“If you like Delirium and syfi dystopian, you’ll love this book.” 2 Reviews & Giveaway + PS about Stuck

Tressa's Wishful EndingsBig thanks to Jessica and Tressa for hosting the Shudder Blog Tour today with two awesome stops featuring CBL Giveaway chances and reviews of Stitch/Shudder!

First, check out the 4.5-star Stitch review at Escape Into A Book.  Then swing by Tressa’s Wishful Endings to hear what Tressa had to say about both Stitch & Shudder – here’s a sneak peek:

I really liked Alessa’s character. I thought she was a great MC and I connected with her and her struggles under the circumstances she was dealing with…. The society and plot were plausible (for a scifi/paranormal) to me as well. The drugs used on the people and separation of the classes; the romance; what the “virus” had created; the struggle for survival, but also for freedom all worked for me. … I’m looking forward to finding out how this series will end. If you’re looking for an interesting dystopian I think you would enjoy picking this up! <continue reading>

Thanks again to Jessica and Tressa!  And don’t miss these stops for more chances to win the big CBL Prize Pack Giveaway!

PS – I also wanted to give a quick shout-out to Tamara and her raving fan mail where she threatened to kidnap me and force me to write Stuck so that she wouldn’t whither away to nothing but eyeballs while waiting for the 2014 release.  Totally made my day.  :-)  I PROMISE you guys I won’t make you wait forever for Book 3!  As soon as I can do it, I will!!

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

Added Prizes to Stitch Free Days Giveaway! (THANK YOU!)

#14!

I missed the screenshot at #13, whoops!

I am so incredibly blown away by the success of the Stitch free days – and so grateful for all the help that so, so many of you have given me in spreading the word – that I decided to add a few more prizes to the giveaway so I can thank more of you for everything you’ve done for Stitch!

This morning, Stitch peaked at #13 on Amazon’s Top 100 Free Books, and though it has since dropped to #24 overall (which is still amazing), it remains in the Top 20 in many free book subcategories, including:

  • #1 in Dystopian Science Fiction
  • #1 in Science Fiction (Overall)
  • #1 in Paranormal Romance
  • #1 in Paranormal Ghost Romance
  • #2 in New Adult & College Romance
  • #10 in Romance (Overall)

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Stitch would climb anywhere near this high on any of these charts, so this is really surreal.

Even better, even my stretch goals for the number of downloads have way, WAY surpassed my expectations.  As of this moment, 15,500 people (!!) have downloaded a free copy of Stitch since Friday (and we’ve still got 2 more days to go in the promotion…).

I’d heard that some authors get 10,000+ downloads during a free promo, but I thought that was one of those very rare success stories that doesn’t happen to normal people (and especially not to me, lol).  So I thought if I got a couple thousand new readers, that’d be awesome and I’d call this thing a success.  Sure, I had fantasies of maybe being lucky enough to hit that 10k number, but I figured it was unlikely and didn’t want to get my hopes too high.  So you imagine how crazy it is to be sitting here looking at the numbers and realizing that halfway through the promotion, I’ve already beat that fantasy goal of 10,000 by 50+%.  As the ever-articulate Keanu Reeves would say, “Whoa.”

And the thing is, I know I absolutely would never have had a chance at accomplishing this without help from so many different people out there – from bloggers and e-book list organizers, to friends and family, and all of you readers and fans who took the time to spread the word.  I am indebted to all of you.

So to thank you (or at least a few more of you) properly, I’ve added the following prizes to the giveaway (in addition to the original $25 Amazon Gift Card):

  • 1 Signed Print Copy of Stitch
  • 1 Signed Print Copy of Shudder
  • 1 Signed Stitch Poster
  • 2 $5 Amazon Gift Cards

If you haven’t entered yet, please do so!  Here’s the widget:

Enter the Giveaway HERE!!!

Thanks so much again for all of your help!  I really can’t say it enough.  :-)

Stitch Reaches #19 on Amazon’s Top 100 Free!

WOW.  Wow wow wow.  Thank you so, so much to everyone who’s grabbed a free copy of Stitch in the past 24 hours.  Apparently it’s been a lot of you, b/c somehow Stitch has made its way into the Top 20 Free books on Amazon!!

Look – here it is at #19!

#19!!!

Only in my wildest dreams did I dare hope that Stitch might make it into the Top 100, let alone the Top 20, so this is really an amazing surprise!  I feel SO grateful that so many people (just about 7600 at this point according to my KDP reports…) have taken an interest in Stitch.  Really hope you guys are enjoying it!!

I’ll keep you updated on further developments as the weekend progresses.  :-)  Thanks again for all your support everyone!

Guess what came in the mail today!

AHHHHHH!  They’re here!!!!!

Shudder Print ARCsThe print ARCs have arrived!  And I must say, they are beautiful, aren’t they?

Can’t wait to crack one of these babies open and find me some typos!  (Actually, I hate proofreading, but whatevs – needs to be done.)

And if you’re one of the bloggers on the tour, good news: I’ve got the e-ARCs ready to go as well!  Just need to give those one more read-through to make sure they’re functioning properly, and then I’ll be sending them out.  Get ready!!  :-D

 

Pre-Release Jitters – Guest Post @ Reutreads

ReutreadsEver wonder what goes through an author’s mind leading up to the release of his/her book?  Well, it’s not pretty – basic a chaotic jumble of anxiety, stress, self-doubt, and of course the ever-present hopeful glimmer of excitement that drive an author to put him/herself through this process, again and again.

In a new guest post up today at Reutreads, I’m offering a glimpse into the handful of things that are keeping me awake in these nights leading up to Shudder’s release.  Here’s a quick preview:

1. How do I make my book NOT SUCK?

Okay, I’ll be straight with you – I don’t think the current draft of my next book sucks. I actually think it’s pretty good. But I thought that about my last book, too, up until the day I released it, and then almost immediately after I realized that I hated it. And then I loved it again, and then I hated it, and so on and so forth, until one day I finally saw it for what it actually was: a book – and a pretty decent book at that – but one that, like most books, has its flaws.

So what I learned after my experience with Stitch is that it’s really not for many months after the book has been released that I can actually see it clearly. The problem is that in order to make the book the best it can be, I need to know what’s wrong with it before I publish it.

I’m still not quite sure how to accomplish this, but I can promise you one thing – I’m TRYING. Really, really hard. I’m thinking about my book constantly, before I fall asleep at night and first thing when I wake up in the morning, in the shower, while I’m cooking, when I’m supposed to be doing my day job… it’s always on my mind. Where are the problems and how do I fix them?

LOTS more neuroses where that came from!!  Lol.  Check out the rest of the post over at Reutreads today for more.  :-)

Big thanks to Reut for making time in her busy school schedule to host me!

I Heart Book Bloggers!

I’m in the process of planning Stitch’s upcoming blog tour, and I just wanted to say that I am flat-out floored by the outpouring of support and enthusiasm in the book blogging community.

I started late last week emailing YA book bloggers that I had come across online and I have to say, my expectations were low.  After spending hours searching for potential blogs to review Stitch, I was a little discouraged by the number of great blogs I saw that were not open to reviewing self-published books, and even though I ended up with a list of around 100 blogs that I thought would be good candidates, I wasn’t very hopeful about my chances of getting any of these people to actually read my book.

After all, I am a new author, completely unknown in the writing world (at least beyond my network of business writing clients), and since I’m self-published, I don’t even have the backing of a reputable publisher or agent to lend me any credibility.  Yes, my book is good and my synopsis is fairly intriguing and I’ve got a pretty cover (at least in my opinion!), but when it comes down to it, from the perspective of a blogger I’m basically a completely random stranger begging you to spare some of your incredibly limited time to read my potentially crappy book.

So you can imagine my surprise when it took all of 4 DAYS to completely book a 30-day tour with one (and sometimes even two!) bloggers per day.

Did I mention that I love book bloggers?

I started out by emailing 30 people off my list to see if they would be interested in participating in the tour.  I was really excited when 4 or 5 people that I’d emailed responded within only a few hours (some of them minutes) saying they’d like to be a part of it.  A few people even very kindly suggested some other bloggers I should contact and gave permission for me to drop their names (thank you!).  And then one person (and as much as I’d love to give her a HUGE public shout-out for being awesome and the coolest person ever, I’m deliberately withholding her name for privacy since I feel like if I put it out there, she would get flooded with requests from other authors… Sorry guys!  Not my place to share) was kind enough to offer to forward my request on to 200 OF HER BLOGGER FRIENDS.  All I can say is, O.M.G.

Within 72 hours, I had 37 different people lined up (and miraculously, there were only a handful of conflicting date requests) and my blog tour schedule was filled.  As a result, I’m now planning to extend it by a month to accommodate all the new requests that are coming in (and I still need to email all the other people on my original list!).

But even beyond the sheer numbers – which way surpassed my expectations – was all the enthusiasm and excitement for my book.  In case you’ve never met one, book bloggers are INCREDIBLY NICE – just like, the nicest people in the entire world.  Every single person I emailed was SO sweet and so flexible with their schedules (even though I know most of them are jam-packed), and everyone was just generally willing to do whatever I needed to help me out.  It was amazing.  Just, amazing.

And even better were all the compliments!  I’m tickled!  Here’s a little sampling:

  • Your book sounds fantastic! I’m really excited to read it.
  • Hoping you have a few open spots left because I’d love to participate! Dystopian is my favorite genre and Stich sounds good, so I jumped at the chance :)
  • This sounds like an awesome title and I can’t wait to present it to my followers.
  • I love the summary for your book and would absolutely without a doubt love to review it!
  • That synopsis has me suitably intrigued, I would love to participate in your blog tour.
  • The synopsis pulled me in but the cover grabbed me! I absolutely love the cover and I am a sucker for YA and Post-Apocalyptic… I am extremely booked up but I can’t pass this book up so I will fit you in lol.

And these wonderful people haven’t even read the book yet!!  I’m just praying that Stitch lives up to their expectations…

I guess we’ll find out soon!  Check back for more information about the blog tour coming in a few days…

Stitch Reaches #68 on Amazon’s 4-for-3 Sci-Fi Books

As of around midnight last night, Stitch has climbed to #68 on Amazon’s Top 100 4-for-3 Science Fiction (General) books and it’s holding steady this morning!

Not sure how long this will last, so I wanted to document it while I could!

Again, huge thanks to everyone who purchased/reviewed the book yesterday – I’m sure that has a LOT to do with these rankings.  I am SO grateful for all of the support!

Stitch is #98 on Amazon’s 4-for-3 Sci-Fi List!!!

Um, I don’t know how this is possible… but Stitch is currently showing up as #98 on Amazon’s 4-for-3 Science Fiction Bestseller’s list:

Screenshot from Stitch’s Paperback Amazon Listing

There it is! #98! Right up there with a James Patterson book!

I don’t know how Amazon’s algorithms work or how long this is going to last, but I just had to share it!  !!!