A MORBID kind of MAGIC contest

So, remember a few weeks ago when I asked all of you lovely people to call and get WITCH EYES stocked in your local stores, and that there was a reason why this was a good idea?  That idea is now. 😉

See this?  This is A TOUCH MORBID, by Leah Clifford.  And I have an ARC of it.  Want it?  And some other special prizes? Then this is a contest for you.  The rules are simple.

First off, the contest runs from NOW until October 31st.  Halloween.  So that’s 31 days to accomplish your mission, should you choose to accept it. 🙂

Second, this contest is open to the US/Canada only.

To Enter: Take a picture of yourself with a copy of WITCH EYES.  This has to be an actual copy of the novel (sorry but a picture of it on your ereader doesn’t count), and it can either be a copy of you and the novel in the wild, or it can be you and the book in a bookstore.  Post the picture somewhere (Facebook, twitpic, wherever), and then add a comment to this post with a link to the picture.  If you’re posting on Facebook, you can tag the picture to the Witch Eyes series page, and I’ll create a whole little album for pictures of the book in the wild.

Don’t have your copy yet, or your local bookstore isn’t carrying WITCH EYES?  You’ve got 31 days to solve that little problem! 😉

For extra entries, either blog about the contest (and include your picture in the post) or tweet about the contest and include a link to your tweet or blog entry in the comment below.  That’s up to three entries, total. 🙂

What the winner will get: A signed ARC of A TOUCH MORBID.  Because I’m a nice guy, I’ll throw a few extras in, too:

You will also win a signed copy of THE GODDESS TEST by Aimée Carter, and a signed copy of SIRENZ by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman. And a whole lot of swag.

Three great books, and a bunch of swag.  Good deal, right?  So get on that! 🙂

Bad Juju and Bookstores

I’ve been thinking a lot about bad juju the last couple of days.  One definition of bad juju is basically the idea that you can get stuck into a pattern of bad luck and misfortune that will continue on until you ‘break’ it.  And when you don’t, everything you do comes out bad or tainted.  Bad juju. Some people have rituals they perform to wipe the slate clean (on Grey’s Anatomy they drank hot chocolate or something).

This week has been crazy with the ups and downs (both online and not online), and I’m always horrible at focusing when crazy stuff is going on.  I had a laundry list of things I need to finish, and I haven’t even STARTED.  And even now, I sat down to work this morning, and I’ve got about as much concentration skills as Leah after her second pot of coffee.

So how do you break the routine?  I used to do the ‘sit with a mug of hot tea’ thing.  Veg out, embrace the day, whatever you want to call it.    I’ll break out my DS and play video games for a little while until the ADD eases up.  Breaking up the routine by going out to breakfast, or shopping, or anything like that.  Sitting outside for awhile (which I’m not doing because it’s -14 degrees outside today).

What about you?  How do you break up a bout of bad juju?

In other news:

I’ve had a few people tweet me or send me messages telling me that they can’t find Witch Eyes in stores.  It happens.  There’s limited shelf space, buyers don’t pick up a book, etc.  It happens.  But most stores will pick up at least a couple of copies if you ask.  So the next time you’re out,  if they DON’T have it, consider asking them to pick up a few copies.  I’ll be your best friend! Or if you want to help from home, call your local bookstore and ask them to carry it.

Have a great weekend!

The Bookanistas: SKYSHIP ACADEMY by Nick James

Summary: A devastated Earth’s last hope is found in Pearls: small, mysterious orbs that fall from space and are capable of supplying enough energy to power entire cities. Battling to control the Pearls are the Skyship dwellers—political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth’s stratosphere—and the corrupt Surface government.

Jesse Fisher, a Skyship slacker, and Cassius Stevenson, a young Surface operative, cross paths when they both venture into forbidden territory in pursuit of Pearls. Their chance encounter triggers an unexpected reaction, endowing each boy with remarkable—and dangerous—abilities that their respective governments would stop at nothing to possess.

Enemies thrust together with a common goal, Jesse and Cassius make their way to the ruins of Seattle to uncover the truth about their new powers, the past they didn’t know they shared, and a shocking secret about the Pearls.

My Thoughts: By now, you guys know how I am about the cover.  And this cover, I love it.  It gives you SUCH a great sense of the book.  Flux covers are really great at evoking an atmosphere like that.

The story was interesting, because right from the bat it’s a split POV, but one is in 1st person, the other in 3rd.  It was an interesting choice, and one of the many things about the book that I didn’t see coming.

Skyship Academy has an almost effortless sense of worldbuilding.  I’m frankly jealous, because Nick has created such a complex world, but everything is easy and relate-able.   There’s a deliberate sense of control with the terminology – even the slang made sense and came across easy. The plot was VERY fast paced, which I’m a huge fan of, and it built towards a climax that I definitely didn’t see coming.

I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, but when I do it’s usually because it’s something exceptional.  And just like Across the Universe, this was a fantastic science fiction tale.  I cannot wait for the second book.  Actually, I might have to go harass Nick about that now. 😉

Check out what the other Bookanistas are doing:

Elana Johnson is in a tizzy over Texas Gothic

LiLa Roecker  celebrates Something Like Hope

Christine Fonseca  is transformed by Shifting

Shannon Whitney Messenger takes a shine to So Silver Bright – with giveaway

Beth Revis shouts about The Name of the Star

Shana Silver loves Lola and the Boy Next Door

Rosemary Clement Moore is distracted by Alien Invasion & Other Inconveniences

Sarah Frances Hardy adores Birdie’s Big Girl Dress

Stasia Ward Kehoe takes a fancy to Fracture

Carolina Valdez Miller goes gaga for Glow and Shifting – with giveaway

 

The Secret Circle

I know, I know, you’re sick of hearing me talk about The Secret Circle.  I promise, it won’t be much longer now. 😉  But c’mon, a show about witches in Washington with evil parents?  Someone was peaking at WITCH EYES when they were redesigning the show, I swear.

If you haven’t heard, the Secret Circle premiere is available on iTunes a few days early as a free download.  So if you haven’t checked it out yet, you should.  Or you can watch it tomorrow night.  But in the meantime, check out this promo that got released yesterday.  It’s probably one of the most creative and “different” promos I’ve ever seen.  Just press play and watch.  Even if you think it’s not running, it’s running. 😉

WITCH EYES Blog Tour Week 3!!

Oh my gosh, more blog posts!  This group contains some of my favorite guest blogs, so definitely check them out if you have the chance!  Two more weeks of posts and the blog tour is DONE.  Woo.

Tuesday, September 6: Sherry at Flippin Pages for All Ages (Trey’s Top Ten Reasons his blood pressure is so high.)
Thursday, September 8: Kari at A Good Addiction (Character Junket Interview)
Friday, September 9: Corrine at Lost for Words (Word Association Guest Blog)
Saturday, September 10: Ivy at Ivy Reads (Author Interview w/ Music Line Answers)
Sunday, September 11: Casey at The Bookish Type (Guest Blog: Trey’s College Essay)

Monday, September 12: Lexie at Poisoned Rationality (Teenage Garage Sale)
Tuesday, September 13: Patricia at Patricia’s Peculiarity (10 Things I Do Instead of Guest Blogs/Interviews)

One Last thought on #YesGayYA

There’s been a few comments that I’ve seen, that I wanted to react to, but I just couldn’t boil my thoughts down to 140 characters.

One of the arguments against the issues brought up #YesGayYA is that “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want gay stories.”

Let me bring up a topic from a long time back.  There were several YA books about people of color, but when the covers originally came out, they featured white characters instead.   It became an issue, people got angry, the covers changed.  The argument was never “there are editors and agents who only want books about white characters.” So I really don’t understand why “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want gay stories” is a defense.  Situations like this happen, clearly. Not to everyone, and not as a rule, but they happen.  It’s not an argument that needs to be refuted, in my opinion.  If you don’t agree, you don’t agree.  No harm, no foul. 🙂

Another comment, that I think I talked about yesterday, was the justification angle.  That “this isn’t an issue because I’ve bought/sold books with gay characters and had no issues.” Again, it’s not your experience, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, or it’s not an issue worth discussing.

MOST publishing houses have put out a significant amount of content featuring LGBT characters.  But there’s a difference between books that HAVE gay characters, and books ABOUT gay characters.  In the original example of Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown, the gay character they were asked to cut was a main character.   Books may get bought/sold/edited that have a supporting character who is gay.  And

But the experience in buying or selling a heterosexual YA novel with a gay character in the supporting cast is a very different experience from buying or selling a homosexual YA novel with straight characters in the supporting cast.

Okay, so those are my final thoughts on the matter.  I’m not saying anyone is right, or anyone is wrong.  I’m just saying it’s a subject that deserves discussion and consideration.

#YesGayYA

Many, many moons ago, I wrote this post entitled “If you want to write LGBT fiction.” I wrote it because one of the first questions that people tend to ask me in interviews and things like that is “Wasn’t it hard to get a novel published with a gay main character?”

Yes, it was.  And no, it wasn’t. Publishing a book is hard, it doesn’t matter if the characters are straight or gay.

When I read this article about authors who were asked to “straightwash” characters in their novel, I sympathized.  I’ve been there. I don’t like to talk about it, because I still feel like someone’s going to come and rap my knuckles with a ruler, but WITCH EYES had it’s moments.  I had agents who said there wasn’t a market for a paranormal with a gay character who had a romance.  I had editors suggest they would reconsider the book if Braden and Trey became Brenda and Trey.  Or if I removed the romance and made it a straight girl/gay guy buddy comedy.

Now, at the end of the day, my book wound up exactly where it was meant to: at a publishing house that loved the story, and an editor who was super supportive right from the beginning.

So…it happens.  And sometimes it works out.  But I hate when people say it doesn’t happen.  I don’t like to throw the baby out with the bath water.  It’s not a black and white issue.  Publishing is not completely homophobic, or completely supportive.  It varies, and it changes, and there’s no one standard for how things work.  It’s a business, and it’s a business run by MANY different people with MANY different beliefs.

If you want more books with LGBT content, buy the ones that are already out there. Show publishers that there’s profit to be made by investing in these books.

Now, one of the initial outcries to the article was people coming forward saying they invited LGBT books, or were open to them.

That’s not exactly the same thing as putting out that content. 

There is also a difference between books with gay supporting characters, and books with gay MAIN characters.  Yes, there is a LOT of LGBT supporting characters in YA.  But there are significantly less MAIN characters who are LGBT.  In the former, the gay characters may have storylines, but the main story is about a hetereosexual character who is going through his/her own issues.  In the latter, the gay storyline is more present, and of much more concern.

When I wrote WITCH EYES, I did it because there weren’t a lot of options to read a fairly traditional urban fantasy novel with a gay romance…so I wrote one.  And now we’re starting to see more and more of these stories, and there’s more INTEREST in these stories.

Now, we are three years away from when I was on sub with WITCH EYES, and those experiences.  So maybe things have changed.  All I know is that in my experience, it happened.  And it happens.  But that doesn’t mean it’s the rule, or there’s NO content or support out there.  Because it changes every day, and beliefs that people had three years ago, or five, or even ten, might not apply anymore.

There is a FANTASTIC conversation going on about this on Twitter under the hashtag you see in the title: #YesGayYA.  You should check it out.

Fall TV Season

I can’t help it.  Television is my weakness.  When I’m stuck on a book, I’ll go catch up on my DVR.  When I need to escape, I’ll start a Veronica Mars marathon.

So the fall season is kind of like my Christmas.  New shows, old favorites, everything coming together all at once.  I’m not the most discriminating of viewers – if I at least like the premise, I’ll watch 3-4 episodes before I give it up.  Unless it’s absolutely terrible and I have no reason to continue watching.

So since you all know that I’m dying for the Secret Circle to start, I thought I’d talk about a few of the OTHER shows I’m looking forward to.  (New shows only – I gush enough about my returning favorites everywhere else).

Ringer – It has a similar premise to The Lying Game (which I already love), but this is definitely more noir/thriller for your buck.  Plus, Sarah Michelle Gellar.  I mean, I’m not falling down on my knees and worshiping her return to television like some people are, but I’m glad to see her, for sure.

Whitney – Have you seen the previews for this show?  I mean, it’s one of those shows that was MADE for me.  Unflinching sarcasm and spite?  Yes please!

Once Upon a Time – I’m not as sold on this one as some people, but if it’s dark and creepy enough, I’ll probably give it the season pass.  It’s about the duality between real life and fairy tales, where all the fairy tales come to live on Wisteria Lane (from what I’ve gathered).  But I’m always interested in seeing how people take traditional fairy tales and spin new life into them, so this should be interesting.

I’m sure there’s a few others, but those are the ones that stand out.  What about you?  Any shows you’re looking forward to?

 

 

Official WITCH EYES Release Day!

I know that the book has been trickling out there for a few weeks now, available online and in some bookstores, but TODAY is the official release!!!  WITCH EYES is OUT THERE.  Officially and stuff! How insane is that?  When I first wrote the book, in like 2007, this was obviously the goal, but some days I wondered if I would ever actually get there!

Again, if you’re going to look for a copy in stores, I suggest you call ahead first.  Some stores might not have any copies on the floor, or they might not have any on hand.  (I even had to ask my local bookstore to order copies in).  And I’d rather you not waste a trip.  But most stores are happy to order copies in, so should you be so kind… 😉

The Kindle version of the book is finally available, so if you were looking for the ebook option, there’s one more for you.  I try and compile all the Witch Eyes news into one post (so I’m not constantly posting just about one thing), so for all the latest, make sure you check out the Witch Eyes page on Facebook. 

And in honor of today, there’s all sorts of things you can do!

1.  Curious about which side of the feud you’d end up on?  Are you Team Thorpe?  Or Team Lansing? Take the ‘Which Side Am I On?’ Quiz on Facebook and find out for sure!

2.  There will be an extra special “Welcome to Belle Dam” themed chat tonight at 8pm EST.  Tell your friends!  Everyone who shows up will be eligible for some fabulous prizes, like a copy of WITCH EYES among other things!  And the aforementioned quiz will help, because you’ll be choosing whether you’re Team Lansing and Team Thorpe, so choose wisely!  Details to be announced later today!

3.  You can check out the official WITCH EYES playlist on iTunes.   It’s twelve of the songs I think best cover different aspects of the book.  (Alas, one of the songs I wanted wasn’t available on iTunes, otherwise it would have been a mystical 13!).

4.  If you loved the book, consider posting a review on one of the retailer sites.  It makes an author’s day to see good reviews getting posted.

5.  You can watch the NEW version of the book trailer.  It’s mostly the same, just updated a bit, adding in the book cover and some new pictures.  After all, the last version of the trailer was over two years old – definitely time for a facelift! 🙂

Also, since it’s Thursday, check in with the other Bookanistas!

Elana Johnson shares some book love for Random Acts of Publicity Week

LiLa Roecker is wild about a double giveaway of Witch Eyes and Wildefire

Christine Fonseca  thinks you should Write Your Book Now!

Shannon Whitney Messenger  loves Legend – with signed arc giveaway

Jessi Kirby gets inside Sean Griswold’s Head

Sarah Frances Hardy applauds Lottie Paris Lives Here

Stasia Ward Kehoe marvels at The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer