Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Friday, December 28, 2012

A Bookish Christmas!

This year I gave lots of books for Christmas. And I make a list of which ones were given, and received. Pretty amusing and enlightening! Here is the full list for your perusal.

To my younger son:
Pym by Mat Johnson (A wacky satire involving Poe, Little Debbie snack cakes, a bag of bones and a seafaring journey)

To my eldest son who teaches history in China and travels all over:
When America First Met China by Eric Jay Dolin ("An exotic history of tea, drugs, and money in the age of sail")  ***check out the incredibly gorgeous book cover above
China in Ten Words by Yu Hua (a humorous, honest, sometimes shocking portrait of China from the 60s on)
Cambodia's Curse by J. Brinkley (portrait of a country haunted by poverty, corruption and the Khmer Rouge-solutions going forward)

To my friend who loves history & art:
Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean ("True tales of love, madness and the history of the world, from the Periodic Table")
Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut (a satire of the artworld)

To one of my writing students:
The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History by Jonathan Franzen (pieces about Franzen's childhood)

From my writing student to me:
Seven Days in the Artworld by Sarah Thornton (snapshots of the weirdness that is the artworld)

To my sister-in-law, interested in psychology and biology:
An Age of Madness by David Maine (a novel about an analyst and her estranged daughter)
Riddled with Life by Marlene Zuk (why and how we symbiotically embrace parasites!)

From my younger son to me, knowing I love DeLillo:
The Angel Esmirelda by Don DeLillo (nine stories about astronauts, nuns, terrorists and travelers, in settings from the South Bronx to outer space)

From my younger son to his older brother:
Nero by Edward Champlin (a reevaluation of the callous emperor who fiddled while Rome burned)
At Day's Close, Night in Times Past by A. Robert Ekirch (Crime, fire, theft and the supernatural: illuminating events that happen in the dark)

To me, from me!
The Twelve by Justin Cronin (Sequel to his blockbuster speculative novel The Passage) and Girl of Nightmares (sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood--unfortunately, the sequel isn't nearly as good as the first book!)

Did you give books this holiday? Did you receive books? 
Your favorites?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

25-page manuscript critique, auction bid goes to Newtown families

As writers, we can help the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy by participating in the auction that fellow teen author SR Johannes and Miral Sattar, founder of Bibliocrunch have generously helped organize. I am offering a 25-page manuscript critique, with a starting bid of only $25. Come bid here for this worthy cause!
There are other great offers as well!
UPDATE! The auction is over--we raised $5,500! 
Thanks to Shelli, Mirae and Kate for organizing this generous event.

The money raised will go directly to relief funds being set up by the Newtown Youth and Family Services through the United Way of Western Connecticut for all of the families and victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Newtown community.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Susan K. Quinn's Cover Reveal and Lots of Prizes!

Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn
(Book Three of the Mindjack Trilogy) Now Available!
When your mind is a weapon, freedom comes at a price.
Four months have passed since Kira left home to join Julian’s Jacker Freedom Alliance, but the hole in her heart still whistles empty where her boyfriend Raf used to be. She fills it with weapons training, JFA patrols, and an obsessive hunt for FBI agent Kestrel, ignoring Julian’s worries about her safety and repeated attempts to recruit her for his revolutionary chat-casts. When anti-jacker politician Vellus surrounds Jackertown with the National Guard, Kira discovers there’s more to Julian’s concerns than she knew, but she’s forced to take on a mission that neither want and that might be her last: assassinating Senator Vellus before he can snuff out Julian’s revolution and the jackers she’s come to love.
All of the Mindjack stories are available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and iTunes (Note Free Souls is not yet available on Kobo or iTunes)
Early Praise for Free Souls
“Quinn paints a picture of a not-too-distant America where politicians inflame the hatred of one section of the populace for another—all for their own gain—and you worry that her world is not so far off from our own.”
Dianne Salerni, author of We Hear the Dead, The Caged Graves, and the forthcoming The Eighth Day
"Free Souls starts with a bang and doesn't let up. Like a mash-up of all your favorite science-fiction adventures from Star Wars to The Legend of Korra, it blends nonstop action, nail-biting escapes, and great romance. I absolutely loved it! A great series conclusion—a must-read."
Leigh Talbert Moore, author of Rouge and The Truth About Faking
“Susan did it again. Free Souls was WOW! I expected Kira to step up to her role as heroine but not like this. Surprises kept coming until the very end which tied up more loose ends than I knew existed. Warning: Don't start reading until you have time to finish. I didn't want to put Free Souls down for a second. It's that kind of book.”
Sher A. Hart, Goodreads Review
Interview Susan's over at Amy Saunder's blog today (12.14.12), answering questions about how she came up with the mages' abilities, what kind of mage she would be, and all about her future works. Digital Box Set Since Free Souls is out, there is now a Digital Box Set of the Mindjack Trilogy for those of you who want the whole series!
Available on AmazonBarnes&Noble
Mindjack Origins Collection Want more Julian? Wondering how Sasha's ability really works? Looking for EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls? This collection of novellas, scenes, and other goodies is for those craving a bit more of the characters and drama of the Mindjack series.
Includes: Mindjack Novellas Mind Games (Raf's story) The Handler (Julian's story) The Scribe (Sasha's story) TWO EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls (published nowhere else!) PLUS Mindjack flash fiction, an (imaginary) conversation between Raf and Julian, and other goodies for readers who want just a little bit more of Kira, Julian, Raf, and the Mindjack crew.
Available on AmazonBarnes&Noble
ENTER TO WIN one of FIVE ecopies of the Mindjack Origins Collection
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Giveway, reviews, Nano news & Let's Share Holiday Gift Ideas

Here's an array of news, reviews, a giveaway and a report on my Nano progress in November.

First of all, Angel Snyder at her fabulous 909 Reviews asked me very creative interview questions. She's giving away a signed copy of my illustrated YA thriller, Fireseed One! Enter to win it, or just come over to read the interview, which includes a peek at Scarlet's Fire.

Over at Book Labyrinth, I did a guest post called Reinventing YA Sci-Fi. Read it here.  And I want to say thanks so much for the awesome review by Alison DeLuca. Fireseed One made it to the Best in Fantasy blog! How cool is that? Thanks to Mina Burrows for her very thoughtful  review at her Books for Paranormal and Mystic Minds.

Now for Nano. I didn't win, but I ratcheted up a respectable number of words at 35K. It was actually more, because I kept forgetting to update, so let's say it was around 40K. It did light a fire under me, and now I'm on a faster roll. So, it accomplished its purpose! I'm about two thirds of the way through Scarlet's Fire, the sequel to Fireseed One, and I'm loving the weird, wild plot twists! Hopefully, you will too. How did you all do in Nano?

And how are you doing with your holiday shopping? I'm about 2/3 done, and I'm relieved to avoid most of the holiday mobs. For those people on my list who seem to already have everything I'm trying something new: getting them concert and theater tickets! Oh, and coupons for spa treatments. I'd take a massage over a pair of earrings most any day. How about you?

What's up in December for you? Care to share creative holiday gift ideas?