Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thoughts on 2009 and more...

How can I begin to describe my 2009?
It started off with the awesome thrill of attending a most historic and exciting Inauguration. And then the year moved like a roller coaster.

When I started my first novel at age 12, a project I kept a closely guarded secret for many years, I could not have imagined the thrill of a debut novel hitting the stores nearly two decades later. I truly couldn't have conceived of how wishing on stars, after a lot of time, rejection, pain and hard work, could result in the reality of a dream fulfilled. It's still difficult to wrap my brain around it now as we all begin to consider our respective 2009 drawing to a close. My greatest dream is manifest in the pages of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and Miss Percy and I have been surrounded by the incredible support of my family, friends, my prince of a boyfriend, the industry itself, book bloggers, my publisher, generous readers, booksellers and a bevvy of new friends... it was like a host of heaven was at my side through a nerve-wrackingly beautiful few 'debut' months. I sometimes forget that Dark Nest won the Prism Award this year too, the ceremony at RWA National seems a lifetime ago. And every time something new happens with my work, it's a brand new thrill. I'm exhausted. But so very blessed. And blessed to continue forward into 2010 with momentum that my 'heavenly host' helped me create. So for me, 2009 has been a year of thanksgiving, lots of hard work and thrilling firsts. Thanks for being a part of my bestselling year.
The latest thrill? This is a big one. Seeing my book in HARDCOVER! *swoon*

Thanks to the Rhapsody Book Club as well as Doubleday's Sci-fi/Fantasy Book Club, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker has gone into a hardcover edition for these book clubs! Isn't it beautiful? I must admit, holding this copy for the first time, it was one of the greatest thrills, an unexpected treasure in this wonderful year of multiple blessings. What I love about this edition is that the cover art is the star; there's more richly moody sky, more of Parliament, on the back, all of Embankment along the Thames glows, the tree, lamps and gorgeous sky are so fittingly luminous with Parliament fading in the London fog. Moving the cover blurb to the inside of the jacket frees the whole of this beautiful scene. I'm more taken than ever with the cover art (and grateful for it), and I'm so thrilled by the opportunity of this edition.

Please visit the Rhapsody site so you can hear an exclusive Audio Excerpt that I recorded from the book! It's the scene where Miss Percy and Professor Rychman first discover they have a mutual secret! (Look under the column "Bonus Content" - it's one of my favourite scenes!)
In distribution news, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker has been spotted at KMart and WalMart! At the KMart in New York City it was under $6! Quite a deal.
Around the Blogosphere:
1. First, I want to say thanks to the beautiful group of book bloggers who posted the cover art for The Darkly Luminous Fight For Persephone Parker (Strangely Beautiful #2, April 27, 2010) after Katiebabs first announced it and who have since put the book on their upcoming sidebars. You give Miss Percy wings and I love you for it.
2. Thanks to A Buckeye Girl Reads for including The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker in her favourite books of 2009!
3. Thanks to Heather at the Daily Dose for listing me as an author hightlight of 2009!
Contest stuffs:
We've a Contest Winner! Here's Persebunny the beloved fluffy white bunny to take a bite out of the name of her choice... BELLA! Congratulations, Bella, on winning The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker in Audio format as well as a bag of coffee from my favourite Fair Trade, ethical and delicious coffee company, Mt. Meru! (For more information about the 8 CD audio book set and the MP3 format, visit the Dorchester page. For more about why everyone should drink Mt. Meru, check them out here.)

Stay tuned, in April I'll open up the DARKLY LUMINOUS contest which will be similar to my very first Strangely Beautiful contest, where you'll have the chance to win a new item critical to the story and a chance to win a Barnes & Noble gift card.
Points of pride:
One of the greatest things this year has been connecting with new readers and writers, whether at conferences, booksignings, or speaking to schools. My a particular delight has been meeting some incredible young women, all talented authors in their own right, and discussing the craft we all love so dearly. Stephanie L., Sammi W., and Hanna L. (who just won a Power of the Pen award, congratulations!) in particular are three young women who give me such joyful faith in young writers, and I cannot wait to watch their respective talents grow, soar and give beauty to the world.
2009 Highlight: I received an incredible, touching honour: an honorary Diploma from the Milwaukee High School of the Arts where I spoke to the Creative Writing department about the publishing industry and the importance of never giving up on your dreams. The department is led by top-notch teachers and filled with gifted students. I mentioned to the class that I would have loved to have had a High School of the Arts in Ohio, I would have connected with such a program, and so the beautiful gesture of making me an honorary alumni moved me to tears, as did all the wonderful cards from the students. Thank you so much Ms. Tehan and students, and thanks Stephanie, for making an already wonderful experience even more special. MHSA is certainly something to be celebrated.
In closing,
I love Christmas, it's a very sacred time of the year for me, and I wish all of you the very best and most bounteous, beautiful Holiday Season. Let's ring in 2010 with celebratory cheer, I just know it's going to be a beautiful year and I look forward to sharing the journey.

Seasons Greetings from Miss Percy Parker!

(Photo by Steven Rosen Photography, taken at the Dances of Vice Halloween Party, 2009)


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's December already? How about some contests?

I cannot believe it is December already. I was told by other writer friends that a debut year would fly by. They weren't kidding. The fact that I haven't really slept much since, oh... I dunno, 2008, that might be part of it too. :) But I love this time of year, Halloween-into-Christmas tends to be a giddy time that always flys by too quickly, but it's also when I tend to get a lot of writing done, inspired by Autumn and sustained by the deep, spiritual meaning of the Holiday Season.

In the realm of books, fluffy animals, the undead and such, here goes the latest:

As always, a wonderful time was had at Lady Jane's Salon, where my fellow co-founder Hope Tarr beautifully led us in a celebration of Harlequin Enterprises' 60th Birthday and read from her charming Twelve Nights. Stacey Agdern shared her Hannukah novel Rededication with us, and Madame X was, as always, a gracious hostess of a venue! Check out Kwana Writes for a lovely rundown, thanks Kwana!

I've contest news galore!
Congratulations to Sharla who won the Dark Nest goody box via my website's Dark Nest contest! (Pictured here: Leanna's random selection process via fluffy animal named Persebunny. After winner has been selected, Leanna rushes to read name before consumption - very scientific randomization method)

2. And now, I've got a NEW CONTEST!

In celebration of the very wonderful news that my bestselling debut, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is now in audio format, I'm giving away a copy, it's an 8 CD set! Along with some Mt. Meru Coffee, this is a great holiday gift for yourself or others. :) It's easy to enter, just tell me your favourite holiday song via the Contact Form of my website and you're entered to win! Winner drawn December 20th. Visit the Contest page and check it out!

3. I'm thrilled to be a part of The SFR Holiday Blitz! My 2009 Prism Award winning novella Dark Nest (a futuristic fantasy novella) is only one of the many Sci-Fi-Romance books you can win by participating! You can enter to win a copy of Dark Nest, given to Take it to the Stars to run the giveaway - You have until December 11th - and visit The Galaxy Express (this is definately a blog to follow) to get the rundown on the many blogs and authors participating in this great SFR event!!

4. I'm close to 500 followers on Twitter, once I hit that magic 500, I'll be giving away 2 signed copies of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker to two of my loyal tweeps. So join me there to participate. If you already have a signed Miss Percy, well, here's your chance to win one for a gift and help spread Strangely Beautiful cheer!

-- While we're in the holiday spirit, take a Facebook moment and see if your favourite Not For Profits are in the Chase Community Giving program. You can vote for 20 organizations, for several chances to win funds, might I suggest you vote for my beloved friend Danny's exciting new theatre company in Chicago, The New Colony? It's a new and up-and-coming theatre devoted to new work and new talent! (Listed as New Colony nfp when you type it into the search bar).

1. I turned in the revisions to the Strangely Beautiful sequel, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, (April 27, 2010). I'm really, really excited about it. I can't wait to share it with all of you. Now I'm hard at work on a novella which continues the Strangely Beautiful series, to be published in a Fantasy Christmas anthology headlined by one of my idols, NYT Bestseller C. L. Wilson! (October 2010) Fans of Headmistress Thompson and Vicar Carroll will be pleased.

2. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker made Waiting For Fairies' Holiday Gift Guide! Thanks Melissa, and Waiting For Fairies!

Do stay tuned, The Darkly Luminous Fight For Persephone Parker will have its book trailer going live in January, along with some first peek excerpts!

Be sure to enter the contest and have a BEAUTIFUL, GORGEOUS, BLESSED DECEMBER with your family, friends and loved ones! I'll be back to announce the winner of the contest and to wish everyone happy holidays.