Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays! Exciting News to Share!

Tip of the Day: Folow us on twitter at @A2AGirls.

Happy Holidays everyone! This Christmas totally snuck up on me and now I'm scrambling to get everything ready. I'm so pumped for it though-- no Grinch around here!

As we've done in the past, the Author2Author girls are taking a break for the holiday and will be returning to begin our fifth year (Wow!) of blogging just after New Years and back on our regular M-F schedule.

And we've got some exciting changes! You've been following us on our writing path these past four years, through the good and bad and we thank you! And like I was talking about last week regarding how the industry is changing and how authors are more and more getting into self-publishing, we've decided to invite a rockstar epubber to join our group! Starting January 6th, Megg Jensen will be blogging every Friday! You can read up on Megg here and she'll also introduce herself on the 6th. But just to give you a little info on Megg, she's a best-selling epubber with two fantasy trilogies both in the US and internationally. We chat a lot and Megg knows SO MUCH about the epublishing industry and will be full of great tips and advice for our readers who may want to give epublishing a try. We're so excited to have her!

So have Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Kwanza and we'll see you in 2012!

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Something For Everyone! (or What Can You Get a Wookee For Christmas?*)

*with apologies to RSO Records

Tip of the Day: Need last minute gift ideas? Buy books. Seriously. For everyone you know. Support the industry!

Every year I buy books for my friends and family for Christmas -- whether or not they want them. :) I considered buying ebooks for some family members, but I don't know how I would do that exactly. Buy B&N/Amazon gift cards? I'm sure there's another way but I'm not sure what it is right now. So I went with good old paper books.

What I bought:

THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins for my two girlfriends who must read this book before the movie releases in March

UNBROKEN by Laura Hillenbrand for my dad and uncle; both are interested in flying, lived through WWII, and hopefully can discuss it with each other once they've read it.

JUST YOUR AVERAGE PRINCESS by Kristina Springer for my sis and sis-in-law. My sister sometimes reads this blog, but it should come as no surprise to her since I buy all of Tina's hilarious novels for them to compete with the sometimes tough realities and less humorous situations of our lives.

AU REVOIR, CRAZY EUROPEAN CHICK by Joe Schrieber for my brother, who usually reads and enjoys the YA titles I buy for him. This one I think he will especially appreciate since it is hilarious and each chapter starts with a real essay question from college applications and he is getting ready to interview and universities for a professorship. It is seriously too funny.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami for my husband. I haven't read this one yet myself, but it's getting lots of buzz and he needs something else big to read while waiting for the next George R. R. Martin novel to come out.

I love having an excuse to buy lots of books! What titles did you buy for friends and relatives this holiday season?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Best of Em: The things you can learn on Wikipedia!

Em's on break and we hope she has a very Merry Christmas! Here's a flashback to summer 2010.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The things you can learn on Wikipedia!

Tip of the Day: Wikipedia is sometimes not your friend :( Boo.

In an attempt to be more organized this summer, I actually had a blog post and idea ready to go today. But then my husband sent me a text message this morning, and quite frankly it was too funny not to share.

We are in the process of moving to another state. With that comes all the packing, planning, and the fun of finding a new place to live. We originally had an apartment lined up, but as I’ve gotten further into the job search, we discovered we might have to move a bit farther out from the city to be halfway between both of our jobs. So this morning, my husband was researching one of those small towns on Wikipedia, and came across this gem of a paragraph in the town’s local history section:
“Recently, scientists have discovered a time portal under a local farmers porch that leads to the Middle Ages on Planet 3GHJ8 in another dimension. This dimension is still being searched upon, it may either be the 8th or 9th dimension.”

Now I like to consider myself open-minded. As an avid reader, I love to suspend reality and believe anything is possible when reading a good book. But my hunch is telling me, someone is playing a joke on the good readers of Wikipedia.

And it is funny. It certainly gave me a good laugh this morning.

But it was also a great reminder that sometimes not everything you read on Wikipedia is fact. And for those of us that use Wikipedia as a resource (which face it all of us have done at one time or another when looking up a small bit of info. It’s just so darn easy and convenient not too), it’s nice to remember to go to other sources as well!

--Emily, Miss Querylicious

Picture borrowed from:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ta-Da! SLEEPERS Cover Reveal!

Tip of the Day: Follow a Twitterview interview today with J.S. Chancellor, author of 6 books and today's release ICARUS, by searching #Icarus.

Today I have the privilege of unveiling the new cover of a re-release of a great book: Megg Jensen's SLEEPERS!

To celebrate the re-launch of SLEEPERS in January of 2012, Megg is giving it a new cover with artwork from the incredible PhatPuppy.

So why do you want to read SLEEPERS? Here's the story. An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she's filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her.

Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy?

And it's on sale now for only 99 cents! Sales outlets for SLEEPERS:

For reviews, check out Goodreads at Or follow Megg around the Internet--

Megg on the web:

Thanks for sharing the new cover with us, Megg.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

P.S. Blogger is currently experiencing technical difficulties. I'll be back to fix the links later today.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What's your Crystal Ball Say?

Tip of the Day: Check out Ally Carter's interesting post about how the industry has changed in the last six years.

Assuming you followed the tip and just read Ally's post, I thought we could share what our predictions for the future of YA are too. Ally first mentioned that ebooks are booming, and we've all noticed this too. Still, they keep saying it's only 10% of the industry. I'm wondering if this number is even valid anymore though. Considering Amazon says Kindle is the #1 selling product on their site, I'm thinking it's becoming more than 10% of books. And considering bookstores are closing around me and now we have to drive farther and farther to get to a store, well, yeah. I think ebooks are going to jump and take over more of the industry very fast.

And I'm seeing more and more traditional authors make the change to indie publishing as well. With fewer books being bought (publishers seem to be putting more money into acquiring fewer books in the hopes they will be big sellers) lots of authors are saying heck with it and making the switch to indie publishing. And doing pretty well with it. I've talked with a number of indie authors who are pulling in several thousand a month from the sales of their ebooks. On the flip side, Amazon is playing nice now and making it sweet for authors to put out their own books but they may not always play nice. Who knows, they may just be waiting until they have big enough control of the industry and then will flip the rules on the authors and cut their royalties. I do think they are the reason ebooks have suddenly taken off though. People think ebooks are a recent thing but there have been ebook publishers for a long time now. The first one I remember seeing was back in 1996-- Hard Shell Word Factory. But not many people responded to ebooks before Amazon and the Kindle.

And what about genre? Ally mentions that pink books are all but extinct (No! Say it ain't so!) and that even darker books seem to be winding down. Huh. But then what's next on the horizon? I refuse to believe that romance will ever die. People love to be in love. Love to read about love. It can't go away. And funny is, well funny! I can see darker books winding down a bit because the market is flooded but they won't disappear. The next big thing though? I can't figure it out. Any guesses?

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tip of the Day: It's time to decide: Are you a Man or a Muppet?

I have a sneaking suspicion that I am getting an ereader for Christmas. *New toy excitement!*

While I have bought ebooks and have read some on my husband's iPad when we were on vacation, I have yet to read one since we've been home. With an ereader, that might change; I can see the ereader being an easy way to read books while on the exercise bike (now I favor reading paperbacks while on the bike).

However, since I will never be able to resist the allure of the paper book, I will always have piles of those all over the house. And since they are visual reminders of the books I intend to read, I wonder if I will still favor those over an ebook purchases/library check outs that I may make.

Or if I'll become a total convert.

Time will tell!

Are you receiving or giving an ereader for the holidays this year?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Time Spying ... um, Volunteering

Tip of the Day: Start a collection of unbreakable holiday ornaments. Someday your house may be taken over by toddlers, kittens, and/or large dogs.

I'm late with my post today because I was volunteering at my son's school to wrap donated presents for an inner city school. This is a great opportunity for the kids to volunteer in a way their efforts can be appreciated, and it's a great opportunity for me to spy on my future readers.

I hate to be sexist, but why is it that boys can't wrap presents but girls can? Don't men brag about having better spacial perception? And yet they are incapable of eyeballing a square of wrapping paper and realizing it's way too small to wrap the present in front of them. I am proud to say that today I sent several tween boys to wrapping school. Their parents will be impressed with their new skill, I'm sure.

The gifts on everyone's want list this year are basketballs, footballs, and Bop-Its. Have you ever tried to wrap those things? Spacial perception indeed.

Books are easy to wrap, even if you're a 12-year-old boy. Alright, maybe not then. For some great gift suggestions, check out Tina's YA and MG books on the sidebar for the young women in your life. Young boys will love the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever. I read 3 pages and fell on the floor laughing. Books with military themes are also "in" this year, judging by my spying (I mean volunteering) at my kids' school book festivals. If you're lucky enough to have a local, independent bookstore, I'm jealous of you. Support it and keep that asset in your community!

And seriously, teach your kids to wrap presents.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Merry Christmas! Gimme Free Stuff!

Tip of the Day: Did you know there's a Web site for funny books by funny writers for funny readers? It's fun. I wrote a post for them last week about the funniest book I've ever read. Check it out.

I don't know about you all but my credit card is seriously crying right now from all the Christmas shopping! Which makes it a perfect time to get some free stuff. Specifically download some free books for my kindle (ok, I don't have a kindle. But I have the free kindle app on my iPad and iPhone). So check out what I found this week:
From Saundra Mitchell,

By Saundra Mitchell
Cover Photo by Luna Vandoorne
Parker Nixon has never been away from home. She’s never been in love. And she’s never been wanted for murder… until now.
The boy Parker got caught kissing last night turned up dead this morning, and there’s no shortage of suspects. Her reclusive father leads a double life, and the people at Stone Well Ranch have their mysteries too.
But then there’s beautiful, broken Brandon Beauchamp. He saved Parker’s life once, and holds her heart in his hands. But he may be hiding the darkest secret of all.
Visit this page on Saundra's blog to download the book for free!
Next up we have Danielle Joseph.
Indigo Blues
By Danielle Joseph

I never asked to be famous—or infamous. Such is my fate for briefly dating (and dumping) Adam Spade. Yes, the Adam from the indie rock band Blank Stare who wrote "Indigo Blues"—the song that gave the band overnight success, propelled them to New York City, and stole my precious anonymity. Now I'm pawed by fans, stalked by reporters, and pegged as a vicious heartbreaker. And Adam is still calling me. Doesn't he have better things to do?

With a hit single and a promising career, I should be on top of the world. People on the street are beginning to recognize me, which is cool. And scary. The band is counting on me to write another hit, but I can't stop thinking about Indigo. Why won't she answer the phone?

I believe Danielle's book is only free this month so act quick! Here's the link to it on Amazon.
And finally we have Megg Jensen.

By Megg Jensen
Forget prophecy. Make your own destiny. 

Sheltered from the outside world with no hope for escape, slave girl Reychel dreads her fifteenth birthday - when her master’s symbol is burned on the back of her bald scalp. Her best friend disappears the night before, leaving her to face the branding ceremony alone. She soon discovers nothing is as it seems when people desperate for freedom beg for Reychel's help.

Can Reychel learn to believe in herself?
Download it free here.

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Books I Have Loved (or When Real was the Deal)

Tip of the Day: Is Amazon taking over the publishing world? They've aquired the children's trade list at Marshall Cavendish.

I was thinking about all the books that I loved loved loved when I was a kid reading novels in the children's section of the library.

My aunt bought me this Judy Blume novel and I became hooked on everything she'd written.

Bruce Coville provided me with ghost mysteries! So did Betty Wren Wright. I remember being seriously creeped out when the dolls acted out the murder!

This series by Candace Ransom was handed down to me by a friend in fifth grade and I remember wishing the books went for longer than ages 12-15.

This pink cover of Barthe DeClements has stuck in my head over the years. Gotta love girls doing makeup!

Barbara Park, in her pre-Junie B. days, was my hero. Her books were HILARIOUS. SKINNYBONES and OPERATION: DUMP THE CHUMP are other fab reads that I still recommend to kids today when they ask for humor.

As you can see, with little exception they fell into two categories: realistic contemporary fiction, or realistic contemporary ghost stories.

I know the advent of Harry Potter in 1997 changed the bookshelves in the children's areas at libraries across the country, but in the late 1980s-early 1990s, were there many historical ghost stories/fantasies/sci-fi books for kids?

What did you love reading in the rockin' '80s?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Is there ever really an end?

Tip of the Day: Christmas lights are so fun and inspiring to look at. Even better when the neighbor does all the work, but you benefit from getting to look at them when trying to work out a pesky character flaw in Chapter 15.

Endings are hard.

No matter what type of ending it is. Maybe it's the end of a relationship. The end of living in someplace you've enjoyed. Whatever it might be, even when you are excited to move on, ending something else can be a challenge.

So it's no wonder that for me writing the ending of a novel often feels excruciating. How on earth are you supposed to be able to nicely tie up all the loose ends of the novel, show your character's growth (but not too much), and do it all by staying as realistic as possible without falling into that going too far "overboard" category?

Basically wrapping up your novel and putting a shiny red bow on it! But not too perfect of a bow that it looks like you "tried too hard."


Sometimes it feels so challenging that I'm tempted to start writing my endings first and then work backwards.

Usually after plowing through it and then discovering nothing is really tied up yet, you sit down and six re-writes later the thing starts to resemble much more of a decent ending to a story.

Maybe endings are hard, because in real life nothing ever feels like it's ending. At least for me.

So a better strategy might be to think of the ending of your novel as setting it up for the sequel, even if no sequel is planned.

That's what I'm currently trying to do with another re-write of the ending of the book I'm working on. Wrap up most of the book, but still leave hints that the story will continue once the pages are closed. It's making it feel a bit more authentic, and still gives the reader enough closure.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Doing Your Homework

Tip of the Day: Check out Cafe Press's line of Gifts for Writers from various vendors.

I never understand when someone says they don't like to research, as in "I wrote a contemporary romance because I hate researching." Researching is so much easier than writing. Look, here's me putting my feet up reading an interesting book or article. Yup, that's worlds more relaxing than stressing out over my seventh revision of Chapter 1.

I've been reading manuscripts lately, and I've only run across one where the author dumped in too much research without tying his information to the main character. Most manuscripts, even contemporaries, suffer from too little research. For example, a main character who wants to be a golf pro should think about golf, be seen golfing, own a set of golf clubs and be able to tell them apart. If I don't see that, I don't believe that character wants to be a golf pro. I believe that the writer didn't want to read a copy of Golf magazine.

I recently read a manuscript with a jail break. It was totally believable because the author researched the jail trusty system, which I didn't know about. Now, maybe a prison guard would have found it hard to suspend disbelief, but I bought it completely. And then the next day, I read in the newspaper about a local jail break where the escapee took advantage of being a jail trustee. (And then he got caught the next week hanging out in a nearby trailer park. Why do prison escapees always "hide" where they're so easy to find?)

So contemporaries need research too, and it's actually a lot more fun than some other types of research. I have a great idea for a post-disaster WaterWorld type story, but I'd have to research sailing ships and bosuns and rigging and mizzenmasts and such. I'm not sure I can stomach that, so that story's been on the backburner for a while. I may never write it just because I don't want to know what a forecastle is. There are way more interesting things to learn about.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fun Friday: Christmas Movie Celebration!

Tip of the Day: want to take a break from writing this weekend? Especially if you had a busy Nov. by participating in NaNoWriMo or another writing challenge. If so, check out one of these original Christmas Movies.

A Princess for Christmas (Hallmark Channel, premiers Sat. Dec. 3)

When Jules Daly's sister and brother-in-law are tragically killed in an accident, Jules Daly (Katie McGrath) becomes guardian to her young niece Maddie and nephew Milo. On top of balancing the daily hysteria of becoming an overnight parent, Jules was recently laid off at work, her car is on the fritz, and the kids’ shenanigans have caused a dozen nannies to flee. When an ominous knock on the door comes late one evening, Jules wonders, what now? At the door is Paisley Winterbottom (Miles Richardson), a proper English butler, with a curious invitation: a Christmas holiday with grandfather, Edward (Roger Moore), the Duke of Castlebury Hall, who was absent from the kids' lives, but wants to reconnect out of love for his late son. Jules initially wants to decline the trip, but her eventual acceptance makes for a magical Christmas season for everyone.

Christmas Angel (Lifetime Movie Network, Dec. 4)

Out of work and permanently single in New York, Ashley (Kari Hawker) has an unsurprisingly cynical attitude to Christmas. But things perk up when her path crosses with charming journalist Will (K.C. Clyde) and her neighbour Nick (Bruce Davison) gives her a job that makes people happy. Yet while Nick would rather keep their good work a secret, ambitious Will sees it as a wonderful scoop. Cockle-warming seasonal fare.

For a list of other great holiday movies check out this blog!

--Emily, Miss Will Be Enjoying a Christmas Movie or Two this Weekend

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Let's Discuss: Buying your Book Review?

Tip of the Day: Check out this list of Stocking Stuffers for Writers from author Sarah Maclean.

There's been some talk this week in the writerly hangouts about how Kirkus (remember them? The big toughie reviewer with the reputation of crucifying books?) is offering to review books by Indie Authors for a price. $400-$500 a book from what I hear. And here's the thing, the author gets to decide whether or not Kirkus includes the review in their newsletter. So if they rip you in two, don't include the review. But if it's glowing, please do include. Um, huh? I get that they're paying for it so why would they want to put out a negative review but something about it doesn't seem right to me. I've had an awful review from Kirkus that I wished they wouldn't have published but they did. And this buying of reviews-- does it make the reviewer more favorable to the book? I don't know. If someone gave me $500 would I not call it a giant stinking pile of dog poop? Maybe.

Which brings me to another type of "buying". Some publishers recently have been heard to be sending valuable gifts with their books to book reviewers. People are saying this is too a type of buying. Is it? If I have shiny new gift in my hand am I going to be totally truthful about your book and if I hate it say so? Or am I going to be so excited about shiny new gift that I'm just going to gush about your book no matter what you wrote. Hmm.

And then does it even really matter? So many things are bought now anyway. Kim Kardashian gets ten thousand dollars to tweet that she likes a new lip gloss. Who knows if she really likes it. Audrina Patridge takes home a check for holding up a tube of Colgate Total Whitening in the grocery store and giving a toothy grin. Does she really use that brand? I don't know. It is good though. I use it all the time (please send my paycheck for endorsement to...;-) ).

I think people do read reviews and make purchases off of them but is everyone evaluating where they come from? I've looked up books that have loads of 5 star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads only to be disappointed when I started reading and the book is full of distracting grammatical errors, jumping back and forth between tenses and times and just plain old not good.

So here's some stuff to discuss. Do you think it's wrong to buy a review from Kirkus? Do you think it even matters (like, do teens even read or care about a Kirkus review?)? Publishers sending gifts to book reviewers- yay, everyone's doing it or nay, you're not going to get a true review. And how valuable do you find book reviews when making a purchase?

Kristina, Miss Author in Action