Saturday, May 30, 2009

A post in which I announce countdown contest winners, and then ask readers for a favor *sheepish grin*

Many thanks to everyone who entered the Countdown to THE DARK DIVINE Contest. The winners are as follows:

1.) Grand Prize winner of the Utah Author Sampler Package (Autographed copies of THE CHOSEN ONE, WINGS, and EVERYTHING IS FINE): Llehn

2.) Winner of an autographed copy of THE CHOSEN ONE: Khy

3.) Winner of autographed copy of WINGS: Ragdollvampgirl

4.) Winner of autographed copy of EVERYTHING IS FINE: Cam

Winners, email me at readbree(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address, and I will ship your prize to you. Thanks again for entering!!

Okay, and now that I have your attention, I will shamelessly ask for a favor. The Tenners are hosting a pillow fight of sorts over on GoodReads. Basically, we're just having a friendly competition to see who can garner the most votes for their book. I'm a little down in the rankings, so I'd love your support. Mostly so I can say, "nah, nah, nah" to Josh Berk and Heidi Kling who decided to start this little competition. So if you don't mind taking a second to help up my ranking, then click here and vote for THE DARK DIVINE. Also, you'll get a little sneak peak of the many Tenners books coming out next year. Thanks in advance!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Countdown to The Dark Divine contest!

So I promised you guys awesomeness, and awesomeness is here! Today marks exactly 8 months until THE DARK DIVINE debuts on December 22, 2009. Dude, that's less time than it takes to have a baby--and far less painful (well, physically anyway). To mark the occasion, I'm kicking of The Countdown to The Dark Divine Contest . . .or should I say CONTESTS. Yep, that's plural.

Here's how it works: For the next 8 months, I will be hosting a contest on the 22nd of each month to count down to the debut of my book. Prizes will range from autographed books from other great YA authors, t-shirts, swag, signed advanced copies of THE DARK DIVINE, and pretty much any other neat prize I come across along the way.

So here's the deal with May's contest: I wanted to find a way to show my appreciation to my current followers, and encourage people to spread the word about the THE DARK DIVINE to their friends . . .so I'm actually hosting two contests rolled into one.

For my current followers:

You guy's qualify for the Grand Prize, which is a Utah Author Sampler Package. (In case you guys haven't heard, Utah is pretty much a haven for awesomeness when it comes to YA fiction.)

The package includes:

1. An autographed copy of the highly praised THE CHOSEN ONE by Carol Lynch Williams.

2. An autographed copy of WINGS by Aprilynne Pike (which just hit #1 on the NYT bestseller list!)

3. An autographed copy of EVERYTHING IS FINE by Ann Dee Ellis.

Yep, that's right, the grand prize winner gets all 3 autographed hard-covered books.

All you have to do is promote this contest and get your friends to become followers of this blog, or to follow me on twitter at @breedespain. For everyone you get to follow me, you get an entry into the contest (so be sure to tell people to tell me that you sent them). The more followers you send, the more entries you get! And don't worry, there's something in it for your friends, too.

For new followers:

New followers get entered into a separate contest to win one of the three books from above. (But the only one that is autographed is THE CHOSEN ONE, so we'll consider that one the 1st place prize.) UPDATE: I WAS ABLE TO GET AUTOGRAPHED COPIES OF ALL THREE BOOKS, SO YAY, THEY'RE ALL AUTOGRAPHED!

All you have to do is become a follower of this blog, or follow me on twitter (you get two entries if you do both) and then introduce yourself to the group in the comments section of this post. (You will especially need to introduce yourself if you choose to follow through RSS feed.)

Now if you're a new follower, you can also enter to win the Grand Prize Utah Sampler Package if you promote this contest and get other followers to join. And current followers, if your follower gets another follower to join, then you get an additional entry into the grand prize drawing, and so on and so on. It's really a win-win situation.

(But you can only win one of the contests.)

Okay, that's it. Simple, eh? (If not, then you can always ask me a question here on the blog or through my contact form on my website). The contest runs from May 22nd until midnight on May 29th. Winners will be announced on May 30th. Now ready, set, go!

P.S. Don't forget to check back here every month on the 22nd until December 2009 for a new contest giveaway.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The trouble with sequels (pt 2)

Hey All-

Sorry for the blog silence for the last few days. Exciting things are happening here in Read Bree land, and I've been struggling to keep up with everything else. (And hopefully I'll be able to tell you all about some of those exciting things soon!)

Anyway, thank you for all of your sequel advice. So here's what I've learned so far:

1. Readers like it if the characters develop more and grow.
2. But readers don't like it if a character changes too much.
3. Some people like it when a sequel is told from another character's point of view, or is about a whole new set of characters in the same world.
4. Other people read a sequel because they want to know more about the main characters, and they would be disappointed if the story was too different.
5. Readers want more of the same of what they loved about the first book. They want to recapture what they felt/experienced when they read the book the first time.
6. Readers don't want the sequel to be "just more of same" over again.
7. Some readers like sequels because they like to spend more time in the "world" of the story. (Such as the Harry Potter/Hogwarts world.)
8. Other readers don't like it if the setting doesn't change enough from book to book. (Such as the Harry Potter/Hogwarts world.)
9. Many readers come back to a sequel because they love the sexual tension and romance from the first book and want to experience it again.
10. Some readers think it's not good to focus too much on the romance in a sequel.
11. Some readers think Friends is a great example of how to develop romance over a long period of time.
12. Other readers think Friends is bad example of how to handle romance over a long period of time.
13. Some people think the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are an example of stinky sequels.
14. Others recommend Pirates of the Caribbean movies as an example of fun sequels.
15. Pretty much everyone hates it when an author separates her romantic leads because of a "stupid misunderstanding" just for the sake of separating them. (Duly noted, my friends.)

So I think the thing I've learned most from this experiment is that we have a diverse, opinionated, helpful, and totally awesome group of readers here. I think I've also figured out that the key to writing a great sequel is balance. A combination, or a "somewhere in-between" of most of these comments.

Now I just need to actually find that balance and write it! Woo hoo, there's nothing like a good challenge. Alright, I'm pushing up my sleeves and getting to work.

But for now, I'm leaving you with this little teaser: Be sure to come back here on the 22nd (that's this Friday). Goodness will ensue!

P.S. The winner of our sequels giveaway is: Cinnamon! Email me at readbree(at)gmail(dot)com with your contact info and I'll send you your YA sequel (or any YA book) of your choice.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The trouble with sequels . . .and a giveaway (of course)

Book Status: Revisions: check. Line edits: check. 1st round of copyedits: check. And for those who haven't heard, I have a release date. THE DARK DIVINE will hit the shelves on December, 22, 2009. Yep, that's not a typo. My book is coming out this December. Squeeee!!!

THE DARK DIVINE is considered a Valentine's 2010 title, but it needs to get to bookstores by the 22nd of December so they can put it in their Valentine's promotions that go up right after Christmas. How cool is that? THE DARK DIVINE = Awesome last minute Christmas gift . . .or . . .THE DARK DIVINE = Perfect V-day gift. Double squeeee!!

Mother's Day status:
It all started when the boys came busting into my room around 7:00 am so they could present me with their gifts.
KidZ gave me a beautiful bouquet of Popsicle-stick flowers.

And KidA gave me, well, um, this:

And yes, that is a decapitated lego head on a post. That kid knows me so well.

Sequel Status: I'm 12 pages (15 if I put it in Courier font, hehe) into my sequel, and I'm determined to make sure that my new novel doesn't turn out to be one of those "ho-hum, not as good as the first book" kind of sequels. So that's where I need your help, dear readers. I want to know what you guys look for in a sequel:

What do you like/dislike about sequels?
In your opinion, what makes a great sequel, well, great?
What makes a stinky sequel a stinker?
What's the best sequel you've ever read?

And what do you get for helping me out? Leave a comment about what you think about sequels (the good, the bad, or the ugly), and I'll enter you in a drawing to win a YA sequel of your choice (or any other YA book, if you wish). I want to hear from as many people as possible, even you lurkers. Yes, I'm talking to you . . . go leave a comment. I promise I don't bite (most of the time) and you may even win a free book. Neat.

Thanks in advance!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Guest Post: Life of an Author's Husband - or - Who in the what now?

Hello fellow readers of Bree. Many know me as "hubby" while others may know me by different names. Considering the point of this post however, I think "hubby" will do. After all, someday I hope to define myself simply as Bree's husband. I even already have a t-shirt that claims the designation of TROPHY HUSBAND (though I may need a few more goes on the treadmill before I can fully claim that awesome title).

So, I wanted to share with you a bit of what its like being the hot guy in the background, playing the dutiful role of supportive spouse. Bree may claim to be somewhat neurotic and even a little crazy when faced with deadlines and potential rejection, but I don't know if that is how I would describe it. Its more like this: Have you ever had a friend that is awesome at pretty much anything they try (well, except for maybe singing-- sorry hun, its really your only flaw), but they just don't believe they are? Yeah, that's what its like. Perfectly annoying, jealous making, yet endearing.

I'll give you a for instance. The night before she was supposed to get "the" call from her now fabulous agent Ted, she was doing what we would call "freaking out."

Bree: What if he's calling to tell me he doesn't like it and is passing on it?!

Hubby: Why on Earth would he CALL you on a SATURDAY to tell you he was passing on it? I'm telling you, he's calling to woo you into being his client.

Bree: But what if all the others at the agency hated it? What if they all think Ted's crazy for wanting to take me on and they fired him and now he's calling me to sarcastically thank me for causing him to lose his job? What if--?

Hubby: Bree, I'm telling you they love it. They wouldn't call over the weekend if they didn't love it and want to move on it right away.

Sure enough, I was right, Ted sold her on acting as her representation and I got to be all smug about being so awesomely right for a few days. So really, in a way, its kinda rewarding acting as the voice of reason to an Author (even if I am grossly under qualified to be the voice of reason) because I get to walk around saying stuff like "nah nah nah nah nah, I waaas riiight" and blow raspberries like KidA.

So here we are: Bree's awesome, and I'm right, and there's nothing she can say about it.

Thanks for letting me share (not that you really had any say in the matter :P). As a reward, I leave you with a great video that was recently shared with us by a fellow Egmont USA author, Alexandra Bracken. I especially like the fat guy in the leather jacket and the very end. I laughed for a good ten minutes afterward.

Also stay tuned for another upcoming contest in May as well as some good news on the way!

p.s. Thanks for all the compliments (and help with finding the broken links and typos) on the new website for Bree. It was a lot of fun to work on and we worked pretty hard, so I'm glad you all liked it.