The Best of 2011 Hop–Win Nowhere Girl by AJ Paquette

Here’s another chance to win a free book!  I am a Reader, Not a Writer is hosting the Best of 2011 Hop December 27 – December 31.   There will be a ton of chances for you to win some new reading material for the long winter.  Just hop on over to I am a Reader, Not a Writer to see the other giveaways!  Click here to see the list of participating blogs.

One of my favorite reads this year was Nowhere Girl by AJ Paquette.  I loved this book, and found the young protagonist very unique and likeable.  I would like to share the love by giving a copy of this book to another reader.

 

To enter, fill out the form below.  Since Google is making life difficult for blogs not hosted on Blogger, and they will soon be discontinuing Google Friend Connect for us, I am changing things up a bit.  The only requirement for entering is to subscribe to my newsletter.  Feedburner will deliver an email with blog updates right to your email box! 

Subscribe to Manga Maniac Cafe by Email

This is an easy contest to enter! Just subscribe to the newsletter and fill in the form for your chance to win! Open Internationally!

Contest Rules -

You must be 13 or older to enter.

I am not responsible for lost or damaged shipments.

One entry per person.

You must be a follower and a newsletter subscriber to enter.

Contest ends December 31

Mid-Winters Eve Blog Hop Dec 21th–27th–Win Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez!

Here’s another chance to win a free book!  With the holidays right around the corner, I will be hosting several giveaways in December, so be sure to check back for other chances to win free books!

I am a Reader, Not a Writer, and Jessie from Oasis For YA & The Daily Harrell  are hosting the Mid-Winters Eve Giveaway Hop from December 21 – December 27th.   There will be a ton of chances for you to win some new reading material for when you are sitting in front of a roaring fireplace.  Just hop on over to I am a Reader, Not a Writer to see the other giveaways!  Click here to see the list of participating blogs.

I am giving away an ARC of Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez!  I loved this book and want to share it with another reader. To enter, fill out the form below.  Since Google is making life difficult for blogs not hosted on Blogger, and they will soon be discontinuing Google Friend Connect, I am changing things up a bit.  The only requirement for entering is to subscribe to my newsletter.  Feedburner will deliver an email with blog updates right to your email box! 

Subscribe to Manga Maniac Cafe by Email

This is an easy contest to enter! Just subscribe to the newsletter and fill in the form for your chance to win! Open Internationally!

Contest Rules -

You must be 13 or older to enter.

I am not responsible for lost or damaged shipments.

One entry per person.

You must be a follower to enter and a newsletter subscriber to enter.

Contest ends December 27th

 

Book Lover’s Holiday Giveaway Hop Dec 2–6 Win Crossed by Ally Condie

Here’s another chance to win a free book!  With the holidays right around the corner, I will be hosting several giveaways in December, so be sure to check back for other chances to win free books!

I am a Reader, Not a Writer & Kid Lit Frenzy are hosting the Book Lover’s Holiday Giveaway Hop from December 2 – December 6.   There will be a ton of chances for you to win some new reading material for when you are sitting in front of a roaring fireplace.  Just hop on over to I am a Reader, Not a Writer to see the other giveaways!  Click here to see the list of participating blogs.

I am giving away a copy of Crossed by Ally Condie, the sequel to Matched!  To enter, fill out the form below.  Since Google is making life difficult for blogs not hosted on Blogger, and they will soon be discontinuing Google Friend Connect, I am changing things up a bit.  The only requirement for entering is to subscribe to my newsletter.  Feedburner will deliver an email with blog updates right to your email box! 

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

This is an easy contest to enter! Just subscribe to the newsletter and fill in the form for your chance to win! Open Internationally!

Contest Rules -

You must be 13 or older to enter.

I am not responsible for lost or damaged shipments.

One entry per person.

You must be a follower to enter.

Contest ends December 6th

Interview with Cecilia Grant, Author of A Lady Awakened and Giveaway!

Cecilia Grant is the author of A Lady Awakened, a Regency romance due to hit store shelves December 27th.  Cecilia dropped by the virtual offices to chat about her book, and she brought a surprise!  After the interview, one random commenter will win a copy of A Lady Awakened!

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Cecilia Grant] Romance author. Feminist. Habitual cynic. Mother of daughters. Hoping to one day integrate those components into one seamless identity.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about your new book, A Lady Awakened?

[Cecilia Grant] It’s the story of an indecent proposal that turns out to be not nearly indecent enough: when an abruptly widowed neighbor approaches him to help her conceive a fraudulent heir, Theo Mirkwood assumes it’ll be a glorious month-long debauchery-fest, complete with inevitable sensual awakening on the lady’s part.

But for Martha Russell, the arrangement is strictly business – unsavory, degrading business with sky-high stakes. She’ll do what she must to keep her estate, and housemaids, out of a predatory brother-in-law’s hands, but she’s not about to enjoy it.

That’s the starting point. The real meat (heh) of the story is the way they get involved in one another’s lives outside the bedroom, and the friendship that takes root against all odds.

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Cecilia Grant] It’s fiendishly difficult to come up with an original concept for a historical romance. Much easier is to take a concept that’s been done before, and try to put a new spin on it. “Desperate childless widow seeks virile stranger for procreation purposes” isn’t a new premise, so I concentrated on trying to give the hero and heroine a different dynamic from the insta-passion that you usually see in this scenario.

And I used two of my favorite character types for the hero and heroine. Theo is the sort of golden child who’s sailed through life with a sunny disposition and very little experience with adversity (Elle Woods, in Legally Blonde, is one of the best examples of this type), while Martha is the crusader-with-blinders-on, armed with a purpose and believing she knows best in every situation (Captain Ahab, Emma Woodhouse, and Ignatius Reilly all live at grander heights along this same spectrum).

[Manga Maniac Café] What have you learned about yourself through your characters?

[Cecilia Grant] The full and staggering extent of my appetite for lowbrow humor, especially if it involves puns or other wordplay. These characters, the hero especially, just kept going there in dialogue.

[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing this story?

[Cecilia Grant] Story mechanics don’t come naturally to me. Projecting how much story I need to fill a 100,000-word book; working out turning points in advance; figuring out how to end scenes, chapters, and the story itself – those things were all a struggle.

[Manga Maniac Café] What are your biggest creative influences?

[Cecilia Grant] I’m of the “grain of sand in the oyster’s shell” school, meaning I tend to create in response to things that bug me as opposed to being influenced by things I admire. A Lady Awakened actually owes its existence partly to my longstanding aggravation with Lady Chatterley’s Lover, in particular with passages like this one, in which Lady C takes a good look at her lover’s penis:

“So proud!” she murmured, uneasy. “And so lordly! Now I know why men are so overbearing. But he’s lovely, really. Like another being! A bit terrifying! But lovely really! And he comes to me!” She caught her lower lip between her teeth, in fear and excitement.

I read stuff like that and my reaction is to want to write a stubbornly nonresponsive heroine who’s neither frightened nor particularly impressed by sight of a man’s private parts. Take that, D.H. Lawrence!

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Cecilia Grant] A pen or pencil, some paper, and eventual recourse to a thesaurus. (I do a lot of writing on the bus, in the orthodontist’s waiting room, or other thesaurus-deprived places, and those drafts are full of bracketed words that I know aren’t quite the words I’m looking for.)

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Cecilia Grant] Ramona the Pest. It was my gateway to Beverly Cleary’s awesome backlist, where among other things I first grasped the startling idea that an antagonist (the overalls-wearing, holy-terror Ramona of the Henry Huggins books; Ellen Tebbits’s gleefully anarchic nemesis Otis Spofford) could later be a hero in her/his own turn.

Also, having read the book to my own kids, I’m happy to report that the “Sit here for the present” episode is just as hilarious as it was in my day.

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Cecilia Grant] I can hear how lame this sounds but… I really like driving my kids around. They’re both teenagers now, and, as other parents of teenagers can probably attest, that time in the car, chatting about random topics, listening to the radio stations they like, diving for the channel-change button when a song we all hate comes on, is kind of precious. (Both my kids are extremely pleasant company, certainly better than I was at that age.)

Vaguely pathetic. But true :)

[Manga Maniac Café] Thanks!


You can learn more about Cecilia by visiting her at the following websites:

http://twitter.com/#!/Cecilia_Grant
http://facebook.com/CeciliaGrantAuthor
http://goodreads.com/author/show/4996526.Cecilia_Grant

You can pre-order A Lady Awakened from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the handy widgets below:

 

Ready for the giveaway?  One random commenter will win either an ARC or a finished copy of A Lady Awakened (available around Christmas).  To enter, make a comment, and then fill out the form below.  You must make a comment to enter. 

Contest Rules -

You must be 13 or older to enter.

I am not responsible for lost or damaged shipments.

Open to International addresses.

Contest ends December 11th.

 

Winner of Black Sun’s Daughter Series Giveaway!

It’s Black Friday, which means crowds of eager shoppers descending on malls and stores early in the morning when less motivated individuals (me!) will be sleeping.  To help cut down on mall traffic, I held a contest to win the first four books of M.L.N. Hanover’s Black Sun’s Daughter series.

The winner is -

ELAINA!! 

Elaina has been emailed.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest!

If you didn’t win, you can order the entire series from Amazon using the links below and save yourself from making a trip to the mall.

 

Gratitude Giveaways Nov 17–27 Win a Book of Your Choice!

 

It’s my favorite time of year again!  The holiday season is right around the corner, and everyone seems to be in a better frame of mind.  There’s so much going on that the cold weather doesn’t even bother me! I’ve had a rough year, but I am thankful to have my health, my family, and great friends!  To celebrate, I am giving away a book of YOUR choice, up to $15 value! 

I am a Reader, Not a Writer & All-Consuming Books are hosting the Gratitude Giveaways hop from November 17th to November 27th, and it’s all about the books!  There will be a ton of chances for you to win some new reading material before the cold of winter sets in.  Just hop on over to I am a Reader, Not a Writer to see the other giveaways!  Click here to see the list of participating blogs.

My giveaway is really simple.  It’s the time of giving, so I’m going to give one winner a book of their choice, up to $15 value.  This giveaway is open to my International readers, too!  As long as Book Depository ships to your country, you are eligible to enter. 

To enter, fill out the form below.  The only requirement is that you follow the blog.  To keep things simple, there are no extra entries, but spreading the word about it is always appreciated.  Be sure to check out my other contests if you haven’t already entered them.

This is an easy contest to enter! Just fill in the form for your chance to win! Open Internationally!

Contest Rules -

You must be 13 or older to enter.

I am not responsible for lost or damaged shipments.

One entry per person.

You must be a follower to enter.

Contest ends November 27th. 

Win The Black Sun’s Daughter Series by M L N Hanover!

Thanks to the incredible peeps at Pocket Books, I have a set of M L N Hanover’s The Black Sun’s Daughter up for grabs!  Here’s some info about the urban fantasy series in case you aren’t familiar with it.

Unclean Spirits Book 1

In a world where magic walks and demons ride, you can’t always play by the rules.

Jayné Heller thinks of herself as a realist, until she discovers reality isn’t quite what she thought it was. When her uncle Eric is murdered, Jayné travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it’s all hers — and vaster than she ever imagined. And along with properties across the world and an inexhaustible fortune, Eric left her a legacy of a different kind: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College.

Led by the ruthless Randolph Coin, the Invisible College harnesses demon spirits for their own ends of power and domination. Jayné finds it difficult to believe magic and demons can even exist, let alone be responsible for the death of her uncle. But Coin sees Eric’s heir as a threat to be eliminated by any means — magical or mundane — so Jayné had better start believing in something to save her own life.

Aided in her mission by a group of unlikely companions — Aubrey, Eric’s devastatingly attractive assistant; Ex, a former Jesuit with a lethal agenda; Midian, a two-hundred-year-old man who claims to be under a curse from Randolph Coin himself; and Chogyi Jake, a self-styled Buddhist with mystical abilities — Jayné finds that her new reality is not only unexpected, but often unexplainable. And if she hopes to survive, she’ll have to learn the new rules fast — or break them completely….

Darker Angels Book 2

In the battle between good and evil, there’s no such thing as a fair fight.

When Jayné Heller’s uncle Eric died, she inherited a fortune beyond all her expectations — and a dangerous mission in a world she never knew existed. Reining in demons and supernatural foes is a formidable task, but thankfully Jayné has vast resources and loyal allies to rely on. She’ll need both to tackle a bodyswitching serial killer who’s taken up residence in New Orleans, a city rich in voodoo lore and dark magic.

Working alongside Karen Black, a highly confident and enigmatic ex-FBI agent, Jayné races to track down the demon’s next intended host. But the closer she gets, the more convinced she becomes that nothing in this beautiful, wounded city is exactly as it seems. When shocking secrets come to light, and jealousy and betrayal turn trusted friends into adversaries, Jayné will soon come face-to-face with an enemy that knows her all too well, and won’t rest until it has destroyed everything she loves most….

 

Vicious Grace  Book 3

When you’re staring evil in the eye, don’t forget to watch your back . . .

For the first time in forever, Jayné Heller’s life is making sense. Even if she routinely risks her life to destroy demonic parasites that prey on mortals, she now has friends, colleagues, a trusted lover, and newfound confidence in the mission she inherited from her wealthy, mysterious uncle. Her next job might just rob her of all of them. At Grace Memorial Hospital in Chicago, something is stirring. Patients are going AWOL and research subjects share the same sinister dreams. Half a century ago, something was buried under Grace in a terrible ritual, and it’s straining to be free. Jayné is primed to take on whatever’s about to be let loose. Yet the greatest danger now may not be the huge, unseen force lurking below, but the evil that has been hiding in plain sight all along—taking her ever closer to losing her body, her mind, and her soul. . . .

 

Killing Rites Book 4 will be in stores November 29th

The fourth book in M.L.N. Hanover’s acclaimed Black Sun’s Daughter series featuring “smooth prose and zippy action sequences” (Publishers Weekly).

Jayné Heller has discovered the source of her uncanny powers: something else is living inside her body. She’s possessed. Of all her companions, she can only bring herself to confide in Ex, the former priest. They seek help from his old teacher, hoping to cleanse Jayné before the parasite in her becomes too powerful. Ex’s history and a new enemy combine to leave Jayné alone and on the run. Her friends try to hunt her down, unaware of the danger they’re putting her in. Jayné must defeat the past, and her only allies are a rogue vampire she once helped free—and the nameless thing hiding inside her skin. 

This is an easy contest to enter, too! Just fill in the form for your chance to win!

Contest Rules -

Open to US shipping addresses only (sorry!)

You must be 13 or older to enter.

I am not responsible for lost or damaged shipments.

One entry per person.

Contest ends November 22rd, winner to be announced on Black Friday!

You must be a follower to enter.

Don’t forget – Winner will be announced on  Black Friday so remember to take a little time out of your frantic shopping day to check back for the winner!

Interview with Ben Loory, Author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day–Plus Giveaway!

Ben Loory is the author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, a collection of weird and fantastical short stories.  The fanciful, sometimes nightmarish tales are a perfect Halloween read.  Ben was interviewed recently about his book and writing process.  After the interview, stick around for a chance to win a copy of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day!

How does writing short stories differ from writing screenplays?

[Ben Loory] Well, in some ways they don’t differ at all: a story’s a story, no matter how long it is. You structure and understand them in the same way; mostly screenplays just involve more characters.

The main difference is that the business is different. Screenwriting is collaborative; other people are involved. And all those people have their own ideas about the story, and as a screenwriter you’re always low man on the totem pole. As a story writer, you’re the whole totem pole, top to bottom, which is pretty nice. Except when you can’t figure out how to solve a problem, and there’s no one there to help you out. Basically, the upshot is, you have to have friends if you want to write short stories! I have about ten or twenty people I run things by and listen to, and who I couldn’t work without.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your stories?  What authors have influenced your writing?

[Ben Loory] Inspiration is a funny thing; I have no idea where it comes from. I think mostly it’s a matter of inner conflict– when I’m upset, I write stories; when I’m happy, I stop.

Influence is also hard to talk about. I don’t consciously draw on other writers. But when I look at my stories, I see hundreds of things in them– books and movies and TV shows, everything. Hitchcock, Roald Dahl, MAD Magazine, P.G. Wodehouse, Kafka, Philip K. Dick, Aesop’s fables, The Twilight Zone, The Far Side, Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, Jean Rhys, Stephen Crane, Henry James. Warner Brothers cartoons always loom large; I see a lot of Stephen King and Richard Brautigan. Salinger and Jim Thompson are in there, too, and Patricia Highsmith, and Scooby-Doo, and lots of comic books. I’m always amazed by the stuff that comes out, things I’d forgotten I’d ever read or seen. It’s all in there somewhere, swirling around in my brain; I start writing and it all just floods out.

Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day was originally a 101-story collection, but you edited it down to 40 stories.  What was that editing process like?  Was it difficult to pick which stories to include?

[Ben Loory] It was more than hard, it was almost impossible! I’d spent years writing that book, and from the beginning it had always been conceived as a 101-story collection (it was an Arabian Nights kinda thing). I wrote and wrote– hundreds of stories– and kept adding and substituting and weighing as I went. It was only when I got to the point where the book was balanced, had a beginning, middle, and end, and all the stories seemed integral and equally important that I knew the book was done. Then I sold it and immediately found out I had to cut almost two-thirds of the stories! It nearly drove me insane, I had no idea how to do it, it seemed like an impossible task. In the end, though, my friend Maureen de Sousa came to the rescue… she’s been my editor ever since I started writing short stories (she’s edited every story I’ve ever written). She told me to concentrate on maintaining the shape of the book, and not obsess about which actual stories would be in it. So, as a result, I’m very happy with the shortened version; it’s basically a scale model of the original. But it is, on the other hand, kind of a strange thing, as a great many of my favorite stories aren’t in it. But I just tell myself that I now have a second book all ready and standing by, if anyone wants it.

Read more