Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Five Books that Changed Me

When I was in Australia last year a newspaper wanted to know what five books changed me.  I thought this was a very difficult question - so many books influenced me over the years, but after much thought I came up with this list:

Frederick by Leo Lionni - this story is one of the first books I remember my mother reading to me. It's about a family of five field mice getting ready for the winter. Four of the mice work hard to collect enough food, but one, Fredrick doesn't help out at all. He's too busy collecting daydreams. The story taught me that a daydreamer does have a place in a family.

Risk by Dick Francis - before finding this book when I was fourteen, I'd been reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys mysteries. While I enjoyed them, they were starting to get predictable. Risk, was an entirely different mystery. Written in first person point of view, the action didn't stop and I could never close the book at the end of the chapter. This fast-paced story telling influenced my own writing as I use first person point of view and try to end each chapter with a cliffhanger.

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. LeGuin - after reading nothing but mysteries for all my life, my future brother-in-law, Chris gave me this book to read when I was seventeen so I could "try something different." The story about a man whose dreams could change the world astounded me and hooked me into reading science fiction novels.

A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony - this book introduced me to the fantasy genre. At first I had a difficult time wrapping my mind around a fantastical world that didn't exist in our world or in any time in history. But it didn't take me long to "catch on," and I was soon reading Tolkien and all the classics.

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt - I almost put this book down after a few pages because the Irish dialect was distracting. But a friend encouraged me to keep reading and I'm glad I did. This book opened my eyes to the suffering of others and just how good my life is. No one in our world should go hungry and since reading this book, I've been very active with our local food bank and donating money to international organizations that help feed those in need.

What book had a big influence on you?  I'd love to hear which book and why!

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Love My Job :)

Way back when I was an aspiring novelist, I dreamed of being published and of having a book on a shelf (yes, this was before eBooks and no, I'm not telling you how long ago ;).  And that was the dream -a  book on a shelf in a bookstore.  My daydreams did not include readers, reviewers or awards - yes, I knew they existed, but the goal was that physical book.

So when Publisher's Weekly gave Poison Study a Starred Review seven years ago, I was surprised they read the book and then disappointed because on Amazon one star is bad.  My editor quickly explained one Star was an excellent rating for PW and that, yes people ARE going to read my book and it won't just sit on that shelf and gather dust.  I still wasn't convinced until...

Readers started emailing me.  Yay!  I loved and still love getting reader emails - yes, even the ones "yelling" at me for various nasty plot twists ;>

Here are some great Reader quotes: 

Thank you so much for your writing, it pretty much makes my life :D Carly

My mother even threatened to take my book away if I didn't walk the dog- that is how addicting your books are!  Jez

When I first picked it up at my local bookstore I thought it sounded kind of neat, but not the most exciting thing ever. I am more than happy to say how wrong I was about that opinion. Inside Out blew me away and completely exceeded my expectations. Seth surprised by how much I fell in love with this world and Yelena and obviously Valek. I just wanted to say thank you for writing such an amazing story that I just can't seem to get enough of and they've all given me a good book hangover ;-)  Amanda

A good book hangover - I like!  

Then my books were picked as finalists in various awards from the Romance Writers of America to the Baltimore Science Fiction Society - from libraries to schools.  So gratifying that not only did they enjoy my books, but they deemed them award worthy.

And amazingly some of my books WON!  Talk about exciting!  When I learned Poison Study won the Compton Crook Award, I screamed and ran around my house like a crazy lady.  Never thought I was the type to do THAT!

Prior to that award, I never won anything or more importantly, been recognized for doing good :)  I wasn't a stand out student or musician, actress or dancer.  I wasn't a stand out worker when I worked as an environmental meteorologist. 

I don't write books to win awards, to get reader emails, or for positive reviews - I write because it's fun and I've met a ton of great people and made new friends all over the world.  I write because...well...because I can do it well and because I love it!

top picture: Touch of Power and the Golden Leaf award for best Paranormal.
bottom picture: Outside In and the Prism Award for best Young Adult novel.

Friday, October 12, 2012

It's Here! UK cover art and news from AU.

This just in - the paint's a little wet so be careful not to smudge it ;>  Cover art for SCENT OF MAGIC for the UK edition.  Which will be released 18 December 2012.

So?  What do you think?  I love the colors and there are some really neat elements.  But...white?  Not the uniform I imagined, but it's eye catching, which is what the cover art is supposed to do -get the book noticed.

If you like to read the first chapter of SCENT OF MAGIC here's a link:  I don't have it linked to my website yet - I'm working on updating my website this weekend.

Also any bloggers/reviews the ARC is up on Netgalley - you have to be approved to access it.  Please only download if you're planning to post a review - my son starts university next year ;>

For my Australian readers, I now have the cover for SCENT OF MAGIC thanks to Braiden Asciak who managed to get the cover before I did *insert mini rant here* :)

And here it is:

I also have the new TOUCH OF POWER cover.  My Australian publishers are going to re-issue TOUCH OF POWER in December 2012 and then publish SCENT OF MAGIC in January 2013.

Here's the new TOP cover for AU:

This is the original cover:

So?  What do you think of the AU covers?  I like them both - it reminds me of my Study AU books with the black background (see below).