Monday, June 27, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Let's meet at that one place by that tree where we went that one time."

Jack
-EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton (January 2012, Balzar & Bray)

What was that? What am I talking about? Oh, you haven't read part 2 of the exclusive Brodi Ashton interview to know why that's this week's quote. Well, what are you waiting for? You even still have a chance to win an ARC of Brodi's debut novel, EVERNEATH!! Click HERE for the details on how you can still enter to win!

Friday, June 24, 2011

EXCLUSIVE Interview & #everneathARC

UPDATE: The #everneathARC Contest has been EXTENDED! For your chance to win, keep reading, but know that you now have until 5pm on Tuesday, July 5th to get your tweet on!


A few weeks ago, I had a Twitter conversation with a friend that basically ended up with me landing an awesome opportunity to FINALLY be one of the cool peeps to get an EXCLUSIVE! I mean, come on, who doesn't want one of those, right? And what did I get? Well, according to Michael of HarperCollins, I got the ever-amusing Brodi Ashton! Well, an EXCLUSIVE interview with Brodi, I mean. Along with Debbie over at CranberryFries, we were able to get some insights into Brodi's life, writing and the world of her debut novel EVERNEATH (coming January, 2012).

Ah, yes. EVERNEATH. What is it, you ask? Well, here's the lowdown:

EVERNEATH is partially based on the Greek myth of Persephone: 17-year-old Nikki's been banished to the underworld escapes to return to her former earthly existence with her family and boyfriend. The catch is that she only has six months in this real world before being sent back to Hades, this time forever.

Now if that doesn't sound like you need to CLICK HERE to go add it to your GoodReads, I don't know what does!

You're probably now at the stage where you're wondering, okay, so who is this Brodi character, anyway? Well, she, like about 2.7 million other people (give or take a 100,000) lives in Utah. She's married with two young boys who still have no idea why she's at the computer all the time. Brodi has a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Utah and a Master's degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics. Several times a week, you can catch up with her and her amusing antics on her blog HERE. And sometimes, if she's not around, her hilarious husband covers for her and it's worth keeping up with the blog just to read his posts sometimes!

And now on to the EXCLUSIVE! part 2. (You can find EXCLUSIVE! part 1 at CranberryFries!)

Me: So Brodi, can you share your favorite one-liner from Everneath?

Brodi: I love it when Jack says to Nikki, "Let's meet at that one place by that tree where we went that one time." And Nikki knows exactly where he's talking about. It really shows how much history they have together and how well they know each other.

Me: What was your first thought when you saw your cover?

Brodi: My first thought was pure joy, and then relief that I wouldn't have to be one of those authors who has to pretend she loves her cover. I absolutely love love love my cover! [Me too!] It's really what I had pictured, only way better because I'm not very creative.

Me: Does thinking about the upcoming signings and other public events make you nervous? Or have you not thought about the groupies and paparazzi who will be stalking you at said events yet? Oh, should I have not brought them up... ?

Brodi: Ha ha ha. For some reason, I have not been worried about paparazzi. Mostly I just hope at least two people turn up to my signings. And then I hope those two people aren't my husband and my mom.

Me: How has working with a "real-life" publishing house editor affected your writing? Do you drink more Diet Coke now than in the era BE (before editor)?

Brodi: I'm lucky enough to have the world's best editor by my side, Kristin Daly Rens. Seriously, I think she was recently voted "Smarted editor on the planet" and was awarded a golden burrito. She taught me (by force, which may or may not have involved a whip) [dare I even ask??] to never stop asking questions about the world in my book, and thus made it a stronger book. And she loves Diet Coke and cinnamon bears as much as I do.

Me: You're working on Everneath 2 right now, what's been the most challenging aspect of writing a sequel?

Brodi: The most challenging aspect has been trying to keep my focus when all this exciting stuff is... I HAVE A COVER! BECCA FITZPATRICK BLURBED MY BOOK! ARC's ARE ON THEIR WAY! ... Sorry... where were we?

Me:
What, besides the cinnamon bears and Diet Coke, gets you "in the mood" to throwdown some major wordage and get the creative juices flowing?

Brodi: My friend and critique partner Bree Despain and I have been holding "Word Wars" on twitter where we write for an hour straight and then report back our word counts. It's all about getting as many words as you can, so it allows you to write crap, which is the first step toward writing awesome. Any writers can join in!

Me: And finally, with your books having Greek mythology in the roots, if you suddenly discovered you were a Goddess, what's the first thing you'd do?

Brodi: Easy. I'd cure cancer.
That's kind of boring, though, so how about I'd cure cancer, and I'd also give me the power of having acid for blood. So if someone picked a fight, and made me bleed, they'd be sorry.

Thanks so much for your great answers and giving us some insight into the book as well as you and your writing! So basically what it comes down to is, Don’t mess with the Diet Coke & Cinnamon Bears powered Goddess Brodi, or else you’re gonna be in big, BIG trouble!!

But WE are not in trouble and I know you’re DYING for this next part! … but before we begin, let’s check --

Do you have a Twitter account? Good.

No? Better get one asap or else you're gonna miss a chance to win your very own Brodi Ashton-signed and donated ARC of EVERNEATH! Here's all you've gotta do:

Go get the first half of the "OFFICIAL Brodi-approved #everneathARC tweet" from CRANBERRYFRIES’ #everneathARC post HERE

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Okay, got it? We’re back now? All right.

Add that to this second half of the "OFFICIAL Brodi-approved #everneathARC tweet":

I want the #everneathARC NOW!!! (deets: http://bit.ly/fLhG0)

Now, put them together and go TWEET IT!!

Easy-peasy right? Of course it is!

Now, if you want some extra chances to win ... there's a few things you can do, and NO, you do NOT have to keep track of your points or come back to us with an email or anything like that. If you just do any of the following things, we'll take care of all the math, counting and adding and stuff for you!

+1 following either of our blogs (+2 if you follow both) - new and old followers, same number of points.

+1 commenting on either of our #everneathARC blog posts (+2 if you comment on both)

and the big one ...once the cover is revealed and available on the PageTurners blog you can get

+5 for changing your Twitter avatar over to the EVERNEATH cover and leaving it up for the next week! (we'll be spot checking - no work necessary from you other than the switch over)

And don't think the ARC is all we've got up for grabs! If that's not enough for you, there's an awesome second prize surprise basket containing oodles of EVERNEATH-y goodies! You won't be disappointed!

This contest is open to all US residents only (sorry international peeps) through Thursday, June 30 and we'll be announcing the winners on our blogs Friday, July 1.


UPDATE: The #everneathARC Contest has been EXTENDED! For your chance to win, keep reading, but know that you now have until 5pm on Tuesday, July 5th to get your tweet on!

And now that you’ve finally reached the end of this forever long blog post – hey, my name is Windy, I can’t help that I’m a bit long-winded, okay? – Click on over to the PAGETURNERS Blog for the big reveal of EVERNEATH’s breathtaking cover! You won’t want to miss it!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Random Stuff Fri--er, Thursday

1) I know, today isn't Friday, BUT you'll still want to come back tomorrow as the lovely Debbie -i.e. CranberryFries - and I have the fabulous opportunity to offer to you ... the very FIRST Arc contest for Brodi Ashton's EVERNEATH! Along with exclusive interviews with the Bro-meister, this contest runs alongside the cover reveal for EVERNEATH that will be hosted on the PageTurners blog! So I'll see you back here tomorrow, right? Right!

2)In other randomness, I confess, I forgot to blog last Friday and by the time I got around to realizing it, well, I couldn't remember all of the week's random stuff and I was distracted by life-ish things and just didn't get to it. I'm doing better this week, because, well, as I write this, it has just become Wednesday, which means, I'm trying to keep track of the random stuff that's going on. Yay for me! I know, this is weird to those who know me and know I'm a bit of an overplanner and a little Type A. But there you have it.

3) I've been saying I've wanted to learn to knit and crochet forever. I've taught myself how to do needlepoint pretty decently, and, well, that's about it. Unless you count coloring in the lines to be really crafty. But anyway, so my sister learned how, with some help from Mom and Dad. So then she tried to teach me. Apparently I was pupil # 3 to try to learn. I didn't do half bad, but pupil #4, well, just the fact there was a pupil #4 was surprising. So there I am, sitting on my parents' couch with my almost 20yo sister AND 18yo brother learning how to knit. In his words: It takes a REAL man to be willing to learn how, even if I never do it again. Which is true, to that. Because, yanno, my dad totally knows how to knit.

4) A conversation between Husband and 3yo after family dog (a 1 1/2 yo boxer) spastically ran through the house and knocked a bunch of stuff over while we were trying to organize food list for upcoming camping trip --
Husband: maybe we'll just eat Kentucky Fried Dog (yes, I know it sounds gross, just go with it)
3yo: Do you mean Lucy?
Husband: Yes. She's crazy.
3yo: We can't eat Lucy.
Husband: Why not?
3yo: She's a person too.
It was a little bit "aw, cute" and a little bit "how does this kid put this logic together??"

5) And since I started with bookish, EVERNEATH-y stuff, I thought I'd end with some bookish, EVERNEATH-y stuff: LAST CALL for UTAH Book Bloggers!!! If you're interested in the Locals Arc Tour please email me at windy.aphayrath (at) gmail.com by 5pm Mountain time on Friday, June 24!! .... For those of you who have already emailed / signed up way back when the first call went out - I've got you on my list and I've already contacted those of you who I needed additional information from. I will be emailing everyone over the weekend with more information!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Reading is Boring

Over the weekend (thankfully BEFORE I got sick), the kidlets and I went to a family birthday party. Husband was off working and so we were free to party it up.

Well, this party went from a 9yo's birthday with pinata bashing to Glee Karaoke Revolution and ended with a very, very high spirited game of Catchphrase - like Charades, but where you can talk as well, you just can't say the "catchphrase."

Anyway, during this game, one of the catchphrases that came up was BEDTIME STORY. After the clues were solved for this one, my nephew (cousin's 15yo son), said "Mom, you never read us bedtime stories."

My cousin just shot her son a look. You know the one, that Mom-look? Yeah, that one.

Nephew then said, "It's okay, though. Reading is boring."

I nearly dropped the drink in my hand as I just stared at him. It was like a moment where everything around me just went eerie and quiet and I didn't even know what to say because . . . OMG THAT IS BLASPHEMY! HOW COULD HE SAY SUCH A THING?????

I get that reading's not everyone's fave activity. I do, really. Like Husband? He's a very specific kind of book guy, otherwise, he's a magazine guy all the way. BUT, he will always read to the kidlets and always supports them in their reading (or attempts at it - they are only 3 & 6, after all).

When I was little, my parents weren't really read-to-me types. One reason: English is not their first language and they had a hard enough time with general communication, let alone trying to understand all the nuances in children's storybooks. BUT, they were ALWAYS supportive of my reading, taking me to the library whenever I wanted to go, even signing me up for those kids' book of the month clubs.

And now, both Husband and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that our kidlets enjoy books. That in most cases, they'd rather read a few pages of Harry Potter together than watch the movie. (It may have something to do with 3yo being afraid of Voldemort, aka "The Flat Nose Guy.") But still.

Okay, I'll get off my ranty soap box now. But a quick question for you guys: How have you guys fostered reading with the kids around you, whether they are your own or just ones you borrow from time to time?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

(Belated) Quote of the Week

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."


Dr. Suess

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Popcorn and Pots and Pens

It feels late to be blogging - well late in the day for me. I mean, it's nearing lunch time and . . . well, the whole food thing might be why I felt like blogging right now. You'll get where I'm going in a sec, I swear!

Firstly, I took yesterday off because the big kidlet turned 6. And what did the officially 6yo want to do? Go see Kung Fu Panda 2.

And eat an entire large tub of buttery popcorn, washed down with orange soda. Yeah. It was a good day.

Now secondly, since I started with lunch, went off on buttery movie theater popcorn . . . this leads me to some Pots. And some Pens.

The fabulous Cole Gibsen and several other blogging writers (yours truly included) are looking to launch a fun new blog stop called:

The blog's going to have writerly stuff, and foodie stuff, including things like our favorite recipes, what our characters are eating, author / agent / editor interviews involving their favorite foods and recipes and . . . well, if it involves food, I'm sure one of us will throw it up there.

We're still looking for contributors, so if you write and you like food and you like to write about food, well have I got blog for you! So if you're interested in participating, you're welcome to shoot me an email at windy (dot) aphayrath (at) gmail (dot) com . . . OR you can email Cole directly at cole (at) colegibsen (dot) com!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Possession Winners!

I love these posts!

You know why?

Because SOMEONE - in this case SOMEONES - are getting signed books!

Last week a whole bunch of you guys joined in with Nichole, Ali and I on a bloghop on June 7 to help launch POSSESSION by Elana Johnson.

Through the wonders of Random.org (and verification bloghop posts were up), the three winners of the signed copies of POSSESSION are:

Amy McBray
John Sankovitch
Rachel Morgan

Congrats you three! Keep an eye out for an email to come from one of us for your info so we can get the books sent out to you!

And if you DIDN'T win ... you've still got a chance to get some personal Elana-time! There's still time to enter to win this awesome prize! All you have to do? Send a copy of the receipt from your POSSESSION purchase to windy (dot) aphayrath (at) gmail (dot) com! You've got until the POSSESSION Virtual Launch on Thursday, June 16 (at 12:00 pm Mountain time) to get these in! I know you've already bought your book(s), so why haven't you sent me the receipt yet???

Friday, June 10, 2011

Random Stuff Friday

1) I really need to capture a vid of my kid brother jamming out that horrendous "It's Friday" song, seeing as that's the first thing I thought of when I started this post. Every time I say something about Friday, he busts out in the chorus of that and it's hilarious! Regardless, it IS Friday and I'm so glad. It feels like it has been a long, long week. Even if I had yesterday off ;)

2) So every year, between Mother's Day and Father's Day, well, things at this Aphayrath house are jam-packed! We've got 3 birthdays (the 2 kidlets & mine, the parents' days, our wedding anniversary), and then this year we had to add to that 4 graduations (1 college, 3 high school), a family wedding and, of course, a lovely friend's HUGE book release & launch party (*ahem* Have YOU picked up your copy of Elana Johnson's POSSESSION yet?? Well, have you??).. and well, yeah, it's been a busy 6 weeks or so. Just listing it out makes me want to crawl back to bed and take a nap.

3) I'm writing again. Woohoo! After a long and unexpected hiatus, it feels so good to get new, albeit crappy, words down again. Love this feeling and have missed it so, but the break was good, I think.

4) We've lived in our house for 4 years now and finally, FINALLY, we've gotten to some MAJOR yard work. In the last couple of weeks, Husband and a couple of his buddies rented a chainsaw from Home Depot and chopped down 2 obnoxious trees that I've totally hated since the first summer after we moved in. One was a nasty tasting purple plum tree with a mean ol' robin that would dive bomb you if you got too close, and the other was a tall flowering shade tree that while the flowers were pretty, they smelled sort of like dog poop. And we have a dog, so I know that smell. GROSS! So yay! Every time I look at our yard now I feel a bit more Zen.

5) And lastly, if you're a local Utah blogger (reader / writer / general supporter of all things wordish) I've still got a few spots open on the locals ARC tour of Brodi Ashton's EVERNEATH (Winter, Balthazar & Bray). Email me at windy (dot) aphayrath (at) gmail (dot) com if you're interested. Spots are filling up fast! - to those of you outside of Utah, I know Brodi's going to have ARCs out with some of the other tours, so keep an eye out!

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

#POSSESSIONparty!

Guess what today is kids? Yes, yes, it's another day of this almost all POSSESSION week!

And for those of you lucky enough to live in Utah, or who were feeling particularly travely and came to visit ... tonight is the launch party for Elana Johnson's book POSSESSION!

Here are the deets:

Come Join the Resistance!
POSSESSION by Elana Johnson
Launch Party at 7:00 PM
The King's English Bookshop
1511 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84105

And a little birdy told me the bookshop has a limited number of copies of the book available for purchase there, so come early!

If you're not able to join us in Salt Lake, well, keep an eye on Twitter and #POSSESSIONparty for live-tweet coverage of the party and maybe, just maybe, there could be some freebies in there for you too!

So if you can come, please do! There will be lots of book bloggers and writers and you may even run into a few familiar names who you can finally say "holy, wow! you really do exist!" to! - I know I've done that more than a few times ;)

See you at the party!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Broken Rules: A Possession Bloghop!

Happy Book Birthday, POSSESSION !

And of course, in honor of this grand occasion, we (Ali, Nichole and I) are along with a whole bunch of Baddies ;) are blogging about a time when we broke the rules! It's not too late to jump on the bloghop and add your blog to the list below and get something posted today - you could win a signed copy of POSSESSION! Or you can send one of us a copy of your receipt from your POSSESSION purchase and get entered to win some personal Elana-time! (All the details can be found HERE.)

So then, on to the rule breaking!

Back in the high school days, I honestly was the ultimate Goodie. I didn't break the rules. I did what I was supposed to do and called it good. There was no questioning and only a little bit of wondering what I was missing out on. I'm from a pretty traditional Laotian family and with that came crazy strict parents and lots and lots of family obligations. Friends they would approve of, and never, never did I just "go out" because, well, that's just not what Goodie girls did. I just did what I was supposed to and called it a day.

Flash forward to the following spring ...

(And yes, I realize technically, I was 19 and an "adult" but really, I still lived at home and honestly - in most Laotian families, age doesn't mean much) ... I'd started hanging out with a different crowd, made some new friends and some of them had some pretty colorful histories.

Within a couple weeks, every rule my parents had ever sent flew out the window, shattering as they hit the ground twenty feet below.

I was staying out all night. Coming home just as the sun was coming up and my parents were leaving for work.

I started dating a guy who, although really nice, was involved in some pretty shady stuff.

And I was spending so much time when I was usually with my brother and sister with these people who, at any point if a member of law enforcement came in, would probably have gotten us all arrested for one reason or another.

The thing here that was hard, was that beneath their activities, most of these people were really nice people. I liked them, as people. Maybe not everything they did, but isn't that always the way it is?

In the end, I got tired, bored, whatever you want to call it, and I walked away from the hanging out at all hours of the night. School priorities and finals came around and honestly, there's only so much of sitting around doing nothing a person can handle before you start to think, "yanno, I could be home sleeping."

I think my biggest lesson here is something that reaffirms a lot of other lessons that we've all been taught. You never really know people until you get to know them. So 1) Don't judge others. 2) Treat people with respect. 3)Always remember the Golden Rule.

P.S. As for the guy I was dating? Because we all know that's where most of the curiosity lies ... Well, his decisions changed a lot of his life and years later, I heard from him after he was released from prison. He found me on Facebook. (True story, I swear!!) It was a very thoughtful and sincere letter filled with apology and regret, as well as hope that he'd be able to get his life turned around and wishing me the best in mine. We're FB friends now and that's about the most contact we have, not for any real reason other than we're just very different people from who we were back then. And lesson 4)? Regardless of how you feel or what you think, people CAN change - they just have to want it and need to have the right motivation.

Your turn! What rules have you shattered??





Monday, June 6, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Civilization had too many rules for me,
so I did my best to rewrite them."

Bill Cosby


And just a friendly reminder! The ever-lovely Elana Johnson's debut POSSESSION releases TOMORROW - have you added yourself to the bloghop and pre-ordered your copy of the book yet? Remember, this gives you a chance to win a signed copy of the book or maybe even some personal Elana-time! Check over HERE for all the details!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Random Stuff Friday

1) Holy crow, it's been a while, hasn't it? I swore I was gonna get better at blogging more regularly and then ... well, 4 graduations, 2 birthday parties, revisions, new wips and ... yeah. The list goes on and on. Anyway, I'm back now and--

*** WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG POST WITH AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Tuesday, June 7th we will all be wishing a Happy Book Birthday to POSSESSION, the debut novel from the one and only, Elana Johnson and lucky, lucky you could have a chance for some personalized Elana-time! This contest is open from now until Wednesday, June 15th and all winners will be announced by Elana on Thursday, June 16th. For complete details ... CLICK HERE!!! *** WE NOW RETURN YOU TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED BLOG POST ***

2) My baby brother graduated from high school this week (yeah, he's the tall one in the middle in case you couldn't tell by the cap & gown) and we're all so proud of him! And the best part about his graduation? I don't HAVE to go to another graduation for at least 2 years (depending on how long he and my sister decide to take until they graduation college!). It's the little things I tell ya!

This is my cute family: Dad on the left, my younger sister, baby brother, me and Mom.

3) Speaking of graduations, 5yo who will be 6yo as of the middle of this month has now graduated kindergarten. It's bittersweet, as a mom. I'm proud of her and she loved school and I hope that continues, but she's growing up SO fast, I almost started crying the other day. I know, lame and emotional, but I bet the rest of you moms out there totally know what I'm talking about. *sniffles*

4) I'm seriously considering shelving a project I've been working intensely on for the last year and a half. Over the past several weeks, I've just fallen out of the mojo of the story and I cannot seem to get a firm grasp on the characters' voices right now. I'm having a tough time with this because, well, despite having "fallen out" with the story, I still really love it. What's a girl to do?

5) Rain, rain, go away, come again another day . . .

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Possession: the Bloghop & Contest

**Sorry I've been a bit MIA - things have been crazy busy - but man, have I got a reason to be back in the saddle now!**

The day is almost here, and unless you've been living under a rock or in a really deep, dark hole, you know I mean POSSESSION is almost here!

There's a flurry of ways for you to participate in the fun and win a SIGNED copy of the book or other uber-cool prizes, so you are NOT going to want to miss this week in the blogosphere!

Nichole, Ali and I are hosting the first contest and it comes in 2 parts - and you know what that means right? More chances to win!

PART ONE: Join in the bloghop by signing up today, or any day between now and next Tuesday, June 7th on any one of our blogs. Then, on June 7th, POSSESSION's official book birthday, post on your blog about a time when you had to break the rules for the greater good. 3 lucky winners will receive signed copies of POSSESSION!

PART TWO: Anyone who pre-orders a copy of POSSESSION between right this moment and June 7th, will be entered in a drawing for an awesome prize of your choosing. What are the choices you ask? Well ... you'll get some one-on-one time with Elana and you get to choose what that time is used for! A query crit? An online chat? A Skype session? Yep, totally up to the lucky winner!

Feel free to advertise this contest on Twitter, your blog, Facebook, or even by skywriting if you want! The more entries, the more fun!

Good luck to everyone!

Oh, and P.S. All winners will be announced on Wednesday, June 8th! ***UPDATE: The contest has been extended an extra week!! You've got until Wednesday, June 15th to enter and Elana herself will announce the winner on Thursday, June 16th!***