GIVEAWAY: Signed ARC & Limited Edition Stitch Scarf!

To celebrate the release of the Stitch 2016 Revised Edition, I’m giving away three (3) awesome prize packs, each including a signed ARC and a limited edition Stitch scarf!!!

Stitch 2016 Revised Edition Signed ARC and Scarf Giveaway

These ARCs and scarves are some of only five in existence (the rest of which I’m hoarding for my own personal enjoyment), so I’m SUPER excited to be sharing these with fans of the trilogy!  The super-soft, cozy scarves were created by the one and only Litographs and feature the exact text from the revised edition of the book!  SO COOL.  (In case you were wondering, yes, I will be sporting mine all winter long!)  They also have tons of other awesome products if you’re looking for gift ideas for the literature lover in your life (or yourself, haha) – t-shirts, totes, posters, etc. – featuring your favorite classics (Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, Shakespeare), contemporary hits (Outlander, Cinder, The Time Traveler’s Wife), and more!  (Note: this is NOT a sponsored post, I’m just an unabashed fangirl! Lol).

In short, lots of goodness in this giveaway, so don’t miss out!!

Enter to win below – it’s totally free, open internationally, and will run until December 12th!

Enter to win here!

SURPRISE!!! Revised Edition of Stitch Available TODAY!

stitchrevisededitionannouncement

Ok Stitch fans, I have a big announcement that I’m very excited to share… I recently invested a little (a lot of) time in creating a *new and improved* revised edition of Stitch and it’s available… today!!

“Wha-wha-whhaatt…” did you say?  I know, you must have questions, considering I totally snuck this project up on you.  So I went ahead and made a little FAQ that will hopefully clarify everything – read on!

— FAQ’s About Stitch (Stitch Trilogy, Book 1) 2016 Revised Edition —

Wait a sec… aren’t you supposed to be writing Stuck??
Why, yes.  Yes I am.  But the thing is, when I release Stuck, I obviously plan to do a huge promotional push to hopefully draw more readers into the series.  And to be frank, the thought of potentially thousands of new readers reading Stitch as it was – and forming their first impressions of me as a writer based on the original version of the book – was making me cringe.  And that icky, knotted-stomach feeling was pervading my enthusiasm for Stuck and for the series as a whole.  So in order to give this trilogy its rightful end, I felt I needed to go back to the beginning and make sure that Book 1 was done to the very best of my ability.

As much affection as I have for the original version of Stitch with all its quirks and flaws, I’ve learned a lot since it was published and have grown a lot as a writer (much of which is thanks to you and all your wonderful – sometimes brutally honest! – feedback, dear readers. I told you I read all the reviews, didn’t I??), and I want the series opener to be the best it can be.  Make sense?

Ok, awesome. So what’s new?
Let’s start with what’s NOT new.  First off, the plot.  Nothing about the storyline, or the characters’ history, or the major plot points have changed.  So if you don’t feel like re-reading it before Stuck releases, that’s no problem at all – you won’t be missing any essential information for the finale and can jump right in when Stuck comes out.

What HAS changed is the storytelling.  It’s faster-paced, more intense, more engaging.  Mostly, there’s less exposition – there’s more showing and less telling, i.e. through flashbacks, conversations between characters, hints in the setting, etc.  So that means… new scenes!  You’ll find LOTS of new interactions between Isaac, Alessa, Janie and the rest of the crew, more of Isaac’s POV, more action, more ROMANCE… and a *bit* less of Alessa blathering on in her head about her feelings or describing inconsequential details of her everyday life (the number one critiques of the original version of the book, which I have to wholeheartedly agree with).

Most of the changes are in the first two thirds of the book, because, well, I pretty much wrote it in the order that it reads – so those early chapters were the first ever chapters of a novel I’d ever written, and I frankly didn’t really know what I was doing.  But as many readers commented, the book really picked up after the twist and I felt I really hit my stride by the climax, so there’s not too much different towards the end.  (And just in case you were wondering, I have NO plans to make any changes to Shudder.)

I want it!! How do I know what version I have?
Check out the copyright page (two pages after the cover). If it says “Copyright © 2012 Samantha Durante” it’s the original.  If it says “Second Edition, Revised 2016. Copyright © 2012, 2016 Samantha Durante” you’ve got the revised version!

Argh, I’ve still got the old one – how do I get my revised edition??
If you bought a Kindle copy: Log in to your account on Amazon.com and go to the Manage Your Content & Devices page – find Stitch and click the “Update Available” button.  (Note that you will lose any existing notes/highlights!!)

If you bought a paperback copy: All paperback copies have been sold through Amazon, and Amazon has a great feature where I can make a discounted Kindle version available to owners of the print version.  So guess what – I made it free!!  Just log in to your account on Amazon.com, go here, and download your free updated Kindle copy.

If you bought an e-book from B&N, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, or elsewhere: Stitch is exclusive to Amazon for the next few months (more on that in an upcoming post), so you won’t be able to get the update until around March-ish (sorry!).  And to be totally honest, I’m not really sure how updates work at these other vendors…  Worst case, if you can’t get the update from wherever you bought it (or just don’t feel like waiting), just email me and I’ll send you a copy!

If you won a free print or e-book copy, or received a free copy for review purposes: Email me and I’ll send you a free updated e-book copy!  (Honor system!!)

Ok, I’m re-reading Stitch… Now what’s up with Stuck???
FINALLY – I’m writing it!  For reals!!  Sneak peek coming soon!  And I’ve even got some super sweet revised cover art…  More on the cover reveal coming as soon as I feel confident enough to announce an official release date, hopefully in the next few months!

As always, thank you again readers for all of your support and enthusiasm, for giving me the confidence to keep writing, the courage to make hard choices, and the chutzpah to admit when I haven’t done my best.  I’m really proud of the new and improved Stitch, and I hope you love it too!

PS – Celebratory GIVEAWAY coming soon with some really awesome prizes!!!  Check back here in the next couple days for details, or sign up on the mailing list here to get a notification (I only send 1-4 emails a year tops, promise).

The Dystopian Tour – MASSIVE GIVEAWAYS!

Do you love Dystopian Sci-Fi?  And Free Stuff??  Then I’ve got the tour for you…

BEHOLD: The Dystopian Tour from Prism Books!

Dystopian Tour Banner

This awesome tour features 7 incredible dystopian series, including (of course) the Stitch Trilogy, Terra, The Breeders, The Annihilation of Foreverland, and the What Tomorrow May Bring box set, among others!

Stitch and Shudder are featured today over at Nocturnal Predators Reviews along with two MASSIVE giveaways including signed paperback copies of Stitch and Shudder, tons of e-books, Amazon Gift Cards, and more!

Visit today’s stop to enter the giveaways and see the full tour schedule!

Huge thanks to the amazing Laura and Tressa at Prism Book Tours for putting this thing together!

Announcing: The YA Dystopian Box Set “What Tomorrow May Bring”

I’m very excited to announce that Stitch is one of 10 great full-length YA dystopian books (+ one thrilling excerpt!) in the brand new anthology What Tomorrow May Bring, available tomorrow (May 1st) on Kindle for only $2.99.  YES, you heard me – 10 highly-rated dystopian books for $2.99!

Here’s some more info on the release:

Tomorrow becomes today.
What will it bring?

Our potential for good is matched by that of destruction. At any moment, change can fall on the world, people fight and die, and our comfortable lives can be lost to corrupt leaders. These are circumstances we can’t imagine, but places like this exist in the world today. 

What if tomorrow brings that grave reality to us, and we wake to find our lives in flux, poverty and confusion? Perhaps humanity’s insatiable appetites drive us to the brink of survival where sanity is redefined and life, as we know it, changes forever. 

Tomorrow, our lives could be very dark. 

Dystopian tales take us to these lightless places where suffering is a daily chore. But they also show us that in the deepest part of the night, pitched against a backdrop of despair, a beam of hope will shine brighter than ever before. And in our darkest moments, it can show us the way back.

On May 1

Follow 11 authors into 11 dystopian tomorrows, where the dark portions of our humanity have taken hold of today, where the fabric of society is torn and greed consumes us all. Follow us down a dark path.And find out what tomorrow may bring.

What Tomorrow May Bring, featuring:
Open Minds, Susan Kaye Quinn
The Moon Dwellers, David Estes
Prison Nation, Jenni Merritt
Daynight, Megan Thomason
Stitch, Samantha Durante
The Annihilation of Foreverland, Tony Bertauski
The Girls from Alcyone, Cary Caffrey
The Narrowing Path, David J. Normoyle
The Rain, Joseph A. 
Virulent: The Release, Shelbi Wescott
External Forces, Deborah Rix

Get updates on the release and some incredible
upcoming promotions (lots of giveaways!):

Sign up for the What Tomorrow May Bring newsletter!
and/or
Like the What Tomorrow May Bring Facebook page!

I’ll post links tomorrow once it’s available for sale.  :-)  Happy reading!

Distribution Updates – Kindle MatchBook, iTunes & More!

Hey Stitch Fans!  Just wanted to let you know about a few quick updates made to Stitch & Shudder’s distribution.

Lots of details below, but here’s the short version: don’t worry if you don’t see Stitch or Shudder available for sale where they should be for a couple days.  And if you bought Stitch or Shudder from Amazon in print, you can now grab a Kindle copy at a reduced price!

Okay, and here’s the long version:

First, it recently came to my attention that Shudder had not been available in the iTunes store for a few months due to a formatting issue (apparently the Apple devices were not respecting the resizing of the image of Stuck’s cover in the back of the book, and as a result the picture was spilling onto multiple pages which breaks their formatting guidelines).  I’ve corrected the issue and submitted an update to Smashwords (who handles my distribution to iTunes), both in the Shudder manuscript and preemptively in Stitch.  Since any manuscript changes require a review and re-distribution to all of the Smashwords channels (including the iTunes store, B&N, Kobo, etc.), you may notice that Stitch & Shudder are not available at these channels (basically any ebook seller besides Amazon) for up to a couple weeks.  Never fear!  They will be back as soon as all that is complete.

In addition, while I was making these changes, I decided I might as well fix the two small typos I knew about in Shudder (changing a “the” to “they” and “overhead” to “overheard”).  You may or may not remember the debacle that was the Stitch update I issued last spring – not sure if Amazon is going to email all of you Shudder owners now with another cryptic email about “significant editorial changes” but hopefully not.  The ONLY changes to the Kindle manuscript were fixing these two minuscule typos.  (Even the Stuck image size didn’t change, since that wasn’t a problem in the Kindle version, only the epub version on iTunes.)  The typos were also corrected in the print version, but alas, I’m not able to issue updates to those… (On the plus side, hey, now your print version with the two tiny typos is a collector’s edition!  And if you’re bored sometime, you can play “Where’s Waldo?” trying to find them!)  While these updates are reviewed by Amazon, you may notice that the print or Kindle versions are not available on Amazon for a short while – this should be cleared up in a couple days at most (and as of this minute, at least, everything appears to be in working order).

Kindle MatchBookFinally, we get to probably the most exciting announcement in this blog post – Stitch and Shudder are now available for the Kindle MatchBook program!  In case you’re not familiar (I wasn’t until I came across the settings on the Kindle Publishing site…), the Kindle MatchBook program allows you to purchase Kindle copies of books you own in print at a reduced price.  I’m thrilled to announce that if you’ve purchased a print copy of Stitch through Amazon, you can now grab the Kindle version for FREE, and if you bought Shudder in print from Amazon, you can nab the Kindle version for only $0.99!  To get yours, simply go here and click the “Find Your Kindle MatchBook Titles” button, then click the “Get Kindle Edition” button next to Stitch and/or Shudder.  (Note: when I published this, Shudder was working but Stitch wasn’t yet – may take a couple days to appear.)  Happy reading!

Tried Goodreads Lists yet? Give it a shot!

Hey Stitch Trilogy fans!  I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to an awesome feature of Goodreads that you may not already know about – Goodreads Lists!

Stitch is #1 on a Goodreads List!What are Goodreads Lists?
Goodreads Lists are user-generated lists of books that anyone can vote on.  They’re often themed by genre or subject matter, and can range from broadly helpful and informative (“Best Young Adult Dystopian Novels“) to very specific (“Kick Ass Female Heroines in Paranormal Genre“) to a little out there (“Titles of Only One Syllable“).  You can view popular lists or search all the lists on Goodreads by going to Explore > Listopia from your Goodreads account homepage dashboard (or by clicking this link).

Why should I care about Goodreads Lists?
There are a few reasons.  First, I’m a big fan of Goodreads Lists as reader b/c they are *invaluable* in helping me find recommendations for new books (even with very specific criteria like “Speculative New Adult Fiction“).  Not sure what to read next?  Search the Goodreads Lists database for a genre you enjoy or check out the “Lists with This Book” section on any book’s Goodreads page, and within seconds you’ll have hundreds of options suggested by like-minded readers to choose from.

Secondly, as an author, I love Goodreads Lists even more b/c they help get my book in front of readers who probably otherwise would never have come across it.  As many of you know, I’m about to have a baby and will likely be scaling back my book promotion for the next few months, but I’m hoping that if Stitch and Shudder appear towards the top of some of some lists, new readers will find them even if I’m not shouting from the rooftops for a couple weeks.

So if you’re a reader, Goodreads Lists are an easy (and fun!) way to both find more great books and really help out the writers you love most – and believe me, us authors (especially independent ones!) need as MUCH help as we can get in the marketing department!  :-)

How do I vote on a Goodreads List?
It’s simple!  Here’s an example of how to vote for Stitch and/or Shudder, but you can of course enter a different search term to vote for any book:

  1. Navigate your web browser to the desired list (find one here or see some suggestions below *wink wink*)
  2. Click the Add Books to This List tab at the top of the page
  3. Type “stitch durante” into the search bar and click Search (note: you can search either your own bookshelves or the entire site – switch using the “Add books from: my books or a search” link on the left)
  4. When Stitch and Shudder come up, click Vote for This Book on one or both of them
  5. Search for other books or find another list, and repeat!

I strongly encourage all Goodreads users to take advantage of this feature to help you find new stuff to read, and also to help your favorite authors reach more loyal readers like you!  If you’d like to vote for Stitch and Shudder (I’d be honored!!), here are a handful of lists which could be good options (though a vote on *any* list is always appreciated!):

  1. If You Like The Hunger Games Then You Will Like…
  2. If You Loved The Hunger Games…
  3. Best Dystopian Books for Teens
  4. Best Young Adult Dystopian Novels
  5. Great Dystopian Reads
  6. YA Dystopias Since The Hunger Games
  7. Speculative New Adult Fiction
  8. Best Science Fiction With a Female Protagonist
  9. Self Published Young Adult Books
  10. Best Indie YA/New Adult Books

Have fun browsing the lists and voting for your favorites!  I hope you find some *GREAT* new reads – and of course, I REALLY REALLY appreciate any votes you happen to throw towards the Stitch Trilogy while you’re at it.  :-)

Guest Post: “Celebrating the Stitch 1-Year Anniversary!” + Review

Happy 1 Year Anniversary to Stitch!

Guess what: today is the 1 Year Anniversary of the Stitch Blog Tour!  Exactly one year ago today, I announced to the world that I’d written book.  Wow – where does the time go??  To celebrate, today we’ve got a guest post at Head Stuck in a Book where I recount the lessons I learned along the way, and how I even found myself writing a book to begin with.  Here’s a sneak peek:

But it wasn’t always an easy road to get here.  It required (like anything else) a little sacrifice, a lot of hard work, and healthy dash of blind faith that if I just follow my heart, everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.  So what have I learned in my journey?  Here are the top three lessons:

1. Do what you love.  I know, I know – people say this all the time.  Easier said than done.  It took me years (like 25 years!) to even realize *what* it is that I love to do (write).  So I know how difficult this sounds, and I’m not going to lie, it takes a lot of introspection, listening to the people around you, following your gut even when it’s scary, and just a bit of dumb luck to figure this out.

But I can also promise you this – if you manage to find a way to make your passions your life instead of just trying to squeeze them into your life, you will be infinitely happier.  Because suddenly, you’ll look forward to what you have to do every day, even when it’s stressful.  I still spend plenty of time agonizing over how much stuff I need to write, but when I sit down and actually do it, all that stress magically disappears.  I lose myself in the work, because I truly enjoy it.  And I can’t say that about any other job I’ve ever held.  <continue reading>

Thanks so much to Sarah for hosting this special day on the tour!  She’s also got a Shudder review up at the stop, so head over there for more!

No Joke: A Real Life Stitch! + Review

They stitched these poor mice! Guess these scientists haven’t read the Stitch Trilogy, otherwise they’d know what could go wrong with this picture…

I have some intriguing – if not slightly disturbing news – to share with all of the Stitch fans out there.  Apparently, real-world scientists have figured out how to perform a “stitch” (as in, IMPLANT FALSE MEMORIES!) in the brains of mice.  Seriously!!  Look at this (and it’s from The Economist, not some random shady website):

In order to study false-memory formation, Mr Ramirez and Dr Liu had therefore to isolate and manipulate only those cells involved in storing a particular memory they had deliberately created.

They did this by fitting as many hippocampal cells as possible with a clever genetic switch. To work at all, this switch has first to be primed by a process (known as an action potential) which a nerve cell undergoes during learning—meaning that it can operate only in those cells that have learned something. Thus did Mr Ramirez and Dr Liu confine their experiment to the relevant cells.

Once primed, the switch can be activated by shining a light at it. This activation mimics an action potential—fooling the cell into learning whatever is happening to the animal at the time, in addition to what it had already learned, thus linking the two things in the animal’s mind. The researchers could therefore choose which events they would try to conflate into a single false memory.

Having smuggled their switches into the animals’ hippocampuses using viruses, Mr Ramirez and Dr Liu were ready to start the experiment proper. <continue reading>

Stimulating the targeted nerves/cells to create a memory, using a chemical (in this case, viral) agent to activate the switch… Is it just me, or does the process they used sound uncannily similar to what was described in the Stitch Trilogy?  Creepy!!!  Just goes to show you – science fiction only stays fiction for so long…

In slightly less terrifying news, we’ve also got an amazingly entertaining review up today from brand-new blogger Bailey over at Books From You To Review!  Due to a brain fart on my end (I sent her the wrong book, oops!), Bailey ended up reading Shudder without realizing it was the second book in the trilogy (the first person I know of to do so).  But even so, she still somehow managed to figure out what was going on and enjoy the book!  Here’s what she said to say:

This is my first ever book review on my blog and it kicked of with a BANG!  This story made me gasp with joy <continue reading>

I’m beyond honored that Bailey chose Shudder as her first ever review!  Much luck with the new blog and thanks so much for hosting today’s stop on the Shudder tour!

“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!!