What Are You Reading?

StorybookI had a blast this past weekend at Weslaco and Mission Hills High Schools and at my book signing at The Storybook Garden in Weslaco, Texas. I met so many great writers. I want to thank everyone who made it possible and everyone who gave me such a warm welcome.

I got home Sunday and started reading Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. I’m really enjoying it. Have any of you read her books? What are you reading right now?

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Unspoken and Other News

Unspoken_revised (1)I finally finished writing Unspoken and did my happy dance around my house.  Not that I was glad to be done with Della, that’s not it at all. I’ll miss her like crazy.  It’s just that Unspoken was a hard book to write, not only because Della got herself into so much trouble I was nervous she’d never be able to get herself out, but also because I had a lot of distractions while I was writing (like hubby getting a new kidney). But now it’s finished and in the hands of my editor. So, Della’s final book, Unspoken, is scheduled to be released October 28, 2015. You can pre-order it now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

 

 

In the meantime, Spellbinder will be out on June 30, 2015. So, you can look forward to Miranda’s novella.  She has quite an adventure in Paris, where she goes for a huge magic tournament. It seems someone wants to win so badly, they’re killing off the competition. And Miranda’s in the cross hairs! Pre-order your copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

Me? Well, I’ll be going to conferences and book signings and plotting what’s next. And as soon as know what’s coming, I’ll be sure to let you guys know.  Like this Thursday, May 21st, I’ll be at The Storybook Garden in Weslaco, TX, starting at 6:00 PM. I’ll be giving a short talk and signing books. You just never know what might happen! Then, RWA’s Annual Conference will be in New York City in July, and I can’t wait. I love the Big Apple! I’ll be participating in their annual Literacy Autographing on Wednesday, July 22. Follow the link for a full listing of all the authors who will be there. Oh and, hopefully, I’ll even find a little time to squeeze in a beach holiday at some point. Happy summer!

P.S.  Thank you to all the fans who showed up at RT. You guys made me feel so special.

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Hello From Dallas!

Hotel.BuildingToday, I’m in Dallas, Texas for RT’s Convention at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. I have been looking forward to this for months! Not only is RT’s Convention the booklover’s party of the year, but they have lots of special events for the YA reader. And of course I always love catching up with all of my writer friends. I can’t wait!

 

On Saturday, May 16th, there is a Teen Day, Fan-tastic Day and Book Fair. You can register online till May 15th, but you may also purchase tickets on site the day of the event. Teen Day will have a Fierce Reads Pizza Party, with book, t-shirt and tote bag giveaways—and of course lots of pizza. There will be loads of giveaways and chances to talk with YA authors. Oh and don’t forget the games! There will be YA Family Feud where you’ll test your knowledge of YA lit and the YA Edition of the Match Game. Will you win?   And of course there will be a Teen Day Party! Those are only a few of the highlights!

Can’t wait for May 16th? Put on your jammies and join us for some spooky, silly fun and games on May 12th at the YA Spooky Slumber Party! Challenge your favorite YA authors to time-honored slumber party favorites like Truth or Dare and Boy Meets Girl, and create your very own spooky flash fiction. Snacks and prizes abound — and the best slippers win!

Plus, there will be tons of workshops at the convention for any writer, no matter your genre or where you are in your career.

On Saturday, May 16th, there is also a GIANT Book Fair with over 500 authors signing their books, posters, bookmarks, etc. And the best thing is the fair is open to the public and you can purchase tickets at the door. You may also bring in your books from home to get them autographed. However, they must be checked in and stamped (with invisible ink, so there’s no damage to your books) before you enter the book fair. Only two books from home per author are allowed.

Please let me know by leaving a comment if you’ll be coming to the conference or book fair and I’ll bring something special for you.

Winners!!

The winners of last week’s giveaway of my packets of swag are Sheila Ryals and Maddie. Please email your mailing addresses to cc@cchunterbooks.com. Congratulations!

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Who am I? What am I?

008982Most of you have read my Shadow Falls and Shadow Falls: After Dark series. An underlining theme in those books are about discovering who you are and what you are. I think by writing them, I sort of got curious about myself.  Now, as odd as I am, I’ve always been pretty sure I’m all human. But what kind of human?  One day before Christmas last year, I was watching TV and a commercial came on about checking your DNA.  I told hubby, “I want to do that.  Maybe I’ll have a little vampire in me.”

Well, for Christmas one of my gifts was the DNA test.  It was pretty easy.  Spit in a test tube and mail it off.  I remember my grandmother telling me that one of my great-great grandmothers on my grandfather’s side claimed to be French.  “She was lying,” my grandmother told me.  “She was American Indian.” I was also told that I had a lot of Scottish blood.

I sent that test tube off in the mail and waited for an email to answer my questions.  And I discovered that I’m 40ish % English or Scottish, I’m 16% Irish, 20ish % Scandinavian and . . . 6 %  . . . not American Indian, but . . .  French.  My grandma was wrong.  Then, I have a trace of Western Asian.  (Say what?)

My daughter, who is totally into the family history, did some checking on Ancestery.com.  And you know that French ancestor? Well, her name was Mary Lafoon Keith (Keith, which is my mother’s maiden name), and she is considered a Revolutionary War Heroine.  She was known to ride and warn the American’s that the enemy approached.

Could that be where I get my spunk?

Okay, so I’m not a vampire like Della, or like Kylie who is a Chameleon, or Miranda who is a witch, but it’s interesting to look back into our roots, or DNA, and see where we came from and question from where or who we might have gotten some of our odd behaviors.

Do you know where you came from?  What are your roots?

IMG_0948Today, I’ll give away two gift packs of some of my new promotional items to two people who leave a comment.

 

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Spellbinder

Spellbinder_revised3It won’t be long until Miranda’s novella, Spellbinder, will be out. That’s right, June 30th, you’ll be able to read all about Miranda’s Paris adventure. Oh yeah, Perry and Steve are both there, too. Not to mention Kylie and Della. Then there’s the person trying to kill Miranda and her fellow contestants in the magic competition.

What Miranda doesn’t expect is for her investigation to unleash shocking revelations…about herself, her family, and her arch enemy. Now Miranda must step up and show everyone that she’s a witch to be reckoned with….before it’s too late.

 

In Spellbinder you’ll learn:

  1. When you play with fire, you might find things getting hotter for other reasons.
  2. It’s possible for a girl to be kissed like she’d never been kissed and not even know who kissed her.
  3. Magic moms are ten times worse than soccer moms.
  4. The only thing better than going to Paris, is going to Paris with your two best friends. Well, it would be if someone wasn’t trying to kill you.
  5. Sometimes the people you think you know the best, aren’t at all who you thought they were.
  6. Some things are harder to forgive than others.
  7. Family can work together and overpower dark magic.
  8. If someone needs help and you ignore them, you may never forgive yourself.
  9. While a hug doesn’t fix everything, it can be exactly what you need at the moment.
  10. Some people are willing to kill to win.

Spellbinder is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

So, be sure to pre-order Spellbinder, tell all you friends to do the same, and share Spellbinder’s cover on your Facebook page.

And remember when magic, romance and family secrets collide, the result is spellbinding!

Winner!

Last week’s winner of a copy of Joy Preble’s Finding Paris is Emma. Please email your mailing address to cc@cchunterbooks.com. Congratulations!

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Joy Preble’s Finding Paris

Today I’m welcoming Joy Preble to my blog. Joy is a good friend, a great YA author–and fellow Texan. Her latest book, Finding Paris, is out today. So be sure you pick up a copy. I invited Joy to answer a few of my questions about Finding Paris.

CC:  Tell us about Finding Paris.

Joy: Finding Paris is my first YA novel with Balzer and Bray/Harper Collins, and I’m so very excited for it to arrive in the world on 4/21. Like all of my work, it’s a genre blend—a mystery wrapped around a family drama, tucked inside a road trip, with bits of tragedy and bits of romance.

FindingParis coverSisters Leo (Leonora) and Paris have only ever had each other to rely on. They can’t trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who’s moved them all to Las Vegas. It’s just the two of them: Paris, who’s always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind—going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling love. But Leo isn’t going anywhere right now, except driving around Vegas all night with her sister.

Until Paris ditches Leo at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where just moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris—a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared?

When Leo reluctantly accepts Max’s offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of increasingly disturbing clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for Paris—and the truth about why she’s gone missing—is not a straight line. And either is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold inside.

CC: Finding Paris is a genre shift for you, crossing over from stories with a paranormal element to contemporary YA. Can you talk a little about this?

Joy: I’m what I suppose you’d call a literary omnivore. The stories that come to me don’t always fall neatly into one or the other category. So I’m very fortunate to have worked with a number of wonderful publishing houses, the latest being Balzer and Bray. It’s actually been a good challenge to write a straight contemporary novel. The paranormal elements in both Sweet Dead Life and Dreaming Anastasia serve as one of the main engines to the plot, but with Finding Paris, it’s a real life mystery, a real life sister’s disappearance, among other things. But I love the leaner nature of a contemporary story.

CC: What was the inspiration behind the novel?

Joy: Well, there are many inspirations. The surface one actually occurred as my husband and I were driving from Houston to Dallas. We’d stopped for lunch at this place called Sam’s—the kind of interstate diner that has a pie buffet and a quirky gift shop. And in stall in the ladies’ room there was all this Sharpied graffiti – everything from ‘Jesus saves’ to ‘I <3 Danny’ and of course some nastier stuff, as there often is. And then this one that had a phone number and said, “I need you to call me” And there was a girl’s name.  I walked out and in the car I began thinking: What if two girls were on the road and one went to the bathroom or out to the car and then never came back. What if there was a message left in Sharpie?  So that was the initial influence. But the deeper sources for this story come from my years of teaching, from working with students whose home lives aren’t safe or stable, who are struggling to get out of bad, untenable, suffocating situations. Who are struggling to face their truths and tell their truths. And people who have bind spots for those they love. Or who just don’t know how to fix the things that are wrong.  And as I wrote from that initial premise, I knew I had found a story that could give them a voice.  When Leo trusts Max to help her, when she takes that first ride with him, I knew she was doing so because the rest of her life was honestly a lot scarier than trusting a boy who knew the same silly physics jokes as she did.  And who she sees as the type of person she’d like to have in her life but doesn’t. Of course, that’s just the beginning. And then there’s the missing Paris…

CC: What’s next for Joy Preble?

Joy: Right now I’m finishing up the last revisions for It Wasn’t Always Like This, which comes out from Soho Press in Spring, 2016. It’s pitched as Tuck Everlasting meets Veronica Mars: A girl named Emma, a boy named Charlie, a fountain of youth, and what happens when you’re stuck at seventeen. It’s got this wonderfully huge scope, shifting back and forth from current day Dallas and Emma solving a series of murders to the Emma and Charlie of the past and how they came to be separated for 100 years. Oh my gosh, I love this book! I can hardly wait to tell everyone more about it.

joy Preble author picJoy Preble is a Texas girl who was born and raised in Chicago and a former high school teacher who now writes full time, which means she gets paid for making up stuff. She earned an English degree from Northwestern University and speaks and teaches widely on writing and literacy at libraries and schools, as well as SCBWI, NCTE, AWP, and other conferences. For more information, go to http://joypreble.com/.

You can buy Finding Paris at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and  Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins).

 

Giveaway!

I’ll give away a copy of Joy’s book Finding Paris to someone who leaves a comment. So be sure to comment.

Winner!!

The winner of last week’s giveaway, a print copy of Unbreakable, is Cassandra from Ontario, Canada.  Cassandra, email your mailing address to cc@cchunterbooks.com. Congratulations!

 

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New T-Shirt and Giveaway!

It’s getting closer to the release of Miranda’s novella, Spellbinder. I’m almost finished with Unspoken, the final book in my Shadow Falls: After Dark series. And I have to admit, there were times I didn’t think Della would make it.  But really like the direction her story is heading, and I think you will too.

Whenever I have a new release, like to have lots of swag to giveaway. So, I’m working on designing a new t-shirt, and I need your help. I have the basic design done, but I’m trying to come up with a clever saying I can add. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Born to Read
  • Book Whisperer and proud of it
  • Gotta a Minute, Get a Book
  • Ask me what I’m reading
  • Take a Book Vacation
  • Go Places, Read
  • I Read Way Past My Bedtime
  • Nocturnal Reader
  • I Have a Book Boyfriend

Which one do you like the best? I’m open to suggestions. What would you like your t-shirt to say about you and your reading habits?

UnbreakableGiveaway!!

This week I’m giving away a signed paperback of Chase’s novella, Unbreakable. And guess what? This giveaway isn’t just limited to residents of the US. But if you do live outside the US, please be sure to tell me what country you live in when you post your comment. So, come on, Shadow Falls fans, leave a comment telling me which saying you like best, or tell me what you’d like your t-shirt to say.

 

Winner!!

The winner of last week’s giveaway, a hardback copy of Eternal, is Gisselle Montes. Congratualtions! Please email your mailing address to cc@cchunterbooks.com.

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Cover Reveal!

I’m so excited I can finally share the cover for Miranda’s novella, Spellbinder!

Spellbinder_revised3When magic, romance and family secrets collide, the result is spellbinding!

Miranda Kane has always felt like a screw up–at least when it comes to her ability to wield magic.  Her only sanctuary is Shadow Falls camp, where she’s learning to harness her powers as a witch.  But thanks to her shapeshifter boyfriend who called it quits and ran off to Paris, both her heart and powers feel broken.   

When she unexpectedly lands a top spot in a spell casting competition in France, she flies out with her best friends Kylie and Della.  But her trip takes her straight into the heart of a dangerous supernatural mystery–and a heated romance.  What Miranda doesn’t expect is for her investigation to unleash shocking revelations…about herself, her family, and her arch enemy.  Now Miranda must step up and show everyone that she’s a witch to be reckoned with….before it’s too late. 

Spellbinder will be released June 30, 2015, but is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks. Don’t miss out, pre-order your copy NOW.

Giveaway!

I’m giving away a hard cover copy of Eternal to one lucky fan who leaves a comment. (Sorry, but I have to limit this giveaway to US residents only.)

 

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Writing Advice and Other Answers

This is an interview I did for Maria Anderson, one of my Street Team members, for her Instargram fan account. Since I’ve been getting quite a few fan emails lately asking some of these same question, I thought I’d run the interview here.

1.  After Shadow Falls and Shadow Falls: After Dark will you be writing any other teen novels?

Yup. I’ve already sold another series.  I’m really excited about it, too.  It’s tentatively titled Glimmers.  It’s a story about descendants of grim reapers.  It will be spooky, and sassy just like my Shadow Falls books.

2.  Did any of the Shadow Falls characters have different names before the ones they have now?

Funny you would ask that.  Miranda was Isabella.  And it was as if when writing her dialogue, she turned and told me, “I hate that name.  You have to change it!”  So I listened to her and gave her Miranda.  And Lucas was named Hunter. But then I had one of the duh moments and realized that his first name would be the same as my pen name.  So Hunter became Lucas.  I think I like Lucas best, too.

3.  Do you have a music playlist you write to or that inspires you? What are some of the songs?

I get asked this a lot, and sometimes I want to lie because my answer is so boring.  But the truth is that I can’t write to music.  Well, I can’t write to music with lyrics.  If I do, I stop listening to the words in my head and start listening to the words in the song.  But I do have a song/video that almost seems as if it was written and filmed to be about Shadow Falls. It is called Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. Here’s the video.

 4. Do you have any advice for future writers?

I have three pieces of advice for new writers.  First, remain positive and focused on your goal.  What works for me is to do something each and every day to achieve that goal.  It can be a little thing, such as researching something you need to know before you write a scene, or it can be something bigger, such as writing X number of pages.  One thing I really believe in is that keeping a positive outlook is vital to building a career as a writer.  Surround yourself with people who share your positive outlook, and try to limit your contact with those who spread negativity.

My second piece of advice goes along with my first, and that is to work hard to become a better writer every day.  Take a writing class or workshop or read a how-to book.  Expand your horizons and read widely.  Become a sponge and soak up as much about the writing process as you can.

Last, and perhaps most important of all, accept that rejection will happen, no matter if it’s your first book or your 20th, and it’s never personal.  I worked hard to get published and believe me, I had my share of rejections before I published my first novel with Silhouette Romance in 1993.  And I’ll admit—I thought all my worries were over once I signed that first contract.  I thought I’d made it and the days of getting rejections were over but I was wrong.  The rejections kept coming.  When I wasn’t having any success selling a second novel, I decided to focus on my freelance non-fiction.  I did well with that.  I’ve had over 3,000 national credits and my non-fiction writing assignments have taken me all over the world, but along with that success came a lot more rejections.  And when I switched back to writing my adult romance novels, I racked up more rejections and even after I broke back into the market (I sold four novels in a single day), I still got my share of rejections.  But I never, ever let those rejections stop me from pursuing my dream.  And neither should anyone else.

I hope my writing advice helped those of you that aspire to be writers. If you do want to be a writer, what sort of books do you want to write?

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California Dreamin’

Embassy-Suites-pool-2I’m in sunny Southern California for the California Dreamin’ Conference in Brea, California. I’m staying at the Embassy Suites by Hilton, and look at the view that greeted me. I can’t wait to sit by the pool with a tall cold drink!

I love attending these writers conferences because it gives me a chance to connect with some of my old friends and to also make some new ones.

I’ll be presenting two workshops. The first, “The Balancing Act of First Chapters,” is a fun-filled workshop, in which I explain why the balance of characterization and plot is crucial to first chapters.  “Torn Between Two Lovers – The Challenges of a Hybrid Author,” is the second workshop I’ll present along with Christie Ridgeway. We’ll share our insights regarding juggling loyalties between publishers, scheduling, and the advantages and disadvantages of this type of writing career.

If you aren’t registered for the conference, you can still participate by attending the Multi-Author Book Signing on Saturday, March 26th , 2:00 to 4:00 PM at the hotel. It is FREE and open to the public. So, if you live in the LA area, I hope you’ll come by and say hello. I’d love to meet you.

But right now, the pool is calling my name…

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