Friday, June 29, 2012

Inanimate Objects, by Kendra Saunders--A Review

Kendra is the author of Inanimate Objects, a magic realism novel, and has been published in Premier Bride Magazine, Snakeskin Magazine and Steampunk Magazine. She hosts the quirky literary podcast 13 1/2 Minutes and is a convention reporter and regular guest blogger at Pure Textuality. She won Honorable Mention in the Writer's Digest Book Awards and is marketing coordinator for YA publishing company Spencer Hill Press.

Oh yay! You have no idea how excited I am to be reviewing Kendra's book, Inanimate Objects. Yes, you already know that she and I are friends, so I'm sure you're thinking that my review will then be very biased. And you would be right. I'm usually a LOT harder on my friends than I am on people I don't know. Why? Probably because I feel I can be a lot more honest with my friends than with strangers. Also, I tend to believe our friends SHOULD be more critical (nice, helpful critical) because they should always want to help us improve.

So let's take a look at it!

Summary from Goodreads:

Inanimate Objects is a dark and glittering novel of artists and magicians, muses and immortals. At the heart of the story is Leonidas Bondi, a charismatic young artist who falls under the watchful gaze of Matilda August. Matilda has been a patron to the stars for hundreds of years, but this fickle muse is more than a little taken with her new protégé, blurring her own lines of work and obsession. Providing opposition is Matilda’s son, Elisha, a moody figure who holds revenge above all else after he suffers a terrible wrong.

There aren't many books I've read lately that have made me go, "Wow. That character really reminds me of someone I know" or "Boy I REALLY wish I knew someone like that." This book does all that and more.

There are several POV characters, but my two favorites are Elisha August and Leonidas Bondi. And just looking at those names, you can probably get a glimpse of the flavor of the novel. It's very dark and romantic, speckled here and there with gold sparklies and very matter-of-fact magic.

I love how Leo is not your typical male MC. He's flashy and dark at the same time. He loves his makeup and fancy clothes, parties and champagne, but at the same time, his art and poetry will rip your heart out with their sorrow.

And Elisha. Ah, poor Elisha. You just want to give the guy a hug the whole time. Something horrible has happened in his past and he spends the novel plotting his revenge, but you know deep down that even if he succeeds, he's never going to be happy again. And I wanted him to be happy so badly!!!

As far as the writing goes, it's amazing. It's very Neil Gaiman-esque. The settings are beautiful, the people practically pop to life right off the page, and the concept is brilliant. There need to be more stories like this one.

Inanimate Objects absolutely deserves 5 stars. It is by far one of my favorite novels. 

If you haven't had a chance to buy a copy yet, I leave you with these links for your purchasing convenience. Do it. It is such a good deal and you will NOT be sorry.


FAE Has a Cover!!

First of all, I did a big oops!! I forgot that my cover was being revealed today. And the problem is that I promised to review Inanimate Objects, by Kendra Saunders.


I will do both!

I don't think I've ever done two posts in one day, but today is extra special.

So right now, I'll be posting about FAE!! And later this afternoon, I will post my review! If you don't have time for both, then STOP!!

I'd much rather you read the review and learned more about Kendra's book. I'll be posting my cover everywhere, so it isn't imperative that you read this post.

If you DO have time for both, well then I thank you very much and hope you enjoy!

Without further ado...

Not all fae'ri tales come with a happy ending.

     Ella thought taking care of the ego-bloated Mamood god would be a sure way to bring peace to the galaxy and satisfy her taste for revenge.

     But she was wrong.

     Despite the fact their god is gone, the Mamood refuse to abandon their attack on the planet Soltak and Ella's own so-called friends start to turn against her. And with Soltak dying--its oceans drying up and its plants withering in the ground--Ella and Cailen suspect there's a new enemy at work. As more people die and more water is leached from the planet, they both prepare for something straight from a nightmare. 

    The fae are coming.

Title: Fae
Series: Auri #2
Author: Emily White
ISBN: 978-1-937053-26-0 
Release Date: December 10, 2013
Formats: paper, e-book
Cover Design: Vic Caswell of Sketcher Girl

I know it's a long time to wait, but I think it's totally worth it. ;)  If you'd like to request an ARC, please use the reviewer form on the SHP website. ARCs should ship next summer.   

And don't forget to put FAE on your goodreads list!! 

See you later, everyone, for my review of Inanimate Objects!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Wonderful and Marvelous Kendra Saunders!

Okay, so last week was amazing! I love discussions and real, honest arguments. You know the kind. The ones that don't end with people calling someone else an idiot. Like the ones you find on every internet news source. :o

But for today, it's time I started talking about the great things of BEA again. And one of the greatest things about it is meeting people you know online.

You guys may recall me talking about Kendra Saunders on numerous occasions in the past. She is the marketing guru at Spencer Hill Press and an EXTREMELY talented writer.

There she is!! Isn't she so pretty??

I have to admit that meeting Kendra in person was one of THE MOST anticipated moments of my trip. This is Kendra Saunders we're talking about here. The author of one of my all-time favorite books (review coming on Friday)! The girl I'd talked to on the phone a dozen times before! She's hilarious! And super sweet!

And honestly? I was dying to show her my clothes for BEA. She has the best taste I've ever seen, so I knew if she liked what I was wearing, I looked darn good. :D

I saw her at the Spencer Hill Press booth on Tuesday and she was just as sweet in person as she is on the phone. Unfortunately, I didn't get to hang out with her as much as I'd hoped because she had a friend who lived in NYC who she had to visit. But what I did see of her was amazing. She is so funny and I am soo lucky to have her as my friend. 

If you do not follow Kendra on Facebook or Twitter, you must! And check out her book, Inanimate Objects

Friday, June 22, 2012

Selling ARCs--Why is it wrong?

Wow, LOTS of support this week. This is great, guys. Really. It's nice to see.

However, as is the case with all things, there's always another opinion and I want to address one that had been brought before me in the comments.

Jack Getze made this point:

You fail to explain how the sale of these ARCs in any way harms the author. You never expected revenue from them, else why give them away? And even a line on EBay, not to mention this and other posts, generates free publicity about your upcoming novel. Plus, if it's as good as it sounds, people might buy it, read it, and tell their reading friends about it. Word of mouth. I think you're over-reacting to something that's been going on a long, long time. 

This is a legitimate point that needs to be addressed. I'm glad I have the chance to do so now.

First, I want to state that Elemental ARCs (as far as I know) are not now, and never have been, sold on Ebay. This passion I feel isn't on my own behalf. However, any author who this is happening to is completely justified in his/her anger.

So let's address this comment line by line.

You fail to explain how the sale of these ARCs in any way harms the author.

Good point and I'm REALLY going to attempt to say this without a hint of snark. Unfortunately, It's going to sound snarky, but I really don't mean it that way.

It harms the author the same way any theft harms the owner and/or creator of a product. I guess I didn't think I needed to make that explanation in the original post because I felt it was an implied fact that theft hurts. And it is theft. And the person selling the copy knows this because it usually says "NOT FOR SALE" in big capital letters just like that on the front cover. Let alone, the other numerous places it also says not for sale on the inside.

You never expected revenue from them, else why give them away?

No, publishers and authors do not expect revenue from ARCs in the strictest sense of the word. But they're not giving them to people out of the kindness of their hearts, either. Revenue in the form of reviews and word of mouth IS expected. If the seller is only acquiring an ARC to sell it, then they're attempting to cheat the publisher and author the moment they make the request.

And even a line on EBay, not to mention this and other posts, generates free publicity about your upcoming novel.

Okay, yes. Selling an ARC on ebay gets the word out about an author's book. However, that's NOT how the publisher wants it done. Otherwise, they wouldn't make the point of printing copies that say "NOT FOR SALE" all over them. Here's the problem: an ARC is given to get the word out. This is done through reviews, giveaways, etc. Selling the copy gets the word out in the lowest form possible. People hear about it, yes, but the seller is also stealing a potential customer from the author. And the seller got the book for free. If they really wanted a legitimate business selling books (which a lot of these ebay stores claim to do--i.e. they call themselves book lovers and book sellers just like any other brick and mortar book store might), they'd place orders through the publisher's distributor like other legitimate book sellers and make a profit that way. But they're not. They're tricking the publisher and author into giving them a free book so they can make a maximum profit.

And here's what's worse. The books I found through my searches were books acquired at BEA, and many of them were signed.

BEA is not open to the public. You may purchase a ticket if you are part of the publishing industry, a book blogger, a librarian, a teacher (or other professional in education), a book seller, or press.

These people selling on ebay claimed to be book sellers to get to BEA and take free books to sell at their "business." And many of them were signed. Do you get the implications of that, readers? These people stood before the authors--talked to them, probably--with the intent of taking that book, not even reading it (because the books are listed as brand new and unread on ebay), and selling it.

Plus, if it's as good as it sounds, people might buy it, read it, and tell their reading friends about it.

This is true, but it's also true if the book is reviewed, talked about on book blogs, facebook, etc.--in other words, in the way it's SUPPOSED to be spread around. And here's the thing: news of the book will reach MORE people if it's done the way the publisher has asked you to do it. A person reviews a book and news spreads on twitter, facebook, goodreads, shelfari, blogger, and every other social media outlet. A person sells a book on ebay and the news stays on ebay and perhaps the people who placed a bid.

Word of mouth.

Yep, word of mouth. Just about the worst possible way to get word out about an author's book. Limited exposure while stealing a potential customer.

I think you're over-reacting to something that's been going on a long, long time. 

Okay, this is where I'm going to get a little passionate again. I hate hearing this excuse. Just because something has been happening for a "long, long time" doesn't mean it's any less wrong. In fact, I'd say it's the opposite. If you let something immoral like this become a trend in our society, it's only going to get worse and open the door for other means of stealing work and/or products from owners and creators. Stealing is stealing. It's been going on for thousands of years--ever since the first guy looked over and saw his neighbor had something he wanted--and yet we still understand it's wrong, damaging to a society. Just because the means is now through the internet, doesn't mean it's any less despicable.

Any more thoughts on this, dear readers?

Also, I'll be working on an addition to my sidebar today. I'll be including lists of ARCs that have been found on ebay and other sites where these things are sold with information on how to help the author out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ARCs are Being Sold on Ebay

Shannon Messenger mentioned on FB yesterday that someone had been selling ARCs of Keeper of the Lost Cities (copies they received at BEA on good faith!) on Ebay.

This is disgusting.

I had no idea that people were this low. It says not for sale in bold letters and in numerous places, for crying out loud.

So I did a search of my own, using the list of books I received at BEA. There are a few listed on ebay. It's time we started a neighborhood watch! We need to look out for our fellow writers.

So if you know any of these writers personally, please help me by warning them. Yeah, google alerts should let them know, but I use google alerts and I can tell you right now it doesn't work perfectly.

Also, I'm sharing this list to HELP these writers. If you use the information I'm giving you to acquire an ARC of your own through nefarious means, I might just have to hunt you down and kill you. Well, not really kill you. But it won't be pleasant.

ARCs being sold on Ebay:

Crewel, by Gennifer Albin (there is a bid placed on this one, so please warn the author quickly)
Prodigy, by Marie Lu
Fathomless, by Jackson Pearce
The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver
Ashen Winter, by Mike Mullin
Wake, by Amanda Hocking (several copies of this are being sold, so please warn the author quickly)
The Diviners, by Libba Bray (several copies and several bids placed, so please warn the author quickly)

I'll be keeping watch and letting the authors know, but please do your own search, too! We need to get this to stop. And if you know any of these authors personally, PLEASE help me to warn them.

Neighborhood watchers unite!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

More Tales From BEA

Wow, it's already 10:00. Sorry about that, guys. :o

You see, I actually get up pretty early (somewhere around 6 or 7) and I tend to get a little carried away with doing other things before I open up my computer.

This morning (and actually, the past few mornings), I've been dealing with this:

This picture does not adequately portray the mess my living room is in, but it's a start. That big open space is my walking path.

This pile only includes my YA and MG titles. My adult pile is even bigger. :o 
By the way, if you look at that picture closely, you can see doubles of some books and figure out which ones I'll be giving away after I complete my tales of BEA series of posts.

So, I promised the Tale of the Missing Display Copy today. It's actually my favorite story to tell because it is SO ABSOLUTELY AWESOME, I'M STILL IN SQUEE MODE!!!!!


So I went through all my copies of Elemental (which is sooo awesome--you guys are AMAZING!) a little bit before my hour ended. My hubs and I decided we'd start milling around, looking for some good books. Well, right next to the SHP booth was the Horror Writers Association booth and who did we happen to see signing books?? Jonathan Maberry. Yeah, the bestselling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Rot & Ruin, Dust & Decay, Patient Zero, etc. Huge HUGE squee moment!

Well, we got in the line and I was so excited! I started wondering if I should introduce myself when it was my turn to get a signed copy of his book. You see, we're facebook friends in that way that a lot of people are facebook friends. He MIGHT have known I existed in some abstract way like he's seen my bio pic from time to time. 

When the person ahead of me stepped up, I decided I would NOT introduce myself. There was no way he'd remember me. The guy has over 5,000 fb friends. I'd only embarrass the both of us if I asked if he recognized me.

The person ahead of me went on her merry way and I stepped up with the biggest grin ever. This was so huge. And what does he do???

He says he wanted to get in my line for a signed copy of Elemental, but it was too long...

He then explained he'd promised a family member that he'd grab a copy of my book and then asked if I had any more left...

Of course, I didn't. Oh man, you have NO idea how much I wished I'd brought a copy of my own for just this moment. But, obviously, I never anticipated something like this actually happening.

I had to tell him they were all gone and then I walked like a zombie over to the SHP booth to tell everyone over there what had just happened. They insisted I grab the display copy off the bookshelf and give it to him. 


One of the most amazing moments of my life.

Stop back on Friday for more tales of BEA!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I'm Back! And I Have Stories of BEA to Share!!

Goooooood morning, everyone!!

You may have noticed that I was pretty much MIA last week. Well, that's because I was in NYC! It was so awesome I can't even begin to properly describe it. Let me give you a hint:

1. Free books
2. Book bloggers
3. Free books
4. Famous authors
5. Good friends
6. Free books

This is just a tiny sample of all the books I got. I couldn't carry everything home with me, so three boxes were shipped and are on their way to me now!

Do you see those titles?? Keeper of the Lost Cities (review being posted today on Goodreads), by Shannon Messenger! The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater! The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver! Black City, by Elizabeth Richards! ALL the pretties! It's still very overwhelming. 

You may also notice I have two of some of those books up there. That's because I plan on doing a giveaway in the next coming weeks.

So let me share a tale of BEA. I have many, but this is the one I'll be sharing today.

As you may recall, I told you all a few weeks ago that I was going to be signing copies of Elemental at BEA. Well, my publisher called a few days before to tell me that they'd be bringing two whole cases (i.e. seventy books) for the event. I started to panic.

I mean, seventy books is a lot. Sure, a lot of people go to BEA, but there are dozens of signings going on at the same time and who was I to be chosen over some of the huge names that were also going to be there?

I started hoping and praying that I'd get through half of my books and not be there twiddling my thumbs for too long.

When the first day of BEA came, I really started to sweat. All my nightmares were being played out before me. HUGE lines were forming for really huge names while slightly lesser known authors were sitting at their booths pleading with their eyes for people to come and take their books. I did tend to go to these folks. I felt for them! I knew I would be one of them the very next day!

I couldn't sleep Tuesday night. At all. My stomach had twisted into this horrible, nauseous knot and I just KNEW I was going to humiliate myself and disappoint my publishing company.

Luckily, I had an author breakfast to go to on Wednesday morning to take up some of the time before my signing at 10:00. Because my signing was going on at pretty much the same time as one of my all time favorite authors', Becca Fitzpatrick (who would be signing copies of Finale--according to the BEA website), I'd begged my husband and fellow SHP author Dan Cohen to stand in line for me.

The breakfast ended a little early at 9:22, so I decided to go to her line and chat with my husband and Dan until they were done getting my book or 10:00 rolled around (whichever came first). I checked out the front of the line first because that's where they should have been (due to the fact they had yellow exhibitor badges and could get in before everyone else).

They weren't at the front of the line.

So I started walking towards the end of the line. And it was a long, long line.

I still didn't see them.

At this point, I was getting a little upset. We'd discussed this! They knew they had to get there early in order to get a copy and I was NOT about to wait until this fall to read a book I'd been dying for for years now and could get at BEA.

While checking out the line, I ran into another SHP author, Kimberly Miller. She claimed she saw the two slackers at the SHP booth.

o.o I thought they'd lost their minds.

It was 9:40. I still had 20 minutes before my signing so I figured I had plenty of time to go there before anyone showed up for my signing and demand they get in the Becca Fitzpatrick line before it was too late.

I turned the corner to the SHP booth and saw something that looked similar to this:

That couldn't be for me! I thought to myself. There's NO WAY that is for me.

But it was (I know, still very shocked over here). And then I was humiliated for an entirely different reason.

I'd showed up twenty minutes too early. How unfashionable of me!

Well, it turned out Becca Fitzpatrick was NOT signing Finale (despite what they'd advertised), so that was the reason my husband and Dan were not in the line. I immediately forgave them and apologized for thinking they'd lost their darn minds.

But now I had a new problem.

I had twenty minutes before my signing and people were there, waiting. I couldn't just walk off and mill around until 10:00 like my original plan. And I couldn't just stand there making them wait when there were other books to be gotten.

So I started a little early.

There's me!! And for some reason, people actually wanted to get their picture taken with me. The lady to the right of me (left in this picture) had just posed with me.

There's another view of the line! This was before we had to move it because it was getting in the way of another signing that was just about to start. You can see the guy in the next booth looking over.

There's me and Kendra Saunders (the marketing guru at SHP)!!! Kate Kaynak and SHP editor Vikki Ciaffone are in the background.

There's me, Dan Cohen, and Kendra Saunders right after my signing! And like most pictures involving me, I was just in the middle of saying something when they snapped the pic.

The whole experience was awesome!! All seventy books were gone! The thirty some odd copies they'd brought to just hand out were also gone!! The display copy had to be taken off the shelf and given away (story for that one on Wednesday)!! And STILL people were coming!

It was soooooo amazing. I am so happy! I did NOT disappoint my publishing company! And I am soooo ready to do this again.

Keep checking back for more BEA stories! They are all VERY good. And at the end, I'll be doing a giveaway!

Happy Monday, everyone!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sketcher Girl Studios Grand Opening!!!!

Today is the day that Sketcher Girl Studios, LLC officially opens for business!

In celebration of this momentous event, Vic Caswell (owner/operator) is hosting a give-a-way.
Using the "Contact Us" form on the site, send her the secret word from the end of this post and you'll be entered to win.

Sketcher Girl Studios is a freelance illustration company with a focus on book cover design.  Vic Caswell has produced MY COVER for my debut novel ELEMENTAL, as well as it's sequel FAE (release date not announced yet), and Kimberly Ann Miller's debut novel TRIANGLES (releasing June 2013).

SGStudios is passionate about books and getting them out there and into the hands of the readers who will love them.  Vic will read your book.  She will work with you to ensure that the design you end up with is something you love.  She doesn't use stock photography, so you are guaranteed an image that is original and she offers full legal usage of her cover images.  So, if you want to print it on swag, and sell that, the money goes straight to you.

Her prices are competitive- affordable for small press publishers as well as self-publishers.

She also provides other services- such as: tattoo design, logo design, header design, artistic prints, children's book illustration, and pretty much anything illustration that you can think up.

Stop by and drop the secret word: Mischief, for your chance to win one of these nifty prizes...

such as:   postcard sized prints of  her work titled PERCHED CREATURE, one of two copies of ELEMENTAL by your's truly, a ten dollar Amazon gift card, an original painting, and  free labor on a book cover (costs may be incurred for props/ models/ wardrobe) and more!

Sketcher Girl Studios
SGS on Facebook

Vic Caswell is brilliant! Not only is she super easy to work with, but the things she comes up with are so amazing. She was able to take the half-coherent ideas I was kind of able to articulate and come up with exactly what I was thinking of. I loved working with her on both my books' covers and I can't wait to work with her again!- Emily White (author of ELEMENTAL from Spencer Hill Press)

"I'm loving my new logo!!! Victoria Caswell did a MARVELOUS job and was such a joy to work with. She made the process effortless and I swear she could read my mind. So, if you need some work done, please send it her way! You won't be sorry!" ♥ Nancy  Fennell (owner of Scents of Adventure)

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Head is Stuck

So! I promised some queries and pitches to share with everyone for feedback. Sigh... My brain has broken.

I have bits of queries, but I can't move beyond that. It could have something to do with screaming voices in the background...

My children are adorable--they really are (the best in the world!)--but they fight CONSTANTLY. Do all kids do this??

So here's what I have so far for Disenchanted (my YA paranormal):

Lilly Grey knows exactly who she is: the albino freak of Bethlehem, NY. 

Lilly has one friend, so she's doing all right. That is until she goes to a party where anybody who's anybody will be. At first she thinks the worst part of her night is when her best friend ditches her for some guy. But when Lilly gets stared down by a group strangers, she knows her bad night has just entered a whole new level of crazy.

She's used to being stared at, laughed at, whatever. But this is different. These boys hate her. And when girls start disappearing, Lilly knows exactly who to blame.

But she's wrong. And Lilly doesn't know how wrong she is until it's too late for both her and the only friend she's ever had.

From my untitled magic realism work:

In Angel Grace's world of twenty-first century Victorian America, magic is common. A little too common for some people's tastes. Especially when most of those with magic acquire it by very low means indeed.

But Angel isn't common...

...Most people would kill for immortality, but Angel just might end up dying from it. Because even in a world full of magic, a phoenix is just not acceptable society.

Yeah, that's it. Thoughts? 

By the way, I have a love/hate relationship with this stuff. I love doing it because it's fun, but I hate it because I suck at it. :o