Monday, June 12, 2017

ODD & TRUE Pre-order Giveaway

We're now only three months away from the publication of Odd & True! For a limited time, I'm offering a special, "while-supplies-last" Odd & True pre-order giveaway, open to U.S. addresses only.

The first THIRTY people to enter the giveaway will receive.

Two signed Odd & True bookmarks
An exclusive bag of Odd & True Tea

About the tea:

Tea leaf readings play a key role in Odd & True. Inspired by tea that author Megan Shepherd designed for her novels The Madman's Daughter and Her Dark Curiosity, I reached out to the company Design A Tea to create a custom blend for Odd & True.

Each tea bag contains a blend of black teas flavored with oranges, cranberries, and raspberry leaves to represent the novel's various settings. The oranges are a nod to sunny Southern California, the raspberry leaves are a tribute to Oregon, and the cranberries signify the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.

How to enter the giveaway:

1. You must have a U.S. address and be 18 years or older (or have the permission of a parent or guardian).

2. Pre-order a hardcover or ebook copy of Odd & True from any store. Pre-orders made before the giveaway's start date count as long as you still have the receipt.

3. Send your address and a screenshot or photo of your receipt to catwintersbooks AT by 11:59 pm on September 11, 2017. If thirty people enter the giveaway before this date, the giveaway will close, and this post will come down.

4. Please write "Odd & True Preorder Entry" in the subject line.

Thank you so much for your interest in my newest release!

Odd & True is coming 
Sept. 12, 2017, from Abrams.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Spring Updates

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm hard at work on a new young adult novel right now, plus I'm getting ready for my whole family to arrive from out of state to celebrate my daughter's high school graduation next week. If you don't see me on social media much over the next month or two, it's because I'm either hurrying to meet my latest deadline or busy with loved ones. I'll also start traveling for appearances again in late June.

Before I duck away too much, I'll leave you with a few updates about my novels and upcoming events.

First of all, I'm excited to announce that The Steep and Thorny Way was selected for the 2017-18 Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB). If you're an Oregon student in grades 9-12 in a school that participates in OBOB, you'll get to read not only my book, but eleven other titles, including novels by Stacey Lee, Jason Reynolds, and Renée Ahdieh. I'm extremely honored that Steep will be part of this incredible program.

I also learned that The Steep and Thorny Way is the 2017 Jefferson Cup Award winner for Young Adult Readers. I'll be traveling to the Virginia Library Association's annual conference in October to accept the award and discuss the novel.

In Odd & True news, I now have a date and location for the launch party:

Thurs., September 14, 2017
7:00 pm
Powell's Books 
at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. 
Beaverton, OR

I'll also be promoting Odd & True at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago on Sunday, June 25. If you're a librarian who's planning to attend the conference, you'll be able to see me at the YALSA Coffee Klatch at 9:00 am. I'll post my signing schedule/ARC giveaway details as soon as I receive more info.

And if you're heading to BookCon in New York this weekend, you can grab an Odd & True ARC at Abrams Booth #2007. Follow @PiqueBeyond on Twitter for more details.

Check back here on June 12 for info about a special, limited-time Odd & True pre-order giveaway.

Odd & True is coming 
Sept. 12, 2017, from Abrams.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Let's talk for a moment about sequels

I'm in the middle of writing a new young adult novel that Amulet Books will release in Spring 2019. My editor and I have decided not to officially announce any details about the book until the publication of Odd & True in September, but I want to get something out of the way before that point:

The new novel is not a sequel to Odd & True. 

I know that the cover of Odd &True looks like it's the beginning of a series, and I know that people who read it might wonder if there will be either a sequel or a prequel (more on that topic in a sec). And I also know that the title of the 2019 Secret Project might even have people questioning if it's a sequel to In the Shadow of Blackbirds (another bird is involved in the name). But, no, like all my other books, Secret Project is a standalone, and I'm extremely excited about it.

So, why don't I ever write sequels? 

There are two main reasons.

1. I really like standalone novels. As a reader, I prefer them.

2. My books aren't quite successful enough to merit sequels. They haven't yet made it onto a bestseller list. Moreover, I write historical fiction, which isn't necessarily associated with series in the world of YA publishing (unless you're a bestseller). To be able to convince a publisher to buy my historical series, even one that involves monsters or ghosts, my books would need a stellar debut.

My novels have sold well, largely because of library sales, awards, and word of mouth (thank you readers, award committees, and librarians!), but those types of sales, while wonderful, are more gradual, less flashy. The chances of my books "breaking out" and achieving bestseller status are much slimmer than the odds for novels with major publicity budgets supporting them.

I do often consider writing sequels. In fact, I've written the first chapter of a sequel for In the Shadow of Blackbirds, but I quickly tucked it away, realizing I'd put my protagonist through enough in the first book. I preferred to leave her story on a note of hope.

I've thought about writing a sequel to The Cure for Dreaming set ten years after that novel ends, but that particular book, despite gathering a strong feminist following, has been my least successful one financially. It would be a struggle to convince anyone to publish a second book.

I have proposed the idea of an Odd & True sequel to my agent, but again it all comes down to sales. I don't yet know how Odd & True will do. Right now it's safer for both me and my publisher if I write another standalone and put the idea of a sequel on the back burner.

I'm certainly not the only author in this situation. I've talked to novelists whose publishers originally asked for a three-book series, but sales for the first books were so low (there are many factors that contribute to both high and low book sales) that the series were cut after the first or second book, sometimes leaving readers with dangling cliffhangers.

Yes, self-publishing the second or third book is an option, but when writing is an author's full-time job that puts food on the table, taking a year off to write a book with no publisher backing it is equivalent to you working your job for free for a year, with the hope that someone might pay you eventually.

What can you as a reader do to help your favorite authors release their series? For starters, buy the authors' books. Pre-order sales are crucial to a book's success; they count for bestseller lists. If you can't afford to pre-order, then request the books from your local library.  Library orders do help immensely. And leave reviews for books on online ordering sites like Amazon.

Don't stock up on free ARCs (advance reading copies) if you don't have the means to promote your reviews to a wide audience (see this Twitter thread from bookseller Nicole Brinkley and this thread from Justina Ireland for more info on this subject). Most importantly, don't download free books from sites offering illegal copies. Every time you do so, you're decreasing your favorite authors' chances of being able to continue writing more books.

Publishers look carefully at sales, and if an author's books aren't selling well enough, even though the books are popular in the online community, the publisher may stop buying the author's books or at the very least lower their advances.

The bottom line: publishing is a challenging business, and competition is fierce. Becoming a published author does not guarantee that every book an author wants to write will get published.

If I do decide to create more Odd & True books, and if the first novel does find success, I will certainly share that news as soon as I can. Until then, rest assured Odd & True can stand on its own.

More info on that 2019 Secret Project to follow this fall. I think fans of dark literature will be excited about the subject matter . . .

Odd & True is coming 
Sept. 12, 2017, from Abrams.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Monster Sightings That Inspired ODD & TRUE

Evening Star (Washington, DC), January 24, 1909 (Library of Congress)

A real-life monster hunt in early-1900s New Jersey inspired the creation of my newest novel, Odd & True.

During one bizarre week in January 1909, terrified witnesses throughout the Delaware Valley claimed to have seen a creature rumored to have haunted the Pine Barrens of New Jersey since the 1700s. They called this strange beast the "Leeds Devil," or the "Jersey Devil," and the newspapers from the era referred to the thing as the "Flying Hoof," the "Flying Death," the "New Jersey What-Is-It," and a "monstrosity."

The Sun (New York), January 21, 1909 (Library of Congress)

A museum owner in Philadelphia offered a $500 award for the Devil's capture. Huntsmen in New Jersey formed posses to conquer the creature.

And then, as quickly as the Leeds Devil had arrived, he disappeared.

Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 1909
What happened to the monster? What was it that the residents of New Jersey and Philadelphia actually saw? Were the January 1909 Devil sightings a case of mass hysteria? Or did something sinister genuinely run loose across the Delaware Valley that cold and snowy winter?

My imagination craved answers.

In September 2014, I visited my sister down in San Diego to celebrate her birthday. I told her some of my newest book ideas, and I mentioned the Leeds Devil as a possible topic for a novel.

Me and my sister, Old Town San Diego, 2014.
Oddly enough, my sister said that she happened to have a friend who was descended from the Leeds family that had inspired the centuries-old legend of the Jersey Devil! She promised to one day introduce me to her.

That conversation, as well as the rest of my time spent with my sister in Old Town San Diego—during which we searched for spirits on a ghost tour, drank tea in a haunted Victorian house, and chatted about other intriguing tales from history—led to my sitting down on my couch in November 2014 and suddenly knowing how to write my Leeds Devil novel . . . which is how Odd & True came to be.

Manchester Township, NJ
Another peculiar twist in this story-behind-the-story: 

One year after my visit with my sister, a high school English teacher from none other than the Pine Barrens of New Jersey invited me to come speak at her school. Eager to travel to Leeds Devil territory, I accepted, and while there, I learned from the students just how much the legend of the Devil is alive and well to this day. Perhaps the Leeds Devil himself played a role in bringing me to his home. đŸ˜²

In future posts, I'll discuss other legends, historical sites, and personal experiences that inspired the creation of Odd & True. 

Odd & True is coming 
Sept. 12, 2017, from Abrams.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ODD & TRUE Countdown-to-September Giveaways

Odd & True hits shelves September 12, 2017, which means we're less than five months away from publication! To celebrate the countdown to the release date, I'm running three special giveaways from now through September 11. Here are the details . . .

APRIL 2017

I'm currently running an international Twitter giveaway for an advance reading copy (ARC) of Odd & True. To enter, follow me on Twitter (@catwinters) and retweet this tweet about the giveaway. Ends midnight of April 30, 2017.

MAY 2017

As soon as I receive my beautiful Odd & True bookmarks (which are currently in the works at the printer), I'll launch an Instagram giveaway for an ARC and bookmarks. I'm not sure which day in May this giveaway will start. Make sure you're already following me on Instagram so you don't miss out (@catwintersbooks).

JUNE 12 to SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

I'm working on the details for a pre-order giveaway for Odd & True prize packages that will start in June and end the day before the release date. To enter this one, you'll need to pre-order Odd & True from your favorite online bookstore and provide a screenshot or a scan of your receipt. Entries won't be accepted until after I post the details on June 12, but if you've already pre-ordered the book or plan to in the near future, please keep the receipt. Pre-orders made at any time will count.

My publisher, Abrams, also tends to run giveaways for advance copies of books on Goodreads. Be sure to add Odd & True to your Goodreads shelf so you can receive a giveaway notification.

Odd & True is coming 
Sept. 12, 2017, from Abrams.


Monday, April 10, 2017

ODD & TRUE galleys

Advance reading copies (ARCs) of Odd & True have arrived! The finished version of the book will be a hardcover edition that I'm sure will be absolutely gorgeous, but the ARCs are also beautiful.

Here's a gallery of photos of my pretties:

If you're a reviewer, bookseller, librarian, etc., and you've received an ARC, please keep in mind that this is an uncorrected proof. Odd & True has already gone through two more stages of edits since the ARC was printed, and proofreaders are continuing to pore over the pages. The following are examples of items that have already been changed/corrected:

  • The Spanish word "vĂ¡monos" is misspelled in the ARC, but I've verified that it will be spelled correctly in the finished copy of the book. I deeply regret making a mistake in a language that's not my own and apologize for this error.
  • In the finished copy, I've gone into more detail about the mechanics of Tru's leg brace. In the ARC, I didn't show how her leg was able to bend in the brace, but that's since been fixed. I also altered scenes in which she was kneeling, knowing this would be difficult for her.
  • Typos, formatting errors, and overly repeated words are still getting fixed at this moment.

If you review and/or purchase books and would like to receive an advance copy of Odd & True, please contact the appropriate publicist listed on my Contact page (there's a U.S. publicist and an international publicist). The book will also be available from NetGalley this summer.

Odd & True is coming 
Sept. 12, 2017, from Abrams.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Little ODD & TRUE Teaser

I believe that a chapter excerpt from Odd & True will be appearing in the back of the upcoming paperback edition of The Steep and Thorny Way (Aug. 8), but I don't know if and when such an excerpt will be shared online. I'm also still waiting to hear when the advance reading copies of Odd & True will be available for bloggers and other reviewers.

While I'm waiting, and to celebrate the six month countdown to the publication of Odd & True, I'm sprinkling a few short teasers from the book across the web this week. Here's today's little sneak peek, from Chapter One . . .

Odd & True is coming 
Sept. 12, 2017, from Abrams.


Friday, February 24, 2017

The ODD & TRUE Cover Reveal and Giveaway!!!

What do you get when you take a book that could be described as Big Fish meets Supernatural, with two Edwardian sisters at the center, and pair it with a highly talented cover designer and an artist known for her beautifully haunting and fantastical images?

You end up with the breathtaking, spellbinding Odd & True cover  . . .

Coming September 12, 2017 from Amulet Books/ABRAMS
Hardcover, ISBN 9781419723100 • Ebook, ISBN 9781683351443

About the Novel:

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

About the Cover:

This absolutely stunning design was created by an entire team of amazing talents, including Alyssa Nassner, the cover designer, and Brazilian artist Nathalia Suellen, who's known for such mystical covers as those of A.G. Howard's Splintered series. I adore the Tim Burtonesque vibe, and those girls representing Trudchen and Odette are so badass. I love it!

Carrie and Cat.
Odd & True is my love letter to the magic of storytelling, and, more importantly, my love letter to the childhood I shared with my younger sister, Carrie. So far, all of my YA novels have featured protagonists who grew up as only children, even though my relationship with my sister has always been a close and special one. Carrie and I share a love of ghost stories, myths, family legends, and elegant tea rooms (tea leaf reading plays an integral role in Odd & True). After spending a weekend down in Southern California with Carrie for her birthday in 2014, I realized it was finally time to pay tribute to the bond of sisterhood.

Preordering Options:

I'll list the preordering and Goodreads links before the giveaway, because preorders are extremely important for a book's success. The giveaway will follow.

The Giveaway!:

Abrams has kindly agreed to give away one advance reading copy of Odd & True, which will ship out as soon as advance copies are available in the coming month. The giveaway is U.S. only. My apologies to my international readers, but I do plan to host some international swag giveaways in the future. You must be 13 years or older to enter.

What do you think of the cover? I'd love to hear your opinion.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Official ODD & TRUE Synopsis

We now have an official catalog synopsis for my upcoming young adult novel, Odd & True! I've also seen the cover-in-progress, which is absolutely stunning and reminds me of a movie poster for a Tim Burton film or the Showtime series Penny Dreadful. Look for the cover reveal in the coming weeks.

And now, without further ado, the synopsis . . .

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

My publisher, Abrams, is also listing a revised publication date for the book: September 12, 2017.

Keep an eye on this website and my social media posts for more Odd & True announcements, as well as giveaways.



(More preordering options to follow.)

Friday, February 10, 2017

ODD & TRUE is Now Available to Preorder! And It Has a Release Date!

I now have an official release date for my next young adult novel, Odd & True: September 5, 2017. The cover is currently undergoing some major changes, so it will probably still be a little while before I'm able to share anything, but I know the design will be stunning.

Even without the cover, the novel is starting to show up on sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble for preordering. On the book's page at Abrams, you'll find links to the major online stores that will be carrying it.

Proofreading the typeset pages of Odd & True.
The official synopsis has yet to be revealed, but I will say that it's the story of two Edwardian sisters, Odette and Trudchen Grey, known as Od and Tru. Older sister Od has always told Tru elaborate stories about their past and insists that they're descended from monster hunters. Now that Tru is older, she realizes that her sister has been using these tales to protect her from their family's painful secrets. Tru will now do whatever it takes to learn the truth about who they really are, even if it means she must join her sister on a quest to slay a mythical beast.

I also recently learned that the paperback edition of the The Steep and Thorny Way will be published August 8, 2017.

Much more info coming soon!  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Coming September 2017 . . .

A bit of news about my upcoming young adult novel, Odd & True: the novel is currently scheduled to release in September of this year! I don't have the exact date, and preorder options aren't yet available, but I've taken a peek at the upcoming catalog pages for the book—and I've seen the delicious cover. 

Expect to find a cover unlike that of any of my other novels, but this particular book is a bit different than the rest. It's told from two alternating viewpoints, spans fifteen years of time, and takes place in six different states in the U.S. You'll also find more of a fantasy feel to the story, as well as a journey, a mysterious backstory, monsters, secrets, and a book-within-a-book. Rest assured, I've kept my signature style of blending history with the supernatural, and, as always, my YA tale is told by a strong female protagonist (two of them, actually).

I just handed in the Odd & True copyedits last Thursday, and the next stage will involve the book's interior design and typesetting. I haven't yet heard when I'll be able to reveal the cover or when advance reading copies will become available, but I'm sure that will all occur over the next few months. Keep an eye on my website and social media for updates.

Odd & True is my tale about sisters, and my own sister and I celebrate our birthdays in the book's release month of September. I plan to do some extra special celebrations because of this wonderful timing.

The paperback edition of The Steep and Thorny Way will also release in Fall 2017.

I'll report more info as soon as I can.

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