This is a big weekend coming up, not just with Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but also Small Business Saturday and Cyber… er, I mean, CYBORG Monday. But before we all get swept up in holiday shopping and festivities (and all the many Lunar Chronicles announcements we’re going to make next week…), I wanted to write about the day that captures the feel of the holidays much more than any cheaply-priced flat-screen TV ever could…
If you’re not familiar with Giving Tuesday, it’s joined the annual Thanksgiving weekend line-up as the day in which people all over the world are encouraged to volunteer their time or money in support of a cause that’s important to them. Of course there are a BILLION different charities and organizations that one can choose to support, but I thought I’d take this chance to highlight some of my personal favorite literacy-based organizations for my fellow book lovers.
REACH OUT AND READ
This clever organization works directly with pediatricians in order to supply age-appropriate books to their young patients, and include family-reading time as a part of their overall health and development plan. For many children who benefit from this program, the book(s) they receive from their doctor are the only books they own.
Through the use of a “book bank,” this fantastic program uses a network of educators and community leaders to provide books, educational resources, and even some basic necessities (such as band-aids) to children in under-served communities, with the overall goal of reducing educational inequality for children in impoverished areas.
Yes, yes, NaNoWriMo is an awesome annual motivator to push us writers into gear, but they are also responsible for the Young Writers Program, which reaches over 80,000 students and educators through special programming and free classroom kits, helping them develop their writing skills and nourish their creativity.
If you’re the type of giver that prefers to keep it local (fair enough!), here are some ideas for supporting your own community:
Your local library: Libraries are more than just places to check out free books (though that is, of course, an awesome service) – they also tend to be community spaces that host year-round events, from author visits to children’s story times, but they often require funding above what they receive from the government to accomplish their goals.
Prisons & Detention Centers: Illiteracy and a lack of education go hand in hand with crime rates. Many prisons and detention centers host educational programming for their inmates and/or book clubs to encourage reading and open discussion. Such programs can go a long way toward helping inmates connect with the outside world and avoid re-offending once they’re released.
Schools & Hospitals: If you’re not able to donate financially but have a stack of books lying around that you’d like to find good homes for, try asking your local schools or hospitals. Many are eager to have fresh reading material for their libraries.
Want more information on charitable giving? CharityNavigator.org is an excellent resource for finding causes that speak to your heart.
I hope that gives you some ideas for next Tuesday… or any time of year, for that matter…
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
This is one of those days where I have about 8 million things to cover, so let’s get to it!
First off – Author Promo FAIL! In all the excitement of HEARTLESS releasing, I completely forgot to MENTION IT ON MY BLOG. So, if you happened to miss it…
In fact, I am THRILLED to announce that it hit #1 on the New York Times Young Adult Bestsellers List!! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me and my first stand-alone novel. *squishes all the readers*
That’s not all… Heartless also a Goodreads Choice Finalist! If you haven’t yet voted for your favorite books of the year, cast your vote today!
While you’re busy voting for things, don’t forget to cast your vote for your favorite design in the Scarlet Litographs Contest! (It’s a tough choice, but somebody’s got to make it.)
Plus a couple of super cool things were brought to my attention on social media this week, including…
Heartless in the New York City subway! (Say what?!)
Bonus: CHECK OUT THAT BLURB FROM GREGORY MAGUIRE, OH MY HEART.
And… I’ll take “Bizarre Moments in Marissa’s Life” for a thousand, Alex.
Last thing – our annual Cyborg Monday is coming up!! Keep your eye out on Twitter next Monday, 11/28, for TONS of news and announcements for The Lunar Chronicles and Wires & Nerve. (If you miss it, I’ll post a full re-cap right here on Tuesday.)
Plus – set your alarm for my Facebook Live Chat, happening Monday at 9:00pm EST / 6:00pm PST on the Fierce Reads Facebook page. I’ll be talking about some fun new things we have coming up, and will answer as many questions as I have time for!
Okay, I think I got it all. BAM.
You know we’re close to a book release when the first excerpt from the audiobook becomes available!
I’m delighted that Heartless is narrated by Rebecca Soler, the same talented narrator behind The Lunar Chronicles, and here is our first listen…
The Heartless audiobook will release on November 8, the same day as the hardcover, but you can pre-order it from Audible today: http://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/Heartless-Audiobook/B01K5L5RJW
If the brand new Cinder Infinity Scarves wasn’t enough… I have yet MORE exciting news from Litographs!
Their line of Cinder merchandise has done so well (thank you, Lunartics!) that they’ve decided to add a line for Scarlet too. (YAY!!) And because my readers are pretty much the most creative geniuses in the world… we’re once again hosting a contest in which YOU get to design it!
Seriously. I had so much fun seeing the designs created for Cinder that I am dying to see what you guys come up with for Scarlet. I cannot wait!!
All right, here is the official announcement and submission guidelines:
WHAT IS A LITOGRAPH?
A Litograph is art created from the text of a book. Litographs then takes this art and prints it on t-shirts, tote bags, and posters, meaning you can now wear your favorite book! Check out www.Litographs.com to see examples of their work.
Here, of course, is the fabulous Cinder design created by Lunartic Snigdha Chaya Saikia:
And now we’re working on an original line of merchandise inspired by Scarlet!
YOUR MISSION: Create a design to be used as the base for posters, t-shirts, and tote bags for the original Scarlet Litographs line of merchandise.
– The winning design will be used as the main art for the release of Scarlet t-shirts, tote bags, and posters.
– Your design should be inspired by Scarlet: Book Two of the Lunar Chronicles and/or speak to a key theme, or plot point, in the book. In other words, we want to be able to recall the book from your design (that doesn’t mean spoilers!). Your design must fit some general size and style qualifications as in the Litographs style guide. That said, please do be creative!
– Your design should include graphics only. No text please (as the background will consist entirely of text!).
– Please do not use copyrighted images. All artwork should be your own creation.
– Open internationally.
HOW TO SUBMIT
– Please submit ONLY ONE DESIGN. If you submit more than one design, your work will be disqualified.
– Important: By submitting an entry to this contest you grant rights to use this design in forthcoming merchandise, and in display and promotional materials. Please read the terms of service within the typeform for more information.
– Once your design is finished, use this typeform link to submit your design and contact information. Your design will later be posted to my Pinterest page for voting.
ENTER HERE: https://litographs.typeform.com/to/flD9re
– All entries must be received no later than midnight PST on Thursday, November 10th, 2016.
VOTING AND PRIZES
5 FINALISTS will each receive a $50 Litographs gift card. This can be redeemed for posters, t-shirts, tote bags, temporary tattoos, and other great literary products, including those soon-to-be available for Scarlet!
ONE GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive a $500 cash prize from Litographs and have his or her design featured on Litographs t-shirts, tote bags, and posters to be available at www.Litographs.com, and indie bookstores around the country!!!
Happy designing, and GOOD LUCK!
With just two weeks to go before Heartless arrives bookstores, I thought I would share a curious little behind-the-scenes look into the creation of a novel.
Namely – the entirely bizarre things that we authors sometimes have to research.
The question comes up all the time when I’m talking about The Lunar Chronicles – “How much did you have to research?”
And the answer is always a predictable – “I have to research everything!”
I think it’s expected in a science-fiction book. There’s space travel, cybernetics, artificial intelligence, disease, genetic tampering, and moon colonization, just to name a few of the things I had to learn about in order to make that world and story seem as real as possible.
But it’s less obvious with a fantasy novel, especially one set in a world as quirky and nonsensical as Wonderland. After all, if there was ever a setting in which absolutely anything is possible, this is it. So it might be easy to assume that a fantasy novel like this requires very little research or forethought. Which simply isn’t the case. No matter what world you’re writing in, it’s always going to be important to include details that are accurate or interesting, to help build the authenticity of the book and truly let the reader feel that they’ve been swept up in a brand new world.
So, from the day I started planning this book, I kept a list of every single thing I had to research during the writing of it – partly for my own curiosity, and partly so I could eventually share it with you.
Some things were huge and took a long time to research – such as daily life in 19th-century England. Others were specific and required only a quick glance at Wikipedia, such as the size and weight of the largest pumpkin ever recorded.
And as with any book, much of my research never actually made it into the writing itself (to the point where there are a number of things on this list that I honestly don’t remember looking up and I’m not entirely sure why I was researching them in the first place). But one hopes that every little bit of gathered knowledge will add a tiny bit of depth that will ultimately make for a richer, more magical reading experience.
My Complete and Random List of Heartless Research Topics
Alice in Wonderland & Alice Through the Looking Glass (writing of; word play; Lewis Carroll, etc.)
History of playing cards
One-eyed Jacks and suicide kings
History of lemons
Mock turtle soup
Real turtle soup (recipes, preparation)
Victorian era fashion
Victorian era baking and baked goods
Daily life, customs, traditions – 19th Century England
Unique cobbler recipes
Largest recorded pumpkin
Pumpkin varietals – best for baking
How to make macarons
The legend of Sleepy Hollow – publication date and other details
Victorian hat styles
Victorian courtship etiquette and rituals
What do flamingos eat
History of chess
Victorian era undergarments
Knave/Jack of Hearts – head wear
Men’s hats of the Renaissance
The history of cheesecake
Traditional Scottish desserts
Vanilla bean cultivation/production
How to make rose water
Poe’s “The Raven”
History of bicycles
Card tricks / Magic tricks
Who is Pallas (Raven poem)
History of clowns
Victorian currency and the cost of clothing
Do turtles sweat?
Calling cards and etiquette
How does it feel to handle a hedgehog
What animals eat toads?
Lady’s favours and jousting tournaments
Victorian phrases and slang
shoe polish / blacking
rules of croquet; lingo
Can caterpillars taste/how?
Rook v. Crow v. Raven
Animal collective nouns
Tools used for hatting
Chess rules – pawn promotion / queening
Pieces in a traditional tea set
The history of lemons and adding lemon to tea
Tradition of placing coins on the eyes of the dead
Various lawn games
The history of the frisbee
How to sharpen an ax
And there you have it. Evidence that, no matter how fantastical the world, a little bit of research can never be entirely avoided.
Luckily, for many of us, getting to read about totally weird stuff is half the fun of this job!
Writers: What are some of the most peculiar things you have ever had to research?
The Countdown to Heartless is getting intense! We have just four more weeks before it arrives in a bookstore near you, and there is SO MUCH happening to help us all get in the mood for magic, monsters, and madness.
1. Murderer. Martyr. Monarch. Mad…
2. Win a Tea Party with Marissa Meyer
Fans in the US and Canada can enter this cool sweepstakes to be flown out to the Wires & Nerve launch party next January in Tacoma, WA, and enjoy a tea party with yours truly. Enter at HeartlessBook.com.
3. The 50 Day Heartless Countdown
Join in the fun by following the prompts on Twitter or Instagram, with the hashtags #HeartlessCountdown and #sweepstakes, and you could win awesome prizes, including an early copy of the book! See more details on FierceReads.com.
4. Don’t forget the Heartless pre-order offer!
Submit your receipt to receive a limited-edition Heartless magnetic bookmark, while supplies last.
5. My Heartless Tour Schedule
Just in case you missed it before, check out the complete list of upcoming events.
Your votes have been cast and tallied and a winner for the Heartless Mad Hatter Design Contest has been selected!
And the grand prize winner is……… Vanessa!
Vanessa’s design is absolutely stunning, and I have personally witnessed more than one jaw drop when people see it. So incredible and amazing and… yes, absolutely mad!!
Once again, big congratulations to our finalists and runners-up: Olivia and Raegyn! I am incredibly smitten with both of your designs and so grateful that you put your whole hearts (get it?) into this contest.
And because there were SO MANY exceptional entries, I wanted to keep up with my regular tradition of also highlighting some:
I fell in love with each of these, for a variety of reasons, and could have easily seen any of them among our finalists! For your hard work and originality, every one of our honorable mentions will be receiving a random pack of goodies and swag.
I will be in contact with the winners shortly!
Thank you again, a thousand times, to everyone who entered and voted and who is so willing to humor me and these crazy contests. The Mad Hatter would be so proud!
Now: dust off those teapots and start baking some scones, readers… Heartless will be out in just two more months!!!
*tips hat and disappears, Cheshire-style*
Have you pre-ordered Heartless?
Do you plan to?
Then submit your receipt to receive a limited-edition magnetic Heartless bookmark, while supplies last!
(As this promotion is being run by my US publisher, it’s open to US and Canada residents only. See http://fiercereads.com/heartlesspreorder for full rules and restrictions.)