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    Goodreads Book Giveaway

    By Blood by Tracy E. Banghart

    By Blood

    by Tracy E. Banghart

    Giveaway ends April 26, 2014.

    See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

    Enter to win

    Tuesday
    Oct012013

    Cover & Title Reveal!!

    So, a while back I gushed to y'all about Susanne Winnacker's intense IMPOSTOR. Don't remember? Check out my review here.

    Good news...IMPOSTOR has a sequel, coming June 2014 from Razorbill!

    Even better? I've got the title AND gorgeous cover to share!

    First, here's a little info about Variants #1: IMPOSTOR

    Can Tessa pose as Madison . . . and stop a killer before it’s too late? 

    Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

    Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

    And IMPOSTOR's beeoootiful cover:

    And now....the title of Variants #2.......

    DEFECTOR by Susanne Winnacker 

    (Variants #2) 

    Published by: Razorbill

    Publication date: June 26, 2014

    Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

    Ooooohhhh....so, we don't have a synopsis of book 2 yet, but that title - and what happens at the end of IMPOSTOR - I've got chills! Who is the "defector"? Tessa? Or someone else at the FEA? Or maybe it's a totally new character! I can't WAIT to read DEFECTOR and find out!

    Without further ado, here is the equally fabulous cover!

     

    Add it on Goodreads! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18045583-untitled?ac=1

    More about the awesome Susanne Winnacker:

    Susanne Winnacker studied law before she became a full-time writer. She lives with her husband, a dog and three bunnies in Germany. She loves coffee (in every shape and form), traveling and animals. 
    When she isn't writing, you can usually find her in the kitchen, experimenting with new vegan dishes. 
    Her YA thriller IMPOSTOR will be published on May 28, 2013. It has been optioned for TV by Warner Brothers!

    Website: http://www.susannewinnacker.com/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanneWinnackerAuthor

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/SusanneWrites

    Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/91168.Susanne_Winnacker

    Monday
    Sep232013

    Why I Chose to Self-Publish

    Okay, so the following post is super long and probably rambling. Proceed at your own risk...

    gratuitous picture of my adorable child

    I’ve been thinking about the indie versus traditional debate a lot lately. Everyone seems to have an opinion, and those opinions in many cases are completely different than they were six months, a year, five years ago. I know my opinion on the subject has changed.

    Right off the bat, I’ll say that as a reader, I love both traditionally and self-published books. These days it’s getting harder and harder to even tell the difference. I read both, happily, and am really excited that one of the big results of the rise of self-publishing is MORE. More books in the hands of readers, more new authors to discover. In the case of literature, I’m of the opinion that more is never a bad thing. Especially with all the lovely bloggers, Amazon algorithms, and Goodreads reviews to help connect readers with the kinds of books they like.

    As a writer, my relationship with self-publishing is a bit more complicated. I’ve always wanted to be an author and what that looked like – Tracy E. Banghart, THE AUTHOR – has changed over the years. My day job out of college was editorial – I worked as a proofreader on business manuals. I knew I wanted to be in the publishing biz, but I wasn’t convinced I could make a living as a writer. But I figured it didn’t matter. I loved the industry; I’d get a job working in publishing, and Tracy E. Banghart, THE AUTHOR, would surely follow. At the time, my definition of author was “published by Random House (or similar).” It was 2003 – that was most people’s definition.

    I decided to move to Oxford, England to pursue a master’s degree in Publishing. I’d learn more about the business, and live in the UK for a year! It seemed like a great idea, and it was. I had a wonderful time, met some amazing people, and learned a LOT. This was 2005 and the world was still buzzing from J. K. Rowling’s incredible sales figures for the Harry Potter books. Many of our marketing classes revolved around what that breakout did for the industry, and “long-tail” marketing…the idea that a few books would be bought by EVERYBODY…and many, many, many books would be bought by a few. At the time, self-publishing was barely on the radar. Print-On-Demand was just coming onto the scene with a company called Lightning Source (I saw some of their early products – honestly, not that impressive in terms of production quality). Ereaders were a blip, and most people thought that “fad” wasn’t long for the publishing world.

    Back then, I was still trying to figure out how to combine my interest “behind the desk” as an editor or marketer with my overwhelming desire to be an author. So for my master’s thesis, I decided to create my own publishing company, and publish my own book. I basically did it all. I wrote a novella, edited it, designed the interior pages, hired an illustrator, found a printer, picked out paper, created a website. It was an incredible experience. WHAT THE SEA WANTS, the book I ultimately created, even received a good review from Voya Magazine, necessitating a reprint. Essentially, I self-published. I sold nearly 900 hardcover copies of that book (it wasn't available as an ebook), received an incredibly positive review from Voya, a reputable source, and yet never once considered myself a REAL author. There was no Random House. There were no editors or agents breaking down my door. By my standard, I hadn’t found success.

    Fast forward a few years. I was working as a technical writer, desperately trying to finish my first "real" book, and feeling completely discouraged by the process. My husband, bless him, convinced me to quit my job (QUIT MY JOB!!) and follow my dream. He was willing to support me financially while I wrote, despite the fact that I’d NEVER EVEN FINISHED a full-length novel, and had NO idea if I would find a publisher for one if I DID finish it. Talk about faith. My husband had it in me, before I even did. (Yeah. He’s definitely a keeper.) Even so, I made little progress. Until NaNoWriMo. I wrote my first full novel, start to finish, in three weeks during the month of November. It was the most exciting, fulfilling writerly experience I’d ever had. I proved to myself that I could really, REALLY do it. I could start and finish a novel. That story, a very early version of what became MOON CHILD, went on (after some revision, of course) to garner me three offers of representation from agents. I figured it was only a matter of time. Random House, Tracy E Banghart, THE AUTHOR...it was all about to happen.

    Only…it didn’t. It turned out getting an agent didn’t mean a book deal was a forgone conclusion. I got really close a few times, and received some beautifully, heartbreakingly positive rejections, but, ultimately, there followed three years of NO. Three different books, many, many different editors…and nothing ever connected.

    The experience was simultaneously demoralizing and energizing. Demoralizing because it was ALWAYS no…even after a second read, or a revision request, even after editors were pouring out their love for my writing or my characters or my story…it always ended in rejection. At first I thought it was just a question of writing a better book, doing a better job next time. And then I wrote a book that I KNEW was amazing. Seriously. AMAZING. I wrote it when my husband was deployed and it was full of war and longing and heartbreak, and most of all, a girl who finds her strength, who learns to believe in herself and who ends up kicking some serious ass. It was ABOUT something. I was saying something about our culture, about the war in Iraq, about “don’t ask, don’t tell”, about identity, all in this scifi book set in a completely different world. I KNEW it was going to sell, and sell big.

    And…it didn’t. And that’s when I realized (here comes the energizing part)...Sometimes, when it comes to traditional publishing, it doesn’t matter if you write a good book. More importantly, why let someone ELSE define for you what constitutes a good book? I love editors, and I was desperate to work with one and let them help me make my books really shine. But I had to let go of this notion that I was NOT AN AUTHOR without their validation. By that point, I KNEW my writing was “good enough”. I knew I was creating interesting stories with interesting characters that deserved to be put in the hands of readers. I had an agent, I had editors who WANTED to buy my books, if only the red tape of their publishing houses wasn't quite so sticky. And I LOVED WHAT I WAS WRITING. At the time, some of my writer friends were living through these absolute horror stories – book contracts being cancelled, agents dumping them, etc. And we were all trying to hold on to our faith in ourselves and in our writing.

    Up to that point, I thought I needed someone ELSE to tell me my work was good enough….just to be read. Self-publishing was starting to gain traction. I thought, you know what? Why don’t I decide what I think is good enough to be read…and let the READERS decide if I was right. 

    I started with BY BLOOD because it had gotten the closest to traditional publication. I’d worked with an editor on it, gone through a revise and resubmit…I felt confident that between her feedback and my faith, that book deserved to be published…and more importantly, was ready.

    And here’s what it comes down to for me. Ever since I made that decision…I have felt like Tracy E. Banghart, THE AUTHOR. No Random House necessary. My career, my writing...it’s been on my own terms. I get to be in charge of my self-worth. I get to decide what I want to share with the world. I’m not one of those indie success stories with thousands of sales and a place on bestseller lists – yet – but I am happy. Happier than I ever was pursuing traditional publishing. I have readers – fans, even! Instead of dealing with the endless waiting and lack of control over my own career, instead of bracing myself before reading every email from my agent, instead of feeling completely POWERLESS…I’m doing a little happy dance for every good Goodreads review. I’m celebrating every single sale because that sale represents someone who thinks my book is worth spending money on. I’m EXCITED because I have more stories to share, and I don’t have to wait until someone agrees with me before I can put them out in the world. I can offer them directly to you, readers, and YOU can decide their worth.

    I know not everyone will like my books. And I might never have “break out” success, whatever that is. But I do hope that someday my Army of Turtles (check out this article by Susan Kaye Quinn for the reference, though MAJOR HOTSAUCE insists I have an ARMY of turtles, not a herd) will find readers and make people happy. I hope the books will pay for themselves and maybe a little more.  I love writing them, and I love putting my publishing education to use. I am excited to be writing at a time when YOU, the reader, have so much choice and influence. I hope you’ll give my books a chance, and if you do, I hope you enjoy them. To me, having even one reader who loves your work -- THAT'S success.

    And that “amazing” book about war and heartbreak and strength and identity? Comes out February 2014. Just so you know. ;-) 

    Wednesday
    Sep182013

    Bookanista Review: Untraceable

    I know, I know. It's been a while since my last Bookanista review. I hate how little time I have to read! One thing I DON'T hate?? Untraceable, by S. R. Johannes! In fact, I LOVE IT. :-D

    I've been hearing about the Nature of Grace series for a while, and given that the books take place in the wilderness of NC - and I both like the wilderness AND live in North Carolina - they seemed right up my alley. So I decided to check out Untraceable, the first in the series.

    From Goodreads:

    16-year-old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. 

    When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

    One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father. 

    Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.

    My Take

     It took me about three chapters until I was as desperate as Grace was to find her dad. This story had a lot of elements - suspense, mystery, environmental thriller, romance, and coming of age to name a few - and they all combined seamlessly to create an intense, fast-paced read. It took me a few pages to get used to Grace's voice, but I think it's because it was very authentic...and she begins the book a bit of a whiny teenager. Of course, she has reason to be. She's lost her father and everyone else seems to be moving on. In a way, this story is about faith...and also the process of letting go.

    I loved how the forest became a character in and of itself. I LOVE books where the setting does more than merely provide a backdrop, and the wilderness here is a great example of this. I love how Grace's state of mind is reflected in how she perceives the forest...when she's relaxed and confident, it's beautiful and comforting. When she's scared, the trees claw at her and make her stumble. It's so beautiful when a character's inner state is reflected in her/his surroundings...and Johannes does this SO well.

    The environmental thriller element was really well done and I actually learned a lot without feeling like I was being preached to. I particularly like the "tips" at the beginning of each chapter. That was a nice touch!

    I didn't feel as invested in the romance, but I have a feeling the next books in the series are going to build on that element, so I'm looking forward to that. In general, I think it will be fun to get to know the characters even better and discover what new injustices Grace is going to fight.

    The plot moves quickly and took some unexpected twists and turns. I really had no idea how it would turn out. Well, I had *some* ideas but they were all wrong. :-) 

    If you're a fan of environmental thrillers or coming of age stories, this is a great blend of the two. You'll be rooting for Grace in no time! :-) I'm off to check out book 2, Uncontrollable!

    ~~

    Check out what the rest of the Bookanistas are raving about this week!

     

    Monday
    Sep092013

    A Very Special Giveaway

    Happy Monday! Today kicks off the amazingly awesome BY BLOOD BLOG TOUR!! The full schedule is available HERE and is hosted by Xpresso Blog Tours, the awesomest blog tour organizer ever!

    I'm so excited for this tour - there will be lots of reviews of both By Blood and Moon Child...as well as interviews, guest posts, excerpts, and Top 10 Lists (ever wonder about my top 10 favorite places in the UK? NOT TO WORRY - you will find out soon enough! ;-))

    In addition, the tour features a massive contest with TONS of prizes! To enter, see the lovely Rafflecopter below:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    And if THAT isn't enough, I'm hosting another little giveaway right here on this blog! Here are the deets:

    I always love to hear what people have to say about my books! Reviews are an important part of any author's sales "pitch" to potential readers. If you read and reviewed By Blood or Moon Child on Amazon and/or Goodreads, I would love to thank you for sharing your thoughts about the book! Just post a link to the review in the comments and I'll send you a signed, paperback, PRE-RELEASE copy of my next novel SHATTERED VEIL (Feb 2014) this fall. (If you haven't read By Blood or Moon Child yet, not to worry! The giveaway runs until the end of the tour, Oct 4, so you've got lots of time to read and review, if you choose. :-))

    What is SHATTERED VEIL, you ask? 

    WELL. Thanks for asking! ;-)

    It is the first book in my new NA scifi series! Here's the quick and dirty:

    When the man she loves is Selected for Military and sent to war, Aris Haan gives up everything - her home, her name, even her face - to be with him, only to discover that her new role as a Military Flyer has much larger implications - it could change the fate of her entire nation.

    Sound interesting? :-)

    More about that soon!

    In the meantime, good luck in the giveaway, and thanks so much for checking out the By Blood series! If you'd like more info on new releases, contests, and other fun stuff, be sure to sign up for my newsletter (sign-up to the right)!

    Cheers!

    Saturday
    Sep072013

    Newsletter!

    I've got some pretty exciting stuff coming up - giveaways, cover reveals, etc - and I thought it'd be good to set up a newsletter for folks who would like updates on all the coolness. :-)

    If you are one of these people, check out the banner on the right...see that spot for your name and email? Yup! That's the sign-up for this totally awesome newsletter. 

    You can expect to receive one, maybe two emails a month...NO spam. Promise!

    I'll be announcing things like new releases, contests, and sales...as well as teasers of new projects and fun promotions. 

     

    It's just another way to connect to my supremely awesome readers, i.e. YOU!! :-)