Monday, August 30, 2010

The Cosmic Hamster Has Spoken

Will judge contests for lettuce.
You know, the thing about running contests like this is that I have to pick winners. And it's really REALLY hard. First, there's the fact that you entered and I love that you entered and you are really cool and GUTSY to enter and I want you to know how much I appreciate it. I appreciate your gutsiness. A LOT.

Second, you're all too good. It's way too hard to pick a winner out of entries like this. That's why I get my cosmic hamster and my eight ball and my impeccably-dressed team of scientists to help me. I narrow down, they pick, and sometimes it's so hard to pick, we have to toss it into a hat. I don't just say that. It's really true. Sometimes, I guess, I'm not even as gutsy as you are, because I can't decide.

I got an anonymous comment this week about how if my contests were easier and just "leave a comment" contests, that I'd get more entries. That's probably true. But not all of us are here on Earth just to get free stuff, are we? We're not all here to do everything the easy way, right? Some of us are here to have fun and work hard and be gutsy. I'm sorry if that leaves some people out. I know it's hard to put 100 words out in public and then lose. Boy do I know that. (Boy do I know that!) Anyway--this is my blog, and I run weird writing contests. I'm here to have some fun. So, thanks for your comment, anonymous, but this is how I roll.

Before I get to the winner thing, I need to say this. 
MY NEXT BOOK COMES OUT IN 42 DAYS! Isn't that nuts? Have you PRE-ORDERED yet?

I know from last time around availability of my books can be scattered and I apologize for that. Your best bet is always to befriend your local independent booksellers, who usually stock my books or go online and order one there at a venue of your choice. (Did you know a lot of independents also offer online shopping and some even have free shipping? Seriously. I wouldn't joke about these things.)

Also: I may have mentioned this before, but did you know Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a RICHIE'S PICK? Here's a snippet:

"As they celebrate Vera Dietz's survival and rebirth, what I am hoping that teens might take away from this gripping, not-to-be-missed story is that parenting is not supposed to be about what a struggle it is for the parents.  It is supposed to be about what happens for and to the kid."


Here are your four finalists: Joanne Levy (OMG Batman? Too much.) Joelle (I love me some time travel) Cathy (You had me going. I thought Jed really liked her) and Miss Liberty (Bonus points for using the name Merle).

And the winner is: Miss Liberty

We read the entries a lot and each time, I could picture Janet practicing her screams and her 911 call. Great story! Thank you to ALL entrants and stay tuned. In the next month, we will start giving away copies of the book and getting into some hilarious writing fun.

Oh...and hey.

What are you doing on September 11th? I'll be at a great event in Lititz, PA as part of the Aaron's Books 2nd Annual Kid Lit Festival. It's a Meet the Author Dinner and Silent Auction that will benefit local literacy programs. Tickets are still available! LEARN MORE HERE.

Stay tuned. Evil Plan coming soon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Untitled Janet Contest #254 (Reprise)

**Sorry for the late Tweet that sent you here! This contest is over but stay tuned for a new contest next week! (And the week after that, and the week after that...)**

My Motto: Corn is Good.
I'm putting this contest up a day early because tomorrow is corn day at the King house. That means we prep/blanch/freeze about 150 ears of corn for winter.

Want to win an ARC of Please Ignore Vera Dietz? All you have to do is follow 3 little rules, and you're in. Go crazy. You have a whole week!

  1. Your story MUST start with this sentence: Janet was early. **
  2. Your story MUST end with this sentence: Of course, she didn't know that.
  3. Your story must be 100 words or less.
DEADLINE: Friday, August 27th at 11:59PM EST
PRIZE: A signed Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ.
Please leave your entry in the comment area and don't forget your email address!

Winner chosen by three anonymous judges, a cosmic hamster and a magic 8 ball and will be announced on Monday, August 30th.

Good Luck!

** The author would like it known that by choosing the name Janet for the first sentence, she is not referring to any specific Janet she knows or any that you might know either. This can be any Janet. It was just the first name that came to me, and so, we're stuck with it. Your Janet can be a dolphin for all I care. The story can be in second person omniscient and be from the point of view of a microscopic skin cell that fell off Janet. Technically, Janet doesn't even have to appear again after that first sentence. I don't mind. Just tell me a story and follow the rules above, and we're good. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Winner & A Promise

Yes, of course my panel of snappily-dressed judges bickered all night long. I moved them to the garage so the kids could sleep, but frankly, the garage was not far enough away. I don't know what time they agreed on a winner. Last time I checked in, they were cranky, starving and weren't talking to me, so I put in earplugs and went to sleep. This morning I found this note tacked to my kitchen table:

Really great entries this time. We got it down to five finalists and then picked the winner from a hat.
the epic rat

The winning entry: After running what Coach assigned the cross country team to do, I came around the back of the school and saw Leo, the tall, new junior on the team. He didn’t talk much, his glasses were always crooked, and I always saw him with a comic book. Before the season ended, I would speak to him. 

That's you, Bianca!
I've been in touch for a mailing address and will get your ARC to you ASAP!Congratulations!

A huge thank you to ALL participants and a special shout out to new faces, familiar faces, and to my awesome Norwegian fan Karoline!

The Promise:  If you come back next week, there will be another chance to win!

Until then, here's one of Vera's favorite songs. And you can't deny it. Billy's afro in this is probably the bossest thing that ever existed.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

While We're Waiting...

 While we're waiting for the last day of entries to pass (You know there's a contest on to win A RARE PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ ARC, right?) (You know the DEADLINE is 9PM tonight, too, right?) I figured I'd try something new. I don't usually review or recap books. The reason behind this is: I'm really bad at it and it takes up too much time to do something I'm bad at when I already don't have enough time to do things I'm pretty good at. Also, If I love a book, I think my fumbling telling of its awesomeness isn't going to do the book justice. But.

Very cool cover art, eh?
I have to tell you about a great book I just read. It's called THE FREAK OBSERVER and it's by an author named Blythe Woolston. I like a lot of books. I love a few books. I adore very few books. Usually, to fit into that last category, a book has to be unique or weird, it has to challenge me as a reader and yet give me all necessary data to figure out the puzzle of the character. And it has to make me laugh. And it has to make me sad, too. THE FREAK OBSERVER wins on all counts. I adored this book.

The story follows Loa, a 17-year-old girl who has recently lost her friend to an accident and, before that, her little sister to a rare genetic disorder. As we watch her struggle with PTSD, her devastated family, and her daily attempts to live a normal teenage life, we learn that she sees the world through a sort of scientific netting that is also essentially keeping her together. She recalls her past through the eyes of a statistician or an historian. She communicates and rationalizes through theorems and physics problems. She makes a new friend and then loses him, and though she's right there in it, she is also describing her life as an independent observer because she is one. At times, the narrative is hilarious and so clever I just couldn't stop reading because I couldn't wait to find the next piece of the puzzle that was Loa. The Freak Observer is fantastic look at the realities of grief from the inside--a journey alongside a life being half-lived while being lived fully...depending on how you look at it.

Can you tell I really loved this book? Go buy it and read it and tell your friends.

Now...if you haven't got your contest entry in, what are you waiting for? It's only 56 little words.You don't have to be a teenager or a writer. You can be an agent or a tap dancer or a pastry chef or a princess. You can write about frogs or staplers or the planet N875Q. All you really have to want is a rare advance copy of VERA DIETZ.

See you Friday with a WINNER!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stretch for a VERA ARC

Yes, you read that right. Vera ARC. (Advance Copy) Hard to get, aren't they?
I have one to give away to whoever wins this writing challenge. It's been a while since we did this here on the blog and I wonder do you guys get rusty after a break like I do? We still have two months to wait before VERA hits shelves, but in only a few little weeks the contests will begin. Are your brains ready? Do you need to stretch?

THE DEAL: It's officially 56 days until PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ Launch Day.

You have 56 hours (from 1PM or 1300 today EST) to construct a story that is 56 words long, about any subject you want. (Please be reasonable and stay on the upper side of classy, thanks.) Remember that we want stories that make us say wow. Take care stacking your words.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL RULE: You must use one of these words in your story:  
Winner chosen by 4 anonymous snappily-dressed judges and announced on Friday.

Please leave your story in the comment area - don't forget to leave your email address! (safe format: asking (at) as-king (dot) com )

DEADLINE: Wednesday, Aug 18th 2010, 9PM EST


Monday, August 9, 2010


Two Months Left!

This weekend, I thought up an evil VERA DIETZ blog tour plan that you will soon hear all about here on the blog. You'll even get a chance to play. Stay tuned. Think pizza.

Those are NOT my hands.
Until then, I have a kitchen to go read this awesome review of PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ by Richie Partington. Being a Richie's Pick is an absolute honor, and he always seems to get to the core of the books he reviews, so I was thrilled he loved VERA DIETZ and even more thrilled that he found her core and talked about parenting in his review. Because the longer I'm alive, the more it becomes clear: parenting is the most important job in the world. (Followed closely by teaching--but do not get me started on how educators should get paid more than movie stars and pro athletes because they shape the future of our entire country, and in so doing, the world. Oops. I think I started. Seriously. Don't get me started.)

Adding a p.s.: My apologies to those of you who sent me friend requests at Goodreads over the summer! I just logged in there for the first time in months and see some of you sent a FR as far back as May. Oops.