Tuesday, October 30, 2012

#VenomReleaseParty wrap-up and WINNERS

List form because my brain is fried:

1. Thank you all so much for coming.

2. Next time I will be even more organized to cut down on the spam madness. Perhaps I will have you all send me your questions ahead of time so they only need to get answered once. That way I won't get kicked off the twitter!! :) #SpamQueen

3. Some of the winner-calls were hard to make. This person was clearly first, but she didn't respond to the right tweet. One of you had an even longer name for da Vinci that I didn't find when I researched the question. I did the best I could, tried to be fair, but admit that I am human and hope no one resents me. Boy do I have newfound respect for referees, umpires, gymnastics judges, etc.

4. It appears two answers were right on Breathless Reads question. Sapphique was in the boxed set but Across the Universe went on the tour. I made that question up on the fly because we needed another one when a winner opted not to select a prize, and I'm not sure why the touring group differed from the boxed set. I apologize. I believe @inthebestworlds clocked first with that answer, but if anyone can verify that or knows how to review the feed and can send me a screen capture I will make that right for the other winner.

5. In the coming months, I will give away at least one ARC on my blog via a Where in the World is Belladonna?? contest. I did this with Venom and people found it to be a lot of fun, so keep an eye out for that :)

6. WINNERS: (no worries if your twitter handle is a little off--due to my sloppy hurried contest scribbling--as long as YOU know who you are and I can match your address and verify your identity).

$25.00 B&N giftcard: @bookklovr22
signed VENOM HC: @YAvareads
Breathless boxed set: @kiki3138

Breathless 2-pack: @MsJessR
PaperLantern 2-pack @novelsounds
PRODIGY @Louisse_Ang
RISE @YAvareads
ORLEANS @Emzchang

Cyborg/Pixie/Editrix/Wunderkind Beth is in charge of doling out the Belladonna ARC. (I can haz only one right now, and I NEEDS it). NOTE: An ARC is not a finished product and there are a few minor blips in there and a couple of words that are not time-period appropriate, which will be changed. Feel free to email me with any other mistakes you notice. This is helpful :)

#VenomReleaseParty PRIZES AND RULES

The attendance prizes, generously provided by Penguin Teen  and Paper Lantern:
1.     ARC of The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
2.     ARC of Prodigy by Marie Lu
3.     ARC of Orleans by Sherri L. Smith
4.     ARC of Out of the Easy by Ruta Septys
5.     ARC of Rise by Andrea Cremer 
6.  Not pictured: A Breathless Reads 2-pack: ARCs of The Innocents and Black City
7.  Not pictured: A Paper Lantern Lit 2-pack: paperback of Fury and hardcover of Envy, both by Elizabeth Miles. Also includes 2 Butterfly Clues bookmarks and a Paper Lantern Lit totebag. Tres cute!

*I am giving 6 and 7 away as 2-packs because these books are already out (or will be by the time my post office delivers them) so I expect them to be less in demand. But they are all awesome, I assure you :)

1. Open internationally
2. We're going to be playing games where the 'right answer' might not be completely black and white. My decision is final. (I'll try really hard not to screw up).
3. Max of 2 attendance prizes per guest 
4. Must. Have. Fun.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

It's time for another YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes!

The APOCALYPSIES are doing it again! Doing what? Oh, you know, just giving you a chance to win lots of books and swag and gift cards and other cool stuff, while finding out about 2012's most happening reads. IMPORTANT: The YAmazing Race does not start until Monday, October 22nd at noon EST, so if you've found your way here early, get excited but don't go a-clickin' yet.

Welcome to my blog, site of mad giveaways, shameless bragging, and occasional rants and raves. My debut novel, VENOM, comes out on October 30th...

Love, lust, murder, mayhem and high society converge in one thrilling debut

Cassandra Caravello has everything a girl could desire: elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, invitations to the best parties, and a handsome, wealthy fiance-- yet she longs for something more. Ever since her parents' death, Cass has felt trapped alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape. 

When Cass stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman--with a bloody X carved across her heart--she's drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans, and killers. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a poor artist with a mischievous grin...and a habit of getting into trouble. Will Cassandra find the murderer before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiance or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco? 

Beauty, romance, and mystery weave together in a novel that's as stunning and seductive as the city of Venice itself. 

That's all the information you need to be YAmazing. Good luck! I'll send autographed Venom bookmarks to everyone who comments on this post. (Writers' block? Cat got your tongue? Tell me if this is your first YAmazing Race, or the best book you read all year, or what you're dressing up as for Halloween). If you want bookmarks, don't forget to send your mailing address to fionapaulbooks at gmail d o t com.

Other possibly relevant things: 

Anyone who has already or does preorder VENOM should click here to receive pretty Venom wallpaper and a free pdf copy of VENOMOUS, my 9000 word companion story. You'll also be entered in a drawing to win more great prizes.

Also, #VenomReleaseParty madness starts today on twitter, where I will be giving away at least two signed copies of VENOM this week to people who have changed their twitter avatar to the cover design in support of VENOM's launch. Then, more giveaways on October 30th!!

Speaking of giving stuff away, if you have any extra kidlit books or ARCs, please consider donating them to Books Change Lives. Lili is a high school senior working to get books into the hands of kids who might not be able to afford them. How awesome is that?

Next stop on the YAmazing race? May I present the fabulous Lenore Appelhans...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pre-order VENOM for a chance to win big prizes!

Anyone who has already pre-ordered VENOM or does so by October 29th will receive a .PDF file of the companion story VENOMOUS, a pretty Venom desktop, and be entered in a drawing to win awesome prizes.

Click here for more info!

And, for collectors, if you pre-order from one of my local indies Left Bank Books or Main Street Books, I will sign your book. Shipping fees will apply. Be sure to call them or mention in the comments that you want an autographed a signed copy. (I still feel really pretentious using the word 'autograph'. I'm not sure that will ever go away).

If you're hoping to win a signed copy of VENOM, check out the blogs Cover Analysis and Distraction 99 as they will be featuring international giveaways this month.

P.S. Dear Blogger, thank you for not doing that highlight-y thing again.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Get ready for THE INNOCENTS

Penguin Teen's second 2012 Breathless Read releases Tuesday October 16th.

Nothing ever came between sisters Alice and Charlie.
Friends didn't.
Boys couldn't.
Their family falling apart never would.
Until they got to Serenity Point. 

"The Innocents" is the first in a new series of young adult novels that weave a saga of nail-biting drama, breathless romance, and gothic mystery.

(Reprinted from Goodreads).

My thoughts on THE INNOCENTS: I love the TV series Pretty Little Liars but I couldn't get into the books, so I was a little hesitant. I mean, rich girls, beach houses...not my usual style. But from page one, I just could not put this down. I read it in one sitting and I was super-impressed by the way Lili Peloquin wrote from both Alice and Charlie's POV without being confusing. There's a hint of the supernatural interwoven with a big mystery and the whole town seems to be harboring dark secrets so you never really know who you can trust. Tension practically leaps off every page.

Lili compares this series to the TV series Revenge (her Revenge-related twitter feed is becoming quite popular), and while I don't feel that THE INNOCENTS is quite that complex or devious yet, here's hoping she's hinting about the next books in the series and telling us things will continue to get deeper and darker.

5 minutes of fill in the blanks with Lili Peloquin

1. The most fun part of writing The Innocents was: 
LP: the love scenes because I’m sleazy like that.

2. The hardest part of writing The Innocents was: 
LP: the violent scenes because I’m squeamish like that.

3. People who like ___________ will probably like The Innocents.
LP: the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead 

4. Just for fun, because I am (finally) reading His Dark Materials, what would be your daemon or spirit animal?
LP: So Fiona, I decided to go the scientific route with this question. Did a little bit of research. I found an online quiz that tells you how to Find Your Daemon:http://www.hisdarkmaterials.org/opinion/essays/finding-your-dmon.  According to said test, I’m a snake. Not so flattering but there you go!

 Welp, I am off to go find out my official daemon. Don't forget to like THE INNOCENTS on FB and be sure to check out Jessica Spotswood's blog for an interview with Lili Peloquin and a giveaway on Tuesday.

P.S. I have no idea why blogger insists on black print on a white highlight background today, but hover over those apparent blank areas for useful links. Gah! I'm hoping it will fix itself before my next blog post.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Five things I learned about writing from Dean Koontz

I actually read most of my generation's YA books back when I was MG, so by the time I hit middle school I was on to adult books. I read a handful of different mystery and suspense authors, but nobody quite held my attention like Dean Koontz. Here's what I learned from devouring the entire Koontz catalog:

1. Write what you love. Dean Koontz loves dogs, especially golden retrievers. Not all of his books contain canine companions, but many do, and his human-animal relationships live and breathe on the pages. They talk directly to your heart, not because he's manipulating you with cheap sentimental tactics, but because the dynamics feel real. It's a lot harder to craft emotional scenes and sincere character interactions when you as a writer aren't passionate about your own words.

2. Begin with a bang.  The Vision begins with the line "Gloves of blood." Do you want to know more? I did. In chapter one of Velocity, the main character finds a note on his car that reads: If you don't take this note to the police and get them involved, I will kill a lovely blond schoolteacher somewhere in Napa County. If you do take this note to the police, I will instead kill an elderly woman active in charity work. You have six hours to decide. The choice is yours. Holy high-concept! What kind of crazy person would leave this note? And what will the main character do? I ripped through Velocity in record time to get the answers.

3. Writing is hard work. According to his website, Dean Koontz reads over 150 books a year. He writes ten to eleven hours a day and sometimes revises a page forty or fifty times before moving on. He's written over sixty books, and when he was starting out he wrote as many as eight books in a single year. His first four books were never published. I know of a very few writers who managed to sell their first book for a giant pile of cash, but that is not the norm, and if you're an aspiring writer planning on hitting the big time with your first novel, you're probably setting yourself up for disappointment.

4. The execution matters more than the idea. I remember being skeptical when I heard the storyline for Odd Thomas, what is now my all-time favorite Koontz novel. Hmm. A guy who sees dead people. Didn't I see that in a movie not too long ago? Has Dean run out of ideas? Now that I have seen how slow publishing is, I know it's entirely possible that Dean had the idea for Odd Thomas before anyone saw The Sixth Sense. But who cares? Both works may use the same setup, but that's where the similarities end. Odd Thomas is a suspense novel, a horror story, and an epic love story all woven into one.

5. Don't forget to give something back. Dean Koontz and his wife, Gerda, have a charitable foundation that supports critically ill children and dogs. He also apparently finds time to answer occasional letters from mothers of debut authors such as myself. Yes, my mom actually put pen to paper and invited one of my writer-idols, the uber-mega-bestseller Dean Koontz, to my Halloween launch event for Venom. Alas, he can't make it, but he did send my mom a personal note and me a box of Koontz-awesomeness including an autographed limited edition copy of Velocity. I was so surprised that I cried. I will never forget the fact that a workaholic, super-famous, bestselling author took time out of his schedule to autograph some books for me. I suspect I will never be quite as famous as Dean, but I will definitely do my best to pay this incredible act of kindness forward to other young authors.

Koontz fan? Love dogs? Click here to find your local golden retriever rescue organization.

Thanks Dean. My mom and I think you rock! :)

Friday, October 5, 2012


You're invited!!! 
Join me at the #VenomReleaseParty
October 30th, 6-8pm Central time

Hi everyone! VENOM is going to have her book birthday soon, and rather than a traditional launch where I stand in front of a firing squad an audience in uncomfortable dressy clothes and completely panic ramble on about Venom for twenty minutes while people tweet about how hilariously awkward I am listen attentively but secretly wish I'd handed out cookies, I figured I would have a party on Twitter!

No technical difficulties. No uncomfortable clothes. No panic. There will probably still be awkwardness because, you know, I’m going to be there, but the best thing about this launch party is that by having it on the interwebz everyone from Alaska to Zimbabwe can come. (Note: The timing of the party might be a tad late if you live in Zimbabwe. Sorry).

So why do you want to come to this party? See the above line about how I’m going to be there J Oh, also, there will be prizes.

Attendance prizes: All you have to do is show up at the party, AKA follow the #VenomReleaseParty hashtag and wait for me to announce giveaways. If you’ve played Where in the World is Venom?? you know that my giveaways tend to be A LOT of fun. Expect a mix of trivia and task-oriented questions spread throughout the two hours.

The attendance prizes, generously provided by Penguin Teen:
1.     ARC of The Madness Within by Maureen Johnson
2.     ARC of Prodigy by Marie Lu
3.     ARC of Orleans by Sherri L. Smith
4.     ARC of Out of the Easy by Ruta Septys
5.     ARC of Rise by Andrea Cremer 
6.  Not pictured: A Breathless Reads 2-pack: ARCs of The Innocents and Black City
7.  Not pictured: A Paper Lantern Lit 2-pack: paperback of Fury and hardcover of Envy, both by Elizabeth Miles. Also includes 2 Butterfly Clues bookmarks and a Paper Lantern Lit totebag. Tres cute!

*I am giving 6 and 7 away as 2-packs because these books are already out (or will be by the time my post office delivers them) so I expect them to be less in demand. But they are all awesome, I assure you :)

But Fiona, what if I can’t make it to your party in real time because I do live in Zimbabwe and I have to go to sleep before 0100? Well, that brings us to the…

Bigger prizes: Anyone can win. [Edited to add: anyone but P0rnbots. No more pictures please, bots *claws out eyes*] All you have to do is tweet a picture of yourself in a mask or Halloween costume to me anytime between October 22nd and 2359 Central time on October 29th. Important!! You must tag this picture with the #VenomReleaseParty hashtag. No tag. No entry.

The pic can be you in a mask. It can be you in makeup or costume. It can be you from twenty years ago. It can be you with a mask Photoshopped onto your body. It can be a drawing. The idea is to generate some fun pictures, not to stress anyone out. If you have changed your avatar to the Venom cover when you tweet this picture, I will give you a second entry. Maximum of two entries. One posted pic per twitter handle please.

The bigger prizes:
1.     A Penguin Teen Breathless Reads boxed set including ARCs of Origin, Black City, The Innocents, Falling Kingdoms and Venom, with the Venom ARC autographed if desired
2.     An autographed hardcover of Venom and 5 Venom bookmarks
3.     A $25.00 gift card to barnesandnoble.com

#VenomReleaseParty fine print:

*Questions? Put 'em in the comments.
*All prizes are open for everyone. I will ship anything internationally.
*Sorry, but you cannot enter without a twitter account. Now’s a great time to make one J

Monday, October 1, 2012

VENOM blog tour!

So yeah. In the middle of doing a lot of other stuff, I decided to write a short story called Venomous for my Venom blog tour. It's one very important night in the life of a girl named Mariabella. Like Venom, Venomous is filled with glamour, romance, scandal, and mystery.

My blog tour was organized by Beth from Paper Lantern Lit. Beth works as an editor, marketer, researcher, organizer, scheduler, manager, and technical support person, among other things. I'm pretty sure she's a cyborg. She doesn't seem to sleep so she might also be a vampire. (But the sparkly friendly kind, not the kind that drinks your blood). She also runs this fun website, Spandexless. You should check it out.

My blog tour. You should check that out too. Here's the schedule. Here's the first post. Thanks to everyone who offered to be a part of this, especially to Nikki Wang from Fiction Freak who made this lovely blog tour button...and my header, come to think of it. Thanks again. You guys are my <3