The Takers Audiobook Giveaway

ImageI have 25 free downloads of The Takers audiobook at my disposal.  I’m trying to come up with a fun giveaway for Oz fans.  Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Book Seven is eking out of me.  I may pull a Salinger before this one is done and hide out in the mountains until I die, the book only to be released five years after my death.

Either that or I’ll just write the damn book and let the chips fall where they may.

Thanks for the NPR nominations

I did a quick (translation: inaccurate) count of how many times The Oz Chronicles received nominations for NPR’s search for the best Young Adult novels, and I was happy to find at least six nominations through the first thirty or so pages.  It doesn’t sound like a lot, but most of the nominations went to the blockbusters (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Book Thief, etc.).  So to those that nominated the Oz Chronicles, I say THANK YOU!  To those that didn’t, it’s not too late.

The first step in the process is to assemble nominees from you, the audience. To nominate your favorite YA books for consideration, log in below and write the titles and authors into the comments field. Here are a few guidelines:

To those that just don’t want to, you’re totally going to miss out on the trip to Disney Land I promised everyone who nominated the Oz Chronicles…  Wait, I forgot. I didn’t promise anyone a trip to Disney Land.    But if the Oz Chronicles makes the list and NPR recommends the series, I’ll wear a Mickey Mouse Club hat for a week.  I’m talking 24/7.  That’s several trips to the grocery store, three trips to the gym, three runs around my neighborhood, at least one movie, a couple nights eating out… That’s almost as good as a trip to Disney Land, right?

Thanks again nominators!

In defense of Oz

Open at the risk of warping your child

A few years ago a mother gave The Pure a one star review on Amazon because she said all my books were evil.  Actually, rather than me explaining what the review said, I’ll just post it here for your viewing pleasure.

Terrible………My teen boys love to read so I am always looking for a good series. I typed in teen fiction and this series popped so I bought all of them. After they were almost done with the series, I asked them what it was about. By the time their description was over I felt like I wanted to throw up. What had I subjected them to? I couldn’t believe the gore details they described. Sure that I had not subjected my

Sons to this type of disgusting reading, I had them read aloud. I made them stop and took the books away. I cannot believe that these were in the teen section. Gross, Gore, Evil, Blood, Guts……….I’m so full of regret that I had ever bought these. The series should not be listed anywhere near teens. In fact, it should be labelled with a parental advisory. I think I’ll burn the books. I will use much more discretion with my selections from now on!

I haven’t thought about the review for a while.  The woman is entitled to her opinion.  In a way, I take it as a compliment that she was driven to want to burn the books.   Some of my favorite books have been burned.Slamming her has never been an interest of mine and that’s not what this post about.  This post is about what I discovered about her review today.  I was on The Pure’s detail page and saw the review again and noticed something sweet. Five people came to the books defense.  They left comments on the mother’s review that more or less told her that she’s overreacting just a tad, and that horror books tend to be on the dark side, even horror books written for teenagers. She’s probably better served to read the descriptions before buying them.  It’s really kind of cool having people you don’t know defend your work. What’s cooler is that each of the five people weren’t disrespectful to the mother at all.

Thanks to my defenders and here’s hoping I didn’t warp the woman’s sons too badly.

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The Twilight – Oz Chronicles Connection

Looks like Kristen's gone from sparkling vampires to creepy old cannibals.

I hope you had an awesome July 4!  I did and then some.  Spent the day with the lovely Mia and spotted this picture of Kristen Stewart catching up on the latest edition of the Oz Chronicles, The Land of the Dead.  Oddly enough, I spotted it after I created it in Photoshop!

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Repost – Product Placement and the Teenage Material Girl

“They totally ruined the integrity of the Gossip Girl books with all that product placement!” – This message is brought to you by Pepsi.

I think we may be expecting too much from our teenage romance novels. The New York Times printed an article titled In Novels for Girls, Fashion Trumps Romance. It seems Naomi Johnson, a communications professor at Longwood University in Virginia, recently wrote a dissertation on the alarming number of occurrences of product placement in books written for teenage girls. Now, I will admit the number does seem kind of high (1,553 brand mentions in 1,431 pages of the six books she had read), but in the end, it is much ado about nothing. The books in question come from three very popular series, Clique, Gossip Girl and A-List. Not my cup of tea, but you can’t argue with sales. For the record, the packaging company, publisher, and authors all deny any money was exchanged for the product placement. The authors claim real brands were used to give the books authenticity. I think the obsession with weight, appearance, popularity, and money make the books sadly authentic enough.

But what if brands like Moschino, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc. did pay for product placement in these books? Would that be so bad? If a teenage girl is reading Gossip Girl, she’s not reading it to learn how to make the world a better place. She’s reading it because a bunch of hot girls in cool, expensive clothes are learning the importance of being popular, and judging others for their looks and poor choice of income potential. Would subjecting these young ladies to crass commercialism really ruin the integrity of these types of books, and shatter the reader’s feeble resistance to buy a thing because her favorite character wears, drives, or covets that thing? I say let the publishers cash in.

Now, I’ve never read a single word of any of the aforementioned books, but I’ve read a number of articles on them and there appears to be only one redeeming quality about them. They are encouraging kids to read. There is a movement afoot to have the books banned from schools and libraries. Having read that a mother wants to burn my books because they are “evil,” I am, perhaps, extra sensitive to this never-to-die movement to ban books. Censorship is not the answer. Reading builds better communication skills. It helps foster a love for learning. Reading turns on the theater of the mind and helps kids think and grow with more imagination and greater lucidity. Would you rather they spend endless hours playing games like Grand Theft Auto and meeting creeps on MySpace? C’mon. Keep them safe. Let them read.

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I’m back, and I brought a new book trailer with me!

My last day of vacation is here, and I can’t tell you how much that sucks.  I had to find a reason to celebrate, so I made me one of them there book trailers for my new book Lost Days.  Here it is.  Let me know if you like it.  Don’t let me know if you hate it.  I’ve got enough insecurities. 

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Lost Days has officially launched!

We have lift off... of my new book, Lost Days!

The official launch is underway.  The “BUY” button has been activated and you are free to buy the book from Amazon!  Here’s the extended description of the book:

 

While snooping in their Granddaddy Hank’s garage one afternoon, Hayley Wilkes’ little brother Grover discovers a decades-old newspaper clipping. It details the tragic death of their grandfather’s first wife when the car she was driving careened off an icy mountain road in Lake Roosevelt, Washington. Yet when her body was discovered, something was missing: her four-year-old son, Crew. Searchers could find no trace of the boy and gave him up for dead…until the toddler was discovered in the woods, alive and well, fourteen months later.

 Since then, everyone has considered Crew to be a bit “touched” in the head. Hayley thinks he’s downright crazy―and not in the fun way. And for a teenager trying to fit in, being related to such a nut isn’t doing her social life any favors. Nonetheless, she can’t help but be fascinated by her uncle and intrigued by the mystery of his past. How could a little boy survive for an entire year in the woods? Someone must have taken care of him, but who? The more time she spends with Crew, the more Hayley realizes he’s tormented by those long-lost days. Determined to ferret out the truth, she launches an investigation into the heart of a forty-year-old mystery. As she digs for clues, Hayley forms a tentative friendship with her crusty uncle and comes face-to-face with a legendary creature whose mere existence has long been the source of fevered debate.

 Led by a precocious young heroine and packed with quirky characters, family drama, and more than one very scary monster, Lost Days is an endearing and surprisingly relatable coming-of-age story about the strength of family. More importantly, this intriguing young-adult novel suggests that being different may not be so bad after all.

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