Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I am Breathless!

I am breathless with shock at being chosen alongside Jessica Khoury's ORIGIN and Lili Peloquin's THE INNOCENTS to be part of the Penguin Teen Fall 2012 Breathless Reads campaign.

And I am breathless with anticipation (and fear!) at the idea of getting to meet writers, bloggers, twitter friends, and awesome reader people like YOU.

But mostly, I am honored. Thank you Penguin Teen :)

And now I'm so giddy and giggly and shaky that I can't even type anymore, so for more about what leaves me breathless, check out the amazingly talented Lauren Oliver's blog. And then head on over to the Breathless Reads sampler to read the beginning of VENOM!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Five things you might not know about Angels Landing and Zion National Park

Yesterday, intrepid explorer Kathy Coe found my hidden AWESOME VENOM PRIZE PACK at the top of a hike called Angel's Landing, located within Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah.

1. Zion is home to 70 species of mammal (including chipmunk!), 208 birds, 29 reptiles, 6 amphibians, and 9 fish. Despite being popular and often crowded, it still manages to remain a nature-lover's paradise.

2. Angels Landing (the tippy top of that rock) rises 150 stories above the canyon floor. The final ascent can only be completed by traversing an area of sheer dropoffs with the help of bolted safety chains. The National Park Service has recognized a handful of hiking fatalities--including one man from St. Louis--as well as rock climbing deaths from climbers falling while ascending the face. The Virgin River runs in the foreground.

3. The view from the top is the most beautiful thing I've seen throughout my domestic traveling--no photographs will do it justice. Ready to plan your own ascent? If you're not a sure-footed billy goat type, maybe you'd rather just do this e-hike to the top instead.

4. Zion is also home to 'the narrows', a slot canyon trail carved by the Virgin River that is popular with hikers and backpackers but extremely dangerous during flash flood season.

5. If you make a trip to Zion--and you will because it is so pretty, even prettier than these pictures--it is CRIMINAL to not make a stop at smaller but still breathtaking Bryce Canyon National Park.

Thanks again for playing Where in the World is VENOM??? Stay tuned for Part II.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Clue 5 (and 6 and 7...)

This just in: a frighteningly smart blogger named Kathy Coe has already located VENOM!!! Another super-sleuth was hot on her heels and probably passed her as she headed back down. Congrats, Kathy!!!!  (and good job SaraBara too!)

I am super-excited, but kind of sad that we didn't get to play longer. Darn it. I knew I should have hidden it in the trunk of my mom's car, under that leaky bag of kitty litter, instead of an amazing and breathtaking place people have actually heard of. Next time the clues and hiding place will be three times as hard! *evil laugh*

But, in case you want to see the other clues and play for fun, I have pasted them below, separated by that awesome globe jpeg--question mark expertly applied by yours truly--in case you don't want to cheat and look at all of them at once.

Check back tomorrow for the actual reveal of the location...

Clue #5: You're not afraid of heights, are you?

Clue #6: Check between 35 and 40 degrees. (If you lived by where VENOM is hidden, this clue would make more sense.)

Clue #7: U   L   S   J   A   M   E   E   R
First you must unscramble, and then you must find what means the same.

Clue #8: By George, I think you've (almost) got it!

Clue #9: You're in good shape, right?

 Clue #10: If VENOM could see...

You're still here? There is only one clue remaining and you will have to wait until the next post to get it. Again, congrats to Kathy Coe, intrepid explorer, magnificent googler, blogger who is so smart it's, quite frankly, a little scary :) 

Clue 4

Clue #4: Are you looking for VENOM? Try following the Virgin. She will show you the way.

Clues 1, 2, and 3

Clues? Huh? What is 'Where in the World is VENOM???' How do you play?

Clue #1: The ARC of VENOM is hidden in the United States, west of where I currently live, in what I consider one of the most breathtaking spots in the entire world.

Clue #2: Both chipmunks and cherubs are watching over VENOM.

Clue #3: Nothing in life is free. If you really want to find VENOM, you'll have to pay admission.

Guessing starts, in the comments of this post, NOW :) All intrepid explorers can guess twice for each clue set. Stay tuned for more clues!

Friday, April 13, 2012

It's time to play

As you may or may not have heard, an ARC of VENOM was stolen by post office ninjas during Apocalypsie to Apocalypsie transit a few weeks ago. (No Apocalypsies were injured during this crime.)

As a traveling type of chick and all-around international woman of mystery, I have decided to safeguard the rest of my dwindling ARC supply by hiding them in exotic, hard-to-reach places.

Only strong-willed, pure of heart, sound of mind, intrepid explorers will be able to locate these rare tomes. (Or, you know, if you're good at googling you might find them too.)

The logistics:
1.      I post clues to the location of one ARC at a time.
2.      You figure out VENOM’s location from clues. You must be specific. VENOM is in Chicago--NO. VENOM is at Wrigley Field--NO. VENOM is leaning against second base at Wrigley Field--YES. Got it?
3.      You post your guesses in the comments beneath the latest clue/set of clues.
4.      Each intrepid explorer (that’s you) can guess a max of twice per clue/set of clues.
5.      If your guess is super-duper-close but not quite there I won’t post it. Instead I will email or DM you on twitter (meaning you better post your preferred method of contact with your first guess) to give you one shot to be a teensy bit more specific.
6.      If somebody else guesses the exact location before I get a hold of you, they win.
7.      To win you just have to guess the location. (You don’t really have to fly to Italy and get the Vatican to give you that key and find that place where the dark matter was hidden in The Da Vinci Code. Oh crud, now I gotta pick a new hiding place. No, seriously, it isn’t in Italy.)
8.      Once again, you don’t have to follow the blog to play, but I will be posting clues to VENOM’s location at completely random times and if you know me at all, you know that I am awake at all hours of the day. Blog followers will probably have an advantage.
The fine print:
Can international people play?
What if the post office ninjas steal this copy too?
The best I can do is priority mail with insurance and delivery confirmation. If the ninjas still prevail (they seem to have a grudge against me) I'll send a new prize pack but it might not be exactly the same.
Ooh prize pack. That sounds promising. What's in it?
Because the fearless assistants and I know you have a choice when it comes to blog contests, we have packed Ms. VENOM alongside a swagorific, stunning array of other tempting goodies.


1. An autographed VENOM ARC

2. An autographed copy of fellow Penguinite Antony John's Thou Shalt Not Road Trip

3. A limited collector's edition Hunger Games soundtrack with bonus track, trading cards, a poster, and Gale included. (Wait. No. I'm keeping Gale.)

4. A mystery book from my prize closet (not shown)

5. A tee fury sticker pack

6. A pair of Hunger Games rubber bracelets

7. A voodoo doll that my friends at Hot Topic swear will use its powers for good, not evil

8. Pez, just because someone requested it in the comments, and because it is a timeless classic

9. Godiva chocolate

10. Angry Birds fruit snacks, made with real juice yet not including any Vitamin C. Now that's talent. No worries. Vitamins are for wusses, right?

Questions?? Put them in the comments, please, so I only have to answer them once :)

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    Why most traditionally published authors can't send you an ARC for review: Hint--it isn't because we're mean

    I've recently received several requests for Venom ARCs. I am super duper excited that people want to review my debut (let's face it--every author's biggest fear is that no one will read her book) but I can't send you an ARC. Here's why (and why it's probably a waste of your time asking authors you don't know for ARCs over the web.)

    The average newbie author gets a handful of ARCs to give away. The publicity department gets hundreds. That's pretty basic math. I have heard of some authors getting twenty to thirty ARCs to give away, but I have also heard of a lot of authors getting two to five.

    I got ten. Let's look at where they went:

    1. The first copy was being circulated around to other Apocalypsies in a blog tour.

    2. As luck would have it, some steampunk metal monster at the post office ATE copy #1 so now copy #2 is going on blog tour.

    3. The Venom deal came about in a non-traditional manner and I acquired my awesome agent, Jennifer Laughran, after the deal so she didn't get copies from the publisher. Obviously, one should go to her.

    4. Like 99% of authors, I have a circle of crit partners who have all been excited to read the finished product. One copy is being circulated among them. After they have all read it, one of my crit partners wants to submit it for consideration for a local contest.

    5. Did you play the YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes blog hop contest? The Apocalypsies will be doing a summer and fall contest too. One of my ARCs is promised for that.

    6. A well-known, published author and blogger who routinely features new authors on her blog is going to do an interview with me closer to release date. One of the ARCs will be given away as part of that feature.

    7. One copy went to Lindsay Cummings, the writer/blogger who was kind enough to do my cover reveal. Lindsay routinely receives TONS of free books for review from publicity departments. How does she do this? She maintains an eye-catching, error-free blog with timely, thoughtful reviews. She also networks at conferences and on twitter and has amassed an impressive 1500+ blog following.

    8. To be given away on my blog as part of an awesome Venom prize pack! I have been dreaming up this contest for weeks and I am super-excited about it. Check back in about ten days for more details.

    9. Same as #8.

    10. Held in reserve just in case that post office monster gets hungry again or something else comes up. (I live in a world where it pays to expect the unexpected.)

    I didn't list all those out for you to be snarky or mean. (I'm really very nice, I swear.) I listed them because I figure most authors are utilizing their ARCs in a similar manner and thought it would illustrate to you the futility of emailing authors to ask for free galleys.

    Notice who is not in the above list: my mom, my brother, my sister, my besties, any 'significant other' types, the people at Award Winning Teaching Hospital where I sometimes work, the people at the coffee shop where I wrote the book, my fellow writers in the SCBWI-Missouri, my fellow Literaticult members, other author friends, bloggers I have interacted with on a regular basis via twitter, local indie booksellers, librarians, awards committees, and finally ME. Yes, even I do not get an ARC of Venom, so don't take it personally, okay?

    The good news for you is:

    1. Where in the World is Venom?!?! is going to start in about ten days. What is WITWIV, you ask? You'll have to come back and find out. My blog readership is still tiny so your chances of winning an ARC (and a whole smacking lot of other good stuff to boot) are decent, and all of my ARC contests are open internationally :)

    2. I used to be a reviewer (under a different name) so I do have some basic tips to help you score free books. I am going to post them in a separate blog in a week or so after I turn in some revisions.

    In the meantime, try googling "Penguin young readers publicity department." Voila--the address you need to request a review copy of Venom. They're busy people and they may not respond. If they don't, email them again in September and ask for a bookplate for review. Make sure you have a professional-looking blog first. Make sure to actually do the review if you get a book for free. Make sure to email them a copy of review so they know you followed through.

    You can substitute in almost any publisher for Penguin and find contact info for publicity/marketing. Happy emailing, and again, I am really thrilled about your interest  :)