Okay, I’m sort of recovered from the crazy that was release day for A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS. If I owe you an email or a tweet or a Facebook comment or ANYTHING, I promise you, I’m working on it.
First things first; Like many people, I buy a lot of stuff online. I live in a very rural area where the nearest bookstore is almost an hour away, the nearest Thai restaurant is 40 minutes away, and the only restaurant in town that delivers is a pizza place – four of them, to be exact.
As a single mother to four teenagers, sometimes I just can’t get in my car and make the haul somewhere to buy something (not to mention how expensive gas is – eeek!). Enter online shopping.
That said, I would HATE to come to a place where we don’t have any more brick and mortar stores, because sometimes, there’s nothing like going to a bookstore or a music store or a natural foods store and just… wandering. So I’m going to do something to encourage brick and mortar buying.
I’m offering up entries for a $250 bookstore gift card (you can choose – Indiebound, Books-a-Million, B&N, Book Depository, Amazon, etc.) to anyone who purchases A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS in ANY brick-and-mortar store.
All you have to do is send a picture of your receipt (please make sure it’s legible) to email@example.com.
And I’ll give you one entry for EVERY copy of TEMPTATION you purchase at a brick and mortar store.
This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada (the release date for Temptation is different in other countries) and runs from the release day of TEMPTATION (March 20th) through Midnight EST on Tuesday April 3rd. So if you purchased the book at a brick and mortar store prior to now, you are still eligible to win. If you’ve already supplied a brick and mortar receipt for a bookplate, just shoot as en email and we’ll enter you automatically. Plus, I’ll still send you a signed bookplate for your book and a bookmark.
That’s it! No tweeting, no Facebook status, no blog posts. Just a receipt for your copy or copies of TEMPTATION from a brick and mortar store.
Now, I need to give a little blog review and giveaway love!
Seventeen Magazine said A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS, “…will leave you craving more until the very end.”
The Story Siren is hosting a TEMPTATION swag giveaway and said about the book; “An absolutely beautiful story! I only hope there is more to come! There is more, right?”
Alice Marvels said A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS is, “… always a delicious, captivating ride.”
Dark Faerie Tales said, “Zink builds a convincing and mysterious world around historical London that will keep you turning the pages!”
Esther’s Ever After called TEMPTATION, “… an addictive, fascinating, page-turner that’s remarkably refreshing for its genre.”
Christine Fonseca, author of another angel book called LACRIMOSA, says TEMPTATION is, “… a beautifully crafted historical tale that tackles themes I can really relate to – love, betrayal, temptation.”
The Book Faery said Temptation was, “… most definitely a One-Sit-Read for me, my highest honor!”
Nina Reads said, “Michelle Zink has once again created something completely original… If this is not on your to-read list already, add it now!”
Starting the Next Chapter said, “Michelle Zink has created a wonderfully imaginative take on the battle between angels and demons that will set your imagination alight.
Thanks for all the kind words, you guys!
And there are some blogger giveaways still in play, too!
Aaaaand! Don’t forget that you still have 9 days to enter the massive Ipad giveaway right here! There are tons of amazing prizes, and all you have to do is help me spread the word that Temptation is out in the world. Easy!
And lastly, a big shout out and thank you to Kelsey at Reading or Breathing for rallying the troops to help me with a little distribution problem. 😉
First of all, I know I’ve been slacking on our regular blog features, but a book launch always throws me for a loop, and A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS releases in exactly EIGHT DAYS. I promise once April comes, we’ll start getting back to normal!
In the meantime, there are a couple of things I want to tell you guys;
1. I’ll be at the Houston TeenBookCon on April 14th in Houston, Texas!! WOOT! I’m unbelievably excited about this, both because I’ve heard such good things about the HTBC and because my Texas readers have been begging me to come to Texas for YEARS and now I can finally meet them all. SO HAPPY about this.
2. I’ll be appearing at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, NY in a joint signing with Jaclyn Delorme, author of Magic Under Glass and Magic Under Stone, on Sunday, April 22nd at 4pm as part of Oblong’s Hudson Valley YA Society. Everyone is welcome to attend and I really hope I’ll meet some of you NY, NJ, CT, MA peeps! Jackie and I have an interesting pre-publication history. and I’m looking forward to recounting the story. Plus, the people at Oblong are just awesome.
3. I’ll be appearing at YA Fest2012 in Easton, PA on Saturday August 4th from 11am – 3pm. Tons of amazing authors will be there and I know we’re going to have a blast. I hope you’ll join us!
I’ll be updating my Appearances Page over the next few days, but for now, that’s what’s on tap in the way of events.
But wait! There’s more!
4. In case you missed it, A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS was part of a feature on angel books in USA Today earlier this week. I have to admit, I was pretty psyched!
5. The Be Tempted Ipad Giveaway is in full swing through the end of the month, with the Grand Prize recently upgraded to a NEW Ipad. We have a ton of entries, so try to do as many of the things as possible to boost your total number. Even though we use the Random Number Generator to choose winners, last year the Grand Prize winner (of an Ipod Touch) also had the most entries. It just ups your odds of winning and there are lots of ways to enter. And the Ipad is just the beginning, there are more great prizes including Victoria’s Secret body care items, gift cards, jewelry, signed books, and MOAR.
Only 12 more days until the release of A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS, which means this is our second-to-last Temptation Thursday. After that, you’ll be able to read the story in its entirety. WOOT!
Tonight I’m super excited to introduce you to Anna, Darius’s love and the one and only chink in his very significant armor.
I picture Anna like this (that’s actress Ana Sophia Robb);
Anna is quiet and serene, determined to carry on her family’s duty of protecting and supporting the Keepers. Despite the fact that she has a heart problem that makes her physically fragile, Anna has an iron will, the kind of strength that doesn’t require her to prove it or wave it around. Instead, she’s simply unflagging in her determination to support the Keepers, whether through new weaponry, a safe haven, information, or a hot pot of tea.
Anna is the only one who can calm Darius’s during one of his temper tantrums, and though he rebels against the determination that puts her in danger, she makes it clear in a uniquely-gentle Anna way that it isn’t up for discussion.
I hope you enjoy this excerpt of A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS, featuring Anna (and a little bit of Darius). And don’t forget to check out the Be Tempted Ipad giveaway, featuring a NEW IPad (the one just unveiled yesterday – consider it a contest upgrade!), Victoria’s Secret goodies, signed books, gift cards, and MOAR!
“Father is in the laboratory. He’s a bit frustrated with the
progress on one of his newest inventions.” She looked at Dar-
ius. “Perhaps you’d like to take Griffin down while Helen and
I prepare tea?”
Darius nodded, his eyes soft, and Helen marveled that he
could look so different by virtue of the fact that he was gazing
upon Anna. His affection for her changed his features com-
pletely. Or rather, he seemed to come more fully into them, as
if his everyday countenance, the one that was angry and smug
and sarcastic, was a mask he only let drop in the company of
“Will you be all right?” Griffin asked, turning to Helen.
She smiled. “Of course.”
He gave a small nod of his head. As Helen watched him
descend the stairs after his brother, she couldn’t help wonder-
ing at the look in his eyes. She appreciated his protection, of
course, but she was not sure if she wanted to be looked at in
the way Darius looked at Anna. As if she were fragile. A thing
to hold gingerly, as one holds a delicate rose, careful not to
bump its silken petals lest they should spill to the floor.
“Well!” Anna’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “I daresay
you’ll know how I feel soon!”
Helen’s cheeks grew warm. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Of course, you don’t.” Anna grinned, and Helen caught
the first glimpse of something clever and sly in it. She linked
her arm with Helen’s. “Come. We can talk all about it while
we get the tea.”
Other than her parents, Helen had had little company
over the years. She was only now beginning to sense how
very alone she had been. Anna’s offer of friendship was a
lifeline, and though Helen was unused to being touched by
strangers, she allowed herself to be pulled from the room,
unable to stop the smile that sprang to her face as Anna told
her of the difficulties she had suffered due to Darius’s over-
“He’s simply maddening!” she said, letting go of Helen’s
arm to cross the kitchen. She made her way to the kettle,
steaming angrily atop the stove. “The way he behaves, you
would think I’m about to fall over dead any moment.”
“Why does he worry so?” Helen asked.
Anna sighed. “My heart has a small irregularity,” she said. “It
gets bored beating to the same rhythm day after day, you see.”
Helen shook her head. “I don’t understand.”
“Well,” Anna hesitated, reaching into one of the upper cabi-
nets for a tin of tea before continuing. “It skips a beat now and
then, and sometimes it speeds up so that I’m short of breath.”
“Does it hurt?” Helen asked, moving toward the counter
where Anna spooned tea into the cups.
Anna stopped for a moment, looking into the distance as if
the answer to Helen’s question lie against the faded paper on
the far wall.
“Not exactly.” She laughed a little, turning her gaze to
Helen. “It rather feels like I’ve been running too fast. I can
feel it beating in my chest, and then my face feels very hot as
if I’m coloring from embarrassment. But no.” She shook her
head. “It doesn’t hurt.”
“Is it . . .” Helen paused, searching her mind for an appro-
priate word. “Is it dangerous?”
Anna turned to Helen, placing a hand gently on Helen’s
arm. “You’re wondering if I’ll die from it.”
It was not a question, and Helen was surprised at the ache
that formed in her own heart at the idea of something happen-
ing to Anna. Yet, Anna deserved the same truth she seemed to
give to everyone else.
Helen nodded. “I suppose so.”
Anna’s smile was kind. “You needn’t worry. The doctors are
still learning about my condition, but I’ve had it since I was born
and have managed just fine.” She poured the steaming water into
the waiting teacups and turned back to place the kettle on the
stove. When she spoke again, it was under her breath. “Darius has
to understand that I have obligations equal to my love for him.”
Helen tried to hide her surprise at the boldness of the con-
“He worries that something will happen to you?” Helen
asked. “Because of your heart?”
“Among other things. And I understand it. I do.” Anna set a
saucer of sugar and a small dish of lemon on a silver tray. “But
my family has been in service to the Dictata for centuries.
They’ve suffered an assortment of hardships, yet they’ve all
done their duty, as I will do mine.”
As many of you know, I always do a big giveaway to celebrate the launch of a new book. This is in part because, well, it’s fun! But also, I’ve learned over the years that there is very little I can control about the publishing experience. Most of the marketing is handled by the publisher, and to be very honest, a lot of the really big stuff is out of reach for most authors.
But there are two things in which I believe unequivocally; the writing and the enthusiasm and support of my readers.
A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS will be my fourth published novel, and if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that NOTHING beats word of mouth for building book buzz. Nothing. So while I could spend my marketing budget taking out high-priced ads, I think I’ll bet on you guys instead.
With that in mind, I have FOUR incredible prizes for the A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS Giveaway.
The Grand Prize is a 16GB Ipad with WIFI and a $50 Itunes gift card.
And if you read this contest post the night I put it up, you’ll notice change; I’ve upgraded this contest to feature the NEW Ipad as a Grand Prize (the one just revealed by Apple). I’m just editing the contest entry now (March 10, 2012), but let me repeat; the Grand Prize is a NEW Ipad.
The Ipad is a truly amazing device, allowing you to read books and magazines (often with special apps and features), listen to music, work on graphics, surf the internet, and basically do anything you can do on a full size computer using something you can stick in a regular-size handbag. This new one is even more amazing, because it has a vastly improved display and camera giving you incredible clarity on the screen and the ability to take pictures as clear as those taken with the Iphone 4S (and is you have an Iphone 4S, you know how amazing the camera is).
This prize will ship direct from Apple, so you can choose black or white if/when you win. If you’re fortunate enough to already own one of these bad boys, I’m sure you know this would also make an amazing gift for a special someone.
One First Prize Winner will receive;
A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS signed hardcover
Victoria’s Secret bath and body set with make-up bag
BE TEMPTED t-shirt
$50 Visa gift card (not pictured)
$15 Starbucks gift card
$10 Itunes gift card
Gold High Roller nail polish
A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS postcard and bookmark.
One second prize winner will receive;
A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS signed hardcover
Victoria’s Secret Seductive Amber Fragrance Mist and Body Lotion
Be Tempted t-shirt
$25 Visa gift card
$15 Starbucks gift card
$10 Itunes gift card
Purple Haze nail polish
A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS postcard and bookmark.
One third prize winner will receive;
A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS signed hardcover
Victoria’s Secret Seductive Amber Fragrance Mist and Body Lotion
$15 Starbucks gift card
$10 Itunes gift card
Purple Haze nail polish
A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS postcard and bookmark.
Pretty awesome, am I right?!
So here’s the deal; The most critical time for a book is right after it comes out. That’s because during the first couple of weeks, the publisher is closely watching the numbers to gauge how its being received by the reading public. I’m really hoping that you guys will help me spread the word, because if anyone can get the buzz going, it’s YOU. And even though I know many of you would do that anyway, it’s kind of fun to sweeten the deal for you with some extra special goodies. And I’ve given you lots of ways to win!
Here’s how you earn entries;
TEN (count them – 10!) ENTRIES for EVERY copy of A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS you purchase or preorder for the duration of this giveaway. That means if you buy a copy for yourself, one for a sister, and one for a friend, you get THIRTY entries. PLUS, I’ll send you a signed, personalized bookplate at no charge for each copy you purchase. To claim these entries, send your book receipt, order confirmation, or a photo of your receipt or order confirmation (cell phone pics are fine as long as we can read them) to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have already preordered and requested a bookplate, just remind Rebekah of that in your contest entry email (no documentation required in this case since you’ve already provided it).
TEN ENTRIES for uploading a Youtube video in which you explain why you’re excited about the book. Include a link to the video when you email your total number of entries.
FIVE ENTRIES for changing your Twitter picture to the A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS book cover (must remain for the duration of the giveaway).
FIVE ENTRIES for changing your Facebook picture to the A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS book cover (must remain for the duration for the giveaway).
ONE ENTRY for each time you tweet a link to the book (on Amazon, B&N, Indiebound, or any other bookstore site). You must include #atemptationofangels for these entries to count.
ONE ENTRY for each time you tweet a link to this contest post. You MUST include #atemptationofangels for these entries to count.
ONE ENTRY for each friend you refer to me on Twitter. Your friend must follow me and @michellezink with #atemptationofangels that they were referred by you. They get an entry when they do plus any other entries they accumulate by participating in the giveaway.
ONE ENTRY for each time you post a Facebook status about the book. You must be my Friend on Facebook and tag me for these entries to count.
As you can see, there are TONS of ways to win. You can do one thing or twenty. You can spend a day accumulating entries or you can work on entries all month long and email your total at the end. Pick and choose whatever works for you. It’s no accident that Keisha Natalee, last year’s Circle of Fire Grand Prize Winner (of an Ipod Touch), had 80+ entries, many of them a result of friend referrals. The more entries you have, the better chance of winning. And truly, it will help me so much, which I appreciate more than you know.
Here’s the fine print; Contest runs now through midnight on Saturday, March 31st. Winners will be chosen by Random Number Generator and announced April 7th. You MUST email your total number of entries plus any supporting documentation (receipts, Youtube links, etc.) to email@example.com with “BE TEMPTED LAUNCH GIVEAWAY” in the Subject line by that time to win. This giveaway is open only to residents of the US and Canada or anyone with a shipping address in the US or Canada (you can use a friend or relative’s address if you like and have them forward the prizes to you).
That’s it! And you guys… many of you have been with me for years now. I want you to know how very much your support continues to mean to me. I feel as if I know many of you, and you are the very best part of this journey. <3
I meant to write a goal-related post last week, but to be honest, I had such a tough November/December I just withdrew over the holidays and tried to regroup. I’m still getting my feet under me from the very tough year that was 2011.
All the more reason to look ahead and set some writing goals (and I’m not just talking about me here).
Last year I wrote 2 1/2 novels, edited two books front to back, wrote a 20,000-word novella, and continued to promote my little heart out by sending out tons of swag and spending the majority of my promotional time and money focusing on connecting directly to readers. I also plotted two more books and started work on some exciting TV/film stuff that I hope will open more doors for me in that arena this year and in the future.
In addition, (and I know this isn’t writing, but it certainly impacts my writing), I single-parented four teenagers, maintained our old converted barn by myself, and shopped colleges for Rebekah.
Because I’m so goal-oriented (and I always have aggressive goals), my schedule was packed tight and dependent on everything moving at a certain pace. About midway through the year, I hit a roadblock where I just could not get any of my writing projects to move forward. Publishing is notoriously slow (I’ve heard it described as “glacial”), and this proved to be my downfall in 2011. Things didn’t start moving again until December, which proved to be too late for me to meet some of my goals (like finishing that 1/2 a book, selling it, selling one of my others, and getting my novellas out into the world).
I’d like to claim that I learned to say “c’est la vie”, but when it comes to goals, I’m not that much of a defeatist (or maybe that’s just one thing I can’t be Zen about). I think the biggest thing I learned is something I suspected all along – it’s never a bad idea to diversify with projects in multiple genres, mediums, etc. That way, if one thing (or ten things) are stalled, you have something else (hopefully) moving forward.
The downside is that you have to work through all those roadblocks on multiple projects to even get to a point where you actually HAVE a diverse set of in-process projects. I’m hoping I did the hard part of that in 2011 and that all my hard work will come to fruition in 2012.
With that in mind, here are some of my writing goals for 2012;
1. Finish and sell the adult book I’m working on now.
2. Finish the adult book I started last year (and had to abandon at 35,000 words because of aforementioned scheduling issues with other books) and prepare it for sale.
3. Complete the two short stories I’ve committed to for anthologies.
4. Line up my 2014 YA book to meet my Book-A-Year-For-The-Foreseeable-Future goal. I have a book I’m super excited about and am really excited to get it out there. Hoping that will be my 2014 book.
5. See at least one of the TV/film projects I’m working on move forward, even a little, and work on more in that arena, including a script Kenneth and I are plotting now.
6. Get my three Prophecy novellas out into the world. I know I promised them to you awhile ago, but an opportunity arose that I wanted to see through. Will have more on that — one way or another — soon.
Whew! Kind of scary, but… I got this!
How about you? What are some of your writing goals for the New Year? Share in comments!
Some of you probably remember a couple of months ago when I posted about one of my readers, Paul (London) Nieves. London’s mother is very, very ill and in desperate need of a new liver. She’s been on the transplant list, but her status was changed to “inactive” after car trouble sidelined their vehicle to the tune of $2500 they couldn’t afford to pay (transplant recipients must have transportation to get to and from doctor’s appointments and to the hospital in a hurry if an organ becomes available).
I put the word out about London and his family for two reasons; 1) It’s a matter of life or death, and when you have an opportunity to help in a matter of life or death, you do it, and 2) I’ve never met a son who does more for his mother than London does for his mom. He often works more than one job to help pay the bills and spends every second of his free time trying to get his mother to doctor’s appointments, and recently, trying to raise money to get her back on the “active” transplant list.
Unfortunately, no one was able to help when I put out the call a couple of months ago, but then a local news station did a story on London and his mom and some wonderful Good Samaritan came forward to pay the remainder of the repair bill. Now, London is only $420 away from being able to renew the car’s registration and insurance so he can get it back on the road. Once the Nieves’ can prove the car is operable and his mom can get to her doctor’s appointments, she’ll be placed back on the active transplant list.
The Zink’s really want to help London and his mom, so here’s what we’re going to do;
Kenneth and I are ponying up two pretty awesome prizes in an auction format. Many of you probably don’t know that I do freelance editing on the side. If you don’t know, it’s because I usually work on referral only and can only take editing projects when I’m between writing deadlines of my own. But I’m putting it out here now because it’s the only thing I can think of to help London in a hurry (you can read more about my editing services here).
So I’m offering a full manuscript line and content edit – up to 350 pages – to the highest bidder. This includes a read-through with basic line edits a and summary of the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses, flagging things like phrase repetition, awkward or unrealistic dialog, choppy transitions, and areas of confusion or unnecessary detail as well as providing basic impressions. Correction of typos and grammatical errors are included though this should not be considered a copy edit. I will also provide the winner with a detailed overview of pacing, characterization, point of view, setting, world building (if applicable), extraneous content, and plot holes and anything else that is of particular concern as well as possible work-arounds and ideas where possible as well as suggestions to increase marketability for potential representation and sale.
At my normal rates, this level edit would cost around $1750.00, but I’m offering it up to the highest bidder between now and midnight EST on December 30th.
In addition, Kenneth is offering an original composition (song) for a book trailer or just for you or a loved one. As many of you know, Kenneth composed the trailer music for all three Prophecy trailers. He’s also worked on a trailer for author Lisa Mantchev, a public service announcement for the New York Public Library, and has completed the trailer music for A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS. That trailer will be unveiled soon, but just for stopping by this post, you get a link to the unlisted sneak preview (just a snippet!) of the TEMPTATION theme. You can find other examples of his work on the Projects page of his website here or see the Prophecy trailers on the Books page (Prophecy of the Sisters) of this website. Kenneth will donate a 60-second song to the high bidder of his auction. If you’d like the song for your book trailer and you’re the winner, you will send him a brief summary of your book and a description of the atmosphere you’re looking for in your trailer. You may also include a list of trailers that have a similar look/feel to the one you’d like for your book. If you’d like the song to be for you or a loved one, you can send Kenneth a little backstory, either on yourself or the person for whom you’d like the song composed. Kenneth’s is an amazing composer, and I can think of few things that would be more meaningful to anyone than a song composed just for you/them.
So let’s break it down;
There are TWO auctions here. One for the manuscript edit and one for the original song. To enter, all you have to do is use the COMMENTS form on this post, state which prize you’re bidding on, and then state your bid.
For example; Manuscript Edit $50.00 or Original Song $50.00.
You’re bid must be at least $5 higher than the last bid. Whomever has the winning bid on each prize at Midnight EST on December 30th, wins. Payment must be rendered within three days via Paypal. I will deliver your editorial letter and manuscript notes within two weeks of the date I take delivery. Kenneth will deliver your song within two weeks of the date you provide him with all the applicable information.
Should we raise more than $420, the additional money will be donated to one of three charitable organizations; FEED, Water.org, or 826nyc. I’ll post a poll, you guys can vote, and whichever organizations get the most votes gets the extra money. I chose these three organizations because they’re awesome, and because for me, food, water, and reading/writing are pretty much the stuff of life.
Easy! And wonderful, because it’s a chance to make a life-saving operation available to someone who might not otherwise get it and to lighten the load on a wonderful young man just a little.
This weeks song was brought to you by Brandi Pudlio. I’ve never heard of this band and I’ve never heard this song, but it’s really beautiful.
Hope you guys enjoy it.
And keep those song recs coming to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Song of the Week” in the Subject line.
Also, don’t forget that you can still get free signed bookplates for the holidays. They make a really nice addition to a book for the reader on your holiday list, and I’m happy to personalize them (for you or the recipient).
As most of you know, I don’t watch TV. When I say that, I mean I don’t watch it, yanno, at its regularly scheduled time. And really, I don’t watch it much AT ALL.
But the kids and I do watch exactly one episode of SOMETHING every school night after I’ve finished my word count and they’ve finished their homework. Sometimes it’s a documentary like Ancient Aliens. Sometimes it’s Dr. Who, the X Files, or Stargate.
Even though it only ends up being 45 minutes or so four nights a week, I look forward to the downtime. My only complaint is that one episode a night doesn’t get us very far on anything! But that’s okay, I’m REALLY trying to keep us at that level because I think keeping TV to the very bare minimum has been a big part in raising super creative kids.
Our newest favorite is The Walking Dead, though now that we’ve finished season one we have to wait for season two to come on Netflix. It’s got a lot of production value for a TV show. Plus, I keep thinking how awesome it would be to be one of the actors and act like a ZOMBIE.
What about you? Which TV show would YOU like to guest spot on?
Halloween was the kickoff to what is always a crazy two months of back-to-back holidays. Now we’re getting ready for Thanksgiving, and after that, we’ll barely have time to catch our breath before Hannukah/Christmas followed by New Year’s.
Despite it’s business, I love this time of year, though I think it has more to do with the cozy atmosphere than anything else.
As many of you know, my son, Kenneth, is an aspiring film score composer. He’s a wonderful piano player, but his real gift is in composing original music.
Kenneth and I started working together in 2009 when he approached me with the idea of creating a score for Prophecy of the Sisters. I didn’t get it at first. I thought scores were just for movies (and at the time, they WERE). It turns out, Kenneth was ahead of the curve (which isn’t a surprise, because he always has brilliant ideas for media, the selling of books, etc.). More and more, we’re hearing about publishing and other companies working to make the reading experience more multi-media.
For years, we’ve been receiving requests for Kenneth’s music on Itunes, but for a long time, we weren’t sure if or how the music might be used in the marketing of the books by Little Brown, so we held off.
Then, we’d planned to release it with the first of three planned Prophecy Novellas. I’d originally planned to have the first Prophecy Novella, Whisper of Souls, released by October 1st. Whisper of Souls is a 20,000 word novella told from the point-of-view of Adelaide, Lia and Alice’s mother, just before her death. However, I’m working out some distribution details at the moment and don’t have a firm release date.
So the wait for the music is officially over!
Kenneth and I have been working for some time to bring you his music for download on Itunes and Amazon and it’s finally here. It’s been remastered because, believe it or not, those early recordings, including the one you hear in the the Prophecy of the Sisters trailer, were done on a tiny device in our basement that picked up all kinds of noise!
As Kenneth has grown as a composer, so too has the quality of his equipment. Now, in addition to his piano, he had a keyboard that hooks right into his computer and some very high-tech software with original recordings for strings, horns, percussion, etc. He wanted to make sure the quality was sound, so he remixed the original Prophecy songs using the new equipment.
The result is something I’m so proud of, both professionally and personally. It’s been amazing to hear an entire score develop around my story. More than that, it’s been truly awesome to see Kenneth’s growth as a composer and artist.
And let me say that if you like the Prophecy music, wait until you hear the under-development score for A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS. I can totally see a movie when I listen to it!
Anyway, we’re unveiling the music Prophecy here for the first time ever! And to celebrate, I’m giving away a free Prophecy album download to two winners. All you have to do to win is Tweet or Facebook a link to either the Amazon or Itunes listing for the Album with some kind of statement spreading the word, i.e. “Kenneth Zink’s incredible instrumental score for the Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy now available for download!” and include the link.
If you Tweet, @MichelleZink me! If you use Facebook, please tag Kenneth or me in your status update. This way we can help keep track of the entries. When you’re done, please leave a comment letting me know what you did. Sometimes Twitter doesn’t update me on stuff like it should.
Here are the links for your convenience – and listening pleasure!
Contest runs from now through Wednesday November 2nd at Midnight EST and you get an entry for each and every time you post. Contest is open to International entrants as long as you can accept a standard Itunes or Amazon MP3 gift.
Here it is, guys; The Creepy Cake N Bake-a-Thon is ON! Rebekah and I took up the challenge of creating a super creeptastic cake in a bake-off with my esteemed fellow authors and bakers.
Unfortunately, we tend to do cute better than creepy – at least when it comes to cakes (as you all know, books are another thing entirely). I blame my weak stomach. You know you’re not cut out for creepy visuals when you lose your appetite watching an episode of the X-Files (or when you look at Saundra Mitchell’s Zombaby Bread or Brenna Yovanoff’s Cardiac Event – Blech! Links below).
Still, it’s hard to lament my lack of creepy baking skills when I look at our AH-dorable SPEE-IDER (you have to say this part in a whisper, like Megamind). Come on, admit it; He’s CUTE!
Here’s what we did.
Made two round chocolate cakes (I’d give you our secret family recipe, but then I’d have to kill you) plus one good size cupcake.
Used a bowl as a template to cut one of the rounds into a slightly smaller circle which we then placed on top of the larger one.
Placed the cupcake at the front of the cake to act as the head.
Smothered the whole thing in ganache, which if you’ve never tried it, is the food of the Gods. Seriously, you guys. All you have to do is take equal parts dark chocolate pieces (or chips) and heavy cream. Heat the heavy cream in the microwave, pour it over the chocolate bits, and let it sit. After about ten minutes, take a rubber spatula and stir this glorious concoction into the silky chocolaty goodness it was meant to be. Hint; the longer you let it sit and the more times you stir, the thicker it gets.
It’s better than any chocolate frosting you can buy, I promise. Plus, it results in the glossy finish you see on our SPEE-IDER!
We put the cake in the fridge for a bit to let the ganache set and then piled on the pretty pink Snoballs you see in the picture. Don’t ask me why we chose these. Then I’d have to tell you it’s mostly because they were pretty and they looked a little hairy.
Also, don’t ask me what’s in Snoballs. I HAVE NO IDEA.
After that we took two round, white Canada mints (why do they call these Canada mints? Do they only eat them in Canada? Did they really originate there? Inquiring minds want to know!) and Rebekah painted on the round pupils with black food dye. Those became our eyes, set into the cupcake (and if you press a little, it gives the spider little eyebrows).
Lastly we used a tiny piece of red licorice lace to make the mouth and black licorice ropes with one end stuck in the cake for legs.
Voila! Behold the… SPEE-IDER!!!! (don’t forget the jazz hands when you say this. Everything tastes and looks better with jazz hands).
Now it’s time for you to vote and possibly WIN!
Vote for your favorite entry by commenting below. You can comment on EVERY Cake N Bake post, one entry per post, for a chance to win a $20 gift certificate from Barnes and Noble or an official Creepy Cake N Bake doll! Please include your email in order to be entered to win.
Trophies will be awarded on Halloween for the top creeptastic creations. Winners will be chosen by our special Celebrity Judge, Adam Rex, author of such deliciously creepy creations such as FAT VAMPIRE, FRANKENSTEIN TAKES THE CAKE, FRANKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH, and PSSST!
Check the list of contestants and their post dates so you don’t miss any of the fun:
Last week, I saw this picture on Facebook of beautiful model Tara Lynn. It was accompanied by the following story;
A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was “This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?”
The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:
“Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness. They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia. They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.
Mermaids do not exist.
But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish? They would have no sex life and could not bear children. Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad. And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?
Without a doubt, I’d rather be a whale.
At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.
We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn’t enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies. We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated. Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: “How amazing am I ?! ”
I thought this was a beautiful story about finding and accepting oneself as beautiful at any size. I don’t have any problem with thin, fit, slender women. I just think it’s important that we accept the idea that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Slender women have opportunities to feel beautiful and sexy every day. A photo like this one just gives everyone the opportunity to feel beautiful.
So tonight’s poll (on Saturday instead of Friday, because I’m crazy like that) is about body image. Not the way you see other people, but the way you see YOU.
As readers, I’m sure you all know how quickly the publishing landscape is changing. The rise of online shopping and digital ebooks has changed the marketplace forever. But while some believe we’re doomed, others see it as the opportunity of a lifetime.
As with most things, my views are more philosophical.
Things change, that’s the truth of it. If I could hide out in a house with an abundance of beautiful old lamps, candles, and music from a Victrola, I might. But that’s just not our world, is it? With that in mind, I’ve always believed it’s better to embrace change. Only by embracing it can you help shape it. Otherwise, you’re dragged kicking and screaming into it long after all the decisions have been made.
Maybe I’m an optimist, but I believe there’s room for both self-published works and traditionally published works. As with the battle between Indies and big box stores like Borders and B&N, it was only after Borders closed that I think many of us realized we were all on the same side.
The book side.
I don’t believe authors are going to stop making money (or even that publishers will stop making money, if they can adapt and harness these changes). I hate to see self-published authors and online-only merchants like Amazon vilified, because the truth is, writers want to write for a living (who can blame them?) and online retailers have fulfilled a need that was obviously there. If it wasn’t Amazon it would have been someone else.
I like to think there’s a way this can all work together. The publishing cycle for traditional publishers is notoriously long. I see tremendous opportunity for authors to fill in the gaps of their publishing schedule by producing shorts stories, writing outside their brand, etc. This is good for publishers, too, because it keep an author’s readership interested in between books. In addition, digital content offers some very cool opportunities to make reading appeal to younger generations that have been so saturated with digital media, they have trouble sitting still to read a book.
Would I like it if all young people just LEARNED to focus. Sure! In my perfect world, we could all go back to a time when kids had very little to do but play outside and read. But that’s not going to happen. There’s no going back. We can only go forward.
So the idea of offering up illustrations, music, sound effects, video and other digital content and maybe sucking in a whole new group of reluctant readers? Well, I think that’s a win.
The one gap in all of this is the Indie. I think we MUST find a way for Indies to make money on digital books. I don’t know what the answer is (I keep wondering if there can’t be coded gift cards or something that Indies can sell but that’s probably a whole other post), but I would hate to live in a world without Indie bookstores and I have to believe there’s a way to make them a part of this change.
As all of this has unfolded, I’ve had to change, too. My dad gave me a Kindle as a gift, and while I still read a lot of paper books (and I buy anything I really love for my physical library), I have to say that I’ve come to love the things that ereaders bring to the table. I love being able to carry all my books in one little device. I love being able to try new authors without plunking down $20-$30 per hardcover (and then going out and buying their paper books for my shelves). I love supporting traditionally published authors in the digital formats (authors make more on their digital copies than on traditional ones).
And I’ve been giving some self-pubbed authors a try, too. I was curious; Was the quality THAT different from traditionally published books (answer; as with published books, there are good ones and bad ones)?
One of those authors is Katie Klein, author of Cross My Heart, The Guardian, and Vendetta. I met Katie on one of the many author forums I belong to and was intrigued with her story. I purchased Cross My Heart for my Kindle and was surprised. Because I kind of loved it, and this was a book that had been rejected by seventy-something agents.
I thought you all might be interested in what went in to Katie’s decision to self-publish and how the journey has been different from her traditionally published one, so I was super happy when Katie agreed to an interview. As part of this discussion, I’m giving away one copy (for Nook, Kindle or whatever) of Katie’s books – your choice! – to three winners. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Giveaway runs from now until Friday 10/14 at Midnight, EST. Winners will be chosen at random from the comments.
And if you’d take the quick poll at the end of the interview, it would be awesome (though no required to win).
Without further ado, here’s Katie!
You also write and publish traditionally under another name. What led you to consider self-publishing under a pseudonym?
At the time, I felt like I’d hit the end of the road. I’d recently parted ways with my literary agent, and began querying new agents with The Guardian. After a few misses I started querying again with Cross My Heart. Seventy-five rejections later I’d had enough. I knew that epubbing was a viable option thanks to the Kindle, and I figured I’d upload it and let the market decide if it was “too saturated” or not. The pseudonym was for protection: I assumed this little experiment of mine was going to be an abysmal failure, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself if it didn’t work out.
How does the self-publishing process differ from that of a traditional publisher?
It’s time-consuming. I put a lot of work into designing covers, formatting the books, and keeping my blog updated. My husband keeps my website going, but otherwise I am, quite literally, a one-woman show.
The best parts? No “waiting rooms.” I work on a story, and, when I think it’s ready, I upload it. I also love the control I have. No tears shed over editorial demands or cover angst. The bad news? If something’s not working, it’s all my fault.
What has been the greatest challenge of self-publishing?
Time management, without a doubt. It’s up to me to keep the readers happy and coming back for more. This fall, especially, I’ve struggled with staying active via social media, balancing the day job, and squeezing in writing time. I don’t think this is limited to self-pubbing, though. I think all writers are desperate for “more time.”
What has been the greatest surprise?
The greatest surprise is how awesome readers have been. As a traditionally published author, I was very low on people’s radar, it seems. People have totally embraced Katie, though, and the tweets, email messages, and reviews have been so positive and inspiring. The readers confirmed that I made the right decision to put my work out there.
Another huge surprise is the number of ebooks I sold this year. Since January, I’ve sold more than 15,000 copies of my ebooks. I never expected Cross My Heart to take off like it did, and it spent over 100 days on the Amazon Teen Top 100 this summer. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. It was all very surreal.
Teen readers have been slower to jump on the ereader bandwagon than adults. Why do you think that is? Do you see it changing?
To be honest, I was kind of slow jumping onto the e-reader bandwagon. I finally bought a Kindle this past spring (which I love, btw). I still read more print books than ebooks right now, but the Kindle has been great for travel and trying out new indie reads. I do get fan mail from teens, so I know they’re out there, but I think we’ll see even more teen readers after Christmas. The basic Kindles are coming WAY down in price, so I predict a popular Christmas present, and the Kindle Fire seems appealing as an “all in one” device, too. I know plenty of readers who were “anti-ebook” until they saw how easy and convenient the Kindle was. Once teens realize there’s a device out there that gives them access to books almost instantly, there’s no going back.
In your perfect world, what would the future of publishing and self-publishing hold?
I’d like to see everyone getting along. The “ebook revolution” happened so quickly (yes, a lot of romance and sci-fi readers have been reading ebooks for years, but they didn’t really hit the mainstream until a year or two ago). I think this left a lot of publishers and agents reeling, and everyone is still trying to find their place. A lot of traditionally published writers are uploading backlists or publishing books outside their genre, and unpublished writers are finding readers for the first time. We’re no longer dependant on “New York” to get our books in reader’s hands. In a perfect world, authors, agents, and publishers are working together to bring new and exciting works to readers in a variety of formats.
I’d also love to see a shift where the author is given precedence again. I’ve heard too many stories of writers being manhandled and mistreated by their publishers (both big and small). Without the author, there are no books, and some pretty important people have forgotten that. Authors are artists, too, and all artists deserve to be compensated fairly for the work they do. I want to see all aspects of publishing tip back to the author’s favor.
Any predictions for the self-publishing market over the next 12 months?
I think it’s impossible to predict anything when it comes to self-publishing. We had no idea the Kindle was going to revolutionize the way people read books, and that epubbing was going to be accepted so quickly. In the midst of the “gold rush,” though, we also couldn’t predict the changes that Amazon would make to their site to keep their bestseller lists moving. We’re already seeing a shift, and Indies are going to have to work as hard as traditionally published writers to keep their books in front of people. This is a big change from six months ago, even. Right now, I’m focusing on the upcoming holiday season. This will be my first full season of sales, so I’m interested in seeing what happens.
What do you think is the biggest misconception of self-published books?
That they’re poorly formatted, rife with errors, etc. Yes, those kinds of books are out there, but they usually fall flat pretty fast. You can tell by a cover and a description whether or not a book is for you, and the Kindle “sample” feature makes it easy for you to test the first few chapters before you buy. Don’t write off a novel because it didn’t make it past the “gatekeepers,” because there are some real gems out there.
What advice would you give to traditionally published authors who are considering self-publishing?
For All Writers: Do your research. Know what you’re getting into. It’s okay to set certain goals, but make sure they’re realistic. You CANNOT predict what sales will be like from month to month, so don’t even try. You will have ups and downs: expect the downs. Never upload a first draft of ANYTHING; part of writing is revising. Make sure you’re submitting your best work: your reputation is on the line. This isn’t a way to “Get Rich Quick.”
For Traditionally Published Writers: Fill your literary agent in on what you’re doing. Make sure you check any contract clauses that would prohibit you from epubbing works under your current name. Be prepared to use a pseudonym (and keep it quiet) if you have to. Check to see if your agency has an epubbing division, and ask what your agent expects in terms of compensation (if any), if you choose to go through them. Consider the pros and cons carefully, though. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but there’s nothing your literary agency can do for you that you can’t do yourself when it comes to self-publishing. Paying a flat fee for something like editing or cover design is much better than paying an agency royalties on a work for the rest of its shelf life (which, for ebooks, is FOREVER).
What can we look forward to from Katie Klein in the future?
More books! I’m currently working on the final book in my urban fantasy series. Ideally, I’d like to have it available in early 2012. After that, I plan to go back to YA contemporary romance. We’ll see how things go, I guess. I’ve always said that as long as readers are enjoying my books, I’ll continue to write them. I’m not against going a more traditional route, but the right opportunity hasn’t presented itself, yet. I’m happy epubbing for the foreseeable future.
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS!
I can’t believe 2012 is finally here! It seems like just yesterday that A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS sold to Penguin, and 2012 seemed so far away.
Now, we’re less than three months from its release!
I can’t tell you how excited I am to share this book with you guys. I think it’s an awesome mix of the dark, complexity in Prophecy with faster pacing, a lot more action, and a lot more sexy! To celebrate, I have a TON of awesome stuff planned for you guys, starting with this kick-off giveaway in partnership with YALitChat.
Starting NOW, you can enter to win five TEMPTATION bookmarks (they’re gorgeous, complete with gold tassels — and who doesn’t love TASSELS?!), a nail polish, and a black BE TEMPTED t-shirt. Every month through March I’ll be doing a giveaway in partnership with YALitChat — each with different prizes. In addition, I’ll soon be kicking off my bookplate giveaway in which EVERY person who preorders A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS (or has already done so) can get a personalized, limited edition A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS bookplate.
See? I told you this was going to be fun!
March’s YALitChat giveaway runs now through Midnight EST January 15th. To enter, all you have to do is be awesome (this is a requirement of all YALitChat giveaways, to which I say, “Duh. All MY readers are awesome.”) and leave a comment saying why you can’t wait to read A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS. You should be able to find at least one reason in the summary below;
Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance
When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world’s past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.
Michelle Zink masterfully weaves historical fantasy with paranormal romance to create a gripping tale of love and betrayal.
And check out YALitChat for more contests, writing forums, and giveaways!