Tuesday, August 31, 2010

WINNER of the Shiver/Linger Giveaway!

The FNC was lucky enough to host a giveaway so awesome that it made bookworms everywhere squee with joy --- a SIGNED copy of both Shiver AND Linger by SuperAuthor Maggie Stiefvater!

With nearly 200 entrants and nearly 400 entries, there can only be one winner, and that winner is...


Wicked Awesome Evidence:

Wicked Awesome Prizes:
Yes, those are Wicked Awesome Wolf Drawings.
Congrats Nikki!

Thanks to everyone who entered, and for those of you who didn't win........... never fear, we have some more superb giveaways coming up!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Shiver & Linger Giveaway Plus Our Very First Tweetstakes!

Hey guys! Did you know that you have only a little over 24 hours left to enter our contest? The one where you win signed copies of Shiver and Linger?

If you haven't entered yet, make sure you head on over to our contest page and sign up! Remember, this is what you could win:

Also! I am cleaning my house (which is, of course, why I'm writing this blog post. I'm doing it while I wait for the toilet to finish cleaning itself) and I just have TOO much stuff from Comic-Con! It's taking over my office. My husband is threatening to throw it out and my cats are threatening to eat it.

So, in honor of my clean house, the FNC is hosting it's very first Tweetstakes!

What can you win, you ask?

Up for grabs are two swag packs from Comic-Con:
Swag pack #1: A signed Guardian of the Dead poster by Karen Healy, sample chapters of James Patterson's The Gift, Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red and John Flanagan's The Ranger's Apprentice, plus bookmarks and stickers from Frank Beddor's Looking Glass Wars trilogy and Kathy Reich's new YA Virals. Also, teaser panels from Disney/Hyperion's new graphic novels, including Percy Jackson!

Swag pack #2: Sample chapter books from Daw, Ace, Roc, and other Penguin Paranormal Authors! Includes samples from brand new work by: Allyson James, Yasmine Galenorn, Devyn Quinn, Marie Treanor, Meljean Brook, Laura Wright, Camille Bacon-Smith, Nnedi Okorafor, Tracy Hickman, Diane Duane, Laura Resnick, Seanan McGuire, K.A. Stewart, Kasey Mackenzie, Joan Frances Turner, Simon R. Green, Dianne Sylvan, James Knapp and Kalayna Price!

To enter the tweetstakes, simply tweet a link to our contest page (here's a shortened link for your convenience: http://bit.ly/9t8Qxx) and make sure you include @firstnovelsclub at the end so we see that you tweeted it! Contest is open from RIGHT NOW! to Tuesday, August 30th, at 11:59pm. Winners will be DMed on Twitter on Wednesday, September 1st.

A Personal Announcement and An Invitation

I've been rather quiet around here lately. Summer has a way of making me lose track of things.

This year, I had great ambitions of all I would accomplish: make curtains for the three windows still naked in my little apartment, knit a lot, finish writing the first draft my novel, read through my to-be-read list for 2010, bake like a maniac, spend lazy afternoons with my sister, her new baby, and my mother, post on this blog at least weekly.

As the summer wraps up and I reflect, I can say I baked a bit, read a bit, got 2/3 through the writing of first draft of my novel, knit a little, spent some nice days with my sister, mother, and that sweet baby, taught a night class, led a conversation group for non-native English speakers. I didn't get to everything, and I added things I hadn't initially plan for, and, you know what, it's been a wonderful summer.

I'm writing today to let you know I will probably be pretty quiet around here for a bit longer. My husband and I are leaving this afternoon for a six week trip across Australia. He, being a concert pianist, is going on a concert tour, and I'm going to be his roadie. It's a really unique opportunity to see Graeme's homeland, and I'm excited. He'll be touring with concert percussionist Nick Parnell. Did you know there were such things as concert percussionists? I didn't either, until a few years ago. It's pretty cool stuff. If you're curious, check Nick out on YouTube. There are one or two clips on there. Please note, the pianist in those clips is not my husband.

Anyway, enough about the music.

I invite you to join us for the trip by following us on my new blog: jasmineandhoney.blogspot.com While I won't be around the FNC much over the next month or so--though I do have a couple posts in our draft queue that I may get to--I will be posting at J&H about all the wonders and delights of Oz as often as my internet access allows me to, hopefully every day, and I would be delighted to see you there. Either way, have a great September and October, and I'll see you around here again in six weeks.

Happy Trails!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Midnight Mockingjay Release Recap (X Posted)

So it took me like 2 days to fully read AND recover from the epicness that was Mockingjay along with the epicness and sleep deprivation that was the Midnight Release Party.

But I'm back and ready to rock. So recap ahoy!

6:35 Arrive in NYC, find Sara at Pennstation

6:45 Subway ride to Books of Wonder

7:00 Arrive at Books of Wonder an HOUR before the party starts. We are SO cool!

7:01 See the line. Realize people have been lined up since 4.

7:05 Go to the back of the line.

7:06 We are NOT so cool.

7:07 But everyone likes our shirts. We ARE cool!

Mine says "District 12 Tribute" Sara's says "Girl on Fire"

7:15 See Violet Haberdasher in line! LOL! We're both from Philly but we only run into her in NYC.

7:30 Spot super agent Joanna Volpe in line!

7:45 Find Elizabeth Law, Egmont Editor cruising through the line.

7:50 Have our pictures taken for The T-Shirt Project! (Sara and I are the last 2 in the post)

8:00 The line starts moving! YAY!

8:01 Realize that super agent Suzie Townsend is number 1 in line! Man, how did she do that?

8:30 Get INSIDE the store! SQUEEEE!

8:45 Realize that even though we are IN the store, we are STILL in line--it wraps around the whole interior!

8:50 Effie Trinket!

8:55 Spot my favorite Books of Wonder Book Seller ALLARY! LOVE!!!

9:00 Get our welcome packets, sign line numbers, lottery tickets, etc!

9:15-9:45 Desperate search for coffee in the city! This party goes WAY past our bedtimes.

10:00 Join the other people waiting on the floor for David Levithan and Suzanne Collins to appear.

10:45 Raffle prizes from Books of Wonder owner, Peter! YES!

11:15 We do not win any raffle prizes. Fail!

11:25 OMG! Realize we're about to see Suzanne Collins! SQUEEE!

11:30 David Levithan comes out to introduce her!!! He's so beyond adorable.

11:35 SUZANNE COLLINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! READS!!!! We get a snippet from Catching Fire and the first few pages of Mockingjay! OMG!!!!!!

11:37 Seriously, you could hear a pin drop next to her voice. Everyone is SILENT with a few gasps here and there.

11:59 COUNTDOWN is on!!!!!!!!!!

12:00 MIDNIGHT!!!!!! Happy Mockingjay Day!

12:15 Get in line to get our books

12:20 Hold my copy of Mockingjay! SQUEE!

12:30 Suzanne Collins stamps our books!

Sara is beyond excited to have her book stamped!

12:40 OMG!!!! We haz stamped copies of Mockingjay!

12:45 Speed Drive home so we can read!

4 AM Pass out!

Ok, I hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Skip a Starbucks!

So I know most of us are either still nose-deep in Mockingjay, or trying to recover from finishing it (I'm in the latter category--I still have no words!)

But, if you take a moment to hop on the internet, you need to head over to CJ Redwine's blog because she's got something pretty amazing going on.

CJ has the whole amazing story posted on her blog, but the short version is this: Her family and she have been trying to bring a baby girl home from China for the past five years.  After going through endless loops and setbacks, it looks like it's finally happening, which is awesome.  The not awesome part?  Because the process has taken so long, the whole thing costs a lot more expensive.

Which is where us, the blogging community, comes in.

CJ is asking you to Skip a Starbucks for just one day--or some other little indulgence--and take that 5, 10, 15 dollars (or however much you feel you can spare) and donate it so her little girl can come home from China.

(Doing so will also qualify you to enter a TON of awesome blog contests, which are all listed at CJ's blog as well.)

Come on, do it.  We can all make coffee at home for one day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Breaking News from the Mockingjay Release Party!

Frankie and Sara are tweeting up a storm from @FirstNovelsClub tonight!

Currently, they're in line at Books of Wonder in NYC at the official Mockingjay release party!!!

* Cue uber jealousy. *

Anyway, they're doing their best to make us feel like we're right in line with them, so we can't hate too much! (But we can hate a little.)

Here are some snippets from Twitter -- so much craziness already, with over 3 hours to go!

Have fun ladies! I'll be reading!

Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay and Midnight! Oh My!

OMG you guys! The most epic book release in I don't know how long is happening at midnight. TONIGHT!

SQUEEEEEE! Sara and I are going to NYC tonight for the Mockingjay Midnight Madness at Books of Wonder--one of the most epic Children's Indie's EVER!

We are SO excited about tonight, seeing Suzanne Collins again, plus David Levithan and all of the other awesome people who are as obsessed with The Hunger Games as we are, we don't even know what to do with ourselves till then.

But as usual, we expect shenanigans. And if you want to keep up with our antics, plus hear updates about the event, and Suzanne and our initial reactions to receiving Mockingjay (SPOILER FREE-we promise) then make sure you follow along with us on twitter tonight.

We'll be tweeting from @FirstNovelsClub all evening!

And we promise a fully detailed write up after the event.

Ok, I need to go jump up and down and squeee some more while I coutn down the hours.

Is anyone else going to be there tonight? Say hi!

Who else is attending a midnight party elsewhere in the world?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

5 Questions for Suzanne Collins

Just in case you haven't seen this, here's Suzanne's latest interview from Scholastic. 3 more days you guys!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

This post is going to make you laugh.

Humor can be one of the toughest parts of writing. I mean, you're working without visuals or tone of voice, but somehow you must convey something witty without going on descriptive overload.

If you were hoping for a post that outlines exactly how to make your readers laugh... prepare yourself for disappointment. Sometimes I think I'm funny and no one else does. Sometimes people laugh really hard at things I thought were worth a tiny chuckle. Other times they laugh really hard at things that weren't meant to be funny at all. (That's when I crawl under a table.)

So what do I do to hone my admittedly amateur humor skills? I read things that make me laugh. It's grueling research, I know. But even though people can have differing senses of humor (to this day, I just don't get Napoleon Dynamite), it helps you understand what you find funny.

Alright, enough text. Time to make good on my promise -- I'm going to make you laugh.

** deep breath **


Check out Hyperbole and a Half.

That's all.

What, you need more convincing?
This hilarious blogger Allie writes posts with the funniest drawings you've ever seen.

Exhibit A, from the FNC's favorite post, This Is Why I'll Never Be an Adult:
*Disclaimer: In context, it's even funnier (I tried to help with the captions). Also, there are some *%!@# words in the post, if you don't like that stuff.
(Initial adult-like motivation.)

(Reality sets in.)
This post alone was the base of most of our FNC roadtrip jokes. Like "Pass ALL the trucks!" and "Eat ALL the snacks!" And if you follow our tweets to one another, you'll see things like "Buy ALL the food!" and "I have ALL the mojo!"

Nope, it still hasn't gotten old.

(My second-favorite Hyperbole and a Half post: Dog.)

If for some reason you are lacking in the Allie sense of humor (what is WRONG WITH YOU?!), try this cartoon (from a dating site, no less, but it's still giggle-worthy):

10 Reasons It Would Rule to Date a Unicorn
Exhibit A, Reason 1:
(Reason 10 is my favorite, though.)

So now you might be like, "But Donna, I don't HAVE PICTURES IN MY NOVEL."

Therefore, here are some blogs that often make me giggle:
Forever Young Adult
Lisa and Laura Roecker
Kiersten White
TH Mafi

And just so vlogs don't feel left out...
I'm just about addicted to John and Hank Green's Vlogbrothers channel on YouTube.

And Karsten's superbly entertaining also.

One final, semi-advice-y point about humor in your writing: Something you'll see that's common among all the funny links I've included in this post is that the humor is based on voice. It's not going to be funny if it's not unique to you, so don't stress so much about humor and just work on finding your writing voice.

I hear that's really easy.

Ok people, your turn! Who do you count on to make you giggle? Links, please!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

That ARC of Anna and the French Kiss is OURS.

For real. So don't even bother entering Stephanie Perkins' contest for Anna and the French Kiss.

It's not like it's THE most buzzed-about contemporary YA since If I Stay and The DUFF.

It's not like it has a cover made of awesome.
See, the cover's so hideous that even Steph's closing her eyes.
It's not like we've developed an author-crush on Stephanie from her oh-so-entertaining blog.

And it's not like Gayle Forman herself (and a bazillion other fantabulous YA authors) gushed about its epic wonderfulness or anything.

We're sure it's stupid and not at all amazing and totally not worth the effort of looking for photos of Hot British Men for Steph. (SUCH a grueling task, BTW.)

We're just entering the ARC contest to make sure that you don't waste your time reading Anna.

You should hope we win, and then when we do, totally thank us for saving you from such an awful book.


Monday, August 16, 2010

The Ultimate LINGER Roadtrip: Signing recap and GIVEAWAY!

On Friday, Frankie, Sara, and I drove to Williamsburg, VA for a LINGER signing at the Williamsburg Library. Sure, it's a 6-hour drive from Philadelphia, but Maggie Stiefvater's one of our favorite YA authors and kinda an awesome person in general, so what better way to spend a day off?

We tweeted throughout the roadtrip from @FirstNovelsClub, but there's plenty we weren't able to cover in 140 characters or less... and here it is!

After getting caffeinated, we checked out Mermaid Books --- an eclectic basement used bookstore filled with strange-looking mermaids and various sea creatures hanging from the ceiling. (Totally reminded me of A Blue So Dark.)

Met up with Maggie, who led us directly to Wythe Candy & Gourmet Store, which was the delicious-smelling inspiration for the Shiver candy store.
The chocolate-covered strawberries were AMAZING.
Wandered Colonial Williamsburg, avoiding the horse poo in the street. Maggie made sure we took the obligatory tourist picture in the stocks.
I'm standing in the middle, blocked by the giant pole. But I'm smiling.
Dinner! Somewhere magically vegan-friendly (for Frankie) and preservative-free (for Maggie). And yummy!

LIBRARY! The Williamsburg Library, where the signing was held, had very fun book statues outside.

And now to the good stuff... THE SIGNING!
Maggie was as relaxed and entertaining behind a microphone as she is in person, and she gave some great insider info on her writing life, what's up next, and the answers that everyone wants to know!

What inspired you to write Shiver? She claims she’s a terrible person who likes to make people cry. (Somehow, we doubt the terrible person part, but we've used our share of tissues!)

For Linger, did you do a lot of research? She spent hours looking at medical textbooks and websites, and she often called her father, who’s a doctor. She watched so many wolf documentaries that her terriers started howling like wolves in their sleep. She also research rehab forums and German poetry.

Why werewolves? She joked that she prefers to call them “human impaired.” Seriously, she’s not sure. She also joked that "they’re not “werewolves,” they’re shapeshifters, and they’re also symbolic of the homogenization of society… oh whatever, they’re werewolves."

Will there be a Shiver movie? Warner Brothers has optioned the film, and the screenplay is now written. The next step is to find a director.

Tell us about Forever! It’s longer than Shiver or Linger. There are more than two narrators, but she won’t say how many. And there will be no werewolf baby. And she’s aiming for happier and sadder moments than in the previous two books.

What are you currently working on? She just turned in her final draft of Forever last week, and now she’s writing a new novel. She can’t say much, but it’s a standalone paranormal YA that’s coming out a couple months after Forever. She said it’s about “blood and beaches and kissing” … but not about a Kraken, because she doesn’t do tentacles.

Maggie's smexy car, Loki, with the bestest vanity plate around.
How did you come up with the titles? Shiver originally was “Still Wolf Watching,” but her editor asked her, “Well is it Still Wolf Watching or Still Wolf Watching?” She didn’t know, and it became Shiver. Linger and Forever were chosen because they were the most appropriate words ending in –er.

Why a trilogy? Shiver was intended to be a standalone, but her editor said there were too many loose ends. Instead of rewriting Shiver to tie them all up, she chose to do so in a sequel, and then she realized she needed three books total.

Are your characters based on you/people you know? Her characters all start with a Maggie human heart, and then they get “Frankensteined” using people and traits from real life.

Why did you add Cole and Isabel's narration in Linger? First off, she spent a year writing Sam and Grace, and eight months revising their story, so she would’ve been tired of more of Sam and Grace kissing. Secondly, she wanted to see Sam and Grace from the outside. Also, she wanted to explore choice – namely, the difference between Sam, who didn’t want to be a wolf, and Cole, who did. Also the difference between Sam and Grace’s healthy love versus Cole and Isabel’s unhealthy dynamic.

Out of the books you've written, what's your favorite? For personal reasons, Ballad is her favorite book.

Is writing work or a passion? It’s a mix. The muse comes to you, but you need to lock her in a closet so that, when you need her, you can let her out and force her to work.

Would you ever consider writing for younger children? Nothing in the plans yet, but she definitely is interested in writing a graphic novel one day.

She's seriously too funny.
Whew! We couldn't even begin to cover all the funny anecdotes Maggie told, so if you have the chance to see her talk in person, it's well worth it!

For more roadtrip madness, check out Frankie's blog, where she gave a rundown of our apocalypse-worthy roadtrip snacks, watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger mullet-happy movie dubbed in Spanish, driving during highway monsoons, and FNC Lady Gaga sing-a-longs.

And now for the GIVEAWAY!!! Maggie generously offered up a signed copy of both Shiver AND  Linger for one lucky winner!


Friday, August 13, 2010

#FNCroadtrip Day of Awesome!

We interrupt Sara's hilarious post on which Disney Princess would win the Hunger Games (yeah, she's brilliant) to remind you that today we're hopping in the car and driving the rest of the way to see Maggie Stiefvater.

And what does that mean?

Lots of author stalking tweeting!!

Just check out @FirstNovelsClub or search #FNCroadtrip for updates on all our crazy antics!

The Hunger Games: Disney Princess Style!

Thanks to everyone who commented on my first dystopia post! It seems like we have some pretty hearty readers out there--I think most of you would definitely survive longer than me!

Doing that post and thinking about how long I would survive got me thinking...

How long would some of our favorite non-dystopia characters survive??

So, without further ado, I give you...

The Disney Hunger Games!!

We all know our favorite Disney characters have some spunk. Ariel straight up betrays her father and makes a deal with a sea witch, Belle shoves Gaston in with the pigs, and Mulan pretends to be a boy and joins the army!

But what would happen if we took them all and threw them into a dangerously animated arena?

Roll Call: Disney Princesses!

Why she'll survive: She's a mermaid, so she can hold her breath underwater for an infinitely long time. All she has to do is swim to the bottom and wait everyone else out.
Why she'll die: Her hoarder tendencies will make her backpack too heavy to carry.


Why she'll survive: She's smart AND skilled, and unnatural talking creatures don't freak her out. Plus, she's so nice and genuine, it would be like killing a puppy.
Why she'll die: Her love for beast-like creatures will lead her too close to an actual beast.


Why she'll survive: She's already befriended a tiger and proved that she can jump roof-to-roof just as well as Aladdin. She refuses to stand down when someone threatens her, and can handle herself on flying furniture.
Why she'll die: Girlfriend got herself trapped in an hour glass. Also, she has Lois Lane vision--make one little change to yourself and she won't recognize you. So just disguise yourself as a walking bush and she'll believe you're a lovely bit of magic.


Why she'll survive: She's one of the only Disney princesses that has actual battle skills, and unlike most other Disney princesses, where it's ultimately up to the man of the story to kill the bad guy, she's ready to go out and do this thing herself.
Why she'll die: Her mad skills will make the other princesses nervous and they'll gang up on her.


Why she'll survive: Her fairy Godmother will be sending her silver parachutes day in and day out.
Why she'll die: She'll use the silver parachutes to make a ball gown for herself.


Why she'll survive: She's one with nature, dresses in natural camoflauge, and can paint with all the colors of the wind.
Why she'll die: When it comes time to kill for food, she'll refuse to say an animal's life is less than hers and will end up weak.


Why she'll survive: She's really good at hiding. Plus, like Cinderella, she's got a fairy godmother. Three of them, in fact.
Why she'll die: The fairy godmothers will tell her not to do ONE THING. And then she'll do it.

Snow White

Why she'll survive: She's got seven little men who will give their lives for hers.
Why she'll die: She'll gladly accept strange gifts from strange people.


Why she'll survive: She's learned to live--and survive--in a man's world, and has a work ethic like nobody's business.
Why she'll die: Get turned into a toad and eaten for lunch.

Now that we've met all our tributes...let the games begin!

This is how I imagine things playing out:

In the race for the Cornucopia, I predict that Mulan, Pocahontas, and Tiana will come away with the best loot. Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine will get some useful items, but not as many. Aurora, Snow White and Cinderella won't even make it to the Cornucopia, instead heading directly for the comfort of the forest so they can sing to the animals there.

I think Aurora, Snow White and Cinderella will form an alliance, while the rest are too plucky and will go solo.

There will definitely be a multitude of singing.

And this is the order that I think they'll go in:

Both Snow White and Aurora will take themselves out, Snow White by eating posionous fruit (obvi) and Aurora by doing whatever the ONE THING her fairy godmothers told her not to do.

Cinderella's next--silver parachute ball gown is poor camo.

From here, it's a toss up. I think Jasmine might go next (magic carpet runs out of magic), and then Ariel (her hoarding slows her down.)

And as much as it pains me to say it (since Belle is my favorite), I think Belle goes down next.

That makes my final three Mulan, Pocahontas, and Tiana.

I know who I think would win.

But what about all of you? Who do YOU think would win the Disney Hunger Games? One of my final three? Or did I discount someone? Is Cinderella secretly a ringer? Can Sleeping Beauty's killer voice do exactly that? Let me know!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The FNC roadtrips to Virginia to see Maggie Stiefvater -- and tweets about it!

Very awesome things are happening this week, dear readers. Very awesome indeed.

1 - The FNC is now on Twitter!
We've had individual accounts, but now we'll also be tweeting together from @FirstNovelsClub, giving you up-to-the-minute dish on our adventures in author stalking and conferencing and reading and even fun stuff from our critique meetings.

2 - This Thursday night, Frankie, Sara, and I are roadtripping 6 hours to author-stalk see Maggie Stiefvater in Williamsburg, VA on Friday!
We figured it would be a fun way to spend a day off. It's our most ambitious FNC roadtrip yet, and Maggie's totally worth it. Her books are gorgeously addictive, and she's also funny and down-to-earth in person. Plus, she's Frankie's Agent Buddy! Yayyy!

These awesome things make for excellent mathematics:

Twitter + Roadtrip = Roadtrip Tweets!
So starting on Thursday night at approximately 8pm EST, check out the FNC Twitter feed for our adventures roadtripping. And we want you to feel like you're roadtripping with us, so when we're in Colonial Williamsburg on Friday afternoon, I'm imagining some choose-your-own-adventure type fun where you get to decide what we do -- like, dance with an 18th-century instructor or take part in a witch trial. And of course, you can tweet questions you want us to ask Maggie on Friday night!

Also --- we want to follow you on Twitter! Leave your Twitter handle in the comments, or just become an @FirstNovelsClub follower and we'll follow you.

Lastly, anyone attending the Williamsburg, VA signing? Let's hang out!
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