Prophecy of the Sisters

03/09/15 Uncategorized , Writing # , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Online Young Writers Series Week Two; Self-Editing

Welcome back, young writers!

🙂

Last week we talked about the things you can do now to give yourself a head start if you’d like to write as a career. This week we’re going to talk about self-editing, because while EVERY writer needs an editor other than themselves, it wouldn’t be nice to give your book to someone else without first doing some work on it. That’s because NO BOOK IS EVER “DONE” right after you finish writing it.

One more time for good measure.

NO BOOK IS EVER “DONE” RIGHT AFTER YOU FINISH WRITING IT.

It doesn’t matter how awesome it is or how much you love it. And that goes for every author everywhere.

Even if you circle back and edit as you go (I do this in 100 page increments), you won’t have an objective view on the book until you get some distance from it and then read it front to back. Even then, you will STILL need an outside reader/editor. But they will hate you less because you will have done at least some of the clean up ahead of time.

😉

When I first started editing my work, waaaaaaay back in 2005 when I started trying to get published, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, and to be honest, I didn’t even realize that I didn’t know what I was looking for. Of course, there was the obvious; typos, inconsistencies in the timeline, pieces I’d forgotten to take out when I’d cut other pieces with which they connected, etc.

But I wasn’t focused on the big picture at first. You know what made me start focusing on the big picture? Reading for OTHER people.

I belonged to a few online writer’s forums and began trading work with a couple of people I liked and admired (one of them is now also published, which was so fun and exciting to find out). It was only when I started reading for other writers that I saw the things that REALLY mattered. And it wasn’t typos (although I should say for the sake of clarification that your manuscript shouldn’t be riddled with them).

That was a turning point in my own self-editing evolution, because I was able to look for the things I knew readers would notice.

But before I get to the checklist, I want to stress one very important thing about self-editing; GIVE YOURSELF TIME AWAY FROM YOUR MANUSCRIPT BEFORE YOU BEGIN EDITING.

I know, I know. You’re DYING to read it! DYING to send it out to other people so they can read it! DYING to start querying agents! DYING to put it up on Amazon and Apple and B&N if you’re self-publishing.

But trust me on this; you will NOT see your work objectively until you give your mind time to breathe. Consider it a palette cleanser, like those little dishes of sorbet they give you between courses at super fancy restaurants. Work on something else, read, take walks, hang with friends, watch movies. Anything BUT start revising your manuscript. In a perfect world, you’d be able to give yourself at least a month away from it, but if you absolutely can’t wait that long, promise me you’ll wait at least two weeks.

Pinky promise?

Good.

Once you’ve had a break, go back and start reading your manuscript with these things in mind (this checklist pulls from a talk I give to schools and libraries about self-editing);

1) Setting

Setting is so important to that immersive quality you get in a good book. It’s the thing that makes you really feel like you’re in a different place, like you can taste the food and smell the air and see the trees and flowers and weather unique to that area. A well developed setting makes the reader feel like they are THERE. This was a very big part of Prophecy of the Sisters. The rural New York setting in the late 1800s allowed me to create a lot of the creepy, moody vibe that pervades the book, with fog hanging low over the fields and shrouding the mountains, rain battering the windows, and the wind making an old house creak. In A Temptation of Angels it was Victorian London, its nighttime air sooty with lamp smoke, the clatter of carriages a backdrop to everything outside. In This Wicked Game it was modern day New Orleans with sultry, humid weather, the sound of jazz bands, the smell of magnolias. And in LIES I TOLD it’s a California paradise on a cliff over the water where wild peacocks strut the streets and parrots flit through a thick canopy of trees, the sound of the surf breaking against the cliff like a lullaby to everyone who lives there.

See what I mean? It’s important! And even suburban America has a look, feel, and smell. Your job is to capture it so fully that it almost feels like another character in your book – without distracting from the story.

2) Character Development

This might seem obvious, but the nuances to creating well-rounded characters are many and sometimes difficult to quantify. In short, you want your characters to come on the scene fully developed, with a personality, likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams, habits and tics. And you want your protagonist to change somehow through the happenings of your story. To arc, if you will. The protagonist could start out strong and be broken by the end. He could be broken and grow strong. She could be rigid and unmoving and the grow to see that things aren’t so black and white. The important thing is that your character be so unique that he or she isn’t interchangeable with just anybody.

In Prophecy of the Sisters, Lia starts out the meeker of the two twins and must grow to own the responsibility that is hers, even if it means forsaking her twin. In A Temptation of Angels, Helen evolves from a sheltered, over-protected Victorian girl to someone willing to risk her life to save others. In This Wicked Game, Clare eventually begins to question her disbelief in voodoo, and her harsh judgement of those who practice it, when she realizes that life is a lot more mysterious than we think. In LIES I TOLD, Grace begins to question not only the things other people tell her about herself, but the things she’s believed to be true as well – all in an effort to become more fully HERSELF. Not the Grace everyone else says or believes she is, but the one she in in her heart, and the one she most wants to be.

A big part of the fun and challenge of reading about interesting characters is watching them grow and change. Make sure yours are fully developed from the beginning, and that the main characters make some kind of emotional, physical, or mental journey in the story.

3) Relationship development

This is very similar to Character Development. In real life, our relationships with others are sometimes complicated, full of love and dislike and competition and jealousy and admiration. And as people undergo change, so too, do our relationships with others. This should be reflected in your story. Relationships should be authentic, backed up by what you show or tell us about them. This is easiest to illustrate in a love story. In a good one, we see the gradual progression from first meeting to love through a series of (hopefully realistic) encounters and exchanges. But relationship development can be more complicated when it comes to other types of relationships. If two people have always been competitive, that should be evident, even subtly, in their interaction and/or the accompanying exposition, and that should be true of any relationship you build. If you show us that someone is protective of someone else, that dynamic should be evident throughout, until and if it isn’t anymore.

In Prophecy of the Sisters, Lia and Alice grow from having a slightly distant relationship to being actual enemies, and then find their way back to each other in a more honest way. In A Temptation of Angels, Helen has an adversarial relationship with Darius, Griffin’s older, cynical brother. But in the end, Darius comes to respect her, and she comes to see beneath his brittle facade. In This Wicked Game, Clare and her parents are at odds. Clare doesn’t want any part of voodoo, but it’s an important part of her parent’s history and current business. We see them clash in the beginning, but gradually Clare’s stance softens, and her mother thaws a bit, too. In Lies I told, Grace and Parker start out close, like the adopted siblings they are, then grow apart as their goals diverge.

Whatever the relationships in your story, make sure they are authentic and fully developed. Think about the complexities of your own relationships! Try to capture them on the page.

4) Pacing

Pacing is the speed with which a reader moves through your story, and it is largely dependent on the things you’ve included, the things you’ve omitted, and the way the story is structured.

When I’m preparing to write a book, I use a screenwriting “beat sheet” to outline the pivotal moments in the story (you can find sample beat sheets online). Then I write a 4-5 page summary of the story, laying out those pivotal moments within the narrative of the story. To keep things moving, you want to move between pivotal moments as quickly as possible.

When you read a book that feels slow, it’s often because the writer has rambled a bit in the space between pivotal events. It’s okay to mention what a character’s wearing from time to time, for example, or to show us what they order at a diner. But we don’t need to see what they’re wearing everyday (unless this is a book with a fashion component or it serves the plot somehow), and we don’t need to hear about every meal they eat.

When I was working on pacing it helped me to visually my book like a movie. In a movie if two people are going to a diner to eat, we don’t always see them in the car in the way there. And indeed we SHOULDN’T – unless something happens in the car that is material to the plot or some other important facet of the story. More often than not we’ll see two people agreeing to go to the diner, and then the director will cut immediately to the diner and the conversation that takes place there, because THAT is the next pivotal moment.

See what I mean?

Structure can play a part in this, too. Sometimes we can most easily see the things we need to see with POV shifts or flashbacks. Whatever it takes!

5) Voice

Voice is that intangible quality that makes you feel like you’re inside a character’s head. It’s a hard thing to learn, so I can’t really tell you how to do it. But I can say the best way to cultivate voice is to first look closely at the things I’ve laid out so far. If your setting is rich and atmospheric, if your characters are fully fleshed out, if their relationships with others are real and sincere, voice will often come naturally.

I heard Lia’s voice in my head before I ever started writing. It was somber and a little heavy. Helen’s voice was young and scared in the beginning and grew to be strong and even a little impetuous. Clare was difficult for me at first. She was just a normal, modern girl. How could I make her stand out? I waited for a long time to start This Wicked Game because I couldn’t hear Clare in my head. I thought about her when I drove or when I cooked, imagined what she would think of various things. Then one day, she was just there. Grace came easily to me and by the time I’d written the Prologue, I had her in my head. Her voice in LIES I TOLD is a little sad, a little weary. I had trouble with voice at first in my current WIP, so I wrote a stream of consciousness narrative for each of the two main characters until I felt like I “knew” them.

You can do this too!

Try writing something short from the first-person POV of someone you know. It could be someone from school, a sibling, a friend, your bus driver. Imagine what that person thinks about, what matters to them. There are no rules! Just choose something to write about and go. It can be about that lonely kid on the bus who never talks to anyone on the way home or the bus driver who always looks so tired. What is he/she thinking about? What matter to him/her? Just write a stream of consciousness something in this person’s POV. You can do this anytime you want as an exercise, and you can do it with the characters in your book if you’re having trouble nailing their voice. In the case of the latter, do it until it feels right, because it’s important that you have that down when you begin.

Voice is also YOUR voice. That is, the unique quality to your writing that will make a reader know they are reading a Michelle Zink book or a John Smith book or a Jane Doe book, even when those books seem wildly different on the surface. That isn’t something that can be taught, but it can be cultivated. How?

Simple. You have to write. A LOT.

6) Authenticity

Few things are as important as this. Have you ever read a book and groaned aloud because, well, people don’t TALK like that!?! Or you just know that character wouldn’t do that? In movies this is a big pet peeve of mine. I call it the “Running from an Explosion” effect. It’s like, really? The building explodes  and they just run and they’re okay? They don’t get hit with debris or anything? They don’t get cut or banged up?

But dialog and narrative can be tricky too. Try to hear your characters in your head (having their voice down will help with this) so you can imagine them talking. Remember that most real people use contractions. They do not say something like this. They’re much more likely to say it like this.

😉

I’ve been lucky to have teenagers and young people in my house for the last ten years, so I’m pretty much surrounded by youth speak at all times. The downside is that I probably sound like a sixteen year old sometimes, but the upside is that I’ve always gotten compliments on my dialog. Just remember that speech, like everything else, is affected by character development. A surfer from California probably won’t sound the same as a street-wise kid from New York City, and THEY will probably sound different from someone who’s grown up on a farm.

But one word of warning; don’t make caricatures out of your characters! Just because someone is from the Bronx doesn’t mean they Towk Like This. And just because they’re from California doesn’t mean they’re, like, soooo stupid! Think about your character, where and how they grew up, who they ARE, and let that inform your dialog and the story to make both authentic.

7) Plot

This is kind of a loaded bullet point for the sake of this online series. There are TONS of diagrams and graphs online to illustrate story arc. As I’ve said, I use a beat sheet when I plot out my books, but it doesn’t matter what you use; just make sure your books HAS a plot.

Most plots are made of up the following; Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, and Climax. You could go crazy looking up all the varying perspectives on plot. There are subcategories to the above, and sometimes subcategories to subcategories. But the main thing to remember is that a plot has CONFLICT, and pretty much everything in the book revolves around the resolution of that conflict. Sometimes it helps me to see Conflict as Goal. In Prophecy of the Sisters, the goal was to figure out the Prophecy (first book) and then bring it to an end (in the second and third books). In A Temptation of Angels, it was for Helen, Griffin, and Darius to figure out who was hunting them and why, and then eliminate that danger. In This Wicked Game, it was for Clare to figure out what the mysterious woman wanted and how she was connected to the Guild – and to Clare’s family. And in LIES I TOLD, it’s Grace’s internal conflict between staying on the grift with her family even if it means betraying someone she loves or finding a way to have a real life.

A plot isn’t wandering around in a made-up world seeing interesting things and it’s not just people talking. There has to be a conflict, and from that conflict a goal typically arises (goal=to resolve conflict). Make sure your story has these things, and it will also have the kind of order that makes a book readable and engaging.

Whew! That was quite a lesson. I hope it helps. Please feel free to leave any questions in the Comments section, and please pass this along to any other young writers.

Remember that you can go back and read last week’s lesson about how to prepare for a future writing career. There are lots of different ways to get your words to reader, and next week we’ll be talking about the different paths to publication and the pros and cons of each, including traditional publishing, boutique publishing, and self-publishing.

And you guys! Less than a month until LIES I TOLD releases. Then you can all read Grace’s story.

🙂

 

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12/01/14 Life , Reading # , , , , , , , ,

A Quick and Easy Gift for the Reader on Your List!

Prophecy_PB_COVER_HRNeed a personal book for the reader on your list? I’ve got you covered!

😉

Right now through 12/8 you can purchase ANY of my books (online or in person) from Oblong Books and Music and I’ll sign and personalize it for you in time for the holidays. That includes Prophecy of the Sisters, Guardian of the Gate, Circle of Fire, A Temptation of Angels, and This Wicked Game.

Nothing makes a better gift for a book lover than a signed book, plus you’ll be supporting an awesome Indie.

Just order here and tell me to whom you’d like the book signed. Easy peasy!

🙂

 

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09/04/13 Life , Writing # , , , , ,

History of an Email

History of an Email

Like most people, I get a lot of emails every day.

Like… a lot, a lot.

Some of them are spam and some of them are sale notifications and some of them are requests for interviews and advice. Some of them are from my agent or editors.

And the truth is, I’m not as good about answering them as I used to be. When I first sold the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy in 2007, I had a big gap between projects. Prophecy (book one) had some revisions, but the second book in the trilogy wasn’t due for a whole year, and I was prohibited from selling another YA project for the duration of my contract with Little Brown, which meant until 2011. I was still a single parent. Still busy. But I wasn’t up against multiple deadlines, lined up like planes on a tarmac, gunning for their turn.

Times have changed. I’ve worked on seven contracted projects in the past year alone (not all of which have been announced) plus juggled multiple editing projects for my freelance editing business while running a household with four kids alone. It’s required an almost-militant devotion to schedule. And since I do receive emails from many of you — some of which take me a very, very long time to answer — I wanted to explain.

First thing every morning (I get up at 6am on school days) I open up my computer and stare forlornly at my Inbox. I start by deleting obvious Spam, sales I can’t afford to shop, and other miscellany that just isn’t important to me at the moment. Then I look at what’s left. If there are quick and easy questions to answer, I tackle them right away just to feel like I’m making some prgress.

But then I’m left with the other stuff. Offers to attend conferences (which require me to look at a calendar and plot out the next 6-12 months in my head), requests for interviews, favors from writerly friends (most of which require more emails sent to editors or agent, or at the very least, lengthy replies on my part), questions from my editors, updates from my agent.

To be honest, I just can’t get to them all. And I know what you’re probably thinking; it only takes a minute to send an email. I know you’re probably thinking it because that’s what I used to think when someone took a long time to get back to me. But here’s the thing, my writing schedule — the only thing holding my life together right now — is non-negotiable. It has to be. So when I go up to my office promptly at 9am, 3:30pm, or 7pm (the start of my usual writing blocks), I know that I have a finite time to work, usually an hour or two. And if I open one email, the temptation is to keep clearing my Inbox. I’ve already eaten into my writing time anyway, right? Or maybe the reply is more lengthy than I anticipated, and all of a sudden, my one hour writing block is down to half an hour. I’ve lost between 500-1,000 words in that half hour. It might not seem like a lot, but if I lose 1,000 words every day for a month, I lose 30,000 words, which tacks an additional 2-4 weeks onto any project.

And that’s just something I can’t afford at this point in time. Especially when none of this accounts for the “soft” tasks of writing — website upkeep, research, reading, etc.

So I’ve developed a hard and fast rule; I do what I can while I’m having my morning tea. But when it’s time to write, it’s time to write. Not tweet. Not post on Facebook. Not even answer emails. It’s hard. It’s meant forgoing the level of social networking that was once routine. It’s meant blogging less. It’s meant an Inbox that constantly hovers around 30 emails (when I’m as on top of it as I can be). It’s sometimes even meant losing touch with people I care about for longer periods than I would like. It is tempting to “take five” minutes and clear my Inbox a bit. But I’ve learned the hard way that it adds up. Which is why I activate Freedom right when I get to my office and get down to business.

All of which makes this one long-ass apology. If I owe you an email, I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t care or that I’m ignoring you. I’m doing my best.

And writing always has to come first.

 

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08/07/13 Life , Writing # , , , , , , , , , , ,

Zen and the Art of Book Marketing

Zen and the Art of Book Marketing

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the first couple of years after I sold Prophecy of the Sisters (in 2007). I had an old blog on blogger, and excited about my news, I was fairly good about posting regularly, something that’s always made easier when the good publishing news is plentiful, as many of you know.

Then came Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and Pinterest and Google Plus. For awhile, I was all up in your internet. I was was on Twitter throughout every day. Ditto Facebook. And while it took me awhile to get on Pinterest and I was never super great at marketing my books there (I was too busy with recipes and fashion and quotes), it was part of my social networking repertoire. I’ve so far resisted Tumblr, though I wonder on an almost daily basis how long it will be before I succumb to the temptation of MORE FOLLOWERS! NEW READERS! UNTAPPED MARKET! I did epic giveaways, attended online chats, retweeted everyone else’s stuff, and basically just did all I could to be visible at all times. I answered EVERY single tweet directed my way, every email. I doled out writing advice to anyone who wanted it and blurbed books as often as possible, trying to pay forward my good fortune.

Because it wasn’t all about selling books. I just felt so LUCKY, so damn fortunate to be writing for a living, so GRATEFUL for the faith placed in me by my publisher. I wanted to do my part. At the very beginning of the self-promotional blitz that is now par for the course, I didn’t want to sit back and count on the publisher do the marketing work.

In 2009, shortly after Prophecy of the Sisters came out, my editor said (about my marketing pace), “You will not be able to keep this up forever.” And I said, “I know, but I’ll keep doing it as along as I can, or at least until Prophecy has a solid readership and I can take a step back.”

But then something terrible happened. Prophecy never quite gained the footing everyone expected. Despite critical acclaim, multiple starred reviews, sales in over thirty foreign countries, it fell short of the extremely high expectations my publisher had for it. Whether marketing choices, three cover changes, and/or lack of promised rebranding on said covers had anything to do with the numbers is something we’ll never know. Because the truth is, the stuff of big hits is still something of a mysterious alchemy. Some books just don’t hit the way we expect them to. And while Prophecy sold extremely well for any book in the marketplace at that time, the fact that it didn’t meet the enormously high expectations set for it is still a smudge on my publishing record.

And it left me feeling so disheartened. I had truly done EVERYTHING I could. Beyond writing the best books I could (the Prophecy trilogy really is the story of my heart, at least thus far), I marketed like a madwoman, gave all kinds of shit away, tweeted my heart out, connected with anyone and everyone on as personal a level as possible. I signed stock all over the country, was away from my children for two tours covering twenty cities. All while being a single mother to four teenagers. But it didn’t matter. None of it seemed to matter.

I started to wonder if all the naysayers were right. All the people who said whatever we did as authors to supplement the publisher’s marketing efforts would never be enough to effect a measurable difference in sales. Talking to some of my fellow writers at a conference, a couple of them said they’d done the figurative math and determined that we could maybe sell another hundred books through an active social networking presence. It was a quandary that left us all feeling a little bit helpless.

So I withdrew. I rarely tweeted and only posted on Facebook because it had begun to feel more personal (my kids and family and friends are there). Last year, I gradually stopped doing giveaways, and this year, my blogging has been hit and miss at best. More than just doubt about how much of a difference it all made, I was busy. Busy trying to keep my writing career afloat, trying to work my way into other areas like TV and film, trying my hand at digital publishing with a small press, strategizing about possible next directions. Because one way or another, I was (and am) going to write for a living. On top of that, I made personal choices that led me away from being online all the time, practicing Buddhism (and with it mindfulness), meditating, doing yoga daily, and generally trying to keep it simple, because I noticed that was when I was happiest. Marketing just kind of fell by the wayside.

But all my hard work and focus this past two years is starting to feel like it might pay off. I have several interesting projects in the works and a couple of already-contracted ones (that I can’t talk about yet). They are all leading me in a slightly different direction than the road I’ve traveled in publishing so far. And I’m really excited about that.

So here I am six years after selling Prophecy, trying to figure out how much I want to do online. How much I can enjoy (because I do enjoy some of it and I love connecting with readers) and how much of it will make any kind of difference in the financial success of my work. I still don’t have it figured out, but I do know I need a little of both. A little solitude and a little connectivity. A little silence and a little collective noise. A little c’est la vie, a little help from outside and a whole lot of Zen. How that mix will shake up in the end remains to be seen.

But the short answer (too late for that! ha!) is that I’m back. For now, I’ll continue to blog when I have a great vegetarian/vegan recipe, when I have something to say that maybe a thousand other people haven’t already said, and yes, when I have news to share or need your help spreading the the word (And I will when THIS WICKED GAME comes out later this year!). And I WILL be doing giveaways again, because that is something I’ve always enjoyed. I’ll still be on Facebook (my online “home”) and will be ramping up my Twitter a bit, though I will never be as active there as I once was, because the truth is; I can’t take the mental noise.

And here’s the thing; I’m a writer, not a blogger or marketer. I am still being paid to write books (thank you, Universe). So that must be my primary objective. And I think I’ve finally learned that for me to write great books I need a few things. Mental silence. Time to ruminate. Walks in nature. Time to read great books. I will have to learn to put those things above everything else, because it’s the only way I can honor the faith my readers have in me and the burden I place on myself to do the very best work I can.

I hope you’ll be patient with me when I disappear to work. Comment here when the spirit moves you. Let me know what you’d like to see. Because I don’t have all the answers. As with great stories, some of the time I have to sit back and let everything take on a life of it’s own. That’s where all the magic is anyway.
<3

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08/30/12 Contests & Giveaway , Prophecy of the Sisters # ,

Circle of Fire Prize Packs! Want One? Get One!

I think I got my box of Circle of Fire paperbacks sometime in July. I’d intended to do a giveaway then, but…. yeah. Needless to say, I’m a bit behind.

But better late than never, right? Especially when it means a giveaway!

So here’s your chance to win one of five (5) Circle of Fire Prize Packs. Each prize pack includes a signed copy of Circle of Fire, a Victoria Secret body spray, a Circle of Fire wristband, one of my super gorgeous bookmarks, and a mini candle with metal holder.

To enter, all you have to do is tweet about the giveaway, including a link. Don’t have Twitter? No problem! You can post about the giveaway and include a link on any social networking platform including Facebook, Tumblr, etc. Just post a link to your post in the Comments section and we’ll include your entries.

Contest runs from today through Friday September 21st at Midnight EST. You can tweet or post about the contest once a day for a total of 23 possible entries. Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents or anyone with a US mailing address.

<3

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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07/03/12 Life , Music , Prophecy of the Sisters , Song of the Week # ,

Riverside

This week’s song is brought to you by Andrew, one of my favorite UK readers. I just adore Agnes’s voice, and her piano playing is just gorgeous. Reminds me a bit of A Fine Frenzy!

I actually had three different people email me with great song recommendations, which is funny, because usually I’m begging you guys for suggestions on Facebook and Twitter. This is a wonderful abundance of good music! You’ll be hearing the others in the next couple of weeks.

Also, a quick reminder that all three Prophecy novellas, Whisper of Souls, Mistress of Souls, and Rise of Souls are officially out. And speaking of abundance, the Circle of Fire paperback released today, too, which sort of officially ends the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy. Now that all three books are out in paperback, it’s a great time to read the trilogy if you haven’t already. It’s the story of my heart, and I feel so privileged to be able to tell it.

What a wonderful ride it’s been. Thank you all for sharing it with me.

And here’s to more great stories…

<3

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06/25/12 Contests & Giveaway , Life , Prophecy of the Sisters # , ,

Here I Am!

So sorry for the radio silence, guys. The last month has been extremely busy as I’ve prepared for Rebekah’s high school graduation and attended book events, all while under some very tough deadlines.

But Rebekah is officially a graduate (I can’t believe it!), book events are past until August when I attend YA Fest in Pennsylvania, and my deadlines are starting to feel somewhat under control.

Whew!

Having said that, it IS summer, so while I’ll try to keep up with my regular blog features, I hope you’ll forgive the occasional lapse. I plan to spend the summer working on three new proposals (and getting back to work on my adult novel), hiking, sleeping, catching up on movies, and spending time with my teens (especially Rebekah who will be moving into her dorm August 23rd). In between, I’ll do my my best to keep up with Song of the Week, movie reviews, Thursday Night Write, the Friday Poll, and my Week in the Life.

A couple of quick updates;

You can still enter to win one of two big summer prize packs in the Escape Into Books Super Summer Giveaway. Entering is easy, and both prize packs contain summer essentials like a big stack of my favorite guilty reads, a tote bag, gift card, lip balm, body spray, etc. But it only runs until the end of the month, so hurry!

Also a quick reminder that the first two Prophecy of the Sisters novellas, Whisper of Souls (told from the point of view of Lia and Alice’s mother before her death) and Mistress of Souls (the highly anticipated novella from Alice’s point of view) have both been released and are available for download from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple. It’s been super fun to explore these Prophecy stories, and I’m especially excited for the release of the final novella, Rise of Souls, which will let you in on what happens when Lia returns to Altus Island after Circle of Fire.

I hope you enjoy them!

<3

0 likes 8 responses
05/04/12 Prophecy of the Sisters # ,

Announcing Three New Prophecy of the Sisters Novellas

This week’s Friday Poll is being pre-empted by NEWZ!

From Publishers Marketplace;

Michelle Zink’s three Prophecy of the Sisters ebook novellas, Whisper of Souls, Mistress of Souls, and Rise of Souls, each revealing the back story behind the characters and the Prophecy in her popular series, one from the twins’ mother’s perspective, one from Alice’s, and one focusing on the world of Altus, for ebook publication Summer 2012, World Rights to Kate Sullivan at Little Brown Books for Young Readers by Steven Malk at Writers House.

The Prophecy world is a world that just won’t leave me alone. Even the secondary characters continue talking to me, and I can’t help wondering if I’m not finished telling this story. Which is why I’m super excited to bring you these three novellas. I receive TONS of email asking for more information about Lia and Alice’s mother, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that die-hard Prophecy fans are positively obsessed with Altus. Now, you’ll get both!

Most of all, I’m thrilled to bring you a story from Alice’s point-of-view. Of all the things Prophecy readers seem to want, that is at the top of the list, and I promise that Alice’s story, Mistress of Souls, will shed more light into her very complex character.

The cover for the first digital novella, Whisper of Souls, is above and I can’t tell you how much I LOVE it. It’s gorgeous and moody and perfectly reflects the atmosphere of Adelaide Milthorpe’s story.

I don’t have a solid release date yet, but I know all three novellas are slated for release this summer, probably in conjunction with the Circle of Fire paperback (which comes out July 3rd).

Hope you guys enjoy these extra glimpses into the Prophecy world!

<3

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05/02/12 Prophecy of the Sisters #

Prophecy of the Sisters Ebook $2.99!

Just a heads up for those of you haven’t yet read the Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy that the first book is currently on sale at Amazon for $2.99!

This is a great opportunity to give the series a try, tell (or gift it to) a friend with an ereader, or to add it to your digital library.

And I’ll have some very exciting Prophecy news for you within the next couple of days!

<3

 

 

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12/01/11 Prophecy of the Sisters #

Twitter Giveaway!

So we’ve been making space in the office for A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS swag (which we’ll begin distributing in earnest after the holidays) and apparently, I haven’t given away enough stuff yet.

Our shelves are groaning, and Rebekah tells me a MUST give away some books, t-shirts, and did I say BOOKS?

I also happened to notice that I have 3835 Twitter Followers. I’m the first to admit I’m not very active in seeking followers on Twiter or Facebook. For the most part, I assume the people who want to find me will find me. But this seems like an opportunity!

So here’s what we’re going to do; You guys tweet anything with the hashtag #prophecyofthesistersextravaganza (just copy it, it’ll be easier!) as many times as you want. When I reach 4,000 Followers, I’ll enter you to win one of the following prizes;

Prophecy of the Sisters (I’ll give away five of these)
Guardian of the Gate (I’ll give away five of these)
Circle of Fire hardcover (I’ll give away one of these)
One of Five Victorian Guys are Hot t-shirts
Assorted swag

You MUST use the hashtag above or I won’t be able to find your entry(s). I’ll give you one entry for every time you tweet or RT. There will be at least fifteen prizes but quite possibly more depending on how much swag I round up in my office and how I decide to distribute it. You must be following me on Twitter to win.

Unfortunately, this one has to be US and Canada only. 🙁

Good luck!

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11/16/11 Contests & Giveaway , Prophecy of the Sisters # ,

Holiday Bookplate Giveaway

I’m a big believer in making one’s own traditions. For a long time, I struggled to put together Thanksgiving dinner by 2pm because that’s how my grandmother and mother did it. I cooked desperately on Christmas Eve while finishing up last minute presents for my children because in our family, the big dinner was on Christmas Eve followed by a big brunch and leftovers Christmas Day.

I finally realized that those traditions didn’t work for me and that it was okay to create my own. Now, we have Thanksgiving around 7pm (or whenever it’s done), Chinese take out Christmas Eve, and a moderate breakfast Christmas day followed by a semi-big dinner that night.

It works for us! I’m SO much less stressed, and my kids (always rebels… wonder where they get THAT from!) love that we do something quirky like Chinese on Christmas Eve while everyone else is doing the traditional thing.

This year, we’re taking our unconventionality one step further by donating our time (as a family) to a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving Day and having our celebration Friday or Saturday. We’re all really looking forward to it!

Two tears ago I started a professional tradition by giving away signed, personalized bookplates during the holidays. It started out as a way for me to say thank you to my readers and ended up being a big hit not only for them, but for people who wanted to make an extra-special gift of one of the Prophecy books.

And I never like to mess with a good thing!

So starting today the tradition continues. Here’s how it works;

If you’re in the US or Canada, send your requested number of bookplates (up to three) to prophecypress@aol.com with the name of the person you’d like them each made out to and your mailing address. If there’s something special you’d like me to know about the recipient (they love to read or love fantasy, for instance), let me know and I”ll try to personalize a message for them. Please put “Bookplate Giveaway” in the Subject line so my poor assistant doesn’t have to hunt through her Inbox for them. Once I receive your request, I’ll send you the limited edition bookplates, custom designed to match the interior of the Prophecy books, in time for the holidays.

Easy, right?!

Follow the same instructions if your outside the US or Canada with one exception; you must send a self-addressed stamped envelope to me at P.O. Box 136 Burlingham, NY 12722.

I hate to make my international readers pay for postage. You guys mean so much to me and I really try to do as much as I can for you, but international postage for all my giveaways has become a big drain. I have to be selective about which giveaways I can open up to International readers. In this case, it seems most fair to offer the bookplates but ask International readers to cover their own postage.

I’ll honor bookplate requests from now through December 7th. A separate bookplate giveaway will begin after the new year for A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS preorders, and if you didn’t see the custom bookplates on Facebook a few weeks back, let me just tell you they are GORGEOUS! So definitely stay tuned for that one.

I’ll be sending the holiday bookplates out in batches as I receive them. The earlier you get them to me, the sooner I can get them in the mail to you!

<3

 

 

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10/26/11 Music , Prophecy of the Sisters , Uncategorized # ,

Prophecy of the Sisters Original Score Now Available

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!

Prophecy of the Sisters Score on Itunes

Prophecy of the Sisters Score on Amazon

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.

Happy listening!

0 likes 7 responses
09/28/11 Contests & Giveaway , Prophecy of the Sisters # ,

Library Giveaway V2.0!

As many of you know, I’d just started a library giveaway a couple of days before my site went down. It was impossible to gather and track entries without the website, and since my server host hadn’t backed up my data, I lost everything.

But like many in this economy, libraries are struggling. Faced with budget cuts and severe restrictions on their spending, many of them are currently imposed with buying freezes, which makes it impossible to add new books to their shelves.

So I’m going to try this again by giving away a complete set of the Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy to five libraries in the US and/or Canada and a choice of any one of the Prophecy books to five readers who spread the word about the library giveaway.

Here’s how it works;

If you’re a librarian or library representative, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO TO ENTER IS LEAVE A COMMENT HERE ABOUT WHY YOU’D LIKE TO WIN THE BOOKS FOR YOUR LIBRARY. You may enter on behalf of a library as long as the mailing address for the books, should you win, is a library or school.You don’t have to post your library’s address on your entry (you can send it to us if you win) so long as the address we ultimately mail the books to is a school or library.

I’m also going to throw in some color-coded wristbands and bookmarks for each of the Prophecy books that you can use as giveaways or reading incentives for your kids.

If you are NOT a librarian or library representative and would like to enter to win your choice of Prophecy books, Tweet and/or Facebook something like the following;

Michelle Zink is giving away FIVE sets of the Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy to libraries in the US and Canada! #michellezinkloveslibraries http://michellezink.com/library-giveaway-v2-0

This is important; you MUST tag me on Facebook (Michelle Zink) or Twitter (@michellezink) AND include on Twitter the hashtag #michellezinkloveslibraries and you must include a link to this page (Twitter will shorten it for you so everything should fit). Your entry will not count if you don’t include these things because we want libraries to be able to find the page to enter and it will be next to impossible for Rebekah to count your entries without the tags and hashtag.

You get one entry for every time you Tweet with the hashtag and/or post to your FB status. Contest runs from now until next Wednesday, October 4th at Midnight EST. Library and reader winners will be announced together the following Sunday. This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada.

I apologize to those libraries and readers who had already entered this contest before my site went down. I’m deeply sorry to make you repeat the effort, but I think this is an important giveaway and I didn’t want to blow it off because of the site outage.

Ready… Set… Go!

<3

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Michelle Zink is the award-winning author of over seven novels. She lives in New York with too many teenagers and too many cats.
Michelle Zink Online
Michelle St. James Online
ORDER LIES I TOLD
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ORDER THIS WICKED GAME
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ORDER A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS
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ORDER CIRCLE OF FIRE
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ORDER GUARDIAN OF THE GATE
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Acclaim

"This arresting story takes readers to other planes of existence…"
- Booklist (starred review)


“An intense and captivating story…”
- VOYA (starred review)


“A fresh and engaging cast of characters, a page-turning plot and lyrical prose add up to an accomplished feat of storytelling…”
- The Guardian


“A captivating tragedy…"
- Publishers Weekly


“Zink’s methodical unfolding of events will draw readers in…”
- Kirkus


“Tingly suspense is craftily managed…”
- The Bulletin

Awards
 

 



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