Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy 1-Year Anniversary to THE S-WORD! Here's a giveaway!!!

Hey darlings! In celebration of THE S-WORD's one year anniversary (WHAT?! It's been a YEAR?!) I'm giving away ARCs of two YA novels that deal with the incredibly important issues of bullying and suicide.



Entering is so easy! All you have to do is follow me on Twitter and RT this tweet. THAT'S IT! This contest is U.S. only, and if you're already following me, you're already one step ahead of the game!


And thank you to everyone for making THE S-WORD's first year so amazing!!!



<3

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Diversify Your Shelves!

Hello darlings! Today I get to reveal part three of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, a project that’s near and dear to my heart! Part three is called “Diversify Your Shelves,” and it’s all about taking a personal approach to promoting diversity in literature.

What, exactly, does that mean? Is this maybe something we’ll do for a week and then go back to buying books by old white guys?

Well, no. “Diversify Your Shelves” is a continual celebration of fabulous diverse literature, by fabulous diverse authors. Checking out what books we have on our shelves, and seeing how we might diversify them, is just a jumping off point.

There's also going to be a “Diversify Your Shelves” chat on Saturday, May 3rd at 2PM EST to discuss our favorite diverse books and authors! Use the #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtag to join in!

But wait! Why is this so important?

Well, there are lots of people blogging about this more eloquently than I, like here, here, here, and here, but some of my biggest reasons are:

Because, at every conference I or my writer friends attend, there are kids asking why they can’t find books with characters who look like them, either on the cover or in the pages.

Because the same thing happens at book signings, except there the kids are saying they’ve always wanted to get into writing, but don’t think they’ll be successful because they’re people of color.

Because queer kids are still killing themselves over being different (or being told that they’re different) and the greater representation they have in books, the less alone they’ll feel.

Because awesome genres like YA wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t moved away from the old, white dude model of literature and started reading stories written by ladies. Diversify Your Shelves is a continuation of that principle—hearing all stories from all voices.

Because it’s 2014, but we still keep seeing all-white panels at book festivals, or even all-white male panels (in genres vastly dominated by women!) and that’s kind of insane to me. Diversity shouldn’t be the exception. It should be the norm.

And because, at the end of the day, when I look at my shelves, I think:

I can be better.

I can do more.

And I’d love for you to join me.

So, without further ado . . .

Let’s Diversify Our Shelves!
           
Here’s how it works: this weekend, May 3rd and 4th, we’re all going to head out to our local bookstores* to pick up books by fabulous diverse authors. (Need recommendations? Check out the May 3rd #WeNeedDiverseBooks chat!) Then, once you’ve returned home, snap a photo of your new diverse book(s)** and post it as a comment below! And if you want to get really creative, you can take Before and After photos of your bookshelves: Before, when they weren't too diversified, and After, when you've added in books by fabulous  PoC authors, queer authors, and authors with disabilities! Woot! 

This Monday, May 5th, one lucky winner is going to win FIVE BOOKS OF THEIR CHOOSING out of the choices below!!! And every week throughout the spring, a new winner will be chosen to receive two fabulous diverse books! Woot!

But wait, it doesn’t stop there. Remember when I said “Diversify Your Shelves” was a continual celebration? That means any time you buy a book from a diverse author, or featuring a diverse character, snap a picture of that book and post it to Twitter with the #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtag! We’ll retweet you, and help spread the word about what diverse books people are buying! And by participating in the “Diversify Your Shelves” movement, you’ll be showing publishers the kinds of books you want them to buy, showing conference organizers which authors you want to see on panels, and helping tweens and teens find representation in books! Which, really, is the awesomest prize of all!


REMEMBER: THE WINNER OF THE PRIZE PACK WILL BE CHOSEN MAY 5TH!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UPDATE: OneFour KidLit is offering their own "Diversify Your Shelves" giveaway HERE!!

*Obviously, not everyone has the money to “Diversify Their Shelves” at this particular moment. That’s okay! Because stopping by the library and having them order a book by a diverse author, or even sending them an email about your interest in diverse books, can make a big difference in the “Diversify Your Shelves” movement! You can even snap a photo of a certain section in your local library, and then snap another one after they’ve ordered more diverse books for you! That way, you’ll not only be diversifying your own shelf, but you’ll be diversifying the shelves for your entire neighborhood! Go, you!

**Don’t worry, e-book lovers! You can totally enter the contest too. Just snap a photo of your reading device with the book’s cover showing (or a screenshot of the purchase), and you’re good to go!

Friday, May 2, 2014

THE FEARLESS Blog Tour Stop #9: Playlist by Emma Pass!

Hey Lovelies! Today's the ninth stop on the Blog Tour for Emma Pass' THE FEARLESS, the thrilling post-apocalyptic sequel to ACID! And we're talking all about playlists! Music is such an inspiration for me when writing, so I absolutely loved hearing about Emma's process for choosing her perfect songs. Check out the playlist below, and don't forget to pick up your copy of THE FEARLESS!


THE FEARLESS:

A post-apocalyptic thriller for young adults, out now from Corgi/Random House Children's Publishers (UK) and early 2015 from Delacorte (US).

The Fearless. An army, powered by an incredible new serum that makes each soldier stronger, sharper, faster than their enemies. Intended as a force for good, the serum has a terrible side-effect – anyone who takes it is stripped of all humanity, empathy, love. And as the Fearless sweep through the country, forcing the serum on anyone in their path, society becomes a living nightmare.

Cass remembers the night they passed through her village. Her father was Altered. Her mother died soon after. All Cass has left is her little brother – and when Jori is snatched by the Fearless, Cass must risk everything to get him back.


THE FEARLESS Soundtrack:


These days, I always make soundtracks for my books. A big reason for this is that I see my stories like films in my head as I write, and music helps make those images more vivid, transporting me into the book's world and shutting the real world out for a while.

I usually construct these playlists as I write my first draft, searching iTunes and the internet as well as my own personal music collection for tunes that fit the story. By the time the first draft is done, so is the playlist, and then I play it on repeat the whole time I'm working my way through revisions.

Here is the playlist for THE FEARLESS:

Biffy Clyro – Many of Horror

Ludovico Einaudi – I Due Fiumi

Mumford and Sons – I Gave You All

Paramore – Playing God

Erik Satie – Gnossienne no. 1 (Lent)

Mumford and Sons – Awake My Soul

Dustin O'Halloran – Fragile No. 4

Message to Bears – Running Through Woodland

The Temper Trap – Soldier On

Fleet Foxes – Tiger Mountain Peasant Song

Miike Snow – Silvia

Ludovico Einaudi – La Nescita Delle Cose Segrete

When I was writing ACID, I made a soundtrack that featured a lot of electronic music to reflect the book's futuristic setting (you can view that soundtrack here). But for THE FEARLESS, with a couple of exceptions, I chose gentler, more acoustic tracks. While ACID is high-tech, THE FEARLESS is low and even no-tech, set in the near-future and imagining what life would be like after society in the UK (and across the world) has collapsed after an invasion of psychotic super-soldiers. Survivors of the Invasion have had to go back to basics, trading and scavenging goods to survive.

How about you? Do you make book sountracks? What's on them?



Emma Pass has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. Her debut novel, ACID, is out now from Corgi/Random House in the UK, and from Delacorte in the US.  It won the 2014 North East Teenage Book Award, was shortlisted for the Doncaster Book Award, nominated for the 2014 CILIP Carnegie Medal and has been longlisted for the 2014 Branford Boase Award and a Silver Inky Award in Australia. Her second novel, THE FEARLESS, is also out now in the UK from Corgi/Random House and will be published in the US in early 2015 by Delacorte. By day, she works as a library assistant and lives with her husband and crazy greyhound G-Dog in the North East Midlands.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

We Need Diverse Books!


Hey lovelies! Lately there's been a lot of talk about how to promote diversity in publishing. How can we get more diverse books into stores? How can we see our favorite diverse authors at conferences? WHAT DO WE DO?!

Well guess what? A new and fabulous campaign is starting, called "We Need Diverse Books," and we'd love for you to join us! Check out the post below, and join us May 1st-3rd for lots of exciting ways to help promote diversity!



Recently, there’s been a groundswell of discontent over the lack of diversity in children’s literature. The issue is being picked up by news outlets like these two pieces in the NYT, CNN, EW, and many more. But while we individually care about diversity, there is still a disconnect. BEA’s Bookcon recently announced an all-white-male panel of “luminaries of children’s literature,” and when we pointed out the lack of diversity, nothing changed.

Now is the time to raise our voices into a roar that can’t be ignored. Here’s how:

On May 1st at 1pm (EST), there will be a public call for action that will spread over 3 days. We’re starting with a visual social media campaign using the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks. We want people to tweet, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, blog, and post anywhere they can to help make the hashtag go viral.
For the visual part of the campaign: 
  • Take a photo holding a sign that says “We need diverse books because ___________________________.” Fill in the blank with an important, poignant, funny, and/or personal reason why this campaign is important to you. 
  • The photo can be of you or a friend or anyone who wants to support diversity in kids’ lit. It can be a photo of the sign without you if you would prefer not to be in a picture. Be as creative as you want! Pose the sign with your favorite stuffed animal or at your favorite library. Get a bunch of friends to hold a bunch of signs. 
  • However you want to do it, we want to share it! There will be a Tumblr at http://weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com/ that will host all of the photos and messages for the campaign. Please submit your visual component by May 1st to weneeddiversebooks@yahoo.com with the subject line “photo” or submit it right on our Tumblr page here and it will be posted throughout the first day. 
  • Starting at 1:00PM (EST) the Tumblr will start posting and it will be your job to reblog, tweet, Facebook, or share wherever you think will help get the word out. 
  • The intent is that from 1pm EST to 3pm EST, there will be a nonstop hashtag party to spread the word. We hope that we’ll get enough people to participate to make the hashtag trend and grab the notice of more media outlets.
  • The Tumblr will continue to be active throughout the length of the campaign, and for however long we need to keep this discussion going, so we welcome everyone to keep emailing or sending in submissions even after May 1st.
On May 2nd, the second part of our campaign will roll out with a Twitter chat scheduled for 2pm (EST) using the same hashtag. Please use #WeNeedDiverseBooks at 2pm on May 2nd and share your thoughts on the issues with diversity in literature and why diversity matters to you.

On May 3rd, 2pm (EST), the third portion of our campaign will begin. There will be a Diversify Your Shelves initiative to encourage people to put their money where their mouth is and buy diverse books and take photos of them. Diversify Your Shelves is all about actively seeking out diverse literature in bookstores and libraries, and there will be some fantastic giveaways for people who participate in the campaign! More details to come!

We hope that you will take part in this in any way you can. We need to spread the word far and wide so that it will trend on Twitter. So that media outlets will pick it up as a news item. So that the organizers of BEA and every big conference and festival out there gets the message that diversity is important to everyone. We hope you will help us by being a part of this movement.

Monday, December 2, 2013

UNCOMMON YA Holiday Giveaway!!!

We are a collective of YA authors who have come together to spread the word about the newest, bold, gritty fiction. Our genres include realistic, contemporary, historical, magical realism, and paranormal--with a healthy dose of suspense woven through all of them.

For an early holiday gift Uncommon YA is offering YOU the chance to choose your prize. Click on the titles below to learn more about each one.
You can add it to your Goodreads shelf while you're there!
WARNING. It will be a tough choice choosing just one to win!
ENTER NOW!
Sliding on the Edge
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17925536-no-surrender-soldier *NEW RELEASES*https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18442147-big-fat-disaster

ENTER NOW!
6 people will win their choice of the selected titles.


Monday, October 7, 2013

CHANGELINGS, FAERIES, AND HUMANS (Oh my!) My Big Title-Change Announcement + Giveaway!!!!


Hey lovelies! I've got exciting news. Much like the princess in "The Neverending Story," my upcoming novel has a new name! The story sold under the title "Immortal Sacrifice," and while that title will always have a special place in my heart, I started to worry that it was too vague. "Immortal" can mean so many things. Was the book about vampires, angels, demons, gods . . .?

HOW WOULD PEOPLE KNOW IT WAS ABOUT FAERIES?!

So my editor and I had a brainstorming session, where we tossed around different title ideas. As some of you know from my book deal announcement (How to Sell a Book in SIX SHORT YEARS), my title has gone through MANY incarnations, and I really wanted to pick the best one. After much deliberation, we decided on the book's original title (from back in 2007, when I started writing it) . . .



~ THE LAST CHANGELING ~


YAY!!!! I love this title so much, because it perfectly articulates what kind of immortal creatures are in the story, and (hopefully) imparts a sense of mystery. Who is the last changeling? And why is this person the last of their kind?

SO MANY SECRETS TO BE REVEALED!!!

To celebrate the new title, I'm hosting a changeling-themed giveaway! The changeling myth is something that's been explored in a lot of ways, from the traditional faerie-being-switched-with-a-baby version, to some broader interpretations. Before my novel makes its way into the world, I'd love to share with you some of the more unusual versions. So, without further ado, I give you . . . my changeling-themed giveaway!!!


In 2014, you'll meet THE LAST CHANGELING

But what came before?






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BUT WAIT, there's MORE!!! If anyone wants to win a copy of my debut, THE S-WORD, and read about the themes explored in both my books, check out this INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY with the fabulous AdriAnne Strickland (author of WORDLESS, Flux 2014)

This contest is U.S. only



Thursday, August 29, 2013

ARC Giveaway + Interview: A WOUNDED NAME by Dot Hutchison

Hey everybody! Today I'm talking with the fabulous Dot Hutchison, author of A WOUNDED NAME (and all around awesome person!) A WOUNDED NAME is a modern-day YA retelling of HAMLET from Ophelia's perspective (um, yes please!). Having just devoured this book, I can tell you firsthand how lyrical, heart-wrenching and addictive it is. This book is not to be missed!

Check out the interview, then enter to win a signed ARC of this amazing book (plus a keychain and bookmark!) 






INTERVIEW:


1. The idea behind A WOUNDED NAME is such an intriguing one. What made you want to retell HAMLET from Ophelia’s perspective?

HAMLET has always been one of my favorites- probably something to do with my always falling for dark and broody. But we never get to know Ophelia. She's there as a prop for her brother, father, and love to dance around, for Gertrude to occasionally pet, and we know nothing deeper about her. Except...except! We get these flashes through the play. She's intelligent, she's witty. She teases both her brother and Hamlet. We get these tantalizing hints of this incredible young woman surrounded by self-absorbed and belittling men, but then we get nothing more. I was lucky in having very good teachers who encouraged me and my good friends to question Shakespeare, to want to explore, and Ophelia was someone we always came back to. Between The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged and my best friend's play Remembrances: The Ophelia Project, Ophelia stayed in the periphery. I always knew I wanted to write her story- what I didn't know was HOW. Then one night I woke up with the first few lines written across my mind. They wouldn't let me go- SHE wouldn't let me go- and I once I let her have her voice, she didn't stop talking until she'd said everything she needed to say.

I'm so glad you delved deeper into the life of this fascinating character. You've captured the spirit of Ophelia perfectly!

2. In A WOUNDED NAME, you’ve managed to create a modern setting (with cell-phones and email) while still maintaining a Shakespearean feel. The school of Elsinore almost feels like it exists outside of time. How were you able to mix modern-day technology with an old-world feel so flawlessly? Was it something you planned out, or did it flow naturally?

Actually, the hybrid of technology is entirely due to Editor Andrew- I'd pretty much forgotten tech entirely. I think I was betraying my age, in a way. I didn't have cell phones or internet access or such up until second half of high school, so I tend to forget how much I rely on it now. I wanted the feeling of Elsinore being frozen in time, of it being anachronism after anachronism in such a way that most of its female students, not just Ophelia, never have a chance. The infusion of technology- reminders of the present world- came first from Agent Sandy Extraordinaire, and then in more detail from Editor Andrew.

You definitely gave Elsinore the feeling of being frozen in time, and yet everything felt very relevant to today's society.

3. If you could be any Shakespearean character, who would you be and why?

Oh, dear. Um...probably Beatrice, from Much Ado About Nothing. She's one of the few heroines to whom nothing too horrible happens. She's intelligent, she's witty, she's fiercely loyal, and despite a few comments from her uncles to curb her more outrageous behavior, she has a loving and supportive family with people who admire her specifically for those qualities she exhibits. Her uncles are willing to let her have her choice in marriage. Her relationship with her cousin Hero is amazing and solid, and Benedick...I love Benedick, especially watching the eternal little boy finally mature without losing any of his joy. And my boobs are too big to cross dress like Viola or Rosalind.

Haha! I love this answer. I admit to being quite the fan of Beatrice myself. 

4. A WOUNDED NAME is such a wonderful (if heartbreaking) study in nature vs. nurture: was Ophelia destined for tragedy because she inherited her mother’s “madness” (i.e. ability to see faeries), or did the constant control and condescension by the men in her life act as a vise around her neck? Or was it something else entirely? Is there any scenario in which you can see Ophelia surviving, or even thriving in her own life?

I think, if born into a different family AND raised in a different environment, Ophelia could have led a healthy, albeit unusual, life. She's aware of what's healthy and what isn't, even if her current life has left her unable to actually act upon those distinctions. In a family that could have seen her sight as a wonder instead of a curse, who could have simply loved her without all the complications of guilt and fear, yes, I think she could have been happy and healthy. Sometimes I like to imagine her being adopted at an early age by Horatio's family. Not that it could have happened, but it would make great fanfic, right?

Yes, that would be an amazing read!!

5. Let’s talk about Horatio! It’s obvious that this character was created with a lot of detail and affection. How much of this Horatio was inspired by the play, and how much is your own creation? What do you think happens to Horatio after the story ends?

I LOVE Horatio...and I don't think that comes as a surprise to anyone who's read an early copy. I always felt bad for the Horatio of the play- he really does get the short end of the stick- but he also left me with some questions, namely: why does he help Hamlet as much as he does? Why is he so loyal? They talk to each other like friends, but some of the incidental conversation makes them seem little more than passing acquaintances who see each other in court and at university in Wittenburg. But Horatio does so much, sacrifices so much, that I needed to know more about this strange sidekick. What emerged from those questions was this blazingly good person surrounded by people who look down on him for all the wrong reasons. As for what happens after the play...I'm hoping to get to share that at some point, but in a nutshell, I think he has a very, very long road to recover from everything that happens, but that eventually he finds the kind of support Ophelia should have had.

I would LOVE to read more about Horatio's life--and see who he ends up with :) 

6. Can you tell us about how you got your book deal?

I signed with Sandy Lu in February of last year, after six months of querying what was then called Elsinore Drowning. It was the third project I'd queried over the course of three years. She and I did a round of edits, small tweaks mostly, plus adjusting the play within a play scene, and then she sent it out, and I started biting my nails for the first time since early high school. It was so much worse than waiting to hear back from agents! But I'd steeled myself to endure that wait for months and months, and then barely six weeks later, she told me that Andrew wanted to talk to me. Holy crap! And then there was another editor who wanted to talk to me! We ended up with two offers on the table, and after a lot of consideration, we signed up with Andrew, and it's been amazing. We were really excited about the ideas he had for the book, plus he has a very collaborative style- he likes to have a push and pull on manuscripts, to tangle around an idea and explore all the options and, as often as not, discard it if the author comes up with something even better. Editing with him is a dialogue, and it's great.

That is such an exciting story! It sounds like Andrew is wonderful to work with.

7.  One of the things I love about your writing is that it’s so lyrical and gorgeous. The rich, lush details draw me in and keep me hooked until the end. Can you talk a little bit about which authors have inspired you as a writer?

Oh, goodness. Weirdly enough, except for my sense of humor, most of the authors who inspired me the most in my writing don't have a visible influence there. It's in the way I approach the story, the characters, but rarely in the words themselves. That being said, I think there are some authors who, in a way, gave me permission to let Ophelia have her voice: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor; The Near Witch, by Victoria Schwab; and Invisible Girls, by Nova Ren Suma.

These books were so lyrical, as much poetry as prose, and it made me think maybe I could break all those invisible rules I'd always been told to obey. That sense of permission was immensely freeing.

This is such an interesting point: the way authors can influence our method but not necessarily our voice. Love it!

8. Throughout A WOUNDED NAME, Ophelia feels constantly pulled in different directions by the men in her life. These men, convinced Ophelia can’t survive without them, are hesitant to even let her out of their sight. Can you talk a little about the gender inequality at Elsinore Academy, and how much it affected the outcome of the story? How might things have been different if, for example, Gertrude had been raised to value her own agency?

Oh boy, this is going to be a long one.

A lot of the gender inequality at Elsinore came from watching my grandparents, both sets of them.  Both sets were raised in the twenties and thirties, got married in the forties, and all four of them ascribed, in varying degrees, to the generally accepted gender roles. The first time my paternal grandmother realized that my mom required my dad to help with dishes and chores, she was HORRIFIED. That was WOMEN's work. She dropped out at fourteen so she could take care of her younger siblings. I think she was what Gertrude would have been if she'd been born into a poor coal mine town in Pennsylvania. The propagation of gender inequality- of female suppression- cannot occur solely through masculine determination. It continues because women- either by choice or by lack of action- allow it to continue.

I very much saw that in my grandparents, especially on my father's side. My grandmother wasn't just raised in the idea of women's work and  a women's sacrifice- she had to suffer through the consequences of someone else fighting that system. Her mother was a firebrand. Miserably unhappy, she left and created something new for herself. She taught at school, she ran a store, she found her soul mate. But that new life came with leaving her old one behind, including her husband and children. My grandmother took on the role of mother within her family, and those hardships made her somehow embrace the gender roles. In her own way she defended those roles as fiercely as my mother  (and her mother) insisted they had and needed to continue to change.
Most of the girls currently enrolled at Elsinore, raised within a fully tech generation, would be able to shrug off the limitations of their education and continue on to make names for themselves should they choose to do so. They'll be at a disadvantage, that's true, but they have the ability to forge a new path if they want it. Even Ophelia recognizes the option, even as she recognizes her lack of ability to follow it. Gertrude, however isn't part of the internet age. She doesn't have the wealth (or perhaps the maelstrom) of external influences the younger girls do. Her education came solely from her family and the atmosphere of the school. Gertrude doesn't feel trapped in the way Ophelia or her mother do because she genuinely believes in this outlook.

But if Gertrude was a women with her own sense of agency? If she genuinely believed in making her own choices? I think the initiating events would still have been the same, but everything that happened afterwards would have been radically, and perhaps wonderfully, different.

This is such a wonderful, descriptive answer! It's fascinating to consider the women who rage against an oppressive system, and those who cling to it because it's all they know.

9. If you had the power to turn any book into a movie (with any cast and director you wanted), which book would it be?

Probably Amy's Eyes, by Richard Kennedy. It's out of print, which makes me so sad, but it was such a grand adventure, with orphanages and high seas and treasure quests and family. I'd love to see the dolls come to life- and see how Amy, lonely and despairing, slowly turns to a doll. I'd love to see the intrigue and the swashbuckling and above all, would LOVE to see how thoroughly creepy sweet, loyal, sad-souled Skivvy can be. I mean, it's pirates and sock monkeys and rubber ducks and golden men and "Greensleeves". It would be an EPIC movie.

Thanks so much for having me, Chelsea!

Thank YOU for being here. These are some of the most thought-provoking, eloquent responses I've ever read!


And now...

THE GIVEAWAY!

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This contest is for residents of the U.S. and Canada. Thank you for entering!! :)