Thanks for hanging in there with me and the copyedit madness guys! It is now time to announce three of the four book winners!

The winner of Grave Mercy is....

The winner of The Vanishing Game is...

And finally, the winner of Words In the Dust is...

Thanks for playing everyone! If the winners want to email me their addresses, i'll be mailing those out this week or next. Meanwhile, there's still a few hours left to enter to win Shatter Me, and I'll have one more contest on Monday for you.

Happy Weekend!

Want to see something happy?

It's been a bit of a downer week on the Interwebs. This should cheer you up.

There's a YA novel in there somewhere....

PS. Barring any serious problems, I should be back to regular blogging next week. Stay tuned for winners, and one more giveaway!

Contest Week #3: Win SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi!

Guys, I'm doing this post on the fly before work, so it will be a bit short. But the book in question is AMAZING. Definitely different from most of what I read this year. Tahereh's evocative writing made me feel like words were physical things, like I could roll in them, pick them up and pour them over my head.

Without further ado, SHATTER ME!

From the Goodreads page:

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

To enter...

1. Follow the blog

2. Leave a comment on my blog, OR on my Facebook page

You can earn extra points by facebooking or twittering or blogging about the contest. And if you haven't won a contest here before, let me know that too and you'll get an extra entry. The contest is international and ends at midnight, PST on the thirty-first of March.

Ready? GO!

Contest Week #2: Double Giveaway! Win a signed copy of WORDS IN THE DUST or THE VANISHING GAME!

It's Contest Week!  That's when I shower you with books to distract you from the fact that I'm not actually online this week.

*wrestles with copyedit pencil* *curses softly*

Contest Week #1: A copy of Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.

Today I'm giving away TWO books!  One each to two randomly drawn winners, which means your chances of winning are doubled!

AND I'm highlighting Pacific Northwest authors. Today's prizes are Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy, a Washington state writer, and The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers, who lives in Idaho. And they're both signed!  (I was actually at Kate's signing. It was a lot of fun.)

From the Goodreads blurb:
Zulaikha hopes. She hopes for peace, now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her hard stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed. Zulaikha knows all will be provided for her--"Inshallah," God willing. 
Then she meets Meena, who offers to teach her the Afghan poetry she taught her late mother. And the Americans come to the village, promising not just new opportunities and dangers, but surgery to fix her face. These changes could mean a whole new life for Zulaikha--but can she dare to hope they'll come true?

From Goodreads:
Jocelyn's twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes-and now he's dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from "Jason December"-the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. 
Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn's childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House. 
But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house's powers weren't just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in?

Don't those sound fun? I've heard a lot of really great things about Words in the Dust, and The Vanishing Game has some of the best puzzles I've ever seen in a YA novel, plus a very twisty ending.

I'm doing two separate drawings, one for each book. And entering is easy.

1. Follow the blog

2. Leave a comment on my blog, OR on my Facebook page

That's it. The contest ends ends at midnight, PST on the twenty-eighth of March.You can earn extra points by facebooking or twittering or blogging about this giveaway and leaving the links in the comment section. And if you haven't won a contest here before, let me know that too and you'll get an extra entry. International entries are welcome.

And on a totally different note, yesterday was the first day of spring! (Hooray!) And we got three inches of snow! (Boo!)

How's your spring going?

Contest Week #1: Win a copy of Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers!

It's Contest Week!

Every post this week will be a chance to win a book.  I'm doing this for two reasons.

1.) I am slammed this week, writing-wise.  5k more words to write, four chapters to shine up and send to my editor and copyedits coming today or tomorrow.

2.) All of my various vacation stops last week left me with these...

And I want to share.

First up is Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.

From Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

As some of you know, I adore books with assassins and deadly heroines. And I have been suffering from serious ARC envy for the past few months as my online friends got ahold of this book. So when I walked into the bookstore in Boise and saw a display, I pounced.

Like actually pounced.

found at

I read it on the way back home and it more than lives up to the buzz. Grave Mercy is a complex, wonderfully written adventure that made me both want to write and believe I could. Which is pretty much the best thing I can say about any book.

And you can enter to win it! Here's how.

1. Follow the blog

2. Leave a comment on my blog, OR on my Facebook page

That's it. You can, of course, earn extra points by facebooking or twittering or blogging about the contest. And if you haven't won a contest here before, let me know that too and you'll get an extra entry.  The contest is international and ends at midnight, PST on the twenty-sixth of March.

Go forth and enter! And have a good Monday!


The Random Number Generator has spoken!

The winner of What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen is......

Congrats, Corinne! Send me an email with your address and I'll throw that in the mail for you!

And stay tuned...I've got a pile of new books and copyedits coming on Monday, which means MORE CONTESTS!

*does happy contest dance*

For Sale

FOR SALE: One pathological fear of failure, well used.

Age: Antique, passed down through my family for generations.

Description: Large and heavy with several sharp edges, excellent condition. Good for motivating yourself to get out of bed in the morning. Enhances drive and productivity, can also be mistaken for a strong work ethic.

Reason for Selling: Doesn't fit in my current lifestyle. It blocks my writing desk, makes editing very painful, and I keep banging into it and bruising my shins.

Price: Cheap, with free shipping.

Please contact if interested.

Updates and a goose story.

1. Yes, it's Tuesday and not Monday. Sorry about that. I was going to put up a short blog yesterday but the only times we were back at our hotel, my husband was using the laptop.  But we're home now and blogging should go back to its regular schedule.

2. Speaking of blogging, don't forget to enter my contest to win What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen! It ends tomorrow, so be sure and comment before then.

3. Where did we go? Well for a delayed anniversary trip, my husband arranged for us to stay a couple of nights in the Historical Davenport Hotel in Spokane, which was lovely and SUPER fancy.

This is the hotel lobby. THE LOBBY. *swoon*

We spent yesterday mostly wandering around downtown Spokane and Riverfront Park. Which was where I met the goose.

4. Yes, I did indeed have a goose encounter. It was kind of our fault. Among the Canadian geese that were in the park, there were a few fat gray geese that my husband thought were hysterical.

So we were stalking these geese (and taking pictures of them in the rain because that's how we have fun) and we saw this white goose on the bridge. So I went over to take its picture.

I had forgotten that the white geese are always the meanest. (True story.) The goose in front of it was simply waddling along ignoring me, but the white goose stopped and HISSED.

I don't know if you've ever heard a goose hiss, but it is a deeply evil sound. I was feeling saucy so I was all "Don't you hiss at me, crazy beast. I'm not that close to you."

At which point the goose assumed The Crazed Snake-Neck Goose Attack Position and started towards me, kind of like this:

found at

I might have panicked just a little. But I didn't run, oh no. You never let a goose see that you're afraid.

Instead without even thinking I threw up my arms in the middle of the park, and yelled "I'M HUGE!"

The goose stopped. Considered the very large crazy person in front of it. And then turned around and waddled away.

My husband almost died laughing.

4. Other than running around like crazy people in the park, we also went to Auntie's Bookstore, which is an awesome independent bookstore in downtown Spokane and I picked up some books for you! So expect more contests soon.

Has anything funny happened to you on vacation lately?

A quote about identity (and feet)

I say that if you want to know who you are, if you are more than academically interested in that particular mystery, you could do a lot worse then look to your feet for an answer. 

Introspection in the long run doesn't get you very far because every time you draw back to look at yourself, you are seeing everything except for the part that drew back, and when you  draw back to look at the part that drew back (the first time), you see again everything except for what you are really looking for. And so on.

Since the possibilities for drawing back seem to be infinite, you are, in your quest to see yourself whole, doomed always to see infinitely less than what there will always remain to see. Thus, when you wake up in the morning....if you want to know who you are, watch your feet.

Because where your feet take you, that is who you are.

~from The Alphabet of Grace by Frederick Buechner

Win a copy of What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen!

Sometimes the universe (Or God, or fate or whatever) sends you a gift. Something you need at the exact moment you need it.  It's almost eerie, really.

Remember on Monday when I told you I was thinking deep thoughts about identity? And how I had a character who was asking those same things?  Well the same day I wrote that blog post, I picked up a new book.

It happened to be a book about identity. About figuring out who you are when all the things that defined you disappear.

It was this book.

Goodreads blurb:

Since her parents' bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. 
But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

Holy cow.

I was expecting to love it. It IS Sarah Dessen after all, and I've been a fan of hers since I first read The Truth about Forever. I'm almost positive I've read all her books and I know I enjoyed every one.

I was still blown away.

She had me hooked by page ten. (Probably earlier, but page ten is where I stopped and thought I am completely hooked by this book and it's only been a few minutes. How did she DO that? Then I leafed back through trying to analyze what she did.) Not only was I swept into the story and rooting for the main character, but it was awesome to see a writer take the questions I've been juggling and handle them so deftly.

Anyway, the book was so good that I decided to give it away. So here's how it's going to work.

Between now and midnight, March 14th, anyone who comments on this blog post OR or my Facebook page will be entered to win. You can get extra entries by tweeting or Facebooking about the contest. International entries are welcome.

What was the last book you read that felt like a gift?

Monday question: What defines you?

So I've been pondering questions of identity this weekend, because I have a new character in my head who is struggling with who she is and what she wants to be.

(All my really deep thoughts show up disguised as imaginary people.)

And so I've been thinking about identity and how people define themselves. How we take the culture we live in and in the people around us and the things that we hear about who we ought to be and mix them all together with our own likes and dislikes and personality and somehow come up with an idea of ourselves.

I've been thinking about how people cling to that idea, how we fear the loss of reputation or the loss of close friends and family, not just because we love them but also because they help tell us who we are.  And how we share different parts of ourselves with different people, hiding or avoiding the parts of us that they disapprove of or don't understand.

And how sometimes we realize that we are not as bad or as good or as brave or as cowardly as we think ourselves, and how that realization--that we are not the person we thought we were--changes the way we view the world.

And I keep coming back to the question, where does identity reside?

Is it in your name?

How you spend your time?

What your parents and family told you were?

The things you believe (or don't believe) about God and faith and religion?

Is it in the neighborhood you grew up in?

The person you're in love with?

The things your friends say are cool and uncool?

The things the culture tells you that you should want and be and have?

You tell me.

Where does your identity come from?  And if that thing changed or disappeared, who would you be?

Matrix cat

It's apparently Talk About Your Cat Week here at ye olde blog, but I had to share this with you.

Our cat has a high prey drive. A very high prey drive. He's not motivated by food, he's motivated by things that move, which means when he's hiding under the bed, you have to lure him out with a toy instead of a snack.

(Weird exceptions: tuna fish and summer sausage. He's obsessed with those.)

He's also very bright, to the extent that he'd rather play with a toy mouse than a laser pointer because he likes things he can actually catch. And he's a young cat, so he has a lot of energy.

I told you that story, so I could tell you this one. This is a video we made this week of my husband and his nightly play-with-the-cat routine.

Behold Matrix Cat!

Happy Saturday!

Of cats and roses

So I totally forgot to blog yesterday, primarily because it was my fourth anniversary, but also because my husband walked in carrying these...


Which completely sent every thought out of my head for the rest of the day except words like "Ooo!" And "Pretty!"

He got red and white "just like your wedding bouquet." Awww.

Turns out the cat had a similar reaction. He's never seen roses before and he was OBSESSED WITH THEM.



We didn't let him near them of course, but that didn't stop him from orbiting the room, trying to find a better access point. When that failed, he tried commanding them with the power of his mind.....

Come to me precioussss...

And then went off and sulked in his cat tunnel.

But not for long.

How's your week been so far?
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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.