Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Today is brought to you by the number 5.

I'm pretty gobsmacked over here. We got news of the fifth review for ASK THE PASSENGERS, and this is a beautiful one from Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books, and it's another starred review. That brings us to five starred reviews for Astrid Jones and her airplanes.

 ★+★+★+★+★ 

I feel like thanking the whole world right now. Thank you, whole world.

 I get this question a lot: What's a starred review?
 Also this one: Isn't five stars better than one?
And this one: Why is it so cool to get a starred review?

 A star is something a traditional trade review venue gives a book that it thinks is of particular quality. For example, Booklist will review X number of books in their October issue, but only a few of those reviews will be starred reviews.

When you think of five-star reviews, you're thinking consumer reviews on Amazon or other reader websites. Those are cool places to review and keep track of books. But it's not quite the same as a trade review, because a trade review is published and sent to subscribers.
Deirdre-who-rocks.

Why is it so cool to get starred reviews? Because it's nice to know I'm creating good work. Some people measure their success in gold coins. I can't do that, so stars mean a lot to me.

All this defining aside, there are a lot of books that are awesome and do not get starred reviews. And there are books plenty of people don't particularly like that get them. And so, we're back to the same old review conundrum which is: The beauty is in the eye of the reader and you have to find out for yourself.

I don't ever expect a star. Hell, I don't really expect nice reviews. It always seems like a fluke to me because I can never tell if what I'm doing is working. <---author brain. And so, I am very grateful that reviewers have enjoyed ASK THE PASSENGERS this much so far. And so, we're back to thanking the whole effing world. Thank you, whole effing world.

So here's your snippet for the Oct. 1 BCCB review: 
★ “For kids still struggling with their own truths, it can be hard to believe how much light there is once you come out of the cave. This is a book that knows and understands that, and it’s one that readers will believe.”—Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books 

And here's your chance to win a signed ARC of ASK THE PASSENGERS. 

  • Write me a powerful five-word-long sentence. 
  • Five words only. 
  • Don't forget to leave me your email address (at) (dot) if your entry doesn't have a link to a way to contact you. 
  • Contest ends October 2, 2012 23:59EST. 
  • If you tweet, blog, FB or spread the word in some other cosmic way, you will get an extra entry. Let me know under you entry. 
  • We need 50 entries to make it happen. Spread the word!


 Here's my entry: I should be writing now.


Monday, September 24, 2012

A thousand words, a ★, and a sign.

Pictures. They are worth 1000 words.
Here's one that made my week last week.

That is a picture of two dear people holding a book with four stars in it.

That's my fantastic editor, Andrea, and her fantastic editorial assistant, Deirdre. These two ladies are the so completely awesome, it's hard to find 1000 words that work in this case. And having four starred reviews on ASK THE PASSENGERS leaves me a bit speechless. I guess, considering the novel, I should use one word 1000 times.

love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love etc.

More on that review:

Here's a snippet from the Oct. 1 review:
★ "King’s thoughtful, sad, funny, and frank book is about paradox and will appeal to...anyone who wants to define herself on her own terms." --School Library Journal

So, I take pictures of signs.

I've been collecting quite a few for you, but this one I want to share today.
I saw it in the bathroom of an amusement park.
I don't think the person who wrote it was thinking of The Marbury Lens or Passenger by Andrew Smith, but I think the world would be a cooler place if, in fact, they were.

Passenger is coming in a few short days and if you haven't read The Marbury Lens yet, now is the time to do it. The sequel will not disappoint. Trust me.


More news on the horizon. But you'll have to wait. I just did something insane in my new book this morning and I have to make sure it's not too insane. I mean, you guys can handle whatever I toss out there, right? Of course you can.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sara Zarr rocks.

Check out this great podcast at Sara Zarr's This Creative Life.
I had so much fun talking to Sara. She's awesome and smart and talented and it's always nice to talk to a fellow author to make sure I'm not the only one who feels crazy sometimes. 

Click on the picture. :)

And Happy Birthday Lucky Linderman...again.
And more news to come.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Paperback release days are groovy.

There's something about releasing a paperback book. It's a rebirth of sorts. A reaffirmation of vows. It's a reminder.

These days, it's often accompanied by a new cover, and I love love love the new cover for EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS. I love love loved the original cover, no doubt. But this new cover is particularly boss. I got to see a load of great cover designs before we all picked this one. I think what struck me about it was this: That kid could be Lucky, but he could also be Granddad Harry right before he left for Vietnam. I thought: how fitting for a book that illuminates the youth of draftees only 40 years ago.

Anyway, paperbacks are like having two birthdays in one year. Tomorrow is Lucky Linderman's birthday...again.
Happy birthday, Lucky!

Speaking of the EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS paperback...

We have a winner from the Ankle Contest. Step right up The REALLY Real Curious Crow. You just won yourself a book. Thank you for sharing the contest on your blog and for your entry. You know I'm a sucker for Doc Marten boots, right? I've sent you an email for your details and we'll go from there.

Thank you to all entrants.
There were some really great pieces and I'm always grateful for every entry.

Random advice to conference goers...

You really shouldn't raise your hand in the middle of an author's presentation and tell them that you'd like them to stay "on topic." Authors are often non-linear thinkers. We have a lot to offer listeners, but those listeners have to do the listening and thinking to stay with us. If we are interrupted, we can lose our train of thought. And that would be a bummer because what awaits at the end of that train of thought is the entire point of what we're talking about. We are quilters, I guess. If interrupted, the audience could find themselves with a pile of scraps. And you wouldn't want to be the cause of that, right? Just because you have some inflated sense of what "on topic" means in your own brain?

I've been to a lot of conferences. I've listened to some pretty radical authors. My most amazing experience to date was David Morrell at a Backspace conference years ago. No one raised their hand and asked David Morrell to stay "on topic" when he told us many stories of his life, but didn't seem to be talking about characterization or plot or theme or any of those other writerly subheadings. See, David is really smart. And his speech has been one that really stuck with me (and many other conference-goers that year) because I listened and I understood the metaphor he was piecing together for the writers in the audience. And to comprehend that metaphor, the audience had to do one thing.
Listen.
That's it.
He wasn't there to teach us curriculum, and frankly, I am bored by speakers who approach things like that. (I already went through school. Thanks.)
He was there to inspire us.
So.
If ever you're bored, lost, or seemingly confused by a writer speaking at a conference or event, please don't raise your hand in the middle of their speech. Wait for Q&A. If you're really not into the conference track you chose, then quietly leave and attend another. Or doodle. Or think of a great scene in your next novel where the main character is a conference-goer and they are being tortured by a speaker that they just don't seem to resonate with. All good choices.

But bottom line: use your manners.

Try to picture yourself at a Broadway show. Try to picture a woman in the audience who stands up right in the middle of the performance and says, essentially, that she could do better than those on stage. Try to figure out what on Earth possesses a person to do this.
I can't.

Next up...

Some work on the secret project today. Then back to the next book.
And I guess it's about time to give away an ARC for ASK THE PASSENGERS, isn't it?



Monday, September 10, 2012

Your ankles could win you a book.

Fastest blog post EVER.

I should tell you that ASK THE PASSENGERS received its third starred review last week. Here's a quote:

✮ "King continues to expertly plumb the lovely numbness of a young person struck by emotional paralysis. ... Another thoughtful, and often breathtaking achievement."--Booklist 


Now...for a contest.
EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS comes out in paperback in 8 days. So here's what you have to do to win a copy.

Write me a comment about your ankles. I want to know about them. Ankles are very nice. They are the gateway to the feet, and feet are pretty awesome, too.

If you feel like writing about your imagined ankles, or your ankles from the third person, that's great. If you feel like penning a poem or a limerick, that's great too. So long as it works. If you're new to these writing contests, know that whatever you enter has to work. We're not here to mess around. I like great writing. Avoid cliches. Anyone who uses the term cankles will be disqualified.

DEADLINE: Friday, September 14th, 2012 11:59pm EST
**CONTEST CLOSED**
WORD LIMIT: Go to town. But don't drown us.
WINNER: will be chosen by the hamsters again. They're getting great at this.

Please leave your email address in the comment so I can contact you if you win.
Also, if you posted or tweeted about this contest, tell me. You get extra entries.

Go!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kingisms, Another Star for Ask the Passengers & Other Awesome Stuff

First:

I'll embed a sample of the EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS audio book. It'll be released next Tuesday, the 11th. Kirby did a spectacular job. I'm thrilled. I'm beyond thrilled.


Next, I'll remind you that you can win a Google+ chat with me. What I forgot to point out in my last post about this contest and the accompanying review was this GEM of a new word that Jenny Torres Sanchez invented.
Kingism- A short narrative from the point of view of a seemingly odd, out of place, or nonsensical object/subject but which holds incredible meaning and is interjected throughout an awesome novel. Ex: including narrative from the point of view of a pagoda in a story decidedly not about pagodas (Please Ignore Vera Dietz).
I love that my odd, out of place subjects do what I put them in there to do. I'm especially honored that there is now a word for it. Thank you Jenny (and Karen, too!) for being so supportive and wonderful to me. It means a lot.

So. That second star.

Publishers Weekly reviewed Ask the Passengers this week and they starred it! Here's the review in its entirely:


There's a lot coming up in the coming weeks. An open invitation to the Ask the Passengers launch party, some more news, a podcast over at Sara Zarr's place. And one day I'll manage to write the millionaire/mediocrity blog...and the Sixth Writer's Middle Finger.

Until then, keep your eyes in their sockets.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Win a Google+ Chat with Me!

I'm going to post later about some great news that came in over the holiday weekend, but before that, let me point you to a great contest where you can win a Google+ chat with me...in a toga.


Click on that awesome graphic to enter! Or click here. 

Bonus for clicking: A great review by Jenny Torres Sanchez of Ask the Passengers.

More later. For now...enter!