Advice & Giveaway with Kristina Springer

It’s here, it’s here! I’ve been waiting for Kristina Springer’s My Fake Boyfriend Is Better Than Yours for a long time. I’m sure you’d like it too. Leave a comment & you might win a copy! 

What’s your best advice for fellow writers?
Don’t get discouraged and don’t quit. If you’re persistent and always believe in yourself you’ll eventually get there.
What popular writing advice do you never follow?
Write every day, write anything it doesn’t matter just as long as you’re writing. I have 4 kids with busy schedules so any time I have to write I’m working on a book. I don’t just “write anything.”
Where do you do most of your writing? 
Home or coffee shops.

What’s the best book you’ve read lately on the craft of writing? 

I just started Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. It’s been recommended to me so many times as THE best book for plotting so I had to get it.

Find out more about Kristina Springer at  Adorable website, by the way.

To win a copy of My Fake Boyfriend Is Better Than Yours leave a comment!

On The Go With Elena Johnson + Giveaway

Today I’m pleased to welcome fellow Utah author, Elana Johnson. Leave a comment to win a copy of Possession.

You have been given your Dream Vacation. Where are you going & what are you doing?

The White Cliffs of Dover, and I’m just going to absorb the awesomeness of the UK.

What if you could travel to a different time period?

That would be wicked awesome! I’d like to go to the Old West. Cowboys and all that…

Are you a planner or a seat-of-the pants traveler?

Well, if it involves a plane, then I plan. If it’s a road trip, I’m a pack-a-bag-let’s-get-in-the-car! kind of planner.

What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you on vacation?

Hmmm…we had to buy new tires on our last road trip to Arizona. So we did. I live in Utah. They don’t sell tires in AZ. So about six months later, I had to buy new tires again. Yeah, not my best vacay.

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

“Possession held me completely captivated from beginning to end. And what an end! I fell in love with the characters and had countless moments of ‘Wow.'”
–James Dashner, bestselling author of The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials

“Who Should Read This: Anyone who wants a challenge: This plot is so twisty, I had to read the last chapter twice before I could believe what happened. There’s also a very nice balance between badass action and romantic tension for readers who like a good mix of the two.”

To find out more about Elana, check out her blog:

Leave a comment to win a copy of Possession!

On The Go With Amanda Ashby + Giveaway

Today I’m pleased to welcome Amanda Ashby. Leave a comment to win a copy of her new book Fairy Bad Day.

You have been given your Dream Vacation. Where are you going & what are you doing?
Oh, I love this game! I would go to Italy because I still regret that I somehow skipped it when I was traveling through Europe—okay, I didn’t skip it, I just forgot to get out of the train on the way to Greece (which considering the trip was something like 20 hours is a little bit stupid!) Anyway, I want to have about three or four weeks so I can do Tuscany as well as Rome, Florence and Vienna, and obviously apart from seeing lots of amazing and very worthy things I will eat gelato all day everyday!

What if you could travel to a different time period?
Regency period just to see if it was as awesome as Georgette Heyer made it out to be!
Are you a planner or a seat-of-the pants traveler?
I’m a panster who wishes that she was a plotter so I try my hardest to plot but it NEVER works. My brain just likes to through sensible suggestions out the window and change its mind ALL the time!
What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you on vacation?

We were on a train going through Spain and hadn’t validated our Eurorail passes so that they would last longer. We thought we could act dumb and pretend that we didn’t know we were meant to if we got caught. We did get caught and it turns out that Spanish train police have NO time for tourists who act dumb. We got away with a caution, though for awhile we thought we would lose our passes, which had cost a lot of money. We definitely never made that mistake again.

About The Book:

It’s going to be a fairy bad day
First, my rightful designation of dragon slayer is STOLEN right out from under me by Curtis Green. Sure, he’s really cute, but that doesn’t give him an excuse.
On top of that, I am assigned to slay fairies. I know what you’re thinking—how hard could it be, right? Wrong! These menacing beasts with their tiny hipster clothes and mocking sarcasm love taunting me. And they won’t STOP!
But the thing that tops my list of stuff to ruin my day? That would be the GIANT KILLER FAIRY that I have to hunt down and slay because I am the only one who can see it. There is someone who can help me. Unfortunately…it’s Curtis.
Teens with a taste for the paranormal school story and a tolerance for raucous humor will be involved with and amused by this romantic fantasy. The exciting plot, humor throughout—often provided by the little fairies—and relatively innocent romance between characters will grab readers and keep them involved. ” Kirkus Reviews

“In a fun mashup of the modern and the magical, Ashby (Zombie Queen of Newbury High) creates nicely developed characters and supports them with strong plotting and zippy writing. Laced with humor, danger, and romance, this book will have readers smiling all the way to the last page.” Publisher’s Weekly

About Amanda:

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia, and has spent the last fifteen years dividing her time between England and New Zealand before finally deciding that to move home. When she’s not moving country, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to eat chocolate, watch television and sit around doing not much, but let’s just keep that amongst ourselves, shall we?)
She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. As well as writing, she works part-time at the children/teen desk of her local library, which basically means that someone pays her to talk about books. Her debut book, You Had Me at Halo was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book Zombie Queen of Newbury High was listed by the New York Public Library’s Stuff for the Teen Age 2010.

To win a copy of Fairy Bad Day, please leave a comment! 

Interview with Bobbie Pyron & A Book Giveaway!

Today I’m so excited to introduce you to a wonderful new middle-grade novel, A Dog’s Way Home by Bobbie Pyron. I love the way this story–alternating between the lost dog and his girl– combines action and adventure with school and family issues. But I mostly loved the way my own 11-year-old daughter got lost in this story! 

Leave a comment to win a signed copy of A Dog’s Way Home.
I’m impressed by the way you depict Tam’s doggie thinking in A Dog’s Way Home. You obviously know a lot about canine sensibilities. Will you tell us a little bit about your very first dog?  

The very first dog we had when I was a child was a wonderful beagle named Puck. I come from a family of big-time dog lovers and dogs were always members of the family. They were not dogs that were stuck out in the back yard–they lived in the house with us. Puck was probably one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever known and had an “old soul.” He was our nanny. We lived in a small beach town in Florida. Whenever my sister and I went out to roam the neighborhoods or the beach, my parents always said, “Take Puck with you and mind him.” We didn’t think there was anything odd about that! And because I was a rather shy child, I often preferred to spend my time with Puck than with other kids.
Tam is separated from his little girl Abby, but neither gives up finding each other again. I once found my missing cat after six months (I phoned the animal shelter on my birthday–and my cat was there!). Have you ever found a lost pet? 

This is kind of a “lost pet” story: when I was about five, our neighborhood was hit by a small tornado. It came on so suddenly, we barely had time to come in from the back yard and hide in the bathroom! When the storm passed, my sister said, “Oh no, Pucky is in the back yard!” My mother and sister and I ran to the back yard. Not only was Puck gone, but so was his dog house. We walked all over the neighborhood calling and calling his name. My mother even called my father at work and told him he had to come home and help find Puck. Right after my dad got home, we got a phone call from some folks several blocks away. The man said, “We got at dog house in our front yard and a dog in it that belongs to you”! Just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Puck and his dog house had been picked up here, and dropped down over there. He never got in that dog house again.
I’ve always liked standard poodles, but my daughters don’t think I’m fashionable enough to own one (poodles apparently don’t like sweatpants!) What three dog breeds best represent you and why? 

Wow, three…that’s hard! My husband will tell you without hesitation that I’m a Border Collie. I’m always trying to get him to do something! And I need a job to do—I’m not a nap taker or lollygagger. But I’d like to think I also have the loyalty of a Sheltie and the stubbornness of a terrier.
Tam encounters many wild animals on his journey. Have you ever had a wild encounter while hiking with your dogs? 

Ha! Well, living up here in Park City, it’s not at all unusual to have close encounters of the wild kind. And I do spend a lot of time—all year round—out on the trails with my three dogs. We’ve frequently encountered moose, coyotes, foxes, deer, rabbits, grouse, elk, and unfortunately, skunks. One of my dogs, Boo, is a coyote mix so she loves to hunt. When she was younger, she’d run up and antagonize a moose until it had enough and chased her. Of course, she’d run straight to mom and hide behind me! Another time, she met a very friendly fox. They played and played together out in a field for a good ten minutes. It was so amazing—and of course, I didn’t have my camera with me.
I admire the way Abby sticks to her belief that Tam will return–long after everyone else gives up. Tell us about a time in which you’ve stuck up for your beliefs. 

I am by nature a fairly reticent, peace-making kind of person. I don’t like to “rock the boat.” BUT, I will not back down when it comes to the importance of adopting pets and the rights of our animal friends, whether they be domestic or wild. I will also have to say, I also had to really stand up for my beliefs when I was trying to find an agent or publisher for my book, A Dog’s Way Home. So many people (editors, agents, workshop critiquers) told me I “couldn’t” and “shouldn’t” write the book in two different points of view. But I knew in my gut and in my heart that that was the way the book had to be written. I stuck by my vision for the book until I finally found my wonderful agent who also believed in the way I had to tell the story. Eventually, she found my amazing editor, Molly O’Neill, who also believed in my vision (and may I point out, I originally met Molly at one of your SCBWI regional conferences the year before). What I learned from that is this: yes, you have to “pick your battles” but you also have to respect your instincts and your vision!
To find out more about Bobbie Pyron see her website:  Be sure to check out her blog too! You can see me with my big doggies featured in her Fido And Friend In Five series.

To win a copy of A Dog’s Way Home, please tell me what kind of dog best represents you!
Contest ends at midnight on March 23, 2011.
Open to book and dog lovers worldwide!  

Relationship Advice from Laurie Stolarz & Giveaway

Please welcome Laurie Stolarz, author of the TOUCH series. Leave a comment to win the new book in the series! Here’s Laurie’s advice:

What is the dumbest or smartest thing you’ve done after a breakup?

Nothing too exciting in my own break-up experience, but as for the dumbest thing…when a friend of mine found out that her BF was cheating on her, I’m ashamed now to admit that I helped her write up a bogus – and quite embarrassing for him – engagement announcement and had it published in the local papers. We made up details about him, i.e. that he worked as a part-time male escort, and that he only had a 5th grade education. We said he was engaged to a taxidermist who worked as a part-time stripper at a local club. We made sure to put in just enough legit info about him so that people would know it was the right guy. It was all very petty, childish, and awful and I’d never go back and do anything like that again.

It’s your turn to play Miss Swoon–give us your best relationship advice.

Find someone you can trust, who will be your best friend, who will wholly respect you, and will treat you like gold.

If you could go on a date with any fictional character, who would it be?

Do movies count? My teen self would love to go out with Lloyd Dobbler from Say Anything.

About The Book:

High schooljuniors Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: they both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to see the future through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control. Camelia’s gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn’t yet comprehend. Before either one has a chance to fully grasp their abilities, a new danger surfaces, but this time, Camelia is not the target. Adam, a familiar face from Ben’s past, is drawn into a puzzle he can’t solve. . . and his life is on the line. As the clues pile up, Camelia must decide whether to help him and risk losing Ben or do nothing and suffer the consequences. But in these games,who can be trusted?

With only a few minutes of class remaining, I close my eyes again, still picturing Adam’s mouth. I try to imagine what he would say if he knew what I was doing. Would he suspect that I was interested in him? Would he think it was weird that I remember so much detail about the moment that night inside his car? Would he tell Ben what I was up to? I take a deep breath and try my best to focus on the answers. But the only words that flash across my mind, the ones I can’t seem to shake, don’t even address the questions at all. “You deserve to die,” I whisper, suddenly realizing that I’ve said the words aloud.

About The Author:

Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, Project 17, and Bleed, as well as the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series, which has sold nearly 750,000 copies worldwide. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. For more information, please visit her Web site at

Want to win a copy of the book? Please leave a comment! 
Contest ends Tuesday, January 18, 2011. 

Relationship Advice from Eileen Cook & Giveaway

Today I’m excited to welcome Eileen Cook. To win a copy of her new book, The Education of Hailey Kendrick, please leave a comment.

What is the dumbest or smartest thing you’ve done after a breakup?

Hands down the calling (usually late at night, possibly slightly intoxicated, almost certainly crying) to ask what happened? Whhhhhhhhy? (be sure to draw this out as long as possible. Whining that “we should give it one more chance,”  is an optional stupid activity to add on top of already calling and asking why.

It’s your turn to play Miss Swoon–give us your best relationship advice.

The best relationships are when the other person makes you want to be a better person. If the relationship is them trying to make you over into someone else (better or not) then it’s not the right fit.

If you could go on a date with any fictional character, who would it be?

I would not say no to going out on a date with Nathan Fillion who plays Castle on TV, but I don’t think that’s what you had in mind. Mr. Darcy is a tried and true favorite.

About the Book

Hailey Kendrick always does exactly what’s expected of her. She has the right friends, dates the perfect boy, gets good grades, and follows all the rules. But one night, Hailey risks everything by breaking a very big rule in a very public way…and with a very unexpected partner in crime. Hailey gets caught, but her accomplice does not, and Hailey takes the fall for both of them.

Suddenly, Hailey’s perfect life–and her reputation–are blowing up in her face. Her friends are all avoiding her. Her teachers don’t trust her. Her boyfriend won’t even speak to her for long enough to tell her that she’s been dumped.

They say honesty is the best policy–but some secrets are worth keeping, no matter the cost. Or are they?

“Hailey may be an A student headed to the Ivy League, but when it comes to taking a chance on life, she’s clueless. She’s also enormously appealing and great company throughout this breezy read. Yes, it’s chick lit, but of the highest quality—like a gourmet truffle. Cook has whipped up a real treat.” –Kirkus starred review

“Cook effectively builds both Hailey’s (justified) feelings of rebellion and the social dynamics of her ostracism, especially in her growing friendship with a challenging townie, Drew, who supervises her punishment working with the janitorial staff….Cook coaxes considerable empathy for the otherwise privileged Hailey as she abandons the achievement treadmill to explore her independence.” –Publishers Weekly

About the Author:

Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in six different languages. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anyone else.

To win your own copy of The Education of Hailey Kendrick, please leave a comment. 
Contest ends at midnight, Tuesday, January 11, 2011.

Relationship Advice from Caridad Ferrer

Please welcome Caridad Ferrer, author of When The Stars Go Blue. Leave a comment to win your own copy! Here’s Caridad’s advice:

1. What is the dumbest or smartest thing you’ve done after a breakup?

Well, it’s embarrassing as all get out (which is why it was dumb), but after a college boyfriend broke up with me, I punched my car’s windshield.  Didn’t break anything, but my hand swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. Not one of my better moments.  I have since learned to control my temper a great deal. Punching windshields HURTS.

2. It’s your turn to play Miss Swoon–give us your best relationship advice.

Well, make sure you set aside a drawer for the takeout menus and make sure your partner knows which drawer it is.

3. If you could go on a date with any fictional character, who would it be?

Boy, this is kind of tough– I’m torn between Sebastian St. Cyr, the lead of C.S. Harris’ mystery series (tall, dark, and brilliant) or Richard Castle (he’s ruggedly handsome, you know– as well as being brilliant and witty and incredibly devoted to the people he cares about).

About the Book:

A dancer driven to succeed.

A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.

The summer they share.

And the moment it all goes wrong.

Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.     
But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad’s affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.
About the Author:
Caridad Ferrer is a first generation, bilingual Cuban-American, whose young adult debut, Adiós to My Old Life won the Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA® for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance as well as being named to the 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list, awarded by the ALA. Her second novel, It’s Not About the Accent was released in 2007 with Publisher’s Weekly stating, “…this twisting book amply rewards readers.”
She has also contributed to the anthology, Fifteen Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and Other Quinceañera Stories. Her newest young adult novel, When the Stars Go Blue, is a contemporary retelling of Bizet’s Carmen, and will be released by Thomas Dunne Books in November 2010. Booklist calls it, “Beautifully written, with contemporary characters and an engaging story line.”

To win a copy of When The Stars Go Blue: 
please leave a comment by midnight, December 7, 2010. 
Open to everyone, everywhere.

NCTE, Magic & Many Mickey Mouses

Today I’m shoveling snow, but last weekend I played in the sunshine with many of my favorite author friends in Orlando, Florida at NCTE. My roomie, Lauren Bjorkman, and I also snuck away from conference duties for a little Magic Kingdom fun. Mickey Mouse, here we come!

I started spotting Mickey Mouse everywhere–starting with my breakfast waffle! 

I decided to find other unusual Mickey Mouse products. Hungry?

Enjoy some Mickey Mouse butter on your Mickey Mouse waffle.

I found Mickey Mouse lollipops, chocolates, and pasta. Oh, and lots of kitchen items. 

Pizza cutters, spoons, measuring cups, pot holders… Done eating? Time to play!

Toss your Mickey Mouse baseball around. Or scratch your back. I seriously started thinking that I could replace every item in my house with something Mickey. 

We had a great day–we even rode Space Mountain twice. Zoom!!! Before heading back to the hotel, we treated ourselves to some ice cream–shaped like Mickey Mouse, of course! 

I loved chatting with so many wonderful, innovative teachers during our roundtable discussion. Much thanks to my co-presenters Lauren Bjorkman (My Invented Life), Jen Dutton (Stranded), Janet Fox (Faithful), Cheryl Herbsman (Breathing), Edie Hemingway (Road To Tater Hill), Danielle Joseph (Indigo Blues), Rosanne Parry (Heart Of A Shepherd), and Joy Preble (Dreaming Anastasia). We discussed all aspects of girl characters’ fictional journeys & ways to help readers connect with literature. 

I did come home with a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt… And lots of Advance Reader Copies of books I can’t wait to read.

On my last day, I spotted soap bubble Mickey on the hotel towel carts…

I kind of miss the guy! 

Leave a comment to win one my favorite girl characters with you–Roz from My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman. 
Entries accepted until midnight, December 1, 2010.

Relationship Advice from Daisy Whitney

Today I’m happy to welcome Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds. Leave a comment and win your own copy! Now, here’s Daisy’s relationship advice:

1. What is the dumbest or smartest thing you’ve done after a breakup?

Dumbest thing. Oh dear. I supposed that would be going to his gig in the West Village and staring at his beautiful new girlfriend the whole time he played guitar and sang to her.

2. It’s your turn to play Miss Swoon–give us your best relationship advice.

Trust your gut. If he’s too good to be true he probably is.

3. If you could go on a date with any fictional character, who would it be?

Etienne St. Clair from Steph Perkins’ ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Sigh. I love him.

More About Mockingbirds:

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way–the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds–a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl’s struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone–especially yourself–you fight for it. Buy the book

To find out more about Daisy Whitney check out her website.

To win a copy of The Mockingbirds, please leave a comment by midnight, Tuesday, November 9, 2010. 

Wanna Know Scott Westerfeld’s Favorite Halloween Candy?

Yesterday I got all dressed up as my most klutzy self and headed to the Provo Teen Lit Fest.

Scott Westerfeld started us off with an inside look at how text and illustrations merge in his Leviathan series. I’m always curious to see what doesn’t make it into the book.

I loved spending the afternoon talking books and writing with teens, as well as chatting with author friends.  We mostly talked candy. Check it out:

I’m a Reese’s fan myself. Leave a comment telling me your favorite Halloween candy & you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of either Uglies or Peeps by Scott Westerfeld (your choice!).

Contest ends, Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at midnight.