December 9, 2013

It's December and I'm Up To My Ears in Tinsel, Evergreen, and Excited Kiddos




It's the season, my absolute most favorite time of the year. I bet you thought my favorite would be Halloween given my penchant for writing creepy and love of horror films, didn't you?

Nope!

I am one of those certifiably crazy, carol singing, cookie baking, It's A Wonderful Life watching Christmas nuts.

Seriously. I love it.

The holly, the ivy, the real Christmas tree trimmed in ornaments I've had since I was a kid mixed w ornaments from my hubby's childhood tree, and the various ornaments my kids have created/collected over the years. I have a playlist chock full of Christmas songs and I actually organize a December calendar to maximize all the possible Christmas-type activities my family can take part in. So, for this reason, December is always a whirlwind and I'm generally struggling to keep up with my day to day, non Christmas type stuff. Hence the short notice of this post!

Turns out I've got a few little authorly tidbits to share:

1. I am on Randombuzzers this week with Alison Cherry the amazingly creative and funny author of Red and Tom Leveen, the clever and talented author of Party, Zero, Sick, and Manicpixiedreamgirl. We'll be stopping into the chat boards and talking social drama all week long, so if you have a question for us, a comment, or just want to stop in and say hi, go. Right now! We'd love to hear from you.

2. I am going to be at the Locally Grown Book Fair in Orlando, Florida this coming weekend (December 15, 2013 from 12pm-4pm) along with my totally awesome critique partner, Krystalyn Drown. If you're in the neighborhood, stop in and say hello!

December 5, 2013

Breaking the Faith







It's probably obvious by now that I have more than a passing interest in cults. After having written two novels that deal with them, I think I've watched just about every documentary and read most of the memoirs out there. Still, when I hear about a new book or show on the subject I'm ready to dive in even after years of research. Why? Because even after all this time, I'm still utterly fascinated by the inner workings of the cult itself and the reasons why people choose to stay even when their leader gets increasingly erratic. So when I heard about Breaking the Faith, a new show on TLC, I couldn't wait to check it out. I'm glad I did. While the "escapes" (re-enactments meant to look like they're happening in real time) seem overly contrived at times, what the show does really well, is give viewers an inside look at teens/young adults brought up within a cult and their dawning realization that they want a much different life than the one they have. They have to face their fear of damnation and loss of family/friends/everything they've ever known if they're going to free themselves. The journey is a scary one. Not all of the teens seem ready or able to get out for good and this make for some seriously tense TV viewing.

The episodes follow a group of girls who are trying to escape and a group of boys (led by an ex-member of the FLDS) bent on helping them. It chronicles the "night of the escape" (again, not real, but a re-enactment) and then the girls' journey to freedom both physically and mentally. I think the moments where the girls talk about their time inside the cult are especially engrossing. Their faces, sort of stoic, but desperate as well, are hard to forget. I absolutely see the main character of my book, Gated, in their stories and faces. Here are girls who instinctively want more for themselves and suspect that they can have it if they are willing to give up all that they know to get it. They question the prophet's teachings, but struggle with doubt about those very questions because after a life time spent inside the cult, they can't discount what they've been taught all this time. Their fear of damnation and abandonment is one hundred percent real.

I also felt that the scenes depicting the girls polishing framed pictures of their prophet, Jeffs, were particularly unsettling and creepy. Here is a man who by all outward appearances seems less dynamic than one would think considering how many followers he has and all the awful things he's been able to do in the name of his supposed religion and yet the hold he has over the people in the FLDS suggests he is formidable to say the least, a true monster disguised as a regular man. The hold he has over his community remains intact despite the fact that he isn't even among them anymore and rules from a jail cell. This kind of influence, even after all the research I've done, confounds me.

The show isn't about giving viewers answers, but rather is about telling the stories of these girls and their lives. It makes cult members into real people and challenges the misconception that all cult members are somehow weak minded. Fascinating television to be sure.

November 5, 2013

Curious About Gated, but Haven't Committed to Buy Just Yet? Have I Got the Mother of All Samplers for You!!



So how is everybody this fine November week? Recovered from too much sugar and the angst of finding just the right Halloween costume to wear?

Yeah, me neither.

But it just so happens that I may have one more treat to throw your way that might make you feel a little better...or at the very least keep the Halloween creepy alive and well a little longer.
Are you ready for it?

Are you sure?

Here goes:

There's an extended sampler of Gated available for download on the e reader of your choice right now!!! That's right, the first seven chapters of my book can be yours ABSOLUTELY FREE!!! This means that basically you get to test drive my novel and figure out if you dig it (at least the first eighty or so pages) before you have to plunk down any money.

 Cool, right?

BUT WAIT. THERE'S MORE. If you download the chapter sampler you not only get a sneak peek at the book, but a special author's note from yours truly talking about how I became fascinated with cults and group thinking. Hint: it involves a creepy experiment performed on yours truly.

Gotta admit, I'm feeling a little like an infomercial host or the Chick-fil-a people at the mall with the trays full of toothpick spiked nuggets. So I hope you're hungry...

um...

for words that is.

 Sorry. I mentioned delicious chicken and your mouth started watering didn't it?

Now you're probably wanting chicken and I'm offering you chapters. Hmmm. Would you believe me if I said that these chapters are delicious too? FOR YOUR MIND.

That didn't make it any better did it?

Still...FREE CHAPTERS...you know you want them. *does hypnotic hands at you and wills it to work*

 You can find the sampler to download on Gated's Amazon Page right now or at Random Buzzers. Hope you take a look see and check out what happens behind the gates!


October 19, 2013

Crossroads Tour






This week I'm lucky enough to get to participate in The Crossroads Blog Tour run by the very awesome Judith Graves! Although Gated isn't a paranormal book, she was lovely and let me join all the fun anyway. Check out who will be part of the tour with me:


AUTHORS:

Judith Graves – Leap Books – Under My Skin, Second Skin, Skin of My Teeth, Killer’s Instinct
Nicola Marsh: - Month9Books - Scion of the Sun
Joy Preble – Sourcebooks / Soho Press – Dreaming Anastasia, Haunted, Anastasia Forever.  The Sweet Dead Life, The A-Word
Sarah Bromley - Month9Books – A Murder of Magpies
Elizabeth Holloway - Month9Books – Call Me Grim
Amanda Ashby – Speak – You Had Me at HaloZombie Queen of Newbury High, Fairy Bad Day, Demonosity
P.J. Hoover - Tor Teen – Solstice
Dorothy Dreyer – Month9Books – My Sister’s Reaper
Lucienne Diver - Flux – Vamped, Revamped, Fangtasic, Fangtabulous
Lisa M. Cronkhite – Leap Books – Deep in the Meadows
Jen McConnel – Month9Books – Daughter of Chaos
Kiki Hamilton – Teen / Macmillian – The Faerie Ring, The Torn Wing, The Seven Year King, The Faerie Queen
Patrice Lyle - Leap Books – Lethally Blonde, The Case of the Invisible Witch
Kelly Hashway - Spencer Hill / Month9Books – Touch of DeathStalked by Death, Face of Death, Into the Fire
Jackie Morse Kessler – Harcourt Graphia/Month9Books – Hunger, Rage, Loss, Breath, “Thirst” in the Very Superstitious anthology, To Bear An Iron Key
Christine Fonseca – Compass Press – Transcend, Libera Me, Dominus
Molly Cochran – Simon and Schuster – Legacy, Poison, Seduction
Carrie Harris – Delacorte Books for Young Readers -Taste In Boys, Bad Hair Day, Demon Derby, Sally Slick and the Steel Syndicate
Dawn Dalton - Leap Books - SPIRITED Anthology, Killer’s Instinct
Ty Drago - Sourcebooks - The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses, Queen of the Dead
Victoria Scott – Entangled / Scholastic – The Collector, The Liberator, Fire & Flood
 
 
Not only will you get to learn some very interesting things about all of these authors on the tour, there will also be a truly fantastic giveaway: one FREE Kindle preloaded with titles from the authors listed above and lil' ole me!!! All you have to do is follow the tour and these directions below from Judith:
 
 

HOW THE TOUR WORKS

Each day of The Crossroads Blog Tour, a new research question will be revealed on The Crossroad Blog Tour main page:http://judithgraves.com/events/the-crossroads-tour/crossroads-2012/ and each day the answer to that question will be found within one of the different blog posts by Crossroads Tour authors. Your job is to get the question, read the blog posts, and collect all answers by the end of the tour.


Now here's my personal schedule for the tour:

October 20th: A Life Bound By Books

October 21st: Erika Knudsen's Blog

October 22nd: Little Library Muse

October 23rd: A Simple Love of Reading

October 24th: Confessions of Bookaholic

October 25th: Most Wanted Monsters

October 26th: Jennzah Cresswell


I hope you join us on the tour and enter for your chance to win the Kindle!


 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 6, 2013

YA Scavenger Hunt Closed

The Fall YA Scavenger Hunt is officially closed. Hope you enjoyed all the bonus author/book content and the giveaways. I know I did! If you got here too late to participate this time, don't fret. There will be other hunts in the future, so keep on the lookout. For now, here is the winner for my extra giveaway. If you want to see who won all three contests and all the extra giveaways, make sure to visit the YA Scavenger Hunt Home Page. (the list should be up in a day or two, tops) Thanks for stopping in!
My Giveaway Winner: Ashley Gallivan            


September 30, 2013

My First Ever Official Author Trip!!

Last week I left my home in Florida to travel up to Pennsylvania and then New York City for some very cool authorly-type experiences. So this post will be a very quick over view of all that happened.

I headed to the airport on a Tuesday afternoon, tired after prepping for my book signing here in Florida the weekend before.





I pricelined my flights because I am cheap which was a mistake since I ended up on a very small plane twice that day and I was pretty queasy after flight #2.




I arrived in Pennsylvania and spent the next few days visiting with my parents who live there and my brother and his family. The weather was amazing. Considering that fall is a nonseason here in Florida, it was nice to experience the leaves starting to change and the cooler weather. I got to wear a leather jacket and boots, yay!!

I signed stock at the Barnes and Noble in Lansdale, PA the day after I got there and generally tried to settle in and do some work for the first few days. Then it was off to my first official school visit at Norristown High School where I met some very cool kids and took part in a taped interview, my first! It was both nerve-wracking and fun!




I spent the rest of that afternoon signing books at Hendrickson's, the interior design/furniture store where my mother works. They were kind enough to buy several boxes of books and display them in the store. What a very unusual, but neat way to get my books out into the world! Thanks to Ginny Hendrickson for setting it all up!


The next day was my hometown book launch at The Doylestown Bookshop. The store was beautiful and charming and nestled in the midst of some very unique shops. Can't wait to go back again someday.




Then I had a day off to visit family and generally breathe before it was time for school visit number two at Council Rock South High School. This was my first time speaking in an auditorium in front of hundreds of kids at a time. SO fun, but another nerve-wracking morning. The audiences for both assemblies were awesome and asked such good questions. One of my favorite things to do as an author is hang out with readers and teens and talk, so this was a very good day.





The next day I was up before five am to catch a train to New York City. This was the day I'd been waiting for for the past two years. I was going to meet my editor and all of the Random House people who worked so hard to get Gated ready for release. It was by far, the best day of the trip. I toured the Random House building and had lunch at this great Italian place with my editor, her boss, and my publicist. It was fancy and I felt fancy...until I realized later that I had spinach in my teeth! So much for being cool! Still, the time I spent at RHC was completely amazing. To see how much effort and time had gone into my book and to hear people there rave about it was enough to make me tear up. My book found a very good home indeed!




I spent the rest of that afternoon walking the city and taking in the sights, from the decadent stores on 5th Avenue to the absolutely beautiful New York Public Library while I slowly made my way down to Book Of Wonder where I was scheduled to be on a panel that night. Yep, for those New York readers, I walked from 55th all the way down to 18th.




When I arrived at Books Of Wonder, the staff was just finishing the set up for the panel discussion I was to take part in with Ally Carter (I know, the Ally Carter, eep!), Elizabeth Kiem, and Kass Morgan (who looks just like Zoey Deschanel). I was pretty nervous as this was my very first panel (so many firsts this trip!). I met the other authors and then watched in amazement as the entire store filled up with people---all with Ally's books tucked under their arms. I honestly couldn't believe that I got to be in front of that many people---as a real, live author!! I've been to plenty of those events as a reader/fan, but this...was a new and incredible experience. I kept trying to memorize everything about it because it was a real Cinderella moment for me and I didn't want to forget any part of it. My publicist and editor showed up and my critique partner Jenn, who I was able to meet in person, FINALLY! My parents were also there, grinning at me and taking loads of pictures.




On the last day of my trip, I got to go to Random House one last time and have lunch with my editor, the foreign rights duo that have successfully sold Gated to both Germany and Turkey, and my German editor, who I never thought I'd be lucky enough to meet. She happened to be in town for meetings, so the timing for my own visit couldn't have been more perfect. She was lovely as was everyone else at the table. By now I was really starting to feel spoiled. Fancy lunches in NYC, book signings, school visits--everything I dreamed about when I first got my book deal was happening and it was every bit as cool as I hoped it would be. After lunch I had a few minutes to buy souvenirs for the family (NYC purses for my girls filled with NYC pens, puzzle erasers, and oversized NYC chocolate coins and two NYC t-shirts for my husband--cheesy and ultra touristy just the way he requested them!) and then it was back to the train station and Pennsylvania for one last night with my family before I headed home. I gotta say, this author thing? NOT TOO SHABBY. I think I could really get used to it!

September 16, 2013

Gated Happenings, Rebel News, and General Chit Chat






This past weekend I had my very first book signing for Gated!!! It was amazing and nerve-wracking and completely thrilling, basically everything that I'd hope it would be. I had planned to post pics here so you could see for yourself, but then I saw my good friend Christy Farley's very cool video of the day and decided that she did a much better job summing it up than I would have. She made me tear up actually! I'm including the link to her video here so you can go check it out. Hugs to her and to all of my other wonderful friends and family for attending. I would've never made it this far if not for them!



In other news, I am now (along with my very awesome agent, Lucienne Diver) YA REBEL's Tuesday vlogger!!! I couldn't be more excited about it. In the coming months Lucienne and I will be posting all kinds of videos about writing, reading, and life in general. I hope that you stop over at the YA REBEL youtube channel to check out all of our shenanigans as well as the videos from all the other very cool and funny rebels.

And coming up next....

I will be leaving tomorrow for my hometown in Pennsylvania to do the following things:

1. Visit with family

2. Take part in some school visits

3. Do a book signing this Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 at The Doylestown Bookshop at 2pm

4. Visit Random House (I plan to record some of this experience for you guys so those who are aspiring to get published can see what this type of visit is all about--I know I was always SUPER curious about it!)

5. Do my very first author panel at Books of Wonder with Ally Carter, Elizabeth Kiem, and Kass Morgan!! SO excited for this!

SO the next week and a half will be pretty darn busy and I"ll probably not be blogging, but no worries, in the meantime, you can see me and Lucienne in our first official Rebels video starting tomorrow!

Have a great week everybody!

September 1, 2013

Gated Tour with Book Nerd Tours




Gated is on a blog tour right now courtesy of Book Nerd Tours. To find out what my inspiration was for Gated, who I'd cast in a movie to play the characters and so much more check out the various stops on this tour. There is also a mega giveaway that you can enter. So much awesome you should go check it out RIGHT AWAY!

  • Tuesday, August 27: BookHounds YA – Review
  • Wednesday, August 28th: Wholly Books – Ten’s List
  • Thursday, August 29th: Insane About Books – Review
  • Friday, August 30th: Gobs and Gobs of Books – Dream Cast
  • Saturday, August 31st: Paranormal Book Club – Review
  • Sunday, September 1st: Bibliophilia, Please – Review
  • Monday, September 2nd: Tams Two Cents – Spotlight
  • Tuesday, September 3rd: Ex Libris – Review
  • Wednesday, September 4th: Books A La Mode – Review
  • Thursday, September 5th: Dream with in a Dream – Review
  • Friday, September 6th: Scott Reads It – This or That
  • Saturday, September 7th: Jean Book Nerd – Review/Interview
  • Sunday, September 8th: Mom with a Kindle – Review
  • Monday, September 9th: Me My Shelf and I – Review
  • August 28, 2013

    GATED News: I'm Going to New York!

    This week several things are happening:

    1. GATED embarks on a blog tour with Book Nerd Tours. There is a giant giveaway for this one, and I do mean giant--as in the biggest one yet. It starts here.

    2. I did a Write Space post for Meagan Spooner's blog and there's a giveaway here too and this one is international--didn't I tell you there'd be one of those coming up soon?! See where I write "the words" every day and such and enter the giveaway here.

    3. I am officially doing a panel at Books Of Wonder in NYC with Ally Carter (yes, THE Ally Carter--I know, I might've squealed) and Elizabeth Kiem, my fellow Random Houser whose book I am dying to read. We'll be there on September 24th at 6pm. I'd love to see you there if you're in the neighborhood. Truth: I am a bit nervous, so any friendly face will be welcome:-)

    4. I'll be at Dragon Con and the Decatur Book Festival starting tomorrow. My first one! I won't be there to do any panels or such. I am going just to geek out at all the awesome. Spike from Buffy will be there! Also Malcolm McDowell and a slew of authors that I just can't wait to hear discuss zombies and other stuff. If you'll be there too, drop me a comment below. I'd love to see you there:-)

    August 23, 2013

    Things I've Learned From Writing A Book Under Contract

    ****I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I was asked to and I figured, well, why the heck not?



    As of this month I have one book out in the world and one book currently going through edits. The first book, Gated, was written before I had an editor or an agent. The second book (Gated's sequel) was written after I had both. Let me tell you, there are HUGE differences between my writing experiences for these books and I just thought, well, why not share? After all, part of what I like to do is frighten people with my words and this post, dear readers will be no different, hee hee. Okay, not really, but I will warn you that it does take the brutally honest approach.

    The unvarnished truth is that the book I wrote under contract--the one I began once I had an agent and editor--was the single most terrifying project I've ever tackled.

    Ever.

    Even in comparison to childbirth.

    Even in comparison to teaching at an inner city school where every kid was far tougher than me.

     It was HARD.

     And scary.

     And almost impossible.

    Now I know about now you are shaking your head and wondering how this could be so. After all, the book was under contract. My publishing house had enough faith in me already that they'd offered on it without any part of it being written yet. After years spent fretting about getting an agent or on whether or not I was even good enough to ever get published, you'd think I would've been feeling more confident.

    Validated.

    But nope.

    Well, that's not true all the way. I felt a little validated, but mostly what I felt like was an imposter. I'd only written one book before Gated. I still felt vastly inexperienced and totally in over my head. I'm not saying that I doubted that I could write well necessarily, just that I doubted that I could write well consistently. Who I was as a writer didn't magically change because I signed a contract with Random House. Validation can make you feel good, but it won't change who you think you are fundamentally. At least it didn't work that way for me.

    Here's what it was like:

    Month 1: The dust settled after the heady days of agent offers, editor offers and deal announcements. I was asked for a due date for the novel under contract. My editor did have a synopsis for this new novel, but I hadn't written one chapter yet. I sat down now to begin the process of writing it. I delved back into my research and began to outline where I thought the book would go. This part was deceptively easy (it always is for me). The hard part comes when I sit down to that first empty page on legal pad number one and try to start drafting. I start and restart too many times to count.

    Month Two: I'm still on the beginning of the book. My head is not in the game the way it should be because now I'm constantly distracted by any news about my debut book--the contract being delivered, edit notes, etc. I refresh my email often and it's almost always quiet. Drafting my new book is like slogging through mud covered in heavy armor. I can't move, think, breathe. Every sentence, every word is torturous, stilted, and WRONG.

    Month Three-Five: I AM SO DISTRACTED BY MY DEBUT BOOK. I know I should be writing furiously...and I am...between email refreshes and manic checks on Goodreads to see if the book's been listed there yet, if I have an isbn number, if any bloggers are talking about it at all. I dream of book signings and being on author panels and basically spend a lot of time practicing my signature. I try to make myself work on the book, and I do get writing done--about 1k a day--and almost always I rewrite it completely when I go to type it into my computer or throw it away because I know that it's nowhere near right. I am incapable of doing a sloppy copy. My debut book is polished and getting prettier all the time as it goes though the edit process and this new book just feels like the biggest, ugliest pig I have ever seen all dressed up in some of my worst prose ever. My mind races through a million doubts. What if I am only capable of writing one publishable book? What if I have no idea how to write for real and just got lucky the first time? What if my editor reads this second book and realizes how wrong she was about me? What if my agent (who is also a friend) regrets every signing me on? I pace my house at night incessantly, chewing my nails to the quick.

    Month Five-Ten: I write and rewrite and rewrite. I ask to change my deadline from before Christmas to after. Thankfully, my editor thinks this is a great idea and isn't bothered that I need more time. The book is still very, very ugly. The plot meanders; the chapters are loose and don't end or begin well. The characters feel flat. I feel flat. I ask myself a dozen times a day? Why did I ever think I could write a sequel to Gated? These moments of abject horror are intermixed with huge highs--like when Gated's cover is revealed, but the highs never last long. I am now absolutely certain that everyone who reads this second book will be disappointed in me and I don't blame them. I'm disappointed in me, and yet, some stubborn bit of me--deep inside--refuses to quit. I will get this book written and find a way to fix it even if it kills me because I want to be published more than this once. I want a career as an author and I know that if I don't put on my big girl panties and barrel headlong through this draft and turn it in, I won't make it in this business. In short, I need to toughen up. I send the book off to my crit partners without the ending to see if I'm at least on the right track sort of. They have feedback--great feedback and lots of it---but they never, not once, say it sucks. In fact they say it's off to a good start and don't seem concerned that I won't be able to fix it. I start to have a brief glimmer of hope.

    Deadline Weekend: I stay up all night that last night. I might've been able to delay my due date, but I knew by this point that all I would be doing is giving myself more time to wallow in my insecurity. I just needed to finish the dang thing. It takes me right up until the last day to figure out the last several chapters and I'm not completely satisfied with them when I'm done, but the draft is done, thank the little baby Jesus. I cry and then email it off to my editor along with an email full of apologies and disclaimers. I am scared, but also resigned to the fact that at this point the draft is as good as it's going to get until I get some distance from it for a while. I take comfort in knowing that my editor won't probably read it for a few months yet and then pass out.

    Fast Forward to This Summer: I get my edit letter and there are big fixes to be made to the draft, but my editor and agent both are happy with the direction I took. I reread it and low and behold, while cringe worthy in parts, it's not all that bad. In fact, I'm pleasantly surprised that there are whole chunks that I like now. Sure, I have to do a major overhaul and end up revising it down from 103k to around 83k, but the fixes feel doable and that is an amazing feeling.

    Looking back here's what I learned:

    1. Writing to deadline and with the knowledge that professional type people will be reading and weighing in on this book whether you feel good about it or not creates a new kind of pressure that can be debilitating at times.

     2. Getting a publishing contract does not magically give you confidence in your ability. This only comes with time and with plowing through your fear over and over again.

    3. Sometimes success can create an expectation (from yourself) that is almost impossible to meet. You have to block it out and just concentrate on what's in front of you so you don't freeze up.

    4. I used to think that once I got a publishing contract I would feel like a real writer. Now I know that I will probably never feel like a real writer, I will just be one because I refuse to stop writing.


    August 9, 2013

    Book Launches for GATED

    So now that GATED is finally out in the world, I will be doing some book launches, one down South in Florida and one up north in Pennsylvania. There are two launches mostly because Florida is my current home, but Pennsylvania is where I grew up and where most of my family still lives. If you are anywhere near either launch event I'd love for you to come! Here are the details....


    September 14, 2pm: Florida launch at Inkwood Books

    September 21, 2pm: Pennsylvania launch at The Doylestown Bookshop

    There will be GATED swag bags given out to five lucky winners in each store as well as other surprises. Hope you can join me!!

    August 6, 2013

    GATED IS OUT IN THE WORLD TODAY!!!!

    I can't believe it, it's finally here!!! GATED is in stores, yippee and on some beautiful displays at Barnes and Noble! Check it out:




    So, today will be all about celebrating. It started out this way:




    And then I get to go have a massage thanks to the hubby who is AWESOME.


    And then I'm going to pop over to Barnes and Noble and revel in the fact that I actually have a book on shelves and in stores. Whoa, it's been awhile since I've stopped to just take that in. I. Have. A. Book. On. Shelves. This is my biggest dream come true and it feels completely amazing!


    AND then I get to go out for a fancy schmancy dinner with the family where you can bet I'll be ordering a dessert, maybe two!


    Before I run off to celebrate though, there are a few people I want to thank:

    Lucienne Diver for believing in me from the very start and being the best, most supportive agent.

    Suzy Capozzi for loving GATED enough to acquire it for RHC

    Chelsea Eberly for being such a great editor and always helping me hone my writerly vision.

    Lauren Donovan for tirelessly spreading the word about GATED

    And the whole RHC GATED team: Mallory Loehr, Nicole (my amazing cover designer), Janet (the Managing Editor who kept it on schedule), Shameiza and Tim (the Production people), Erica (who did a lot of the Marketing), Alison (the Copyeditor); Kim, Becky, Richard, and Sarah (Sales). 

    My Gunning for Awesome ladies and the Lucky 13s for all the support and comraderie. You all kept me sane!


    *****And if you want a copy of my book baby, here's where you can order it:



     
     



     

    August 1, 2013

    GATED's Blog tour Begins and a Very Special Random House Giveaway Goes Up on the Fiction Femme Fatale Blog!!!







    GATED is about to make it's official debut and to celebrate Random House has it (and me) on a tour to some amazing blogs where you can see some reviews of the book, insider information about my writing process and GATED's inspiration, giveaways and so much more! Below is the official schedule. BUT WAIT! There's more awesome!!! I am also hosting a giant giveaway in GATED's honor over at the short story blog, The Fiction Femme Fatale, which I run with my critique partners, Jenn Baker, Krystalyn Drown, and Stefanie Jones. I'm giving away seven incredible Random House books by my fellow young adult authors and one specially annotated copy of GATED. Here's the list of the other books:

    THE LOST SUN by Tessa Gratton
    THE DARK BETWEEN by Sonia Gensler
    THE TRAGEDY PAPERS by Elizabeth LaBan
    BELLE EPOQUE by Elizabeth Ross
    SCOWLER by Daniel Kraus
    DUALED by Elsie Chapman
    FLUTTER by Gina Linko
     
    Pretty amazing, right? If you'd like to enter go visit the Fiction Femme Fatale here.
     
     
    Now...drum roll please.....Here's the official tour schedule:
     
     


    Follow the Gated Blog Tour!
    August 3rd - HelloGiggles
    August 5th - Dear Teen Me
    August 6th - Rachel Writes Things
    August 7th  - Itching for Books
    August 8th - Slave to Books
    August 9th - Downright Dystopian
    August 10th  - My Bookmark Blog
    August 11th - Nerdy Book Club
    August 12th - My Sentiments Exactly!
    August 13th - Blkosiner's Book Blog
    August 14th  - Melanie's Musings
    August 15th - Gone Pecan
    August 16th - Just Simply Nothing
    August 17th  - Cuddlebuggery Book Blog
    August 18th - Lily Bloom Books
    August 21st - The Novlist
    August 23rd - Lectus
     
     
     
    ****Random Buzzers will be tweeting the blog stops throughout the month, so be sure to follow them on Twitter @RandomBuzzers and don't forget to follow me too so you don't miss a thing @amychristinepar!

    June 14, 2013

    Happenings



    So summer is in full swing now and I'm spending most days with two little girlies by my side doing fun summery type stuff. It's hard to find time to work right now, but I'm squeezing it in late at night and when I can. But with GATED set to debut in less than two months now (eep!) there will be happenings from time to time that I will post here to keep y'all in the loop. Here's what's happening right now:

    I'm helping to judge a writing contest for teens for the New York Times--I know, CRAZY, right? I'm excited but also completely nervous because I am the only newbie Random House author who's judging. The other judges are brilliant and have novels--PLURAL--under their belts. Here's the list of the other authors so you can better understand my jitters:

    Adele Griffin

    Matt de la Peña

    Daniel Kraus

    Robin Wasserman

    GULP. Is that an awesome list or what?! Here's the contest link in case you want to go check it out (or if you're a teen and want to take a stab at it): http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/what-interested-you-most-in-the-times-this-week-19/

    Also, a chapter sampler of GATED just went up on Random Buzzers! If you've been curious about my little ol' book, now's your chance to get a sneak peek! Go here to check it out: http://www.scribd.com/doc/147831105/Gated-by-Amy-Christine-Parker#.UbuJJGvD_IV

    Last, but certainly not least, GATED got a good review from Publisher's Weekly. It's not up for viewing to nonsubscribers just yet, but I'll let you when it is.

    That's it for now, but keep checking in. In the next few weeks leading up to GATED's debut EXCITING things will start to happen!

    June 10, 2013

    Review of GATED

    GATED just received a starred review from Kirkus! I couldn't be more thrilled. If you have a subscription, you can go see it now, if not the review will be up for free at the end of July. Still pinching myself on this one!

    June 4, 2013

    More GATED news!

    So I have some more news on the GATED front. My release date has now been officially moved up to August 6, 2013! Just two months until this book is out in the world, eeep!

    Also, foreign rights have now sold to Turkey. This means GATED will be published in two countries besides the USA (Germany has bought rights too.)

    I have my first official book signing! I will be at Inkwood Books in Tampa, Florida on September 14, 2013 to talk about and then sign GATED. There will be giveaways, food, and other fun. If you're anywhere close by, I'd love for you to make plans to be there!

    May 15, 2013

    The Latest Happenings

    Today I am doing one final polish on the book proposals for my option book with RHC while my oldest kiddo is home sick with a cold. Now that summer's just around the corner it's finally hitting me that GATED is going to be on book shelves in less than four months. It's suddenly much more real that people will be reading this book because people already are. Book bloggers are posting pics of GATED arcs in their Twitter feeds and I've sent my own personal arcs out to author friends I know to read and sign yearbook style. My book is slowly going out into the world and I couldn't be more thrilled...and nervous...but mostly thrilled. Now I'm trying to drink in every moment as it comes because I know that my time as a debut is now well under way and that it is fleeting. I will be a YA debut just this once. So I've made a scrap book for myself with everything from the first emails from my agent saying that she loved the book and wanted to represent me, to the first blog interviews I did, and the offer email from RHC. It's ony been a little over a year and already it's fun to go back and see how far both the book and I have come. We've both grown and become more solidly what we're meant to be. The journey was scary and exhilarating and so much fun. I can't wait to see what comes next!

    Oh, and also....some more NEWS!

    1. GATED was chosen to be a part of the American Booksellers Association's "Celebrate Debut Authors with Indies" program this fall. Indy bookstores have my heart, so I couldn't be more pleased or honored! You can read the official announcement here.

    2. The Random House "It's a First! Fresh Fiction from New Voices Fall 2013" catalogue is up at the Randombuzzers site. You can read an excerpt from GATED and find out what my extremely aweseom editor, Chelsea Eberly, loves about it!

    April 26, 2013

    NEWS!!!!!

    Just a quick post to say that I have some news! GATED just sold to DTV in Germany! It's slated to be published there in Fall 2014.

    April 16, 2013

    Since Last I Blogged....

    It's been a long time. *hangs head in shame*. I keep promising to blog better, but I still have these long jags where I don't blog at all. The truth? I'm not so good with the balancing. I tend to get hyper focused on one or two things and let others go completely. This blog is one of my regular sufferers. So I think I'm overdue for an update.

    Here's what's been happening:

    1. Texas Writer's Retreat: I left my family for FIVE WHOLE DAYS to go hang out in Texas and it was AMAZING!!! Basically, I started the whole experience by flying into Austin and within half an hour of getting there, jumping into a cab with Gretchen McNeil and Anna Carey to go get some killer Mexican food downtown! They were so easy to talk to and so fun that I forgot to be the nervous newbie writer altogether. I basically just sat there smiling like a fool going "this is my life now" WEIRD.

    Here are some of the highpoints:

    --Watching Myra McEntire sing Shoop by Salt and Peppa.
    --Talking serial killers and all things dark and twisty with Brenna Yovanoff (so nice to talk about all the creepy and not have the other person look at you funny)
    --Listening to Gretchen McNeil sing opera
    --Reading reviews for some very dirty, very disturbing books on the boat dock out loud with most of the group. Two words: timetraveling toilet. A key object in one such book.
    --Nightly talks where we discussed our goals, fears, and firsts (in and out of publishing).
    --Eating ALL THE FOOD. Seriously. These ladies were good cooks. One of my very favorites was Tara Hudson's jalepeno chicken. SO GOOD. We actually compiled all the recipes at the end and I've made most of them since I got back.

    Here's a pick of me with the lovely Gunning for Awesome ladies, my closest writerly buddies--we're missing five of us: Lacey Edwards, Lori M. Lee, Deborah Hewitt, Ruth Steven, and Gemma Cooper, but someday hopefully I'll have a complete group photo. For now, this is (left to right: Corinne Duyvis, Stephanie Winklehake, Michelle Krys, Amy Tintera, Kim Welchons, Moi, and our fearless leader, Natalie Parker).


    In this picture if you look carefully you'll see Carrie Ryan on the extreme left, Brenna Yovanoff and then Tessa Gratton with their backs to the camera, Victoria Schwab, Beth Revis, and Bethany Hagen


    2. ARCS!!!!!!: I got GATED's arcs last week in the mail. Yippeeeeee!!!! SO completely cool to see my story in book form for the first time. This was quickly followed up with a giant stomache ache when I realized that a ton of authors I admire A LOT were now going to read it. And then there are the reviewers, eeep!


    3. First Pass Pages: I've been going over GATED one last time this week and it's very cool to see how it's been refined and polished until it shines! Can't believe how close things are getting now!

    4. Book Proposals: This is where I write down all my shiny new ideas and hope that my editor loves them. I'm dying to hint at what they're about....Buuuuut I think I'll keep it secret just a wee bit longer. CREEPY. That's all I'm going to say, but of course if you know me then you aren't surprised by this.

    Next up?  Getting in shape for my book's release because whoa, all this "butt in chair" business has me less than camera ready. I think I've eaten my body weight in Pull n Peel Twizzlers the past few months. Seriously.

    March 7, 2013

    Writer's Retreat, Eeeek!

    In exactly three days, gulp, I will be heading to Texas for a writer's retreat with twenty-one other amazing authors!!! I can't even believe it!! Out of all the great things that have happened since this time last year, this is probably one of the biggest for me. It's a chance to hang out with some of my closest online writer friends and to meet some authors that I've been a fan girl of ever since I started writing. To give you an idea of why it's so awesome, here's the list of people who're going.

    Brandy Allard, @BrandyAllard
    Anna Carey, @AnnaCareyBooks
    Rae Carson, @raecarson
    Corinne Duyvis, @corinneduyvis
    Sonia Gensler, @soniagensler
    Tessa Gratton, @tessagratton
    Bethany Hagen, @Bethany_Hagen
    Tara Hudson, @thudsonwrites
    Emily Kate Johnston, @ek_johnston
    Michelle Krys, @michellekrys
    Gretchen McNeil, @GretchenMcNeil
    Myra McEntire, @MyraMcEntire
    Amy Parker, @amychristinepar
    Natalie C Parker, @nataliecparker
    Amy Plum, @AmyPlumOhLaLa
    Beth Revis, @bethrevis
    Carrie Ryan, @carrieryan
    Victoria Schwab, @veschwab
    Amy Tintera, @amytintera
    Kim Welchons, @Kim_Welchons
    Stephanie Winkelhake, @StephieWink
    Brenna Yovanoff, @brennayovanoff

    I know, CRAZY, right? The weirdest part? A few years ago some of these authors were on a very similar retreat and held a live video chat to talk about their upcoming books and I was sitting in front of my computer watching thinking how very cool is that? All of those authors hanging out together talking about writing....and now I'm on the same retreat. *faints* Just goes to show you how different your life can become in a very short period of time and how sometimes the stuff you wish for COMES TRUE.

    February 15, 2013

    Giveaway




    Hey guys! Long time, no blog, I know, I know. But today I have something exciting to share! A giveaway from my critique partner, Krystalyn! Her book, LEGASEA, came out last month and now she's offering up a copy of it as well as a cool, hand crafted seal ornament


    and some other surprise swag!!! The book is about selkies and is a fun, tightly paced thrill ride that I definitely recommend for anyone who likes a little paranormal in their read. You can enter on her site .

    January 1, 2013

    2012 in Review, Part 2

    This is the second half of a post I started on New Year's Eve about this past year, my first as an agented and soon to be published author. I left off at August when I had received my first advance check. Without further ado here comes the rest:

    September: I wait for edit notes and keep pounding away at the second book in my deal. I throw out a lot of words. By the end of this month I am only a third of the way through the second book even though I've been working on it since the deal. I am battling a serious case of nerves. I push through, but it is HARD. Sometime this month my editor emails me the initial concepts for my cover. I like them, but I don't get too excited. It's just the start of the process and my editor warns me that a lot can change. Still, I look at them often. It makes the process feel just a little more real.

    October: I start to finally, finally make real progress on the sequel to my book. I tell my editor that I can hand it in at the end of the month, but as the month goes along I start to see that it will be much rougher than the first one at hand in time. This worries me. I feel like the bones are all there, but it's just not polished enough for my own standards. I worry all over again about disappointing my agent, editor and myself. At the end of the month I get my first set of edits and a sneak peak at my book jacket copy. The edits are fairly light and I agree with almost all of them. It feels so good to know that my editor and I see eye to eye on how this book is meant to go. I basically hole up in my house for an entire week and complete the edits. It feels strange to read my book again after so long. I like it more than I did when I sent it out. This feels amazing and gives me hope for book two. Maybe I've just been staring at it too long? I turn in my edits at Halloween time and am relieved when the book moves on to copy edits. Around this time I also find out that we might need to change the title to better market the book. I spend a few hours brainstorming titles and emailing back and forth with my agent. We settle on three and send them to Random. One of the three is chosen as the new title. I like it, but have trouble not calling my book by it's old name. I'd given it that name at the outset, so almost a year later, it feels so strange to call it anything else. I feel good about the direction that Random House and my editor are taking it in though. I'm excited to see how the title change affects the cover design and book jacket copy.

    November: Right around Thanksgiving I get a call from my agent. Turns out my editor will be leaving Random House after the holiday. I now have a new editor named Chelsea Eberly. I don't know what to think at first and am nervous about the change. Will she like the book as much as Suzy did? I worry a little, but once Chelsea calls me on the phone to introduce herself I stop worrying. She chose to take on my book in Suzy's place and was a fan since the aquisition process. I like her immediately over the phone and realize that I've been lucky enough to nab another fabulous editor. Still, I'm sad to see Suzy go. She gave me my break and I will always, always be grateful to her and slightly awed that she chose my book. This month I also find out my book's on Amazon. Another "this is really happening moment". I now have an official release date. August 27th. Wow!

    December: Things begin to pick up now. I get my copy edits and some extra notes from Chelsea. None of the edits feel overwhelming. I get lucky this way for the second time. I complete the edits in a weekend. Just as I turn them in I get my actual cover. It is breath-stealingly awesome and I literally stare at it for hours. I turn in my acknowledgments and email Chelsea my author photo. My cover gets scheduled to be revealed just before Christmas. I sit on it for just under two weeks which is SO HARD because I want to show everyone I see. Cover reveal day is heady and thrilling. I check the host's blog all day long. It is the best Christmas present ever, seeing my book cover and jacket copy online and watching people react to it. What a way to end a truly spectacular year.

    And that's it! Now I am anxiously awaiting arcs and first page passes and...gulp, initial reviews. I am excited and scared and thrilled. This is the year my book will be on actual book shelves in a book store. I wish somehow that I could go back in time and give my aspiring writer self a glimpse of what was coming this year. But even if I could somehow manage it, I doubt I would've believed myself. This whole process has been so much more than I imagined it to be. It's so, so much better...and harder in some ways...but oh so worth it.