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Congratulations go out to our_birdsong, carolinarojas, and Lora W. who each won signed copies of AFTERLIFE and adorable little vampire rubber duckies. Way to go, guys!

Now it's time for BALTHAZAR Contest #2 --

If you've read the EVERNIGHT series*, you know Balthazar has been around a long time and has led a very dark and mysterious life. A lot of answers about his past come out in BALTHAZAR, which means this is your last chance to speculate!

BALTHAZAR Contest #3

The Rules


1) Write up (in a sentence or a paragraph, you pick) your idea about where Balthazar was and what he was doing at some point in history between the early 1600s and today. Serving on a privateer ship in the Gulf of Mexico? Wearing a powdered wig? New York's #1 subway graffiti tagger circa 1975? You tell me!

2) Send your idea via email to me at evernightclaudia at gmail dot com, along with an address where I can send your prize if you win.

3) Do all this before Wednesday, February 29 when I'll pick five winners at random.

Winners will received signed and personalized copies of BALTHAZAR, and they'll probably get to you a day or two before release!

Good luck, everybody!


* And if you haven't? For a limited time, the EVERNIGHT e-book is free for download onto any e-reader! Plenty of time to get caught up before BALTHAZAR comes out March 6 --
 
 
 
 
 
 
... tonight's not such a great night for Mardi Gras, is it? Endymion is rolling, but through the rain, which means lots of people (most certainly including me) are going to have to find something else to do with their time tonight. Of course, New Orleans provides plenty of entertainment anytime, but what about the throws? How can you make up for all the shiny beads and useless colorful objects that would have been flung into your waiting hands tonight?

Well, you can come to the Iris parade Uptown tomorrow; we roll at 10 a.m. (Route is available online through the magic of Google.) And I'm riding! If you get on the sidewalk side, look for float 12. Hold up your sign or yell CLAUDIA! to rider #4 on the lower level, and I absolutely promise, I will throw you good stuff if I possibly can!

And by then, the rain will finally have stopped. So it's a win-win --
 
 
 
 
 
 
It's two weeks and six days until the release of BALTHAZAR -- I know! Where did the time go? -- and that means it's contest time.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr will have seen ...

Wait. Let me back up. Do you follow me on any of those services? You should! As a further FYI, I follow back on Instagram and Tumblr. (At least, I give you a shot. If you spam the ever-living heck out of it, you might get dropped. But I've only wound up doing that once so far, so chances are you're solid!)

Anyway, such wise followers have been privileged to see the picture of the freakin' adorable vampire rubber ducks I found in a French Quarter store this weekend. That is correct. Fanged, cute, vampire rubber ducks. I knew I could not leave them all there. What if they swarmed and attacked the store-keeper? Something had to be done.

So! This week's prize: THREE lucky winners will each get their very own vampire rubber duckie and an autographed paperback copy of AFTERLIFE. (Which you ought to review, seeing as how BALTHAZAR picks up not too long after ...) What do you have to do to enter?

Rules:

1) Follow me on Tumblr or Twitter. (Some of you already have this part down. Yay!)
2) Post a review of/quote from/image of one of the books with some notice of the BALTHAZAR U.S. release on March 6. It's also legit to reblog another such post on Tumblr. If you're following me on Tumblr, I'll see it; if you're on Twitter, add the @claudiagray so I'll be sure to see that, too.
3) Do these things before Wednesday, Feb. 22, when I'll pick three winners at random!
4) Respond when I contact you afterward so I can get your address to find out where to ship your mega-cute vampire rubber ducky AND your autographed copy of AFTERLIFE. (And yes, I'll ship anywhere.)

And just so you have the link: My Tumblr!
My Twitter!

(I have not one clue how to link to my Instagram. Both the Twitter and Tumblr link to it, though. Sorry for my technoignorance.)

Good luck to everyone!
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Movie: "Running On Empty"



1988, starring Judd Hirsch (from a sitcom called "Taxi"), Christine Lahti (who won a Golden Globe one time but was IN THE BATHROOM when the award was given and the whole live telecast had to STOP while they waited on her to wash her hands and come out, and as such is the survivor of embarrassment on a truly epic scale), Martha Plimpton (AWESOME in EVERYTHING) and River Phoenix (Indiana Jones, junior edition).

The Plot: Danny's family doesn't have much money, but in every other way, you'd think he had it all. His parents are loving, interesting people who talk to him like he's a rational person and five him a lot of trust. His younger brother is almost as funny as he is annoying, which is pretty good as far as younger brothers go. He's an incredibly gifted piano student, as the music teacher at his new school has almost instantly discovered; in fact, he might get to try out for Juilliard. And that music teacher has a daughter, Lorna, who's smart, funny and definitely as into him as he is into her.

The problem is that nobody at his new school -- including Lorna -- knows Danny's real name, or anything about the life he actually leads. His family has been on the run from the FBI since the early 1970s when Danny was just a toddler. Mom and Dad opposed the Vietnam War, joined a radical group perhaps similar to the Weather Underground, and bombed a napalm laboratory. What they didn't realize when they set the bomb was that somebody was still inside.

Now they move from city to city, never telling the truth to anyone but each other. But Danny's in his senior year of high school now. Does he ever get to go to college? To use his incredible musical talent? Can he ever tell the truth about himself to Lorna? If he can't, then how can he ever honestly let her love him? And now the FBI seems to have caught up with them again --

The Love: Oh, my heart. Danny and Lorna just kill me, every time. Lorna is played by Martha Plimpton (yes! The grandma from "Raising Hope"!), and Danny is played by the late River Phoenix, who sadly was the Heath Ledger of his era, an incredibly talented, devastatingly handsome actor whose life ended too soon because of drugs. At the time, Plimpton and Phoenix were involved in real life; I hate saying the chemistry shows, because actors are actors and they are in the business of faking attraction so expertly we believe it, but ... the chemistry shows. Lorna is snarky and funny, and she never lets Danny get away with anything. This is maybe why he feels so compelled to be honest with her, though telling the truth is the one thing his parents have conditioned him, all his life, never to do.

And they have such an offbeat, quirky, real attraction. It's not all mood lighting and pop songs on the soundtrack; it's Danny trying on stupid hats in her room, or both of them trying not to crack up when they're cooking partners in home ec, or a long day on the beach that is simultaneously incredibly romantic and deeply heartbreaking -- because every time he wants to tell her the truth about something, he instead runs ahead of her along the shore. And he runs ahead a lot.

There's a moment between them that I've cited as a fabulous example of storytelling through a simple gesture. At one point, Danny sneaks into Lorna's room late at night - they've been fighting -- and when she is startled awake, he tells her to come downstairs with him. She does. Then he insists they go outside. For a moment, Lorna's weirded out and we are too, a little. What kind of guy does this? What is he playing at?

Then Lorna says she can't go outside, because it's cold and she has bare feet. Danny instantly kneels down and unlaces his own shoes to give to her.

BAM. You know, in that moment, no matter how weird Danny is acting, he would never, ever hurt Lorna. He'll brave the cold himself rather than see her uncomfortable. Her trust in him returns, along with our trust in him. It's a phenomenal piece of characterization, and a great relationship scene.

The Best Parts: As great as the romance is, I'd be lying if I didn't say the centerpiece of the movie is really about Danny's relationship with his parents. They're so great to him in so many ways -- but it's in large part because they're aware that they have royally screwed him over. Also, you realize how much the mom and dad don't agree on what should happen to Danny next; it's a difference so profound that you wonder whether they'd even still be married if they didn't have to sustain this family on the run.

The Worst Parts> There's honestly not a bad scene in this movie. There is one bad line, though, amid one of the actual greatest scenes -- when Danny's mother meets up with her own dad, whom she hasn't laid eyes on in almost 20 years. It would be criminal of me to spoil this scene, but let's just say that the whole thing goes about making this point subtly and yet powerfully -- but then they make the grandfather just spell it all out, like we're idiots who couldn't get that for ourselves. We got it, honestly.

So highly recommended. Available on Netflix, too.

**

If you foliow me on Twitter (and if not, why not?), then you've seen the announcement of a tour date in New Zealand! I'll be at the Next Page bookstore at 2 pm on March 31, ready to sign and answer questions and whatever else might be in store. Yes, I'll be touring Australia before that, but I haven't received solid dates for that yet; I hope to turn that around this week, though!
 
 
 
 
 
 
No, I am not arguing that stalking is okay, or that a guy enforcing his presence in a woman's life is not Deeply Creepy. What I am saying is that stalking is adorable IF AND ONLY IF your stalker is a cat.*

Those of you who follow me on Instagram** know my stalker, Lola. She is a kitty who belongs to my neighbors, a loving, attentive family who do not neglect her in the slightest. I am but the woman in the next house, who likes to pet Lola when she shows up on the porch but -- being allergic to cats -- offers no other closeness.

And yet somehow Lola has decided that WE ARE DESTINED.

She sits on my windowsill for hours. And hours and hours. She can stare at me for at least 90 minutes at a go; I have clocked it no farther because I can't take any longer than that, and then I go hide in another room. Sometimes Lola perches on my car so she'll be sure to get me on my way out. Other times she sits on the lid of my garbage bin. I never turn on the porch light until right before I go out, because otherwise she'll be waiting at the crack of the door to dart inside.

(She has, to date, achieved House Invasion on three occasions. Once I had to fish her out from under my bed; another time, party guests took care of this. The third time, I was able to tip over a chair, effectively blocking her from leaving the front room, and after a moment she darted back out.)

Since Christmastime, Lola's stalking has escalated to the point of murder. Yes, the victims are small creatures -- birds and rats -- but that is still highly disturbing to find on your front steps. They are offered as gifts of love, which I get, but honestly, a Starbucks gift card = so much nicer.

What have I done to deserve such devotion? Right now it is more cute than creepy. Will it remain so? (Much has to do with the placement/condition of any future dead animals left on my steps.)

* or maybe a chinchilla, I don't know whether they do this kind of thing, but they are super-cute little devils.

** FYI, Instagram is the only social media where, if you follow me, you are guaranteed a follow back. I make no promises about Twitter/LJ/etc., but I will definitely give you a shot on Instagram. You can blow that shot, though; I'll unfollow if you spam the heck out of it, but only then.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lady Jane




1986 -- starring Helena Bonham Carter (yes, Bellatrix Lestrange herself), Guildford Dudley (Westley/Dread Pirate Roberts), Patrick Stewart (make it so) and John Wood (greetings Professor Falken).

The Plot: The sort of true story of Lady Jane Grey, whom King Edward VI designated as his heir instead of his older, Roman Catholic sister, Mary. Everyone got into this situation thanks to King Henry VIII's wandering eye and convenient conscience, which had led him to figure that OF COURSE he had to start a new church that would allow him to marry his mistress way back when. This meant his eldest daughter Mary was Catholic in a now mostly Protestant nation -- the only reason King Edward's gambit made any sense, because basically, Mary was undeniably next in line. However, for nine days, Lady Jane was hailed as Queen Jane.

The movie is of course heavily caught up in these political elements, but it is first and foremost the story of Jane's marriage to Guildford Dudley. They were an arranged match, one intended to create political advantages for their parents. In this movie, they are a very unlikely pair -- she's scholarly, even intellectual, and so prim and proper even her parents are like, Jane, loosen up. Guildford, meanwhile, is first seen boozing it up in a whorehouse. Neither of them is one bit happy about the marriage, and at first it seems as though they'll spend the entire time either fighting or ignoring one another. But then Jane learns why Guildford is so angry, and begins to question whether her own academic pursuits have distanced her too far from the real world. She and Guildford find the unlikeliest common ground, which blossoms into love -- just as King Edward dies and their lives are transformed again, forever.

The Love: Maybe they go from mutual loathing to absolute rapture a little quickly, and I for one think Guildford was up to more in that whorehouse than he ever admits, but honestly, I bought the romance here, heart and soul. Mostly it's because the actors are so amazing; they convince me far more than the script does. HBC actually seems delicate and unworldly enough to have no idea of how things work outside of books; Cary Elwes, as Guildford, was hitting his personal hotness apex, which was very hot indeed. There's a lot of romantic (a) destruction of glassware, (b) conversations held while kneeling naked in front of fireplaces, (c) social justice initiatives and (d) gamboling in meadows. I am a sucker for all such.

The Best Parts: The way Jane's firm religious convictions are both admired and tested -- it would be easy to simply turn her into a faultless martyr. But the movie makes it clear that, despite her intellectual rigor, a lot of Jane's early arguments have more to do with wordplay and dogma than sincere faith. In the end, she refuses to convert to Catholicism -- but also recognizes that a Catholic clergyman has shown her more Christian charity than almost anyone else in the entire story, and decides faith may be broad enough to hold them both. Also, the Love. The aforementioned meadows. The costumes, which I am a sucker for in any period drama ever.

Also this movie contains Patrick Stewart. I am always sort of guilty at book readings, etc., when people ask me who is hotter, Rob Pattinson or Taylor Lautner or some similar matchup, and the fact is -- guys, I'm too old for them. I see that they're very attractive, but because I am nonpervy, men almost two decades my junior just do not do it for me as a general rule. (Although I may call a one-time exception for Nicholas Hoult. Ahem. Moving on.) Patrick Stewart in the 1980s, though? In period costume?



YES THAT IS WHAT DOES IT FOR ME SHUT UP.

The Worst Parts: The ending. Don't get me wrong -- it's powerfully acted and filmed, and the final scene is still one of the most affecting I've ever seen. But remember how in history class, you never studied Queen Jane of England? Well, there's a reason for that. And you probably did study how Tudor political disagreements usually ended. Not with handshakes.

There is also a pretty high cheese level to some of it, but I think of it like a lasagna -- incomplete without the cheese, but all the tastier for it.

Historically Accurate? Yes and no. Jane's final words in the movie are taken almost verbatim, and the political factions and religious debates are correctly portrayed. Do not for one minute tell me that men did not wear hats like the one Patrick Stewart has on, because if that's true, I don't want to know.

But Jane wasn't a social reformer in real life, and nobody's really sure whether Jane and Guildford ever fell in love. They may not even have liked each other in real life; certainly their beginning was as rocky as portrayed here, and she did refuse to have him crowned king as some (including his politically powerful father) had hoped. But if you've ever toured the Tower of London, you've walked through the cell where Guildford was imprisoned; he carved Jane's name three times in the stone. I've never understood why he would do that if there was really nothing there.

But when it comes to this movie, I don't care about the history that much. It's a rapturous period romance, if you're in the mood for the same.

**

I need to get a new default icon, don't I?
 
 
 
 
 
 
When I write a book, I always create a soundtrack. Usually the process goes something like this:

1) I choose some movie scores to tie it all together; IMHO, movie score music is the absolute best for writing to. Usually I patch together some songs from the scores of two or three movies. The EVERNIGHT series, for instance, relied heavily on the scores for "Interview With The Vampire," Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow" and "Pan's Labyrinth." I hit on those because I knew I wanted something that would be lush and dreamy, and yet also deeply eerie; each of those scores fit the bill. Those I kept throughout the entire series. Now that I'm working on the SPELLCASTER series, I'm using the scores from Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," "Twin Peaks" and -- of all things -- "Tron: Legacy." (All I can tell you is that it works.) There I always wanted some scariness, but a little more humor and action, plus that small-town-gone-very-bad vibe that "Twin Peaks" provides. In the case of BALTHAZAR, I kept some of the scores from the EVERNIGHT series but also tossed in the score to "Inception," which worked about a thousand times better than I would ever have thought.

2) I also want songs with lyrics, though -- including some songs that the characters could conceivably be listening to. So I begin throwing in things I'm listening to currently, and I add and subtract as I work. Now that I'm writing this post, I find that I'm not wholly sure how, exactly, I find the songs I've never listened to before -- and yet I always do find them, and they always wind up being favorites I adore long after the book is done. BALTHAZAR almost hinges on "The Crow and the Butterfly," and both Bat for Lashes and Vienna Teng are playing a huge part in the SPELLCASTER series so far.

The one book I haven't touched on in the above is FATEFUL -- by far the hardest to assemble a score for. I mean, the movie score was kind of obvious (thanks, James Horner!), but I had to find the songs that Alec and Tess would have been listening to and enjoying. I.e., I had to find popular songs from 1912 in recordings that I could listen to the several dozen times I would hear them while writing. So what was hip in 1912? George M. Cohan, for one -- and I did listen to "Give My Regards To Broadway," which would have been the hottest thing going around them. "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now," "I Want A Girl Just Like The Girl Who Married Dear Old Dad" -- it is harder to find zippy versions of these, to say the least. But one I found that I adored was "The Glow Worm," covered by Count Basie, with lyrics obviously celebrating the days when electric power was still shiny and new.

One happy fact: the popular songs of that era included a lot of tunes about the moon. "Shine On Harvest Moon," "By The Light Of The Silvery Moon" -- what works better for a book about werewolves?

I listen to soundtracks most of the time I'm writing. First they set the mood; later, they recapture it for me -- get me back into the same emotional/psychological place I was when writing earlier. Everything gets tied together through the music, eventually, and usually if I don't feel like I have the soundtrack the way it should be ... it's a sign my thinking about the book isn't the way it should be. It's one of those mysterious things that shouldn't work but does.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I promised you guys some BALTHAZAR tour dates for March, and here they are!

SOLO EVENTS

Tuesday, March 6th

Time TBA
Doylestown Bookshop
16 S Main St
Doylestown, PA

Wednesday, March 7th

7:00 PM
King’s English Bookshop
1511 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT

Thursday, March 8th

4:00 PM
Square Books
160 Courthouse Square
Oxford, MS

GROUP TOUR WITH LAUREN OLIVER AND DAN WELLS

Friday, March 9th

6:30 PM
Books & Books
265 Aragon Avenue
Coral Gables, Fl

Saturday, March 10th

2:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
7331 N Point Pkwy
Alpharetta, GA

Sunday, March 11th

4:00 PM
Vroman’s
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101

And after that comes second Australian tour! I am so excited about getting to return to Australia -- something that could not have happened without my US publisher, HarperTeen, and both Lauren and Dan being super-flexible to make it all possible, so I'm hugely grateful. I don't have as many specifics about Australia yet, but I can confirm that, between March 13 and March 23, I'll be appearing at the Somerset festival, as well as events in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth! Obviously I will work to get you guys the details as soon as possible.

**

My New Year's Resolution this year: Blog more.

You see, one of the reasons I've never blogged that much is that -- I'm not sure what to blog about. Sure, there is the occasional tour info, and we'll have some giveaways leading up to the BALTHAZAR release in the US (March 6 -- two months from today, can you believe it?), but other than that, I have sometimes felt at a loss. Others blog so much better about writing/YA lit/etc. than I do, that I've never known quite what to say.

But I've finally decided -- maybe my blog can be as weird and random as my brain. (Well, maybe not THAT random. But close!) So look for more, and weirder, posts coming soon.

(And also look for me to be concentrating much more on the blog proper than the LJ posting interface I've used up until now; LiveJournal's management has gotten weird, so I'll be transitioning out at some point. But your bookmarks should still work -- )
 
 
 
 
 
 
To my horror, I realized today I hadn't shared this with you guys, and I've nobody but myself to blame. But if you are available in Seattle, LA, Denver, Boulder or Chicago this week, then you need to come out and see me and the fabulous Amy Garvey, Kiersten White, Jocelyn Davies, and Anna Carey on the Dark Days tour! Need more details?

Wednesday, Oct. 12 :

7 pm, Barnes & Noble
19401 Alderwood Mall Parkway
Lynnwood, WA

Thursday, Oct. 13:

7 pm, Barnes & Noble
7881 Edinger Avenue
Huntington Beach, CA

Friday, Oct. 14:

7 pm, Tattered Cover
9315 Dorchester Street
Highlands Ranch, CO

Saturday, Oct. 15

1 pm, Barnes & Noble
2999 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO

Sunday, Oct. 16

2 pm, Anderson's
123 West Jefferson
Naperville, IL


Despite the extremely late notice, I hope to see some of you guys there!
 
 
 
 
 
 
FATEFUL is arriving in bookstores any day now -- September 13 if you're in the US, August 29 in Australia (for other countries, check with your local bookseller.) I've been so caught up in my big move that it seems like I turned around and the launch date was here. BUT that doesn't mean we don't have time for some contest fun. I'll be running some smaller Twitter-only and Facebook-only contests in addition to those here on the blog, so if you're not already following me there, no time like the present to get started!

But wait -- first, a refresher on FATEFUL, for those of you who might not be familiar with the premise:

The story revolves around a servant girl named Tess in 1912, who wants to escape from the house where she works, and most particularly the horrible family she has to work for. But that's not her biggest problem. While on a voyage to America, where she plans to escape and start a new life, she meets Alec, who's ruggedly handsome, fabulously wealthy, intelligent and yet so clearly troubled that she'd rather not fall for him, but she does. That also is not her biggest problem. Alec, it turns out, is a werewolf ... one cursed to change every night, unless he surrenders his independence and joins the Brotherhood, a pack of violently misogynistic werewolves who have been tracking him for months. You'd think that would be their biggest problem, wouldn't you?

But no. Their biggest problem is that they're aboard the RMS Titanic.


So, as you might guess from the fact that I wrote this, I LOVE DISASTER MOVIES. And disaster books. Disasters on television shows. (Fictional disasters, mind you: I'm not some weirdo who likes real ones, which uniformly suck.) If you're interested in this book, chances you have a weakness for these too. The first contest is going to celebrate the whole fictional-disaster genre.

THE RULES

1) Send an email to evernightclaudia at gmail dot com with the subject line "FATEFUL Contest #1" or similar.

2) In this email, tell me your favorite movie, book or television episode about a disaster. It can be a real life disaster like the sinking of the Titanic, or one made up for purposes of the story. And tell me why you love it so much!

3) Also in this email, give me a name and email address I can use to send you your prize.

(What is your prize? FOUR lucky winners will receive $25 gift certificates to the online bookstore of their choice!)

4) Tell me the online bookstore you'd choose!

5) Do this before Tuesday, Sept. 30, when four winners will be chosen at random.

Good luck to all!
 
 
 
 
 
 
So, it's been a while since I got to update the blog ... but in my defense, I moved (from Chicago to New Orleans) and had plenty of other exciting things going on too. I poked my head up from the boxes and piles of stuff to realize that FATEFUL is only just over a month away from its US release. Time flies when you're having fun, or when you're desperately trying to figure out which box you packed the silverware in. Either way.

I thought I'd answer a few basic questions first:

Q: What is FATEFUL?
A: FATEFUL is a stand-alone novel, a YA paranormal. Here's the official summary --

In Fateful, eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, overbearing family she works for. Once the ship they’re sailing on reaches the United States, she’ll strike out on her own. Then she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets....

Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves are real and they’re stalking him—and now Tess, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.


Want to read some awesome, nonspoilery reviews? Check out those links.

Q: When is FATEFUL released?
A: It comes out Sept. 13 in the United States. As for international release dates -- I'm afraid I don't know. Often authors are the last to find out these things! Your best bet, if you live outside the US or Canada, is to check with your local booksellers.

Q: How are we going to celebrate the release of FATEFUL?
A: With contests! I hope to have plenty of ARCs of other awesome books to give away, but the grand prize will be (as it's always been) the chance to name a character in an upcoming book of mine. We'll start the contests in earnest next Tuesday.

Q: What do we do until next Tuesday?
A: I'd love to hear from you! What other prizes would be awesome for you guys? What other information would you like about the book? Let me know, via email (with the subject line "FATEFUL Wishlist"), via blog or LJ comment, or via Twitter.

I hope you have all had an awesome summer (or winter, if you're reading this in the Southern Hemisphere).
 
 
 
 
 
 
No time like the present to announce the winners of the contest for ARCs of ENTHRALLED, the paranormal romance anthology from all the writers taking part in this fall's "Smart Chicks Kick It" tour! So congrats to the victorious Jean B., Keri N., Osasere A., and Kayla P.! You'll all get copies of ENTHRALLED in the mail, signed by me ... and if you want to get the other fabulous authors' signatures, you'll have to join us on the tour this fall. (More dates and details coming soon!)

The contest asked you guys to reveal whether or not you'd want to be able to read minds and thoughts (like one of the main characters in my story for ENTHRALLED, "Giovanni's Farewell.") Most of you said no -- pointing out that people's thoughts aren't always kind, and it might be too easy to judge everyone based on their whims or worst moments instead of by what they actually do. But there were plenty of people who voted yes, because it would be undeniably useful! And probably you'd learn to deal with it over time, right?

Well -- you'll have to see what Cairo makes of it, in the story.

I haven't updated the blog much lately, and won't be doing so tons over the next couple of months. Right now I'm gearing up for the big move from Chicago to New Orleans, and that's pretty much going to eat my free time for a while. But don't worry: You will still be able to find me on Twitter (and Instagram, and Facebook), and we'll be back for a whole new set of contests this fall to get you guys ready for the September 13 release of FATEFUL (aka Werewolves on the Titanic.) Everybody have a great summer!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hello, all! It's been quieter on the blog lately, mostly because I've been busy busy crazy busy. I went to Colombia! To Spain! To Book Expo America! I bought a house! Let me tell you, there hasn't been a dull moment, unless you count that one time my plane was stuck in a holding pattern over Chicago.

But that doesn't mean I don't have more goodies to share. Namely, I have FOUR advance reader copies of ENTHRALLED to give away!

What's ENTHRALLED? It's an anthology, edited by the frabjous Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr, with paranormal stories from several authors taking part in this fall's "Smart Chicks Kick It" tour. (I'll update with dates -- in late September/early October -- later.) We've got stories from Rachel Caine, Carrie Ryan, Kami Garcia, Kimberly Derting, Ally Condie, Jeri Smith-Ready, Margaret Stohl, Sarah Rees Brennan, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Mary E. Pearson, Rachel Vincent, Jackson Pearce and Jessica Verday -- as well as both the editors and yours truly. Personally I think we would make the greatest women's softball team ever, but we've put together a pretty awesome anthology too, if I do say so myself.

My story, "Giovanni's Farewell," is about fraternal twins, brother and sister, named Cairo and Ravenna. (They debate which one of them was more screwed over by their parents, who named them after the cities where they met and honeymooned, respectively.) They've always been closer than close, but in the last few months, that has changed. Or, rather, Cairo has changed. Ravenna is terrified that he's going crazy, ranting and raving about his supposed ability to read other people's minds. It doesn't even enter her mind to believe him -- until they're on a trip to Rome, where her psychic powers kick in.

If you win the contest, you get that story and SO many more! Four copies, each of which will be signed by me (you'll have to hunt down the other ladies) -- they're up for grabs. How can you win?

Contest Rules

1) Send an email to evernightclaudia at gmail dot com with the subject line "ENTHRALLED Contest" or similar.

2) In this email, tell me whether or not you'd like to be able to read thoughts, and why!

3) Also give me an address and name for me to send your copy if you win. (Yes, I'll ship anywhere.)

4) Do all this before Thursday, June 16, when I'll pick four winners at random.

Good luck!

**

Also, FYI, if you're on Instagram, I've claimed the name of skyetierney there -- if you want to see photos of my daily life in varying quality, check it out! (I still hope to get my tumblr going, now that I may actually have some free time again.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
I just got back from my first-ever publicity tour of Colombia, and WOW -- what an amazing place, and what an incredible welcome! Thanks to every single fan who helped make my experiences in Bogota and Medellin so fantastic and unforgettable. The journey was absolutely spectacular start to finish, and all the events in each city were some of the best I've ever been a part of.

On to our next batch of winners! The contest was extended by one extra day, but the time has finally come: The winners of five ARCs of FATEFUL (aka, the story of werewolves on the Titanic) have been chosen! Congrats to Anna H., Jeahnelle W., Bettina Z., Carol T., and Rachel P.! Your copies will be going into the mail shortly, hopefully before I set off to New York City on Monday for Book Expo America.

Speaking of BEA! I'll be doing my first-ever signing there this year, specifically this Tuesday, May 24 at 11:30 a.m. If you're attending, you'll be able to find me at Table 11, where I'll be signing yet more copies of FATEFUL. Be there!
 
 
 
 
 
 
It's been a while since I updated this blog -- sorry about that -- but when you're touring for the release of AFTERLIFE, it's tough to do all the other fun stuff too. And now that AFTERLIFE is out there in your hot little hands (at least, in several countries so far), it's time to start promoting FATEFUL!

(FATEFUL, for those of you new to the program, is the book about werewolves on the Titanic, or as the working title had it, YES, ACTUALLY, THE SITUATION CAN GET WORSE.)

I just got my ARCs, and that means I have five copies to give away to you guys. Yes, it's contest time again!

FATEFUL ARC Contest

The rules:

1) Send an email to evernightclaudia at gmail dot com with the subject line "FATEFUL ARC Contest" or similar.

2) In this email, tell me your favorite bit of trivia or history about the Titanic. (Yes, copping info from Wikipedia is fair game, but I will be interested to see what you guys come up with!)

3) Also in this email, include a name and address I can use to send your book to you if you win.

4) Do all this before Thursday, May 19, when I'll pick five winners at random. (I'm allowing extra time for this because I know lots of people will want in on it and I want to give them the chance -- plus my travels haven't ended yet.)

Good luck to everyone!

In other news, I am so watching every second of the Royal Wedding. I watched Charles and Di as a wee thing and I'm not going to miss this one either. I want to be an old crone watching the inevitable Wills/Kate spawn get married someday, when it's all broadcast in 3D with interactive monarchy holograms or whatever. Yes, it's silly and doesn't actually matter but it's SOMETHING NICE ALL HUMANITY CAN DO TOGETHER, so let's just relax and enjoy commenting on the dress, okay?
 
 
 
 
 
 
We have our fourth and final winner of the EVERNIGHT doll -- a miniature Lucas is now the property of Jensine S.! Congrats to Jensine, who had a very eloquent entry about why Lucas should be hers, though tons of you had great reasons. Some of those included:

1) He would be a source of inspiration to never give up.

2) He would be well taken care of, as indeed he sorely needs just after HOURGLASS.

3) He would serve as protector against any possible incursion by hostile vampires.

4) He's hot.

5) He would fuel rich fantasy lives. (Is that the same as the above entry?)

6) He would make any room more splendid. (A Lucas goes with everything.)

What would he make of all this? I think it's time for a Lucas interview!

Interview With Lucas RossCollapse )

I hope to get all the dolls in the mail to you guys tomorrow morning (I just got them from the designer last night), but it might be when I return -- the tour is coming up fast, and there's still much to do! AFTERLIFE is coming out Tuesday! Want to know if I'm coming to your area? Check out the dates below!

tour dates for the next two weeksCollapse )

I can't wait to meet you guys there and to hear what you think of AFTERLIFE!

It's a Sunday, and you may have noticed -- I've not posted about The Artist's Way. Though I continue leading the group, I wasn't getting much FB from you guys. Is this of interest to any of you? Even a couple of yeses will get me posting again; just let me know.

Now, in a great hurry, I shall pack.
 
 
 
 
 
 
First of all, congrats to our next winner -- Sarah C., who will be taking home the Bianca doll! She has three nifty outfits: Evernight Academy uniform, formal dress and wraithly jammies (complete with coral bracelet, which is pretty important.) (The doll has these, I mean; I cannot speak to the number of outfits Sarah C. has, nor whether her jammies are of a wraithly nature or not.)

This means we have a few interview Qs for Bianca:

interview with BiancaCollapse )

Only one more doll remains -- and that's Lucas! He and his crossbow long for a new home. And we have only a week and a half until AFTERLIFE comes out in the US! So surreal. Let's find this Black Cross hunter a home, shall we?

Lucas Doll Contest

1) Send me an email with the header "Lucas Doll Contest" or something similar, at evernightclaudia at gmail dot com.
2) In this email, tell me why Lucas belongs in your home and no one else's!
3) Also tell me a name and address I can use to send Lucas to you if you win. (And yes, I'll ship anywhere.)
4) Do all of this before Sunday, March 6, when I will pick the winner!

I realize I owe you guys an Artist's Way post from last week; the conference I was attending didn't leave much free time for getting the information online. I'll try to make up for it tomorrow.

AFTERLIFE -- it's almost here!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sorry this is coming out so late, guys, but as you may know, I'm on the road this week ... on a (personal only) trip to Southern California. If you are in SoCal, you know that I somehow managed to arrive here in time for cold winds, torrential rains and flash flood warnings. Do I have great timing or what? (What I do NOT have is an umbrella. I do sometimes take packing light to an unfortunate extreme.)

The conference I'm attending here has been tremendously fun but also tremendously busy, which is how I come to be posting this contest at midnight on Saturday. But! You still get a week to enter, and both Bianca and Lucas still wait to to find homes. So how do you enter?

1) Send me an email at evernightclaudia at gmail dot com, with the subject line "Doll Contest #3" or similar.
2) In this email, tell me what you'd do at the beach when it's raining!
3) Also tell me whether you'd like the Bianca doll or the Lucas doll, and give me a name and address to use so I can mail your doll to you if you win.
4) Do all this before Saturday, Feb. 26, when I'll pick the next winner!

We're SO CLOSE to AFTERLIFE I can almost taste it! Did you see the tour dates on my website (www.claudiagray.com)? If not, check them out, US guys -- I can't wait to meet you!

(And I'll have a couple new international trips to announce very soon ...)
 
 
 
 
 
 
I'm sincerely sorry to be a day late with this, guys, but I was prepping for a trip to California yesterday and, in all the hubbub, forgot to pick the winner of Doll Contest #2. But now that I'm outside San Diego, kicking back and relaxing, I have time to announce that congratulations go to Juiliana R.! She chose the oh-so-glamorous Patrice doll, which will be headed to her soon, complete with both Evernight Academy uniform and gorgeous evening gown.

In celebration of this win, and of Patrice's return to the story in AFTERLIFE, we have a few interview questions for her:

Interview With Patrice!Collapse )

The interview's got to be cut a bit short -- if I'm going to get to my dinner party on time, it would probably be nice to be, like, dressed and have my hair dried. It's classier, you know? So I'll go over some of your votes for your favorite scene - and open up the next doll contest (Bianca and Lucas still remain!) -- later on tonight or first thing tomorrow. Keep watching this space!
 
 
 
 
 
 
This week, in The Artist's Way:

Recovering a Sense of IdentityCollapse )

The only thing that might keep me from yoga this week is that I may have a wee bit of a stomach virus coming on. At any rate, the nausea has now been around for about six hours, which is somewhat ominous. Here's hoping a good night's sleep knocks that out!

But even if I am laid up in bed for a while, I can still crochet ...

And don't forget: You have until Wednesday, Feb. 16 to enter the second EVERNIGHT doll contest! For details, check out the previous entry on the blog!