dance-monkey

Dance monkey in the house! (You know what that means.) Okay, first… review this post: Riding the Dragon. Are we on the same page regarding what books I’m talking about? Awesome!

So basically, we pitched these books a while back. Remember, I said I wouldn’t talk about that process and I didn’t. Mum’s the word! We got multiple offers, but in the end, we sold my new adult romance trilogy to Margo Lipschultz at Harlequin. Harlequin 4232detail

 

I can’t even articulate how much my new editor loves these books! Her enthusiasm (and the excitement of the WHOLE team at HQN) has been absolutely mind-blowing.

At this juncture, you might ask, “How so, Ann?”

I’m so glad you’re curious! THIS is why:  

I Want It That Way  |  As Long As You Love Me  |  The Shape of My Heart

If you’ve clicked those links, you’ll see that the first two books are already up for pre-order. The third one hasn’t posted yet but it should be out around the end of November, if the other release dates are any clue. This expeditious production schedule requires stratospheric commitment and devotion on the part of the publisher and the author. It’s great news for readers because you get to read the first in four months instead of waiting a full year to eighteen months. Honestly, the speed at which HQN has gotten behind this series is astonishing, incredible, and amazingly wonderful.  That quickly, I have six books coming out in 2014 instead of three. I hope this thrills you as much as it does me, readers. 

These are books I wrote from sheer love and passion, wedging them around my other deadlines even though my workload is already… sufficient. (Note: others would supply the word maniacal.) I have to write on spec. I have to chase chimeras down dark alleys. And I’m so glad I did.  I’m thrilled to be working with Margo and HQN; I wanted that since 2007 when we first pitched Grimspace, so this feels like a professional milestone. I remember going to a HQN panel at RWA, just so I could meet her and thank her for the nice things she said about my book. It meant a lot to the noob I was at the time.

Pretty awesome, huh? Feel free to leave questions and comments below. A random commenter will be selected to receive an arc of IWITW.

Posted in announcements, books, new adult, swoon, thank you, the squee heard round the world, writing 55 Comments

roflbotSo I got home from a weekend away and a surprising number of you have requested my thoughts on the SFWA petition, the forum re-posts, the libel suits, and the general wash of buffoonery that I missed while I was off the grid. I’ve read through the petition and here’s my takeaway:

“We miss the days when we could say whatever we wanted and people laughed and put up with it because we were elite and powerful and nobody dared object.”

I’ve read through the forum commentary as well. First, to be honest, I dropped from SFWA years ago, mostly because I found the secret forums to be awful to read. So many authors I had admired proved to have feet of clay, saying heinous things with apparent lack of remorse and complete equanimity. Given the way my own work was consistently marginalized, I decided the organization had little to offer other than dated attitudes and offensive remarks. I haven’t regretted letting my membership lapse. I haven’t missed finding barbs from people whose work I used to enjoy. That which was posted was about what I saw when I was a member, weighted by an inexplicable prejudice against youth and new ideas. Heavens forfend that people should treat one another with respect Period. That runs the gamut of race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, creed, etc. The people who shout the loudest against “political correctness” basically just want the old guard freedom to say horrendous things and to marginalize someone else without being made to feel bad for it. They cry censorship without having any real clue what the first amendment entails. Hint: it doesn’t apply to private organizations.

But anyone who’s stunned that the words they posted inside the secret clubhouse made it to the outside world? I suspect that person doesn’t understand the nature of the internet.

I’m not sure if this is the reaction you were looking for, dear readers, but for certain parties, this is business as usual. They dig and dig, never realizing they’re excavating their own graves with vitriol and bitterness, never acknowledging that their lack of relevance contributes to declining sales. Not all dinosaurs will become extinct in a catastrophic event. Some will just keep shouting into vacuum, puzzled as to why fewer and fewer people care about their message. Don’t we realize How Very Important They Are? Why, in the Old Days… Oh, right. In space, nobody can hear you whine.

And I’m out.

Posted in FYI, sci-fi, sexism in SFF 9 Comments

I have some books to give away. How excited are we? This excited! crazy-dance

If you’re interested, sign up here:

First preference will be given to those willing to write reviews. Yes, it counts if you post on GoodReads or Amazon but don’t actually have a blog. There are also some foreign language titles in here, so make sure to spread the world to your international peers.

Here are the titles you can request:

Silver Mirrors – Advance Readers Copy
Perdition – Advance Readers Copy
Bronze Gods
Horde
Outpost
Enclave – SPANISH Language Edition
Enclave – FRENCH Language Edition
Outpost – FRENCH Language Edition
Skin Game – GERMAN Language Edition

Let the requests & reviews commence!

Note: as it says on the form, signing up also adds you to my newsletter. Which only comes to your inbox to remind you to buy my latest release. This offer is good until the books are gone. Void where prohibited, no purchase required, first come, first served, results may vary, do not taunt happy fun ball.

Posted in announcements, books, reviews 23 Comments

It”s late at night here, I just finished my words, and everyone is asleep. I’m not quite ready for bed, so I decided to do a show & tell of the books I’ve bought recently. Note: I haven’t read them yet, but obviously they’re all titles I’m excited to check out. Andres & I are going away for a romantic tropical beach getaway over Valentine’s weekend, and I’m going to read as many of these titles as I can while lounging in the sun.

If you’ve read any of these, feel free to recommend them in comments. Please don’t post any spoilers, though.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard
Splintered by A.G. Howard
Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells
Doomed by Tracy Deebs
Hereafter by Tara Hudson
Shadowplay by Laura Lam
Live by Mary Ann Rivers
Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange

One random commenter will win the book of his or her choice from this list. Let’s talk about books, readers!

Posted in books, contest 53 Comments

On December 16, I tweeted (in two parts): “Sometimes a book feels like a dead albatross hanging around your neck, drowning you. Sometimes it feels like a dragon you get to ride. Either way, you have to do the work. But NGL, I prefer the WHEE! swoops of riding the dragon to wearily paddling my way to shore.”

That got me to thinking about what I’m currently working on, which has been dragon oh-yes.gif.pagespeed.ce.SJvstdeUGXriding all the way. Some writers need a lot of fallow time, where they’re not creating or writing. For me, two things are essential in general: time off between projects (no overlap) because I immerse myself fully in each book and lots of reading during that down time. That’s how I refill the well and it’s not unusual for me to read thirty books in week, maybe more, depending on what genre and how long they are. When I’m drafting a book, I’m lucky to read one or two in a week. Besides that? I’ve learned I need the freedom to write impulse books, projects that aren’t contracted but whose ideas pounce on me and tickle-fight me until I agree to write them.

When your time is tightly contracted and scheduled, you lose that spontaneity. Don’t get me wrong; I can write good books on a schedule, but if I don’t wedge for-love projects in as well, I get cranky. Why, you might ask. Because writing professionally is a dream come true, right? I’m incredibly lucky to make my living this way. But that’s also part of the conundrum. Work is…work. It’s not joy if it’s something you are obligated to do, day after day, without regard for your personal preferences. Usually, my time is budgeted too tightly for me to go, “WHEE!” and chase a Shiny New Idea down a rabbit hole.

Yet I made time to do exactly that this winter. I write because I adore telling stories (this is my crack!), and I needed to get back to that. To quote Jessie J, “It’s not about the money, money, money.” I needed a project that’s not about promo or lists or deadlines or distribution. This one is for me, and for all readers who love a good against-all-odds love story. So when most people are winding down, I geared up to write a book over the holidays. And I did it. I love it so much that I can’t wait to figure out where this project is going. My agent is reading it right now, and I’d like to tell you a bit about the book I wrote for love. What new adult offers me is the chance to write about college-aged people, which is something I wanted to do before this market became a thing. Mine will be like contemporary romances for the college set.

From an email I wrote to Leigh Bardugo:

This NA is about a normal college girl who falls for a slightly older but still in college guy who’s a single dad. Nobody has any trauma in their past. The big conflict is the kid, basically.

The hero doesn’t want a relationship; he works, he goes to school, he’s a full-time single dad. He doesn’t have TIME to be with anyone. But he kinda can’t resist the heroine. And the heroine is all of 21, not remotely ready to take on someone else’s kid. But she too can’t resist the hero.

But they’re both so torn because you just cannot do that lightly. I mean, they can hook up but to actually date? The little dude doesn’t need to be hurt more. He’s already been left by his mom. I feel like -that- is conflict enough. And it should feel pretty real. There should be some bittersweet to it, too, like I wish I’d met you before, or later, or I could SO LOVE YOU, but maybe we can’t do this right now, but OMG, I want to SO MUCH, etc

The first book will be dedicated to Leigh because I got the idea from listening to her while we were on tour. “For Leigh Bardugo, who talks about love as if it is a question that must be answered. So I tried.”

Once I cleared my schedule, I roared through book one. And I had so much fun that I’m already writing the second book.

Series overview, (titles subject to change):

Book 1, I Want It That Way: (Ty + Nadia) grumpy ginger single dad hero + optimistic, financially struggling / hardworking tall heroine

Book 2, As Long as You Love Me: (Rob + Lauren) hot, blue collar not book smart hero who is the best friend’s older brother (heroine from book 1) + underachieving (recovering) computer nerd with social anxiety heroine

Book 3, Shape of My Heart: (Max + Courtney) my take on the NA bad boy hero with troubled past, tattoos, motorcycle, etc + bisexual Jewish heroine w/ dead first love & crazy ex-girlfriend (this one is likely to have the most cracky angst)

Anticipated questions:

1) Yes, I used Backstreet Boys song titles on purpose.

2) Yes, heroines 2 & 3 are named after Lauren Dane & Courtney Milan, though apart from being strong, smart, confident, beautiful women, they’re not modeled after them per se.

3) Yes, these are definitely romances, and there are sexytimes. I’d rate them 16+. I’m letting my 16 year old daughter read them but parents have to determine that individually.

Feel free to ask more questions about the series in comments! I won’t be disclosing any info about the pitch, once we move forward with these books, but I’ll keep you posted once I know how these books are reaching you, readers. Are you as excited as I am?!

Posted in books, college romance, extra extra, new adult, writing 12 Comments

So I was asked for some book recs, and I haven’t made such a post since September. I figure it’s in the holiday spirit to give away a book. Here are 10 books I’ve enjoyed lately. Oh, I also feel like I should say: This isn’t a best of 2013 list or ranked 1-10 in any fashion. I just put the books I loved on the list as I thought of them.

Comment to enter to win one of these and make sure to offer your own recs for great reading.

Posted in books, contest, fun stuff, holidays 66 Comments

Thank you so much for your patience! dance-monkeyThe tour was completely exciting, thrilling, and exhausting, but totally worth it. The frosting on the cake came when the Razorland saga hit at #6 on the New York Times Children’s series bestseller list. It also ranked #94 on the USA Today bestseller list. You know what that says to me? You guys rocked the internet, telling people about these books. So for that, THANK YOU SO MUCH.  You have no idea how much your support means to me.

But you’re not here for that. You want to know who won, don’t you? Without further ado:

Kierra D – Ipad
Yel – $100 bookstore GC
fishgirl182 – $50 coffee shop GC
Gwen Cole – $25 chocolate GC
venus velvet – signed & personalized copies of the Razorland series

 

I will also be emailing the winners to arrange prize delivery. Congratulations and thank you so much for your great work. Go Team Razorland!

Posted in announcements, contest, winners 4 Comments

Welcome to The Traveling Story!

Traveling Story - Season 2 - Blog Banner

What is the Traveling Story?

5 Authors. 5 Days. 1 Story.

Each season of The Traveling Story will feature 5 well-known authors collaborating on one original, kick-ass story, with each author writing one of five episodes.

Follow the story as it’s revealed on each author’s blog over the course of a week!

How Does it Work?

There are only three rules for The Traveling Story:

1) No brainstorming, outlining, or discussion of plot ahead of time. The first author writes the first episode of ANY kind of story they want and the next author takes the story WHEREVER they want to go! The last author ends the story however they see fit!

2) An author cannot make changes to any previous episode. Each author has total creative control over their OWN episode only, but it has to continue where the last episode leaves off.

3) HAVE FUN! The Traveling Story is meant to be fun for the writers but especially for the readers!

 

Season 2 Authors:

Claudia Gray

Ann Aguirre

Victoria Scott

Morgan Matson

Jessica Brody

*Don’t forget to LIKE The Traveling Story on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter so you never miss an episode!

And for some extra visual fun, follow our boards on Pinterest!

 

You should’ve read episode one already. If you haven’t, click here. Everyone with me now? Excellent. Now let’s proceed to my contribution.

 

Episode Two

by Ann Aguirre

    I wished I didn’t sympathize with him. Logan had to be scared as hell, but his expression said he wouldn’t give up. He was already measuring the distance from here to the nearest exit. I shook my head.

    “We can do this the easy way or the hard way. In either case, you’re coming with me.”

    In answer he tried to spring past me, but I grabbed his wrist and hit him with a hypodermic. It wasn’t enough to knock him out, but in a few seconds, he’d be feeling quite agreeable. He shook his head once, twice, and then he didn’t struggle when I slung his arm across my shoulder. A quick glance around the platform told me that the exchange had gone unnoticed amid people rushing to make the train.

    Hauling Logan wasn’t easy, but I was stronger than I looked. Once on board, I nudged him into a seat next to mine and rummaged in his pocket for his ticket. I set my backpack between my knees, aware that things could get dicey. Transit jobs were never easy, and when the quarry knew you were hunting him, things became even more complicated.

    I turned to him, as the serum sometimes made a subject  chatty as well as cooperative. “Who warned you we were coming? Has the underground tapped into government feeds?”

    “Mmm… you’re pretty.”

    I wasn’t, really, but I’d heard it before, mostly from guys I’d drugged. That said volumes on my social life. Playing the invisible, nondescript girl was my specialty, and I had been working that angle for over a year. Sometimes I missed short skirts, kick-ass boots, and tight jeans, but that style drew more attention than I could afford in my line of work.

    He dozed most of the way to Philly, leaving me free to read. I kept half an eye on him, in case he was faking, but he must’ve been dead tired, because the tranq didn’t usually last so long. We were half an hour from our destination when he roused, and his green eyes widened when he realized his situation. Casually, I propped my boots on the seat in front of me, keeping him in check.

    “Why didn’t you just kill me there?” he demanded.

    “Those aren’t my orders.”

    “But that’s what will happen to me, once you turn me over.”

    I shrugged. “Once I handle my part, it’s not for me to worry about.”

    “You’re a mindless drone, huh? Do exactly what you’re told. Have you thought at all about what they do to us?”

    “You’re aberrant,” I said patiently. “Like a mental patient who’s too sick to realize he needs treatment.”

    His mouth twisted bitterly. “I thought you might be different, but you’ve sucked down their propaganda, just like everyone else. Have you ever had a thought that wasn’t spoon fed to you?”

“Nobody made me take this job. I volunteered. I saw the pictures. I saw what you did to your family home.”

“I didn’t mean to,” he said desperately. “And I didn’t hurt anyone.”

“This time. What happens next time you lose control?”

In fact, I’d been lucky he didn’t flare at me in the train station, though I was prepared for such emergencies. I had extensive training in handling the aberrant, as well as how to protect the civilian populace. Not a surprise, since my mother had been training me since I was six years old. My mom was old school army; she served in the last war, before the aberrants popped. There were mixed reports on what caused it, but reputable scientists suspected it was a nerve agent used in the last middle eastern conflict. Soldiers who were exposed had all kinds of health problems, and their offspring? Aberrant.

“If I was a bad person, I’d take you and this whole train with me.”

    In five seconds, I had another needle in my hand. “That sounded like a threat. Don’t make me dose you again.”

    “You really think I’m your enemy, don’t you?” His shoulders slumped and he leaned his head against the seat in front of him.

Too tense to relax, I studied the slope of his back until we pulled into the train station in Philadelphia. I’d brought in almost fifty aberrants and until now, I’d felt good about my capture rate. But something about the broken loneliness of Logan’s posture plucked my guilt strings. I wanted to tell him it would be all right, but the truth was, I had no idea what kind of treatment programs were available for his kind. I only knew they couldn’t roam unchecked around defenseless civilians.

“They take us to internment camps, Francesca. Not hospitals.”

    I was startled into stillness as the train stopped. My mother was a decorated war hero; she had a chest full of medals, and she always acted for the good of the country. She would never be involved in something like that, rounding people up and–no, I didn’t believe him. Anger boiled up.

    “You’d say anything to get me to cut you loose. Get up. Don’t make me call the MPs.” Since the country went to martial law, the army shared policing responsibilities with the marines, but whenever they executed a public retrieval, it ended up all over the news, weapons were drawn, and sometimes it escalated quickly to aberrant DEFCON three.

    “What if I have proof? What would you do then?”

    “What kind?” God, this guy was driving me nuts. I had a childish urge to put my fingers in my ears to drown him out, but something about his earnest intensity made it impossible for me to ignore him.

    “Come with me to a locker inside the station. If you don’t find what I have to show you compelling, then I won’t resist.”

    It sounded like bullshit and probably a trap, but… maybe I owed him something for tricking him, pretending to be his ally before. I firsthand knew how much it sucked to have someone extend a hand and then yank it away at the last minute. My mom would clean my clock if she found out about this deviation from protocol; for inexplicable reasons, I nodded.

    “I’ve got the hypo ready, if you try anything.” With that, I stood up and led the way off the train. The conductor was telling us this was the end of the line, all passengers must disembark, and I shivered a little as the cold wind tore through my jacket. Famous last words.

    But when Logan led me toward the exit, I stopped. “Where are you going?”

    “I lied. There are no lockers in the train station. The evidence is a little farther afield, but you promised to look at it.”

    That should’ve been enough. I should’ve just dosed him again and towed him to the pickup location pre-arranged with my mother. How she’d known he had a ticket for Philly, I hadn’t asked when she sent me in, but he wasn’t wrong in his panic that Big Brother would find him via security cameras. He clearly didn’t understand how the system worked, however, if he thought Homeland Security needed to hack the feeds. They were the only protect we had from the aberrants, and we needed their intervention.

“If you start to go nova on me, I will put you down,” I warned.

“Not the first time I’ve heard that,” he said.

Uneasy truce established, I followed him out of the train station and let him lead me through the damp city streets. It was cold enough to spatter us with snow, dirty swirls that melted into puddles underfoot. I kept a sharp eye on Logan’s movements; the second he tried to run, I’d shoot him. Tranqs, obviously, as I hadn’t been in the field long enough to merit a firearm. My mom said if I kept up with excellent performance, I’d earn my first gun and a promotion.

The warehouse was enough to raise all my hackles. Broken windows showed shard of glass like monstrous fangs, and there were actual homeless people standing around a burning barrel. I hadn’t known there were any left in the cities; Mom had told me that the government had relocated them, helped them find jobs, and restart their lives.

“You brave enough to learn the truth?” Logan asked.

“Let’s get this over with.”

“Sure thing, soldier girl.” He yanked open the door.

In following, I expected to be immediately surrounded by his cohorts. That didn’t happen, but I left my finger on the panic button on my phone just in case. Already I had so much explaining to do that I’d be lucky if my mom didn’t bust me down to zero rank. Obedience was everything to Homeland Security, and I was a good cadet.

“This way.”

The office at the back of the storage area still looked reasonably functional, and the lights came on when he hit the switch. This had clearly been turned into an ops center with pictures, maps and things circled in red, but it was deserted at the moment apart from Logan and me. I circled, studying things curiously, but I couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing. A dark, awful feeling percolated in my stomach.

He put a picture in my hand, and my vision sparked out, dotting white and black. My ears rang, and I didn’t realize I was crying, until I put my fingers to my face. “That’s impossible. He’s dead, he died three years ago.”

“Look harder, Francesca.”

No, my mother was driving… the roads were slick.  He wasn’t aberrant.

Yet unable to refute the evidence, I traced the letters that read DEWITT DETAINMENT. It was a grainy picture, taken covertly, and showed a boy clad in rags, thin to the point of starvation with a number stamped on his forehead, peering out through barbed wire.

And he was my brother.

———-

Find out what happens in episode 3! Episode 3 – October 16 - Victoria Scott

FOLLOW THE STORY AS IT TRAVELS:

Episode 1 – October 14 - Claudia Gray

Episode 2 – October 15 – Ann Aguirre

Episode 3 – October 16 – Victoria Scott

Episode 4 – October 17 – Morgan Matson

Episode 5 – October 18 – Jessica Brody

So what’d you think of my chapter? Comment below for a chance at a paperback copy of Enclave. My assistant will send the winner a swag pack, along with a signed bookplate. Feel free to speculate on what comes next and tell us how we’re doing!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in contest, fun stuff, Traveling Story, YA 9 Comments

So right now, we’re three weeks from the conclusion of the Razorland saga. What a long, exciting journey it has been! I want as many people as possible to read / check out the series, but I can’t do it alone. And that’s where you come in.

I need your help in spreading the word about the series. Word of mouth is precious to an author, and I would appreciate your assistance in getting the world out. Lots of people have read Enclave, but they may have waited on Outpost, so they could glom the rest of the series together. Other people want to check out the series, but they don’t know Horde is coming out on 10/29. So help me tell them! Horde

Here’s what I’m talking about:

  • Tweet about the series +2
  • Facebook wall post +2
  • Blog about the trilogy +3
  • Pre-order a copy of Horde +5
  • Give it to someone as a gift +5
  • Talk about the book in a reader’s forum and mention the release date for Horde +3
  • Random, acceptable non-spammy idea on the part of the street team member (# entries negotiable). Like dressing up as a character from the book, putting on a sandwich board and walking around Times Square all day? I’d give 100 for that. Heh. And any creative idea you come up with, I’ll handle on a case-by-case basis, and assign a number of entries at that time.

That said, I don’t support or authorize spamming. Tweeting it 40 times a day doesn’t earn you 80 entries. That will only annoy people, not make them interested in the book. So there is a CAP on tweet entries. No more than five tweet entries, over the course of the three weeks, will be accepted, and those should be spaced out, not done on the same day. It’s up to you to track your entries and follow the rules, and we’re operating on the honor system. However, I will look at the winners’ social media footprint, so if you claim to have done something online to spread the word about the sale, there should be a record of it. Anyone who enters this contest and spams up the internet will be disqualified and permanently banned from all of my contests going forward. I want to get the word out, not bother anyone.

Which brings me to my next point. You’re competing to win an Ipad. (If you hate Apple products, you can choose another tablet computer of your preferred brand as long as it doesn’t cost more than an Ipad.)

This isn’t a random drawing; the hardest working street team member will receive the grand prize. But so that everyone doesn’t work their butts off in vain, only to be outdone by someone who has an uncle who runs a skywriting business, there will also be random winners. So let me list the loot below:

Grand prize: Ipad (or other brand tablet of equal or lesser value)

(Random)
First: $100 gift certificate to your bookstore of choice
Second: $50 gift certificate to your coffee shop of choice
Third: $25 gift certicate to your chocalatier of choice
Runner-up: Signed & personalized copies of the Razorland trilogy

This contest runs until 10/31 . On November 1, I’ll pick the winners. Keep a tally in comments, please. Everything you do to spread the word about the sale, come back and report what it was, plus the # of entries you earned. Then on the last day of the contest,  add them up and leave a final comment. Obviously, this contest requires some effort and follow-up, but the prizes are worth it.

I hope we can get the series into the hands of lots of new readers! Now go out there and spread the word.

(Yes, this is international.)

Posted in books, contest, Horde, Razorland, super fat loot, YA 65 Comments

This list isn’t of famous books that everyone agrees are amazeballs and have sold twenty gazillion copies. Those books don’t need me to squee over them. So… in no particular order:

 

10. Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt

9. When the World was Flat (and We Were in Love) by Ingrid Jonach

8. Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

7. Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

6. This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

5. Ultraviolet by R.J Anderson

4. Twisted by Amity Hope

3. The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

2. Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

1. Living Violet by Jaime Reed

I adored all of those books for different reasons. You can page through the widgets to find out why, in brief.  NOTE: I will physically fight you if you come up in here and tell me any of these books are bad. Feel free to squee about them in comments, if you check them out! If you’ve already read them, feel free to weigh in down below. I’d also appreciate recs of little known books that have amazed you recently.

Finally, I’ll give one lucky commenter a copy of their choice of these books, in either digital or paper format. Book talk commences now!

 

Posted in book club, books, contest, YA 37 Comments