Feb. 24th, 2011 03:05 pm
rj_anderson: (Rupert - Thoughtful)
Yesterday morning, Lisa (L.K.) Madigan, a fellow member of the Debut 2009 Authors' Group, passed away.

Many moving tributes to Lisa have been written by those who were close to her or who had at least had the chance to meet her in person, such as Sara Zarr and Melodye Shore. I regret to say that I never met Lisa or spoke to her at any great length, but I did get to read both of her books (the realistic teen novel Flash Burnout, winner of the 2010 Morris Award for best YA novel by a debut author, and her very different second book The Mermaid's Mirror, a sweet contemporary fantasy). And I often enjoyed her posts and comments on the Debs, which showed a lively wit and a determined spirit.

Lisa leaves behind a husband and young son. For those who wish to make a contribution in Lisa's memory, she had started a trust for her boy Nate's college fund, which you can donate to by sending a cheque to the following address:

Nathan Wolfson Trust
Becker Capital Management, Inc.
Attn: Sharon Gueck/John Becker
1211 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 2185
Portland, OR 97204

We will miss you, Lisa.
Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] hakkai_duo, who won my auction on [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti by donating $50 to UNICEF in exchange for a signed copy of Rebel! And thanks to the hundreds of others who participated, offered donations and made generous bids to help raise funds for earthquake relief in Haiti.

But if you missed the auction, don't worry, there's more to come --

The 2009 Debs have banded together with The Leaky Cauldron Fansite for an event called Helping Haiti Heal. This weekend, donations will be taken for the cause, with prizes given away to random, lucky donors.

Here's the contents of the Debs' Massive Prize Package, which some fortunate person will win:

Full list of more than 30 books below )

The livecast will be on Saturday, January 23rd starting at 2 p.m. EST and running through to 6 p.m. EST -- see you there!

January 7, 2010 @ 7 p.m., Yorkdale Mall Indigo Books
with Megan Crewe (author of Give Up The Ghost)
and Neesha Meminger (author of
Shine, Coconut Moon)

Both Megan and Neesha's books are beautifully written and they are also lovely people, so even if you are justifiably sick of me waving Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter under your nose, you might want to come out and say hello to them and pick up some great new reads in the process.

Or, you know, you could say hi to me and get me to sign your books and stuff. Whatever.


Also, today is the OFFICIAL release date of Rebel in the UK which means it should now be freely had at all good bookstores (including the noble law-abiding ones in Ireland who have been clinging fast to that embargo notice). Yay!
Can you believe 2009 is almost over? I can't. But thanks to my fellow MG/YA authors at [livejournal.com profile] debut2009, it's been an exciting year with lots of new friends and good reading in it!

So here's our parting gift to you, dear readers:

Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today
Two fantastic book prize packages are being given away soon, and my book is in both of them!

First, my fellow fantasy authors over at [livejournal.com profile] enchantedinkpot are running the First Annual Inkies Giveaway Extravaganza, with prizes including three bundles of eight books each -- one focused on Fairy Tales and Folklore (that's mine!), one on Adventure and Witchcraft, and another on Ancient Curses, Modern Ghosts, and Post-Apocalyptic stories. These prize packages contain a couple of droolworthy ARCs and some bestselling titles, so head on over and check it out! Contest runs until December 9, 2009.

Second, the stupendous Debs Library contest is still running over at [livejournal.com profile] debut2009! If you're a library professional and would like to win 46 free books by the debut authors of 2009 for your school or public library, zip on over and enter while there's still time -- the draw will be held on January 1, 2010.
I am happy to announce that in just a couple of weeks (well, three to be exact), I will be flying down to the AASL Conference in Charlotte, NC to do a signing for many lovely school librarians, and while I am visiting I will also be doing this:

Meet the Debs!

Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC

Friday November 6, 2009 at 5 p.m.

R.J. Anderson (Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter)
Lauren Bjorkman (My Invented Life),
Jennifer Jabaley (Lipstick Apology),
Neesha Meminger (Shine, Coconut Moon),
Shani Petroff (Bedeviled: Daddy's Little Angel),
Cynthea Liu (Paris Pan Takes the Dare), and
Erin Dionne (Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies).

We will be signing copies of our books and chatting to all comers -- if you're in the area, please drop by and say hello!

I am especially excited about this trip because not only do I get to meet a bunch of terrific fellow authors and hang out with my wonderful agent, I will be jaunting up to visit my dear friend [livejournal.com profile] cesario while I am there. Whee!


Next, I am exceedingly excited because today -- yes! today! -- I am going to have tea and hang out with the lovely and hilarious Adrienne Kress, author of two of my favorite middle-grade books of the last few years -- Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and Timothy and the Dragon's Gate. More people need to read these books. Seriously. They are adventurous and fantastical and witty and insightful and just plain fun. And so is Adrienne. So this too is made of WIN.


There may also be some very, very good news brewing on the writing front. I cannot say what about, exactly, not yet, as the details are yet to be confirmed. But I will tell you as soon as I can.


And finally, something for you lot -- it's Debsness time again!

Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today
Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today

In other news: still working on Touching Indigo. 43K as of today!
First, the good stuff:

Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today

And now for a long-overdue heads-up on what I've been doing. Namely, working on my paranormal YA Touching Indigo every spare moment I get. I was delighted with my 12K progress for the first week -- especially since about a third of that was new material -- but this week it's slowed down considerably due to a houseful of bored kids and my participation in London Book Camp (that's London ONTARIO, FYI -- nobody has offered to fly me to the UK yet!). Still, I have hopes of catching up to my target of 20K by Monday.

To help me stay motivated without an Official Editorial Deadline, I've told myself that if I get the first draft of this book finished by the second week of October at the LATEST, I can buy myself a new laptop. Which, considering that my current laptop is an eleven-year-old refurbished Toshiba with zero Internet capability and a busted hinge, is a pretty good incentive. Now I just have to think of an extra treat I can give myself if I get it all done by the end of September...

In the meantime, I've been delighted to find three Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter reviews in the past month from major US publications. First Booklist came through with some very nice words in their July issue, and then just this past week I got the nod from School Library Journal and VOYA, both of which you can check out on the Barnes & Noble page for Spell Hunter if you're curious.

I'll be offline for the next week, doing family stuff and focusing on getting caught up with Touching Indigo, but I look forward to catching up with everyone when I get back!
Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today
I just finished Adam Rex's novel The True Meaning of Smekday and I loved it SO MUCH I can hardly find words to tell you.

Well, okay, maybe I can )

You can find out more about the book at the Smekday site, which includes an excerpt from the text, among many other entertaining things... like Gratuity and J.Lo in comic form giving you 10 reasons you should read the book. (If you pay attention to no other part of this review, at least check out that last link!)


Another book I have been meaning to talk about for days now is Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Lexicon. Now, this is a book I would normally have bypassed due to its having the word "demon" in the title, because I am really not keen on fantasy that involves the occult. However, since I have come to know and appreciate the delightfully witty and talented Ms. Sarah through chatting with her on the [livejournal.com profile] debut2009 community, and had read a few excerpts from the book that made me positively salivate with eagerness to find out more, I resolved to give the story a chance and find out how the titular demons were handled.

As it turns out, I needn't have worried, because I loved it )

Check out the first chapter on Sarah's site for a taste of her lyrical, witty writing, or visit her Livejournal at [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales to enjoy her hilarious posts about her life as an author.


And now, since I seem to be recommending books in reverse order from when I actually read them -- [livejournal.com profile] lisamantchev's Eyes Like Stars is finally out and I can't wait to buy my own hardcover copy!

Here's why )

Check out an excerpt from the book if you want to know more, or find it at a bookseller near you.
Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today

Eyes Like Stars - Cover
Originally uploaded by rj-anderson
So you know that [livejournal.com profile] lisamantchev has written this utterly delightful, fresh, hilarious, adventurous, unputdownable YA fantasy called Eyes Like Stars, don't you?

Well, if you don't, here's a description:

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book--an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family--and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

Sounds kind of fabulous, doesn't it? Trust me, it totally is. This is the perfect book for theatre lovers, fairy lovers, lovers of Shakespeare, and/or people who just love a rollicking good read.

And now you have a chance to win a copy!

The Théâtre Illuminata proudly presents THE COMPLEAT WORKS OF LOLSHAKESPEARE contest.

Did I mention that I really loved this book? And that it is worth trying to win one of the six advance copies that [livejournal.com profile] lisamantchev is offering to give out to the people who design the most hilarious, clever, or otherwise delightful LOLShakespeare images? And that yours truly is one of the six judges who will select the lucky winners?

Yeah. That. So go now and check it out!
Today's [livejournal.com profile] debut2009 author interview (and I have to tell you, this will be the last one for a while -- I'm totally swamped with revisions right now!) is with the delightful, multi-talented, and incredibly hard-working Saundra Mitchell, author of Shadowed Summer.

This was the very first book I read by a fellow Deb, and I have to say, it blew me away. I don't normally read ghost stories -- I'm a total wimp for anything horrific, plus the whole ghost thing grates on my theology. But I was really impressed by the way Saundra drew me into her story and skillfully suspended my disbelief right to the very end. Plus, her prose is just beautiful, and she has a deft knack for vivid characterization that I really envy like whoa admire.

But enough about me! On to the book!


Nothing ever happened in Ondine, Louisiana, not even the summer Elijah Landry disappeared. His mother knew he ascended to heaven, the police believed he ran away, and his girlfriend thought he was murdered.

Decades later, certain she saw his ghost in the town cemetery, fourteen-year-old Iris Rhame is determined to find out the truth behind "The Incident With the Landry Boy."

Enlisting the help of her best friend Collette, and forced to endure the company of Collette's latest crush, Ben, Iris spends a summer digging into the past and stirring old ghosts, in search of a boy she never knew.

What she doesn't realize is that in a town as small as Ondine, every secret is a family secret.


A screenwriter and author, Saundra Mitchell penned the screenplays for the Fresh Films and Girls in the Director's Chair short film series. Her short story "Ready to Wear" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her first feature film, Revenge Ends, debuted on the festival circuit in 2008. In her free time, she enjoys ghost hunting, papermaking, and spending time with her husband and her two children.

Tantalizing, no? Let's find out more about Saundra and her book under the cut... )

You can learn more about Shadowed Summer by visiting the dedicated site, where you can read an excerpt from the first chapter, see more interviews with Saundra, and download a bunch of neat extras related to the book.

Shadowed Summer can also be ordered from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or support your local independent bookseller.

Visit Saundra on the web at www.saundramitchell.com.

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Today I'm happy to introduce fellow [livejournal.com profile] debut2009 member Erin Dionne, the author of the delightful tween novel Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies!

Thirteen-year-old Celeste Harris is no string bean, but comfy sweatpants and a daily chocolate cookie suit her just fine. Her under-the-radar lifestyle could have continued too, if her aunt hadn’t entered her in the HuskyPeach Modeling Challenge. To get out of it, she’s forced to launch Operation Skinny Celeste—because, after all, a thin girl can’t be a fat model! What Celeste never imagined was that losing weight would help her gain a backbone . . . or that all she needed to shine was a spotlight.

Erin Dionne has lived on two coasts and in four states. Her debut novel, MODELS DON’T EAT CHOCOLATE COOKIES, was inspired by events that occurred in seventh grade, when she wore a scary peach bridesmaid dress in her cousin’s wedding and threw up on her gym teacher’s shoes (not at the same event). Although humiliating at the time, these experiences are working for her now.

Erin lives outside of Boston with her husband and daughter, and a very insistent dog named Grafton. She roots for the Red Sox, teaches English at an art college, and sometimes eats chocolate cookies.

Click here for more with Erin Dionne! )

As a parting note, I read Models a few months ago and would readily recommend it to readers aged ten and up who would enjoy a witty, charming novel with a great first-person narrative voice. I loved and sympathized with Celeste right away and I'm sure that many readers will, too! You can order the book from Amazon or find it through IndieBound.
Today I'm excited to be hosting the talented and versatile [livejournal.com profile] debut2009 author Cynthea Liu, who just celebrated her release date for her first book The Great Call of China yesterday with an exciting online party! Congratulations, Cynthea!

About the Book:

Chinese-born Cece was adopted when she was two years old by her American parents. Living in Texas, she's bored of her ho-hum high school and dull job. So when she learns about the S.A.S.S. program to Xi'an, China, she jumps at the chance. She'll be able to learn about her passion--anthropology--and it will give her the opportunity to explore her roots. But when she arrives, she receives quite a culture shock. And the closer she comes to finding out about her birth parents, the more apprehensive she gets. Enter Will, the cute guy she first meets on the plane. He and Cece really connect during the program. But can he help her get accustomed to a culture she should already know about, or will she leave China without the answers she's been looking for?

About the Author:

Cynthea spent her formative years in Oklahoma and Texas where she was a Whiz Quiz member, an Academic Decathloner, and a spelling bee champion. (Yes, she was very popular.) After attending college on the East Coast, she worked at a corporate job where she mastered PowerPoint and racked up thousands of frequent flyer miles. Eventually, she traded in her suit for sweats to do the fun stuff--writing for children. In addition to The Great Call of China (Puffin, February '09) and her middle-grade novel Paris Pan Takes The Dare (Putnam, June '09) Cynthea's nonfiction book Writing for Children and Teens: A Crash Course (how to write, revise, and publish your kid's or teen book with children's book publishers) is available in paperback.

Click here for a fun Q&A session with Cynthea! )

Hee. I definitely know that feeling! Thanks for dropping by, Cynthea!

Finally, Cynthea's also put together a great little YouTube video describing how she came to write The Great Call of China and telling a little more about the book itself. Check it out:
The Feast of Awesome is at it again, giving away GLORIOUS SWAG! But the opportunity will be over at midnight EST, so hurry:

Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today

Go on, you know you want to. [livejournal.com profile] infiniteviking won last time, so clearly my f-list is charmed. (Though I myself never win anything; it is an incontrovertible fact of my existence.)
This week's featured [livejournal.com profile] debut2009 author is the delightful Jenny Moss, who's here to tell us all about her excellent middle-grade historical novel Winnie's War.

About the Book:

Life in Winnie's sleepy town of Coward Creek, Texas, is just fine for her. Although her troubled mother's distant behavior has always worried Winnie, she's plenty busy caring for her younger sisters, going to school, playing chess with Mr. Levy, and avoiding her testy grandmother. Plus, her sweetheart Nolan is always there to make her smile when she's feeling low. But when the Spanish Influenza claims its first victim, lives are suddenly at stake, and Winnie has never felt so helpless. She must find a way to save the people she loves most, even if doing so means putting her own life at risk.

About the Author:

Jenny Moss is a former NASA engineer. She earned a master's degree in literature and taught writing as an adjunct at University of Houston-Clear Lake. She lives with her two teenagers in Houston, Texas. Welcome to the Oakenwyld, Jenny!

Click here for the interview and more with Jenny! )

And now for a personal recommendation -- I had the privilege of reading Winnie's War a few months ago. It's a beautifully written, moving and engrossing book with real and engaging characters, and I would gladly recommend it to any young reader who is interested in the time period or just enjoys historical novels in general.
I'm happy to announce that over the course of this coming year I'll be participating in the Moveable Feast of Awesome, a.k.a. the 2009 Debs' Blog Tour! Every week or so I'll post an interview with one of my fellow [livejournal.com profile] debut2009 authors as their books hit the shelves, so you can find out more about them and their writing.

And my first interviewee is the lovely and multitalented Stacey Jay! Her YA paranormal novel You Are So Undead To Me has been out since January 22nd, and it's published in the US by Razorbill Books. Here's a little bit about the book:

Megan Berry's social life is so dead. Literally. Fifteen-year-old Megan Berry is a Zombie Settler by birth, which means she's part-time shrink to a bunch of dead people. All Megan wants is to be normal--and go to homecoming. But someone in school is using black magic to turn average, angsty Undead into flesh-eating Zombies, and it's looking like homecoming will turn out to be a very different kind of party--the bloody kind.

Stacey Jay describes herself as a workaholic with three pen names, four kids, and a decidedly macabre sense of humor. She loves zombies, creepies, crawlies, blood, guts, gore, and of course, romance.

Click here for the interview and more with Stacey Jay! )

Congratulations on your debut, Stacey, and thanks for telling us a little more about yourself and your book! The next Debs interview will be with Jenny Moss on Feb. 15, when I'll be talking to her about her MG historical novel Winnie's War.


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