Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Give Thanks for 2011!

I love Thanksgiving. Not just because of all the carbs that I get to consume tomorrow, not just because it signifies the start of the holiday season, but also because of what the day does to people. It gets friends and families to reevaluate their lives - to find and celebrate things for which they are truly grateful. I love getting on Facebook and Twitter to see all the status updates that celebrate the best things in our lives.

In the spirit of my favorite tradition, I am celebrating five of my favorite debut novels of 2011 (in no particular order, as they are all equally awesome).

1. FURY by Elizabeth Miles

I think Ms. Miles must have inadvertently brushed shoulders with Stephen King, because she shares his mastery of atmosphere. I have never been so freaked out by the noises of a radiator - and that was only in the first few pages! I also love that FURY dares us to like - and even come to love - characters with real flaws.

2. DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

This one is worth all the glowing praise it has received. Not only does this dystopian get your heart-pounding, but it also REALLY makes you think about human nature. This book decidedly earns its place on the shelves next to 1984 and THE GIVER.

3. THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern

Perhaps it's now trite to say this, but this book truly is magical. As one of my friends so aptly put it, I'm sad that I don't get to read this for the first time again. Give yourself a pre-Christmas treat and READ THIS NOW!!

4. THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin

Mmmmm...Noah Shaw. This one is twisty and weird and uncategorizable and oh so good.


5. THE REVENANT by Sonia Gensler

I've intentionally NOT listed my good writing-buddies' books for fear of showing favoritism. (Even though their books are truly great, including STARCROSSED by Josephine Angelini and DIE FOR ME by Amy Plum). But I just have to give thanks for a book like Sonia's. THE REVENANT is a classic Gothic in the vein of JANE EYRE, and set in Oklahoma. This one is fascinating, meticulously researched, and just plain good.

Thank you to all five debut authors for making 2011 the year of excellent reads!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Real-Deal ARISE cover

The second book in the HEREAFTER series come out on June 5, 2012 and I couldn't be more excited. ARISE not only exemplifies all that I've learned as a writer and plotter, but it also raises the stakes for Amelia & Joshua. Plus, it's set in New Orleans - my favorite city on earth, no exaggeration - which just makes everything all the better!


The early version of the ARISE cover started floating around on the interwebbies a few weeks ago and has already garnered some much-deserved buzz. Cause, um, it's freaking BEA-U-TIFUL, right? But the final version, below, is even better. So...signed ARC of ARISE to the first person who can tell me the difference between the ARISE cover image floating around out there, and the one below. It's like the "find the differences" Highlights Magazine game, but much prettier and sexier. :)





Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Creepy Cake N Bake: My Heart Bleeds for You (plus winners!)



First of all, I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who participated in my Betting on Yourself Contest. Each and every one of you are so brave, and you all have given me such strength and inspiration! This is a pretty courageous lot! That's why I've chosen two winners for the signed hardcover HEREAFTER and signed ARC of ARISE (when it's available this winter).

Poploli and Sara M, you both are incredibly brave - please send me your mailing addresses, via tara@tarahudson.com.


To celebrate you guys and this spooky season, I'm participating in something really awesome: the YA Authors Creepy Cake N' Bake-A-Thon! Be sure to check out the previous authors' posts, as well as the ones following mine, and comment on your favorite entry, below. You can comment on EVERY Cake N' Bake post, one entry per post, for a chance to win a $20 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble or an official Creepy Cake N' Bake doll! Please include your email in order to be entered to win.



Trophies will be awarded on Halloween for the top creeptastic creations. Winners will be chosen by our special celebrity judge, Adam Rex, author of such deliciously creepy creations as FAT VAMPIRE, FRANKENSTEIN TAKES THE CAKE, FRAKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH and PSSST!



For the bake-a-thon, I decided to create a favorite of the guests as my annual Halloween party: the My Heart Bleeds for You Cake. But I also decided to make a few heart-babies to go along with the big momma heart. :)

You can find my inspiration (and the recipe) for the cake here, at Epicurious.com. Word to the wise: definitely use the cake recipe they provide, as cake mix is just too sticky/soft. I use their recipe for the overall pink frosting, but I like to cheat and buy tubes of grocery-store red and blue frosting for the veins. And just FYI, squeezable jelly makes the best blood! Here are my ghastly creations, pre- and post-surgery.







Check the list of the other contestants and their post dates so you don't miss any of the fun:




Wed Oct 5 Stacey Jay

Fri Oct 7 Erin Dionne

Sat Oct 8 Sydney Salter

Mon Oct 10 Brenda Yovanoff

Wed Oct 12 Tara Hudson (me!)

Fri Oct 14 Karen Healey

Sat Oct 15 Robin Bridges

Mon Oct 17 Michelle Zink

Wed Oct 19 Julia Karr

Fri Oct 21 Victoria Schwab

Sat Oct 22 C. Lee McKenzie


Mon Oct 24 Natalie Zaman

Wed Oct 26 Stephanie Burgis

Fri Oct 28 Dawn Metcalf


Friday, October 7, 2011

I Feel a Contest Coming On...

Today I took a major step in my life, a step that explains my long absence from blogging. Mostly because I spent so much time hemming and hawing over whether or not I was making the right decision for myself and my family. Ultimately, I answered: yes, I was.

Today, I finished my last day of full-time employment at a corporation. Today, I became a full-time writer.

Today is a big day.

Of course, I've been a writer for a long time. And I've been a published writer since the day HEREAFTER was released. But before today, I hadn't yet decided to dedicate my career to writing. I hadn't taken the risk.

Writing, as we all know, is scary. It is hard, mentally exhausting, creatively challenging work. The publication process, too, is a roller-coaster of praise and punishment, as is the life of a published author. These are things I know and have experienced on a very personal level.

But to build my entire career on writing - something I love and respect and fear and crave so much? Well, that's a whole other ball of wax. It took a lot to get here.

So I'm challenging you to tell me the riskiest thing you've done for yourself - the moment you bet biggest on yourself. I'll choose the most daring, and that person will win a signed copy of HEREAFTER and a signed ARC of ARISE (when ARC's become available)!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NEWS! Lots of it!

Hey ya’ll! It’s been so long, and I have so much news, that I’m going to have to hold off until this weekend on posting about my adventures on my debut day, on my amazing Dark Days tour, and on my first signing in my home state of Oklahoma. (But if you’re pining for that info, Amy Plum of DIE FOR ME fame has a great series of posts about our tour, here.)

Instead, I’m going to give a smorgasbord of exciting news about HEREAFTER and the Hereafter trilogy. Awesome, right? So here we go:

1. I have a bajillion new signings in Oklahoma and Texas coming up, which means I get to meet more of you! I’ll be signing tomorrow night, July 14th, at 7 pm at the Barnes & Noble on 63rd & May in OKC. I’ll also be giving a Book Chat and mini-signing at the Latimer County Public Library in Wilburton, OK (yes, THAT Wilburton!) at 1 pm on July 30th. Then, on August 6th, I’ll be popping by Blue Willow Books in Houston, TX at 2 pm to signing some stock and say “hey” to anyone who comes by. Finally, I’ll have an all-out-signing at 4 pm on August 27th in Frisco, TX at the Stonebriar Mall Barnes & Noble, to coincide with their Back to School Event. Whew, right?

2. HEREAFTER is now out in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, which is just sort of incredibly awe-inspiring. Next up on the international list? Publication in Germany, as Wenn Du Mich Siehst (“If You See Me”) on August 29th. (Check out some more foreign sales in the column to the right, too, to see if HEREAFTER is coming to your country!)

3. I’m freaking pumped to be giving a radio interview to a certain, very cool Northeastern radio show next week…more details when I get the date that they’ll air the interview!

4. I’m lucky enough to moderate a first-ever LiveChat Bookclub on Inkpop.com, at 5 pm EST on July 28th. Our first book? BEFORE I FALL, by Lauren Oliver. Swoon!

5. I'm participating in this incredibly cool Website Scavenger Hunt with a gaggle of great YA authors like Colleen Houck, Andrea Cremer, Amy Plum, Lisa and Laura Roecker, and more. The official Scavenger Day will be one day only - August 1, 2011 - and each of our websites will have a piece of new material - new trailers, short stories, deleted scenes, new book excerpts. But here's the catch: each of websites will have another author's new stuff, and each will you lead on the trail to find more! A sneak peek of BLOODROSE, maybe, or a deleted scene from THE LIAR SOCIETY? Yes, please! Be sure to check out my website on August 1 to play the game!

6. Finally, I wanted to make a Hereafter Trilogy announcement: I have a preliminary cover of ARISE. And it's awesome. Like, really awesome. Even better than HEREAFTER's cover, if that's possible. And the artists are still working on it. And...I'm not sharing...yet. :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Three Days Away...

I'm freaking out - are you freaking out? More on my pre-publication jitters later. Right now, you want to know who won the giveaway, don't you? :)

I wish I had enough money to send everyone who commented a shiny hardcover of HEREAFTER, delivered on June 7th. Unfortunately I don't, but I hope I CAN make 4 people have a better day, right now!

1. 2-day preorder hardcover of HEREAFTER: Wulfluva

2. Standard preorder hardcover of HEREAFTER: Chey

3. HEREAFTER ARC plus goodies: Jade

4. Goodies plus a surprise: Paradise

Congrats to the winners, and thank you everyone for telling me why you want to read HEREAFTER! Even though you didn't win, Amazon has HEREAFTER here, for ridiculously low-priced preorder in case you just can't wait to find it at your local bookstore on June 7th.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The "Two Weeks Till Hereafter" Final Giveaway

I can't believe it's really almost here. I've had to suppress more than one urge to do a happy-dance (and that's just today). I think I need company in my happy-dancing, and what makes people happier than free stuff? As in, a HEREAFTER giveaway?!?

Since this is my final, pre-publication giveaway, I'm going to make it a big one. There will be FOUR (yes, four!) winners, who will receive very cool stuff, as follows:

1st prize: HEREAFTER hardcover pre-order, with 2-day shipping so you have it June 7th!
2nd prize: HEREAFTER hardcover pre-order, with standard shipping
3rd prize: HEREAFTER ARC and fun, book-related swag
4th prize: Fun, book-related swag (which you can show off to your non-winning friends, ha!)

So, all you have to do is tweet, FB comment, or blog comment the reason you deserve to win. Then I decide who gets to read Amelia's story early!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Movie Day, Times Two

In which I discuss HEREAFTER, ARISE, and my weird writing proclivities
video

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Three Weeks Until Publication = Three Good Things

On Tuesday, there will be only three more weeks until HEREAFTER'S U.S. launch. (Notice a pattern in my posts? Not like I'm counting down or anything.) Since three is the Magic Number (no one start singing "Conjunction Junction"), I've thought of three things that are almost as awesome:

1. My U.K./Australia/New Zealand Cover (available on July 7th)



The front cover is identical to the U.S. cover, but the back of the jacket and spine differ slightly. No whirlpool on the back, and check out the ripple effect on the spine. Nice, right?

2. The HEREAFTER playlist is up on my website and unlike a lot of other playlists, this one actually works! But just in cases, here's the line-up for your at-home listening pleasure.

Bixby Canyon Bridge – Death Cab for Cutie
Semi-Automatic – The Boxer Rebellion
Ghost – Blue Foundation
A Strange Education – The Cinematics
Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap
Wide Eyes – Local Natives
Too Afraid to Lose You – The Black Keys
Milk – Kings of Leon
Caught by the Light – The Boxer Rebellion
Blinding – Florence + the Machine
Memory Serves – Interpol
The Orchard – Sea Wolf
BONUS: If I Die Young – The Band Perry

Bonus points to anyone who can figure out which song represents which scene/character!

3. Best of all: my blog tour with the Teen Book Scene starts tomorrow! Top Ten Lists, Character Interviews, the works! I'm so excited!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Four Weeks! FOUR!

Is it really possible that only four weeks stand between me and the U.S. release date of HEREAFTER? The day when I see my first novel sitting on bookstore shelves, the day my lifelong dream comes true?

It's humbling. It's exciting. It's scary as hell.

Mostly, it's going to allow me to meet some unbelievably cool people, i.e. all of you. Below are the dates and locations of my signings for the month of June. I really, really hope each of you can make it to one to see me. If not, let me know, and I promise that when I plan future tours this year, I will try my best to come see you.

Because one the best parts of this crazy journey is meeting you.

June 7, 2011: Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville, Illinois, 7 pm - 10 pm
June 8, 2011: Clackamas Town Center Barnes & Noble, Portland, Oregon, 7 pm - 10 pm
June 9, 2011: Book People, Austin, Texas, 7 pm - 10 pm
June 11, 2011: Full Circle Bookstore, Oklahoma City, OK, 3 pm - 6 pm

Monday, May 2, 2011

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous

I have to share this NOW, because it is so beautiful, I'm kind of freaking out! HEREAFTER will be released in Germany on August 29th, 2011, by Heyne Verlag (an imprint of Random House). The German title is "Wenn Du Mich Siehst," which translates as "When You See Me." Love the title, and absolutely love this cover:



Man, the country of my ancestors knows how to treat HEREAFTER right!

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's the Little Things...

There are certain things and places that make me inexplicably happy.

If you're anything like me, then this would make you happy, too.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bridges of DOOM

I have to say, you folks know how to identify your spooky architecture. Makes you much more likely to survive an encounter with a murderous ghost, who may or may not be named Eli.

The winner of the Creepiest Bridge Photo Contest is...

Natasha Parker!

Her crazy-spooky bridge in Scotland actually seems to cause - wait for it - dog suicide. How bizarre and just plain wrong is that?



Natasha's keen eye for the weird has earned her a signed ARC of Hereafter. But I have to give an honorable mention to Danah, @Peppermint1013, for this gut-wrenching view:



So Danah gets a signed ARC, too! Natasha and Danah - please send your addresses to tara@tarahudson.com, so I can get those shipped to you.

Thank you so much to everyone who participated - I wish I had enough ARC's for everyone. I'm just glad you all have such eerie bridges of your own, to tide you over until June 7, 2011!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

NEWS!

You have all waited patiently...some more patiently than others.

My favorite part of this whole, I-have-news game has been fielding the predictions that you've offered: from pending pregnancies (shame on ya'll, by the way - you know I have a sleep-vampire five month old), to pending missions to space (that was only one person, though, and I still don't know if they were joking).

But none of you guessed it, which is great considering how AWESOME this news is. So, to torture you no longer, I officially announce that the second book in the HEREAFTER trilogy will be named:

ARISE

How much do you love that title? Isn't it perfect? Isn't it spoilery and tantalizing? Doesn't it make you want to know what's going to happen next?

Even better, I'm revealing it on April 7th, exactly two months before HEREAFTER officially releases in the United States. To celebrate my crazy-perfect second title and the fact that we're only two months away from HEREAFTER-day, I'm having another signed ARC giveaway contest!

HEREAFTER centers around a seriously creepy, mysterious bridge in southeastern Oklahoma. To enter this contest, Tweet or post on HEREAFTER's Facebook page a picture of the creepiest bridge you've ever seen.

For example:



Spooky, right? Can't you just picture a certain ghost girl walking down it, late at night?

Now your mission is to find one even spookier! The winner will be chosen completely at my discretion (since I'm electing myself Grand Priestess of Creepy Bridges), on Friday, April 15th. When you tweet, just be sure to include @thudsonwrites. So start shooting, start tweeting, and get ready to ARISE!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm a tease like that

Big news coming this Thursday, exactly two months before the US release of HEREAFTER.

Seriously - big.

BIG.

Get excited.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Winning. Winners.

You know, those words have a completely different meaning in a post She-nazy (Sheen Crazy. She-nazy) World.

In all seriousness, I am thrilled and humbled by the response for my first HEREAFTER giveaway. From Romania to Moore, Oklahoma, the entrants were not only globally located but also globally awesome. So, without further adieu, I've drawn the winners for the signed HEREAFTER ARCs! Four of them!

Congrats to:

Jaz Parks
Faye Roberts
Dana Wright
Lucille Ogie

I doubled checked, and I already have your addresses, so I'll get those books in the mail this weekend.

Didn't win this one? Don't fret - you have another chance! In its typically cool fashion, HarperTeen has decided to run a HEREAFTER ARC contest on Goodreads, which should go live on March 10. These won't be signed, but still...how awesome is that?

I'm going to try to post all the appropriate links to the new contest tomorrow, when I figure out this whole, Javascript thing.

Congrats again to the winners, and many thanks to everyone who participated...I have kind, generous, and seriously funny future readers.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

THE Store

By now, just about everyone who loves books knows that Borders Bookstore has filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. So many people have posted some really insightful comments on what that means for publishers, authors, and the future of traditional books. No need to add my own thoughts there.

What do want to discuss how people feel about brick-and-mortar bookstore closings.

Like so many others did this week, I received the email that announced the closing of my local Borders. As soon as possible, I hurried to take advantage of the deep discounts that always go along with a closure. I walked out of the store with not only a huge bag of books, but also an incomparable sense of loss.

As I walked out, I realized that, no matter how many trips I made into that store to get some amazing deals, my trips were limited. The very thought felt surreal. Since that store opened almost two decades ago, it has played a crucial role in my life. It was the place where I bought my first Neil Gaiman novel (Neverwhere); the place I pre-ordered my Harry Potter books; the place my parents and I spend every December 26th, sipping warm drinks and hunting for a new fireplace read; the place where I went on more than one date. Hell, I even had more than one first kiss in that parking lot!

Because, for people like me, brick-and-mortar bookstores have their own element of romance. The romance of new stories, the romance of discovery. And as we lose those stores, we will surely lose some of that romance.

So please share some of your own thoughts: stories of bookstores you've loved, or maybe even reasons why the emerging world of electronic "bookstores" will still maintain the romance of the book.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Better to Give Than Receive: Hereafter Signed ARC Giveaway #1!!!!

When HarperCollins sent me some extra ARC's of Hereafter, I did two things. First, I dragged them inside, spread some of them out on my coffee table, and commenced to petting them like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. After a few hours of creepily muttering "My preciouses," I did the second thing: came up with the very first Hereafter Signed ARC Giveaway!

So, without further adieu, the rules.

This contest will run through March 7, 2011. Each participant will get one entry for each of the following:

1. Follow my blog
2. Follow me on Twitter (@thudsonwrites) to keep with with Hereafter news
3. Add Hereafter on Goodreads.com
4. Like PitchDark on Facebook, to keep up with all the amazing things Harper is doing, in celebration of Hereafter and other YA paranormal titles being released this summer.

Already doing all four? Email me at tara@tarahudson.com to let me know which ones you have done/are doing, along with your name and address so I'll know where to send the ARC's. (Subject title: ARC Giveaway, so I don't think you're a deposed Nigerian prince trying to get ahold of my bank account.)

For every Hereafter-related comment you make on the blog, Goodreads, or PitchDark, you get another entry; same thing for every @mention you make.

Here's the best part: I'm giving away THREE of my precious ARC's. I'll choose the winners randomly, using the very elaborate technique of putting names on slips of paper and drawing them out of a straw cowboy hat. After all, you want me to save my resources for postage right? :)

So starting now, I can't wait to see some entries!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In Which I Continue to Moonlight

Check out my second post on the Class of 2K11's blog, where I discuss promotional tools I wish I'd known about, the day I got my publishing contract.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

In Which I Moonlight

Check out my guest post on the Class of 2K11's blog, where I discuss writing for YA while keeping your potential MG readers in mind.

And while you're there, check out some of the other amazing 2011 Young Adult debuts. (Besides the incredibleness that is HEREAFTER, of course!)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Work, Writing, House, Kiddo: Or, Three Jobs and a Baby

In the spirit of my recent "what was I thinking" theme, here's a list of all the things I didn't realize would happen when I decided that simultaneously working two jobs and becoming a new mom would be easy.

New working moms may experience one - or more likely, all - of the following:

1.Between you, the jobs, and the baby, someone isn't getting a bath. Most often, it's you.

2.You will eat anything that's put in front of you, as long as it doesn't have tentacles and isn't moving.

3. Actually, edit #2. You will eat anything that's put in front of you. Period.

4.Because of #2 and #3, you will remain fat. In all the wrong places.

5.Because of #4, someone will inevitably ask, "Have you had that baby yet?" You will have to decide between answering, "Yeah, three months ago (jackass)" and stabbing that person in the eye with a fork.

6. While we're on that topic, you will sometimes feel wildly emotional. This will cause you to use a lot of exclamation marks in your writing. Please remove them! Yay!!

7. While feeling wildly emotional, do not decide that it's time to finally shop for a new pair of "button" (i.e. not maternity) jeans. This experience will nearly kill you, and may leave you crying like a six year old in a Target dressing room.

8. The same goes for the first time you wear those jeans. You may or may not feel like the equivalent of a rhino in a leotard.

9. After that moment, you come to a new low. Remember making fun of your mother and grandmother for the industrial body armor they insisted on wearing under their clothes? You now own, like, four sets.

10. But you know what? The baby is always worth it. Even when he craps all over you. Which he will.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Holy F

Motherhood.

It's scary as hell.

Let's overlook the fact that, once you become a parent, you also become entirely responsible for someone else's well-being - physical, mental, spiritual, psychological, etc. And let's overlook the fact that, as the old cliche goes, kids don't come with instruction manuals.

Instead, I'd like to discuss the incredibly unfair circumstances that leave a child at his most vulnerable, medically, while he can't a) tell you what's wrong, or b) take anything for his illnesses.

Seriously - nothing. No antibiotics, no cough medicine, no Benadryl. We can't even give him acetaminophen for the fever. All we can give him is food which he won't even, love that he doesn't notice because he's so sick, and mist from a humidifier that looks like a frog.

So, to repeat another cliche...this stuff is NOT for sissies.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's ALIVE!!!!

Can you believe it's been almost 5 months since I've posted here?!?

What's wrong with me to cause such an unacceptable delay? Aside from the more obviously flaws (trying to beat you to the punch, Peanut Gallery), I have some seriously amazing excuses.

First - the Impending Child is no longer impending! Wyatt Edwin Hudson was born at 1:37 pm, November 8th, 2010, weighing in at 8 pounds and measuring 21 inches in length. (Judging by the fact that I'm only 64 inches long, you can guess why my last trimester wasn't rife with blog posts. Just lots of languishing on my couch and complaining.)

Here's a picture of the second most handsome guy in my life. (I'm contractually obligated to give my husband first place.)



Isn't he kind of a doll?

Then on to my second piece of amazing news - we have a cover for HEREAFTER! You might have already seen this image floating around the web, but now you get an up-close view of this gorgeousness. Not to get all slobbery, but isn't it just dreamy? This isn't absolutely final, since my brilliant design team is going to add some blurbs I've received from some equally brilliant YA authors, but...still. LOVE this.