Announcing the Write Like Crazy NaNoWriMo Challenge!

Posted on: 31st Oct 2013  /   Categorized: Cress

Insignia finalists will be posted soon, but today, I’m announcing yet another contest. And depending on how it goes, this might be your last chance to win an ARC of CRESS!


Many of you know that I’ve done NaNoWriMo multiple times in the past, and that I have a tendency to give myself these insane goals that result in my word count tallying more than the recommended 50,000 words—70,000 words is about normal for me, but in 2008, the year I wrote Cinder/Scarlet/Cress, I came in at 150,011 words.


Well, this year I’m feeling the need to be overly ambitious again, and so I thought: Let’s make a game of it!



I am challenging you, Lunartics and Novelists, to write more words than me this November.



If you succeed, you’ll win a prize. You could even win… a signed ARC of CRESS.



I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to host this contest and make it fair, so pay attention!



To Participate in the Write Like Crazy NaNoWriMo Challenge:


1. Sign up to write your novel at


2. Add me to your buddy list:


3. Write as many words as you possibly can for the next 30 days! Write like crazy! Write like the wind! Write like you have never written before!


4. While you’re at it, keep track of how many words you’re writing using the web site’s tracker.


Note: I will not be publicly tracking my word count throughout the month. I’m going to leave you in the dark, so that you’ll never know if you’re ahead of me or not. I figure this is the best way to keep people honest.


So, while you are in competition with me, you’re also in competition with yourself. What are you capable of? Let’s find out!


5. On November 30, validate whatever you have written using the NaNoWriMo web site, which will give you your official word count. I will also upload my work and receive my official word count.


6. On December 1, I will announce my end word count. If your word count is higher, comment to the post and link to your NaNo profile as “proof.”




- Everyone who submits their NaNo word count and who did, in fact, write more words than me, will win a prize. What that prize is will depend on how many of you there are. (If only five people write more words than me, the prize will probably be really cool. If there are a hundred of you, it will be decidedly less cool, but you’ll still get something.)


- The person who writes the most words will win a signed ARC of Cress—on the condition that they did, in fact, write more words than me.


- If nobody writes more words than me, I will be sad.




– To be entered, you must have me on your NaNo buddy list, you must track your words throughout the month, you must submit your work to the NaNo word counters before the end of the month, and you must comment to my December blog post with your final, official word count.


I know that’s a lot to ask, but it’s the only way that I can make this as fair as possible.


– Open internationally.


I do not care what you write. Please do not ask me if it’s okay if you write one novel or multiple novels or fanfiction or short stories or poetry. It’s your NaNo, it’s your writing, do what you want. Just rack up those words!


(That said, for heaven’s sake, please don’t use non-NaNo-related words that you just happen to write that month, like every email or tweet or facebook post.)


Be honest. The nature of this challenge is somewhat based on the honor system. Yes, I am aware that there are ways in which people can cheat, but I am asking that you please don’t. I want this to be fair to everyone, and that can only happen if everyone is honest about what they accomplish, so that the people who really do put in the most effort will be the people who win.


Agreed? Agreed.


– Have fun! This is meant to be a fun challenge for everyone, to help motivate, inspire, and encourage. I know that I’m capable of doing amazing things when I really put my mind to it, and I hope that by the end of the month, many of you will realize that you are too.


Let’s do this, everyone! Happy writing!

And the fan-voted tour city is . . . . .

Posted on: 29th Oct 2013  /   Categorized:


Thanks to everyone who voted! All of the cities (and many more!) are on our radar, so if your city didn’t win, stay tuned for future touring news.

The full schedule for the CRESS tour will be posted soon!

A Day in the Life: Thursday, October 17

Posted on: 24th Oct 2013  /   Categorized: Day in the Life

These “A Day in the Life” posts are my attempt to answer the frequently asked question: “What does a typical writing day look like?” Because the answer is that there is no typical writing day.


This particular day seemed like a good example of both what a travel day looks like—especially as 17 out of 31 days this October were spent traveling!—and also a day in which I didn’t actually do any writing. Oops, spoiler!



6:00 a.m.: Alarm goes off, and I wake up in a Boston hotel, immediately thinking: This is the day I give my first-ever keynote speech!!


6:15: I grab my speech notes and go over them for the gazillionth time.


7:00: Free coffee is now available in the hotel lobby. I run down to grab a cup, then head back to my room to start getting ready.


8:00: A car picks me up to take me to the Teen Librarian Summit in Worcester, MA. I go over my speech notes again.


9:00: Arrive at the Summit. Meet the coordinators and scarf down a small muffin. I never have much of an appetite before I present, but I also don’t want to pass out halfway through!


9:30: The tech guy and I set up my powerpoint presentation with the projector. Librarians start filing in. They all seem super nice and excited, as librarians tend to be. I calm down a little bit. Now that I’m here, I’m actually starting to feel pretty confident about it.


10:00: The coordinators make a few announcements, and introduce me, and it’s Go Time.


10:15-11:15: First Keynote Speech EVER! My speech includes talk of Star Trek, Harry Potter, and some of my favorite science-inspired YA books. It goes great, and I’m so happy that it’s over.


11:30: I sit in on Robin Brenner’s (of awesome and informative breakout session about teenagers and fandom. I adore Robin Brenner. She is a kindred spirit. And I love that her presentation includes talk of authors who got their start writing fanfic—and I’m included!


12:30: Lunch and a little mingling with the librarians. I get lots of lovely comments on my keynote.


1:15: Another breakout session, this one with Brandy Danner, on dystopian and steampunk fiction. I add some books to my TBR list. Because that’s what I needed…


2:15: Time to sign some books!


3:00: A car picks me up and takes me back to the hotel. I am all relief and joy, and mentally drained. I catch up on Twitter during the ride.


4:00: I’m always tempted to hunker down in my hotel room, but tonight I force myself to go down to the lobby and be with the people. I bring THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater, which I’m reading in preparation for our panel together this Saturday at the Boston Book Festival.


6:30: I take my reading into the hotel restaurant to grab some dinner, and I am the only person there. So much for being with the people.


7:45: I only have fifteen pages left in the book, but ARGH, I need to set it down and get ready for the #NaNoPrep Twitter chat which starts at 8:00. I try not to be bitter.


8:00-9:00: Twitter chat with Gennifer Albin (CREWEL) and the folks at NaNoWriMo. Twitter chats are always hectic and fast-paced and I’m dizzy by the end of it, but I hope people are feeling inspired and capable by the end!


9:00-10:30: I turn on the season finale of Project Runway, and finish reading The Raven Boys during commercial breaks—what a great night. I LOVE the book and can’t wait to pick up Book 2: The Dream Thieves at the festival on Saturday. Plus, my favorite designer wins Project Runway. My favorites NEVER win!


10:30: Still on west coast time, I spend a couple hours answering emails before finally crashing a little after midnight.


Words written: 0, but I still consider this a successful day.

Cress Tour 2014: Vote for a City!

Posted on: 22nd Oct 2013  /   Categorized: Events

My publicist has been working hard lately to pull together a great line-up of events for the Cress Tour, which will kick off on release day: February 4, 2014! She’s already settled on most of the tour cities, and we’ll be announcing those in the coming months.

But like last year, we wanted you guys to have the chance to give a little input! We’ve pulled together a list of five cities, most of which I’ve never been to, and all of which I would love to visit – and you guys will make the final call on which one makes the cut!

Voting will close on Monday, October 28.

That only gives you one week to round up as many votes for your city as you can, so be sure to spread the word to your friends, family, teachers, librarians, and booksellers!

Good luck! I hope I’ll be seeing you in February.

And remember, if your city isn’t on this list, it doesn’t mean that I’m not coming to your town. The full tour schedule will be announced soon, so stay tuned!

Full STEAM Ahead: My First-Ever Keynote Speech

Posted on: 21st Oct 2013  /   Categorized: Geeking Out

Last Thursday I had the honor of being the keynote speaker at the 5th Annual Teen Librarian Summit in Worcester, MA. (And I was so nervous, you guys, you don’t even know.)


The focus of the summit was the STEM to STEAM movement—or bringing Arts education into the national curricula, which currently focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.


My presentation was all about the amazing things that can happen when science, technology, and art all work together. First, I gave examples of how art, books, and popular culture have influenced the real world of science and technology, and then I gave examples of how science, technology, and even math have influenced some of today’s popular teen fiction.


Keynote TeenSummit13


Keynote Star Trek

(Thanks to Kara, @tardisgrl, and Amy, @amydieg, for the photos!)


You can watch the Powerpoint and listen to the presentation here:


If you would like to skip ahead, here are some presentation highlights:


4:28: Star Trek, astronauts, and Star Trek-inspired technology

15:53: Harry Potter and invisibility cloaks

18:17: CSI and the growing field of forensic science

21:54: Ashfall by Mike Mullin

25:00: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

27:45: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

29:53: Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

33:18: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (though for some reason part of the speech got cut out here, so it feels a little disjointed)

34:26: Cinder by me

38:45: Applause (my favorite part, ha!)


There’s about 20 minutes of Q&A at the end, where I discuss research, whether or not I know how the books will end, NaNoWriMo, writing advice, and other such stuff.

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo!

Posted on: 15th Oct 2013  /   Categorized: Nanowrimo

November is just around the corner, which means that writers everywhere are gearing up for the month of noveling insanity that is National Novel Writing Month! Many of you know that Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and now Heartless all started life as NaNo novels. I’m a huge fan of the draft-now, revise-later mentality. On top of that, this is the first year in which I’m participating in a slightly more… official capacity.


Because the lovely folks at NaNoWriMo have asked me to be a part of their author advisory board! What does that mean? I’m not entirely sure. I suppose I’ll be advising, with whatever wisdom and peppiness I can offer.


Plus—next month I’ll be starting a brand new writing project!


Working title: Levana’s Tale: A Lunar Chronicles Novella


Summary: The story of how Levana, princess of Luna, came to be Winter’s stepmother, tried to kill Princess Selene, and ultimately became a queen with her eye set on being an empress. It will also offer some insight into why she’s so friggin’ crazy.


The twist here is that, as a novella, this story is not going to meet the NaNo 50,000-word requirement. I suspect it’ll be somewhere in the 30,000-35,000 word range. So I’ll probably rack up the extra wordage by continuing on with Winter revisions.


You know, all in a month’s work.


When will you all be able to read Levana’s Tale?


You will certainly be able to read this novella someday. My publisher is aware that I’m writing it and they’re very excited. We’ll most likely use it for some sort of promotion next year, when we start to gear up for the release of Winter. But I don’t know at this point when or where or how it will be released. I may post some fun teasers throughout NaNo though… we’ll see. ;)


Check out my NaNo profile here:


And fellow novelists, feel free to add me to your buddy list, or post your NaNo plans in the comments!

The winners of the Subscribe, Friend, & Follow Giveaway are . . .

Posted on: 12th Oct 2013  /   Categorized:

I have a newsletter going out this afternoon (you can subscribe at if you haven’t already), and that means it’s time to pick some giveaway winners!

The Newsletter Subscriber winner is …….  Kim Vo!

The Facebook Fan winner is …….  Laurie M.!

The Twitter Follower winner is ……  @percabeth35!

Congrats, all! I’ll be in touch shortly to get your mailing info.

2013: Third Quarter Reading List

Posted on: 8th Oct 2013  /   Categorized: Book Love

Aw, man. It’s usually hard to choose a favorite book or two every quarter, but this time, it was really hard. (Do I say this every time? I probably say this every time. But it always seems to be the case.)


I think it was made worse this quarter though because I took the month of August as a vacation and was actually able to get some solid pleasure reading in, meaning I read lots more this quarter than I did the rest of the year. YAY for that!


For my top pick this time, I’m going to have to go with a middle grade title, which I do not read a whole lot of, but I adored THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate. I think it may have won the Newbery? Is that true? Because it completely deserved to win if it didn’t.

AHA, yes, it did win the Newbery! Shiny sticker says so!


I am slightly biased toward this book, because it was inspired by a real gorilla named Ivan who lived in my hometown and I remember my grandpa taking me and my brother to see Ivan when we were kids, and how horribly sad he always seemed. So this book both brought back lots of memories, and made for a beautiful story at the same time.


On a completely separate note, my other fav read of the quarter was probably THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by the ever delightful Holly Black.


Holy schnikeys, have you guys all read this yet?! Hottest kiss of the year award, folks. Just sayin’. Loved this addition to the world of vampire lore. LOVED.


As always, my complete reading list is below…



1st Quarter

1. Style, by Lauren Conrad

2 Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles

3. The Archived, by Victoria Schwab

4. The Madman’s Daughter, by Megan Shepherd

5. For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund

6. Shades of Earth, by Beth Revis

7. Suite Scarlett, by Maureen Johnson

8. The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson

9. Fair Coin, by E.C. Myers

10. First Frost, by Liz DeJesus

11. Prodigy, by Marie Lu



2nd Quarter

12. Redshirts, by John Scalzi

13. Ashes, by Ilsa J. Bick

14. Article 5, by Kristen Simmons

15. Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, by Elizabeth Eulberg

16. Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, by A.J. Jacobs

17. Cinder, by Me!

18. Scarlet, by Me!

19. Don’t Expect Magic, by Kathy McCullough

20. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, by Jennifer E. Smith

21. Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson, by Mark Siegel (graphic novel)

22. A Midsummer’s Nightmare, by Kody Keplinger

23. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

24. Antigoddess, by Kendare Blake

25. Texas Gothic, by Rosemary Clement-Moore

26. Spirit and Dust, by Rosemary Clement-Moore



Third Quarter

27. The Tao of Martha, by Jen Lancaster

28. The Know-it-all, by A.J. Jacobs

29. Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale

30. This Is What Happy Looks Like, by Jennifer E. Smith

31. Populazzi, by Elise Allen

32. A Week to be Wicked, by Tessa Dare

33. A Lady by Midnight, by Tessa Dare

34. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

35. Dead is a Killer Tune, by Marlene Perez

36. Pluto, by Urasawa Tezuka (graphic novel)

37. Clarity, by Kim Harrington

38. The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

39. Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks (graphic novel)

40. The Madness Underneath, by Maureen Johnson

41. Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers

42. Dark Triumph, by Robin LaFevers

43. This Song Will Save Your Life, by Leila Sales

44. Possess, by Gretchen McNeil

45. The Successful Novelist, by David Morrell

46. The Fallout, by S.A. Bodeen

47. Tumble & Fall, by Alexandra Coutts

48. Of Triton, by Anna Banks

49. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black

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