Monday, August 16, 2010

Get the Word Out Contest Winners

First of all, let me just say THANK YOU to everyone who helped me spread the word about Grave Witch. This is the first contest I've run in the three (four?) years I've been blogging in which entering entailed more than just leaving a comment. I have to admit that I was a little nervous. I mean, what if no one cared and no one entered? But you guys are the best readers a girl could ask for. The Get the Word Out contest had over two dozen unique entries, so again, THANK YOU!!

Okay, my gushing is probably not what you are here to read about. You want to know the winners of the swag packs, right? I have consulted my random number generator and without further ado, here are the winners:

Jessica - Who helped spread the word  here.
Jennzah - who got the word out  here.
Kate - who posted everywhere for a total of 5 entries (wow!) Her facebook post was the one that was drawn out of the hat.

Congratulations! Jessica, Jennzah, and Kate please email at Contests(at)kalayna(dot)com [replacing the (at) with @ and (dot) with . ] with the address where you'd like me to ship your prizes. 

Thank you again, everyone! Don't forget that I'll be throwing a blog party throughout the month of September and most of October. There will be more giveaways, special events, and of course, tons of guests! I hope to see you there!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Last day to enter!

Just a quick reminder that today is the last day to enter the Get the Word Out contest! You still have until midnight tonight to help me get the word out about Grave Witch's upcoming release (not that you can't continue to spread the word after midnight) and be entered to win a cool swag pack that includes these cool items:

Click here for more details on how to enter. Winners will be announced tomorrow (Monday 8/16) so check back soon!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Minion Button

Don't forget that the Get the word out contest (with your chance to win a cool swag pack including the Ace/Roc sampler) is running until Sunday August 15th. Details can be found HERE.

When the button maker first came in, the DH immediately announced that he wanted a button which read "Minion". Why? Because minion has been a running joke for almost a year now. You see, he attended his first convention only because I begged him to go with me--traveling alone is no fun. He agreed but stated he was going as my minion. Once he got to the con, he decided he liked it--there is more geek in him than he lets on--but the minion joke persisted. When we met the wonderful Rachel Caine at RavenCon the DH went as far as introducing himself as "Kalayna's Minion." (Her response? "Where can I get a minion?" ^_^)

So, when the button maker arrived, I designed a stark black and white button with just the word "MINION" across the face and my website in small print on the bottom. Then I made two: one for the DH and one for me. You're probably already guessing that two isn't the final number I ended up creating.

The very next day, people started asking about the button. The DH's coworkers thought it was great and wanted one. People laughed and asked about mine while I was in the grocery store line. One of my CPs visited, and I showed her my cover buttons (which she loved) then she saw the Minion button and I ended up making one for her.

People apparently really like the minion button.

I'm thinking about making some for Dragon and leaving them around random places on freebie tables. I'm not sure though. They don't tie into my books, so they aren't clever promo. The buttons do have my website, but I'm not sure that the people who are amused by the minion button would actually check out the site. Despite those business-side negatives, I'm inclined to make them if people would like them because, like I said my post For the Love of Buttons, I like buttons and I enjoy sharing things that amuse me.

So what do you guys think? Would the minion button amuse you? Is it chuckle-worthy or demeaning? (I wouldn't want people to assume I think of readers as minions.) Please voice in!

Happy Friday the thirteenth! (Did you know fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More cool stuff

Don't forget that the Get the word out contest (with your chance to win a cool swag pack including the Ace/Roc sampler) is running until Sunday August 15th. Details can be found HERE.

The mail guys around here probably think I'm crazy with all the packages suddenly pouring in. It's typically not like this. I'm preparing for a release and for the biggest Convention on the East coast, so, well, I've been busy. Today's gain? A big box from Vista Prints.

Okay, not that big. Actually, in comparison to some of the others, a rather small box. But, it contained some cool stuff. You'll notice in the picture that most of my order was for tie-ins for the Haven Novels. This particular order went in over a month ago (printing and shipping takes awhile unless you want to pay a small fortune to 'rush' it. I'd rather just order early.) and at that time I didn't have a copy of the final cover for Grave Witch, so I didn't want to order too many tie-ins with the original cover (the one missing the quotes). Once I get a high resolution digital copy of the cover, I will be designing new bookmarks and other promotional freebies, but, unfortunately, I won't have them in time for Dragon*Con. (I do have the buttons, samplers, and the early bookmarks, so it's not like I'll have a shortage of Grave Witch freebies.)

Vista Prints is rather hit or miss, but overall I've had a lot of success with the items I've ordered from them--especially when the times are free and all I have to pay is the shipping. My splurge item of this order was the key chains (which I've included an enlarged picture of to the right). I like these, and I think they look fairly nice, but I'm not sure their beneficial value offsets how much I paid for them. So, these key chains will be very 'limited edition' promo items as I have twenty and I'm unlikely to reorder them. Since they arrived before the end of the Get the Word Out contest, I'm going to add one to each of the three swag packs, so I hope you guys like them. The other seventeen? Well I'll have to think of something special. I'll probably save several for Third Blood's release.

Well, that's it for me today. I have a longer post over at Fangs Fur and Fey about what I learned at a recent convention so please check it out. Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And then there were ARCs

Don't forget that the Get the word out contest (with your chance to win a cool swag pack including the Ace/Roc sampler) is running until Sunday August 15th. Details can be found HERE.

 I might have to add the FedEx guy to my Christmas card list if he keeps making my day the way he has over the last week. If you heard sequels of delight yesterday afternoon and caught sight of some crazy girl dancing around, that was probably me. A package arrived yesterday  containing several ARCs of Grave Witch, and I held a bound copy of my book in my hands for the first time.

If you have never heard the term ARC before, it stands for Advanced Reader Copy/ Advanced Review Copy and is basically an unproofed copy of the manuscript which is bound and printed several months before the book goes to press so that it can be sent out to reviewers. By the words "uncorrected proof" you can tell this isn't the final version of the book, but it is very, very close. This book release is getting real.

In the package with the ARCs, my editor also sent me two bookplates. (Which are those flat copies of the front and back covers in the left hand side of the picture) You can't tell in this picture, but the title is printed in raised foil lettering! Yes, I just had to touch that lettering. The bookplate is absolutely gorgeous.  I have loved this cover since my editor sent the digital copy to me months ago, but the print? It blew me away.

I'm framing one of the bookplates so I can hang it above my desk. The other? I don't know yet. I might give it away during the upcoming blog party extravaganza.  Is a bookplate something you guys would be interested in? I think it's really cool, but then it has my name and book title in big bold letters, so I would.  For other people, I don't know if it would be that exciting. What do you guys think? A good giveaway item, or not?

Well, I guess right now you're probably thinking about the ARCs. As you can see from the picture, I received only a small handful of  books. My publisher sent a lot of review copies out already, but I've had a waiting list of reviewers who asked about the book for about eight months now. I started at the top of the list and didn't even make it through those reviewers hosting my blog tour before I ran out of books. The ARCs arrived yesterday, and I shipped them back out today. *Dramatic pose* "Oh ARCs, I barely knew you!"

Ahem. Er, anyway . . .

I did hold onto one copy. Just one. I will be giving it away sometime during the blog party, so watch this space!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Contest: Get the word out!

Grave Witch hits shelves in 56 days (and counting) and I need your help to get the word out. If you're viewing this post on my home blog, you might have already noticed the cool new countdown widget in the sidebar, but here it is again:

What do you think? I hope you like it. Yes, that widget is counting down to October 5th and Grave Witch's imminent release.  And yes, I'm getting excited.

If you saw the post from last Saturday,  you know that FedEx brought me a big box of samplers from Ace/Roc. I mentioned that these samplers (containing the first chapter for seven new and upcoming Ace/Roc releases, including Grave Wtich) are going with me to Dragon*Con, but I know a lot of my friends here on the blog/facebook won't be able to attend Dragon.  I want to give you guys a chance to get your hands on one of these very cool booklets, so that means, you guessed it: Contest time!

Contest name: Get the word out!
How to enter: If you're excited about Grave Witch's upcoming release, let people know!
  • Add the above countdown widget to your blog/webpage/facebook--whatever corner of the web you own--using the little grey "Get Widget" button under the countdown. 
  • Blog/tweet/add a facebook post linking to the Grave Witch cover and mini-excerpt (which can be found here). 
  • Then return here and add a comment to this post linking me to where you helped get the word out. Each unique place you use to help me get the word out about the book will get you one entry. (So if you add the widget to your blog and post a tweet linking to the excerpt, you will get two entries in the contest. If you do both of the above and post about it on facebook, you get 3 entries. etc.)
How winners will be chosen: Entries will be collected in a virtual bucket and three (3) winners will be drawn at random using a random number generator.
What is up for grabs: A copy of the Ace/Roc sampler (signed by me, if you want) plus the cover buttons I've been making, and any other promo materials I can put my hands on and ship.
Contest dates: The contest will open today and end Sunday, August, 15th at midnight EST. I will announce winners Monday 8/16. 

How does that sound? Easy enough? Remember, if you want your entry to be counted, you need to send me a link to where you posted the widget or about the book so I know to add your name to the drawing.

Good luck everyone!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Look what FedEx brought!

Late yesterday afternoon the FedEx guy dropped off a huge box of Roc Samplers on my doorstep. These samplers include the first chapter from seven upcoming and recently released Ace/Roc novels, one of which, being Grave Witch! If you direct your attention to the upper left hand side of the sample book, you can see Alex from the front cover. This is the first time I've seen even part of the cover in print, (aside from my own promo materials, of course) and I was downright giddy when I opened the box.

These samplers are just gorgeous in their layout, presentation, and binding. My editor told me months ago that she wanted to include Grave Witch in the promo material they would be giving out at ComicCon (which is what these samplers are from--apparently thousands were given away a couple weekends ago) but I had no idea what form the final product would take. I couldn't be more excited that she sent me some of the remainders and that I will get a chance to pass them on to you!

Alex and I are in great company in this sampler. Take a look at who is included:
  • K. A. Stewart (A Devil in the Details)
  • Kasey Mackenzie (Red Hot Fury)
  • Joan Frances Turner (Dust)
  • Simon R. Green (Ghost of a Chance)
  • Dianne Sylvan (Queen of Shadows)
  • James Knapp (Silent Army)

I have a box of these samplers (maybe 100 in total) that I'll be taking to give out at Dragon*Con, so if you're attending and would like one, make sure you track me down there. I know not everyone who reads the blog will be able to attend Dragon, so check back soon, because I'll have a contest in the next couple of days and give a couple of these samplers away. (If you guys are interested, that is.)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Monster of the Moment

(I'm buried under deadlines at the moment, so this post is  cross posted.)

Several of my writer friends recently returned from the RWA National conference. I've never personally been to the conference, but from what people tell me the con is an amazing place not only to learn about craft, but to check the pulse of the writing business. Most major publishers and dozens of top notch agents attend every year. Trends in publishing inevitably come up at the conference and the RWA loops are always buzzing with what was said once the conference ends.

What's hot? What's selling? What's out and overdone?

This year Donald Maass (from Donald Maass Literary Agency) was quoted as saying that Vampires were dead (again). In contrast, the editors on the Pocket Books spotlight said that there is something timeless about vampires. The trend they think is out? Fallen Angels. (I didn't know fallen angels were in. I can only think of one or two books with fallen angels. Anyone want to recommend some as I apparently missed the trend?)

I haven't heard yet what is supposed to be the next 'hot' monster this year. (BTW, I'm using 'monster' as a catch all phrase here. It could mean traditional horror monster, or much more human or non-monstrous beings.) I know a couple years back the hot monster was demons, but I've heard mumbles since then that agents and editors have seen too many demons.

When I first started shopping Once Bitten back in 2005/2006, I was told vampires were done. No one wanted any book that touched on vampires. Then Stephanie Myers happened, and regardless of your opinion on her books, it is an undeniable fact that vamps were suddenly in high demand again. Now? Well, I refer you back to the earlier paragraph about Maass and Pocket.

Trends in publishing come and go. Monsters become 'hot' and then get overdone or simply fall out of favor. I don't think any monster will every completely fall away--we love our monsters too much. Our interest in monsters does tend to ebb and flow though.

So let me ask you, what is your monster of the moment? What is the monster you currently can't get enough of? Or what is a monster you haven't seen in a while that you'd love to read about? No monster bashing please! Just talk about monsters you want to see more of, not less.

(Images in this post from the following movies: Interview with a Vampire, Constantine, and Pan's Labyrinth)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Coming to a blog near you . . .

I can't believe Grave Witch will hit shelves in just a day over two months from now. Two months seems both very distant and way sooner than should be possible. I'm excited and terrified all at once--which means it's a good time to start planning a party.

Yes, a party. A party spanning the majority of September and October.

In preparation for Grave Witch's release I plan on hosting events and giveaways, and if I can arrange it, a whole slew of special guests.  The idea to host guests didn't hit me until yesterday, so I'm scrambling to get the list together, but I've already heard from one of my favorite authors and contacted several others, so things are looking good, party-wise.  As soon as I have nailed down dates, I'll release more concrete information.

In the mean time, watch this space. I should be posting the schedule for my upcoming blog tour soon. I'll also be announcing guests for the party and hints at other events (as I think them up.)

The party starts in September . . . don't be late!

Monday, August 02, 2010

For the love of buttons and a contest

For many years, I've covered most bags I own in 'flare'. I can't remember exactly when I started doing it, but it's become quite a habit.  I'm hard on bags and harder still on buttons (I lose the backs of pins and accidentally rip the faces off  buttons on a regular basis just by walking around), but as a whole, there are always new buttons to replace old ones. I love buttons and pins that let me display a little hint into my interests, affiliations, and attitude. Bands I love, movies I enjoyed, art I like, funny sayings . . . whatever, I enjoy showing it off in button form. When in conversation, I've often stopped and said "that should be a button!" I've done this so often around my writing group that we now have shared file called  'sayings for buttons'. Unfortunately, none of us had access to a button maker, so these sayings have just sat in a google docs list for the last few years.

That has now changed.

A few weeks ago I ordered a button maker, and today it arrived in the mail. I immediately took a small break from writing to make a couple buttons. To to the right you can see my very first  button. Yes, that is the cover to my up coming release, Grave Witch. And yes, I intend to make a bunch and give them out to fellow button lovers!

It's my intention  to stockpile a collection of buttons featuring the covers of my books to give out at Dragon*Con (and other events I attend from here on out) so if you see me at a con or a signing, and you love buttons, please stop by and grab a one! I'd also like to make a couple buttons featuring cute phrases about the books. I have a couple in mind, but my brain is almost always tied up in the book I'm currently working on--which means most people won't 'get' the ones I'm thinking about because the book isn't out yet.

Which leads into the contest:

Have you read my currently released books? Are you good with catchy, quirky, or funny sayings? Think you have the wordsmithing skills to make up a button saying about one of my books/series? Then let's hear it!

This is an open contest with no time limit to enter and no set number of winners. If I decide to use one of your sayings on a button, I will send you a copy of your button as well as one of all the cover buttons I currently have available. I will also credit you on the website and put your name in the small print on the inner side of the button.

So, who has button sayings? I'd love to hear them!

(NOTE: by entering this contest you are agreeing to let me print and distribute your button phrase. Buttons will be used as freebie promotions and advertisement only and have no monetary value.)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Randomness--Lonely Street

I haven't been blogging as much recently because I've been buried under deadlines (actually, that shouldn't be past tense, as those deadlines are ongoing) and blogging takes up writing/editing time. I hate ignoring the blog though, so today you get a bit of random bloggage.  Nothing too thought out, but hey, it's an update. ^_^

As I was searching for a friend's house this afternoon, I discovered there is a road about two miles from my new house called Lonely Street. I didn't take this road, but I glanced down it as I drove by. It was a small, one way street with overgrown foliage pushing in on either side. The pavement extended only a couple yards past the main road; then it turned into a dirt road with two deep trenches where tires had cut a path and weeds covering the mound in the center. It did, in fact, look very lonely.

Okay, that's it for me. I hope everyone is having a great day!