My month of Fierce Reads continues today with the Razorland Series by Ann Aguirre (which just might be the coolest name for a series ever). The first book, ENCLAVE, has oft been compared to The Hunger Games for its dark and broken society and brave heroine (a Huntress, no less). The second book of the trilogy, OUTPOST, released last week.
Outpost (Razorland #2) by Ann Aguirre
Deuce’s whole world has changed. Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.
To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.
Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.
Check out this awesome live-action trailer for ENCLAVE:
If you’re in love with the world Ann has created, you may also want to check out her short story, “Endurance,” available as a .99 e-book from Heroes and Heartbreakers.
Just popping in to let you know that you can now view all the submitted flag designs: RIGHT HERE!
If you submitted a design, please go check to make sure that your design didn’t get missed and that all your information is correct.
I’ll be narrowing it down to my Top Picks over the weekend and voting will commence next week.
Amazing job, everyone. I am totally impressed with all your creativity, effort, and talent!!
Another Fierce Reads tour kicks off on September 18, and I am SO EXCITED! This time I’ll be on the tour for five different cities with authors Elizabeth Fama, Ann Aguirre, Lish McBride, and Jessica Brody, and the tour will continue on without me throughout September and October.
In the meantime, I thought I’d introduce you to my Fierce Reads sistahs again, starting with the fabulous Elizabeth Fama who has written an absolutely spectacular book.
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.
Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.
I love-love-loved this book. It’s gorgeous. It’s eerie. It’s romantic. It’s haunting. It’s mysterious. It’s brilliantly constructed. I could not put it down. It’s also one of those rare books that has something for everyone. Whether you like mermaids, ghost stories, murder mysteries, history, or romance, definitely check this one out.
Have you read this book yet? What did you think? And will you be at any of the Fierce Reads tour stops this fall?
I am in the process of collecting, organizing, and sorting the flag design entries and, with any luck, I will be posting the top choices on Thursday to start the voting process. I am CRAZY IMPRESSED, you guys. Crazy impressed. I can’t wait to share them.
In the meantime, I’ve put up a new giveaway on Goodreads. Three Scarlet ARCs are up for grabs, so hop on over and enter! Yes, it’s even international.
With all this giveaway excitement going on I decided to go easy on the blogging front today. So, a generic non-writing life post it is!
One cause of endless fascination in my house these days is my husband’s current project.
He’s rebuilding a 1930 Ford Model A Sedan. Right now it looks like this:
Cool, right? In theory, it will be running before we lose our sunny weather this year. Yay! I am definitely excited to ride in it, but I’m probably most excited to buy a fancy scarf for my hair and go all Tippi Hedren, but without all the murderous birds stuff.
I’ve also been spending lots of time in my new office.
Okay, the office isn’t new, but most of the furniture is. There was an enormous furniture sale at an antique store a couple months ago so I got to play decorator.
The NaNoWriMo posters might be my favorite part. ^_^
What’s up with you all these days?
Gretchen McNeil, author of POSSESS and the forthcoming TEN, is a rockstar, and I am crazy impressed with the guerilla marketing plan she’s set up to promote her newest book. When she heard that Barnes & Noble wouldn’t be carrying TEN, rather than resign herself to poor sales and zero support, she concocted a grassroots movement that skipped right over the heads of the big chainstore and took the marketing duties straight to her fans and readers.
Like I said: Crazy. Impressed.
Essentially, Gretchen has created a military-based system in which fans can join her Army of Ten and earn ranks depending on certain tasks they complete. As the tasks become more difficult, the prizes become more desirable, from fun swag like bookmarks, pins, and dog tags, to getting your name in the acknowledgments of her next book.
Although it’s too early to tell the campaign’s overall effectiveness (TEN doesn’t release until September 18), Gretchen’s efforts so far seem to be working. At least, they’re garnering a lot of buzz.
I was in awe when I first heard about the Army of Ten, because the concept is so unique and clever, yet deceptively simple. We all know that the elusive “word of mouth” sells books (one of the few things the marketing world seems to be absolutely sure about), and this is such a great way to capture that. The Army of Ten campaign sounds both fun and challenging, and I know a lot of readers are thrilled to be involved in supporting their favorite books and authors.
Along with most authors, I’m always trying to come up with new, interesting ways to promote, and I’m a huge advocate for anything that gets readers involved. I suspect we’ll be seeing some copycat campaigns in the future, but for now, hats off to Gretchen for spearheading the movement!
For More Information, visit http://armyoften.blogspot.com/.
And because TEN just happens to be one of my most anticipated reads for this season, here’s a bit more info on the book:
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.
But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.
Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
Now I have to ask: Would YOU join a campaign like this to support a favorite author? What other smart ways can authors use their fans for promotion?
Don’t forget, the Design a Flag Contest ends THIS FRIDAY, AUGUST 31, AT MIDNIGHT PST.
Important note: To qualify, you must send me the link to your posted design(s) via this CONTACT FORM. It is not enough to simply tweet me the link or post the flag on my Facebook page.
Remember, there are six prizes up for grabs and TWO winners will each get an annotated ARC of SCARLET! Good luck!
In case you weren’t able to participate in WriteOnCon last week, here’s my vlog presentation on Starting a New Project.
I am, in fact, beginning to think about a new project that I’ll be drafting during NaNoWriMo this year. I’m in the researching/brainstorming stage right now and SUPER excited. Although my publisher has asked that I not spill the details about it just yet, I do look forward to posting incredibly vague progress reports and word counts when the time comes. ^_^
If you have any questions or further tips for starting a brand new project, feel free to leave them in the comments!
And be sure to check out the WriteOnCon schedule for lots more information and tips on writing, editing, marketing, querying, and more!
Thanks so much to everyone who responded to last week’s questions on writing locations. You’ve given me some great ideas and my experiment will commence in the next few months, so stay tuned for that!
In the meantime, I’ve been working on the third draft of CRESS (Book 3 of The Lunar Chronicles). For me, Draft #3 is a fun one because the plot is pretty solid by this point and I know my character well enough that they’re truly starting to come to life.
Which means that I can start concentrating on things like setting, atmosphere, pacing, motivation, and suspense. I like to think of this as my taking-it-one-step-further draft.
I usually begin with a read-through of the manuscript, but I’m not fixing word choices or sentence construction yet. Rather, I approach each scene with some specific questions in mind.
- Am I making things too easy for my characters here?
- How could this bad-thing-that-happens be made even worse?
- How could I raise the stakes?
- Could the romance be more compelling or passionate?
- What setting details could I use to bring the location to life?
- Does every character in this scene have a clear goal? Is that depicted in their dialogue and actions?
Often I’ll find that a small tweak here or there can make a huge impact on the overall effect a scene has. One well-placed background detail can give a whole new feel to a setting, or a single line of dialogue can completely change the dynamic of a conversation. I really enjoy this part of writing. It’s kind of like I’ve been messily blowing dynamite in a mine, and now I can finally start shifting through and picking out the gold.
I also feel that this a stage of the writing process that goes overlooked by a lot of writers. Have you ever read a chapter in a book and thought, “Well, that was good, but it could have been so much better if the writer had just pushed a tiny bit further.”? That tiny-bit-further is what I’m looking for here. I’m not happy to just have a plot that works and characters that act like real people. I want a plot that’s exciting and unexpected and characters that are mesmerizing. And that can require a lot of time spent questioning myself to make sure I haven’t taken the easy way out. That I really have pushed the story as far as I can.
So that’s what I’m working on right now. I guess you’ll all be the ones to let me know if I succeeded!