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

JUST A DROP OF WATER through September 20th

FALLS THE SHADOW through September 20th

TUT through September 27th

SURVIVAL COLONY 9 through October 4th

MAGISTERIUM GIVEAWAY, ASK THE EXPERT INTERVIEW, AND MY NEWS

Hi Everyone! I think I'll start out with my news. No, it's nothing related to publishing, but it's very exciting. As many of you know, my daughter is adopted from China. I'm taking her for a heritage tour to China over the Christmas holidays! It's sponsored by our adoption agency, Chinese Children Adoption International. The Chinese government wants its adopted kids to come back and learn of their heritage so the trip for my daughter except for her airfare there is free. Isn't that awesome? It'll be just my daughter and me because it'd be too hard for my husband to travel there with his health.

I can't believe we leave in less than two weeks! 

We'll be gone for ten days. We'll be going to Beijing, Xi'an to see the Terra Cotta Soldiers and a Panda reserve where my daughter gets to hold a baby panda (It's one of her dreams), Guilin, and Yangshuo. It sounds so fabulous and we'll be with a group with teenagers so it should be really fun for my daughter.

I considered taking my computer and maybe blogging about some of my trip with Casey's help posting the pictures as you can't do that on Blogger while in China. But then I talked to a friend yesterday who went this summer. You have to carry it with you everywhere so I'm not going take it.

I thought I'd also share my stats for this year and announce a little change for next year.

I've given away 111 books this year. This does not include the interviews and giveaways Casey did. I'm excited that I've shared so many good books with you all. And authors and publishers have been very generous in providing me with ARCs.

As you can imagine, the postage is quite expensive, especially sending books to my wonderful International followers. I've sent packages to many places, including England, France, Indonesia, India, and South America. I'm constantly replenishing my stack of customs slips for the post office. To cut the costs a bit, some of my giveaways next year will be for U.S. and Canada only. I'll just play it by ear depending on how many International winners there are and will try to keep all the really popular giveaways International. I hope you guys understand.

Finally, we just hit 3000 followers this week. I'm SO excited! Thank you all for being such great followers. We're busy here through January so we'll do something in February to celebrate this awesome milestone.

So moving on, I have a few winners to announce and then I'll get to my fantastic interview today.

The winner of RENEGADE is CRICKET!

The winner of WRITING IRRISISTABLE KIDLIT is WILL OVERBY!

The winner of PASSION BLUE is HINATA!

The winner of TOUCHED is STEPHANIE GARBER!

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


Today I’m excited to interview Adam Quinn, a 8th grader who is also an aspiring author and blogger for my ASK THE EXPERT series. And his mom is Susan Quinn, the author of the awesome MINDJACK series and has an awesome blog you can check out here

Hi Adam. Thanks so much for joining us.

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your school, and what you like to read.

            True story: I spent twenty-five minutes thinking about how to start this answer before coming up with the trick you just read. So, anyway, I’m known at my school (Plum Grove Junior High) mainly for these five things, in this order: Writing, Mathematics, CAD, Fencing, and playing the clarinet (and no, I’m not known for putting up fences). Put the traits required for each of those five together, and you’ve got a good picture of my personality. Moving on to Plum Grove itself, it’s a nice place. The teachers are talented and kind, and many of the students are equally so. At the same time, they offer advanced reading, writing, and math, so (most of the time) the curriculum is challenging. Finally, what I like to read. Science fiction is my favorite genre, hands down, but there are few things I won’t read. The only two that immediately come to mind are romance and horror.

2.  Wow! You really thought about that. And it sounds like you're super busy and have lots of awesome interests. I know you’re an aspiring author, self-published a book, and are a blogger too. Tell us a bit about your book and how you juggle writing with a busy middle school life.

            Actually, I’ve published two books: Adventures at and Around the Galaxy, and its sequel, The Undercover War. Both are space operas, where the MCs (main characters) are Galactic Government special forces who find out that the GG they serve has been largely corrupted by a powerful underground cult. As for how I balance my writing with school stuff, that’s a problem I’m still working on. My current model (by no means a perfect one) is this: School work always comes first. If I have time on weekends, during Writers Club, or after I’ve finished my homework, I’ll work on my next short story. Over breaks (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Spring, Summer) I’ll work on my next novel.

3.  Your books sound awesome. Wish I could say I'd written two books. Good to know school comes first. Share a bit about your blog.

            First off, I blog sporadically, so don’t expect regular weekly updates (post #s). When I do post, I’m usually either A, reviewing a book, B, releasing a book (or an edition), C, releasing bonus content (which you can find here), or D, running competitions or polls. Other features of my blog include links to where you can buy my books in almost every format available, information on all of my published books, a chat box for leaving comments, and a helpful overview with an introduction in all six official languages of the UN.

4. Sounds like there's lots of good stuff there when you do blog. Before you started writing, how did you find out about the books you read? What about new books coming out?

            Back then, I usually found books the old-fashioned way—by browsing a library. If the cover and title looked interesting, I checked the short description. If that sounded good too, I checked it out. If I didn’t get a book that way, I either bought it, got it as a gift, or was referred to it. If I wanted to read new books, I checked the “New Releases” section at the library. However, since libraries aren’t generally the first places to receive new releases, most of the “new new books” I got were based on referrals or as gifts.

5.  I love discovering books and authors at the library. How has writing changed what you read, if at all? What about the fact that your mom is a writer?

            Actually, it’s almost the other way around—my taste in reading heavily influenced my decision to write Sci-fi. I’m not sure if the fact that my mom is a writer really influences my reading, but I do read a lot of books that she suggests to me, including but not limited to her own books (which I also critique).

6.  It's important to read in your genre as a writer, which it sounds like you're doing. What books are you waiting to be released?

            I’m not actually waiting on a whole lot. The only two books that come to mind are Shadows Alive by Orson Scott Card and the next book in the I Am Number Four series. I’m sure there are many more books that I will want to read when they come out, but I am not actively waiting on them, per se.

7.  I love the I AM NUMBER FOUR series too. Do you buy most of your books or get them at the library? How often do you go to a bookstore? 

            As I said in #4, I used to get most of my books from the library, only visiting a bookstore when I receive a gift card or something similar. Today, though, you will rarely see me at either. I buy almost all of my books on my Nook Simple, which I am very happy with.

8.  Do you read any teen book blogs, author blogs, or author or publisher websites? Become a fan of an author on Facebook? Why? Has this changed at all since you started writing?

            No, not really. The only blog that I read (besides my own) is my mom’s, and I only do that occasionally. I’m not on Facebook, and I don’t really want to be.

9.  I can't imagine you have much time to read blogs. Have any of your teachers recommended any blogs or websites to your class or to you?

            They do “recommend” websites, but only for academic purposes (i.e. my history teacher recommended the BBC site for further learning about World War I and Trench Warfare).

10.  Are there things your favorite authors could do that would make you more likely to visit their website, their blog, or become a fan on Facebook?
            No.

11.  Have any authors visited your school? Who? Is there anything you’d recommend that an author do to make their presentation more interesting to you and other kids at your school?

            A few authors visited Pleasant Hill (my elementary school), none of which I remember clearly. The only author who ever visited Plum Grove was Neal Schusterman, the author of Unwind. I think the most attractive feature of his presentation was that he provided a lot of question and answer time. You can’t tailor your speech for everyone, but during question and answer time, you can let them tailor it for you.

Thanks Adam for sharing all your great advice. 

Guys, I'm looking for kids who are in 5th through 12th grade for my ASK THE EXPERT series starting in March. If you know anyone interested, please e-mail me at rmarma2@yahoo.com.

Today, I'm also giving away an ARC of MAGISTERIUM  by Jeff Hirsch. 

Here's a description from Goodreads:

On one side of the Rift is a technological paradise without famine or want. On the other side is a mystery.

Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn's only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn't for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn's mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father's work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send Glenn and Kevin on the run---with only one place to go.

With MAGISTERIUM, Jeff Hirsch brings us the story of a complex, captivating world that will leave readers breathless until the very last page.

I'll try to keep my review short because I know this post is getting long.

One of the things I loved about this is that Glenn lives in a really technical, dystopian world of the Colloquium and then crosses over to the unknown beyond the Rift, which is governed by magic. I loved the blending of the two genres.

Right away we learn what Glenn wants--to go on a space mission that she'll never return from but will fulfill her career dreams. And right away, she can't have it. Her dad, who seems slightly obsessed and maybe a bit crazy, designs this device that might be able to be used to rescue Glenn's mom who disappeared over the Rift that divides the two worlds. Glenn screws things up right away and gets here dad arrested and has to flee with her friend Kevin into the Rift and the unknown.

The world building is fantastic. The Colloquium is a technological, rule governed world. The world beyond the Rift has magical, human-like warriors and magic governs the world, not all the good kind. Technology doesn't work in this magical world and magic doesn't work in the Colloquium.

Glenn is so sympathetic as a character. She's alone except for Kevin in this strange world that forces her to question everything about her world and discover secrets about her family. And while she's questioning where she fits in, Kevin is totally drawn into this new world and changes in ways that Glenn isn't sure she likes. This creates tension between them and there's a not overdone romantic tension between them.

This is a fast-paced quick read that I think those of you who like dystopian and/or fantasy will enjoy.

Scholastic generously provided this ARC 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 on Adam's interview by midnight on January 5th. I’ll announce the winner on January 7th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. International entries are welcome.

Here's what's coming up.

On Thursday, I'm participating in THE FALLING KINGDOM blog tour. It's a new fantasy by Morgan Rhode about four teenagers whose lives are intertwined in a world filled with magic, bloodshed, and political intrigue. I can't wait to read it.

Next Monday Laura  Pauling will be sharing her advice and giving away a copy of her new middle grade book, HOW TO SURVIVE ANCIENT SPELLS AND CRAZY KINGS, an adventure story set in the Mayan ruins of Tikal and involving skeletons from the underworld, a backstabbing princess, and an ancient prophecy. I love anything dealing with the Mayans so am super excited about this.

Next Wednesday, I have a surprise post. That's all I'll say for now.

Then I'm on a break until January 7th unless I post from China. January is going to be AWESOME! On January 7th, I interview debut author Ellen Oh and give away an ARC of PROPHECY, her new fantasy set in a Korean-like world. In January, I'll also be sharing and giving away an ARC of SHADES OF EARTH, Beth Revis' new book, interviewing Marie Lu and giving away an ARC of PRODIGY, and interviewing Leigh Moore and giving away a copy of ROUGE, her new edgy contemporary romance. This is just some of what's coming up.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Thursday!

48 comments:

  1. hi miss natalie and adam!

    adam... wow! cool interview. your school sounds neat.for sure its hard juggling out school and blogging and writing but sounds like you got it organized out pretty good. my favourite genre is sci fi too. i dont like romance either.ack! i read your first book and its soooo good. i didnt know you did a second one. i just got a kindle white for my birthday so if its a kindle book for sure im gonna get it. thanks for a real interesting interview!

    miss natalie... its soooo cool the you and your daughter are going at china. thats a country i wanna go to. my brother sebi lived there for a while and he told me all bout it and its just the most neat place. i hope you have lots and lots of fun and learn a whole bunch about the culture. i wanna hold a panda! take lots of pictures. i cant wait to hear all about it and see the pics.

    for sure put me in for the magisterium giveaway. sounds like a cool book. yikes! my comments getting as long as your post. ha ha.

    ...hugs from lenny

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  2. Thanks for the awesome interview, Adam and Natalie. I'm impressed that you managed to balance school and writing, but the information about author blogs and websites, doesn't surprise me. I don't think many teens read those. I wish my oldest kid felt the same way about FB as you do. He turns 13 on Wednesday, and has reminded me daily that he wants an account for his birthday.

    Have an awesome trip, Natalie. China is an amazing place. I would love to go there one day. And *hugs* for all the get giveaways you have. I know I appreciate them. :D

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  3. OMG, that trip to china with your daughter sounds so awesome! How cool is it that the adoption agency does that! And it was really great getting to know Adam! He's got great writing style already. And I'm not surprised that reading more of one genre over another can spark your decision to write in that genre. Iknow that's why I write YA romance and urban fantasy!

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  4. Awwwww how lovely to be going to China with your daughter! I hope you have a great trip and a most awesome time!!

    Nice to meet you Adam! Glad you found books the "old fashioned way"!! Take care
    x

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  5. Wow Adam! You are bodacious! You must be a hard worker and a great thinker. Sounds like you are grounded in the best way. Good luck and I loved reading your interview. Keep up the GREAT work.

    Natalie, I'm praying for your safety during the your FUNTASTICAL trip! I know you and your sweety will love learning about her heritage.

    Thanks for all you do. You are wonderful for the blogging/writerly community! Be safe and Merry Christmas.

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  6. Thanks so much for inviting Adam to be on your blog today! He's run off to school (where he'll probably tell all his friends he's being interviewed today on a famous blog), but I'm sure he'll check it out when he gets home.

    Best of luck making wonderful memories on your trip to China! We have friends who have adopted two girls from China and they are bright spots of sunshine for everyone who meets them. I can imagine what a wonderful experience this trip will be for you and your daughter!

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  7. Great interview, Adam, and yeah, I also like sci-fi over romance and horror any day. Appreciate the tip on using Q&A's for readings, and all the best with building those fences!

    Natalie - China sounds awesome! Looking forward to hearing about it.

    And congrats to you and Casey on the 3000th follower mark! You should have a cake with 3000 candles and a fire truck nearby.

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  8. A trip to China...SCHWEET!

    An excellent interview with an astute young author and all around great student...

    And a great review...

    I can say my cup is filled with awesomesauce now :-)

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  9. Thanks for the fun interview with Adam! And thanks for all your efforts with - and funding of! - SO many giveaways. Your generosity is very much appreciated!

    But most of all, enjoy this very special trip with your daughter!

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  10. It was a pleasure meeting you, Adam. It's obvious the apple didn't fall to far from the tree; you are so your mother's son.

    And ooh, Natalie. Magisterium looks awesome! Want that one.

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  11. Wow. You've been busy! And how fun for you and your daughter. My oldest son and his family live in China and are really enjoying themselves immensely. I hope hubby and I can get there to see them someday.

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  12. Have a wonderful trip to China! That is going to be such a fantastic, memorable experience for your family! Can't wati for your return and for all the fun stuff coming in January--including ROUGE~ :D

    And how AWESOME is it that you interviewed Susan's son! LOL! He sounds very smart, and he's published two books. Of course he has! What a treat hearing about his interests, school, etc., and I can't wait to see how far he goes. Best of luck to Adam~

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  13. That is amazing about your China trip. I am jealous. It's exciting your daughter gets to learn first-hand about her heritage. So few adoptees do.

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  14. yay for china - that's awesome :)

    Adam - you are way too smart for an 8th grader. Thanks for your insight! :)

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  15. Great interview, Adam & Miss Natalie. Adam's books are very well written and fun to read.

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  16. Wow, that trip to China sounds amazing! Also I really enjoyed Adam's interview. He reminds me of myself in 8th grade. :-)

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  17. Hi Natalie, enjoy your China trip with your daughter.

    Adam- sounds like a super smart kid, his book has me intrigued.

    111 books, that's an awesome number of books you have given away.

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  18. So, so excited for you and your daughter! Enjoy!

    And I love your 'Ask the Expert' series. It's fun to know what students think and how they say it. I bet my daughter would be up for an interview with you.

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  19. Love this series and what a great kick off this interview with Adam has been.

    Here's to a wonderful trip to China for you and your daughter. I look forward to pictures of her holding that baby panda.

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  20. Wow, Adam sounds like he really has it together! My daughter who is almost 17 doesn't do or want to do Facebook either. It's nice to know she's not alone in that decision.

    I didn't realize Adam had a blog. I'll have to check it out.

    Natalie have a wonderful safe trip with your daughter. It sounds like it will be amazing!

    Congratulations for reaching over 3000 followers. That is awesome. :)

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  21. Wow, I think Adam is more industrious and driven at his tender age than I am now! Go Adam, that's awesome. i

    And congratulations on your upcoming trip to China! How fantastic, and I love that the agency is paying for it. What a wonderful gift. Have fun and take lots of pictures!

    As for the postage, I completely understand. I've spent a small fortune sending books to reviewers over seas. I love them for wanting to read, but it hurts the budget for sure.

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  22. Congrats and thanks to Adam for sharing his experience. Have a wonderful trip with your daughter, Natalie! Looking forward to hearing all about it.

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  23. Thank you Adam for your expertise! This book sounds great. I'll have to put it on my TBR list.

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  24. Wow, Natalie - have an awesome time on your trip (and sorry your husband can't make it!). And I get you on books - the last time I sent international, it was the Hunger Games trilogy to South Africa and the postage (directly from Amazon) was $15!

    Thanks, Adam. Your first answer gives me hope my 6th grade son will develop some patience!
    erica

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  25. What a cool interview! Love hearing from kids, especially talented ones like Adam. :D Congrats to you and your daughter on the trip, hug a panda for me!!

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  26. First, congrats on your exciting news!! Wow, what a wonderful opportunity for your daughter.

    Great, great interview! Thanks, Adam, for sharing your insights. And I love your mom! :)

    Love the giveaway, Natalie!

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  27. Whoa. Sounds like Dark Omen is just as organized, driven, and brilliant as mom. You go, Adam.

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  28. That's so exciting! You and your daughter are going to have such a great experience - very, very cool!

    Great interview with Adam. Sounds like you've got eclectic tastes Adam - that's awesome!

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  29. Wow,Natalie,


    That was some post and INTERVIEW. Adam you seem very mature for his age. I guess having an author for mom really helps. You are one TOGETHER kid.

    CONGRATS on 3000 followers... HOW AWESOME!

    China should be an experience of a lifetime. Petting pandas.... WOW! Enjoy the trip! I want to here all about it when you get back.

    And thanks for the giveaway and terrific review ... the book sounds intriguing.

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS, NATALIE! AND CASEY!

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  30. Great interview. You rocked it, Adam.

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  31. Wow! Natalie, it sounds like you have an exciting trip ahead with your daughter. You'll have to post pictures and give us the scoop when you get back. Have a great time!
    And Adam, what a bright kid with so much potential! Great interview!
    Finally, thanks again for another great giveaway! Happy Holidays!

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  32. There's so much information in this post, I barely know where to begin! And yet I must say how excited I am for you and your daughter. What an amazing opportunity for her to visit her roots, and for both of you to visit a spectacular country. I hope you'll at least write a post when you return, and tell us about your adventures!

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  33. Wow Natalie, how exciting for you and your daughter. I'm sure it will be a special trip! And I love the ask the expert columns. Very cool. :)

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  34. Adam, you sound like one amazing young man.

    Natalie, enjoy your trip! How wonderful to share this special time with your daughter.

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  35. Adam, sounds like you are a chip off the old block--that's amazing that you've SP 2 books! Your mom must be one proud Momma. :)

    Nat that is so amazing about your trip! I think it's wonderful that you are able to do something like that for your daughter! I know you will have a wonderful time!

    Angela

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  36. Great interview, Adam and Natlie.

    And, Natalie, it's wonderful that you and your daughter get the opportunity to visit China and see a little of her cultural heritage! Enjoy your trip.

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  37. My what a talented kid Adam is. I don't know where he finds all the time to do all these things and still be a kid.

    Have fun in China!

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  38. This is an amazing interview. I cannot wait to read this book now :) It seems so good. Thank you so much for sharing :D And ohh. Have fun in China :D So jealous of you ;)

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  39. Awesome post! Thanks for the great interview! This book sounds awesome and has already been added to my wishlist! Thanks for the fun post, for sharing and for the giveaway!

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  40. That was a fabulous interview. I should point my mom in the direction of this post. She's an eighth grade teacher and is constantly trying to encourage her students to write and be creative. :)

    readsalot81(@)hotmail(.)com

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  41. Thanks for the great interview and the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

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  42. Fantastic interview! I love my Nook too. I think it's great that you take care of school first, then work on your writing. I've always wanted to take up fencing!

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  43. Aw, what a wonderful interview. Adam is an amazing kid. Best wishes to him with all his goals.

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  44. I'm also looking forward to Shadows Alive Orson Scott Card is an amazing writer. :) It sounds like Adam has his priorities set, which is something a lot of college students I know can't say for themselves. I wish him the best of luck in his journey as an author and blogger!

    Congrats on all the milestones you've reached here at the blog. 3000 followers is a lot, close to double when I first began following Literary Rambles. And, wow, you mentioned that you'd held a lot of giveaways, but I didn't imagine it to be THAT many, though you're always giving away awesome books here.

    Have an awesome stay at China!! :)

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  45. Great interview, Adam! Nice meeting you!

    Hope your trip to China went wonderfully, I'm catching up on blog posts (follow you in Google Reader) and started here.

    I also tweeted about the contest here: https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?original_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.literaryrambles.com%2F2012%2F12%2Fmagisterium-giveaway-ask-expert.html&related=Casey%20McCormick%3ATutorials%20and%20Widgets%20for%20Blogger&text=MAGISTERIUM%20GIVEAWAY%2C%20ASK%20THE%20EXPERT%20INTERVIEW%2C%20AND%20MY%20NEWS&tw_p=tweetbutton&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.literaryrambles.com%2F2012%2F12%2Fmagisterium-giveaway-ask-expert.html&via=Casey_McCormick

    Sorry I have no idea how to make that shorter and am amazed the link is longer than the tweet...

    Magisterium is on my Goodreads Want to Read list! So happy to hear about the giveaway! Thank you!

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  47. Fun article! I'm hoping to catch up on the blogs, now that the holiday is over.

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  48. Have fun in China :) I just went China too and it had awesome food like Peiking Roast Duck (yummy)!

    There are so many exciting giveaways lined up, I'll definitely stay tuned ;)

    selinaxu@ymail.com

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