WARNING: Crazy, Wild Promo Ahead

Friday, September 28, 2012

Just thought I'd let you know it's about to get real busy here in Linda Kage Land!

Remember that book tour I've been planning for MONTHS for The Color of Grace?  
Well, it starts Monday!!! Yeah, THIS upcoming Monday.

For twelve days straight--even weekends--there will be nothing but reviews, guest posts, interviews, scavenger hunts, puzzle games, and giveaways (at least two things given away each day). So if you're allergic to any of the above, you might want to stay scarce for a while.  I understand. Really.

If not, then come and join the fun. There will be plenty to do and see!

 Since I'm gonna turn thirty-three before this chaotic tour is over, I have thirty-three stops set up. Okay, that one was a happy accident, but it's still the truth--33 stops and 33 years (oh, and there are 333 pages in the book--imagine that)!!

If you're a regular blog follower, I apologize for the crazy wild promotions about to take place. I'll return to regular, boring ol' me on Monday, the 15th. Well, actually, I'll probably announce some prize winners that week, but after that, I SWEAR, no more bla-bla-bla about The Color of Grace...unless I learn something about it that's just too good to keep to myself!

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I made sure there were some prizes that weren't all about MY book (see, I'm not entirely vain!) but still kosher for the younger crowd since all these wild-crazy promotional efforts are because of a YA book.  For a list of things a person can win in the next couple of weeks, see below!

And if you're actually curious about when and where all the tour stops will be, I have the schedule on the right hand column of my blog, or you could visit THIS LINK!

Hopefully, all my tour stuff won't get too overwhelming. My fingers are crossed that this doesn't turn out to be a major disaster and everything has been organized to flow smoothly.
See you bright and early on Monday morning!!!!





 
COLOR OF GRACE BOOK TOUR Prize List

The tour-wide prize is a $30 Amazon gift card, which you have a chance to win when you comment on "any" stop in the tour (there's a tour schedule HERE).

Below is a list of prizes on the tour :


October 1, 2012 (Monday)
-An Ebook of The Color of Grace @ A Tasty Read
- Color of Grace eye shadow and illuminator @ Diane Estrella's Blog
-A hardback copy of The Hunger Games @ Linda Kage's Blog Page


October 2, 2012 (Tuesday)
-An Ebook of The Color of Grace @ The Y.A. Cafe
-A hardback of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants @ Linda Kage's Blog Page


October 3, 2012 (Wednesday)
-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace @ Me, My Shelf, and I
-A hardback copy of Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke @ Linda Kage's Blog Page


October 4, 2012 (Thursday)
-An Ebook of The Color of Grace @ Totally Bookalicious
-An Ebook of The Color of Grace @ Tumbling in Books
-A hardback copy of Dead Girls Don't Write Letters by Gail Giles @ Linda Kage's Blog Page


October 5, 2012 (Friday)
-An Ebook of The Color of Grace @ Reader's Edyn
-A hardback copy of Fallen by Lauren Kate @ Linda Kage's Blog Page


October 6, 2012 (Saturday)
-An Ebook of The Color of Grace @ Mom Loves 2 Read
-Fingerless red and black striped gloves @ Mom Loves 2 Read
-A paperback copy of The Stillburrow Crush by Linda Kage @ Linda Kage's Blog Page


October 7, 2012 (Sunday)
-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace by Linda Kage @ Linda Kage's Blog Page
-Red and Black Striped arm warmers @ Linda Kage's Blog Page

October 8, 2012 (Monday)
-An Ebook of The Color of Grace @ I Heart YA Books
-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace @ Readergirl
-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace @ BookSpark
-A hardback copy of Hoot by Carl Hiaasen @ Linda Kage's Blog Page


October 9, 2012 (Tuesday)
-An Ebook of The Color of Grace @ Book Labyrinth
-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace @ One A Day Y.A.
-A hardback copy of Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli @ Linda Kage's Blog Page


October 10, 2012 (Wednesday)
-A rose necklace @ Reading Angel
-A hardback copy of Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix @ Linda Kage's Blog Page


October 11, 2012 (Thursday)
-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace @ Squiggles Reviews
-Red and Black arm warmers @ Squiggles Reviews
-A hardback copy of The Candidates by Inara Scott @ Linda Kage's Blog Page


October 12, 2012 (Friday)
-Touch screen gloves @ Books and Beyond
-An ebook copy of The Color of Grace @ The Romance Reviews 
-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace @ Romancing the Book
-A hardback copy of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak @ Linda Kage's Blog Page

Are you going to read "The Casual Vacancy?"

Monday, September 24, 2012
J. K. Rowling's first post-Harry Potter book--and an adult book at that--is coming out this Thursday.  Are you curious about it??

Book BLURB (from Amazon):

When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

The  blurb sounds kind of boring to me--since I'm all about romance--and $35.00 in price is...a bit much.  $18 for the ebook is even beyond my range.  So I highly doubt I will be purchasing a copy any time soon.

But I am a huge Harry Potter fan, though, so I'm definitely curious to see what others will have to say about it.  What about you?

Already pre-ordered your copy?
Super curious?
Mildly curious?
Or not at all interested and could care less?




Falling in love with your characters again

Friday, September 21, 2012
I wrote a guest post on Wednesday at The Writers Vineyard if anyone would rather read about why all authors should cherish positive book reviews, or you can stick around here and discuss main characters with me.  Whichever! 

So, about a month ago, I had this conversation with the hero in my most-recently finished manuscript. Okay, actually, I didn't. But if I had, this is probably how it would've gone.

ME: I'm sorry, Coop.  But this just isn't working out between us.

HERO: What? No. Was it something I said?

ME: No, no.  Nothing like that.  You're perfect (**not really**).  It's me. (**dude, it's totally you**). I just need some time and distance. To think.

HERO: To think about what?

ME: Us. Things just aren't going where I wanted them to go.  I need to reevaluate our entire relationship.

And so, we parted ways for a while. But don't worry: we totally got back together!

You know that whole thing you go through after you write a book, where you love it, then you hate, then you love it again, then you throw it again a wall and wonder how you could write such crap?  

I just went through a big hate-fest over my last story.

I totally loved it when I finished it.

Then I sent it in to my editor.

After her page-long (I mean, an ENTIRE single-spaced, completely-filled page) letter of things I should correct before sending it back to her again, my feelings for my oh-so-wonderful, amazing story slipped. Huh. She'd made a couple good points. My story wasn't perfect after all.  How depressing.

I sent it on to a buddy of mine to glance it over for some suggestions of what I could do to fix it.  She read it (yay!), and I received another page-long letter of things (and not all the same things my editor had caught) to fix.

At this point, I'm totally disgusted with my book. I HATE IT!  It's awful, cruddy, the worst thing I've ever written. Why couldn't it just be an instant best-seller?

I forced myself to make corrections, using a good share of all the suggestions everyone had given me, though I didn't want to do some of them (bluck!).  But the entire time, I felt like I was munching on cardboard. The whole book felt so bland and tasteless. I didn't love my story anymore, didn't want to work on it, didn't even want to think about it.

So, I set it aside. Phew. Done with that.

Until this week.

I decided to go through it again and see if there were any good revisions I could think up to make it better.  And you know what, I really liked what I read.  All those suggestions I didn't necessarily want to use but used anyway made it so much better!  WOW. 

This is a much nicer place to be than I was before.

And thus, I discovered what I personally have to do to fall back in love with my main characters again. Do my revisions despite how I feel about them, then spend some time away, have a bit of a life in between, write 30,000 words on a new story, and THEN come back to it.  It really works wonders.

How about you?  What do you do to fall in love with your story and characters again.



My Trip to Green Bay

Monday, September 17, 2012
Remember a few weeks back, I talked about being an armchair traveler, bemoaning the fact that I'd only been to nine different states in my lifetime.  Well, make that ELEVEN states.

We went to Wisconsin last week (and had to drive through Iowa to get there).

My husband has turned into a raging (okay, maybe not totally raging, but his interest has definitely grown) football fan in the last few years. His favorite NFL team is the Green Bay Packers. Last year, he was able to seen them play at Arrowhead (that's the stadium in Kansas City, if you didn't know) when they played the Chiefs. And ever since then, he's wanted to go to Lambeau (aka, the Packer's field).

So he got online and burned through one of my royalty checks (the nicest royalty check I'd ever received too) to get a tour package, filled with two tickets, and three nights at a hotel one block from the stadium, a tail-gate party invite, and a fancy tour of Lambeau.

So here are a couple pictures from my trip:
Anyone read or seen THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY? We had to stop in Madison Co, Iowa to take a picture of one of those bridges!! And another interesting fact: the town by THIS bridge (St. Charles, IA) is also the birthplace town of John Wayne.

Me in front of Lambeau field!

The hubby!  Did you know: out of all the NFL football teams, Green Bay is the smallest city to have a team. The next largest is New Orleans with around 800,000 people.

The Green Bay, part of Lake Michigan. Sadly, this is the largest body of water I've ever seen.

Proof I actually attended the game!


And proof I'm not bad luck!  (or maybe I'm bad luck for the Chicago Bears). Final score--Green Bay 23 to Chicago 10!!



And here's the kiddo trying out all the loot we got here while she was having a blast all week with Grandma and Grandpa!
To say the least, we had lots of fun. We're ready to go back again. 

So what happened with you guys while I was away?

Friday Forwards - #46

Friday, September 14, 2012
FIFTY SHADES OF INFOMERCIALS

Since I live in the Midwest, I get to listen to Kidd Kraddick in the Morning every day on the way to work. When I heard this one live, I almost drove off the side of the road I was laughing so hard.

Thank goodness I found it on YouTube so I could share it with you!  Man, wouldn't it be nice if one of my books became so wildly famous people made fun of it on morning radio? Oh, how I wish! *Dreamy sigh*  Maybe someday.

Have a Happy Friday!  

A Week Off

Monday, September 10, 2012
I'm taking the entire week off work at my day job. Aside from that six-week-leave when I gave birth a few years back, I think this is the first time I've taken an entire week off. It's usually just one or two days here and there.  But this will be the full Monday through Friday gone!

I plan to get in some family time, so I won't be around a computer much.  Thus, I apologize now if I don't get to some of your blogs in return this week. Just don't write anything too amazing in a post while I'm gone. I don't want to miss it!!

Have a great Monday...and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and...well, just have a great week!

Please Welcome Guest Author, IVY BATEMAN!!

Friday, September 7, 2012
What I like best about blogging is meeting new people and actually making a new friend. Case in point: Ivy Bateman. I met her online in an interview she had at Amber Skyze's blog (I think that was where, anyway!), and ever since then, we've become email pen pals, talking about our families, and writing, and occasionally ranting about this and that together.

Another thing I like about making a new writer friend is getting to read her stories before they're published!! And, oh my goodness!! Was I ever blessed to get a preview of Ivy's THE FIFTH STORY!  It was...well, I don't even know what word to use. Engrossing, maybe. Captivating. It sucked me in until I just couldn't put it down.

After reading the blurb, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Maybe something like The Never Ending Story, except the erotic version (since that's what Ivy writes).  *Shrugs* I don't know.  After reading the entire book, however, I'm even more clueless under which genre to label this story.  It's like a class all unto its own.

It's easy-to-read, yet these hidden depths will jump out and surprise you. The theme you discover the entire story was about all along is utterly amazing. Yet it's disturbing and dark with an adventurous race against time that keeps your flipping pages to see which bizarre, unbelievable thing will happen next. Granted, it's intended for a certain kind of crowd; the adult content is...very adult. I remembering thinking, "This is wrong. I shouldn't be reading this. My mom would disown me if she knew," all the while, my eyes were as wide as golf balls as they stayed glued to my iPad screen. It left me thinking about all the plot twists and turns long after The End. Reading The Fifth Story wasn't just reading, it was an experience.

Which had me wondering...how in the world did Ivy come up with such a crazy, genius idea for this tale (I'm picturing a mad scientist. You have Einstein hair, sticking up at all ends right now, don't you Ivy)? How did she piece all the different parts--that seemed totally unrelated to each other--together to make one uniform, amazing story?

Well...here's her answer.  Take it away, Ivy!

Thank-you Linda!

I have to say that one of the great things about being friends with someone who has asked you if you’d like to promote on their blog is that sometimes you get to read your introduction beforehand! That was an effusive and extremely flattering review of my book!  I can only hope that other readers will feel the same way. Yes, there are very adult bits...bits that I would be mortified if any member of my family read! However, they were very fun to write!

And I have to agree with Linda that one of the best things about blogging is the people you meet. Linda, as regular readers of her blog can probably tell, is a very warm person and I know this even though we’ve only spoken in written words. She has been a huge support in more than just putting me on her blog. I’m very grateful that we connected all those months ago and am very happy to be on her blog for the second time!

So, the questions at hand…how did I come up with idea for The Fifth Story and weave the stories together? Those are good questions. I have partial answers and I don’t know answers too; answers that I'm not at will to answer the questions, but I'll try.

The Fifth Story exists because of NanoWriMo 2010. (The National November Writing Month) At the encouragement of a couple of friends of mine I signed up for the contest and unfortunately, went blank; not a good feeling. However, on Halloween Night, a novel idea finally hit me. I had a few stories, half stories and random ideas, kicking around; stories that I liked but hadn’t really found the time or the inspiration to complete. How could I use these fragmented ideas? I decided that my character Bryn had written them all and that the fact that they were complete in her world was enough. When she entered, she would know what was going on and be able to reveal to the reader just enough to keep them from being lost...hopefully.

I immediately became excited. I had an idea! Something to work with, but I felt that Bryn needed to have 4 stories to travel around in and not just 3. That's when something very strange happened. As I drifted off to sleep, the ghosts of Halloween circling around my room, a stray image flowed into my semi-conscious brain. I’m not sure if I was dreaming or whether my imagination just picked up the thread of a thought and ran with it, but within seconds a fully formed story about a fisherman and his wife dropped into my mind. It was an incredible feeling. I knew this story would be perfect for Bryn to go into. I felt certain that all of the four stories would work together even though they were very different. When I woke up in the morning, I was ready to start the challenge of NanoWriMo 2010.

That is essentially how I came up with the idea for The Fifth Story, but how I wove them together, well...that's where the "I don't know part" comes in. I consciously connected parts of the stories and brought in things from one story into another, but theme that is carried out throughout the book was not intentional. The ending, and what makes The Fifth Story, also did not become fully realized until I reached the final chapters. Even though it was a writing challenge and I didn't have any intention of getting it published, I'm a perfectionist and I still wanted it to make sense and before I wrote the last few chapters I reread all that I had written. Anyway, as I read through the novel I realized that without meaning to I had written a novel with a fairly significant theme. I was very happy to discover it was there because it meant that there was really only one way to end the novel.

For those of you who would like to read on, here's my blurb and an excerpt. Thanks again very much to Linda for having me on her blog today!

BLURB:

Every day we encounter doors. Some of these doors are open to us and some of them are closed, but when we pass through any door, a different truth or mystery lies beyond the threshold.

The night Bryn is pulled into a world of her own stories by a shadowy being, her reality is changed forever. Souls and danger, hauntingly beautiful witches, sexy and dangerous vampires, a soldier with a dying wish; she knows that each door leads to a story and to outcomes she can't control, but in order to return home, Bryn must complete a set of tasks for the enigmatic and strangely sensual Darkness.

With four stories to enter, four items to retrieve, Bryn takes part in plot points so out of character that she almost loses herself in the tales she's written. More than once she questions her sanity and curses herself for creating such perilous realities, but she always remains focused on her goal; the creation of the fifth story.


EXCERPT:

She walked quickly around the counter and headed to where the sign indicated where the washrooms were, but she couldn't find the women's room. Then she almost slapped herself with ridiculousness. Who cared if she went into the men's room? She marched over to the door and pushed on it. Immediately she fell back. The door was stuck. She pushed on it harder, but could only open it about a foot. Something, or someone, was lying in front of the door. Bryn squeezed her head through the narrow space and looked down at the floor. Coran was lying passed out on the cold tile.


Bryn thought maybe something strange had happened in her story, and Coran was already dead. How lucky would that be? However, she realized that the story hadn't changed that drastically when Coran groaned, revealing that he was very much alive. He rolled over, away from the door.


With his weight suddenly off the door, and Bryn's weight still being pushed against it, the door went flying open. Bryn stumbled and fell into the washroom. None too gracefully, she hit the floor with a satisfying smack, and knocked her head against the tile floor with a hard clunk.


"Ow," she said, as she rolled on her back and pressed her hands against a rapidly rising goose egg on the right side of her head. "Ah" she yelped as the door closed on her foot.


"Are you okay?" asked a voice with a gentle Scottish brogue.

Bryn turned her head and opened her eyes. Coran, who looked like he'd been through a rough time, was leaning over her. His blond hair was a mess and it fell into his gray eyes. He had soot on his face and he smelled, not unpleasantly, of smoke. He gave her a little smile. "My dear, are you all right?" he asked her again.

She smiled in return. She was touched by his concern. The ash on his face and the apparent absence of anyone else in the castle told her she had come into the story not long after the first time she'd entered with Darkness. Coran had every right to ignore her and he really had no time to get involved with a stranger and yet, he didn't seem to be in any rush at all. Instead, he helped Bryn sit up.

As soon as his hands touched her skin, Bryn gasped and felt her heart beat quicken. Coran looked embarrassed and quickly, on unsteady legs, he stood up and got a paper towel. He wet it with warm water and kneeled down a couple feet away from Bryn. He handed her the paper towel. "Your face, it's quite dirty." 

"Oh, thanks." Bryn said, trying to avoid looking at him too much. Her heart was pounding in her chest. Why had she written Coran to have this effect on women? "It looks like I'm not the only one that's recently been in a bit of a scrap," he said with a chuckle. Bryn couldn't help beaming at him with amazement. He was just as kind as she'd written him to be. However, if she was correct, this man should be putting all chivalry aside and be searching the castle for Melusine. He should be calling upon the ancient gods to help him in battle with the sea witch, but instead, here he was, watching Bryn wash her face and being concerned about her well-being.

"Is your head very sore? Can you stand?" he asked as he gently touched the bump on her head, but quickly pulled his hand back when Bryn sucked in her breath at the feel of his hand on her hair

"Yes, I mean—no, it's fine, and yes, I can stand," she stammered as she pushed herself off the floor. She again tried to avoid eye contact with him, but it wasn't helping. Coran was having a profound effect on her senses—something which she should have remembered could happen, but had completely forgotten about. In her story, Coran had a powerful effect on women and it was something he could do nothing about. Whether it was his aura or his pheromones, no one could tell, but women, upon meeting Coran, not only couldn't control themselves around him but didn't want to. Their thoughts would travel immediately down a sexual path as soon as they stood close to him and they would offer themselves to his every whim. Even the most reserved women would find their bodies pulsing immediately with desire for the tall blond stranger. Only those who knew how to, could control their passions for Coran. Katie, his assistant, was usually one of them, but sometimes, her guard would slip and she would be overcome with sexual longing for her handsome boss.

Bryn was finding her own guard was slipping rapidly and started thinking about very naughty things and wishing that she had time to explore her hidden bad girl side. Was this happening because she'd written him this way or was it because he looked so much like Tyler?

Ivy's Blog: Ivy B Misbehavin' | Follow Ivy on Twitter | Become an Ivy Fan on Facebook

The Fifth Story is available at Breathless Press and aRe


THE COLOR OF GRACE Book Release...Plus a Giveaway!

Monday, September 3, 2012
It's Official!

The Color of Grace's release day was Saturaday!! It's now available in both ebook and print at Whiskey Creek Press and Amazon.

To celebrate the revealing of this bookish mystery, I'm giving away a PAPERBACK copy of The Color of Grace.  Actually, the giveaway has nothing to do with the release-date mystery; they just seemed to happen on the same day. Happy coincidence and all that. But I digress.

More exciting news is that I've had the honor of getting a spot on the widely popular and family-friendly readers blog this week: (Sorry!  I don't know which day this week though--added September 4th September 6th Update: The link now goes straight to the giveaway!)

I Am A Reader, Not A WriterI'm a Reader, Not a Writer!

Inspired Kathy has asked me a few interview questions, to which I answered, and then she put a paperback copy of The Color of Grace into a raflecopter giveaway.  So if you'd like to check out the interview or put your name into the drawing, feel free to head that way.


Here's a taste of the newest excerpt I have on my website for Grace:

“Don’t look, but number forty-two from Southeast just…” Just what? I wasn’t too sure what he’d just done. “He just…asked me for my name.”

Bridget gasped and looked.

“I said don’t look!”

“Whoa,” Bridget answered, her jaw coming loose and her mouth gaping open.

I elbowed her. “Stop looking.”

She didn’t. “Gracie, I don’t think it matters. He wouldn’t see me right now if I ran out into center court and did a line dance in my bathing suit. He’s too busy ogling you.”

“He…he what? Right now?” I spun and looked too.

Bridget wasn’t lying. Number forty-two had returned to his team and stood in line behind three players, waiting for his turn to throw a figure eight with two other teammates. But he wasn’t paying a lick of attention to his warm-up drill. He really was staring across the floor directly at, yep, me.

I gulped. Whoa.

He smiled. I’m not sure how I could tell he smiled from where I sat all the way on the other side of the court, but something about the change in the atmosphere around him told me everything in him brightened. He lifted his hand and gave a quick, little flick of the wrist, waving as if acknowledging he saw me watching him. The player behind him nudged him in the back, making him return hisattention to his warm up just in time to catch a ball flying toward his face.

I spun away and sucked in a breath. “Oh, my… Oh, my…” I looked to Bridget for guidance. “What do I do?”

“Well, what happened? Details, woman, details.” She snapped her fingers in front of my face like that would speed along my brain.

It didn’t. As shaken and mixed up as I was, I didn’t know up from down.

“I…” Feeling absolutely rattled, I could only stare at her. “I…”

“You what?”

“Well, I...And he…But then I turned him down and he…he…”

“You turned him down? Him?” Bridget spun to point at forty-two.

By the scandalized way I grabbed her hand and jerked it toward the floor, one would’ve thought she’d just aimed a gun instead of her finger. “I didn’t…I didn’t…I…”

Bridget thumped me on the back, right between my shoulder blades as if I were choking and needed air. And like some kind of old record player that had slipped back on track, I was able to stop sputtering. I spilled out the entire encounter in hyper speed, not even pausing to breathe.

“Technically, I couldn’t really turn him down. He never asked me out. He just asked for my name, and I said, ‘Not interested,’ because, well really, what else could I say? Then he went totally weird on me, talking about the words ‘not interested’ as if they were my real name, asking if it was from German or Irish decent.” I looked at Bridget and sucked in air since my head had gone a little light from lack of oxygen. “Then he said we should name our firstborn child ‘Absolutely.’”

Bridget’s eyes widened to the size of marshmallows—not the minis but the big marshmallows you put on s’mores. “He did not,” she whispered.

I nodded. “He so did.”

“Holy Hosanna, Grace. That’s just awesome. Totally awesome. What’s his name?”

“Ryder,” I uttered in a hollow voice. “He said his name was Ryder. Not that I believe him. But that’s what he said.”



Want to read more? Okay, here you go!
Chapter One (Provided by Whiskey Creek Press)


Hope you have a very happy Labor Day Monday.  I know I will!