To celebrate the relaunch of my site–a little late, I know–and because I love superheroes, pirates, and ninjas, I’m hosting this awesome contest! W00T! I’ve got guest blogs coming up by published authors as well as book bloggers, where I ask the important questions, like, “If a pirate, a ninja, and Batman got in a fight, who do you think would win and why?”

My book, The Rise of Renegade X, is about superheroes and supervillains, and Batman is one of my favorite superheroes, and certainly my favorite “bad ass, could be mistaken for a villain but is standing just this side of the hero line” superhero. So naturally a Batman training manual is essential for leading a happy and full life. And as for pirates and ninjas, who doesn’t love pirates and ninjas? There was even a scene in Renegade X where the characters talked like pirates (you can tell which side they’re on in the epic pirate/ninja battle). I ended up cutting it, but I can assure you it’s an important part in my characters’ psyches. Or something like that.

So to celebrate Batman, pirates, and ninjas (hey, I thought you were celebrating your website?!?), I present to you three awesome prizes:

From Drop Box

Three lucky winners will get either The Batman Handbook, The Government Manual for New Pirates, or, last but not least, Ask a Ninja Presents the Ninja Handbook: This Book Looks Forward to Killing You Soon.

These books are really hilarious, and of course essential guides to life. I already have my own copy of The Batman Handbook, natch, but I’m trying to keep my drool off the pirate and ninja guides (why does she keep mentioning pirates before ninjas? That’s piratist!), because I’ve read the first couple pages, and I’m already jealous of whoever wins them!

But Chelsea, you say, how do *I*, a humble non-pirate/non-ninja/non-superhero win one of these highly valuable, sought-after prizes? Is there a test? To win the ninja book, do I have to prove I’m not a pirate in disguise? Can anyone enter? What about the Joker? CHELSEA, WHAT IF THE JOKER ENTERS YOUR CONTEST AND WINS THE BATMAN BOOK AND LEARNS ALL HIS SECRETS????

That’s just a risk I’m going to have to take! Yes, there’s the possibility that a pirate with mobile internet on their ship will enter and win a ninja handbook, and it’s possible a ninja has already slipped into the room and stolen the pirate guide I thought was sitting next to me. I’m taking that chance! Anyone can enter, like so:

The contest runs from October 1st to October 14th, at which point I will gather up all the entries and draw three names out of a hat or other hat-like object. Name number one gets their first choice, number two gets second choice, and third gets whatever’s left (sorry, third!). Then I will mail them out and all that.

This is going to be one of those point contests.

–You get +1 point for commenting on any post between Oct. 1st and Oct. 14th–can be added up for more points.
–Becoming/already being a follower of the blog or the LJ is +2 points.
–Becoming/already being a fan on the Renegade X facebook fanpage is +2 points.
–And tweeting or blogging about the contest earns you +1 point.

Let me know in the comments which ones you’ve done (provide links for twitter and blog mentions) and tally up your points. And tada!

Minor update while I wait for Glee to come on

Today I got to see the cover for The Rise of Renegade X advanced copies.  It’s pretty damn sweet.  I mean, every time I see the cover, I’m in love all over again, but the ARC is going to have the full wrap around cover.  Not only does the back look gorgeous and have a nice little description of the book, but it also compares it to both King Dork and The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. This is my whoa face:  O__o  And the spine has the same lettering as the front.  You know, the cool orange comic book looking lettering that would TOTALLY make me pick up the book to check it out, even if all I could see was the spine because it was all stuffed on a shelf with a million other books.

My Cover!!!

This is going to be a wraparound–I have seen the full art, with the buildings extending into the distance, and it’s breathtakingly awesome–but for now I present to you the front panel of my absolutely PERFECT book cover!

The awesome front panel of my cover!
The awesome front panel of my cover!

Seriously, this sucker rocks. It could beat Chuck Norris in a roundhouse kick fight, that’s how awesome it is. You can’t tell if he’s a hero or a villain in this picture–perfect–and he looks BAD ASS either way–double perfect. His face and hair are perfect–I was worried his hair wouldn’t look right, but somehow the folks at Egmont pulled the image OUT OF MY BRAIN and put it in this picture. I could say that about the whole cover, really. This is what I imagined the cover would look like, only they made it ten times better with some serious graphic novel style. There’s this point where your book is like someone you know on the internet but have never seen pictures of. You have a picture in your head of what it will look like, but you don’t *know* what it looks like, and this is so close to what I pictured–minus my lack of imagination for details–that it’s uncanny.

Honestly, I was hoping for a cover I wouldn’t hate, one I might even be able to enjoy. When I was a kid, I used to get REALLY UPSET if the cover didn’t match what happened in the book or especially if the characters on the cover didn’t have the same hair/eye color and features as in the text. That seriously pissed me off. Nowadays, I can mostly ignore that kind of thing, at least for other people’s books, but for my own? So you can see why I was hoping just for nothing to be wrong. And even though they kept telling me how amazing this cover was, how it was a knock out, all the hype still didn’t prepare me for how PERFECT it is. P.E.R.F.E.C.T.–PERFECT.

I love it. It stands out, and with so many YA books aimed at girls (even if boys would like them, they often have girly covers), this has the potential to attract both male and female readers. In a hypothetical world where I wasn’t the author, if I saw this book in the store, I would flip out. I would be all, “OMG, what is this?!?” And when I opened it up and discovered the voice and the premise? Yeah, I’d pay full hardcover price for this baby. That’s how cool it is.

Alright, the gush fest is over. I’m going to go back to pretending to be a tres zen author who doesn’t start frothing at the mouth with excitement every time she sees her book cover.


Okay, you know that moment when you go to put the knife in the sink and you realize you still needed it, so you stop, but it’s already touched a plate? And you’re like, “It only touched that plate that I don’t know where came from a little. I could just pull it back out and pretend like this never happened,” but you know in your heart that you can’t really pretend it didn’t happen, so you reluctantly let the knife go and get a new one? Yeah.

Your Agent Loves You – A.K.A. Why You Need One

I love talking shop with people and answering writing and industry questions, but I always feel kind of weird posting about it. But I wanted to expand on something we were talking about in chat last night that I didn’t get to say because I got really hungry and my brain crapped out. I mean, ’cause I ran out of time.

First off, the most common reason I hear that people think they need an agent is because they can’t handle the contracts themselves. This is very true! But it’s also just the tip of the iceberg. You probably already know all the obvious reasons why you NEED an agent (even if you make your sale yourself, get an agent ASAP)–they have contacts and can get you a good book deal, they handle contracts and keep you from getting screwed, etc.

But what you might not know is that an agent–a GOOD agent–is like your mom.

Yeah, you heard me.  Not like your agent tells you to be home by midnight and bakes you cookies or anything, but a good agent is like having a mom around because not only do they handle the hard, grown-up stuff like contracts, but they believe in you.  They always have good things to say about you and tell everyone who will listen (thankfully, unlike real moms, they don’t have embarrassing baby pictures of you).  They’re super supportive of your dreams and your work, and they’ve got your back if the outside world gets too scary or things don’t go how you planned.  They make scary phone calls so you don’t have to.  They can set up play dates phone calls between you and your editor/potential editor.  They’re always happy you called or wrote, they’re always on your side, and they share your triumphs and your downfalls.  And if there is bad news, your agent knows how to tell you in the best way possible, so you still come out feeling good about yourself.

That kind of stuff is invaluable.  I speak from experience, having had both a not-so-good agent who barely spoke to me and gave up on me when my book didn’t sell right away, and having had an absolutely awesome agent who’s everything I just described in the above paragraphs.  Handling the contracts isn’t the top reason for having an agent, it’s icing on the cake.

Tribue to Dani Noir – my Rita Hayworth Impression

Inspired by this quote from page 8 of Nova Ren Suma’s Dani Noir:

Rita Hayworth would toss her hair (red in real life, but in black-and-white it could be any color). Shed blink super slow, like she was underwater. Then shed turn, finally, and settle her eyes on Jessica. It would take a few seconds but feel like forever and you wouldnt be able to stop staring. Then Rita Hayworth would say maybe one word, drawing it out, making it sound like the most beautiful word anyone could say, like, in any language, ever. The word could be hi or mayonnaise, it doesnt matter. And before you know it, Rita Hayworth will have eaten Jessica Alba alive.

In My Shopping Bag

Like the In My Mail Box features, only in a shopping bag. I took a 2 hour trek to the local B&N. My theory is if I get enough exercise walking there, then I’m allowed to buy books. (This makes perfect sense.) Today I went specifically in search of Nova Ren Suma’s DANI NOIR, even though *technically* it doesn’t come out until Tuesday. It was a gamble that they’d have it out already, but a risk I was willing to take. Luckily for me, Fortune favors the bold and my quest was successful.

The first item in my shopping bag, however, is my wrist. I hooked the bag on my wrist to have both hands free and got stuck.

From Drop Box

Then the much searched for Dani Noir:

From Drop Box

I want to read this book SO BAD! I read the first chapter online the other day. Part of me is sad I didn’t discover this book sooner, and part of me is glad because if I had discovered it sooner, I would have had to wait longer.

And then I got this:

From Drop Box

It’s a planner that goes from now until the end of 2010! I’ve been wanting one for a while–you know, to keep up with my busy blogging schedule–but the ones at the grocery store suck. This one is perfect however. It *not only* has sparkly flowers on the front, but cute bees. I am all about sparkly flowers and cute bees. Also the font and layout is way cute, and it not only has a daily planner section, but monthly overviews. AND, as if that wasn’t cool enough, it also comes with a bee eraser, some bee post-its, a bee bookmark, AND a special plastic 3-ring bookmark to keep your place in the weekly planner. I almost got a more sophisticated, grown-up looking planner, but then I turned the corner and saw this and was like “hellz yeah, imma get me somma that.”

Also when I was looking for Dani Noir, a saleslady asked if she could help me find something, and I actually said YES. (I am normally shy and lie like crazy to salespeople when they ask me if I’m finding everything okay.) I asked her if they had Dani Noir, even though technically it’s not out yet, and she looked it up and helped me find it. (I was looking in YA; it was in MG.) The whole time I wanted to find a way to blurt out “I’M AN AUTHOR. I JUST GOT MY BOOK COVER. DER.” Except, you know, in a calm and sophisticated not-blurty way. I couldn’t think of anything, so I chose to stay silent like a ninja… for now. They only had one Dani Noir on the shelf–spine out >:/–and I got it. I’m sure they have more in the back, but maybe me asking for it and emptying the shelf so fast will prompt them to put out more.

I’ve actually noticed about our local B&N that the YA section is flashy and out in the open, and all the new books are on a special shelf, face out, and even most of the YAs on the shelf are face out, and they have multiple copies. But the MG section is stuffed away in the back. There seem to be more titles overall, but they are crammed together on the shelves, one copy each unless they’re super popular, spine out. There is a shelf where they put some MG titles face out, but it’s definitely not the majority. This bothers me because there are so many awesome MG books, and I think I end up buying more of those than YAs. Though as a YA author whose name starts with C, I think I have it made on the YA shelf.