Monday, May 20, 2013

TRANSPARENTly Elated Contest!

Edited to add: If you are in Utah, Natalie is signing tonight (Tuesday, May 21) at 7 PM at The King's English in SLC. I can't be there (curse you, geography!), but you totally should. Because a) Natalie and b) books and c) cupcakes and d) Natalie!

Guys, I don't even know what to say.

My best friend, critique partner, and partner in insanity, Natalie Whipple, is officially a published author.

That sentence makes me happier than I can possibly tell you.

LOOK AT THAT GORGEOUS PIECE OF GORGEOUSNESS.

We started this journey more or less together five years ago, and Natalie has been a constant support. I really don't think I would have made the leap from, "Gee, I'd like to get published" to actually having a book worth publishing without her. I probably would have given up after that first round of rejections. In fact, it was Natalie's nudging that made me start Paranormalcy. She's responsible (directly or indirectly) for nearly all of my books.

I've been fortunate enough to be able to read all of Natalie's drafts along the way, too. She's a delightful writer, and her ability to capture the teen experience in such an honest, real way (no matter what the setup--including the world of TRANSPARENT in which everyone is a mutant) never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Those of you who follow her online know that she is a genuinely honest, open person. She's not afraid to let people know when she's struggling (making them realize it's okay if they are, too), and she's always willing to help others. That emotional honesty comes through in her writing in a way few authors can manage.

I love TRANSPARENT. I love Fiona, a freak in a world of freaks (how true to teenhood is that??). I love her twisted-but-loyal family dynamics, her longing for the sort of real life she fears she can never have, and most of all her honesty and strength. I also love the abundance of hot brothers in this novel. (SERIOUSLY. SO MANY HOT BROTHERS.) An invisible girl really is the perfect metaphor for how so many of us felt in high school, and Natalie deftly combines that with a story of mobs and intrigue.

I love this book.

I hope you will, too! I thought about giving away a copy of TRANSPARENT, but let's face it: I want you to buy it. So, instead, I'm giving away an advance copy of THE CHAOS OF STARS, my book that comes out in September. This book owes so much of its existence to Natalie's suggestion that I use my love of/research of Ancient Egypt for a YA novel, plus her continued cheerleading every time I declared it was too hard and I couldn't write it. Yet another book of mine that wouldn't exist without her!

TO ENTER: Get TRANSPARENT! Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, your local indie--wherever! eBooks are completely acceptable.

After you have bought a copy, come back and leave me a comment on this post telling me you have TRANSPARENT. Easy as that, you are entered to win the ARC, but you have technically already won because you get The Book of Hot Brothers!

RULES: You must buy a copy. It is open internationally IF you live in the UK, Australia, or New Zealand, because the book is available for purchase there as well. You must leave a comment telling me that you bought a copy. That's pretty much it. (As always, I trust you to be honest, because this would be a very silly thing to sacrifice integrity for, right?)

DEADLINE: FRIDAY, May 31st.

So, go forth. Get TRANSPARENT. Read it, love it, enter for an ARC of Chaos, and then find me on twitter so we can argue about which hot brother we get to claim. (Spoiler: I read it first, I GET THEM ALL.)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Contentedness Kills My Muse

Last night I dreamed in story.

I woke up, clinging to the remnants of the drama my brain unfolded for me, wanting to know what happened next, frustrated that I had been ripped from the story.

In other words, I woke up happy.

This is a far cry from my dreams of late. Dreams of being unable to sleep (ha ha, brain, great sense of humor), dreams of driving and being unable to control my car, dreams of dropping things that really ought not to be dropped. Frustrating dreams that provide no outlet, no escape.

But stories! Dreaming in stories means my brain is where it needs to be.

The last few months have been severely lacking in creativity for me. I've been sick, I've been forced to focus my remarkable powers of obsession on the most mundane of tasks ever (eating--seriously, I have to obsess every hour of the day over eating, and it is so boring I will never forgive food*), and I've been...content.

Maybe some people can only be creative when they are in a "happy" place, but for me, being content kills my need to create. Creation, for me, is about wanting. About longing. About needing to invent something to spin around in my head, a story to fall back on and live in when things are quiet or boring or hard, so that I can do what I need to in real life. Writing is about movement, carrying my brain from one place to another, needing even false momentum for fear of stagnation.

I can want just as much when I am in a happy, exciting period of my life as when I am in a frustrating, difficult period. But when I am perfectly settled, oh, that is the kiss of death.

So, here is to being happily discontent. Here is to the need to create in whatever form. And here is to those happy, happy days when you have both the right kind of discontentedness and enough energy to do something about it.

Here is to story.

*No worries--it's a temporary condition and I am perfectly healthy, I just have to be very careful to maintain that health.