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Spirit and Dust Contest

Next week (May 13th!) I’ll be celebrating the paperback release of Spirit and Dust!  It seems like the perfect time for an awesome, amazing, artistic contest!

That’s right. An artistic contest. This one is going to require some creativity.

What’s the mission, should I choose to accept it?

Create any type of Spirit and Dust inspired art or fiction and submit it by May 31st. It will be judged by a panel of a graphic artist, a young adult librarian, a reader/fan of the books (who won’t be able to enter, obviously), and of course, me. The winners will be announced by June 15th. The prizes are, as the MasterCard commercial says, priceless. Continue reading

Trash Day

I’ve been throwing out a lot of stuff lately, and I like it.

If you’ve been following the New House Saga, you know that I’m downsizing dramatically.  I’ve already done a good bit of offloading over the past year. Presently my personal STUFF is contained to one office and one bedroom. So half my work is done, right?

Or so I thought.  Once I started actually taking inventory and packing stuff up, I discovered I wasn’t nearly so downsized as I thought.  For one thing, STUFF expands. It goes from this:

Tidy Shelves

To this:

Messy Books

So there’s books coming off the shelves like clowns coming out of a circus car.  THEN I got to the garage and attic and I found that I was holding onto baggage I didn’t even realize.  (Yes, there’s a big anvil of a metaphor there.)

There were boxes I hadn’t opened since I moved here. College textbooks for me, my mom AND my dad.  Collectibles and action figures.  Tee-shirts from shows I’d been in and so much sheet music and so many scripts. Shows I’d done, things I’d auditioned for and didn’t get the part….

I found a box of my parent’s albums.  I understand that some vinyl goes for decent money these days, but I highly doubt anyone is going to want an LP of Roger Miller’s Greatest Hits or the soundtrack to “Dark Shadows”–the original one. It’s nice to know my parents were nerds, too.

Here’s what else I discovered. If you put stuff out by your curb the afternoon before trash pickup day?  PEOPLE COME TAKE IT.   How genius is that?  I offloaded a faux christmas tree (pre-wired with lights), a tea-cart with a broken wheel, a dozen or so terra cotta pots, a queen-sized bed frame, a director’s chair with no seat, but not the stacks of textbooks on pre-natal care or fluid dynamics or speech development in hearing impaired infants.

Which is all perfectly good for some people, but I would never take something from someone’s trash. Or so I thought until last trash day, when I discovered that a new neighbor had a GIANT BOX OF BOXES set out by his curb.

Curb Shopping

 

Score!!

My biggest discovery, though, is that it’s a lot easier to get rid of stuff when you realize it’s actually going to cost you to keep it.  You have to spend time packing it, you have to pay a mover, you have to give up useful space for those boxes.

And that’s the point of this metaphor, I guess. I’ve always been someone who holds onto things, but this time, this move, I’m not having a problem being ruthless.

It’s liberating to realize you are not the product of your possessions. It’s not the things that make you remember the people you love. It isn’t your stuff that makes you who you are. Getting rid of things I once loved–or even things I still love but can’t keep–doesn’t change my past or the memories that made me into the person I am.

Here endeth the metaphor.

In keeping with the theme–and the fact I’ll have no garage soon–I’m giving away copies of my books!  Comment by Friday for a chance to win a UK edition of Spirit and Dust.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to throw away?  What are you convinced you could never part with? Have you ever picked up something from someone else’s trash? (I won’t judge you, I promise.)

 

SPIRIT AND DUST DAY

Spirit and Dust has been released from captivity in the US. Already there have been sightings.Spirit and Dust

For the next week (until May 23) if you TWEET a picture of Spirit and Dust in the wild (in a store, in your house, in your shopping bag, on a bus/train/plane) then you will go into a drawing to win a signed copy of the first Goodnight adventure, Texas Gothic.  Here’s the deal, though. You MUST used the hashtag #SpiritandDust to be entered. (Because otherwise I won’t see your post.)

Not on Twitter? There will be other chances to win stuff coming soon.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

(Read all the way to the bottom for a chance to win a copy of Brimstone, which comes out next week!)

Whenever I go too long without Tweeting, my family and friends call or text to make sure I haven’t fallen down the stairs and/or been eaten by my dogs.

This says a lot about how often I tweet. It also says a lot about how I get distracted and forget to tweet. Or, you know, blog.  My Friend Kate (this is an official title, because friendship with me incurs certain privileges and responsibilities) pointed out that I haven’t blogged in two months and since my last post concerned a Potentially Life Threatening Incident, maybe I should put up an entry to say I wasn’t dead yet.

(See how smart my friends are? They have to pass a test. Also, this is the kind of responsibility that falls to them: Remind me of the passage of time. Tell me when people think I’m dead. Dynamite me out of my cave now and then.)

So, here is the recap of my summer since I last posted:

  • Did not die from idiopathic angioedema. (Or as we call it in my house: swelling up for no good reason. And also: take two Benedryl and cancel your plans for the day.)
  • Did not die from bug bite that turned out not to be a bug bite but a staph infection. Did not die from humiliation that a clean freak like me got a staph infection. (Right after being in the hospital. Coincidence?)
  • Had to cancel going to RWA National Conference and presenting the Golden Heart Award. Tragic because I had the most adorable dress. Also tragic because I was supposed to spend the week afterward hanging out with My Friend Kate.
  • Turned in final revision of Spirit and Dust. (Yay!!!!!)
  • Made a playlist and a Pinterest board for Spirit and Dust.
  • Was called for Jury Duty. Was not picked, possibly because I write for teens (case concerned teenagers), or because I have a Twitter and blog, possibly because I’m a smart ass.  (During the selection questions, the defense counsel asked what I did that I had a blog. I answered that I wrote books for teens. Counsel: So you tell lies for a living. Me: I’ll bet people say that about your job, too.)
  • Celebrated the paperback release of Texas Gothic!!!  (If you’re too cheap (like me) to buy it in hard cover, now is your chance.)
  • Did not die from a recurrence of the not-bug-bite.
  • Managed to keep my plants alive all through the summer!  This is a record for me!
  • Received a ginormous box of copies of BRIMSTONE which comes out on September 11th. That’s next week.  OMG THAT’S NEXT WEEK!

Brimstone Cover

 

Tell me in the comments what you did with YOUR summer vacation. It doesn’t even have to be true. I will randomly draw one name from the comments to win a copy of Brimstone for your very own.

Brimstone cover reveal and a little something extra

I’ve mentioned before that the first two books of the Girl vs. Evil series are being released in a new edition in September.

Without further ado, I present the cover of BRIMSTONE.

Here’s the cover copy:
Slinking down the streets, hiding in the shadows, always lurking just out of sight, evil follows Maggie Quinn. It’s no ordinary, everyday evil, either—it’s Evil with a capital E, and whatever’s behind it, it clearly wants Maggie.
But Maggie isn’t the type of girl to go down without a fight. She has a few powerful tricks up her sleeve, not to mention a best friend who’s a witch, and she’s declaring open season on demons.
BRIMSTONE is available on September 11, 2012.
In honor of Maggie’s new digs, I’m giving away something.
Answer these three questions in the comments section correctly to enter to win a signed copy of your choice of any of my books (including BRIMSTONE, you just have to wait a little longer).
1. What is one thing Maggie is afraid of?
2. What’s Maggie’s preferred way of dispatching demons?
3. What is the name of Maggie’s best friend?
Bonus (for tie-breaking):
4. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
Good luck!