Thursday, November 16, 2017

Resources for Teen Writers

I'm speaking to several groups of teens this month, and part of my presentation includes discussing resources for young writers.

In order for these teens to easily find these resources, and as a guide for students unable to attend my talks, I'm providing links for these opportunities below. Please note that I'm not affiliated with any of these organizations aside from Willamette Writers.

Provides various awards to teen writers in grades 7 through 12, scholarships to graduating high school seniors, and financial aid to students wanting to attend summer creative camps.

An online magazine that publishes “Stories, Poems, and Art by Kids” up through age 13.

Free to students in grades 1 through 12. 

SCBWI Student Writer Scholarships
An opportunity for full-time university students in an English or creative writing program to attend a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference. (Does not include hotel or travel expenses.)

For the students at my Portland visits:

Writing opportunities for Oregon students in grades five through 10, including meetings and special online content. 

For the students at my St. Louis school visits:

Offers a creative-writing workshop every summer called “Teens Who Write” for students ages 11 to 18.

NOTE: No one should charge you money to publish your work unless they are clearly a self-publishing entity, such as Amazon's self-publishing services. If you are interested in publishing a novel through a traditional publisher, start by finding a reputable literary agent through a source such as the Association of Authors' Representatives. Literary agents should not charge you money to work with them, aside from the percentage of your earnings that they receive when they sell your work (the agent's commission). Please follow each agent's guideline for submission requirements. You will likely need to include a query letter with your submission.

If you would like to add another resource for teen writers in the comments section of this post, please do so, as long as it's a free contest for teens or a reputable organization or workshop.

If you are a teacher or librarian who would like to inquire about scheduling me for a visit, please see my Author Visits page for information about my presentations and fees. During this school year I'm offering a special program for schools reading The Steep and Thorny Way as part of the Oregon Battle of the Books.  

Monday, November 6, 2017

Deadlines, Fall Events, and Signed Copies of ODD & TRUE

Hello, dear readers! I'm spending the rest of the fall finishing the first draft of a new novel that I've been writing for the past year. I don't plan to be on social media much at all during this time, but I will be traveling to two events:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 3:00 pm
Cedar Mill Main Library
12505 NW Cornell Rd., Suite 13, Portland, OR
Author talk (free event)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 1:30 pm
ALAN Workshop
America's Center Convention Complex, St. Louis, MO
Panel: "The Family You Know and the Family You Don't," with Sayantani DasGupta, J.L. & M.A. Powers, and Cat Winters (registration required)

My stay in St. Louis will also include two middle school visits that are still in the works. If you're one of the students who attends those schools, I look forward to seeing you soon!

☙SIGNED COPIES!

If you're looking for a signed copy of my newest release, Odd & True, you can now order autographed editions from the following stores:

Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA
Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, Beaverton, OR (call to order a signed edition: 800-878-7323)
Barnes & Noble Tanasbourne, Beaverton, OR (call to order a signed edition: 503-645-3046)

Signed copies of several of my other books are also available at these stores. Please contact the stores directly to find out which of my signed editions they have in stock. If you're ordering online from Fountain Bookstore, look for the words "On Our Shelves Now" below the books' listings. If my novel is listed as sitting on their shelf, it's a copy I signed when I visited Richmond earlier this month.

(Psst, I traveled to Richmond to conduct research on the secret new novel I'm finishing.)

I'll try to post at least one more update before the end of 2017, but if I don't get a chance, thank you, readers, for another wonderful year!


☙ORDER ONLINE:❧

Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Powell's • IndieBound • Book Depository • Indigo •  BAM • Amazon UK 

Monday, October 23, 2017

ODD & TRUE Halloween Giveaway

* THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED. I'LL EMAIL THE THREE RANDOM WINNERS ON THURSDAY, NOV. 2, 2017. *

Halloween is my favorite season of the year, so it feels wrong not to do an October giveaway of some sort. So, without further ado, I present to you the Odd & True Halloween Giveaway!

THE PRIZE:

Three random winners will receive the following Odd & True swag pack:


The pack includes three Odd & True bookmarks, a signed bookplate, a bag of monstrously marvelous Odd & True tea, and a whimsical teaspoon (the design of the spoon may vary from the one shown in the photo).

THE RULES:

1. You must be 13 years or older or have the permission of a parent to enter. The giveaway is open internationally.

2. To enter, please do one of the following four options at any time from October 23 through November 1, 2017:

☙ Post a photo of yourself with a copy of Odd & True on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, or another social media site and tag it #OddAndTrue.

☙ Leave a review for Odd & True on a site where the book is sold (Amazon, BN.com, Powells.com, etc.). If you've already posted a review on one of these sites before Oct. 23, THANK YOU, but please post it at another online store during the giveaway dates in order to get counted. It does not need to be a glowing review.

☙ Post your original Odd & True fan art on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, or another social media site and tag it #OddAndTrue.

☙ Post a photo of you recreating the book's cover, alone or with a friend, on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, or another social media site and tag it #OddAndTrue.

3. Fill out the following form. If you post your photo/artwork/review on more than one site or choose to do more than one of the above options, you may fill out the form again, just please list a new URL each time you enter.

**** Form deleted. The giveaway is now closed. ****

THE DEADLINE:

In order for your entry/entries to be counted, you must submit the form by 11:59 pm Pacific Time on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. I will pick three (3) random winners on November 2 and contact them via email.

Good luck, and thank you for reading Odd & True!


☙ORDER ONLINE:❧

Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Powell's • IndieBound • Book Depository • Indigo •  BAM • Amazon UK 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Fall 2017 Events

I've been busily coordinating my fall appearances with my publicist and other individuals, and now I can finally reveal where I'll be heading in October and November of this year!

Saturday, October 7, 2017
OCTE Fall Conference
​Wilsonville High School, 6800 Wilsonville Road, Wilsonville, OR
Oregon Spirit Book Award presentation, lunchtime signing, and author panel (registration required)

Monday, October 9, 2017, 6:00 pm
Pacific Northwest Booksellers Tradeshow
Red Lion Hotel on the River, Portland, OR
Feast of Authors (ticketed event; industry professionals only)

Thursday, October 12, 2017, 12:30-1:15 pm
Virginia Library Association Annual Conference
Hilton Norfolk The Main, Norfolk, VA
Jefferson Cup Award Spotlight: Cat Winters (registration required) 

Thursday, October 12, 2017, 6:30 pm
Fountain Bookstore
1312 East Cary Street, Richmond, VA
Reading and signing (free event)

Sunday, October 15, 2017, 1:00 - 5:00 pm
Super Skyland Days: Monster Hunters
Skyland Ranch, 19750 CA-243, Idyllwild, CA
Skyland will become a place where literature and science and fantasy meet. We will spend the afternoon learning about cryptozoology, creating monster traps, building monsters, and hunting them. Cat Winters, the author of “Odd and True,” will talk to kids and adults about writing and cryptozoology (registration required).

Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 3:00 pm
Cedar Mill Main Library
12505 NW Cornell Rd., Suite 13, Portland, OR
Author talk (free event)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 1:30 pm
ALAN Workshop
America's Center Convention Complex, St. Louis, MO
Panel: "The Family You Know and the Family You Don't," with Sayantani DasGupta, J.L. & M.A. Powers, and Cat Winters (registration required)

Happy Fall, my favorite time of year!


☙ORDER ONLINE:❧

Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Powell's • IndieBound • Book Depository • Indigo •  BAM • Amazon UK 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

If You Participated in the Pre-order Campaign . . .

I've received a couple emails from readers who submitted their info for the Odd & True pre-order campaign (thank you for pre-ordering!). My publisher informed me that the prints are in the process of being made right now and will ship to readers shortly.

Thanks to everyone who's ordered or picked up a copy of Odd & True!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

ODD & TRUE Release Week Festivities and Photos

It's been a marvelous (and MarViLUs) week of celebrations for the publication of Odd & True! Here's a gallery of photos from the September 14 launch party at Powell's Books in Beaverton, Oregon, plus a pic from a special steampunk tea party.

Me, armed and ready to speak at Powell's.

Odd & True cupcakes!

The Odd & True discussion and reading.

Me (left) and my sister recreating the Odd & True cover.

Jenn Reese and Jennifer Wolfe.

A dedicated Powell's staff member who jumped in and took a cover photo.

Stephanie Feldstein and Laini Taylor.

Heidi Schulz and Lisa Schroeder.

Me and my sister, capping off publication week celebrations with a steampunk tea at Clockwork Rose Tea Emporium.


☙ORDER ONLINE:❧

Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Powell's • IndieBound • Book Depository • Indigo •  BAM • Amazon UK 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

ODD & TRUE Release Day!!!

IT'S HERE!!!!! Today is the official publication day of Odd & True, my brand-new tale of sisters, monsters, and the power of storytelling.

☙ORDER ONLINE:❧

AmazonBarnes & NoblePowell'sIndieBound Book DepositoryIndigo BAM Amazon UK 
 
I'm celebrating Odd & True's release at a launch party this Thursday, September 14, 7:00 pm, at Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton, Oregon. I'm bringing along bookmarks, cupcakes, Odd & True tea, and props for guests to use to recreate the book's cover.

I'm also celebrating the release of the book with the Odd & True Blog Tour, hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Head over to the main post, and you'll find links to reviews, guest posts, interviews, and a giveaway.


☙Praise for Odd & True

★ “Thought-provoking, atmospheric, and utterly bewitching.”
Booklist, starred review

“The story is adventurous and fast paced, and Winters' atmospheric writing and exploration of themes such as storytelling, family, disability, and trauma will entice many teens . . . An excellent purchase for creepy historical fiction shelves.”
School Library Journal, starred review

“[A] captivating, poignant tale of childhood magic and the bond between sisters.”
Publishers Weekly

“Storytelling and the blur between truth and fiction are at the heart of this metafictive narrative . . . Winters has woven an intricate and innovative pattern of structure, genre, and history that cannot fail to capture readers’ imaginations.”
Kirkus

“Winters is a master at weaving historical events into dramatic narratives touched by the supernatural . . . There are monsters here, paranormal and human, but they're no match for two girls skilled in wit and weaponry.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Cat Winters is a masterful storyteller . . . a dark historical fiction/fantasy novel that will keep readers up late in the night.”
ALAN Picks

AmazonBarnes & NoblePowell'sIndieBound Book DepositoryIndigo BAM Amazon UK

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Second Starred Review for ODD & TRUE!

Yesterday I shared the starred Booklist review, and today I'm ecstatic to announce that Odd & True received a second star, this time from School Library Journal!

 You can read the full review at SLJ.com. Thank you, School Library Journal!

We've had some other wonderful trade reviews come in during the past month, as well. Here's a full list of the additional advance praise we've received. I'm extremely grateful for all the kind words for this book.

★ “Thought-provoking, atmospheric, and utterly bewitching.”
Booklist, starred review

“[A] captivating, poignant tale of childhood magic and the bond between sisters.”
Publishers Weekly

“Storytelling and the blur between truth and fiction are at the heart of this metafictive narrative . . . Winters has woven an intricate and innovative pattern of structure, genre, and history that cannot fail to capture readers’ imaginations.”
Kirkus

“Winters is a master at weaving historical events into dramatic narratives touched by the supernatural . . . There are monsters here, paranormal and human, but they're no match for two girls skilled in wit and weaponry.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Cat Winters is a masterful storyteller . . . a dark historical fiction/fantasy novel that will keep readers up late in the night.”
ALAN Picks
 
 Odd & True is coming September 12, 2017, from Amulet Books/ABRAMS. 

PRE-ORDER


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Starred Review from Booklist

I'm thrilled to pieces to announce that Booklist gave Odd & True an absolutely beautiful starred review!

Here's an excerpt from the review:

In chapters alternating between the sisters’ perspectives, Tru recounts their magic- and monster-filled journey eastward, while Od reveals the grim reality behind her fantastic stories about their family and her disappearance. As the sisters tell their respective tales and, sometimes painfully, sift fact from fiction, Winters gradually pulls back layers of the truth, revealing a story deeper and darker than any garden-variety monster-killing quest could be . . . Thought-provoking, atmospheric, and utterly bewitching.”
Booklist

Thank you, Booklist!

Just a little over a month left until Odd & True hits shelves around the world. Look for giveaways, a blog tour, and other treats in the coming weeks!

 
Odd & True arrives
Sept. 12, 2017, from Abrams.

PRE-ORDER


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Trade Reviews for ODD & TRUE

Odd & True received its first trade reviews, one from Kirkus and one from the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. I'm pleased to say they're both glowing reviews:

“Storytelling and the blur between truth and fiction are at the heart of this metafictive narrative . . . Winters has woven an intricate and innovative pattern of structure, genre, and history that cannot fail to capture readers’ imaginations.”
Kirkus

“Winters is a master at weaving historical events into dramatic narratives touched by the supernatural . . . There are monsters here, paranormal and human, but they're no match for two girls skilled in wit and weaponry.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
 
 
Odd & True is coming 
Sept. 12, 2017, from Abrams.

PRE-ORDER


Monday, June 12, 2017

ODD & TRUE Pre-order Giveaway

July 1 Update: The pre-order giveaway is now closed. I ran out of my limited supply of giveaway goodies.

Thank you so much to everyone who has pre-ordered Odd & True!

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

PRE-ORDER


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.

PRE-ORDER


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 I'll refer to as the Secret Project, but long before any official announcements appear about the book, I want to get something out of the way:

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 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 librarians, award committees, and readers!), 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 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 the Secret Project to follow. I think fans of dark literature will be excited about the subject matter . . .

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

PREORDER


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. 😲

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.

PREORDER


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.

PREORDER


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