Tuesday, July 17, 2012

IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS Mentioned in Publishers Weekly

I found out In the Shadow of Blackbirds was mentioned in the Publishers Weekly Spring 2013 Sneak Previews article. Look for a blurb about the novel in the ABRAMS/AMULET section. Thanks so much to Abrams for including my book in the preview!

Several of my fellow members of The Lucky 13s also had their books spotlighted, and I know of many, many more exciting debuts that will be making their way to shelves next year. Thankfully, 2013 is now less than six months away so we can all start reading these books soon!

Some other places to learn about 2013 YA and middle-grade releases:

YA Novels of 2013
2013 Debut Authors (YA and Middle Grade)
2013 Book Cover Love (one of my own Pinterest boards)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Contest Winner...and an Introduction to My Protagonist's Name

Congratulations to Diane! She was the first person to guess the name of my protagonist after I gave the following two clues about my central female character:

Hint #1:
Her mother named her after a 
famous author from the 1800s.

Hint #2:
Her mother named her after the author of a 
famous HORROR novel from the 1800s.

And the full name of my In the Shadow of Blackbirds protagonist is...


Yes, my main character was named after the author of Frankenstein. Her mother loved Mary Shelley's classic horror tale and was a student of science. Look for a few other nods to Frankenstein throughout the book when you read it.

Diane will receive the In the Shadow of Blackbirds prize package I announced in my original post. She did not come up with the correct last name (I gave a hint that it was a color), but three other visitors who entered did guess Black. I'll send those three people signed bookplates featuring a sneak peek at a quote from my novel.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered! I definitely have more giveaways in the works, so be sure to follow this blog or keep track of me through Twitter and Facebook.  

A Giveaway: Guess My Protagonist's Name (Major Hint Included)


Unless you've read an early draft of In the Shadow of Blackbirds, you don't yet know my main character's name. In fact, up to this point I've been secretive about all of my characters' names to build suspense before Amulet Books reveals the official cover blurb.

However...seeing as though it's Friday the 13th, I've decided to celebrate my upcoming YA ghost tale by running a contest. It involves you answering a question:

Can you guess my protagonist's name?

A major hint:
Her mother named her after a 
famous author from the 1800s.

Second major hint:
Her mother named her after the author of a 
famous HORROR novel from the 1800s.
(You may enter again if you guessed before with only the first clue.)

Here are my rules:

1. Enter the giveaway using the form below.

2. The first person to send the correct answer will win two handcrafted blackbird bookmarks, a signed bookplate featuring AN EXCLUSIVE LOOK at a line from In the Shadow of Blackbirds, and a blank notebook with a cover containing a beautiful illustration of my character's real-life namesake.

One of the prizes: two handcrafted bookmarks.
3. If the winner also guesses my protagonist's last name, he or she will win a $25 Amazon gift card in addition to the other prizes.

4. The contest will run until a winning entry is received.

5. Please do not enter if you've already read the novel. More giveaways will follow.

Good luck!

The contest is now closed. Thank you for entering! 

The announcement of my protagonist's name.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Back from the Land of Tornadoes and Ralphie Parker

I'm back from my vacation to Ohio, where I visited with family, hid out in the Smucker's basement during a tornado warning (which was terrifying for a person who isn't from tornado country!), toured the house where they filmed A Christmas Story, and had dinner with fellow 2013 debut YA novelist Jennifer McGowan.

I'm making this post short but sweet due to jet lag, but I wanted to make sure my Lucky 13s giveaway announcement wasn't the top story on the site. That contest ended Sunday, and the winner was announced here. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Ralphie's house from A Christmas Story.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Massive Six-Months-Until-2013 Book Giveaway!

The year 2013 is now only six months away, so we debut 2013 authors at The Lucky 13s are celebrating with a major giveaway. Each of us will be mailing the winner a copy of a novel that influenced our writing, as well as swag for own books.

I'll be contributing The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak, two handcrafted crow bookmarks, and a signed bookplate featuring AN EXCLUSIVE LOOK at an In the Shadow of Blackbirds quote, spoken by a spirit photographer character in the novel. Here's a preview of my prize package, with the exclusive quote craftily hidden: 

To enter the giveaway, head over to thelucky13s.blogspot.com by July 7. I'm having to auto-post this message because I'm taking off on vacation July 1, so I'm unable to include the direct link. You may have to scroll down to the July 1 post at The Lucky 13s site if you're visiting on a later date.

I picked The Book Thief as my giveaway novel because of Zusak's ridiculously skilled use of language and brilliant talent for developing characters. He challenged me to make my own writing better. Furthermore, his ability to weave the horrors of history with a fictional tale told by an otherworldly narrator (Death) was a huge inspiration to me. In my own novel, I'm blending the unsettling realities of 1918 America with paranormal nightmares and a ghost. I hope, like Zusak, I've grounded my story in enough human emotions you can feel in your gut to make the fantastical side of the tale believable.

Good luck to everyone who enters the giveaway, and keep in mind I won't be responding to comments and emails until after July 9 due to my trip.

Also, be sure to check out Marta Acosta's Gothic YA debut this week: Dark Companion, available from Tor Books July 3. Marta has been a supportive cheerleader for my own writing during the past few years, and I'm thrilled the world is getting a chance to read her Jane Eyre-influenced tale.