Thursday, June 21, 2012

June Updates

Here are some of the latest behind-the-scenes tidbits about my books.
  • An In the Shadow of Blackbirds book trailer is in the works, and it will feature the music of Jill Tracy! I won't reveal the specific song at this point, but Jill's dark, Victorian-inspired work is absolutely perfect for my WWI-era ghost tale. The trailer will more than likely make an appearance a couple months before the novel's release date. More details to follow.

  • I may be seeing In The Shadow of Blackbirds cover art by the end of the summer. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that particular stage! For more 2013 covers, visit my 2013 Book Cover Love Pinterest board. Several new covers debuted this week.

  • I'm gathering some swag for a few upcoming contests this summer. We're making plans for a major July giveaway at The Lucky 13s, so please check over there for details at the beginning of the month.

  • As I wait for my second stage of revisions for In the Shadow of Blackbirds, I'm busily working away on my new book. I can't give any specific details about the novel, but I've left a few clues on my newest Pinterest board, Inspiration for Secret Writing Projects. A major plot point isn't portrayed on the board, but you can get an early taste of the book's setting and Gothic influence.

  • In September, I'll be launching a brand-new website with other authors. Giveaways and celebrations will ensue, so definitely check back for news on that project.

  • I'm heading to Ohio to visit family the first week in July. No, that has nothing to do with my books, but it will explain why I'm not responding to emails or blog comments until after July 9.   
Happy summer, northern hemisphere visitors! And to the southern hemisphere crowd, happy winter!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Confessions of a Reader Who Bawls over Books

Last week I admitted on Twitter that I broke into tears when I read the last lines of Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to my seven-year-old son. Two fellow 2013 debut YA novelists, Elsie Chapman (Dualed) and Alison Cherry (Red), joined in on the conversation, and it was determined I was the wimpiest one of the group when it came to books and crying. Elsie suggested I blog about which books make me cry the most and give them tissue ratings for the amounts of tears they produced. Therefore, I present to you…

by Cat Winters 

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee (3 out of 5 tissues)

Lee's novel is the first time I can remember crying over a book. When I was nine, I was bored one day and looking for something to read. Aware I was an advanced reader in need of a challenge, my dad pulled his old 1960s copy of To Kill a Mockingbird off the shelf and handed it to me.

I didn't shed a single tear until I came to the very last line: "[Atticus] would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning." I don't know if it was the sadness of reaching the end of an amazing book that got me, or if I was getting emotional about the bonds between Scout, Attitcus, and Jem. But I cried. And I cry EVERY SINGLE TIME I come to that final line in the novel—and when I hear it spoken in the movie. Moreover, I've tended to get misty eyed over the last lines of every superb book I've read since that moment.

CHARLOTTE'S WEB by E.B. White (5 out of 5 tissues)
I think this book's sob factor needs no explanation, unless you are a robot.
ANNE FRANK: THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank (5 out of 5 tissues) 

Another book that pulled at my heartstrings during childhood. A prime example why: "…in spite of everything I still believe people are really good at heart." If a girl hiding from murderous Nazis could write a line like that, who was I to view my parents as tyrants for making me do the dishes? Don't even get me started about the way the diary simply ends without Anne getting a chance to truly finish it.

GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU by Sam McBratney (3 out of 5 tissues) 

I'm sure I must have cried over many other books between childhood and adulthood, but I didn't start really losing it until I became a mom and began reading books out loud to my kids. When my children were babies, Guess How Much I Love You was a particularly difficult one for me to get through without my voice breaking, especially whenever I arrived at the words, "I love you right up to the moonand back." *gulp* My kids have probably learned throughout the years that whenever Mom stops and looks like she's lost her place on the page, she's really just trying to regain her composure and keep from blubbering.

THE LORAX by Dr. Seuss (4 out of 5 tissues)

It takes just one word for this book to bring me to tears: "UNLESS." Maybe it's because Dr. Seuss was able to wrap up our eternal hope for a better world in just six letters, but I always have to pause before I read that word out loud in this story.

INKHEART by Cornelia Funke (5 out of 5 tissues)

I read this children's fantasy novel to my daughter a few years ago, and I literally broke into hysterics during one scene and handed her the book so she could read it to me. Without giving away too many spoilers, the main character, Meggie Folchart, reunites with someone who means the world to her, and I just could not read about their emotional moment without becoming a wreck. My husband looked at me as if I were insane.

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak (5 out of 5 tissues) 

It would ruin the ending if I revealed why this book made me bawl, but if you've already read it, you know exactly what I mean. That kiss, especially. Oh, that kiss.

THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick (3 out of 5 tissues) 

I'm a sucker for stories about people who rediscover themselves later in life. For example, I still can't sit through the movie Babe without crying over Farmer Hoggett's "That'll do pig; that'll do" line (the cinematic equivalent of "UNLESS"). I read Hugo out loud to my son on an airplane, and I had to do the pause-and-pretend-you've-lost-your-place move quite a bit so other passengers wouldn't hear me sobbing. I'd also place Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree into this same category of getting touched by the anguish old age and a life passing by.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green (5 out of 5 tissues) 

Tears streamed down my face with such violence when I was reading the end of this novel that I tripped over my dog on my way to the Kleenex box. The dog was fine, and I recovered physically, but Green emotionally punched me in the gut through his characters. Plus he managed to incorporate Anne Frank into one crucial scene! Nicely played, Mr. Green. Nicely played.

What about you? Which books make you bawl?

Monday, June 4, 2012

2013 YA Book Covers

To celebrate the increasing emergence of 2013 book covers, I've created a Pinterest board called 2013 Book Cover Love, and I plan to keep the page as updated as I possibly can as artwork appears. Here's a snippet of the board:

View the entire board here.

I'll continually add the covers of books written by my fellow 2013 debut YA and middle-grade novelists, as well as the works of seasoned authors and adult-fiction writers.

I love seeing next year's titles grouped together like this and comtemplating whether or not there are any cover trends for the coming year. Head over to the board, and then please come back to tell me what you think. So far, I've personally noticed the use of lights in several of the covers. The colors purple, green, white, and brown also seem popular.

I don't have any news to share about my In the Shadow of Blackbirds cover yet, but here's the design for fellow Amulet Books author A.G. Howard's January 2013 release, Splintered:

Gorgeous, isn't it? The designer is Maria T. Middleton.