan of that series. I'll definitely be in the theaters checking this one out. What do you think?

A Bad Culinary Decision

A few days ago, on a whim, I bought a bag of Lay's Potato Chips in their new Chicken and Waffles flavor. I figured my kids (who love bot...