Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How to Help an Author


Rah! Rah! Rah! 

We all need cheerleaders whether we work in an office, spend the day with the kids, teach the care and taming of dragons, or write for a living. And most people—authors included—want to earn a living wage writing stories and we have you to thank, dear, wonderful readers!

I've had a few people ask me lately what they can do to support the upcoming release of Sugar (my debut young adult novel from Skyscape. 6/1/15. Squeee!) 

First, again, I thank all of you because you've already helped provide a strong foundation with kind and thoughtful words of encouragement. It means so much, knowing that this little book that started as a fledgling has now grown wings and will end up in your caring hands.

But since you asked, here's a solid stack of ways you can help spread the word about Sugar or any author and novel you enjoy. The literary world is a rich and wonderful place so I invite you to join in the community if you haven't already. Full disclosure, I'm going to toss in a few specifics for Sugar, but the general ideas apply to any book and author. 


1. Pre-order the book. The bonus here is occasionally you'll get it before the release date or right on, meaning you won't have to wait or have picking up the book slip your mind. Find Sugar here.

2. Buy the book in whatever format works for you. Despite our best intentions, so many of us have to put reading for pleasure toward the end of the to do list. The good news is you can listen to your fave stories or keep a copy on your ereader or tablet when you have a few minutes between commitments or while traveling. 

You can get Sugar in paperback from Amazon, Kindle, audio book, Barnes and Noble, online or in store, IndieBound, and of course at your local bookstore. If you don't see it in stock, politely request it from your bookseller.

3. Gift the book. Books are great gifts for holidays, birthdays, or just a little special something for someone sweet. You can also gift a copy of the book to your friends, family, coworkers, or book lovers. I also like doing "one for me, one for you." Sometimes if I spot something I fall in love with, I'll get a second one for someone else who I think would enjoy it. You can also leave a second at a library, coffee shop, participate in events like Rock the Drop, and super cool projects like the Little Free Library.

4. Read the book. Duh, right? But you can introduce it to your book group. (Or start one! They're great fun, there's usually food, and lots of laughter.) Check the author's website for questions or talking points specifically tailored for the book to get you started.

5. Spread the word. Ask for the book by name at your bookstore or library. Tell your friends, family, coworkers, fellow booknerds what a great read you've discovered! If you know people in influential positions, for example, those who work at magazines, for websites, in schools, libraries, media outlets, or just during casual dinner convo, talk it up!

6. Leave a review. Don't let this intimate you. Or if you enjoy sharing your opinions and thoughts, let the words flow. You can leave reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other book review sites. Hint: if you're not a wordsmith, just leaving a star rating is very much appreciated. You can also use the same review across sites.

7. Post a blog. If you have a blog, even if it isn't a book review blog, write up a post, recommendation, or request promo materials (media kit) from the author for an easy cut and paste. If you don't have a blog, but there's one you enjoy reading that is open to contributions, inquire about sharing a post of that awesome book that you just couldn't put down.

8. Amplify. If you're active on social media, take a photo of the book and post it, retweet or repost items related to the book to followers and friends. It isn't called the world wide web, for nothing. (*Gets memo. Oh, we don't call it that anymore? Got it.)

9. Spread the word! Yes, again. Share what you enjoyed about the book with the author in a tweet, FB post, email, or in person at an author event. Which brings me to...

10. Attend an event. Check your author's website for appearances. The folks who host the event are always happy when you purchase books, have them signed, and participate with friendly enthusiasm.

11. Hangout Online. Chat up your favorite titles on book forums or other related online communities.

12. Follow and Friend. Follow your favorite author's Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter feeds. Not your jam? There's also Pinterest, Instagram, and G+. Wink wink.

13. Subscribe. An Enewsletter is the gold standard for authors. Not to worry, I'm not spammy. Get your quarterly, non-spammy and totally sparkly news from me by signing up here

14. Swag. Some authors have book swag, some don't. You can always make your own. Luna Lovegood's raddish earrings, anyone? There's some Sugar dazzle on Zazzle. That didn't quite work did it? These items also make great gifts along with a copy of the book (and chocolate or tea always goes over well with readers!)

15. Pin it. Add the cover to your bookish board.

16. Donate. Need to donate something to a raffle, giveaway, or auction. A book is a great contribution and it does double duty by promoting literacy!

17. Author pages. Both Amazon and Goodreads have Author pages with a feature where you can "follow" your favorite authors. This way you get info about upcoming releases and recommendations for similar books you may enjoy.

18. Turn it out. At your brick and mortar bookstores, if you see a favorite book, turn it cover out to get more views by other customers.

19. Expose. If browsing Kindles, Nooks, or other ereaders, search for the book and leave the page open. The next person to check out the ereader will see it.

20. Listicle. Amazon and Goodreads both have "lists" There's the wishlist, which you can add books to for gift ideas or so you don't forget to buy when you have some extra scratch. There's also listmania and favorites and recommendations to share. Explore your accounts and list those books you love!

21. Vote. If you see your fave books is in the running for an award or recommendation, your vote matters, cast it.


Phew. That was a long list, but as you see there are both big and small ways you can support books and authors. Some of which you may already do. Thank you for reading this and in general for being a champion of the written word. If you know of any other great ways to help support and promote your favorite authors and books, please share in the comments below. 

Happy reading!

P.S. Here are few sweet little notes to share with your friends. (If you please—and thank you!)


Copy & Paste to Twitter:
Sugar, a bullied teenager who learns to love the reflection of the girl she sees in the mirror. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PG8UCH2 
#yalit #fiction 

Copy & Paste to post on Facebook: 

Through friendship, Sugar discovers she amounts to more than a worthless daughter, an annoying sister, and the target of the senior class prank. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PG8UCH2


Twitter or Facebook:

Sugar: novel. A girl, a friendship, a motorcycle, and a green light. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PG8UCH2 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Earth Day Pledge


"Take care of the earth and she will take care of you."

^Insert and ocean in the above quote. I'm a water-woman. I love me mama earth, but I also adore the Atlantic and the Pacific and all that H2O in between and all around. I mean, they're the same, but they're not, too. So I'm taking it upon myself to make it a point to include our planet's oceans in my celebration of Earth Day. That's cool, right? 



I'm starting a semi-new tradition. An earth day resolution of sorts because I believe resolutions can create revolutions. And while we're revolving on this giant, wondrous, gassy, liquidy, earthen sphere, I want to do more than I did yesterday to make the planet better for tomorrow.

Last spring, I summed up my thoughts on "going gradually green" taking small steps to celebrate Earth Day everyday. I also took a portion of the proceeds from my novel, To the Sea and made a donation to the Surf Rider Foundation. That's a start...

Smooshing these two actions together, I've decided that I'm going to take an annual Earth Day pledge. I'll pick a way to reduce, reuse, recycle, or otherwise reconnect me to this wonderful place I call home. 


This year's pledge: beach clean up.




I'm at the beach multiple times per week. (It knocks my socks off to realize how very fortunate I am that I can write that. And then my socks stay off when I walk along the sand or wade into the water, relishing the awe that great big puddle inspires.) 

And sheesh, there's so much trash! From cigarette butts, to odd bits of plastic, fishing line, to random things like a single glove, a CD, and a chunk of a car's taillight. Today I pulled out a styrofoam cup bobbing in a tide pool, three candy wrappers, and more pieces of random plastic than I could identify. 

I'm not going to lie. I'm not perfect. I've walked right past trash on the ground. I'm sure random things have fallen from my beach bag and landed in the water. In fact, the Pacific claimed my wedding ring, the Atlantic a pair of sunglasses, and the Mediterranean, a sock. Don't ask. It's regrettable, especially the ring. But we do what we can.



Me, picking up trash along the beach, may not be much, but it's something, it's a start, a shift in my own impact, and my hope is that it will not only keep garbage from entering the water, but also inspire others to do the same.


Live by the ocean? No? Wherever you find yourself, here are 30 things we can do right now to help protect our marine environments. 

Here are 20 facts about ocean pollution that are urging me to take action.

Wondering how long it takes things to decompose once they reach our watersheds? Check out this infographic citing over 10 common items that take a staggeringly long time to disappear.


Why does all this matter? I can think of 1 reason. This place we call home supports and sustains us—we ought to remember to be good houseguests.




What are you doing to celebrate our planet this Earth Day? Please let me know below. Oh and a sorta P.S. (But it's also up here so you don't miss it) I just read this inspiring post by vegan warrior and awesome mama, Seyward from Bonzai Aphrodite. (We met at last year's Earth Day festival in Santa Barbara and she's a gem!)










Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Few of my Favorite Things...

I haven't done a Polyvore set in ages! I used to do one seasonally, it's kind of like window shopping and curating the loveliest of lovelies without leaving home. It's sort of like Pinterest for fashion, style, and the home, but you get to select the things you love and arrange them on a board. 

While writing the Follow your Bliss series, if I was stuck or felt like I needed to get closer to a particular character I'd create a set of items that connected me back to them or to help me work through a scene. Unfortunately, I didn't save them all properly—sometimes I'm all head-scratching-huhs? when it comes to certain platforms. Ahem, Facebook.

As a writer, I sometimes find it's useful to step away from a project to shift gears, recharge, and then return feeling fresh. Usually it works best to be away from the computer, but if the weather isn't cooperating or if I just want to take five, this kind of creativity is perfect!

Below is a spring-inspired set! Please share in the comments what you like or something you're gushing over this season. 


Spring 2015




Friday, April 10, 2015

99¢ Book Blast!

99tc


Over 175 ebooks from over 150 authors--including USA Today Bestsellers--are on sale for 99 cents. This promo will last only April 10th, 11th, and 12th. Find paranormal, fantasy, romance, and much more. Don't forget to tell your friends so they can one-click too! Visit the 99 Cent Book Blast.

Including the first in the Follow your Bliss series, To the Sea!




Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Self Love



I recently had the honor to share my thoughts on self love in a vlog for Glitter Magazine as part of their #SelfLove campaign. 

When I watched the video did I cringe? 
Did I say, "Ew, my voice sounds so weird recorded." 
Did I judge and doubt and think not so loving thoughts? 

Yes. 
Yes. 
Yes. 

But that's not what self love is about. That's not what I'm about. 

I may be "old school" but I haven't had too many opportunities to see myself recorded, to watch my own mannerisms, inflections, and goofiness. I tend to shy away from the camera. 

But...

When I said, "Every time I look in the mirror I smile at the person I see in the reflection," I'm being honest. "Self love is about me being true to myself." That's the truth. 

But the noise that I heard in my mind when I first watched the video wasn't loving, it was rude and inconsiderate. It was harsh and deceptive. It wanted me to feel small and crawl into a cave. That's fear and defeat. And it's just noise. I can choose to listen to it or not. 



I choose or not. I'm glittery and sparkly. I'm beautiful and flawed. I'm a real person with a little further to go along the self love spectrum, but I'm getting there, one smile, one video, one act of self love at a time. 

Find out more and join Glitter Magazine's #selflove campaign here.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

YA Scavenger Hunt





Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! 

My name is Deirdre Riordan Hall & I'm the author of the forthcoming novel, Sugar. I'm your host for this stop on the YA Scavenger Hunt and am on the GOLD TEAM. Yesterday I surfed with a seal (Hey, little fella, the waves are good, huh?) Today I dug into a plate of nachos with my favorite, salsa & guacamole...and tomorrow I have plans to tackle a book or two on my TBR. Oh, and you should know, I love dogs. Cats too, my writing sidekick would be very upset if I left him out. 



So, what is the YA Scavenger Hunt? 

This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt on my team! 

But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours! That's from noon PST 4/2- noon PST 4/5! 






How do I play? 

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all. I am a part of the GOLD TEAM--but there is also a red team, a blue team, an orange team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!


If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

How does the YA Scavenger Hunt work?

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GOLD TEAM, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 5th at noon Pacific time. (Here's a time calculator to find out when that is.) Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Okay, ready to get to the fun stuff? Here we go! 





I'm hosting Suzanne Van Rooyan for the YA Scavenger Hunt! 


Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. 
She currently lives in Sweden and is busy making friends with the ghosts of her Viking ancestors. 
Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. 
When she grows up, she wants to be an elf – until then, she spends her time (when not writing) wall climbing, buying far too many books, and entertaining her shiba inu, Lego.

Suzanne also wrote a novel called  


***

An awkward teen violinist falls for the boy who finally gets her and her passion for music, except he’s an android, and there’s a war brewing between robots and humans in a futuristic Scandinavia.

Check out more HERE





***



Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won’t belittle her musical aspirations.



Q-I-99 aka ‘Quinn’ lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.


Tyri and Quinn’s worlds collide when they’re accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn’s love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?

Visit Suzanne on Twitter and Facebook.

And now for the super awesome exclusive content from 
I Heart Robot: 
____

Take Note
A blog dedicated to Skandian music and musicians


Musicians are no longer taking center stage the way they did fifty or even thirty years ago. Our world today is focused on the practical, and dare I say it, the mundane. But some young people are fighting back and reclaiming the arts for a new generation, but not in the way you might expect.

For those of you who think classical music is so two centuries ago, think again! The Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra, lead by the indomitable Maestro Ahlgren, has been limping along for the past ten years, struggling to find funding and fill seats at concerts. But all that is about to change since Ahlgren snagged a performance at this year's Independence Day Gala. Given our Prime Minister's sympathy for the arts, Ahlgren and her orchestra of talented teens is about to take Skandia by storm!

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with two of the violinists, Quinn Soarsen and Tyri Matzen, and here's what they had to say.

Do you think music is still relevant in Skandia given the more utilitarian attitude of the public?

Quinn: Of course! Music will always be relevant. It's one of the defining characteristics of humanity, this need to express emotion in a highly artistic way. Going back to ancient times, music has been ubiquitous. I think Skandians risk losing a huge part of their culture and even their humanity by ignoring music.

Tyri, you don't look so sure.

Tyri: I love music. Music is my life, but it's hard, you know, since people really consider it useful. Most people don't see music the way we do. They don't feel it, like they've forgotten what real music is all about, and just tune into all this computer-generated techno rubbish. Art music has become kind of like a dead language or something.

Interesting comparison. So what first drew you to classical music, or should I say art music?

Quinn: From day one my own... my own parents loved it and they made me play violin from the moment I could hold a bow.

Tyri: Honestly, I think Quinn was born with a bow in his hands.

(Tyri glances at Quinn and blushes – I think there might be more than a mutual love of music between these two.)

Quinn: Not quite. But I've been playing all my life. There's something transcendent about this type of music. Some ineffable power that speaks directly to the heart.

(What an intense young man. His silver eyes are even more captivating. No wonder Miss Matzen can't stop sneaking glances at him.)

Tyri: I agree. When I first listened to Beethoven, I started crying just because there was this... immensity to the music. Well, immensity, yes, but that's not the word I'm looking for. Gravity maybe? It's profound and more profound than anything a machine could ever generate, that's for sure.

(Quinn looks at Tyri as if she socked him between the eyes).

Quinn, you don't agree?

Quinn: I think some androids might have the capabilities to compose.

Tyri: Oh, I meant like randomly generated tones from a computer program, not an android. But even so, unless an android has some pretty sophisticated emotion mods, I doubt they'd be able to compose on a human level.

(The two regard each other and Quinn looks like he wants to say more, but he bites his tongue and slumps back in his chair. Considering the current robot situation, this is a topic I'd rather steer the conversation away from).

You're both violinists and I hear you two are auditioning for the solo part. Who do you think will get it?

(They share shy smiles and Quinn runs a hand through his hair).

Tyri: Hard to say. Quinn has amazing technique. Like, it's inhuman how fast he can play, but...

Quinn: But Tyri has an innate musicality I can only aspire to.

Tyri: I think Quinn will get it though.

(More shared smiles, and blushing glances from Tyri. These two are adorable!)

Perhaps you could play a duet one day?

Quinn: I think that would be wonderful.

Tyri: I'd love that too.

(They share a meaningful look that makes me feel like I'm intruding on their moment.)

So what are your plans for the future? Are you going to go pro?

Tyri: If I can. I really want to study at the Royal Academy once I've finished high school. I know getting in will be tough, but that's my goal.

And what about you, Quinn? (He's suddenly gone very quiet)

Quinn: I'd like to make a difference. I'd like the opportunity to show the world the true power of music and maybe change a the Skandian mindset about music and more.



Sadly, we had to leave the conversation there as Quinn and Tyri needed to get to rehearsal. If you would like to support Tyri and Quinn, please click here. Although the soloist is still to be chosen for the gala, their program features pieces by Berlioz and Dvorak. Who knows what the future holds for these two young musicians, but as long as Tyri, Quinn, and others like them continue to practice hard and dream big, that future is looking very bright indeed!







And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a signed book by me, Deirdre Riordan Hall and a bunch of other amazing authors including Suzanne and I Heart Robot! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 108. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the GOLD TEAM and you'll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!



Wait, before you go, enter to win a second prize drawing for a chance to win an advance reader copy of SUGAR and some sweet swag! 




Good luck! 

*This drawing is only open to residents of the US. Sorry international readers! 
The main YA Scavenger Hunt is open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CONTINUE THE SCAVENGER HUNT...

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! The one and only Holly Bodger! And remember, you're on TEAM GOLD right now :) 

Leave a comment  below sharing your progress, the books you're hoping to win, or just to say hi!


P.S. Thank you for stopping by, participating & supporting authors! If you'd like to get your friends in on the fun, share on TWITTER  and  FACEBOOK! Cheers!