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Booklist Review of THE DOLL’S EYE

Congrats to Marina Cohen on this awesome review of THE DOLL’S EYE:

Doll's Eye_CoverThe phrase “Be careful what you wish for” takes on ominous significance in this creepy story where wish fulfillment and perfection make for a menacing collaboration. Hadley Jackson, along with her mother, stepfather, and stepbrother, has moved from the city to an old country house that seems to keep losing occupants. Something maliciously magical is brewing, and it emanates from a dollhouse hidden in the attic. The story alternates between Hadley’s perspective and that of the first girl to live in the house, each of whom find that the wishes they make tend to come true—but not as intended. Hadley’s efforts to undo her calamitous wishes lead to an unexpected ending that will surprise readers with its bold, menacing conclusion. Doppelgänger dolls, flesh-eating flies, echoes between realities, and a glass eye contribute to the doomed, gothic undertones of Hadley’s story. As the pieces between past and present fall chillingly into place, they threaten to trap Hadley in a world of her own dreaming. Read this one with the lights on.

— Kara Dean

 

Pre-Order THE DOLL’S EYE on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and  Indiebound.

You can order Marina’s super spooky debut middle-grade, THE INN BETWEEN, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.

Check out Marina Cohen online and on twitter.

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A History of Glitter and Blood Halloween…

Happy Halloween! Plan to dress up? The team at Chronicle Books is going as Hannah Moskowitz‘s HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD…that is, famous people from history– bloody and glittery.

2015-10-29 15.22.22

Featuring HELLen of Troy, Creep-o-patra, Amelia SCARE-hart, Anna Psychopath-lova, Rosie the Ripper, Zelda Fitz-SCARE-ald,The Tudor Terror, Nancy KILL-igan, and HOG&B’s own editor Taylor Norman as BOOnie Parker…

Guys, these costumes are awesome, and so are you.

MANIC PIXEL SCAVENGER HUNT WINNERS (AND FER REALS COVER REVEAL)!

Today we announce the winers of the #manicpixel scavenger hunt and #CureFortheCommonUniverse cover reveal giveaway! And now here’s Christian…

Welcome back, scavengers! Glad you survived that crazy, pixelated city.

It would be exhaustive to list everything discovered on the CURE cover, so I’ll just name the top ten things I didn’t even know were on there (and a few that made me chuckle):

  1. “Six barber-pole swords”
  2. “A man reading a love letter written with invisible ink”
  3. “A lucha libre parade float falling in the street” alternately “Just the sweetest, fattest, blue-haired little baby chubbo that better end up on a t-shirt or I’m going to scream and cry at the same time. Scry? Cream? Hmmmm.”
  4. “A camouflage helicopter blasting David Bowie music (obviously)” alternately “the Quad City DJs copter blasting tunes to the neighborhood”
  5. “1/10 of a robo-squid”
  6. “The bottom of someone’s leg, wearing a purple-striped sock. This person must be a giant.”
  7. “Two happy green tripods talking about the upcoming presidential election (they’re both rooting for Trump).” alternately “A couple of gleeps having a sweet convo”
  8. “A rather muscular wrestler standing under a purple umbrella with his favorite child (everyone has a favorite).”
  9. “A potted succulent on a balcony.”
  10. “That yellow dog head is totally licking its own eyeball.” alternately “A dog-head sculpture. Maybe it’s a vehicle… If people ride in these, do they stick their heads out the window?”

And, of course, they can all by seen now, by you, in full, on the no-longer-pixelated CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE cover:

CURE Final Cover

Add on Goodreads.

Preorder on Amazon this weekend.

This eye candy of a book was pitched by John Cusick, bought by Simon & Schuster Teen, edited by Christian Trimmer, and designed by Greg Stadnyk with art by eboy. I feel obscenely lucky to work with such talented people and to have such a jaw-dropping luscious cover. I only hope the words inside live up to it.

As my friend Korey Hunt, who actually came up with the idea for a story about a video game rehab in the first place . . . MISCHIEF SCAVENGED.

But that’s not why you’re here.

You’re here to see if you won one of our five elite prizes, which, to remind you, look like this:

Prizes day 3 image

Ooh, look! The cover isn’t blacked out anymore!

Our five Manic Pixel Scavenger Hunt winners are . . .

  1. Krys McCintyre
  2. Yamille Mendez
  3. Annette Weed
  4. Alicia Van Noy Call
  5. Tim Campbell

The Cotton Floozy will get stitching and Simon & Schuster will get printing and we’ll hopefully have your stuff out to you by December.

Thank you for hunting. I hope you enjoy the inside of the book as much as I enjoy the outside.

See you in June,

Christian McKay Heidicker

P.S! Thanks to all of the bloggers who participated: Christian Trimmer, John Cusick, Elana Johnson, Jennifer Bardsley, Valynne Maetani (friend and agent-getter), Brooke Lark (who designed my website and shot the prizes!), Carol Lynch Williams (who taught me a thing or eight about writing), and finally, Marie Davis Brian, The Cotton Floozy, who made the embroidery-posing-as-cross-stitch that elicited just as much drool as the cover, and whose company I misspelled several times throughout the blog because I’m not accustomed to using the word floozy.

Editor’s note: Both spellings (floozy and floosy) are acceptable, but there’s only one acceptable place to order top quality embroideries: http://www.cottonfloozy.com

CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE Cover Reveal and Giveaway Starts Today!

Today the #CureForTheCommonUniverse Manic Pixel Scavenger Hunt and Giveaway continues! Take it away Christian…

WELCOME TO THE MANIC PIXEL SCAVENGER HUNT!

LET’S GET SCAVENGING!

This is it, folks. This is your chance to easily win the CURE prize package:

Day 2 Central Image

An ARC of Cure for the Common Universe and an embroidery of ‘Nobody Puts Princess in a Castle’ from The Cotton Floozy!

Oo. Aah.

For a chance to win, just participate in the Manic Pixel Scavenger Hunt.

Oh, look, here’s a pixel now!

HiRezPixel

What do you see?

Write down your findings from this and the other pixels at any or all of the other blogs (listed below) and email them to me at cmheidicker@gmail.com or message them to C.M. Heidicker on Facebook.

For every three things you send, I’ll put your name in the hat (or my jeans pocket) again and again and again, and then I’ll draw five names out of the hat (pocket) and send prize packages to those people.

Go! Get started! Win it! Win it all!

Valynne Maetani

Carol Lynch Williams

Elana Johnson

Christian Trimmer

John Cusick

Brooke Lark

Brooke Kelly

The Cotton Floosy

#cureforthecommonuniverse #manicpixel

(I hope you’ll take some time to explore the amazing blogs.)

(I also hope this means that more than just my mom will participate.)

Tune in tomorrow to find out if you’ve won!

Happy Scavenging!

Go check out the book on Goodreads!

Prepare to be cured June 2016.

“Am I Any Good?” Taking the Measure of Yourself as a Writer

Am I any good?

I get this question a lot. Mostly at conferences, in one-on-one critique sessions. It usually pops up late in the conversation, after I’ve discussed the writer’s sample pages and given my critiques. Then there’s a pause, and the aspiring author sitting across from me looks as if he’s about to make some awful confession, like the curtain of polite discourse is about to fall, and we’re going to get to the real, unvarnished and possibly painful truth.

“So, am I any good?”

There are subtle variations. Sometimes it’s “Is this any good?” or “Do you think I can get this published?” But even when the question seems to be about the pages in hand, I can tell the real question is:

“Me— am I any good at writing, a craft which defines my life and my hopes and anxieties? Am I any good at this thing, which is another way of asking: am I, as a human being, as a person, any good?”

And that’s a lot to ask a guy you’ve only known for ten minutes.

An important thing we writers often forget is this: We are not our writing, and we are not our manuscript. It’s so easy to take criticism personally, to hinge our egos and self-worth to 100,000 words eked out on the evenings and weekends while our families and jobs clamor for our attention. I’ve often heard the advice “You need to claim yourself as a writer. When people ask, say I am a writer.” Which is great, but perhaps the better thing to say is “I write.”

I write. I also play music. I cook. I watch too much television. I read. I dance (poorly). I spend time with my friends. I’m a literary agent—a job I love. I’m many things, which is what I remind myself when I’m not feeling too hot about my writing (which is often).

Remember too that you are not your manuscript. No one book or selection of pages can cast the final vote on whether you are a good writer. By my definition, a good writer keeps writing—and crummy manuscripts are part of that process.

I think where this question really comes from is the idea of talent. Sure I can hone my craft, I can work hard, but if I don’t have the talent— something kind of mystical and inborn— I’ll never make it. Yes, some people have an innate knack for telling a story or writing a pretty sentence. But in my experience, the relationship between talent and success is slim. It’s the hard-workers, the grinders, the folks who write a lot, then listen and take criticism and grow, that make it.

So when authors ask me “Am I any good?” I always respond with a question of my own.

“Do you want to keep writing?”

Some hear this question and then, slowly, smile—not for my benefit, but inwardly, to themselves. They’re anticipating their next productive day, their next great story, the bliss of meeting a new character.

Yes. These folks, I think, are good.

Pics, Posts, and Lists– Last Week’s Link Roundup

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 10.14.21 AMThis spring Sharon Biggs Waller‘s debut y.a. A MAD WICKED FOLLY was selected as one of Booklist‘s Top Ten Historicals. This week FOLLY is back on their list of Top Ten Romance Fiction for Youth. Go Sharon! [10.25.14 Update: MAD WICKED FOLLY just made its *third* Booklist Top Ten List!]

Courtney Alameda‘s mind-numbingly terrifying SHUTTER will pub from Feiwel & Friends in January, but in the meantime, here’s Courtney on Scream Queens with a fabulous article about creating better scares with compelling protagonists.

ByWz10UIUAAIaVo-1It’s an author’s (and an agent’s) dream to spot one of your books in the wild– but it really doesn’t get much better than these two young readers with Ryan Gebhart’s THERE WILL BE BEARS (Candlewick Press, 2013) and Hannah Moskowitz’s ZOMBIE TAG (Roaring Brook Press, 2011).

 

 

A MAD WICKED FOLLY on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Goodreads
SHUTTER on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Goodreads
THERE WILL BE BEARS on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Goodreads
ZOMBIE TAG on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Goodreads