Aaaah, I’m so excited!! The Cinder paperback will be hitting bookstore shelves NEXT WEEK. I got my shipment in the mail a few days ago and it is GORGEOUS. I just want to hug it and squish it and love it forever and ever… at least, until my SCARLET copies arrive and usurp it. ^_^
So, what’s so special about the CINDER paperback?
Well. Allow me to tell you all about it.
Special Thing #1: “The New York Times Bestseller” is printed on the front cover. Those are some of my favorite words.
Special Thing #2: This pretty shiny sticker that reads: “Special Bonus: Short Story Inside!” (The short story, “Glitches,” is also available as a free download until January 3, for those of you who prefer the digital route.)
Special Thing #3: The back cover includes a pretty picture of the Scarlet cover AND a QR Code that, when scanned, will take you to “an exclusive message from Marissa Meyer!” What is my exclusive message? Er… I’m not really sure. I wrote it a long time ago. You’ll just have to go scan to find out!
Special Thing #4: Gorgeous glossy endpapers that have people saying nice things about my book!
Special Thing #5: The Blogger Thank You! My publisher designed this as a way to show our appreciation to all you wonderful bloggers who have supported the series. I hope you all imagine me hugging you every time you see it.
Special Thing #6: A sneak preview of SCARLET!
Special Thing #7: A Q&A with me, including my favorite reading memories and what I would wear to the ball.
Special Thing #8: A discussion guide for book clubs and classrooms—those of you who have been following this blog for a while might even remember me asking for your suggested questions last spring. Did your question make the cut?!
Now that I have you all craving the paperback with its awesome bonus materials, you have the chance to win one!
THREE copies are up for grabs in this Goodreads Giveaway. Ends January 7, the day before the book hits shelves. That’s only a week away, so enter now!
(Er, this is where there was supposed to be a link, but evidently the Goodreads folks are on holiday, so they haven’t approved the giveaway yet. But it’s coming soon!)
(Sorry, US/Canada/UK/Australia only. But international more giveaways will follow!)
Everyone loves a Best-of-the-Year list, and I’ve been incredibly honored to see CINDER on the favorites list of not only many bloggers (thank you thank you thank you!) but also lists from:
- Publisher’s Weekly
- Goodreads Reader’s Choice Awards
- The Romantic Times
- Hudson Booksellers
Color me one flattered, humbled, and grateful debut author!!
In the spirit of spreading the Book Love, here are MY personal favorite reads of the year:
1. Shadow and Bone / Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
I’m combining these two because, come on, Leigh, give everyone else a chance! I love love love these books with a great burning passion. They’re kind of becoming my new obsession. If you enjoy epic storytelling and fascinating magical worlds and creepy villains and super hot guys… some who might turn out to be creepy villains… you should definitely check out the Grisha Trilogy. How long again until the third book comes out? HOW LONG??
2. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Kendare’s first book, Anna Dressed in Blood, made my Top 5 Books of the Year in 2011, and I’m now confident that I will love anything she ever writes. Girl of Nightmares was just as dark and eerie and romantic and intense as the first book, and while I’m sad that this story has already wrapped up, I can’t wait to see what Kendare brings us next.
3. Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Speaking of dark and eerie and romantic and intense… Monstrous Beauty wins my vote for the most underappreciated book of the year. I thought it was BRILLIANT and I can’t fathom why it isn’t a phenomenal best seller. From the gorgeous writing to the expertly crafted storytelling to some of the most haunting scenes I can recall in recent history, this book has my heart.
4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This is one of the few “adult” books I read this year, but it’s also become one of my most recommended books ever. The concept is so clever and pitch-worthy and I feel like every child of the 80s (or us children of the 90s who still managed to retain some of the geek-knowledge of the 80s), should read this book. It is so, so smart and so much fun.
5. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
This book had my favorite “HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT COMING?!” moment of the year. Maybe some of you smart readers pieced together the clues earlier on, but a certain reveal caught me completely off-guard and I remember laughing hysterically in the middle of a public ferry ride. Scarlet also remains one of my favorite female protagonists of the year—clever, talented, and self-assured.
6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Part of me wanted to be the rebel and not include this book on my list because it’s on everyone’s list, but deservedly so. How a book can be so hilarious and so heartbreaking is baffling to me. Instant classic.
7. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
This is another obvious choice, but what can I say? The pacing, the world-building, the suspense, the characters—Veronica Roth’s writing has it all. Plus—FOUR. *swoons* If you’re one of the three people in the world who hasn’t started this series yet, what are you waiting for?
8. Defiance by C.J. Redwine
If Scarlet has my favorite heroine of the year, Defiance has my favorite hero—Logan, the ultimate combination of geek-smart and fighter-sexy. Rawr. But a hero does not a great book make, so lucky for us this one also comes with a barrel full of action, a horrific villain, and a futuristic fantasy world that is entirely brilliant and unique.
9. Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
This is one of those rare books that leaves me speechless when I try to explain why I loved it so much. The writing… the storytelling… how it unfolds with the grace of an ancient fairy tale… just thinking about this book makes me crave lemon pie. Even months later I still find myself thinking about Keturah and Lord Death (the characters) on a regular basis.
10. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer / Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride
We’ll bookend the list with another series pairing, although we’re all waiting to see if we’ll get a third Necromancer book (Lish says she has “ideas,” so my fingers are crossed!). These books are brimming with hilarious snark, an ensemble cast of endearing paranormal creatures, and one seriously bad-ass family of werewolves. Fun times for all!
What do you think, readers? Did we share any favorites this year?
Another year of fabulous books has come and gone. I hit a personal record for myself this year, reading a grand total of 90 books! (Last year I read a mere 69. Turns out, traveling is really good for my TBR list.)
But as is the dilemma with being a book lover, no matter how many books you read, you never get to them all! There are lots of books that I was dying to pick up, but never got around to, such as The Night Circus, Crown of Embers, Incarnate, Days of Blood and Starlight, Grave Mercy, Code Name Verity, Splintered, For Darkness Shows the Stars, Bonded, Under the Never Sky, Everneath, The Raven Boys… just to name a few.
But I guess that means I have lots of amazing reads to look forward to in 2013, along with, of course, all the brilliant sounding debuts from The Lucky 13s!
Stay tuned for my TOP 10 READS OF THE YEAR, coming next week. For now, here are my…
Highlights from the Fourth Quarter
Three of my favorite books that I read this last quarter (UNREMEMBERED by Jessica Brody, IMPOSTOR by Susanne Winnacker, and SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo) don’t come out until next year, so I’m not going to highlight them yet. I really enjoyed them, though, and encourage adding them to your wish lists.
My favorite reads from this quarter that you can go pick up right now were:
DEFIANCE by C.J. Redwine
This book combined so many of my favorite things: fantasy mixed with a dark apocalyptic future and steampunk-esque technology, the kind of villain that makes you want to reach into the book and claw out his eyes, a brave and spunky heroine, and a smart, geeky hero who was part-warrior, part-inventor, all put into an exciting and fast-paced read. I can’t wait for book 2!
THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab
I heard so many great things about this book when it came out in 2011, and now I can add my two cents to the mix. This is one of those books that sweeps you away entirely into the story and can make you feel chilled and wind-tousled and like some mysterious being is watching you from the moors… even when you’re safe at home. The writing is superb and I absolutely loved the haunted fairy-tale vibe of the story. Can’t wait to get my hands on The Archived next month!
BOOKS READ IN 2012
1. Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi
2. Moonglass, by Jessi Kirby
3. Legend, by Marie Lu
4. Never Eighteen, by Megan Bostic
5. Fracture, by Megan Miranda
6. The Mockingbirds, by Daisy Whitney
7. A Million Suns, by Beth Revis
8. The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson
9. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
10. Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, by Beth Fantaskey
11. The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan
12. Scarlet, by A.C. Gaughen
13. Harbinger, by Sara Wilson Etienne
14. Stormdancer, by Jay Kristoff
15. Cracked, by K.M. Walton
16. Ditched, by Robin Mellom
17. BookLife, by Jeff VanderMeer
18. Cinder, by ME! (Had to include it.)
19. Starters, by Lissa Price
20. Out of Sight, Out of Time, by Ally Carter
21. White Cat, by Holly Black
22. The Cardturner, by Louis Sachar
23. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
Mini-Break for Research
24. Libya, by Terri Willis
25. The Sahara, by Ann Heinrichs
26. Sudan, by Patricia Levy and Zawiah Abdul Latif
27. Satellites, by Ron Miller
28. The Inside & Out Guide to Spacecraft, by Clare Hibbert
29. Croak, by Gina Damico
30. Wither, by Lauren DeStefano
31. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
32. The Way We Fall, by Megan Crewe
33. BZRK, by Michael Grant
34. Girl of Nightmares, by Kendare Blake
35. Valkyrie Rising, by Ingrid Paulson
36. Mila 2.0, by Debra Driza
37. Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
38. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, by Lish McBride
39. Monument 14, by Emmy Laybourne
40. Struck, by Jennifer Bosworth
41. Insurgent, by Veronica Roth
42. Enchanted, by Alethea Kontis
43. Bitterblue, by Kristin Cashore
44. Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas
45. Above World, by Jenn Reese
46. The Productive Writer, by Sage Cohen
47. Remarkable, by Liz Foley
48. The Professor’s Daughter, by Joann Sfar & Emmanuel Guibert (graphic novel)
49. Little Vampire, by Joann Sfar (graphic novel)
50. Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol (graphic novel)
51. Friends With Boys, by Faith Erin Hicks (graphic novel)
52. The Name of the Star, by Maureen Johnson
53. Alice in the Country of Hearts, by QuinRose & Soumei Hoshino (graphic novel)
54. 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, by Jessica Brody
55. Demon Racer, by Tamara Felsinger (beta-read manuscript)
56. 12 Minutes of Midnight, by Tamara Felsinger (beta-read manuscript)
57. Nursery Rhyme Comics, with an intro by Leonard S. Marcus
58. The Annotated Alice, by Lewis Carroll and Martin Gardner
59. Necromancing the Stone, by Lish McBride
60. Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos
61. Keturah and Lord Death, by Martine Leavitt
62. The Selection, by Kiera Cass
63. Monstrous Beauty, by Elizabeth Fama
64. Storybound, by Marissa Burt
65. The Domino Men, by Jonathan Barnes
66. Enclave, by Ann Aguirre
67. The Nightmare Affair, by Mindee Arnett
68. Magisterium, by Jeff Hirsch
69. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success, by K.M. Weiland
70. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews
71. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, by Christopher Healy
72. Unremembered, by Jessica Brody
73. Defiance, by C.J. Redwine
74. Sean Griswold’s Head, by Lindsey Leavitt
75. Alice 19th, Vol. 1 & 2, by Yu Watase (graphic novels)
76. Take a Bow, by Elizabeth Eulberg
77. Ten, by Gretchen McNeil
78. The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows, by Jacqueline West
79. Getting Over Garrett Delaney, by Abby McDonald
80. Every Day, by David Levithan
81. Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo
82. Impostor, by Susanne Winnacker
83. Crewel, by Gennifer Albin
84. Renegade, by J.A. Souders
85. Adaptation, by Malinda Lo
86. Gilt, by Katherine Longshore
87. The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, by Nikki Loftin
88. The Near Witch, by Victoria Schwab
89. What Jane Austen Knew and Charles Dickens Ate, by Daniel Pool
90. The Rook, by Daniel O’Malley
Need more book recommendations? Check out my Recommended Reading page.
SCARLET will be on bookshelves in a mere 44 days, which means I’m about to hit the road again! Here’s where I’m going to be in the coming months – I hope you can come see me!
Times and full details still TBD. Watch this space or subscribe to my newsletter to always be in the know.
NOTE: I will be adding at least two more cities and events in the coming weeks.
The SCARLET Book Tour
**Virtual Launch Party**
Monday, February 4
8:00 EST / 5:00 PST
Q&A, Prizes, and more!
RSVP at: http://shindig.com/event/scarlet
(That same link will take you straight to the event on Feb. 4.)
Tuesday, February 5
Scarlet Launch Party!
Garfield Books – Tacoma, WA
Wednesday, February 6
Parnassus Books - Nashville, TN
Thursday, February 7
Lemuria Books – Jackson, MS
Friday, February 8
Irving Public Library – Irving, TX
Saturday, February 9
Books & Books – Miami, FL
Sunday, February 10
Vero Beach Books – Vero Beach, FL
Tuesday, February 12
Blue Willow – Houston, TX
Wednesday, February 13
Book People – Austin, TX
Thursday, February 14
Square Books – Oxford, MS
Savannah Book Festival – Savannah, GA
Sunday, February 17
Oblong Books – Millerton , NY
Monday, February 18
Word – Brooklyn, NY
Tuesday, February 19
Bethesda Library (sales by Politics & Prose) – Washington, DC
Thursday, February 21
King’s Books – Tacoma, WA
Saturday, February 23
Bothell Library – Bothell, WA
Saturday, March 2
Mill Creek University Bookstore – Mill Creek, WA
Teen Book Brunch
Tuesday, March 5
Liberty Bay Books - Poulsbo, WA
YA Reads event with Lish McBride
Toronto, Canada (details TBD)
Wednesday, March 13
Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing – Beaverton, OR
With Lish McBride, Elizabeth Fama, Jessica Brody, Jennifer Bosworth, and Ann Aguirre!
Saturday, March 16
Wheelock Library – Tacoma, WA
SunnyCon – Sunderland, United Kingdom
Further United Kingdom Events TBD
Texas Library Association Conference – Fort Worth, TX
Rochester Teen Book Festival – Rochester, NY
San Diego Comic-Con
Timberland Library Tour – WA
Six library events throughout Western Washington – Details TBD
I’ve been collecting fairy tale Christmas tree ornaments for a few years now, but this year I had enough Cinder-related ornaments (thanks to my wonderful friends and family who spoiled me last year) that I decided to do the whole tree in a Cinder & Scarlet theme!
Here are some of my favorite ornaments:
A beautiful red glass slipper. Every girl needs one!
A Chinese lantern.
A cute little spaceship.
One of a few pumpkin carriages.
Little Red meets the Wolf. He looks like a trustworthy fellow…
I love it! Now I’m officially in the holiday spirit, and psyched for Scarlet’s release in February.
I know, I know. This is the season for giving and all that wholesome selflessness stuff. But I’m a big advocate for spoiling oneself, especially when it comes to your writing life. Being comfortable and content is a big first step in being productive and inspired, so turn your holiday vacation into a mini-writing retreat this year by creating a writing space you can’t wait to hole up in on those cold winter nights.
Here are some gifts, for yourself or the writer in your life.
The Splurge: A New Reading Chair
Pick a recliner or a chair that comes with an ottoman, so you can kick your feet up and relax with a nice book or your current manuscript. Though they’re particularly pricey, I’m a big fan of the “chair and a half,” which falls somewhere between a chair and a loveseat.
This chair and a half / ottoman set from Pottery Barn comes in around $2,300. Splurge indeed!
The Budget Treat: A Cozy Blanket
Or you can update your current reading spot with the addition of a lovely new blanket—and you don’t have to go expensive to get soft! Etsy has an enormous selection of handmade afghans for under $50, such as this lovely winter white blanket:
By CozyHomeCrochet on Etsy: $48.00
The Splurge: A Keurig Coffee Maker
Fill with water, insert your drink of choice, and within minutes you’re sipping a toasty warm beverage! Whether you’re in for coffee or hot cocoa, tea or apple cider, there’s a Keurig cup for you. The mini-brewer is even small enough to live on a writing desk.
This mini-brewer will cost you $99.99 at Target.
The Budget Treat: Hot Cocoa and Fixings
Or simply warm up some milk or water in the microwave and make a tasty treat yourself! For something special, buy fancy-schmancy hot cocoa mix, and don’t skimp on the whipped cream, marshmallows, or cinnamon stir sticks—whatever will make you feel spoiled.
Peppermint hot cocoa gift set from Williams-Sonoma: $33.
The Splurge: Stress Reducing Aromatherapy Kit
Aroma-therapy experts tell us that by associating a particular scent with a certain task, we can more quickly invigorate our minds and prepare for the work ahead. I’m fond of the Stress-Fix oil from Aveda, that not only smells warm and wintery (to me), but is even supposed to help reduce stress. Perfect for those deadline crunches!
This gift set, including candle and bath salts, comes in at $66. The oil alone runs $22.
The Budget Treat: A Scented Candle
Not into the oils and lotions? A candle can have the same soothing and focusing effects, with the added bonus of mood lighting for your and your laptop. I’m fond of the holiday scents from Bath and Body Works, myself.
Right now, get two 14.5-oz holiday candles for $20.
What will you do to make your writing space extra cozy this winter?
I love this time of year, not only because of the eggnog and cookies and holiday lights (although I do love all that), but I love all of the year-end optimism. The resolutions, the looking back, the looking forward, the plans, the expectations. I love how this time of year forces you to take stock of the things you accomplished over the last twelve months, and to make plans for the upcoming year to see what you can do better, or where you’re headed next.
It just feels like there’s so much potential moving into a new year.
So this is, of course, the perfect time to be updating your business plan.
Don’t have a business plan? Well then, this is the perfect time to create one! And no, you don’t need to be a professional writer yet—a plan can be useful for anyone with writing aspirations. A business plan is like a roadmap that will give you an at-a-glance picture of your goals and priorities. It helps you focus and challenge yourself, and it will let you know when you’re falling behind.
Your Business Plan Can Consists of:
- Writing Goals
Do you want to finish the first draft of your novel? Revise and edit it? Query agents? Submit it to your editor? Start outlining a new project? Branch out into short stories or nonfiction articles?
- Promotion Goals
How about starting a mailing list this year? Build a new web site? Amp up your Twitter, Facebook, or blog presence? Or do you want to do a certain amount of speaking engagements this year, or guest post on a certain number of blogs?
- Professional Development Goals
Is this the year you go to a writer’s conference? Treat yourself to a writing retreat? Take a writing class? Read one craft guide per month?
- Reading Goals
How many books do you hope to read this year? Do you want to branch out of your genre comfort zone? Read a poem every day? Start reading nonfiction that has nothing to do with novel research?
Be sure to aim high. Challenge yourself! But don’t overwhelm yourself with so many goals that you give up before you begin. It’s tricky trying to find the right balance, and I’ll be honest—I have never in my life had a year in which I accomplished everything I set out to accomplish. However, I usually come close, and this way I know that I’m always pushing myself beyond my comfort zone.
My Personal 2012/2013 Business Plans
My 2012 Business Plan looked something like this:
- Launch and promote CINDER to my publisher’s and my expectations (success) *
- Final revisions/edits for SCARLET and early promotion (success)
- Turn CRESS in to my editor (success)
- Brainstorm, outline, and draft something brand new (success)
- Launch my web site, new blog, and newsletter (success)
- Have a consistent presence (daily or weekly postings) on Twitter and Facebook (semi-success)
- Review and begin revisions on WINTER
*I realize this is vague, but at the time I had no idea what promotion was going to entail, so I decided to just do my best.
The last goal—begin revisions on WINTER—is the only item that I was unable to get to this year. (Although… there are two weeks left still…) All in all, I’m happy with the things that I accomplished in 2012 and feel like I’m in a good position to keep my writing career chugging right along in 2013.
So here’s what my 2013 Business Plan looks like:
- Launch and promote SCARLET
- Final revisions/edits for CRESS and early promotion
- Turn WINTER in to my editor
- Turn the Secret Nano Project in to my editor
- Brainstorm and outline whatever will come next
- More regular updates to the Marissa Meyer Facebook fan page (esp. while traveling)
Breaking It Down
Once you’ve figured out your goals for the upcoming year, don’t forget this all-important next step: break it down! The first thing I do after updating my business plan is go through my 12-month writing calendar and begin penciling in deadlines and monthly goals.
Begin by giving yourself deadlines for each item on the plan. Many of these will change. They always do for me, at least. But at least I can look ahead and see if I’m biting off more than I can chew or not challenging myself enough. I make sure to note any true¸ publisher-enforced deadlines and indicate that my goal is to be finished with that project well ahead of time so I avoid any stressful crunch periods.
If you have ongoing goals (say, read one craft guide a month), then indicate that throughout the calendar, or even write down the title of the specific book you want to read that month.
The first few months of my 2013 will look something like this:
CRESS revisions and editing – return to editor
Synopsis of Secret Nano Project to editor
Plan Scarlet launch party
Write blog posts for Scarlet blog tour
Misc. promotion stuff for Scarlet launch
SCARLET launch and tour!
Read through WINTER draft and begin making plan for revisions
WINTER revisions – 1/3 through draft
WINTER revisions – 2/3 through draft
WINTER revisions – draft 2 complete
Review Secret Nano Project and make plan for revisions
That way, I’ll always know when I start to fall behind and how dire it is.
Well… this blog post turned out to be a lot longer than I expected. I do LOVE talking about business plans and goal-setting! <3
Now it’s your turn. Have you made a business plan for your writing career? What’s on your 2013 agenda?
During the Scarlet Friday chat a couple weeks ago, the following question was asked:
@EileenLi8: What made you choose the different settings that Cinder and Scarlet took place in?
As this question requires an answer beyond 140 characters, I decided to save it for a complete blog post.
The Eastern Commonwealth / China
Some scholars believe that a story called “Ye Xian,” which was first recorded in 9th-century China, is the original Cinderella tale and the direct ancestor to the stories we know from Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm. Additionally, some believe that the iconic lost slipper used to find the runaway girl came to us from China’s tradition of foot-binding and a culture in which women were praised for tiny feet.
So my decision to set Cinder in China seemed to have a great cyclical quality to it and also paid homage to the tale’s history.
You can read the story of Ye Xian here. This site claims that even this story was the descendent of a Greco-Egyptian tale written in the 1st century, which I wasn’t aware of until recently. So who knows?
The European Federation / France
Although I don’t know where the earliest Little Red Riding Hood tale originated from, werewolf stories and superstitions have been told… well, pretty much anywhere there were wolves. One of the most famous “true” stories took place in France, and surrounded a series of killings that happened in the 18th century. An estimated 210 people were killed and the local village people believed it was a series of wolf-like creatures doing the killings, and possibly even real werewolves.
I saw a documentary on TV about this around the time that I was planning the Lunar Chronicles. I liked how France already had this history of werewolf superstition, which is why I chose to set my futuristic werewolves there.
The African Union / Sahara Desert
This could be a question of translation, but when I was researching the story of Rapunzel, there were some versions in which Rapunzel was cast out into a forest, some in which she was cast out into a desert, and others in which she was simply cast out into “a great wilderness.” So I figured that if my characters were going to end up in either a forest or a desert, a desert was going to be way more horrible. So naturally I went with that option.
And when I think desert, I think the Sahara. Hence how part of Book Three ended up in Northern Africa.
A large part of Book Four: Winter will take place in space and on Luna. This has no real connection to the story of Snow White, it just had to happen there for the plot.
Because I have the luxury of creating this world and culture from scratch and not having to worry about getting stuff wrong, it’s without doubt been the most fun setting for me to write. I can’t wait to take you guys there.
Any questions? ^_^