Fan Art #7

It’s fan art time! Let’s kick things off with a little love for HELLHOLE:

Max and Lore_Molly V

Max and Lore (and dinosaur), by Molly V.


Driggs4_Zil Sacan

Driggs, by Zil S.


Cordy2_Anna B

Cordy, by Anna B.


Scythes_Eden Grey

Shrinky Dink Scythes, by Eden G. and the Kenton County Library Teen Book Club


Lex_Alex N

Lex, by Alex N.


Thanks to all the artists! And keep ’em coming – remember, if you send me fan art I will send you a signed bookplate!

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WAX cover reveal!

I mentioned way back in October that my next book would be titled WAX and that it would be about a creepy candle factory, but since then I have been skimpy with the details. ALL OF THAT CHANGES TODAY.

WAX will be released on August 2, 2016.

You can pre-order the Kindle version here (hardcover not on sale yet, but you can request to be emailed when it is).

Here is the synopsis:

Paraffin, Vermont, is known the world over as home to the Grosholtz Candle Factory. But behind the sunny retail space bursting with overwhelming scents and homemade fudge, seventeen-year-old Poppy Palladino discovers something dark and unsettling: a back room filled with dozens of startlingly life-like wax sculptures, crafted by one very strange old lady. Poppy hightails it home, only to be shocked when one of the figures—a teenage boy who doesn’t seem to know what he is—jumps naked and screaming out of the trunk of her car. She tries to return him to the candle factory, but before she can, a fire destroys the mysterious workshop—and the old woman is nowhere to be seen.

With the help of the wax boy, who answers to the name Dud, Poppy resolves to find out who was behind the fire. But in the course of her investigation, she discovers that things in Paraffin aren’t always as they seem, that the Grosholtz Candle Factory isn’t as pure as its reputation—and that some of the townspeople she’s known her entire life may not be as human as they once were. In fact, they’re starting to look a little . . . waxy. Can Poppy and Dud extinguish the evil that’s taking hold of their town before it’s too late?

And here is the cover!

WAXa

Once again, the geniuses over at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have captured that squishy blend of humor and creepy in a simple pop of a design. I friggin’ love it. Special thanks to the designer, Lisa Vega, and the artist, Steve Gardner, who sculpted the wax so well I think he might have secretly been a character in the book who came to life and HOLY CRAP MY SUPERPOWERS ARE REAL.

A cover reveal is also being hosted by the good folks over at YA Books Central, where a giveaway is happening – enter there for a chance to win a signed advanced copy (as soon as it becomes available).

So that’s it for now. I know, a year is a long way away. We will probably all be living in spaceships by then. But what better way to pass the light-years than with a good book about evil candle people?

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Kitten Overload

I have a confession to make: I’ve been holding out on you, internet. For the past month and a half, I have been volunteering at my local animal shelter, specifically at its Kitten ICU.

That’s right. Kitten ICU. As in, I get to feed and hydrate and pet and snuggle dozens of mewling little kittens.

It is…heaven.

I haven’t posted any pictures because–I don’t know, because I’m a moron. Because it’s summer and I’m lazy. Because the toxic levels of cuteness have had a deleterious effect on my brain. But now it’s time. It’s time to show you the kittens.

Brace yourself.

I can’t remember the names of them all, since the same ones aren’t always there from week to week, but there have been some real humdingers. Some of my favorites: Sergeant Fuzzyface, Jake from State Farm, Sriracha and Pepper Jelly, Tiny Ninja, and Belt.

And then there’s this guy, Booker, whose name clearly should have been Crazy Eyes:

And last but not least, the current tiny queen of my heart, Pirate Lola. She was born with a weird eye and is going into surgery today, so let’s all send a big wave of hugs and catnip her way:

20150728_142419Yarr.

Once they’re healthy, all of these kittens will be released to the adoption center and placed in loving homes. If you are an animal lover, I highly recommend donating time, money, and/or supplies to your local shelter or humane society. It’s highly rewarding. And devastatingly adorable.

 

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Reader mail: Where can I read [your book] online for free?

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Oh, ew. Ew. I feel icky. I hate answering this question. But answer it I must.

First of all, thank you for wanting to read my books. Really. I realize that on this planet there are trampoline gyms and elephant rides and a whole host of other fun things you could be doing with your time, so I appreciate the fact that you wish to devote it to eyeballing my words. I am touched and humbled.

That said…

Authors and artists do what they love because they are passionate about creating the things that they love to create. Generally speaking, they do not do it for the money (of which, sorry to say, there is precious little for most). But artists still need money to live. Painters can’t use their artwork to put a roof over their heads; paintings are made of canvas and are bad at keeping the rain out. Authors can’t eat their books; I have tried and while they don’t taste half bad, they offer little in the way of nutritional value. In order to enable artists and authors to keep producing the things that their fans are hungry to consume, artists and authors need to make some bank.

Anytime you find one of my entire books online, it’s a safe bet that it has been put there illegally. For every person that reads it, there’s one book sale that I haven’t gotten. For every book sale that I do not get, I make a little bit less money. For every little bit of money I lose, the chances of me continuing to write for a living diminishes, along with the chances of you getting to read any more of my books. See how that works out badly for everyone? It’s like when Tinkerbell starts to die in Peter Pan. You must save her! You must believe in books! CLAP IF YOU BELIEVE IN BOOKS! CLAP LOUDER OR THE FAIRY DROPS DEAD! There, you did it. If we all clap, we all save the fairy. Look at her, flying around like a spaz. We did that.

All THAT said…

I understand that not everyone can afford to buy books all the time. And I would be a monster if I were to suggest that purchasing my books is the only way that I wish you to enjoy them. After all, I am an artist, and artists want people to enjoy their art more than anything. (Yes, even more than money.) Luckily, there are options:

  • You can get my books from a library. Libraries are THE BEST THING ON EARTH and my dirty secret is that I borrow books from libraries far more often than I buy them. If I can do it, you can do it.
  • But what if your library doesn’t have my books? You are in luck once again–librarians are super nice and helpful people who, if you ask nicely, will either order a copy or find one from another library or do anything in their power to help you read it.
  • Another library option, courtesy of commenter Bob Holt: “You don’t even need to GO to a physical library. Most libraries today circulate e-books via Overdrive or some other publisher-approved service, accessible online with just your library card. Yes, there is DRM, and you have to wait in line, and there are due dates, but the libraries provide this service to YOU for FREE while still allowing publishers (and hopefully authors) to receive some payment.”
  • Borrow my books from a friend. Go for it! Pass it around school like a sexy doodle of that hot new chemistry teacher.

So please keep all of these options in mind the next time you want to find my books (or any other authors’ books) for free online. We are not being greedy, money-hungry corporate monsters. We just want to keep writing what you want to keep reading! And not have millions of fairy fatalities on our collective conscience.

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Universal Studios, Pre-Sharknado

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I love theme parks. I love them hard. “Visit every theme park on the planet” is maybe not my number one goal in life, but it is surely in the top five. I recently went on a trip with Will to Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida, and I can safely say that my vacation goal of “go on every ride at the theme park” was met and, in some cases, met repeatedly.

There was a ton of stuff to see at the two parks–a lot of which I got to relive during last week’s premiere of sure-to-be-Oscar-nominated Sharknado 3: OH HELL NO–but my three main points of interest, as they are in life, boiled down to: Harry Potter, The Simpsons, and Jurassic Park.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

This was the big draw. We’d heard nothing but good things (a large percentage of which were about the butterbeer) and I wanted to see it for myself and go on all the whimsical rides and maybe even answer the age-old question: does a trip to Harry Potter land reinvigorate an author’s love for writing, or remind one of the depressing impossibility of ever growing to such levels of superfandom? The answer: both.

(Our other goal–and yes, I’m aware of the toxic levels of selfishness here–was to enjoy the park while it was still just the two of us and we didn’t have any small humans running afoul of a Death Eater and potentially getting transfigured into ferrets.)

Because we are sticklers for realism, we did the parks in the order that Harry himself did, starting at Diagon Alley.

Which was amazing. They really got it right. No detail was overlooked. Ollivander’s was immense, Knockturn Alley was creepy, the Leaky Cauldron was delicious, the dragon atop Gringotts breathed real fire, and the butterbeer was as good as everyone said it was.

IMG_20150519_123059Not pictured: the subsequent sugar coma

From there, we hopped on the Hogwarts express. No one believes me when I tell them this, but the train was actually one of the coolest rides–it’s not wild or thrilling like any of the others, but I thought the special effects were unbelievably cool. Let’s put it this way: of the six people in our compartment, one of which was a five-year-old, I was the one letting out the most delighted squeals.

20150519_140546Hey, Hedwig. ‘Sup.

We then arrived in Hogsmeade, booked it up to Hogwarts, and went on the crazy Quidditch ride therein. I loved it. Will loved it…the first time. Will’s stomach was not as enthused the second time.

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Springfield

It only takes me a couple of minutes in any given conversation for me to bust out with a Simpsons reference. It is as essential to my vocabulary as the word “the”. So I was pretty groin-grabbingly (see?) excited to tour the Simpsons area of the park.

The Simpsons ride, I’ll admit, is pretty crappy. It’s a motion simulator and the technology is a bit dated, the footage was grainy, and it just wasn’t up to par with the other rides in the park. But the replicas of landmarks in Springfield were fantastic.

And of course, I had to drink a Flaming Moe’s.

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Jurassic Park

Anyone who’s read HELLHOLE knows: I love me some dinosaurs. There aren’t many rides in the Jurassic Park area, but there is one log flume-y type thing with some sad, not-always-functional animatronics.

The best part were these little guys fighting over a dead employee’s shirt.

20150520_103031“GIVE IT UP, LARRY.”

Actually, my favorite part of the Jurassic Park area was the visitor’s center, which was designed to look exactly like the one in the movie. Inside you could learn more about dinosaurs, play dinosaur-themed games, and even get yourself made into a dinosaur, an exercise that shall produce nightmare fuel for decades to come.

20150520_111053“I’m an abomination!”

There were loads of other fun stuff, but if I talked about everything we’d be here forever. If you crave more, check out my Tumblr page for more photos, or just watch Sharknado 3. I’ll leave you as I always do, with a dog in a tuxedo.

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Giveaway: Devilish edition of HELLHOLE

It’s been a while since I did a doodley giveaway, so here we go! Up for grabs is a special edition of HELLHOLE wherein every instance of the word “devil” gets its own set of horns:

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And it’ll be signed and personalized too. To enter, fill out the form below. Good luck!

 

Giveaway closed. Thanks to all who entered!

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