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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Will YOU Like Losing Faith?

As I see it, I probably have two categories of blog readers:

Category A: These people are my big supporters. They may be my friends or family, critique partners or people I've met at writing conferences. Or they may even be people who have stumbled upon a description of LOSING FAITH and think they will love it. These people are excited, along with me, about the launch of my first book in just over a month. Thank you! (with a million, gazillion extra exclamation points!) I love words, but I just can't find ones that are good enough to tell you how much I appreciate all of you!

Category B: Maybe you're just here for the giveaways. Or possibly you just stumble upon my blog each time it has an interesting-looking title. You may not have thought much about Losing Faith and whether or not it would be a book you would enjoy. If you're like me, you don't roam around the Internet scouring for the back copy of upcoming books. You wait until you have a hard copy in your hands - either in a bookstore, library, or in your home to see if it's something you want to read.

If you're a Category B visitor of my blog, Welcome! I still absolutely love having you here. And I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to drop by my Losing Faith Page to read the description. I probably wouldn't either. But...if you are kind of interested, and would like a quick and interesting way to find out if my book is up your alley, I invite you to visit the following link:

April from Good Books and Wine (what a great name, right?!) has put together an awesome vlog. She's very entertaining, giving a short description of Losing Faith and then reading an excerpt of her choice. It was so cool for me to see the excerpt she chose!

So if you have about four minutes to spare, hop on over to her blog and see if you might want to move into Category A! And if not, no worries. See you back here Monday for ANOTHER great giveaway!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday last!

I've been doing giveaways on Fridays for so long, I can't even remember the last time I posted a Friday Four. I'm really excited about doing it today! There's so much freedom in coming up with four unrelated points!

1. First of all, have you heard about this week's awesome giveaway? I'm giving away a very rare and in-demand advance copy of Laurie Halse Anderson's FORGE (It's even signed!). All you have to do is comment or tweet your favorite things about the author or her books. Today, our twitter question will be about your fave LHA characters. Details here.

2. Speaking of Laurie Halse Anderson, she's having a writing challenge through the month of August. Is NaNoWriMo just way too crazy for you?! Well this is only fifteen minutes per day. Fifteen minutes! My six-year-old could probably do that. And she'll offer writing prompts. Find out the details here

3. I promise I won't share about every review for LOSING FAITH here, but I did want to share one thing that absolutely made my year. A blogger who just read my book, put a note on her GoodReads profile that says, "So in love with this book." I cried. Seriously. Because I realized last night, that reviews and what people say about my book--the plot, the characters, etc--that's not the important part for me. I've always known that is so subjective. But really connecting with a reader, even if it's only one, that means everything to me.

4. Okay, I was trying not to say it, but I can't help myself. It's SCBWI - LA this weekend, and yes, I'm jealous. It's actually worse, I think, having been there last year. I know what I'm missing - meeting up with great author friends, writing camaraderie, not to mention taking in a few craft workshops. Le sigh. If you're feeling this way too, Elissa de Cruz is having a pity party on her blog. Come and join the party, but make sure to bring snacks!

The sunshine has finally made it to the West Coast. I'm looking forward to some outdoor time this weekend, maybe the beach. What are you up to? Happy weekend, everybody!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Reviews Vs. Movie Reviews

I enjoyed reading the wide variety of comments on book reviews and how much they matter yesterday. (Scroll down if you haven't read them yet). I was especially surprised by the fact that many of you would quickly forgo a movie with a single bad review, whereas it would likely take many bad reviews to make you skip over a book, which you would need to dedicate at least three times as much of your precious time to.

And so would I, I think. I've been pondering this. Is it because we rely on a smaller pool of movie reviewers, or because we're dedicated followers of one or two? Is it because we consider the enjoyment of a book much more subjective than the enjoyment of a movie?

My husband and I are followers of Ebert and Roeper. First of all, I love that there are at least two critics in one place there - you're not relying on only one opinion of a movie. We will generally give a movie a chance if it is only one thumb up. I love the "thumbs up/thumbs down" approach, as it is easy to quickly see how the critics felt in short glance. And the thing I love the best is seeing them banter about movies, when I actually get a chance to watch them on TV.

So I wonder, is there a regular book reviewer that you consider a kindred spirit...someone who you feel you can rely on their reviews and know that if they love a book, you likely will too?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reviews - How much do they really matter?

I saw my first review of Losing Faith this week! It was cause for celebration, first of all because it was a pretty darn good review, but secondly, just because the waiting is finally over. I feel like I’ve been on the edge of a cliff for the last month or so, not knowing how I would feel or react when people I didn’t know started talking publicly about my book. Of course I still need to wait and see how I’ll handle the negative reviews.

Here's a little quote from Crystal from My Reading Room on Losing Faith...

"Suspense, religion, romance, teenage angst, this book has it all and it is all well-done.  Losing Faith was an amazing read that hooked me in the beginning and when it was done I was well-satisfied with the conclusion.  Great from start-to-finish!"

And here's a link to the full review:

As the author of a book that’s out there in the wild, I know reviews matter to me. Boy, do they matter to me! But I wonder, as a reader, how much do they matter to you? Do you often search out reviews on certain books, or do you just read the ones you stumble upon?

Personally, I rarely look up reviews on books. Once in a while, if I really LOVE a book, I’ll go searching for negative reviews, just because I find it so incredibly difficult to believe that someone could say anything bad about such an amazing book. And it also is a great reminder of how incredibly subjective this writing and reading process is.

Will you still read a book, even if you’ve read a few negative reviews on it? Or do negative reviews sometimes spur you on to read it, to see what all the criticism is about? I don’t think I’ve ever NOT read a book I wanted to read because of reviews I’ve read. I have read one book that I can remember because the negative reviews intrigued me. I do think I went into reading that book with my mind pre-decided that I probably wouldn’t like it though.

I'm curious, is what people are saying about a book (friends, family, bloggers) a major factor in many of the books you pick up? How likely are you to review a book online somewhere? Inquiring minds want to know!

Reviews are important in that they get the word out about books and authors, especially new ones. But I wonder if there’s much difference to readers in whether they are good reviews or bad ones. The one thing especially helpful about great reviews is that more reviewers may be apt to review it also, which is a great buzz-starter. Buzz is good, I'm not discounting that. I just wonder whether I'm in the norm, just stumbling upon the odd review and hearing about a book I may not have otherwise, or if there are many of you who actively search out reviews and use them to dictate your reading piles.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Teen Author Tuesday Presents 101 Reasons We Love Laurie Halse Anderson!

Okay, now don't be too disappointed, but I don't have an interview to share with you this week. However, I DO have a signed advance copy of FORGE!

Yes, you read that right! Today I'm featuring one of my very favorite authors, Laurie Halse Anderson, just because I think she's amazing, and I'm giving away her ARC, just because I appreciate all of you!

Just to prove to you all that I have a copy and it is signed by the lady herself, here's a picture of me being all can-barely-form-a-sentence fangirl with Laurie at BEA. Sorry about the blurry pic - it's from my cell phone. But still, I will treasure it always.

FORGE is a sequel to CHAINS, still in the midst of the American Revolution, but this time switching perspectives from Isabel to Curzon. One of my favorite things is hearing my favorite authors read from their books. Here's a little glimpse at Laurie reading the prologue of FORGE:

I love hearing the story the way the author meant for it to be told. (If you watch this before reading the rest, you'll hear her inflection through the whole thing). So here is what I'm going to do for the contest this week. I'm going to open this one up internationally, for anyone over 13 (or have someone over 13 enter for you). The contest will be open until next Tuesday night (August 3rd) at midnight PST. I'll announce the soon as I can after that.

Here's the game play: Because I love to bless other people, especially those who have blessed me (as in providing awesome books to read, being a great inspiration and encourager, etc. etc.) and also I love to chat about my favorite authors and what other people like best about them, let's come up with one hundred and one reasons we LOVE Laurie Halse Anderson. You can leave your reason in the comments below, or tweet a DIFFERENT reason using @denisejaden and @halseanderson (so I can find you if you win) in the tweet for an extra entry! In fact, for each different reason you tweet, I'll enter your name again for the prize.

Make sure to spread the word, though, because if we don't come up with a hundred and one...I'm keeping my precious copy! (Well, not really. But still spread the word anyway, k?)

You can give me a general reason, or a favorite character, favorite book, favorite scene...whatever you like. Let's bless the socks off of Laurie this week, just for fun!

I'll start with one of my many reasons, and I'll tweet some favorite books/characters later: I cannot get enough of Laurie Halse Anderson's writing voice. It's absolutely easy to read and engaging in everything she writes.

Your turn! And good luck!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm Back!

I'm not sure if you missed me, but I can promise you that I DID miss all of you. I went through a serious case of withdrawal from my online friends this last week. But I'm back and ready to catch up.

First, before I forget, I just want to mention that I'll be starting a new and awesome contest tomorrow, so please stop back and check it out. I'll be giving away a signed ARC by one of my favorite, made-of-awesomeness authors.

Secondly, I want to know what I missed! The blogosphere is way too huge to catch up properly after a week away, so help me out. What interesting stuff went on while I was offline?

It's been so long, I don't even remember how much I mentioned about where I was going and what I was doing, so here's a quick rundown. It was not a book-focused trip (I know it's hard to believe, but I DO have a life aside from writing and reading). My family took a trip down to Sacramento/San Francisco for about a week. My husband and I used to run a natural bodybuilding federation, and we're still pretty connected to that whole world. My husband was invited to judge a big bodybuilding competition and I was asked to take care of the tabulations. It was a long, grueling day of staring at almost-naked bodies, which all began to look alike after a while, and I wondered if agents have the same problem - no matter how good the manuscript (because these were some pretty impressive bodies!), I wonder if you read enough good writing if it starts to blend together and look the same.

From there, we traveled with our Californian friends into San Francisco. We spent one day at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. I did not attempt any of the death defying rides, but only because of the long lineups (that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!) We stayed in a really cool hotel right downtown San Francisco. It used to be a high-end apartment, and the place had so much character, I just wanted to stay there forever. In fact, all of San Francisco has a lot of character, and I took a lot of notes because now I'm hoping to set my next book there. It was a very inspiring place, and I felt like if I could have stayed, I probably could have written a whole book in a week.

Of course no trip would be complete without stepping into a bookstore! I did stop by the Borders that was just down from our hotel room and snapped a few pix of some of my author friends' books. I swear, it's just as exciting for me every time!

So I'm serious about filling me in from last week. What interesting stuff happened that I missed out on - in your own life or around the Net?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blogging Hiatus

I had planned on blogging, at least some, while I'm out of town. However, I'm having lots of trouble with Internet connections (I'm actually posting this from my phone, as that seems to be my only access at the moment). Rest assured, I will be back next week with plenty to say and some more awesome prizes.

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Genres and Pseudonyms: and the Winner is...

Thanks so much for everyone who weighed in on the topic of switching genres and pseudonyms. What an interesting discussion, with opinions from all across the board! I still plan to stick with one name, even if I branch out, simply because I can't imagine keeping up with social networking on more than one. Of course I would always take advice from my agent or editor on this though.

Now for the exciting news: this week's prize pack - 3 ARC's, BEFORE I FALL and DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver and LOW RED MOON by Ivy Devlin - goes to...


Congratulations, Karen! Please send your mailing address to me at d (at) denisejaden (dot) com and I'll get these in the mail to you! (I think there's only one Karen who entered, but I'll do my best to contact you as well).

The next prize is coming....and it's a good one...but you'll have to check back on Teen Author Tuesday for that one. (It's from one of my FAVORITE authors!) Have a good weekend, everyone! I'm off to Sacramento to help out with a bodybuilding competition. I'm hoping the 110 degree weather will drop a bit before I get there! 

What are you up to for this beautiful weekend?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Do You Dream About Your Characters?

I woke up this morning in the midst of a dream about two of my characters. In that sleepy, dreamy state, they were so vivid and real, and it left me energized and invigorated to go and write an awesome scene about them.

This got me to thinking...dreaming about my characters and stories, or waking up thinking about them, is not an unusual thing for me. In fact, I'd say it's a necessary part of the process, as it helps to make everything in my story more vivid to me. It helps me to feel like my story and characters matter. But it never seems to happen easily. Not until I'm fully engrossed in the book I'm working on. In my world, it's kind of a circular problem: I don't dream until I'm engrossed, but I NEED the dreams to really make me engrossed. So I'm not quite sure how I've found myself here again...dreaming, adoring my story and characters, overwhelmed with new and exciting scene ideas. But I am. And I'm thankful for that.

Sometimes, I admit, I wake up in the middle of the night with the strangest ideas (and think they're awesome at the time). Of course, by morning I usually know that I won't be making my main character into a man eating shark and sending her off to bite the head off the antagonist in my contemporary realistic YA.  Usually I know that. Sometimes my critique partner needs to bring me back to earth.

Do you dream about your characters and stories? Do they become more real to you that way, like they do for me? Do you find the weirdozoid ideas creep out in the middle of the night, but the good ones come in the morning?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Would You Rather Wednesday

I had so much fun reading everyone's responses to the last Would You Rather Wednesday for writers and readers, I thought I'd try it again! Feel free to answer one of them or all of them, and I'll come back later to add my answers to the comments.

Would you rather...

1. Read a book full of cliches or a book that's so original it becomes unbelievable?

2. Write about something you already know, or something you want to know about?

3. Read a big book with lots of extra sensory details or a short and crisp book that leaves lots to the imagination?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Teen Author Tuesday Presents Anastasia Hopcus!

Another Tenner has come to hit the Teen Author Tuesday platform this week. Anastasia Hopcus is super-nice (I met her recently in New York) and her hair is even more electrifying in person than it is in pictures! Her debut novel, SHADOW HILLS, releases today, July 13th, from Egmont USA. It is a  Paranormal YA for ages 12 and up

Welcome, Anastasia. Can you tell us about your book in seven words or less.
Boarding school, mystery, cemetery, Greek mythology, epidemic

Oooh, sounds great! Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your debut novel and why?
I love Adriana. She just says whatever comes into her head and doesn’t over-think everything like I do. It’s great to write her and be completely free of that analytical mindset.

I love those characters who have more guts than I do. Can you tell us about one of your pet peeves?

One of my biggest pet peeves is when a character on TV goes to a bar and orders “two beers” and the bartender just hands them some random beer. As someone who used to bartend, I can tell you I’ve never seen this happen. What customer is just fine with whatever beer some stranger chooses for them? Even if they don’t care about the difference in taste between PBR and Guinness, they’re going to care about the difference in price.

What's been the most surprising thing about your path to publication so far?
The YA book blogs were a fantastic surprise. It was only after I joined the 10’ers that I found out about book blogging. It was amazing to see how dedicated the bloggers were to encouraging reading & helping authors promote their books. It’s awesome!

I couldn't agree more. What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
It’s probably the most common advice, but I think it’s also the best: be persistent. Just keep writing and revising and submitting your work. If you are committed, I believe you can eventually achieve your goals.

Great advice! Are you swept up with promotion for your debut book right now or can you give us a sentence or two about something new you're working on?
I can’t really say too much about the project I’m working on now, as nothing is set in stone, but I’m definitely interested in exploring Zach’s and Phe’s story further. The newest idea I’m developing is a historical YA set in the time of Byron and Shelley.

Sounds interesting! What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?

I mostly wrote short stories and started, but never finished, several screen plays. I always thought my problem was a short attention span, but it turns out I’m just better suited for novels. No one was more surprised than me to learn that I can’t write a book and have it clock in at less than 100,000 words.

What's the last book you read that you really loved?
I love many, many books, but my most recent obsession is Shade by Jeri-Smith Ready. The Body Finder was also fantastic, and I haven’t finished Paranormalcy yet (I haven’t had a lot of time to read) but it is so incredibly good! I’ve been really impressed by all the 10’ers books I’ve read so far---2010 is an awesome year for YA!

Shade is next on my TBR pile - I can't wait. If readers want to find out more about you and your writing, Anastasia, where should they look?

 And just for fun, I'm going to leave you with the awesome SHADOW HILLS trailer. Enjoy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday at the Movies

First of all, thanks so much to everyone who has been weighing in on genre switching and pseudonyms! It's been very interesting to hear the quite varied thoughts. Some authors love the mystery of authors writing under pseudonyms, some feel it's insulting. Many of you don't care either way, but still have plenty of wise words about the subject!

I love these discussions!

If you haven't seen this post yet, drop by here and give your thoughts. There are still a few more days to enter to win BEFORE I FALL, DELIRIUM, and LOW RED MOON.

Many of you know I'm a member of The Tenners. For those who don't know, this is a group of about ninety authors who have their first YA or middle grade book coming out in 2010. We've banded together for (much-needed) emotional support and sharing of knowledge. As a September release, I'm so incredibly thankful to those who have gone before me and shared from their enormous vats of wisdom.

Because we are such a big group, though, we've decided to make several video book trailers highlighting some of our books, as I don't think even I could sit through one looonnnnggggg video featuring ninety new titles.

So I'm thrilled to share with you the brand spankin' new trailer including LOSING FAITH! These are many of the Tenner titles that will be released between July and December. Keep a pen and paper handy while you're watching - there are LOTS of great books in here!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Genres and Pseudonyms

First of all, thank you to all the people who entered my latest Bookshelf Giveaway! Again, I'm going to give away three books from the shelf. Drum roll, please...

signed copy of GUARDIAN OF THE GATE goes to Bookaholic (Jessica)!

REVOLUTION goes to kate at Read This Book!

signed copy of TORMENT goes to Courtneyreads

Congratulations to you all! Please send your mailing addresses to me at d (at) denisejaden (dot) com and I'll get them out in the mail to you as soon as I can.

Now that we have that little bit of business out of the way, I want to have a little chat about changing genres and pseudonyms. Oh, and did I mention that I have three fabulous books up for grabs to go with this discussion?

Back in May, I was fortunate enough to attend the Teen Author Carnival in New York. It was a blast, and among meeting many other amazing authors, I was able to meet squee-worthy Lauren Oliver. Lauren is the author of the highly acclaimed contemporary YA, BEFORE I FALL and a much-anticipated Dystopian YA, DELIRIUM.

I listened to Lauren and many of the authors at the carnival speak on panels, but one thing that Lauren said really stuck with me. Someone in the audience asked about why she had switched genres so early in her career, if it was a purposeful move, or if it was just the way her muse had called her. Lauren's answer surprised me.

She said that she switched to dystopian on purpose, to give herself some elbow room as a writer. Now I've always heard that as a new writer, it's best to stick with books of the same kind of feel/genre to brand yourself and create some expectation and fulfillment in your readers. Granted, with Lauren's blockbuster success and amazing prose, her readers would likely follow her anywhere. And I can understand her not wanting to get pigeonholed into writing books with an obvious formula. But maybe this isn't sound advice for every writer. Or maybe contemporary/dystopian is an easier switch than another genre jump like contemporary/fantasy would be. I don't know, what do you think?

Okay, so you might have guessed, I'm going to give away a copy of both BEFORE I FALL and DELIRIUM (they're both ARC's and I'll admit, neither of them are in pristine condition, but definitely readable).

The other book I'd like to give away (another ARC) is...

LOW RED MOON by Ivy Devlin. The back of this book says, "A powerful YA voice makes her paranormal debut with this breathless, spooky novel--a book to be devoured in one sitting."

Now I'm not sure if the publisher wants the real identity of this author to be made public, but that's not what I want to talk about here anyway. What I want to talk about, is why a pseudonym is used in this case. This is an established YA writer, with, let's say, at least five books of a certain "brand" already out there. I'm curious if you think this would have been the author's decision or the publisher's to publish it under a pseudonym? Was it a legal obligation because of switching publishers? I personally can't imagine having to keep up on two different online presences (two twitter, two blogs, two facebooks). Can you say overwhelming?

So I wonder if you're a writer... at what point would YOU publish under a pseudonym? Would you publish through as many publishers as possible using as many names as you had to in order to get your books out there? Would you do what Lauren Oliver did and try to give yourself some immediate "elbow room" or would you try to create a brand for yourself if you had the choice?

If you're not a writer, but a reader, I wonder what you think of pseudonyms and authors switching genres in general? Do you think the names get leaked in most cases anyway? Do you ever get annoyed when authors switch genres or do you find it refreshing? 

Tell me your thoughts in the comments to enter to win the above three books! (I can only mail to you if you're 13 or over and have a Canadian/U.S. mailing address, but I'd love to hear your thoughts regardless!)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What's With All the Free Books?

Some of you may have noticed, I've been giving away a lot of books on my blog lately. After my second installment of My Bookshelf Giveaway (still a few hours to enter, if you're interested), I was asked, "How have you possibly been able to read all of these ARC's so quickly?"

Well, the answer is, I haven't. I have read a few of them, but I have made a ton of author friends over the last year, and to be honest, my priority is to read their books at the moment. I'm buying books by my Class of 2k10 mates and Tenner mates as fast as I can, and my stack is growing way faster than I can read them! I would *like* to read many of the other ARC's from my bookshelf, but I know there are people out there who would practically cut off an arm to read some of these early, and I don't mind waiting and buying the books after they are out. I'd rather that than have them sit on my shelf unread until past the date of release.

When at Book Expo of America in May, I was fortunate to collect more advance copies of books than I could even dream of. Certainly more than I'm capable of reading before they come out! So I'm sharing the wealth, and plan to continue to do so as much as my mailing costs will allow :)

Another reason why I've been dishing out the free books is because it's a great way to start conversations. I absolutely LOVE reading your comments on different subjects and I hope you'll stop by for tomorrow's contest, when the subject will be genres and pseudonyms. Again, I will have some great giveaway books to go along with this discussion.

And my final reason for all these free books? To whet your appetite! I've been hard at work planning my online launch party for LOSING FAITH. It will start on September the 1st, right here, and my hope is that you'll continue to follow my rabbit trail of free books toward the even BIGGER prizes to come. The peeps at Simon Pulse are chipping in to make sure my online launch party is made of awesome. So I hope you'll stick around. And I hope you'll tell your friends about all that is happening and to come

In the meantime, gather your thoughts on pseudonyms and writing for different genres and I'll see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Path to Publication: Two Months and Counting...

As of today, it's two months until my first book hits the bookstores! Actually, September 7th is what's known as the "soft release date", so my book could be found slightly before that. It's my understanding that it's usually only the huge books that everyone's waiting for that they give a hard release date to these days.

People have told me--back a year and a half ago when I couldn't believe how long I'd have to wait--that it WOULD go fast. And okay, yes, they were very, very right. I feel a little like my head is spinning now. I feel like I just posted a few days ago about being six months away from publication!

Anyway, here I am, and lots is happening in the pre-release phase of my life. I'm busy organizing a blog tour, which is going very well. I'm starting to hear about people who will be reviewing my book soon (though I actually haven't seen any real reviews yet - this keeps me on edge, just a little:). I'm still in the works of putting together a launch party, which will likely be September 18th, so if you're in the Vancouver area, keep that date open!

As far as the actual book goes, I've been done with that for quite a while now. My last phase of editing was the First Pass Pages, which I finished up several months ago. I'm still highly in love with my ARC (advance copy) of LOSING FAITH, and coddle it regularly.

My second book is done and with my agent, so I've managed to keep my head above water on the writing front during this whole path to publication (it has not been easy, but thankfully, I've had lots of friends kicking, cheering me on).

Now my days feel both exciting and terrifying. I wake up not knowing whether I'll open my computer to find a tweet from one of my writing idols, or a review that might knock the wind out of me. But I'm thankful to be here, and I can't wait to tell you about the rest of the process as it happens.

Two months and counting...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Teen Author Tuesday Presents Amy Brecount White!

Today is one of my favorite Tuesdays. Today I get to welcome one of my awesome critique partners, whose first novel, FORGET-HER-NOTS, was released March, 2010 from Greenwillow/HarperCollins and is already in its third printing! It is Magic Realism YA for ages 12 and up. Amy is a super-sweet person, and one of those who gives authors, specifically YA authors, a good name.

Isn't that cover just gorgeous? Welcome, Amy! So glad you could stop by.Can you tell my readers about your book in seven words or less.
Language of flowers, loss, memories, friendship, romance, prom.

Perfect. Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your debut novel and why?

Rose, my main character Laurel’s older cousin, because she’s smart, sassy, and snarky but with a heart of gold.

Love those snarky girls! Can you tell my readers a little about yourself, Amy?

I love to be outdoors, particularly if there’s something blooming nearby. I think writing novels is like putting together a very, tricky puzzle. I love reading ARCs, rollerblading, biking, and hanging out with my family.

What's been the most surprising thing about your path to publication so far?

How much time it took; it was a long and winding road with lots of potholes. Also, I was surprised by how many writers have an “apprentice” novel under their beds they never sold.

Only ONE apprentice novel? LOL. What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?

Write yourself a note at the end of every writing day, so you know exactly where to start the next day. Otherwise, I find myself staring at a blank screen or endlessly revising the same passage. In a first draft especially, you need to keep moving forward.

Great advice, Amy! Are you swept up with promotion for your debut book right now or can you give us a sentence or two about something new you're working on?

I’m definitely still chin-deep in promo, but excited about my second novel, which I’m finishing up. It’s called String Theories and has nothing to do with flowers. It’s about a girl who gets in over her head, a stream, the physics of relationships, and getting even.

I've read it folks, and it's awesome. Can't wait to see that one on the shelves, Amy! What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?

I didn’t write much at all until college when I started journaling and writing short stories. I was very busy with school, sports, and extra curricular stuff, so I spent any free time reading.

What's the last book you read that you really loved?

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. I really loved the character of Mackie – a strong and believable male voice. A great twist on paranormal.

I'll have to add that to my TBR list. If readers want to find out more about you and your writing, where should they look?

 Thanks so much for dropping by, Amy. I wish you much success in your writing career. And for my readers...if you haven't picked up your copy of FORGET-HER-NOTS, what are you waiting for? You can find it wherever books are sold. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Favorite Reads of 2010 (so far)!

Since we're a little over halfway through the year, a lot of people have been posting lists of their favorite reads this year so far. So I thought I'd join in. These have been a few of my favorites read in 2010 so far (of the 52 I've read and/or listened to).

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook
The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Far From You by Lisa Schroeder
Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan
What I Saw And How I Lied by Judy Blundell
Stupid Cupid by Rhonda Stapleton
Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick
Teen Idol by Meg Cabot
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Bad Apple by Laura Ruby
The Treasure Map of Boys: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon—and me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart
If I Stay by Gayle Forman

How about you? What have been some of your favorite books so far this year?

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Bookshelf Giveaway

Thanks so much for all the people who dropped by to enter My Bookshelf Giveaway from last week! I've really been enjoying reading what has snagged you about each book. And...since I had a lot of entries between my two blogs, I've decided to give away not one, not two, but THREE books from my shelf!

And the winners are...

Tami Klockau will win FIRELIGHT!

Throughthehaze will win CLOCKWORK ANGEL!

SiNn will win SPIRIT BOUND!

Please send me your mailing address at d (at) denisejaden (dot) com and I'll get those in the mail to you as soon as possible!

As for this week, my bookshelf looked a little bit empty with those three books removed, so...I've added a few! Take a look at the picture and let me know which one you would like to win, if you could win one, and why you want to win it (the cover, you've heard buzz, the title, you love the author, etc...)

Go to it! Pick a book!

And a couple closer up, in case you can't make some of them out...

Nitty gritty details...this contest is for ages 13 and up, and you must have a U.S. or Canadian address to claim your prize.