I can't tell you what this means to me. Even if I get no further than this stage (which I probably won't, because have you seen how many amazing books are on that list?!), just knowing that people thought ACID was worth nominating is amazing.
Kat Brauer is back with her incredible Crits for Water campaign. This campaign raises money for Charity:Water, a non-profit organisation campaigning to bring safe, clean drinking water to everyone on the planet. Last year, Crits for Water raised over $15,000 dollars – that's almost ten thousand pounds!
I took part last year, and I'm taking part again, offering a critique of your first 1500 words. Interested? Head over to the website and pledge – you have until Friday, 1st November. Good luck!
Isn't it great? I'm so happy that Delacorte decided to use the same image as the UK edition (I mean, how can you top it, really?), and even more excited that the US edition is going to be a hardcover. I've already seen a jacket proof, and it looks amazing. I can't wait to see the finished book. If you head over to Pub Crawl, you can enter a giveaway for a signed ARC (US only, sorry). What are you waiting for?
I've also got some news about the cover for THE FEARLESS - it's had an update, and I think it's wonderful. I love the fiery colours behind Cass – they really stand out, and it goes even better with ACID's cover now, too. If you want to see the old and the new cover side by side, head over to Kate Ormand's blog. I'd love to know which one you prefer!
And last week, I found out ACID has been shortlisted for the NE Teen Book Award, along with Laura Lam's PANTOMIME, Kerry Drewery's A DREAM OF LIGHTS, Paula Rawsthorne's BLOOD TRACKS, Alison Rattle's THE QUIETNESS and Matt Whyman's THE SAVAGES. What a list! Huge congratulations to everyone else on the shortlist. I can't wait to see who wins.
You may already know awesome UK book blogger Lucy Powrie from her blog Queen of Contemporary, or from her brilliant #UKYA Twitter chats. Lucy is a champion of all things UK YA, and now she has set up a new blog, Project UKYA, to help spread the word about all the amazing YA authors in the UK and their fantastic books. I'm very excited about this project and I can't wait to see what Lucy has in store for us. Click on the badge below to check it out!
Hello! *waves a paw* My human has finished her latest round of edits for THE FEARLESS now, but she's so busy trying to catch up with everything else that she's handed the blog over to me, G-Dog.
Today is publication day for BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA by April Genevieve Tucholke (Dial/Penguin Random House). My human has read an ARC and assures me that it's a fantastic book - dark and gothic and twisty. I like the sound of that! Here's the blurb:
You stop fearing the Devil when you're holding his hand...
Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White's sleepy, seaside
town...until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind
Violet's crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen,
Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River
just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or
could he be something more? Violet's grandmother always warned her about
the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes
naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who
makes you want to kiss back. Violet's already so knee-deep in love, she
can't see straight. And that's just how River likes it.
Here's what Publisher's Weekly had to say:
Tucholke debuts with a thoroughly eerie novel set in a quintessential
horror-story location: a quaint Maine town. Violet White and her
17-year-old twin brother are living in the dilapidated glory of their
family’s coastal estate while their parents traipse Europe. To help pay
the bills, Violet places an ad for a boarder for their guesthouse; it’s
quickly answered by River West, a mysterious boy who cannily avoids
giving straight answers about his past. Violet doesn’t typically pay
boys much mind, but she’s soon spending the night with River, both drawn
to and wary of him. The enigma of who or what River is pulls readers
through the story with steady, unsettling momentum, especially as
frightening visions and events pile up (at one point, the town’s
children form a ragtag army, ready to battle the Devil with wooden
stakes) and family secrets come to light. Tucholke luxuriates in the
details of small-town life, including her characters’ gourmand
tendencies and their quick-witted interactions, in a chilling
supernatural exploration of free will and reality’s fluidity.
And here's the cover:
To celebrate all this awesomeness, I asked April ten questions:
Books or TV?
Facts or fiction?
Coffee or tea?
Sweet or savoury?
Shoes or boots?
Boots. No question.
Fields or forest?
Cats or dogs?
Dogs. Dogs, dogs, dogs. (Hooray!)
Sun or rain?
I used to be very rain. And then I lived in Portland, OR and Edinburgh. Now I'm sun, with the occasional big thunderstorm.
I thought it was time to do a post about what life's like now I'm a published author. Getting here has been a very surreal and exciting journey, with lots of waiting, bursts of panic and moments of total awesomeness.
So what's changed? Well, I have a book published, and another coming out next year. This has been a dream of mine since I was 13 years old, and to say it's been a life-altering experience is an understatement. Whatever happens in the future – and I hope that involves getting more books published, but you can never take anything for granted in this business – there is a book out there with my name on it. Yes, I'm still pinching myself.
Even more thrilling is when readers get in touch to tell you they've enjoyed your book. My favourite email so far has to be from a lady who told me that thanks to ACID, she's started reading again after a very long break. To think that the words I wrote on my sofa, on my dented laptop, can do that for someone… wow.
I've also been doing lots of school visits and events. Writing can be a lonely business, and it's so much fun to get out and meet readers and other authors – I love it!
What hasn't changed, however, is that I still don't feel like I know what I'm doing. At all.
I used to think that if I got published, something would go ping inside my head and all the struggles I encountered when trying to write my novels would magically disappear. I'd feel confident about my plots. I'd be able to work out my characters' motivations first time round. I wouldn't get stuck halfway through and have to go back and work out where it had all gone wrong. And I most definitely wouldn't have many, many days where I felt like the Worst Writer Ever™ and doubted my ability to finish a single sentence.
Er… no. Ironically, since ACID sold, I've doubted myself more, not less. This has partly been the dreaded second novel syndrome (yes, it exists) - writing to a deadline for the first time EVER, worrying whether my publisher will like it, worrying whether readers will like it… you get the idea.
Part of it also comes from being more aware of the writing process. Now, when something in my stories isn't working, I know straight away. I can no longer kid myself that it'll be OK, and carry on in a haze of blissful ignorance. These days, writing is a stop-start-stop-start process for me; very rarely do I sit down and start typing, and the words just flow.
But I've found ways of coping, mostly by reminding myself that I've done this before, and I can do it again. There's always a way through, even if finding it involves a lot of rewriting, hair-pulling and wine coffee drinking.
And nothing beats the excitement of opening up a blank word document and typing the first line of a story that's been keeping you awake at night – it's worth all the stress that inevitably follows, just for that!
Having a support network has helped, too. Getting to know other writers via Twitter and Facebook has led to me being involved with two group blogs, The Lucky 13s and Author Allsorts. Once upon a time, I kept my writing a secret and didn't know any other writers at all. Now, I know many other people who understand the highs and lows of the writing process, which makes those difficult times less scary.
To finish, here are two of those moments of total awesomeness…
No. 1: ACID has been nominated for the 2014 Coventry Inspiration Book Award, 'Just the Book' (14+) category. I don't know who else is on the shortlist yet, and the winner isn't announced until February, but as soon as I have more details, I'll let you know. Here's the 2013 shortlist - I think you'll agree that whoever's on it this time round, I'm going to be in some very distinguished company!
No. 2: last week, ACID was Number 3 in the Waterstones Children's Sci-Fi Bestsellers list, two books below Rick Yancey's THE FIFTH WAVE. Waah! A huge thank you to everyone who's bought, read and helped spread the word about ACID - it wouldn't have got there without you!
Before you go, check out today's post over at Author Allsorts, where I and some other members of the group are sharing our favourite pieces of advice for budding authors and illustrators.
Normally, I wouldn't get up at 6am on a Sunday for anything or anybody, but Sunday 14th July saw me staggering leaping out of bed not long after the birds had started singing… Why? I hear you ask. What madness is this?!
You might remember that last year, I volunteered to help out at the Big Book Bash, a day of author events and workshops for foster children and families and children in care. This year's was extra special as it was the 10th Big Book Bash, so I was thrilled not only to be volunteering, but to be taking part as an author as well!
I started the day in volunteer mode, frantically framing certificates for a presentation later on. Then I had to dash to get ready for the opening ceremony. It was both fabulous and surreal, especially when Nick Sharratt (yes, THE Nick Sharratt) grabbed my hand and tried to get everyone to sway in time to the DaleDiva Women's Chorus. Due to my extreme lack of co-ordination, we only managed to get half the group dancing, but hey, we tried!
After that, I switched back to volunteer mode, helping a colleague run a Bag Books session. Bag Books produce tactile, multi-sensory books for children and adults with disabilities, and the stories in the session went down a storm, especially the one about CJ the library cat! It was great to see the kids having so much fun, and definitely something I'd like to get involved with in the future.
Then I hurried up the corridor to the Green Room (yes, we had a green room!) for lunch, where I chatter to Jon Mayhew and admired Sophia Bennet's fabulous shoes, and got ready for my panel discussion with fellow Author AllsortsFletcher Moss (THE POISON BOY) and Sarah Naughton (THE HANGED MAN RISES). It was lovely to meet them both in real life at last. Sadly, I 'died' in the first round of Sarah's Victorian It's a Knockout, but that didn't spoil the enjoyment of hearing them talk about their books. I highly recommend you go out and buy both books now!
The day ended with a dash down to the marquee to get my copy of 'PANTS' signed by Nick Sharratt… who drew me a pair of smiley pants! Then, loaded down with a fabulous commemorative 10th Big Book Bash calendar and glass book, it was time to head home. HUGE thanks to Annie Everall and everyone else who makes the BBB so special – here's to many more years of this amazing event!