The time it was about Mistress of Lies

Are you guys ready for an impromptu book tour and epic giveaway of awesome?

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MOL_cover_finalLondon, 1679

Isabel, Lady Wilde, mistress of King Charles II, has made a good living disguised as fortune teller Mistress Ruby, counseling London’s elite. But after the murder of one of her customers, business has taken a downturn, and Isabel is on the verge of accepting the king’s offer to move into the palace.

Isabel’s plans are interrupted when a beggar girl named Susanna shows up at her home, claiming to be her niece. Isabel always believed that her older brother, Adam, died alone during the plague. When Susanna reveals that Adam was actually murdered, Isabel is compelled to take up an impossible task: discover the truth about her brother’s death, twelve years after it happened.

Isabel’s investigation leads her through the gamut of London society, from bear-baiting matches and brothels to the realm of wealthy bankers. But as she uncovers her brother’s dark secrets, Isabel begins to wonder whether the past is better left buried, especially when uncovering the truth could lead to her own funeral.

It’s book 2 of the Mistress of Fortune series.  Sounds good right?

rightYou can buy it at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

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holly_headshot_0214Originally from a small town in Northern California, Holly moved to the big city to attend Loyola Marymount University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Screenwriting. After shoving a few unproduced scripts in the proverbial desk drawer, she succumbed to her baser instincts and turned to writing crime fiction.

When Holly’s not wandering the captivating streets of 17th century London, she lives, reads, and writes in Los Angeles with her husband, Mick, and dog, Stella. Her short stories appear in several anthologies and her debut historical mystery, MISTRESS OF FORTUNE, will be published by Carina Press in 2014.

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Make sure you’re checking out Holly’s website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page and adding all of her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

Check out the other tour stops!

Now.  Are you ready for the epic giveaway of awesome?

HWest GiveawayMust be 13+ To Enter | Ships in US ONLY

**Good Luck!!**

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The time it was about the men who would be king

Some of you might know that I’m a huge fan of Gena Showalter’s White Rabbit Chronicles.  I mean, I’ll read anything Alice in Wonderland or zombie related, but those together? SOLD.  We had the chance to meet Gena in Vegas last year and I’m such a huge fangirl for her.

I signed up for the blog tour of Queen of Zombie Hearts, but I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to get picked.  I was able to get my greedy hands on an arc back in June.  It’s amazeballs and I really wanted to help promote it.  And hooray, I was one of the bloggers picked!

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Before we get to the best topic ever, let’s check out the book, shall we? {And make sure you make it to the end of the post for some epic goodies!}

20579287I have a plan.

We’ll either destroy them for good, or they’ll destroy us.

Either way, only one of us is walking away.

In the stunning conclusion to the wildly popular White Rabbit Chronicles, Alice “Ali” Bell thinks the worst is behind her. She’s ready to take the next step with boyfriend Cole Holland, the leader of the zombie slayers…until Anima Industries, the agency controlling the zombies, launches a sneak attack, killing four of her friends. It’s then she realizes that humans can be more dangerous than monsters…and the worst has only begun.

As the surviving slayers prepare for war, Ali discovers she, too, can control the zombies…and she isn’t the girl she thought she was. She’s connected to the woman responsible for killing—and turning—Cole’s mother. How can their relationship endure? As secrets come to light, and more slayers are taken or killed, Ali will fight harder than ever to bring down Anima—even sacrificing her own life for those she loves.

Sounds good, right?

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For my topic, I get to talk about The Men Who Would Be King, AKA: the swoony boys of the series.  We all know how I feel about book boyfriends and this series has some boys that would definitely make my list.

Shall we start with a generalized description of the group?

“They were tall, all of them, and they were stacked with muscle. Most sported tattoos on their arms and piercings on their faces. A few wore chains around their waists, as if the metal links were belts, but on those bodies they could only be weapons.” {Alice in Zombieland, pg 53-54}

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These boys are fighters.  They train extensively with weapons and hand to hand combat to fight zombies.  So you can only imagine what other skills they have. *cough*

I feel like it’s worth mentioning that I’ve spent the last couple of days scouring all three books looking for the best quotes and scenes to share with you here.  And now that it’s time to post them, I’ve sort of changed my mind.  If you’ve read this series, you know how tasty these boys are. If you haven’t read this series, I don’t want to spoil anything for you.

But…I will give you just a little glimpse in case you need an extra nudge to move them up your TBR list.

Frosty

Frosty is the feisty one.  He is tall with shaggy blonde hair. His on again off again relationship with Kat is hilarious and it’s fun to read them argue and kiss and argue and kiss.  Normally the push/pull irritates me, but for the two of them, it’s perfection.

“You have nothing to be sorry for. You made me chase you, and I loved it. And I stayed with you because I love you, no other reason.” {Through the Zombie Glass, pg. 421}

Bronx

Bronx is the quiet one.   His description?

“With his spiked hair now dyed an electric blue rather than green, and the piercings in his eyebrow and lip — and, okay, the tattoo peeking from under the collar of his shirt — he didn’t have to say anything to scare the crap out of most people.” {Through the Zombie Glass, pg 63}

I didn’t add a quote from Bronx for two reasons: 1. there aren’t too many of them {the boy is quiet.} and 2. the things I did want to quote, I considered them to be a bit spoilery. Have fun finding them. :D

Cole

I could have made an entire post on this boy.  I mean…damn.  He’s got black hair, violet eyes and a chest full of tattoos to honor the friends he has lost while fighting zombies. There were so many great quotes because Cole is super UNF-y, but this is one of my favorite non-dirty quotes:

“You know, my mom once told me a boy would know he’d become a man when he stopped putting himself first. She said a girl would come along and I wouldn’t be able to get her out of my mind. She said this girl would frustrate me, confuse me and challenge me, but she would also make me do whatever is necessary to be a better man — the man she needed. With you, I want to be better. I want to be what you need. Tell me what you need.” {Through the Zombie Glass, pg. 362}

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They all sound delicious, right?  If those boys aren’t incentive to get started on reading, I don’t know what could do it.  Perhaps the added bonus of Ali being a kick ass heroine who doesn’t take any crap?

Ready to get them? Here you go:

For The Queen of Zombie Hearts
GoodreadsAmazonB&NIndieBoundBook Depository

For Through the Zombie Glass:
GoodreadsAmazonB&N IndieBoundBook Depository

For Alice in Zombieland:
GoodreadsAmazonB&NIndieBoundBook Depository

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Gena-ShowalterGENA SHOWALTER is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the Intertwined novels and several other popular YA and adult series. Her stories have been featured on MTV and in Seventeen magazine and have been praised as “unputdownable.” Growing up, she always had her nose buried in a book. When it came time to buckle down and get a job, she knew writing was it for her. Gena lives in Oklahoma with her family and three slobbery bulldogs.

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Huge thanks to Kismet Book Tours for letting me be part of this.  Make sure you’re checking out Gena’s website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page and adding all of her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

Check out the other tour stops for all sorts of awesome:

Tour Schedule:
Monday, September 8th – Two Chicks on Books & Harlequin Paranormal Blog
Wednesday, September 10th – The Book Swarm
Friday, September 12th – Supernatural Snark

Monday, September 15th – Such a Novel Idea
Wednesday, September 17th – Bewitched Bookworms
Friday, September 19th – Katie’s Book Blog

Monday, September 22nd – The Y.A. Bookworm Blogger
Wednesday, September 24th – Adventures of a Book Junkie
Friday, September 26th – Book Rock Betty

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Now.

Harlequin Teen and Gena are offering up two different giveaways.

1. You can win a copy of any of the White Rabbit Chronicles at every tour stop. The contest is US/Canada and you can enter by using the Rafflecopter below.

2.  The epic grand prize will have one winner getting all of the White Rabbit Chronicles and a $100 gift card to Amazon.

GrandPrizePackage_QoZHTo enter this giveaway, you have to find the White Rabbit!

Details:

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the white rabbit will appear on a different blog and stays there for 48hrs. Once you have found the rabbit, click on it and you will be directed to a Rafflecopter entry form for the Grand Prize Giveaway! To enter, you must answer the daily question found at the Tour Stop!!!
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Where could the Rabbit appear?  On all Book Blogger Tour Hosts and The Harlequin Paranormal Blog, so now go and hunt the Rabbit. Will you find it?

Today’s daily question: Which of the White Rabbit Chronicles boys would top YOUR book boyfriend list? 

**Good Luck!!**

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The time it was about writing

Going to a Gretchen McNeil signing is always a given. If I can get to her, I’m going to go. Naturally, when she had a tour date scheduled at Mysterious Galaxy with Anna Carey, it was a sure thing.

I got to the store around 1pm. The parking lot was jam packed, but I was the first one there. People started coming in and I quickly claimed a seat.

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Gretchen got there early and of course she teased me for sitting front row. We chatted a bit about different things while waiting for Anna to get to the store.  She got there right at 2 and they started.

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Anna started talking about the Eve trilogy and the synopsis of the series. Then she started talking about Blackbird and how that story opens up. She went back to the Choose Your Own Adventure books and they didn’t hold up. With Blackbird written in 2nd person, it makes the reader the main character.

Gretchen started talking about all of her books before discussing the synopsis of Get Even. It has something like 54 named characters and it was a lot of fun fleshing all of them out.

Anna and Gretchen both did a reading from their books.

Gretchen had to fight to keep the herps joke in the first chapter. There’s a struggle with content. There’s a lot of graphic death in Ten, but Hunger Games has more. Because it’s set in the future, it seems like it’s okay.

Gretchen had to cut a lot of the swearing in Possess. She was allowed to keep more in Ten. She struggles to put romance in the books. In a first draft scene in Ten, one of the characters ran out of a graphic death scene and starts vomiting, then starts kissing the love interest.  Her editor told her she had to get rid of the vomiting.  Gretchen doesn’t always think the romance is realistic when people are running around almost being killed.

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Is it getting easier to write?

A: The connections happen easier.

G: You know what’s coming from your editor if you’ve worked with them for a while. I feel like my books have become more complicated. Maybe I’ve felt confident enough to expand into a sort of writing that I wouldn’t have done earlier. With every book there’s a new set of problems, but it’s familiar.

A: Yes. Every book is new an exciting. This book gave me problems with the tense I wrote in. I wondered if I could tell it around her. I played with past tense. It was about 8 months of figuring it out.

G: A trilogy has it’s own set of problems. The second book is messier, but you still have to have a book in there. And then then have to tie it all up.

A: I think that’s why I became a writer. It’s a job that I couldn’t master.

G: So you’re a masochist.

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How did you get into writing?

A: I always wanted to be a writer, but I never said it out loud. When I was 9 years old, someone {I think she said it was the son of some of her parent’s friends, but I’m not sure.} had said that he wanted to be a writer and I said that everyone wanted to be a writer. His answer was “there’s a lot to be written.” I just thought it was something that was innate. We all feel like we have a story to tell.

I studied creative writing and then worked in publishing. I thought I would be an editor and it help me to see the inside. It really helped demystify everything.

G: I was never a writer. I didn’t keep a journal. I was a performer. I have multiple college degrees in singing and I couldn’t make it. Writing chose me.  You think writing is hard? Try opera. They’ll tell you that you’re fat. They’ll tell you the part of your voice that is ugly. Yet, there’s enough people who will take the abuse.

I got into tv production. My ex husband was a show creator and when we broke up, I lost my career and my relationship at the same time.  I queried 120 agents with my adult chick lit book with not enough sex for it to be adult. Someone told me to try writing YA. I went into the store and picked up the 2 best sellers and read them. I had a new book in 2 weeks and 4 offers.

I had to find the right voice and that’s where the luck comes in. It’s not about who wrote the best book or who is the best author. If Possess came out now, it probably wouldn’t sell since paranormal is on the decline.

A: I love these stories. You can have all of these other lives before you become a writer. Amy Plum worked at Sotheby’s before she started writing.

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How do you feel your education helps your writing?

A: You know there’s a big debate about this. I think you come to writing however you do. I know bartenders who write before they go into work. I know people who are editors.  I know people who wake up earlier than they need to and write.

What I got out of an MFA is generous people who were really inspiring. It was really exciting to be surrounded by people who love writing. There is a downside. I think they try to push you to write literary fiction. I feel like there’s not enough attention on plot driven books or beautiful books that fall outside of literary fiction.

The program director was really supportive and told us there would be enough people out there who were going to rip us down as writers. So in the program, we all needed to be supportive of each other.

G: I have a masters degree in opera singing. The guy who ran the program it wanted it to be a non-competitive environment.  Everyone got a part.  He wanted it to be more about the training. There’s a lot of debate about it, do you need a degree? No. But I wasn’t ready to audition in front of major houses. It taught me about storytelling because it all about showing.  You’re on stage singing in a language most people don’t understand and you have to constantly think about the character and what they’re doing.

From there, it was time for the signing.

I got up to Anna first and we talked about the last time we had seen each other.  I told her how I loved Blackbird and admitted that the 2nd person tense threw me off at first, but once I found the rhythm, I loved it. She was excited to hear it because there has been a bit of a divide on it.

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When I was done with Anna, there was a line up for Gretchen, so I started putting the event chairs away.  I was the last person in line and was able to chat with Gretchen for another minute or so.  She thanked me for coming and said she was happy that I didn’t need to drive so far because she always feels bad.  We talked about Vegas Valley Book Fest that’s happening next month and how I would see her then.

We were so busy chatting, I forgot to take a photo of her signing, so I made her pose like she was signing.   And her inscription is hilarious… The part about Billy is referring to Hubs who decided not to come with me to see her.

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These two ladies are delightful apart and even better together.  If you’re not reading their books, you need to.

And a huge thanks to Patrick, who let me go in the back room and take some pretties home.

The time it was the stuck in a good book hop {2}

Hooray for giveaway hops!

This one is hosted by Stuck in Books and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.

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I’ve just finished Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes and it was amazing.  So, I want to give you guys the option to start this great series.

12954620In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realise that the heart can be more lethal than the sword…

Up for grabs, I have a signed paperback of Falling Kingdoms!

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Contest is international and additional giveaway rules are here.

**Good Luck!!**

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Now that you’ve entered here, check out all of the other blogs on the hop [listed below] for a bazillion chances to win other phenomenal books! You can also check out the host blogs at: Stuck in Books and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer

The time it was about Firebug

I’ve always been a fan of Lish McBride.  I love her brand of snark and that love only got stronger when we went to Disneyland together. I devoured and absolutely loved Firebug and was so so so excited be invited to be part of the blog tour.

Firebug BlogTour

Before we get to Lish’s interview, let’s check out the book.

Firebug coverAva can start fires with her mind . . . but is it a blessing or a curse?

Ava is a firebug—she can start fires with her mind. Which would all be well and good if she weren’t caught in a deadly contract with the Coterie, a magical mafia. She’s one of their main hit men . . . and she doesn’t like it one bit. Not least because her mother’s death was ordered by Venus—who is now her boss.

When Venus asks Ava to kill a family friend, Ava rebels. She knows very well that you can’t say no to the Coterie and expect to get away with it, though, so she and her friends hit the road, trying desperately to think of a way out of the mess they find themselves in. Preferably keeping the murder to a minimum.

Sounds good, right?

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1. Where did the idea for Firebug come from?

I was driving, actually. This was way back before I wrote Hold Me Closer, Necromancer—years before it, when I was still trying to figure out how that whole thing was going to work. This was probably eleven years ago. So I was driving to pick up Man Friend from his apprenticeship since we were sharing a car, and since I drove that way pretty much daily, my brain was wandering and I started thinking about vampires (my brain is a strange and cluttered place, sometimes.) and how fire is one of the things they can’t stand. Which led me to think about how someone who could create fire would be the perfect assassin against vampires. This is kind of before the big vampire boom and so originally there were going to be more in the story. Anyway, it seemed like a neat idea, but I was busy getting my undergraduate degree at the time, and I hadn’t even tried my hands at novels yet, so I shelved it. When we sold HMC,N and NTS, my agent asked what else I had, so I pitched him the idea. I really didn’t have much more than a vague concept…even though by the time I pitched it, I’d gone through grad school and actually written a version of Firebug for my screenwriting class. It was pretty terrible, really, but mapping it out like that made me realize how much of the idea wasn’t working. The only things that really carried over to the novel were Ava, Lock, Venus and Owen, the setting, and a small amount of the plot.

2. Why do you love Ava and why should we root for her?

I made a joke when I was working on Firebug that it was kind of fun to write someone so different from Sam, the lead in my other two books. Sam is just so…nice. And I love him, don’t get me wrong, but he’s much nicer than I am. Ava, well, she’s awkward and snarky, and she’s been forced to become a survivor and as such has a somewhat…overly practical outlook on things sometimes. Simply, she’s not as nice. And when I said this my agent said, “So it must be much easier for you to write her, huh?”

I’m not sure that answered the question. I guess I love her because she’s really trying her best, but she screws up a lot because she hasn’t had a lot of practice interacting with people on a long-term basis, what with the way she’s been brought up and all. As for why you should root for her, well, again, she means well. Ava is really trying to do her best in a terrible situation. She hasn’t had things easy, and they aren’t getting easier, but she truly tries to do some good when she can. At the very least she tries to take care of the family she’s built.

3. What was the weirdest thing you googled while researching?

This is hard because I spend most of my time researching weird stuff. I’m pretty sure I’m on some sort of government watch list by now. But it’s probably a toss up between the time I Googled what a decomposition timeline would be for a non-embalmed human body if left in a mausoleum during spring/summer conditions in a temperate climate and the time I Googled the temperature at which human remains burn. I also once Googled the best way to blow up a car. Seriously on some sort of list. Also, it’s times like these that I like to remember the age range I’m writing for and cackle.

4. What makes a good villain?

They generally don’t know (or don’t care) that they’re evil. They’re usually just really practical about getting what they want and they don’t care who they have to plow through to get it. That being said, the best ones have some depth to them and if you can, something unexpected. Douglas, the villain from the Sam books, has a very sympathetic story thread to him. You occasionally get a glimpse into the Douglas he could have been if he hadn’t been raised by his psychotic aunt. And they don’t always have to be powerful. Firebug has a secondary villain who isn’t powerful at all, and yet is almost as devastating to Ava. Villains take many forms.

It helps if they are also snappy dressers.

5. Describe Firebug in 5 words.

Pages, words, characters, cover art. (I’m kidding.)

How about: Teen assassins on the run? (I’m not very good at this.)

Speed [ish] round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. What happens next?

My agent asks what’s wrong because I don’t sound very excited and I spend five minutes trying to convince him that no, I am very excited, I just don’t always emote properly, and besides I don’t believe things until I have them in my hand. Which meant that I wasn’t convinced I was getting published until I got my contract 3-4 months later, and even then I was dubious. In fact, I still feel it’s a really elaborate prank.

But after I convinced my agent that I was happy, I called my mother and all my brothers to share my news. So basically my form of celebrating was to be on the phone A LOT.

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

Really, as long as you have the TARDIS, you don’t really need to take anything else. Except maybe the instruction manual for it, and a snack to eat while you read the manual. I don’t really recommend taking the Doctor with you, as he will just get you into trouble.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that it makes me sad to think about.

4. Who are your favorite swoony boys?

I don’t know if I’m a swoony type person. I’m not against it, but I think I’m more attracted to personality and a sense of humor than anything. I mean, it’s not like I have a list of names hanging about or anything.

*looks away*

*hides list*

*Whistles and walks away nonchalantly*

5. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

Everyone will assume that you know what they’re talking about right away, even though you are a total noob. The sooner you start asking people to explain things to you, the better.

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large_national geographicLish McBride was raised by wolves in the Pacific Northwest. It rains a lot there, but she likes it anyway. She spent three years away while she got her MFA in fiction from the University of New Orleans, and she liked that too, although the hurricane did leave much of her stuff underwater. Her main goal in going to college was to become a writer so she could wear pajamas pretty much all the time. She currently resides in Seattle, spending most of her time at her day job at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. The rest of her time is divided between writing, reading, volunteering at 826 Seattle, and Twitter, where she either discusses her desire for a nap or her love for kittens. (Occasionally ponies.)

She plays a fierce game of potato hockey, and by “fierce” she of course means that she plays dirty, not that she plays well.

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Huge thanks to Macmillan for the invite and to Lish for taking the time.  Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page and adding all of her books to your TBR shelf on Goodreads.

And click here for the other tour stops and additional Lish awesomeness.

Now.  Macmillan has so graciously offered up a hardcover copy of Firebug.  Contest is US/Canada only and additional rules are here.

**Good Luck!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The time I deserved my inscription

After Sarah J Maas moved back to the east coast {yeah, I know that sounds stalkerish}, I wasn’t sure if she would be coming back to the west coast for Heir of Fire. When I saw the date for the Glendale store, it was a sure thing.

Our friend from London was here on the same day. He’s a merch guy and he’s currently working for the Disney band R5. We agreed to help work the show, so we started the day at the LA county fair grounds.

We headed over to the bookstore at 12:30 and got there around 1:15. I had pre-ordered the copies I needed, so went straight to the register. Hubs went upstairs to see how the event area was looking. There was an employee up there and they told him that the line up was going to be outside, staring at 2. We ran into Nicole and I lined up with her in the “unofficial” line.

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One of the BN employees came outside and told us that he appreciated our fandom and that we were all lined up nicely, but the official line was where he placed the sign at 2pm. Then someone else came out and said if we insisted on lining up already, we could line up on the other side of the store, in the street. So we all moved. But it still wasn’t going to be considered the official line.

Just before 2pm, security came out with the ropes and started putting them around where we were standing. The sign was brought out and we were told that out line was now the official line. We were going to be taken inside {it was over 100 degrees out} and so we all walked single file through the store to the second level. Nicole and I were able to get second row, next to the wall. Which is what I wanted.

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As we were waiting, the employees told us that Sarah was only going to be able to personalize one book per person. She would sign everyone’s books, but had to catch a flight.

Sarah, Nina and Robin got there right at 3. There was a moderator who is a blogger, but I didn’t catch her name. Hubs said there was an introduction, but I didn’t hear it. I think I was taking photos? I don’t know.  I will admit that this post will be a huge hot mess. I didn’t get the full answer for almost every question…

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Pitch your book.

R: Alias meets Gossip Girl

N: Mad Men plus James Bond

S: I’m really bad at the elevator pitch. Throne of Glass was pitched at “Hunger Games meets Game of Thrones.” Heir of Fire has Manon and I like to think of it as How to Train Your Dragon meets crystal meth. Sorry kids.

What’s your favorite part of writing?

R: For all of the books, I’ve had a day or a night where all of the words come and they’re perfect. That rush where the characters take over is enough to keep me going.

N: Everything that Robin said. Plus meeting fans who really love the books.

S: I love seeing the series grow and mean stuff to people. I did an event in San Francisco last night. The first time I was there, there were about 6 people there and I thought it was awesome. Last night there was something like 130.

I’m a bit of a method writer. I act out a lot of the scenes. I listened to one Kanye song over and over again and then I was in Celaena’s head. Then the words came and it’s a bit of a rush.

What would your Harry Potter house be?

R: Hufflepuff. Just because I want to be able to say I’m a Hufflepuffer

N: I want to say Gryffindor, but probably Ravenclaw.

S: On a good day, I would say Gryffindor, but probably Slytherin. Maybe they’ll have mixed house when I get there. {There was an entire conversation about Sarah still waiting for her Hogwarts letter and how she’s hoping that there’s a grad school option for adults.}

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What made you want to write YA?

R: There’s no other age group with high emotions. You don’t say “remember our 40s?”

N: I think my age got stuck there. There’s something exciting about it. Nothing is as important as it is to a 16 year old.

S: I think I’m a 12 year old who is obsessed with boys. I’m currently obsessed with Outlander and every night I’m like “oh Jaime I love you.” We recently went to Scotland and I found a cycle of stones and I touched every single one of them just in case. {Insert hilarious story about her husband asking about why she was doing touching all of the stones and their discussion about who would survive living in the 1700s.}

I started Throne of Glass when I was really young, so it was by default.

What were the books you read when you were young?

R: My parents didn’t censor the things I read, so that meant I was reading the Suzanne Somers autobiography in the 6th grade. Something I really remembered was The Babysitters Club.

N: Probably the most important were the Narnia books. {To Sarah:} You touched stones, I opened every closet door looking for That Door.

S: I was growing up and felt that there were two sides of me. Back then nerds weren’t embraced. I pretended that I didn’t read at all. In 7th grade a teacher noticed and called my parents in.  My parents took me to BN and I walked out with The Hero and the Crown and Sabriel and it was the first time I read where the girl saved the world.

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Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?

R: Étienne St. Clair.  I just finished a working on a book called Emmy and Oliver and I put Oliver through the ringer.  I’ve been working on it for a while now, so I’m just getting over my crush on him.

N: I’m team Chaol for sure.

S: Obviously Jaime. Akiva from DoSaB. Dorian and Chaol are sort of on the young side. I’m really into Rowan because he’s like A Man. It’s the first time I’ve had a crush on my own character.

How difficult was it to get into everyone’s head for HoF?

S: It wasn’t that difficult. I will only write a point of view if I hear their voice. With Manon, she was super easy to write. Celaena’s point of view was so dark. To do it properly, I had to think of Sooz not existing.

Which character was the most fun to write?

N: For me a character named November. She’s a rat shifter and doesn’t care about what the goody goody main characters are doing.

R: Roux. {But I missed why.}

S: Celaena. Obvs. {so much more than this answer.}

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Which characters from the first draft made it to Throne of Glass?

S: I shared everything on Fiction Press. Celaena changed a lot. I started writing when I was 16 and it’s not a coincidence that Celaena was in prison. I was in high school and it’s sort of the same thing.

What comes first: the name or the character?

R: For me, they come up to me and introduce themselves like a person would. They’re just like people, except they’re in my head.

N: Normally I come up with the character first. One time, I had some people ask if I was pregnant because I had so many baby books.

S: I like to plow through the words and I’ll just call them XX with an asterisk. I know I’ll end up on a Wikipedia page reading about the history of temple prostitution if I start researching names and what they mean.

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There was only one other question after this, but I didn’t get it.  I was fumbling around with my books and trying to get ready for the signing.  Finally, they told us that the line up would be row by row and they reminded us again that only one book would be personalized.

Before everyone lined up, Sarah thanked everyone for coming.  She said that it really meant a lot that so many people showed up and she wished that she could spend 10 minutes with everyone and get to know them as a person, but she had to leave to go home.  She also explained how she wanted everyone to sign her copy of Throne of Glass.  The book has been around the world with her and it’s like a yearbook.  She’s been waiting to see someone write “Have a good summer, keep in touch”.

I was planning on only getting Christina’s book because I promised her a specific inscription and was supposed to get it when I saw Sarah at Festival of Books. I had another book that was really important to get personalized and since Meredith got me an arc personalized, I was going to skip getting my hardcover copy personalized.

We got up to Sarah quickly and when she saw me, she stood up and hugged me, saying that it was so great to see me. As she signed, the BN employee was opening each book and pulling out the post its before handing them to Sarah.  When we got to the last book, Sarah asked if I was getting one for myself.  I told her that I had my arc personalized, that it was more important to get the two that I did.  Sarah looked at the BN employee and told her that I had been a supporter of the series for so long that I deserved to have my copy personalized.  So she put my post its back into the book.

Sarah double checked what I had written on the post it and I said yes.  That the scene in HoF where everyone is telling Celaena to get up was one of my favorites and I desperately wanted it in my book.  And so, I got the inscription I really wanted.  Plus, she signed my bag.

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I thanked her profusely, said goodbye to Nicole and went off to the book table to sign ToG for the 3rd or 4th time. You can guess what I put in it.   Do I even need to tell you to read Sarah’s books?  I didn’t think so.

The time I got Josh

When I saw Kiersten White announce her launch party for Illusions of Fate, it immediately went on the calendar. And then I actually opened my eyes and saw that Stephanie Perkins and Natalie Whipple were going to be there, it was a definite thing.

We got to the store just after 5. The small event area was already set up and the first two rows were already taken. {Oh! The horror!} I bought my books and settled in to wait.

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Around 5:30, one of the employees came over and said that they weren’t expecting such an early crowd. They decided to pass out tickets to make it a numbered line up. And then we also had to get papers to indicate the amount of books we brought with us.

The crowd kept growing and they eventually added another row {making it 20 seats total} so some of the SRO people could sit.

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{Be warned.  There are a lot of conversational bits that I didn’t catch.  I was enthralled in their answers and just couldn’t keep up.}

The ladies came out at 7. Kiersten started talking about how it was the first time all three of them were in the same place.  She said that she wouldn’t have been the writer she was without Stephanie and Natalie.  There was a lot of gushing and love between them, it was sort of adorable.  After all of that, Kiersten started talking about her book.

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She wanted to write something opposite of The Chosen One in a fantasy novel, but with a main character who was so awesome that she could still save the world. She then gave the synopsis.  Wrote in 7 days, but edited it for months. Was working on something else and just started writing.

Kiersten said she fell in love with Natalie’s book from the first paragraph. When Natalie said she didn’t want to read it out loud, Kiersten did.

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Natalie gave the synopsis of House of Ivy and Sorrow and where she got the ideas. Her grandmother died when she was 8 and decided to write her as a witch to spend some time with her.

Stephanie said that she didn’t know how to talk about her own book. Isla was a minor character with a different name. The day before the arc was printed, the editor told her that if she wanted the name to be on the third book, it needed to be changed.

They swapped lists back and forth and couldn’t agree to anything. She actually took a list of names to a bar that her husband was playing at and polled random people. Then while texting with Kiersten at around 4 am, Kiersten came up with Isla. Sent the book off. A week later, got a call asking how to pronounce it.

Wanted to challenge herself by not giving Isla the traditional relationship arc. Completely influenced by what was going on in her own life. Anna = making a serious go of an author. Publishing is scary. It’s all about bravery and growing. Lola = creativity and embracing what makes you you. Really thought no one would read first book. Started to question what she was writing. Isla = all of the doubts became magnified. Lost self confidence. Had to self destruct it and rebuild up.

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S: You’re both so prolific. Are you always that way?

K: There’s always a reason for what I wrote when I did. If I tried to write Paranormalcy now, who knows what it would be. Every book has a reason. I was in the middle of writing Perfect Lies and it’s really dark and violent. There was a gun scare at my children’s school and I just couldn’t touch that book for a while. I needed something magical. I sat in the sunshine and listened to rain. I needed a positive siphon for the energy.

N: I don’t write as fast as people think I do. Relax, I’m a Ninja was written in 2008 and it’s out now. Some of my books were written a while ago. There was a lot of trial and error in publishing. I wrote Fiona because I felt invisible and I wanted to be seen so bad.

House was written in 2011. I was thinking a lot about grief. It was the 20th year of my grandmother’s death and there’s times where the memories can bring me to my knees. Jo is really confident and and it made me confident.

K: When I was writing Chaos, my editor made a comment about Isadora being really bitter about pregnancy and babies. It had been a reflection of the years of infertility we went through. After a book is published, it becomes a product. It’s a business. You have to become an active part of it and be okay with people commenting or tweeting you their bad reviews.

S: And that’s not easy. It takes years to get used to it, but like any job, it normalizes. There is this two book curse out there. The freak outs we’re taking about are real. You need writer friends because no one else will understand.

During one of my freak outs, I was texting Kiersten all the time. I didn’t know I didn’t have unlimited texting. One month I sent her something like 700 texts.

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What’s your advice to rejection?

K: Send another one. You need a literary agent. I wrote 50 query letters before my first book was bought.

N: I was on query 200 before I got interest.

S: I feel bad.

K: She got her dream agent with her first finished book.

S: Lola was technically the first book I wrote. I started it when I was 18. In 8 years, I had 70 pages written. I put it aside and wrote Anna. I dedicated 40 hours to it on top of my 40 hour job as a librarian.  You accept the rejection as a badge of honor. Trying is a really hard and scary thing.

N: Realize that the keep trying doesn’t end when you get an agent. Or sell a book. I’ve had 4 books that didn’t sell. I’m a published author and I didn’t sell a book.

How you got the idea for Josh to write a graphic memoir?

S: I really like writing about prodigies. Lola is full of them. I love people with really defined futures. I had a lot of fun creating him. I read a lot of graphic novels. I didn’t find comic shops very welcoming to girls. It wasn’t until Blankets came out and a lot of my librarian friends told me to read it. Finally enough people told me to read it and it changed my life. It opened up this whole new world to me.

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Anything you wished you could have put in Illusions of Fate?

K: Originally, I wanted to add more politics and post colonialism. I briefly considered rewriting it for adults to get more. I wanted to get more about the magic into it. I do have an idea for a companion novel from Eleanor’s POV. Eleanor was going to be a mean girl and she wouldn’t let me do that.

What’s next for you?

K: Epic historical fiction. Gender swapping Vlad the Impaler. It’s called Daughter of the Dragon and it’ll be out in July 2016.

N: I don’t even know what my next book it. Fish Out of Water is coming out in the UK in February. It’s my first YA contemporary.

S: I have a second book coming out this year. I edited 12 holiday stories and it’s called My True Love Gave to Me. And then my next book will be horror. There’s something satisfying about promoting these fun, romantic books by day and then killing people at night. It’s sleezy, B-movie grade, horror with no value at all. It’s amazing.

The signing started just after 8pm and we were called up 5 at a time. When I got to Stephanie, she commented on my Edgar Allan Poe tattoo. I then apologized for the inscriptions that were about to happen. Kiersten heard that and said that she needed to see what was good to happen and Stephanie said that she was down for anything.

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When she was done signing {did you see that I have Josh now?}, I thanked her for coming and she stood up to give me a hug and thanked me.

When I had fangirled all over Kiersten after finishing IOF, I asked if it was weird that Sir Bird was my favorite character. We had an entire conversation about it and somehow I got her to agree to draw him in my book. I gave her the books while I was still with Stephanie.

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When Stephanie finished signing {and Kiersten was drawing}, the 3 of us talked about Sir Bird. We both loved Eleanor and she’s fantastic, but Sir Bird. The end.  I even went so far to tell Kiersten about how I traded signed pretties to get the arc because I needed all of the copies.

Hubs had taken my books for Natalie and handed them to her while I was still with Kiersten. I didn’t get to chat with her the way I wanted to, but I did thank her for being there. She said I looked familiar and asked if we had met before. I said that I met her briefly at the signing in Poway with Kasie West and Kiersten. And then acknowledged how stalkerish it sounded.

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As always, Kiersten and Stephanie were amazing and it was great to hear Natalie talk about her books.  If you haven’t read these books, you’re missing out.

The most important thing is that Josh is mine. I have proof.