Sunday, October 26, 2014

2014 YA Contemporary Scavenger Hunt (author interview and giveaway)

Hey everyone! I have a fun post for you today. I was lucky enough to be invited to join the 1st annual 2014 YA contemporary scavenger hunt hosted by The Book Belles and Katie's Book Blog.

As part of the scavenger hunt I have the privilege of hosting a wonderful author and highlighting her awesome book. I haven't had the chance to read this one yet, but it sounds fantastic! So, please welcome to my blog, author Rachel DeWoskin and her YA contemporary BLIND.

When your life as you know it is taken from you, how do you go on?

Imagine this: You are fourteen, watching the fireworks at a 4th of July party, when a rocket backfires into the crowd and strikes your eyes, leaving you blind. In that instant, your life is changed forever. How do you face a future in which all your expectations must be different? You will never see the face of your newborn sister, never learn to drive. Will you ever have a job or fall in love? This is Emma’s story. The drama is in her manysmall victories as she returns to high school in her home town and struggles to define herself and make sense of her life, determined not to be dismissed as a PBK – Poor Blind Kid. This heartfelt and heart wrenching story takes you on Emma’s journey and leaves you with a new understanding of the challenges to be faced when life deals a devastating blow.

Buy the book!

Interview with Rachel:

Blind's central focus surrounds Emma, who suddenly loses her vision in an accident. What research did you do in order to write about this topic?

I began to imagine and write Blind when my two little girls and I read the children’s bookThe Black Book of Colors every night for a year. I was both terrified and inspired by that shiny, embossed wonder, full of images you can feel rather than see. The more we touched those pages, the more I wondered what it would be like to be able to see and then lose that ability. Would my memories stay visual? Would my senses cross so that I could taste, smell and hear colors? What would language look and feel like, and how would I read, think and make meaning of the world? What if one of my daughters lost her vision? We would read with our fingers and voices, take in books, each other, and everything around us in an utterly changed way. The stakes would be astronomical. What if feeling became our way of seeing?

I wrote Emma Sasha Silver’s story so I could try to feel my way through someone else’s experience, my favorite part of both reading and writing. Emma is the heroine I wanted for my daughters, a complicated and 3-D girl who ultimately manages to be a warrior when faced with staggeringly painful circumstances. Like so many teenagers I know, she is tenacious, scrappy, funny, and difficult. She is resilient not only because she musters up her own courage, but also because the girls around her are kind. Emma’s friends, sisters, and parents are like mine: flawed but loving, trying to be their best selves even in the worst possible moments. They are no saints in Blind, but girls take care of each other when it matters most. Because for me, that experience is true and urgent.

In order to dream Emma up, I spent last year studying Braille, going to “beep ball” games and eating ice cream with blind teenagers, trying on glasses, tripping over white canes, and learning basic geometry with a teacher who taught me to feel shapes on a magnetic board. I talked to blind girls who told me they always wear nude bras, so the colors won’t show through, no matter what tee-shirt they might accidentally choose. I felt clothing labels Braille-d onto little squares cut from milk jugs, learned to tell a blue eye-liner (one rainbow loom band around the top) from a red lip-liner (two bands). I got how and why blind girls like to wear make-up. I was reminded that kids are kids no matter what their particular challenges, everyone working on the same universal projects: to figure out who we are and how to engage in the world in meaningful ways. Blind is for all those kids, and for my daughters, an exploration of what we need in order to stay on the opposite side of loneliness: each other, curiosity, love, empathy, and books.

Writing Blind let me do what I want my girls – and all girls – to get to do as many times as they can, all their lives. To close my eyes and open my imagination to the fantastic possibilities of a new way to look at—and see—the world.

How long did it take you to write Blind?

Three years, during which I both researched (learned Braille, hung out with people who know more about blindness and adolescence than I do) and wrote.

Was it easier or harder to write Blind than your previous novels?

Each book presents its own set of inspirations and struggles. I wanted, writing Blind, to inhabit as fully as possible the experiences of being fifteen, being blind, and being in a giant family of sisters, so that required both a lot of research and a lot of dreaming/imagining. But that work is what I most love to do, and I’ve had (and gotten, really) to do it for each of my books.

What do you like to do when you're not reading or writing?
I like to hang out with my little girls and my husband and my parents, dancing, painting, watching movies, baking cupcakes, stapling printer paper books together, cutting out snowflakes, model-magic-ing, flying to China. I like to teach my students at The University of Chicago, to read and think about their work. I like to swim, climb, run, and to move around the world (we spend part of every year in Beijing, and another part on the Salmon River in California). I love transition, culture shock, languages that don’t belong to me, my family, and the feeling of being able to fly and land anywhere.

Quick Questions:

Contemporary or Historical Fiction? Historical.
Beach or Mountains? Beach.
E-Book or Physical? Both, please.
Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt? Ice cream. Unless it's at one of those frozen yoghurt places where there's a giant salad bar of candy, in which case I love it.

Rafflecopter Give Away of Blind (a physical book and an audio book!):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rachel DeWoskin is the author of Foreign Babes in Beijing, a memoir about her inadvertent notoriety as the star of a Chinese soap opera, and a novel, Repeat After Me. She lives in New York City and Beijing and is at work on her fourth book, Statutory.   

Connect with Rachel:

YA Contemporary Scavenger Hunt
Head on over to Eileen Cook 
for the next stop on the hunt! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I had a ball! (literally and figuratively)

Hey everyone! Yesterday was the Cinder & Ella Book Release Ball, and though I was completely exhausted by the end, I had a great time! Since not everyone could go, I thought it would be fun to sort of recap the night.

First of all, I was nearly late for my own party. I had to pick up my kids from school and I cut it a little too close. Then I got stopped by a train on the way. I burst through the door to my house at exactly 3pm and then promptly neglected my children for the rest of the night. (It's a good thing their dad was home.)

The evening started with a walk down the red carpet. We had the fashion show of the century! Everyone looked fabulous! 

This was my dress...

And Julie was the winner of our fashion contest with this beautiful gown...

Brian and Kyle both arrived in style as well. Brian is a big boy and was able to dress himself... 

while Kyle needed a little bit of Val's help. First he tried to come wearing this...

But Val made him change into this...

Thanks Val! Sorry Kyle, but green crushed velvet only gets a man so far, you know?

Author Cassie Mae received an honorable mention when she made a selfless sacrifice to not show up her date by looking too hot. 

Where was Val on this one? ;) 

After the red carpet the guests were announced at the door, and the list was long and distinguished! I dare even the Oscars to have such a star stuttered event! The amazing, beautiful, scrumptious, talented, shiver-inducing Santiago Cabrera was kind enough to escort me. Lucky ME! I fell in love with him when he played Lancelot on Merlin, and he made it a permanent love on his show The Musketeers. Be still my beating heart! And also, he happens to be half Chilean just like Ella!

Some others among the guest list included Chase Crawford, Clive Owen, Henry Cavill, Ian Somerhalder, Channing Tatum Matt Bomer, George Clooney, Logan Lerman, Cris Pine, Theo James, Chris Evans, Captain Hook, Daemon Black, Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Knightly, Paul Rudd and many others. Even Toothless flew in from Berk! I think Jensen Ackles won for escorting the most women! He had like six dates! Brittany won our contest for best fantasy date, though, when she showed up with Sam Heughan - the handsome built Scotsman playing Jamie on Outlander! 

The ladies helping me judge the competition had a hard time deciding on only one winner for this competition, but in the end the sexy shirtless man in the kilt with the hot foreign accent won out! Never underestimate the power of the kilt!

From there things got crazy and the rest of the night became a blur. There were authors chatting everywhere and it seemed like every time I blinked there was another giveaway happening!

There was dancing...

There was cake...

and then there wasn't cake...

Author Marissa Meyer showed off her sexy feet...

which caused Author Cindi Madsen to confess to an addiction...

while Author Anne Eliot had panic attacks... (curse those time zones!)

don't worry, Anne is doing better. (We fed her chocolate. It cures all.)

That was exciting, but the real party stopper of the night was when Kyle crashed the ball, making a fashionably late entrance after hijacking my Facebook page.

which caused most of the ladies present to swoon...

unfortunately, with Kyle and Brian's history/rivalry, the night only went downhill from there with more than a few classic moments such as these...

It's called maturity, boys. Honestly!

BUT we managed to save the evening by having an awesome fan art contest, which I will post a separate blog about later, and a truckload of winners!

of course, then I ruined it by attempting to read to you... 

...and I gave a long-winded, boring speech. :)

And that was about it! Hope you enjoyed the ball, whether you were there in person or experiencing it second hand through this very long, picture-heavy blog post! Thanks everyone! Enjoy the new book!!!

Old V is for Virgin interview with the Girls With Glasses

Hey guys! So I was going to add my read-along video to my extras page (which I will do in a moment) but then I came across these and decided to add them as well. :)

Thanks to the lovely Summer and Brooke for having me on the Girls With Glasses show!

Arent Brooke and Summer so adorable?
Click the picture to check out there website and see what they're all about!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy Book Birthday Cinder & Ella!! Blog tour kick off and giveaway.

It's finally here!! Woohoo! Download the ebook today at it's release day discounted price of $2.99!

Now Available in paperback and ebook on

Help me celebrate the release and kick off the official blog tour at the 

Games, giveaways, author chats and more!

And the fun continues all month long!
Follow the tour...

10 – 1 – Facebook party
10 – 2 – The Chiq Blog – Excerpt

              Not so public library – anuthor interview

10 – 3 – Book Passion For Life – Cinder’s Original letter to Ella  

              My Book World – author interview

10 – 4 – A Life Bound By Books – Brian & Ella stop by to chat about their new release

              Cada libro un mundo – author interview

              Loco Mundo Literario – author interview

10 – 6 – Fire & Ice – Author Interview

              Fierush – author interview

10 – 7 – I Am A Reader – Brian Oliver vs Kyle Hamilton –a character comparison

              Choque deLetras – review
10 – 8 – Epic Narrative Book Reviews – review
              FluffyReads – Why I love Brian Oliver so much

10 – 9 – Read For Your Future – My struggles with reading/love for it

              The CozyReading Corner – teaser excerpt

10 – 10  Books Are Love -- review
  Turning Pages of Fiction – review
              Vendea’s Worldof Books -- Review
10 – 12  Istyria – review
              Bookworm Lisa – Vivian, Juliette, and Rob stop by for a chat
10 – 13  SMW Blog – review
              BurningImpossibly Bright – Ella and Brian stop by to say hello!

10 – 14  Coffee, Book, and myKindle – review

              My Book A Day – Review
10 – 15  Books over Boys – My top ten princes in YA fiction

              This Blonde Reads—Why I chose to write a Cinderella Story

10 – 16  Bonjoyr Y’all – character interview with Brian and Ella

              Words Feather – Brian & Ella stop by for an interview

              Coffee Books and MyKindle – Ella stops by for a chat

10 – 17  Book Babe’s Reads – review
              Book Butterfly inDreamland – review
10 – 18  Teen Reader’s Diary – excerpt/teaser

              Crawling Over thePages – review
10 – 19  Author2Author – author interview

              Clever Girls Read – review
10 – 20  Getting Your Read On – Review
10 – 21  Egykönyvfüggő vallomásai – author interview

10 – 22  Bitter Sweet Book Love – review
10 – 23  Fastidious Reader – Kelly’s thoughts on online relationships

10 – 24  My Guilty Obsession – review
10 – 25  Views N Reviews – Kelly’s top 10 Cinderella Adaptations

10 – 26  El Extraño Gato del Cuento – review

10 – 27  Bows & Bullets – interview

10 – 28  Closet Geeks and SlowMo – Cinder & Ella playlist

              Storybook Reviews – review
10 – 29  Random Things In Action – review
10 – 30  The Rest Is StillUnwritten -- teaser excerpt
10 – 31 Paper Cuts – Brian and Ella stop by to chat (argue) Halloween