2014 Contemporary Scavenger Hunt with Kim Culbertson!!!

YA Contemporary Scavenger Hunt

I’m delighted to be hosting Kim Culbertson for the 2014 Contemporary Scavenger Hunt!  Kim is the author of Catch a Falling Star, which came out in April 2014 with Scholastic.  After you read the fun interview with Kim, scroll down for instructions on how to win a fantastic prize!

 

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A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself.

 

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter’s town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam’s girlfriend while he’s in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn’t at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what’s real and what’s fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds – her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?

 

1.    Catch a Falling Star has a great premise! Do you have experience with the film industry, or did you have do a lot of research for this?

I have very limited experience with the film industry – I taught high school drama for years and have written a couple of screenplays – but I really don’t have any actual experience. I have two dear friends who work in the industry who helped me with the research for the all the film parts. I loved getting notes back from them on certain scenes saying, “Um, this would neverhappen. Fix this.”

2.    What draws you to contemporary?

I’ve been drawn to contemporary most of my life mostly because I’m interested in how differently we all see the same world. I’ve always been fascinated with Point of View and this idea that we can all witness the same event but see it in completely different ways based on our values and personalities and backgrounds. Contemporary allows me to explore all these unique and interesting ways of seeing life within the context of our everyday world. The world we live in is such a funny, ridiculous, heartbreaking place.

3.    You must get a lot of inspiration and great insight into teens as a teacher.  What is something you wish people knew about teens?

I’m often caught off guard when people generalize about teenagers, when they start a sentence, “Teenagers always…” and then just lump them into this Huge Pile of Teenager. People often tell me, “Oh, I don’t know how you work with teenagers.” Um, with humans, you mean? Over my seventeen years of teaching high school, I continue to be reminded how each student walks into my room as a whole, unique separate person who has opinions and dreams and fears. Of course, over our lives we continue to grow (hopefully) and change but I wish people would know that teenagers are distinct individuals and not some massive blob.

4.    Do you write any other genres of YA or are you a contemporary-only kind of gal?

So far, just contemporary. I do love other genres, Harry Potter is my favorite series of all time, but I don’t find myself drawn to writing anything else as of yet.

5.    What are 5 contemporary books you think everyone should read?

I have soooooo many but off the top of my head:

Thanks, Kim!  Kim is giving away a signed copy of CATCH A FALLING STAR!  All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment on this page.

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Sourcebooks Fire published Kim’s award winning first YA novel Songs for a Teenage Nomad (2010, originally Hip Pocket Press, 2007) and her second YA novel Instructions for a Broken Heart (2011) which was named a Booklist 2011 Top Ten Romance Title for Youth and won the 2012 Northern California Book Award for YA Fiction. Scholastic published her third YA novel Catch a Falling Star in April of 2014 and she is currently at work on her next YA novel for them (Winter 2016). When she’s not writing for teens, she’s teaching them. She’s a college advisor and teaches creative writing at Forest Charter School. Kim wrote her eBook novella The Liberation of Max McTrue for her students who, over the years, have taught her much more than she has taught them. Kim lives in the Northern California foothills with her husband and daughter.

 

Read-a-Romance Month

August is Read a Romance Month! What’s that?  Simple–a month to celebrate readers, writers, and lovers of romance!  If you’re already a romance reader, be sure to check the link above to see 93 great authors sharing guest posts on the Celebrate Romance blog.  If you’re new to the genre, maybe you’re looking for a place to start.

Maybe you’re not the kind of person who ever pictured him or herself reading a romance novel with “one of those” covers.  But if you’re also the kind of person who’s ever enjoyed a tear-jerker romantic movie, or can’t resist watching a romantic comedy every time it’s on, you might be surprised by how much you can enjoy a romance novel.

Not surprisingly, I tend to look at romance through the Young Adult (and now New Adult) lens, so I wanted to share a few recommendations with you.

Like Try Why

 

 

Cover Reveal: WHEN JOSS MET MATT

Squeee!  I can’t believe I have another cover reveal to share already!  I feel like a kid on Christmas!

You can see the cover for my New Adult debut, WHEN JOSS MET MATT at Heroes and Heartbreakers today for the exclusive reveal!

While you’re here, sign up for my newsletter to get insider info and even a few sneak peeks you won’t get anywhere else!  The widget is over in the side bar ——->

I’ll update my books page with the saucy new cover soon!

And in the meantime, you can add WHEN JOSS MET MATT to your Goodreads To-Read list now!

 

 

Book Bloggers, I love you

Recently I went to Crystal Lake, IL for a panel with Joelle Charbonneau, Stacey Kade, and Erica O’Rourke (who are all wonderful, fun, and funny women to spend an evening with, by the way).  We were there for part of Barnes & Noble’s Pop Culture Week celebration, and it was a blast.  We had a great group of readers come for the panel and they asked tons of fantastic questions.

One subject that came up was authors reading reviews, and I said that I try not to read them as much as possible unless someone directly tweets it to me.  I could see one person in the audience get visibly distressed at the thought that I, and the other authors, don’t read our reviews.  We addressed it at the time, but I felt like it was something I should go into in more depth on my own.

First, let me say that I love it–LOVE IT–when people love my books and take the time to tell me about it.  Seriously, there is no better feeling than finding out something you created spoke to someone in any way.  It can totally change my dad from blah or bad to grinning-from-ear-to-ear when someone tweets a great review to me.  You might imagine the negative reviews are not quite as ego-boosting.

I admit it, it’s truly a frailty on my part that I would let a negative review affect me that way.  And I think it was Chuck Wendig who once pointed out that 5-star reviews are just as “untrue” or biased as 1-star reviews.  The fact of a reader loving or hating my book doesn’t change anything about it, including my motivations for writing it, or the pride I feel in seeing it on a shelf.  But on a certain kind of day, it’s hard to keep going and creating something new when someone has really hated something you wrote before.

I AM NOT SAYING READERS DO NO HAVE THE RIGHT TO HATE A BOOK.  EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO THEIR OPINION.  I don’t like everything, and thank God for that, because I already find myself with stacks of books that beg to be read.  Imagine if I felt compelled to read every single word written by every person all the time.  It’s impossible.  And we’re all different people with different tastes.  That’s awesome.

I WANT readers and bloggers to read and review to their heart’s content.  But it’s important to understand what the purpose of reviewing is.  In my humble opinion, readers are there to inform each other of what they like.  There is NOTHING that helps a book become popular better than word of mouth.  And in this big beautiful age of the Internet, word of mouth can really get places.  Book bloggers can become Tastemakers.  Just like Fashion Bloggers can help set and grow trends, Book Bloggers can be their own grassroots movement to help a book become a success.

When you, as a book blogger, establish your pattern of like and dislikes, when you share your enthusiasm, you are setting yourself up as a trusted authority in the book world.  You are a go-to person for credibility on books.  I know I have a few reviewers whose tastes I admire, and when I see they’ve given a book a positive review, I’m more likely to add it to my to-read stack.

One of the coolest things about the “power” that book bloggers have gained in the industry is that it’s organic.  It’s fan-based, and comes from a place of honesty.  Let’s face it, a lot of book bloggers are young women, and in a world where popular culture is first created for, then universally looked down upon because it is embraced by young women, I am 100% in favor of a system that allows those same young women to speak for themselves.

So keep speaking up, book bloggers.  I may not find every review you write about my books, but I’m so glad you’re there sharing your thoughts with other readers.  And for those of you who have taken the time to be supportive and enthusiastic about any of my books, a most humble and profound

Thank you!

Ellie Cahill news

You may have already heard ’round my social media ‘hoods, but my debut New Adult novel has a brand new title!  What used to be PIECES OF ME is now WHEN JOSS MET MATT!

I am very excited about the new title!  i think it reflects the playful tone of the story really well, and of course, I can’t help loving the homage to one of the best movies of all time, When Harry Met Sally.  There is a certain Harry/Sally quality to the main characters in the book, so I hope you’ll agree it’s a fitting title.

In other Ellie Cahill news, I am delighted to announce that Egmont Germany has bought the German translation rights to this book!

PM German announcement

 

Woo hoo!  Can’t wait to keep you all updated on the German edition as I get more details!

In the meantime, i’m happy to tell you that WHEN JOSS MET MATT has moved on to the copyediting stage at Ballantine, which means it’s that much closer to being in readers’ hands here in the U.S!

I’ve updated my book pages and my Events page here on the site with the changes and some new appearances.  Stay tuned for details!

I am Ellie Cahill!

I hope you read the title of this post with the appropriate intonation.  Sure, I could have gone with the Kirk Douglas classic, but frankly this image works better for me.  Speaking of which, if you haven’t seen That Thing You Do, you’re missing out, and you should probably get on that if we’re going to be friends.

So if you’ve visited my site before, you might realize it looks a little different.  Thanks to Amazing Web Designer of Wonder, Tessa Elwood, at ipopcolor.com, my header now includes my NOT AT ALL SEEKRIT pen name, Ellie Cahill.

Ellie Cahill? you ask.  Yes, that’s right, I now contain multitudes!!  I bet you have questions.  Allow me to direct your attention to the FAQ below…

Q:  Who’s Ellie Cahill?
A:  Me!  Also, the author of PIECES OF ME, a New Adult book I wrote.

Q:  What’s New Adult?
A:  It’s a relatively new category fiction (notice I said category, not genre).  New Adult books feature characters who are between the ages of 18-25 who are going through the early stages of independence.  Stories tend to focus on college, or the years right after college when you’re getting your first grown-up job, and the stakes in relationships are higher than ever before.  Just like Young Adult is a category that encompasses all genres (sci-fi, paranormal, contemporary, historical, etc.), New Adult stories can be any genre.

Q: So, what’s PIECES OF ME?
A:  You can learn more about it on my NA books page.  It’s coming out February 24, 2015 from Ballantine.  Here’s the Publisher’s Marketplace announcement from back in February:

piees of me PM announce

Q:  Why a new name?
A:  There are a lot of reasons writers use pen names.  Sometimes it has to do with keeping young readers for stumbling onto books that aren’t appropriate for them.  Sometimes it’s to “fit in” better with the genre, because your publisher wants a different identity than the one other publishers use, or because your real name is impossible to spell or pronounce…ahem.

Q:  Hey, I loved ASK AGAIN LATER, will I like PIECES OF ME?
A:  If you like my YA books because they stop at the smoochy-smooching level, probably not.  But if you’re an over 18 type person who likes a little more smexy in your reading, then you probably will.

Q:  I’m a grown-up type person, can my teenager read your New Adult book?
A:  That is totally up to you and your teenager to decide!  When in doubt, I always suggest you read a book yourself before you make up your mind.

Q:  Does this mean you’re not going to write any new Liz Czukas books?
A:  Heck no!  I want to write ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME!  I’m just excited to have the chance to write more!

Q:  Do I come here for Ellie Cahill news/information?
A:  You bet.  Even if you type elliecahill.com into your browser, you’ll end up here.

Q:  Where can I get the new book?
A:  Nowhere yet.  It will be available as an ebook and a trade paperback in February of next year.  I’ll keep you updated on where to get it as I get more details.  In the meantime, you can add it to your Goodreads list.  You can also sign up for newsletter in the sidebar and get all the info dropped right into your very own inbox.  Or check back here, on Twitter, or Facebook.  (Did you notice my pretty social media buttons up top?  How awesome is Tessa?)

And don’t forget TOP TEN CLUES YOU’RE CLUELESS will be out on December 11, 2014!

Winners and Other News

Thanks to everyone who participated in the YA Scavenger Hunt!  It was my first time on the hunt and I had a great time.  I hope to do it again!  If you want to see who won the big Team prizes, check out the official results here.

The giveaway I was hosting at my own site is over as well, and the signed copy of ASK AGAIN LATER goes to Sherrice (comment #31 from the previous post).  I’ve contacted Sherrice with instructions to get her prize and I’m setting the Claim Me clock now.  If I don’t hear from Sherrice in one week, I’ll have Ye Olde Random Number Generator choose another winner.

In other news…

I will be on Barry Eva’s A Book and a Chat radio program this weekend!  The show starts at 11am EDT on Saturday April 12, but it will also be available to listen to after the first broadcast.  I’ll update this post with a link when it goes live.

Stay Tuned to the EVENTS page of this site for further updates, but I’m excited to share that I’ll be adding the following appearances:

And now, because I love you all, here is an awesome video of an amazing New Orleans Blues Style cover of Sweet Child O’ Mine.

You’re welcome.

YA Scavenger Hunt (Spring 2014)

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

 

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the RED TEAM–but there is also a blue team for a chance to win a whole different set of twenty-five signed books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the red team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday April 6, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POST
Today, I am hosting Amy Plum on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Amy Plum grew up in Birmingham, Alabama before venturing further afield to Chicago, Paris, London and New York. An art historian by training, she can be found on most days either daydreaming or writing (or both) in a Parisian café. Amy is the author of international bestselling DIE FOR ME series, paranormal romance set in Paris. The first book of Amy’s new adventure series, AFTER THE END, releases in May 2014. 
 
Find out more information about Amy or AFTER THE END by checking out her website!
Amy’s Website
Preorder AFTER THE END at Amazon
 
THE BOOK

Juneau grew up fearing the outside world. The elders told her that beyond the borders of their land in the Alaskan wilderness, nuclear war had destroyed everything. But when Juneau returns from a hunting trip one day and discovers her people have been abducted, she sets off to find them. And leaving the boundaries for the very first time, she learns the horrifying truth: World War III never happened. Nothing was destroyed. Everything she’d ever been taught was a lie.

As Juneau comes to terms with an unfathomable deception, she is forced to survive in a completely foreign world, using only the skills and abilities she developed in the wild. But while she’s struggling to rescue her friends and family, someone else is after her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about her secret past.

 

* * *
AND NOW, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, THE NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN EXCLUSIVE VIDEO FROM AMY PLUM ANSWERING ALL YOUR BURNING QUESTIONS ABOUT AFTER THE END!!

Is anyone else dying to read this book?  Yeah, I thought so.

And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Amy Plum, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 94. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the red team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

CONTINUE THE HUNT
 
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, the brilliant and wonderful Stacey Kade!


But before you go, you can also enter to win a signed copy of my own book Ask Again Later along with pretty bookmarks and swag and whatever else I feel like sticking in the envelope (I promise no used gum.)  All you gots to do is fill out this here rafflecopter thingie and you’re done.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Hunting!

 

YA Scavenger Hunt Starts Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the big day for yet another awesome YA Scavenger Hunt! (#YASH)  This is my first time participating and I’m super excited to be on the RED TEAM with a ton of great writers!

Check out details from Colleen Houck below and then be sure to come back here on April 3 to start hunting!

From Colleen:
Spring 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt Authors Announced!

Hello YA fans. It’s time once again for our Spring YA Scavenger Hunt. For those of you who’ve joined us before, welcome back! If you’re a newbie, you’re in for a treat! Twice a year we seek out fantastic YA authors with upcoming releases and give you a rare peek into exclusive material and do some fabulous giveaways and prizes along the way, including a chance to win a book from every author on the hunt!

To participate, all you need to do is pick an author to start with, head to their blog sometime between noon PST on April 3rd and noon PST on April 6th, and go from there. Follow the directions on the blog and hop from post to post until you’ve seen all the authors on that team. Then you can begin on team two!

If you get lost, don’t worry. You can always check in on the Hunt’s main webpage.

YA Scavenger Hunt

Here’s a sneak peek of the authors that will be featured on the upcoming hunt.

THE BLUE TEAM

LUCY CONNORS

SHELLEY CORIELL

SARA B. LARSON

LEA NOLAN

C. J. REDWINE

P. J. HOOVER

LYNNE MATSON

AMALIE HOWARD

RACHEL HARRIS

KAY HONEYMAN

RACHEL CARTER

SARA RAASCH

PAULA STOKES

KRISTI HELVIG

ANGELA CORBETT

KRISTEN LIPPERT-MARTIN

JAYE ROBIN BROWN

MARI MANCUSI

RITA ARENS

JESSICA SPOTSWOOD

MAUREEN MCGOWAN

AMY CHRISTINE PARKER

APRIL TUCHOLKE

SASHI KAUFMAN

JEN MCCONNEL

_____________________________

THE RED TEAM

JESSICA BRODY

TERA LYNN CHILDS

STACEY KADE

JESSICA SHIRVINGTON

SUSANNE WINNACKER

AMY PLUM

GRETCHEN MCNEIL

CLAIRE LEGRAND

JENNY LUNDQUIST

TRACY DEEBS

J. A. SOUDERS

KIMBERLY DERTING

MEGAN SHEPHERD

LIZ CZUKAS

CLAUDIA GRAY

ALYXANDRA HARVEY

LEANNA RENEE HIEBER

CAT PATRICK

COLE GIBSEN

DEBRA DRIZA

JERI SMITH-READY

LISSA PRICE

COLLEEN HOUCK

AMBER ARGYLE

JENNIFER TRESSEN

Check back here to get started on the hunt on April 3rd for a chance to win amazing prizes! You won’t want to miss this!

Colleen Houck

The Naked Launch

Got your attention, right?  For the record, no part of my book launch involved naked people in any way.  In fact, my actual launch day was pretty low-key.  My cousin met me at a Barnes & Noble so we could stalk my book in the wild (and also drink coffee/chai and talk to each other without children around).  Unfortunately, they hadn’t unpacked the box yet, so we didn’t get to stalk effectively.  Still, it was cool that they brought one out from the back.

Then the pics started coming in from around the country.  My friends and family were spotting Ask Again Later in bookstores all over.  Best of all, nearly everyone was reporting buying the last copy!  How crazy is that?!  Now, of course there is a possibility these stores only had a couple of copies, but still.  It feels good to be on re-order, baby!

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The day after the official debut, I went back to Barnes & Noble for my usual writers’ group meeting.  We get together to do writing sprints and help each other with brainstorming, plot dilemmas, and just plain moral support.  When I arrived that day, my writing crew had gone all out!  There were balloons, flowers, desserts, and even a tiara!

It was so sweet!  I felt like queen for a day!  And yes, I kept the tiara on the entire time.  I will literally never pass up a chance to wear a tiara.

Which brings me to my launch party.

A while ago I hatched a crazy plan.  I knew I could have a bookstore event for my launch party, but I seriously struggle with asking people to come out just for me.  I know, that’s probably super nutty considering my entire job is to hope strangers want to buy something I made, but it’s true.  So, I wanted to think of a way that I could have a launch and make it about more than just me.

You’ve probably gathered by now that my book might have a little something to do with prom.  And since having a book published is pretty much the biggest dream come true I can imagine, I thought it would be cool to help other people’s dreams come true.  I decided to run a Dress Drive for The Cinderella Project.  And once I found out there was a local chapter in Milwaukee, I knew it was meant to be.

A lot of people helped me out with creating this event, and I want to thank them publicly.

  1. Melissa and Lizette from The Cinderella Project, who were enthusiastic about my plan from the beginning.
  2. Marla and Pam from Manpower, who generously allowed me to use their beautiful reception area to hold the event.
  3. Nick Koleas from TheHitManDJ.com, who donated his time and talent to making the event over the top fun.  Seriously, you guys, his set-up is gorgeous and he played just the right mix all night to keep people upbeat.
  4. Kristin and Zach Karpinski, who set up their Photo Booth so guests could get up to foolishness on film
  5. Steve Weigl, who was my roving photographer and captured the whole evening in gorgeous photographs
  6. Boswell Books, who came to the off-site event and sold the heck out of my book! I signed 80 copies that night!!

Of course, I also want to thank everyone who came out to celebrate with me.  Writing is by its nature and isolated occupation.  It’s easy to forget that there are so many people who are excited for you and want to party!  I was overwhelmed by the turnout.

Not only did my guests buy Boswell completely out of books, they opened their closets and their hearts, bringing in more than 30 formal dresses to the Cinderella Project and donating $150 to help the project with cleaning and storage costs.

Thank you all so much for making this launch a huge success!  I hope you had as much fun as I did!

I have a Flickr Set with all the pictures from the night here.  Here are a few pics to get you started…


Created with flickr slideshow.