Welcome to Literary Rambles! While you’re rambling around and exploring the site enter for a chance to win:

EXTRACTION through August 2nd

COPPER MAGIC through August 23rd

Beach Reads Giveaway Hop through August 15th

BEACH READS IN AUGUST BOOK GIVEAWAY



Hi Everyone! Hope you're having a great summer. Can you believe it's already August? Mine is going to be a busy one because it's the start of the high school swim season this month. My daughter is one of the captains so I've got lots of swim captain mom duties this month. So I'm going to be blogging less this month so I can focus on what I need to do for the team and hopefully enjoy it all. And hopefully I'll get more reading in.

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the Beach Reads In August Book Giveaway Hop sponsored by Stuck In Books. I’ve got lots of great newer released YA book choices. I admit I went a bit nuts this month but they’re all books I’ve read am hoping to read, or know are ones you'd want to read. And if you’re reading a different book in the series listed, I’m glad to get you that book instead as long as it doesn't cost more than the book I've chosen.

Don’t see a book you like? You can win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card instead.

So here are your choices. Click on the title to read a blurb from Goodreads.


 


 


 


 


 
 










  

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN
CRESS
DELIVERANCE
DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS
HEIR OF FIRE Pre-Order
IGNITE ME
ILSA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER
LUX: OPPOSITION
MORTAL DANGER
OF METAL AND WISHES
RUIN AND RISING
SINNER
SISTER'S FATE
WINTERSPELL

Or if you haven't found a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card


To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through August 15th telling me the book you want to win or if you want to win the Gift Card instead. I’ll announce the winner on August 25th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome as long as The Book Depository ships to you for free.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Monday I’m interviewing debut author Lori Lee and giving away her YA fantasy Gates of Thread and Stone. I waited for ages for this and it was worth the wait.
 
Next Wednesday I'm hosting a pick any YA book giveaway to help Martina Boone celebrate the release of of her YA debut COMPULSION in October.

Then I’m taking a blog break for two weeks until Monday, August 25th when I have a guest post by Holly Schindler and a giveaway of FERAL, her new YA psychological thriller.

Then I'll be back in September with a great line up of debut author interviews and giveaways.

And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!

And here's all the other blogs participating in this Blog Hop:






JULIA MARY GIBSON INTERVIEW AND COPPER MAGIC GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Can you believe it's the end of July? Anna Li had a good championship meet and enjoyed even more being a guest coach for two days of the championships. Then she went to an adoption teen camp for 4 days and I had my first time living alone for a few days. Glad to report that I kept busy and did fine.

I may be a bit late today reading your blogs. I'm taking Anna Li on her last college visit this morning.

Before we get to our interview, I have a few winners to announce.

The winner of MIDNIGHT THIEF is Jamie Ayres!

And the winner of my Just Couldn't Put It Down Giveaway Hop is Paula who picked CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE!

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your books. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Julia Mary Gibson here to share about her MG novel COPPER MAGIC that was released on July 1, 2014. I loved the upper Michigan setting since I grew up on Lake Michigan and the touch of magical realism with the copper hand. And the story has a real contemporary feel to it with Violet’s growth through the story.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Can an unearthed talisman found on the shores of Lake Michigan save 12-year-old Violet’s fractured family? Exploring themes of Native American culture, ecology, and conservation, this historical fiction novel comes brilliantly to life.

The year is 1906, and twelve-year-old Violet Blake unearths an ancient talisman—a copper hand—beside the stream where her mother used to harvest medicine. Violet’s touch warms the copper hand and it begins to reveal glimpses of another time. Violet is certain that the copper hand is magic—and if anyone is in need of its powers, it’s Violet. Her mother and adored baby brother are gone, perhaps never to return. Her heartbroken father can’t seem to sustain the failing farm on the outskirts of Pigeon Harbor, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Surely the magic of the copper hand can make things right for Violet and restore her fractured family. Violet makes a wish. But her ignorant carelessness unleashes formidable powers—and her attempts to control them jeopardizes not only herself, but the entire town of Pigeon Harbor.

In Copper Magic, land and waters are alive with memories, intentions, and impulses. Magic alters Violet and brings her gifts—but not always the kind she thinks she needs. First-time author Julia Mary Gibson brings Violet and her community to life in this impressive and assured debut.

Hi Julia! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became an author.

My parents are both writers and we didn’t have TV, so I inhaled books as a kid and scribbled little poems and stories. I had a buried dream of being a writer that stayed with me as I grew up, but I was intimidated by the idea of being one. I wrote things and some of it got some attention, but I had other jobs and priorities. Later, I began to form a more concentrated vision for what I wanted to write. For a long time I was reluctant to show my work, but thanks to the encouragement and persistence of friends who just happened to know people who knew people, I began to let people read my stuff and wound up with the perfect agent. My first book didn’t sell, but the second one did. I worked hard for years without even thinking about publication. I’m not recommending that others do the same, but that’s how I eventually got published. Luck had a lot to do with it.

2. So awesome your parents are writers too. Where did you get the idea for your story?

The story grew from the place in Michigan where my mother was conceived and where she conceived me. The place has a certain power, a quiet beauty. I spent summers there and read a lot under and in trees. My favorite books were the ones where magic happened to regular, normal kids. E. Nesbit, Edward Eager, Mary Norton, P.L. Travers – those writers shaped me and encouraged my childish beliefs in elemental magic that exists in nature. From a young age I carried the germ of an idea to write a story about magic (or the possibility of magic or a kidlike belief in magic) that would honor those writers and would take place by the woods and water that sustained me as a child.

3. Awesome that you drew on your life to come up with the idea for your book. I loved that you chose the early 1900’s and small town life on Lake Michigan for the setting of your story. What drew you to this setting and what made you decide to write about this era?

I set the story in 1906 because that was the year that my great-grandparents were among the first summer people in the town that was the model for Pigeon Harbor. That was also the year that a fancy hotel was built on the lakeshore and the rich summer people began to come to a place that had been about logging and fishing until the white pine got used up and the sturgeon declined. My forebears were not the rich kind of summer people – they were ministers and teachers and lived very simply. I based some of the characters in the book on them. It was both challenging and fun to braid the real history of the area and of my family into a fictional narrative.

4. You did a fantastic job weaving the copper hand into the story and the symbolism of it granting wishes tied into Violet’s own deepest desires. Share a bit about the idea for the copper hand and any tips on using a symbol like this weaved into your story.

I knew early on that copper would play some kind of role in the story, because copper is such a key
element in Michigan’s story. Copper was mined for hundreds of years by indigenous people to be used in a sacred manner. When the copper started being mined by whites for use in industry, miners from Finland and Cornwall were shipped over to do the work. My ancestors were from Cornwall, so that was another personal connection for me to copper. I chose the symbol of a human hand because, like copper, the hand is a conductor between our humanity and the non-human realms.

As the story developed, I became aware that the copper hand was revealing itself to me just as a human or animal character would do. It had personality, desires, memories. It wasn’t really a symbol to me, but a being. I tried to make Violet as deprived as possible so that she would need magic badly and need to believe that the hand’s power was meant to help make her life better.

5. I didn’t realize Michigan had such a connection to copper. Share a bit about Violet and her Native American roots. Did you have any challenges in developing her as a character or did she just come to you?

I won’t say that writing Violet wasn’t challenging, but she did present herself fairly clearly most of the time. It was a matter of keeping up with her. I didn’t hook into her loneliness right away, even though that’s the part of Violet I can most identify with. I wasn’t exactly lonely as a child because I always had friends, but I was alone a lot and I felt different from other kids like Violet does. I resisted writing Native characters, but much of the story has to do with the history of the land and the way that the power of nature has been decimated, so omitting Native people from the story seemed ultimately disrespectful and wrong.

6. So glad you decided to keep the Native American theme of the story. What’s something you learned craft-wise from working with your editor? What advice do you have for a debut author as he/she starts working with their editor?

I learned a ton from my editor, Susan Chang, who handled the changes to the storyline and character shading with great delicacy. She helped me to be bolder, she showed me ways inside a child’s heart, she articulated themes that I didn’t even see. She showed me how often my scenes were about talking and not about deciding or doing. I thought that was called character development, but it’s really called bringing the plot to a dead halt. I could talk for days about her wisdom and skill.

Editors have boatloads of experience and savvy about storytelling, style, writing for the marketplace, and all other aspects of creating a book. The tougher they are with the work, the better. Try to enjoy the process, even if it’s scary and difficult at times. Go deep. Open yourself up. Let the work expand you.

7. That’s great that you learned so much from working with your editor. Your agent is Ginger Clark. Share how she became your agent and your road to publication.

Ginger was the first agent I queried, because a friend of a friend had dealt with her professionally and told me that she would be the right agent for me. Ginger passed on the project I submitted to her, but I went back to her later when I had found an editor who expressed interest. She and three other agents offered representation. I resonated the most with Ginger. The project didn’t sell, but Ginger stuck with me until another project found the right editor. She is insightful, tough, creative, loyal, patient, and divine and I feel incredibly lucky to be a client of hers.

I was very shy for a long time about my writing. I didn’t like to talk about it. It can be obnoxious and insufferable when people endlessly yap about their work, but I would have been better served if I’d been a bit more upfront – even with myself – about where I wanted to end up. It took me many years to realize that I actually wanted to be published. Despite all that, a lot of people offered me assistance, advice, and resources. I had to learn to accept their generosity.

8. That’s so cool that you contacted Ginger again even though she passed on your first project. Your book was set in the summer and is releasing in the summer. And I read that you’ve got a schedule of book signings in upper Michigan, which sounds fantastic given your story. Did you intend for your book to release in the summer months or did it just work out that way? And share how and why you decided to focus your personal appearance in Michigan at the release of your book.

I had always hoped that the book would release in the summer. My fantasy was that the people who love the midwestern lake country, as I do, would enjoy a summertime read about a story set in the north woods. There are a number of small towns near my summer home that I could easily make a day trip to visit, so I contacted a bunch of independent bookstores in the northern part of the state and everyone has been completely receptive and friendly, as people from that part of the world just are.

9. That’s a great way to spread the word about your book. What are you working on now?

I have a few projects in various stages of development. The one closest to my heart at the moment is a story set in the Vietnam war era about a family of radicals in the midwest, very loosely based on my own family.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Julia. You can find Julia at juliamarygibson.com and @juliamarygibson.

Julia has generously offered a signed ARC of COPPER MAGIC for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through August 23rd. I’ll announce the winner on August 25th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. This is for US and Canada residents.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. Find all the bloggers participating this week on her blog.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Friday I’ll be participating in the Beach Reads in August Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great book choices and will also be offering a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

Next Monday I’m interviewing debut author Lori Lee and giving away her YA fantasy Gates of Thread and Stone. I waited for ages for this and it was worth the wait.

Next Wednesday I'm hosting a pick any YA book giveaway to help Martina Boone celebrate the release of of her YA debut COMPULSION in October.

Then I’m taking a blog break for two weeks until Monday, August 25th when I have a guest post by Holly Schindler and a giveaway of FERAL, her new YA psychological thriller.

And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Friday!

STEPHANIE DIAZ INTERVIEW AND EXTRACTION GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday! Anna Li and I had a fun week. We went to the mall to catch some July sales and out to dinner to celebrate my birthday on Tuesday since Anna Li works that night. And we/I had two dinner birthday celebrations with friends. And we're going to the Ann Arbor Art Fair this week. I confess that I haven't gone in years. But Anna Li has never gone so I told her we'd go this year.

I'll be late in getting to your blogs today. It's the summer championship swim meet for Anna Li. It's her last year to be able to swim this so we're going to definitely enjoy it.

FOLLOWER NEWS

David Powers King and Michael Jensen just released the cover for their YA fantasy WOVEN that's being released by Scholastic on January 27, 2015. Go to David's blog for more info.

And C. Lee McKenzie is sharing a cover reveal for her new YA contemporary Sixteen-year-old Hutch McQueen is a smart kid who can barely read. He makes one bad choice after another, trying to find a way to escape his rotten life at home and at school. Each time he gets into more trouble.
DOUBLE NEGATIVE that releases July 25th. Here's a blurb:

And a few links:
Buy Link:




 And I have a few winners to announce.
The winner of  THE ACTUAL &TRUTHFUL ADVENTURES OF BECKY THATCHER is Tara Tyler!
 The winner of ALL FOUR STARS is Jenni Enzor!

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book. Please e-mail me before the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m excited to have debut author Stephanie Diaz here to share about her new YA sci-fi EXTRACTION that released two days ago. I found the world building about a world where many people lived in different layers under the planet fascinating. And Clementine is such a sympathetic character desperately trying to rescue her friend Logan.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her sixteenth birthday, when she’ll be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent from the planet Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be “Extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life.

What she finds initially in the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface—it’s free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials, and the moon's lethal acid. But life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet's leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers—and that means Logan, too.

Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet leaders don't want her running—they want her subdued.

With intense action scenes and a cast of unforgettable characters, Extraction is a page-turning, gripping read, sure to entertain lovers of Hunger Games and Ender's Game and leave them breathless for more.

Hi Stephanie! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

Hi there! I started writing stories pretty much as soon as I learned how to read. First they were short stories, sometimes only a couple sentences long, and gradually they grew into things shaped like books. I knew as early as second grade that I wanted to be a published writer. In seventh grade, I queried my first full-length novel. It took another nine years before I landed an agent and sold a book (EXTRACTION). But it did happen!

2. Wow! That was really brave for you to query in 7th grade. Where did you get the idea for EXTRACTION?

I wondered, really out of nowhere, what the world would be like if the moon were a giant, poisonous threat in the sky. Then I made up a planet, Kiel, in a distant galaxy, put the poisonous moon in orbit around it, and put Clementine on the planet's surface. The plot line for her story slowly came to me after I'd created most of the world.

3. Cool how the world building came first. I loved the idea of a planet where it wasn’t safe to live on the surface. And you took it to another level by creating different underground levels. Share about your world building process and some of the limitations you struggled with in creating a world underground.

I conceived of the different levels of the planet Kiel before I came up with the actual plot of the story. I wanted to create something almost like the Death Star, but make it part of a terraformed planet. It was pretty challenging to work out the kinks, and as I've worked on book two—and now book three—in the series, I've run across more questions I've had to figure out answers to. But hopefully I've managed to create a world that could potentially exist in some far-distant galaxy.

4. I’ll be interested to see if we learn about some of the other levels in Book 2. The plot is fast-paced and Clementine is constantly facing challenges. What was your plotting like?

I am a horrible plotter. When I sat down to write EXTRACTION, I knew the beginning, the midpoint, and
the ending, but everything in between took forever to come together. Basically, I would plot a couple chapters, write them, and then plot the next set. It was a rough process.

5. That’s similar to how I plot. I hope mine works as well as yours. Tell us about Clementine and some fun facts about her. Is she at all like you and if so, how?

Clementine is the clever, fearless heroine of EXTRACTION. An author friend of mine once said Clem reminded her of Arya Stark, which made me grin since I'm a huge fan of Arya. I did write some of myself into Clem; I gave her a number of my weaknesses. I wish I could say I'm as brave as her, but sadly I'm still working on it.

6. Ha! I’d need more than one life to get to her level. I read you wrote this in college. How did you juggle the demands of writing and planning your debut with the demands of school?

Luckily, my particular major in college (film production) was the sort that didn't require a huge amount of work outside of school, except on specific production days when I was on set for hours at a time. So I really had a good amount of free time to fit writing into my schedule, though it did conflict with schoolwork sometimes, especially on those production days. But I managed to balance everything and make it work. I also made use of lulls during certain class lectures.

7. You were lucky to have some days the load was easy. Your agent is Alison Fargis. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

Alison is fabulous. I originally queried another agent at her agency, Stonesong, simply because I ran across that agent's name before I found Alison's. The first agent already represented a book with subtle similarities to mine, so she passed off my manuscript to Alison, who loved it enough to make an offer. She won me over within a couple minutes of our first phone call, and she's been my rockstar champion ever since. We spent a few months revising EXTRACTION together before it went out on submission. It sold to St. Martin's about six weeks later.

8. What an awesome road to publication story. You make it sound easy. What’s surprised you about the process leading up to your book being published?

The support from bloggers and fellow debut authors has really astounded me, in a good way. I'd heard other authors say something similar, but it didn't quite hit me until I started experiencing it myself. Basically, there are a lot of awesome people in the sphere of booknerdigans.

9. Yes, it is a really supportive community. What’s your favorite social media platform and why? Do you feel you’re connecting with teen readers more easily because you’re closer to them age-wise and if so, how are you doing that?

Tumblr is my favorite, though twitter is a close second.


10. What are you working on now?

I'm currently drafting book three of the EXTRACTION trilogy, which I can't reveal the name for yet. Suffice to say, it's already giving me lots of feels.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Stephanie. You can find Stephanie at:

http://www.stephaniediazbooks.com/
https://twitter.com/StephanieEDiaz
Add Extraction on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16210411-extraction

Stephanie has generously offered a signed ARC of EXTRACTION for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through August 2nd. I’ll announce the winner on August 4th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. This is for US and Canada residents.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Next Monday I'm interviewing debut author Julia Marie Gibson with a giveaway of her MG fantasy COPPER MAGIC. I really enjoyed the contemporary feel of it too.

Next Friday I’ll be participating in the Beach Reads in August Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great book choices and will also be offering a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

The following Monday I’m interviewing debut author Lori Lee and giving away her YA fantasy Gates of Thread and Stone. I waited for ages for this and it was worth the wait.

And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!

LIVIA BLACKBURNE INTERVIEW AND MIDNIGHT THIEF GIVEAWAY

 Happy Monday! Hope you're enjoying the summer.

Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Livia Blackbourne here to help celebrate the release of her YA fantasy MIDNIGHT THIEF that released on July 8, 2014. I love fantasies and wish I wasn’t too behind to read this before Livia’s interview. I’m definitely hoping to read it this summer and maybe even before I have to give it away. Just reading the reviews makes me really want to read it.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:


Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

Hi Livia! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I was a voracious reader growing up. I was always hiding books from my parents, trying to sneak them in instead of taking care of my other responsibilities. I also did a lot of writing in middle and high school. But after I entered college, I stopped having time for reading or writing fiction. It was only after I turned 26 that I had a bit of a quarter life crisis. I realized that I was never going to write that novel unless I made time for it. So I did, and it proved a nice creative outlet while I was working on my dissertation. One thing led to another, and I sold the book!

2. Awesome that you decided to start writing again. I know you also have a PhD in neuroscience (my daughter wants to study this BTW) and wrote much of this while doing your doctorial research. Has your scientific background influenced your writing? How?

I think my neuroscience and psychology background makes me a little better at perspective taking. For example, some readers have pointed out that the villains in my books are well-rounded. Even though they do despicable things, it's clear how they came to be that way, and how they view themselves as heroes. I think my psychology training helped with that.

3. I bet it gives you a lot of insight into people. Share a bit about your world building process and any tips you have about creating a fantasy world.

My world building process was kind of haphazard, and I would recommend that other writers take a more systematic approach than I did. For example, a lot of my early names didn't sound like they were from the same language, even though the characters came from the same city, so that was one thing I had to go back and correct.

A lot of my world building also came after the fact. When my editor bought my book, her biggest point of feedback was that the big plot twist came out of nowhere, and didn't quite fit into the world of the book. So I ended up going back and fleshing out the world so that my plot twist would be less surprising.
As far as tips go, I'd say don't be afraid to go back through during revisions to develop your world. World building, just like plot and characterization, is something that evolves through drafts.

4. That’s a great idea to give yourself the freedom to delve further into world building while
revising. I’ve read that you aren’t afraid to tackle complex moral issues in MIDNIGHT THIEF. What draws you to these types of issues and tell us a bit about some of the moral challenges, Kyra, your main character faces.

It's funny, when reviews mentioning MIDNIGHT THIEF’s complex morality first popped up, I also wondered what inspired those themes, because I certainly didn't start out trying to write a story that tackled these issues. The story just turned out that way. At first I thought maybe it was because, as a practicing Christian that spent most of her life running in secular circles, I think a lot about morality and moral relativity. And I'm sure it that's part of it, but a lot of the credit also goes to the old USA TV show La Femme Nikita (not the one on CW, which I haven’t watched much of). I was completely obsessed with the show as a high schooler, and they delve really deeply into moral dilemmas that are very similar to the ones that Kyra faces. In MIDNIGHT THIEF, the Assassins Guild works to overthrow the corrupt nobility. But such things are hard to do, and there's often collateral damage. Thus, Kyra has to decide how far she really wants to go in this fight, and whether the ends justifies the means.

5. Tell us about how you obtained representation by your agent and your road to publication.

I finished MIDNIGHT THIEF in late 2011, and at that point I actually planned to self publish it. I'd been reading a lot on changes in the publishing industry and decided I wanted control of my rights while things settled. My critique group was very supportive but suggested that I send out a few queries to test the waters and see what happens. So I did, and instead of being careful about it and sending them out in batches of 10 and adjusting based on feedback, I sent out about 35 in one go because I didn't really care if I failed. As irony would have it, I got an offer of representation rather quickly. I think what swayed me to go the traditional route was that I had really good conversations with agents about their visions for the story, and their ideas for edits were quite good. I realized that I could make MIDNIGHT THIEF a much stronger work if I worked with an editor at a publishing house. Granted, I could have hired an editor freelance and self-published as well, but at the time I was unwilling to spend the money and time to get a good one.

6. That’s a cool story about getting an agent. And one we’d all love to have. What’s surprised you about the year leading up to your book release? What advice do you have for other debut authors just signing a book contract?

I've been pleasantly surprised by what my publisher’s been doing to get the word out about my book. Again, I came from the self-publishing community, where a publishers’ ability and willingness to market books is often disparaged. But I've been able to see firsthand how Disney’s platform has found me new readers through their connections with bookstores, libraries, and book bloggers. Librarians and bloggers have picked up the book through conferences and Netgalley. MIDNIGHT THIEF was also picked up as a top ten summer debut by the American Booksellers Association, which raised its profile greatly among independent bookstores. Even though my book is not a “big book” that’s announced with billboards in Times Square, I've been pleasantly surprised at how much visibility it's gotten even through the normal marketing channels.

7. So awesome it’s on ALA’s list. That sounds like a huge help in getting word out about your book. I noticed you have over 15,000 Twitter followers and follow over 10,000 people. How did you grow your following? What tips do you have on how we should grow our Twitter followings and get more out of being on Twitter?

My biggest asset was my twitter bio. I took care to make it intriguing -- I don't remember what it was back then, but something about a neuroscientist who explores the intersection between psychology and fiction. So my first tip would be to make yourself interesting, and make people curious. The second would be to think about how your twitter feed can help others. What's in it for your followers? People follow you on twitter because you're useful or interesting to them, not because they want to hear about you.
When I first started using twitter, I did a lot of follower churning, which involves following people in the writing world and un-following those who didn't follow back. Nowadays, I think it's of questionable usefulness. You'll end up with a lot of followers that way, but are they actually looking at your feed? So I no longer do that and only follow people who I’m genuinely interested in keeping up with.

8. What are you working on now?

I'm working on the sequel to MIDNIGHT THIEF. It's due September 1.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Livia. You can find Livia at


 Twitter:  @lkblackburne

Disney has generously offered an ARC of MIDNIGHT THIEF for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through July 26th. I’ll announce the winner on July 28th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. This is for US and Canada residents.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Next Monday I’m interviewing debut author Stephanie Diaz and giving away a copy of her YA sci-fi story EXTRACTION.

The following Monday I'm interviewing debut author Julia Marie Gibson with a giveaway of her MG fantasy COPPER MAGIC. I really enjoyed the contemporary feel of it too.

Friday that week I’ll be participating in the Beach Reads in August Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great book choices and will also be offering a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

The following Monday I’m interviewing debut author Lori Lee and giving away her YA fantasy Gates of Thread and Stone. I waited for ages for this and it was worth the wait.

And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!


JUST COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN JULY BLOG HOP GIVEAWAY


Happy Monday Everyone! Hope you had a fantastic July 4th Holiday. Ours was kind of quiet since we'd just returned from a trip to Dallas to visit Rudy's family. It was actually easier than I thought. This was our first visit down there since he passed away. We had a really good time seeing everyone and my new baby nephew. And then we came back and Anna Li passed her driver's test and got her license. But the tester was mean. It took us a while to get excited that she passed. But she's been driving a few days and admits it's very convenient to drive yourself and it's giving me more time to myself. Yay!

FOLLOWER NEWS

I have two cover reveals to share.
First here's the cover for Stina Lindenblatt's YA contemporary TELL ME WHEN that releases September 1, 2014. Here's a short blurb: Amber Scott thought her screaming nightmares would end now that her stalker is locked up and awaiting trial. But they return when her slam-dunk case starts to fall apart. Explicit letters she allegedly wrote surface, suggesting she was the mastermind behind her assault, a willing victim. Amber has to find the strength to step into the spotlight and bring awareness to victims' rights before she's convicted in the court of public opinion. And she's really not sure what's worse—that her kidnapper could walk free, or that the seemingly endless attention and speculation will drive her boyfriend Marcus away permanently
And here's a few links:  
Nook:

 
And Crystal Collier's new YA book MOONLESS releases October 13, 2014. Here's a blurb:
Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power. And risk losing everything.

Here's a few blurbs: 

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-XuPxULL36nI/UsW6MvKTZJI/AAAAAAAAChw/cH9lxWJIEnE/s1600/Goodreads+button.jpg
 PREORDER your print copy
Sign up for Crystal Collier's newsletter to receive release news and freebies.

And I have a few winners to announce:
The winner of GUILDED is Holdenj!
The winner of WELL'S END is Michael G-G!
The winner of WANDERVILLE is Jess!
The winner of OPHELIA AND THE MARVELOUS BOY is Jess Lawson!
The winner of THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES is Brenda!
And the winner of THE HERO'S GUIDE TO BEING AN OUTLAW is Jpetroroy!

Congrats to all the winners. Please e-mail me your addresses so I can send you your books. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the Just Couldn't Put It Down July Book Giveaway Hop sponsored by Stuck In Books. I’ve got lots of great newer released YA book choices. They’re all books I’ve read am hoping to read, or know are ones you wouldn't be able to put down. And if you’re reading a different book in the series listed, I’m glad to get you that book instead as long as it doesn't cost more than the book I've chosen.

Don’t see a book you like? You can win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card instead.

So here are your choices. Click on the title to read a blurb from Goodreads.

 

 

 
 

CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE
THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN
CRESS
DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS
HEIR OF FIRE Pre-Order
IGNITE ME
ILSA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER Pre-Order
INTO THE STILL BLUE
ON THE FENCE
RUIN AND RISING
SALVAGE
SINNER

Or if you haven't found a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card

To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through July 20th telling me the book you want to win or if you want to win the Gift Card instead. I’ll announce the winner on July 28th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome as long as The Book Depository ships to you for free.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Next Monday I have an interview with debut author Livia Blackbourne and a giveaway of her YA fantasy MIDNIGHT THIEF.

The following Monday I’m interviewing debut author Stephanie Diaz and giving away a copy of her YA sci-fi story EXTRACTION.

The Monday after that I'm interviewing debut author Julia Marie Gibson with a giveaway of her MG fantasy COPPER MAGIC.

And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!

And here's a list of all the blogs participating in this Blog Hop: