Friday, May 31, 2013

This Blog Has Moved

Hey everyone! I wanted to one final post closing out this blog. It's been...what...*calculates* three months? Or so, since the launch contest? Yeah. And if it wasn't official enough then, it is now. This will be my last post (ever! Sniff!) on Headdesk, so thanks to everyone who's followed me over the years and supported me during those down times and busy times during college. It meant a lot.

Anywho. Now you can find me on my shiny new blogspace at:

And also, if you're not so into the blog thing anymore? I have a Twitter. And also, a Pinterest (which frankly I am a lot more active on than my Twitter. The Twitter thing happens in spurts and lags.)

That's it! Thanks everyone!

Truly and always,
-Creative A

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Contest call

Hey guys! I just wanted to do one last post here on *Headdesk* reminding everyone that my launch contest on the new blog ends THIS THURSDAY. So now is pretty your last chance to enter for these books:

Good luck, entrants! Hope to see you guys over on the new blog.
Truly and always,
-Creative A

Friday, February 1, 2013

The First Reader Goes Live!

And here it is!

Thanks to some surprise twists toward the end of my day (I wasted two hours driving back and forth, only to find out I wasn't going to get to use the equipment I needed) this post is a little late. But it's done! It's up! I'm launched! YAY!

Guys, I would super appreciate if you went over to the new blog and checked out the welcome post, and entered the contest, and just helped me celebrate. Hugs and rainbows and puppies.

Truly and always and for the last time,
-Creative A

Monday, January 28, 2013

Blog Launch & Contest Info

So in my last post I officially revealed Secret Web Project as my shiny new blog/website, The First Reader, and I hinted that there would be a blog launch, and a Twitter, and other things.

This is the post about all those other things. Are you ready? Are you set? Here we go.

On the very last day of the month (Thurs,  Jan 31,) as the clock strikes midnight (eastern standard time,) The First Reader will go live! It's...

Cue excited screaming!

There will be an announcement post here, on *Headdesk*, linking to the new site. And on the new site, you will find a welcome post with a welcome video. And to celebrate the blog launch, I will be doing a couple awesome things.

Awesome thing #1 -- Epic Book Contest

So I don't want to talk about the epic book contest too much here, and thus spoil the epicness, but you should know it involves eight very new and shiny YA books from my favorite authors, and also one mystery YA book, which I have not chosen/purchased yet.

(Implication: you should help me make up my mind about which book to buy.)

The problem, you see, is that there are too many awesome books for my awesome contest. So I figured I'd throw it out to you guys. Which book would you most like to win?

Do you want Altered by Jennifer Rush?
Thrones of Glass by Sarah J. Maas?
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater?
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes?
Fathomless by Jackson Pearce?
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi? (Which, needless to say, would be a preorder.)
Nameless book of awesome that I didn't think of suggesting?

Pick. Comment. Save me from impulse decisions!

All the contest details will be up on the new blog in the welcome post, so after it goes live you can check there for entrant info.

Awesome thing #2 -- Epic Content

Remember how I've been blathering on about how the new site will focus on content, and short stories, etc etc? Well, I meant it. While the contest is running I will be posting regular bits of story stuff to make the whole thing worth your while. One day, it might be a short story. The next if might be an excerpt from from MIRRORPASS, or even, gasp, Shutterbug. So. Keep an eye out for that. Muahaha.

Awesome thing #3 -- Twitter

I have one now! If you have one, too, and you like writerly stuff, then come follow me. I'm actively looking for Twitter buddies, and as an added bonus, being a Twitter follower will help you out in the upcoming contest. But you'll find out more about that later.

Oh, wait. You have a question? That's awesome. Go ahead and ask it in the comments. I will do my best to answer.

But most details I have left out at this point were left out intentionally, so they can be revealed in the welcome post on the new blog. MUAHAHA.

Truly and always and feeling rather evil genius-y,
-Creative A

Monday, January 21, 2013

Secret Web Project Unveiled

Okay guys. I've been chipping away at Secret Web Project trying to get it ready before this month ends, and I'm finally close enough where I feel I can give it a full reveal. So here goes...

I am moving blogs! And turning the blog into a complete author website! With free short stories! And things! And a Twitter!

You guys have no idea how big of a thing this is for me. I started writing novels when I was a pretty young teenager, and I decided to go the whole professional aspiring author route a few years later. So starting out, I was very cautious about how much information I made public. The idea of launching a career seemed like a very important decision that needed to be timed just right.

So for almost five years (!) I blogged away at *Headdesk* developing my bloggers voice, my writing craft, my understanding of the publishing industry, and my connections with people involved in the industry. Through that I become a lot more confident. But I still knew I wanted to wait for the appropriate time before attempting to launch.

When I say launch, I'm not necessarily expecting my career as a novelist to take off just because I got a shiny website and started shopping a manuscript around. Launching, to me, has always been about reaching a stage where my career could take off--where I've reached the level of skill that it's just a matter of time and persistence. There are a few milestones I wanted to make first. Things like being close to graduation, having finished MIRRORPASS, and having started a new novel were all important to me. I wanted to have some experience under my belt and enough momentum to keep rolling.

I'm pretty sure I was driving all my friends and family crazy. But there you go. I waited, they waited, and now, finally, it's time!

That brings me to the other rather important thing about this new website. Content.

I don't know about you guys, but personally, I love reading. I love following an author online and then reading their book. I love following aspiring authors and reading excerpts from their books. I love it when people put up short stories, and snippets of dialogue, or bits from old, trunked novels, because these things catch my eye. And it's always exciting to see a book coming out and already know that I like this author's writing and that I can trust I will like this book.

I always liked these things, but felt limited from doing them myself. With this new website/blog I wanted to build a platform where I could do those things. So a big emphasis of the new site/blog is to reward all the people who've been interested in my writing in the past (hey, Sefi! Hey you guys from my Intro to Audio class! AWers! Mom!) but never really had a chance to read much of it. Now they can.

I won't be self-publishing anything. And I won't be offering anything in e-book or downloadable form. But the site will have plenty of content for everyone who has been interested and kind enough to follow me before I got big.

So what's the site called?

Because, obviously. First readers. People who followed me before I was worth following. That's what the site is geared toward--building an audience off the audience I already have.

So. Any more details worth sharing?

There are a few, such as the launch date, and the launch contest. (THERE IS GOING TO BE A LAUNCH CONTEST GUYS.) But those remaining details are going to come later this week. Muahah.

Also, you can go ahead and try that new site link, but nothing is going to happen. You'll get a little box asking you to log in and you'll be unsuccessful in doing so. I'm sorry. It's going to change soon. I promise.

For now, enjoy this mockup of the new site banner. And see you later this week!

Look. The wings! Are MIRRORPASS-ish! Gah!

Truly and always and launching soon!
-Creative A

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ten Questions with Emily Meehan, Acqusitions Editor of The Darkest Minds

All right, guys, if you read my last post, you'll know that today I am SUPER DUPER EXCITED to be here with Emily Meerhan, the editor of Alexandra Bracken's THE DARKEST MINDS. When I had an opportunity to be part of Alex's blog tour for the The Darkest Minds, I literally jumped at the chance. 

Emily Meerhan is the Editorial Director for Disney-Hyperion books, and she was formerly executive editor of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, where she developed books and series such as Elixir by Hilary Duff and the Hush, Hush trilogy by Becca Fitzpatrick. Guys, those were some big books. I'm pretty pumped to see that TDM is in such good hands. So without further ado...

Hey Emily, great to have you here! You're the editor for Alexandra Bracken's newest book, The Darkest Minds. Tell us a little about how you first discovered her book.

This was one of those books that from the very first page I knew it was something special. It was at a time when there were a lot of dystopian submissions going out and flooding my inbox, because The Hunger Games was really taking off and everyone was looking for the next big thing. But this ms was so different from all of those, so fresh and different and engaging.

Were you the acquisitions editor for The Darkest Minds? Was acquiring it a tough sell internally? Tell us how that went.

Yes, I was the acquiring editor. And I had no trouble convincing anyone how special the book was and how well we'd do publishing it. The problem was that other houses were interested too, and auctions can be unpredictable.

Hardcore fans will know that originally, The Darkest Minds had the working title of "Black is the Color." If you can explain without any spoilers, why the title change? And I know sometimes it can be a really tricky process coming up with a new title. Was this a natural title concept, or did you guys have to work on it?

Yes, I loved the original title and occasionally Laura, my assistant, will catch me calling it that still! But when we started doing jacket comps, we found that we were running into concerns that the title was misleading for what the book is about. People thought it might be confusing and readers would think the book was a contemporary novel about race relations. It was an interesting moment because I had never considered that until we started pairing the title with visuals.

Oh wow, that is interesting. I never would have thought of that. Now, what excites you most about The Darkest Minds, and this series in general?

These characters that Alex has created are unforgettable. I am obsessed with them all in their own way, and that's what excites me most about the series: where they will go and what they will do.

What's it been like, working with Bracken as an author?

Alex is a dream author because she totally gets it. She has a day job in publishing and balances everything with such aplomb. She takes a lot in stride because she knows how this process unfolds and that has been so refreshing. Also, she is a wiz at taking editorial direction. I have put her through the ringer in terms of revision and she's answered me always with even better material.

In an interview on Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, you said that a huge part of the editorial process is trusting the author, that they know where their characters are going. I thought that was really interesting. Could you elaborate on that idea of trust for us?

Ha! Well I'll never forget when Alex replied with a revision and said that Clancy was quite possibly the most disturbing thing that had ever crawled out of her brain. Oops, is that a spoiler? I hope not. Anyway, sometimes you have know that your author knows better than you. It's a tough pill for us editors to swallow. I think for me the trust is coming with where she'll take these characters in book 2, which I obviously cannot talk about. Heh heh.

*Suppresses grin* I love that, though! People always talk about wanting a good working relationship with their editors, and this illustrates why. I would think this idea of trust is especially true when working on a series, as you are, being Bracken's editor for the TDM trilogy.

Yes, there's a lot of give and take in the editorial process. I can tell an author something is really working or it's not, but ultimately it's her story and her characters. And it goes the other way too. Sometimes and author might be unsure of a direction I send her in, but it ends up leading someplace good. It's just about my favorite part of the whole process.

Talk to us about marketability. I know a novel can be very well written, but might be a tough sell due to less-than-marketable elements. Authors are told not to chase trends, but at the same time, I think it's terribly important to understand what mentality publishers and agents will have when considering to pick up a new book.

Well, in the case of this book, as I said before this came out on submission at a time when there was a lot of dystopian being bought by publishers. Which of course means that it would be published at around the same time the other books were from other publishers. But when I acquire books I don't acquire to trends. If it's an amazing story with memorable characters and I think people will love reading it as much as me, then I go after it. And that's what THE DARKEST MINDS is. And it's very gratifying to read all of the rave reviews that say the same thing.

What's one thing you wish more authors knew, or did to prep their manuscripts, before sending you those pages?

Proofread! I don't like seeing typos in manuscripts. It bugs me!

Final question! Let's go with something fun. What makes you passionate about your job?


And there you have it, guys; Emily Meerhan, Editorial Director at Disney Hyperion, shouts off about books and publishing! Emily, it was great to have you. Thanks so much for your thoughtful answers on Bracken and The Darkest Minds. Guys, if your interest isn't piqued yet, check out the blurb below and then the blog tour links right below all that. And go! Get reading! Go! :)

About The Darkest Minds

When Ruby awakened on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." Because Ruby might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby knows that she is one of the dangerous ones and, when the truth comes out, she barely escapes Thurmond with her life. On the run and desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her, Ruby joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what she did to her parents.

When they arrive at the safe haven, East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work too, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. And soon Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

The heart-pounding first book a near-future dystopian series, Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds will leave you begging for the next installment.

Alexandra Bracken was born and raised in Arizona, but moved east to study at the College of William & Mary in Virginia.  She recently relocated to New York City, where she works in publishing and lives in a charming apartment overflowing with books.  You can visit her online at or on Twitter (@alexbracken). 

The Darkest Minds Blog Tour Schedule

January 6th:

January 7th: Mundie Moms

January 9th: The Book Smugglers

January 11th: The Book Muncher

January 14th: The Compulsive Reader

January 15th: Anna Reads

January 16th: Emily's Reading Room

January 17th: *Headdesk*  (look. It's me! *waves*)
January 18th: BlookGirl

January 21st: Once Upon a Twilight

January 23rd: Good Choice Reading

January 24th: Novel Novice

January 25: Tynga's Reviews

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