The ALL FOUR STARS blog tour – stop 3

all four stars tour buttonToday is the third stop on the official All Four Stars blog tour! Over at For What It’s Worth, Karen is featuring an excerpt from an early chapter of All Four Stars. Many thanks, Karen, for your enthusiasm for the book! 🙂

Also, over at Pop! Goes the Reader, Jen (who wrote this wonderfully in-depth review of AFS last week) has created a desktop wallpaper inspired by the book. It features macarons, and it is adorable. 

Finally, the radio interview I recorded last weekend at KRFC in Fort Collins is now available online for listening! Eleven-year-old junior broadcaster Lacy Miller asked me such fantastic questions; her mentor Vincent Burkardt is really doing something special with this program. Here are some pics from recording day, including a couple of the three of us. (Yes, I am the shortest.)

Outside the studio

Outside the studio

Pre-interview chat

Pre-interview chat

In the hotseat!

In the hot seat!

Vincent, Lacy, and me

Vincent, Lacy, and me

Gettin' silly

Gettin’ silly

Finally, today is the last day to enter to win The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher by Jessica Lawson by commenting here!

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The ALL FOUR STARS blog tour – stop 2

all four stars tour buttonToday, for the second stop on the official All Four Stars blog tour, I’m being interviewed at The Reading Date! Lucy has asked me some terrific foodie and literary questions, and my list of restaurant recommendations in NYC expands. 🙂

I am also at Literary Rambles today! My guest post, “The time it takes to get it right,” is about  my looong journey to publication, and there is also a giveaway going for commenters.

Finally, All Four Stars got a lovely review yesterday from Katie at Spirit of Children’s Literature (which will also be featuring a recipe and an interview with me in the next week). Katie’s reviews have a unique focus on spirituality that I find fascinating, and I love what she illuminates about the book.

(And don’t forget that I’ve got my own giveaway going on–win The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher by Jessica Lawson by commenting here!)

A few more reviews

Project MayhemMy fellow Baker’s Dozen Success Story Michael Gettel-Gilmartin has reviewed All Four Stars over at Project Mayhem today, calling it “classic middle grade, full of heart and humor.” Thank you, Michael! The post also features an interview with me, so if you’re dying to find out what middle-grade books influenced me as a kid or what my favorite breakfast is, check it out

Over at GoodReads, top reviewer Karen has also left All Four Stars a very nice review, which also features an adorable picture of a baby turtle. 🙂

And finally, the trade journal Booklist has chimed in with a terrific review of the book. The full text will be published soon, but here’s an excerpt:

Gladys is a lovable character with plenty of spunk and desire, and readers will happily cheer her on, while the fresh plot adds a delicious dimension to the host of stories set in sixth grade.

It’s definitely exciting to see readers starting to connect with the book I worked on for so many years. Can’t wait for publication day!

Updates, and chance to win an ARC of ALL FOUR STARS!

We haven’t had a general update here in a while, and there’s a reason for that–I’ve been insanely busy of late. I’m currently in the throes of sequel revision, am moving house this weekend, and have had a couple of extended family visits recently. Bottom line: not much time for blogging.

But, exciting things have still been happening. All Four Stars is now less than four months from publication (!!!), so if you’ve been following that journey, here are a few milestones that have happened recently.

Reviews
All Four Stars got its first book blogger review from the terrific Eli Madison at Tweens Read Too! Here’s the review, and here’s an interview I did at the same blog shortly after.

Giveaway
If you are on Twitter and would like to enter to win an ARC (advance copy) of All Four Stars, Eli is giving one away. All you have to do is follow Eli’s account and retweet this tweet about the giveaway: https://twitter.com/elimadison2019/status/447423264160088064. I think that there are currently very few entries, so your chances of winning are excellent. Go enter now!

swagSwag
Thanks to the design stylings of Amber at Me, My Shelf, & I and the printing prowess of GotPrint and Tattoo Sales, I am now proudly in possession of approximately one million billion All Four Stars-themed bookmarks, postcards, and temporary tattoos! If you would like some to pass out at your local library, school, bookstore, cocktail party, etc., please just give me a holler and I’ll be happy to pop some in the mail to you.

Preordering
All Four Stars is now available for preorder just about anywhere where you can buy books. Preorders are wonderfully helpful to authors (especially debut authors!), and I heartily thank all of you who have already ordered copies from your local bookstores or your favorite online retailers! And if you haven’t preordered yet but would like to, you can find links to booksellers here.

Over at Emu’s Debuts
I’ve recently published two new posts over at my group blog, Emu’s Debuts.

In “The Second Time Around,” I talk about how writing and publishing a second book is a little less exciting–but also a little less stressful–than it has been for my debut book.

And in “Strange Sweet Song Launch: When Cats (and Other Dangerous Animals) Attack!” I amassed tales of the Emus’ crazy animal encounters as part of our launch week celebration of Adi Rule’s YA debut, Strange Sweet Song. This book is one of the most incredible reads I’ve had in the past year, and I hope that everyone who reads this will go request a copy for their library and/or buy their own! If you’re a fan of dark, Gothic, romantic books like Jane Eyre, I think you’ll love this book. Here’s my own GoodReads review.

Strange Sweet SongStrange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this book, and let me tell you, it was incredible. I am someone who has no musical skills and definitely no interest in opera, and still I found myself COMPLETELY sucked in to the world Adi Rule has created–a remote conservatory with a touch of magical stuff going on.

The writing is impeccable on the sentence level–the author really uses all of the senses to make the reader experience the wintry setting and hear the beautiful music being played and sung. And she is just as comfortable writing about everyday teenage backbiting and boyfriend-stealing as she is executing the more gothic and paranormal aspects of the story, bringing all of those elements together seamlessly.

This was hands-down one of my favorite reads of 2013, and I imagine it will top many people’s lists when it hits the shelves in 2014.

View all my reviews

I think that that’s all my news at the moment. Once I’m settled into my new place, I plan to start sharing All Four Stars-related recipes here, working on a discussion guide for the book, and launching an e-mail newsletter. Stay tuned!

Interview with Colorado author Renee Collins!

Colorado is for writersWelcome back to the Colorado is for Writers interview series! Every other Tuesday, I talk to different Colorado-based authors about their work and their connections to this beautiful state. Today, I’m happy to welcome young adult author Renee Collins to the blog!

Renee’s debut YA novel, Relic, was published by Entangled Teen in 2013. Welcome, Renee!

First things first: Colorado native or transplant?

Renee CollinsI’m a transplant. We moved here for my husband’s job four years ago and I think we’re here to stay.






Tell us a bit about your book(s), published and/or in progress!

Relic, by Renee CollinsMy debut novel, RELIC, came out this last August with Entangled Teen. It’s a YA fantasy set in Old West Colorado. The red rock cliff near my house actually helped inspire the setting in the book. It’s a world where miners don’t dig for gold, but instead the magical relics of ancient fantasy creatures like the dragon, mermaid, and unicorn. Maggie Davis loses her family in a terrible, magic-created fire, and she has to relocate to the tough town of Burning Mesa in the hopes of finding out who’s responsible.


What’s the view like from your favorite writing space?

I live in Western Colorado, less than 5 miles from the Colorado National Monument. I can see the red rock cliffs from my bedroom window! The view is truly beautiful, and part of the reason we picked this area to live.

What’s the best thing about being a writer in Colorado?

I love doing outdoorsy things to get my creative juices flowing. Mountain biking and hiking always helps to clear my head and stir my imagination. And there’s no better place to hike or mountain bike than Colorado, in my opinion.

I’ve heard that about the mountain biking here (though I’m too chicken to try it myself). Thanks so much, Renee–Relic sounds amazing, and like the perfect Colorado-set read!

Interview with Colorado author Emily Hainsworth!

Colorado is for writersWelcome back to the Colorado is for Writers interview series! Every other Tuesday, I talk to different Colorado-based authors about their work and their connections to this beautiful state. Today, I’m happy to welcome young adult author Emily Hainsworth to the blog!

Emily’s debut YA novel, Through to You, was published in 2012 by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins and is a totally compulsive read. Let’s get to know Emily!

First things first: Colorado native or transplant?

Emily Hainsworth Transplant! But I’ve lived here longer than where I grew up (Central NY)–does that win me points?

I was drawn to Colorado by a boy. It was the mid-90s, it was an online relationship, I was a teenager and (at the time) it was scandalous. 😉 I had secretly always wanted to live in Colorado, so I took off with the first guy I met from this glorious state (I suppose the happily ever after is that he’s still stuck with me–I mean we’re happily married–more than a decade later).

Tell us a bit about your book(s), published and/or in progress!

Through to You by Emily HainsworthTHROUGH TO YOU is the story of 17-year-old Camden Pike, who has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. He’d give anything to have just one more glimpse of her. But when Cam visits the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees an apparition. Her name is Nina, and she’s a girl from a parallel world. When Cam follows her there and makes an unbelievable discovery, it’s as if all his wildest dreams have come true. But things are very different in this other world. Nina is hiding a secret, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with the truth, he’s forced to make a choice that will change his life forever.

I’m currently working on a second YA novel, TAKE THE FALL, which is a contemporary murder mystery. While there’s no sci-fi element this time, the story is similarly dark and emotional and should appeal to readers who enjoyed my first book. The title could still change, but the book should be available in 2015!

What’s the view like from your favorite writing space?

View From Emily's writing spaceEvery one of my books has been written (at least in part) on an old black couch in my living room. It’s one of the first pieces of furniture my husband and I ever bought, and while it isn’t terribly attractive, it’s the most comfortable place I have found to write. Of course, a couple other members of my household think it’s pretty great too (if you can’t tell from the picture, that’s our cat, Dagny, squeezed in on top of our standard poodle, Basil), so we might end up needing a bigger couch because right now it’s a little cramped for leg room.

What’s the best thing about being a writer in Colorado?

The best thing about being a writer in Colorado is being able to get outside throughout the year. I know that doesn’t sound very conducive to writing, but I’m someone who needs to get out and think before putting words on a page. I’m not a big fan of freezing my butt off on the ski slopes, but I LOVE the 50-degree winter days in Denver. Those temperatures were unfathomable when I was growing up in Central New York, and they’re perfect for replenishing the writing well. If I’m stuck on a particular scene or character, I get outside where I can think better. It’s not something you can do every day throughout the winter, but the sunshine and mild temperatures are something I try never to take for granted. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

I adore those 50-degree days, too! Thanks so much, Emily, and good luck with TAKE THE FALL–I’m looking forward to it!

Interview with Colorado author Jennifer Duddy Gill!

Colorado is for writersWelcome back to the Colorado is for Writers interview series! Every other Tuesday, I talk to different Colorado-based authors about their work and their connections to this beautiful state. Today, I’m happy to welcome Jennifer Duddy Gill to the blog!

Jennifer’s debut middle-grade novel, The Secret of Ferrell Savage, is being published TODAY by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster! (Hoorah! Confetti!!) It sounds adorable and hilarious–read on to get to know Jennifer and find out more about her book!

First things first: Colorado native or transplant?

Jennifer Duddy GillI’m a two-time transplant. Like you, Tara, I’ve traveled and lived all over the world. When I got married we settled down in Virginia. But that didn’t last long. My husband got a job here in Denver so we moved and fell in love with Colorado. Five years later, we both got the itch to live overseas with our two daughters, so we sold everything we owned and bought a little piece of jungle in Costa Rica. Two years later, when we decided to return to the U.S., we knew we wanted to come back to Denver. We’re likely to live overseas again, but we’ll always keep a taproot here.

Tell us a bit about your book(s), published and/or in progress!

The Secret of Ferrell Savage by Jennifer Duddy GillMy debut novel is called The Secret of Ferrell Savage. It begins with Ferrell entering a sled race to impress a girl he likes and, for reasons that go beyond his control, he gets her attention and becomes a celebrity in his town. A jealous racing competitor threatens to reveal a secret about Ferrell that even he, Ferrell, didn’t know: he’s a descendant of the infamous Colorado cannibal, Alferd Packer. But it’s actually not a gruesome story at all. The main thing that Ferrell has in common with his great, great, great uncle is that they both became unexpected legends.

What’s the view like from your favorite writing space?

The window by my writing desk looks out onto our balcony which calls to me on warm days, but is lonely and often snowy during the winter months. Beyond the rooftops I can see the tip of the Denver skyline, including the “cash register” building.

What’s the best thing about being a writer in Colorado?

Diversity. I love living in a big city filled with people from all over the world; plus, we have great museums, a wonderful zoo, and big city parks. In about an hour we can be in the mountains hiking or skiing. Oh, another best thing is our libraries. When we were in Costa Rica my children and I actually sent letters to our old library telling them how much we missed them.

Agreed, Jennifer–the libraries here are incredible! Thank you for the interview, and congratulations on the publication of The Secret of Ferrell Savage! I can’t wait to pick up my copy.