The Hunt for Tomorrow – Virtual Scavenger Hunt w/ MINDBLOWING Prizes

We’re running a pretty incredible promotion for the What Tomorrow May Bring YA dystopian boxed set and I wanted to make sure all my readers knew about it because the prizes are some of the MOST MINDBLOWINGLY AWESOME I have ever seen, on anything.  Behold:

22 authors.

3 boxed sets.

1 massive event.

On July 18thThe Hunt for Tomorrow Begins.

Yes, you read that right. 22 SIGNED PAPERBACKS, 3 boxed sets including all the books, and a custom dystopian story written collectively by all 22 participating authors where you get to call the shots – name some characters, pick a theme, and set us running.

It’s going to be amazing!  Sign up for the newsletter for more information and to be reminded when the Hunt begins on July 18th!

Thanks to my family/friends for the Surprise Shudder Launch Party!

So, yesterday was a busy day.  I worked from about 6:30 am to 3 pm straight gearing up for the release and getting all the promotional work in place, updating links all over the internet to Shudder’s Amazon pages, sending out review copies to bloggers with upcoming dates, etc.  By the time the afternoon rolled around I was wiped, but my husband (Deep) had suggested earlier in the week that we go out for dinner to celebrate the release and I’d been craving hibachi for a while (pregnancy), so after taking a break outside for an hour to enjoy the sunshine, I sucked it up and showered and we went out for dinner.

Turned out the restaurant could only accommodate us for a 5:30 reservation, which normally I’m down with since I’m pretty much constantly hungry these days, but yesterday it was a problem.  You see, with all the book stuff going on and my work being especially busy, we haven’t had a single moment to go look at any stuff to put on the baby registry.  I’ve done some research online and read lots of product reviews, but there are just so many options and so many things to pick, the whole thing has really just been stressing me out.  So we’d planned to spend an hour before dinner just walking around the nearby Toys R Us so we could see some stuff in person and maybe knock some items off our list.

But we were running late to begin with since I needed a few minutes to decompress before I got ready to leave the house, and then the reservation got changed to 5:30, and then we roll up to the Toys R Us only to discover that it has moved and my stupid GPS won’t connect to the satellite and it then takes us 10 minutes of driving in circles to find the new Toys R Us location.  And then we pull into this massive 8 story parking garage and go to Level 3 where Toys R Us is supposed to be, yet we circle and circle and all it says everywhere is “Entrance to Shop Rite” and meanwhile the clock is ticking down and we now have like 30 minutes until our dinner reservation, and I know that there are going to be like 150 different stroller models to try to look at in that time and that we probably won’t have another chance to do this for weeks and now we can’t even figure out where to park or how to get into the store or how to pay for parking, and I just lost it.

I started bawling hysterically in the car while my husband looked on in horror, and I refused to get out and go into Toys R Us.  I just couldn’t deal with the prospect of cramming what should be at least an hour-long purchase decision into 15 minutes before we needed to walk to the restaurant, I couldn’t deal with the glaring fluorescent lights accenting my red eyes and puffy nose to every other shopper in the store, and I couldn’t deal with figuring out the F-ing parking pay machine and how to navigate our way out of the monstrosity of a parking structure we were trapped in without even a single sign pointing the way to our destination.  I was done.

This was supposed to have been a good day and an evening of celebration, and instead I was exhausted, and stressed, and miserable.  I just wanted to cram my already swollen belly with fried rice and go home.

But Deep, being ever understanding and patient, just gave me a few minutes to cry it out and then encouraged me to please just come walk through the store on our way to the restaurant, and assured me it was okay if we were late to dinner as they’d just have to accommodate us whenever we decided to show up.  So after destroying a few tissues and brushing my hair into my face to hide my red-rimmed eyes as best I could, we went into Toys R Us.

And it actually ended up being a pretty productive 25-minute jaunt, where we settled almost immediately on the only stroller (out of 150) in the store that wasn’t either a ginormous unwieldy tank or a flimsy little collection of sticks on wheels like I used to push my Water Baby doll around in as a kid.  (In case you’re curious, it’s the Baby Jogger City Mini, which is extremely highly reviewed, and for good reason – that thing folds and unfolds like a pro, and it weighs – and costs – half of what all the other fancy strollers do.)  In addition, we significantly narrowed down our car seat selection and I was able to confirm that the crib that I’d originally settled on and then decided against since it wasn’t awesome enough indeed was not awesome enough.  So overall, a worthwhile trip.

And then we had a nice dinner, which we showed up to maybe 5-10 minutes late and it wasn’t a problem.  I ate all of my rice and half of Deep’s, not mention the rest of the shrimp, scallops, vegetables, bean sprouts, soup, salad, and ice cream they put on my plate.  (Did I mention I love hibachi and that I’m pregnant?)  And all together it was a nice dinner, until I stood up to leave and felt nauseous for about 30 seconds, and then when the nausea went away I just felt wiped.

So we’re on our way home, and despite needing to be home by 7 to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs, my husband is driving up the highway like an old biddy who can’t see over the steering wheel.  He mentions something about wanting to be home, and I literally reply, “Well, we’d get there sooner if you would drive faster than 50 miles an hour…”  And then we finally get to our exit, and I’m thinking about what I’m going to do all night so I don’t sit here and incessantly refresh my browser on my Amazon page to see how Shudder is doing (since let’s face it, no one’s buying books on a Saturday night – lesson learned for next launch) while he’s dominating the TV with this hockey game for the next three hours.  I’m too tired to even consider picking up another baby book – just the thought of holding 2-lbs of paper on my lap makes me want to cry again – and then I realize I have an episode of Rookie Blue DVR’d, which of course I’d need control of the TV to watch.

So I very gently ask if this is Game 7 or something, to gauge if maybe I can sneak 40 minutes of gripping Canadian TV drama somewhere in between hockey periods so I at least have something to look forward to all night.  And Deep replies that it’s only Game 2, so sure, he can watch the beginning of the game on the computer.  And then I’m wondering why the hell he even wants to watch this game, since he’s not a fan of either of the teams playing and it’s not like Game 2 is an important game or anything… but I just let it go, b/c I’m too tired to care.

And then we pull onto our street (which is only about wide enough for 1.5 cars to fit onto to begin with), and there are a whole ton of cars parked on the side of the road, and for some reason most of them are directly in front of our house.  And at this point you would think I realize something’s up, but instead my thought is (and I blame this on the pregnancy), “Why the hell would our neighbors let their guests park in front of our house when we have the smallest driveway and property on the block??”

And it’s not until we go to pull into the driveway and I see my dad standing there directing my father-in-law into a spot and notice my aunt’s bright blue SUV and then my ENTIRE family and all my close friends come sneaking around the corner of the house that I finally realize that I’ve been duped.  They’d been planning a surprise Shudder Launch Party all along, and I TOTALLY did not see it coming.

I heart ice cream cake!

I heart ice cream cake!

So after a long, stressful, and mildly depressing day, I got to cap off the night surrounded by all my favorite people in the world (except my brother Mikey, who was stuck milking cows at his farm apprenticeship a few hours away, my grandma, who was apparently livid that she was on vacation for this, and my brother-in-law Sujoy who is also away on a grand adventure), eating Shudder ice cream cake (the only kind of cake I like), and wearing a cute little Shudder button.  :-)

It was amazing.  My husband (who planned the whole thing) is amazing.  My family is amazing.  And I am so lucky to be surrounded by such a loving and supportive group of people, both in terms of my family and friends, and all of the wonderful readers and fans and fellow authors who’ve helped to make the series a success.  Thank you guys so much for everything.  I love you all.

Buttons from the Shudder Surprise Launch Party

Thank You Brewster High School for an Absolutely Awesome Visit!

BHS - Class of 2003!I just got back from an INCREDIBLE visit to my alma mater, Brewster High School in Brewster, NY, and I was SO thrilled… until I realized I’m a turd and completely forgot to take any photos. :’-(  It was an awesome, awesome time and I wish I could show you all, but I guess you guys will just have to make do with a nice stock photo of the school and our bear mascot (sorry).  –>

Anyway, I got to meet with the Humanities club which is run by two of my favorite teachers, Ms. McLeod and Mrs. Fine (shout out also to Mr. Stack for organizing!), and 20+ AMAZING students showed up for the discussion.  I was SO blown away by these kids, seriously – they ranged from freshmen to seniors and were just so incredibly thoughtful and bright and well-read, and had so much to say about a great variety of topics.

We touched on everything from my inspiration for Stitch (particularly the twist), to the merits of 1st vs. 3rd person point-of-view, the pressures of writing a trilogy, what it means to be an indie author, our favorite dystopian reads, how to market a book (including a great suggestion to try a Reddit AMA which I’m totally looking into!), what the students like to read and write, thoughts on book-to-movie adaptations, and more!

Brewster High School also got an exclusive sneak peek at an excerpt from Shudder (Chapter 8) which I’m very excited to share since literally no one up to this point has seen that except my beta readers.  (Hope you guys enjoy!)  Ch8’s not even going to be in the sample chapters, so the only way to get your hands on that is to track down someone from the BHS Humanities club… or wait until the book comes out on June 15th and buy a copy, wink wink!  :-D

I’ll likely be making a return visit in the fall, and I’m looking forward to it already!  In the meantime, BHS definitely keep in touch – please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions/comments and I’d LOVE to hear what you guys have to say about Shudder!  And if you *really* miss me, you can find my photo hanging in front of the auditorium…seriously (perks of being a valedictorian, haha).

Thanks again to Brewster for letting me invade for an afternoon!  It was super fun to be back.  :-)

PS – Go Bears.

Thank you Stamford High School for the AMAZING Visit!

I just got back from what was definitely one of the *coolest* experiences I’ve had as an author thus far – I got to visit the Stamford High School Book Club (in Stamford, CT) for an awesome discussion about Stitch (which they read recently) and my experience as an author!

Let me tell you – talking to readers is about the awesome-est thing ever (and yes I know awesome-est isn’t word, but it is now!!), and I hear from a lot of you guys online (which is AMAZING), but this was my first experience actually sitting down in a room full of people who’ve read my book and just…. wow.  It was really beyond words.

First off, these students were all so thoughtful and bright and cool, and had so many great things going on in their own lives, that I felt special that they even took the time to read Stitch.  They had SO many great questions – about my inspiration for the story, how I got started writing, who my favorite characters are, the most difficult (and best!) parts of writing a book, self-publishing, how I actually approached the writing process, how to market a book, you name it – not to mention (even better!) I got to hear about what they thought of Stitch (no one saw the twist coming, yay!) and the characters and what they hope to see in the next one.  It was a very stimulating and fun conversation – I’m going to be glowing for weeks!

To thank the Stamford HS Book Club for having me, I also gave out some very very early drafts of the first couple chapters of Shudder (you can see it there on the desk in the bottom left corner of the photo) as a Stamford High School exclusive.  I’m SUPER excited to hear what they think, because they are literally the *first* people to see this work, outside of my beta readers.  (Sorry everyone else!! I’ll have the finalized sample chapters up here for the rest of you in a few weeks – these guys needed some kind of perk for getting me out of my house for once!  Haha.)  I actually haven’t even revised those chapters yet – it’s first draft material, so it’s probably typo-laden and not super great – but I thought it would be cool to see these before anyone else!

And I was also thrilled to receive my very first piece of fan art!  Check it out!  (Isn’t this incredible?  Storm literally sketched this drawing of me in 5 minutes right before my eyes, while holding a full conversation with me and the other students – so cool!)

Overall, it was just an amazing day.  HUGE HUGE THANKS to Librarian Mary George for inviting me (and for the delicious red velvet cupcakes!) and to all of the students at Stamford who read the book and joined us for the meeting (and those of you who wanted to be there but couldn’t make it!).  You guys are seriously the best!!  Keep in touch!

All Weekend Long – Q&A @ New Adult Book Club

New Adult Book ClubI’m super excited to be the featured author for Goodreads’ New Adult Book Club Author Q&A this weekend!  All weekend long, you can swing by the thread and ask me anything at all that suits your fancy, about Stitch/Shudder, writing, life… whatever you’d like!

I absolutely LOVE hearing from fans of the series and talking about your reaction to the books and any questions you have about the story, the characters, my writing process, so please stop by the New Adult Book Club and let me know what you’re thinking!