We have a winner! The winner of the gorgeously illustrated book, Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, is Shelley Moore Thomas! Who happens to be the author of an upcoming Middle Grade masterpiece, The Seven Tales of Trinket. Oh my goodness, if you love fairy tales, you MUST read this book. So amazing.
Yay, Shelley! Now send me your address and I’ll ship the precious off to you.
In other news… supposedly The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is one of Apple ibooks’ Best of August! Which is so cool, and I believe it since my editor sent me a screen shot of the page that says so… only I can’t seem to find it on my ibooks page. I’ll just show you all the cool screen shot. See? Isn’t that nifty? I’m very excited!
Now, it’s back to the kitchen for me – I’m halfway through the first 300 cupcakes. Did I ever mention I bake when I’m stressed? Um, yeah. Sort of jittery down here in Texas…
I’m going to get real here, friends: It’s not all that fun right now.
I mean, sure, it’s fun, everyone’s excited about the book coming out, I’m baking a million cupcakes for the launch party at Bookpeople on the 25th… and I’m happily excited, I swear! But, the past few days, that excitement has been seasoned with a healthy dose of nerves.
It’s sort of like when you finally get on the big roller coaster you’ve been dying to be on for so long, after waiting in line for hours, and you’re going up that enormous first hill, with the clackity-whirr of gears grinding underneath you… and the “happy excited” flips ever-so-slightly into the “oh-crud” kind?
No, I have no idea why. Except that it’s not every day that your Life’s Dream comes true, is it? And mine is about to hit. And if I learned one thing from having a super-colicky Screamer Devil Baby almost 13 years ago, it’s that Glorious Life Changing Events never turn out exactly the way you’d think.
So, think about me this final week. And, if you still want to win a book by/from a Nervous Nellie debut author, you can enter here:
One of the very best things about being a writer, at least in Central Texas, is the company. There are SO MANY amazing writers here! And if you are lucky enough to live here (and come out of your writing cave occasionally), you get to meet them, talk to them, and learn what amazing people they are in addition to the whole “genius writer” thing.
Last year, I had the chance to go to a retreat with a bunch of friends at a place we like to call the Lodge of Dead Things. It was wonderful, of course. But one of the best parts was getting to know author Joy Preble.
Seriously, she is funny, smart as a whip, kind, generous, and her writing! Gah! If I hadn’t loved her so much, I would have had the tiny teeth of jealousy tearing at my innards for weeks after that retreat. She’s a rockstar.
And she has a book coming out – the third in a series! Which I own, and NO I am NOT giving it away on the blog, it is MINE ALL MINE. But… when I was talking to Joy, we realized that we both have the character of Vasilisa the Brave in our books, both of which are coming out in the next two weeks — so I thought we should celebrate.
Don’t worry if you don’t know the story of Vasilisa. It’s okay, and you’re not alone. Heck, I know at least one reviewer/kid with an advance copy of Sinister Sweetness who had never hear d of Hansel and Gretel, and they still got the story. BUT, dear friends, if you get this book and THEN read Joy’s or my books?
YOU WILL BE CHANGED FOREVER.
Okay, well, maybe if you read it, then Joy’s book. My book mostly just makes people hungry, then nervous.
Anyway… HERE is what I AM giving away to celebrate: One brand-new copy of Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, by Marianna Mayer.
I will also throw in a bookmark of Joy’s , one of mine, and maybe even a few other little goodies because I love Joy that much and want to celebrate her awesomeness.
So, in the comments section, tell me what your very favorite fairy tale is for one entry. And if you tweet about this, tell me that, too, and I’ll enter your name another time!*
So, hooray for Joy! And hooray for you, dear readers — August is filling up with fun fairy tale-ish b0oks!
*This contest is good for North America only, please! Contest will end on 8/14.
Oh, friends. There are parts of this whole debut author thing that scare me to death. Mostly it’s the technology-related stuff. (You may have picked up on the fact that I’m really the tiniest bit afraid of Twitter, even though I use it. And these nights I wake up in a cold sweat, having nightmares about Skype visits gone horribly wrong.)
So, making a book trailer would be one of These Evil Things, right?
Not if you are married to the world’s awesomest husband. WHICH I AM. And he happens to be an amazing photographer, AND a computer whiz. (My momma always told me to “marry tech support.” Thanks, Mom. Good call.)
This book trailer thing is going to be so much fun. I think.
In any case, we’ve been Very Busy taking pictures of kids with the most insane amounts of inappropriately sweet junk food… and then giving the food to the kids who model for us, of course. (One kid ate his entire PIE right after his photo shoot. A whole pie. There is a picture book I adore with a dog who did this. Buy it now.)
In any case, the trailer will be unveiled at my book launch party at Bookpeople in Austin, Texas on Saturday, August 25. (To which you are all invited. Go, buy your plane tickets!) I think it will be awesome. Here is one of the models. (My kid!)
First course of breakfast at Splendid Academy
Once you’ve enjoyed ogling my cute kid, trot on over to the ModPodgeBookshelf blog to read a new guest post I wrote on re-naming my main character in Sinister Sweetness… and enter for a chance to win an ACTUAL first-edition, SIGNED copy of my book!
Tis the season for ARC giveaways! And this week, you have two more chances to win an Advance Reader’s Copy of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy… as well as a bunch of swag and candy. (We’re talking dark chocolate here, people.)
Here are the links, and don’t wait! These contests only run for a few more days. Also, there are slightly awkward interviews with me at both sites, so good for all your “laughing at Nikki” needs.
And while you’re clicking links, check out my friend Shelli Cornelison‘s awesome YA short story, “The Hard Shells of Turtles” at Verbal Pyrotechnics. Wait… a new venue for YA short fiction? I hope you people are taking notes. 🙂
This week’s awesome reviews for Sinister Sweetness:
Thanks to Omnimystery News for including Sinister Sweetness on your new mystery titles for kids list!
Well, friends, I’ve been shopping! Which I normally hate, but this is sort of fun shopping – for my launch party! All sorts of exciting raffle prizes to match the theme. (Um, a whole CASE of candy bars is one of the prizes. So, yeah. It’s going to be awesome. Unless you’re a parent. Then you’re going to hate me, if your kid wins. And did you know they make these three-foot-long, three-inch-diameter rolls of Twizzlers? Yes, they do. I’m looking at one right now. Raffle prize #2.)
Not much to report this week, other than one more very nice review from Kirkus Reviews. You’re not supposed to quote the whole thing, but someone very kindly posted it in its entirety on the Barnes and Noble page for my book, so here you go! Go ahead, read it. I’ll wait.
I KNOW, RIGHT? So amazing.
I can’t decide if my favorite quote is “deliciously scary and satisfying,” or just “irresistible.”
Now it’s time to go read! I’m reading the amazing WONDER by R. J. Palacios, and an early ARC of SUMMER AND BIRD. Gorgeous so far. Which shall I pick tonight…
SQUEEEEE! (I totally deserve to squee. I mean, “fresh, mesmerizing, new AND classic? Pardon me while I swoon.)
I’m so happy! And I’m ALSO happy because while I was away, TWO amazing writer friends posted interview/essays of mine on their blogs, with ARC giveaways of the aforementioned “fresh, mesmerizing, etc.” book.
It came in the mail!!! My book jacket! From my delightful, kind editor, who sends me lovely things from time to time, and this week sent me this:
As beautiful as a newborn unicorn, yes?
Is it not the most gorgeous thing ever??? Click on it to make it larger so you appreciate it more fully. I’ll wait.
Okay, I’ll admit. I feel precisely the way about my cover as I felt about my babies when they were born. All I can see is perfection. I love it all — the tree on the spine, the colors of the words that bring to mind flames or warning signs, the different colors of text on the foggy, misty, blackened background, the way they captured my author photo and even the ISBN/UPC with branches, the quote from the lovely Cynthia Leitich Smith framed in the treetops, the school crest, EVERYTHING!
And what you cannot see is that it is textured, the whole thing, sort of gritty, like SAND (and if you know the story you just screamed along with me!), except for the branches and lettering and a few other bits which are slick and glossy like butterscotch candy wrappers.
It is divine. So, so lovely.
Thank you, a thousand thank yous to the genius Emily Osborne, my cover designer, and also to Alexander Jansson, who did the illustration on the front.
I know, right? It’s the question every writer gets, and every writer I know has come up with some pat answer to fend off further questions. (One of my writer friends says he gets his ideas at a little shop in Marfa, Texas. I SO want to visit that shop. His ideas are really good.)
I had the amazing opportunity to present a workshop at the Dripping Springs Community Library today to a group of twenty-three 8-10 year olds about that very question. (No pictures, sorry! It’s not cool to post photographs of kids without those pesky permission forms. 🙂
I called the workshop “Finding a Fantastic What If.” We began with a quick overview of the parts of a story, and then I spoke to them about my book’s initial what if: What if Hansel and Gretel found a gingerbread house… but it wasn’t a house, it was a modern-day school. And what if the teacher was the witch?”
Then we collaborated to make up a new character (Snowflake the Delicious Unicorn, in this case), and give him character traits. (Poor Snowflake was lonely, scared, and prone to being snacked on by everyone since he had a mane and tail made of cotton candy and a horn made of fruit tarts. Whoa, fruit tart horn? I would totally eat that unicorn.)
Then I had the kids tell me what Snowflake’s problem was, and his goal. We talked about some good ways – and repetitious ways, using fairy tales and the lovely Rule of Three as a starting point- to write the attempts at solving the problem, etc.
Then the kids made up their own characters, made them out of modeling clay, drew them, danced the Cha Cha Slide, and ate chocolate.
I want to direct your attention away from my little blog today, and over to the new brainchild of debut author Laurisa White Reyes (The Rock of Ivanore, 2012).
After realizing how easy it was to find YA lit blogs, and how not-quite-so-easy to locate the MG ones, Laurisa spent a lot of time compiling a list of over 100 middle-grade-related blogs. Then she very generously created this new site so no one else would have to do that work again!
I am in love with this site.* Check out Middle Grade Mania – and make sure to mention any other MG blogs that may not be on the list. She’s still compiling.
* And, FYI, my 12 y.o. son is in love with Laurisa’s book! He and his friends have read it, and love it. It’s on my TBR pile – higher up now, I’ll admit, with his hearty recommendation. Check it out!
Also Awesome: I have been invited to present at the Houston Writer’s Guild Fall conference! I’ll be doing a three-hour workshop on Building Your Writer’s Toolkit. Sign up, and I’ll give you chocolate.