Thursday, December 1, 2016

Discussion guide for VICARIOUS

Hi guys! I've updated my discussion guide page to include non-spoilery questions for Vicarious. These are great for anyone reading the book for a book club or online read-along.

I know I haven't been online too much, but I'll be back on Twitter and FB regularly in January or February. In the meantime, be sure to stop back by the blog because later this month I'll be running another Reviewer Appreciation Giveaway where you can score entry points for reviewing any of my books online. Then, in January, I'll be doing a giveaway for a signed copy of Kristen Simmons's Metaltown. Plus there will be exclusive holiday giveaways for my awesome newsletter subscribers. Join the mailing list here.


VICARIOUS DISCUSSION GUIDE, written by Paula Stokes

Pre-reading questions:

1. Vicarious takes place in a world where futuristic technology makes it possible for people to record their sensory experiences and share them with others. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go shark diving or bungee jumping, but you’re too scared or you can’t afford it. Maybe you want to snowboard but you don’t have time to take lessons. With Vicarious Sensory Experiences (ViSEs), people can experience not just the first-person visual of what these activities are like, but also the sounds, smells, and tactile sensations. It’s like Virtual Reality on steroids.

Name one or two things you might like to experience via a ViSE recording. It doesn’t need to be an adventure sport. It could be something like walk along the Great Wall of China or go on a date with a celebrity.

2. Name one or two things you’ve done in the past that you might want to share with friends or strangers by making a ViSE. Again, it doesn’t have to be anything expensive or overly glamorous. Maybe you went sledding over Winter Break or saw one of your favorite bands perform live.

3. Who is the person you are closest to in the whole world? Why did you pick that person?

4. Do you think it’s okay to lie to people “for their own good?” Does it depend on the circumstances? Discuss why you feel the way you do.

5. What is your definition of family?



Questions while reading:


6. Winter exercises, perhaps obsessively, to calm her nerves. Is there anything that you do in order to calm yourself before a big test or a potentially scary task?

7. The author intended for the book’s setting to be an alternate present day, but a lot of readers assume the book takes place in the future. Can you find two examples that make the book feel futuristic? What about two examples that make the book feel like it’s taking place in the present?

8. Describe the phenomenon of overlay. Why does it affect some people more than others?

9. At one point Winter plays a ViSE of Rose winning a large amount of money in a casino and muses that her sister might have been making recordings that function like high-tech commercials. Do you think that would work? That is, do you think having a positive virtual experience would make people more likely to try to replicate the experience in real life? Why or why not?

10. What does Winter think is happening in the bathroom at Zoo before she and Jesse enter? What is actually happening? Why do you think Winter had preconceived notions about what goes on at Zoo?

11. There are definite privacy concerns when it comes to recording ViSEs, especially some of the ones that Rose records. Given that ViSEs are essentially recorded personal memories, do you think it should be okay to sell them or share them without the consent of other people who are part of the recording? Why or why not?

12. Do you see Winter as a strong character, weak character, or somewhere in between? Why do you feel the way you do?

13. Do you see Jesse as a strong character, weak character, or somewhere in between? Why do you feel the way you do?

14. Which characters in the book were the easiest for you to relate to? Which did you find to be the most likable? Explain why you feel the way you do.

15. How would you describe Jesse’s feelings for Winter? Gideon’s feelings? Sebastian’s feelings? Give examples from the text to back up your answers.



Post-reading questions:

16. Almost all of the characters in Vicarious seem suspicious at one point or another in the book. Did you figure out who killed Rose before the answer was revealed? Discuss who your major suspects were and at which point in the novel you started to put the pieces together.

17. Who does Winter trust at the beginning of the book? Who does she trust at the end of the book? What things happened throughout the story that caused her to switch her allegiances?

18. Would you like a job recording ViSEs? Why or why not?

19. The author has mentioned that this book was inspired by her love of gritty, high-tech movies, including Inception and The Matrix. In The Matrix, main character Neo is offered a choice of two pills—the blue pill that will put him back into the false reality of the matrix, or the red pill that will allow him to see the world as it really is. He chooses the red pill, but is horrified by the truth. Winter isn’t given a choice, but like Neo she experiences a series of revelations and is also horrified by the truth. If you were her, would you want to know everything that she discovers in the last several chapters of the novel? Or would you prefer to be protected from the truth? Are there any scenarios in real life you can think of where you would definitely want to “take the blue pill” and be protected from reality? Explain your answer.

20. What do you think is going to happen in the second (and final) book of the Vicarious series? What questions do you have at the end of Book #1 that you still need to be answered?


ICYMI, check out the official Vicarious trailer:


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Third Party Voting: Did it Matter and Why People Do It

Hi :) I don't generally share my political views on the internet because I think it's best when people do their own research and come to their own conclusions. This is also why you don't see me jumping into the fray much on controversial issues. I often have strong feelings, which I discuss with people offline, but I try not to say anything online unless I'm certain of the facts. I worry sort of obsessively about spreading disinformation or propagating false narratives, and usually by the time we know all the facts about something, people have moved on to talking about something else.

There were a lot of false narratives spread by major media outlets on election night, one of which is that "If HRC had gotten all of Jill Stein's votes and half of Johnson's she would have won." That's not true. As far as I can tell, it was never true at any point during the vote counting. Media personas who spread this falsehood gave HRC half of Johnson's votes but conveniently didn't give the other half to Trump. When you give the other half to Trump, those votes cancel each other out and become mathematically irrelevant. Then when you look at the total number of Stein votes, it's not enough for HRC to win. (These figures are from 11/20.)


                             Trump             Clinton                Difference             Stein
Florida               4,605,515           4,485,745               119,770                64,019
Michigan            2,279,221           2,267,798                 11,423                50,690
Pennsylvania     2,912,941           2,844,705                 68,236                48,912
Wisconsin          1,409,467           1,382,210                 27,257                30,980


It's enough for HRC to win Michigan, and just barely Wisconsin (needing 88% of Stein's votes), but that's all. I've heard people say it might be close enough to trigger a recount in Pennsylvania, but that's before you allocate the 20,000 votes for Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party (theocratic paleoconservatives) to Trump. [Please let me know if my math is wrong or there's something I'm leaving out and I will update this post. My intent is to clarify, not mislead.] And if you seriously believe that more than 50% of the Libertarian (no social services, very small government) voters would have voted Democrat (lots of social services, big government), consider this post about third party voters from Jill Stein herself, where she explains her beliefs about third parties and cites exit polls that indicate 55% of Libertarian voters and 61% of Green Party voters would have stayed home/opted not to vote rather than choose Trump or HRC.

I understand that voter suppression played a role and that some people suspect there was election fraud, and I'm not trying to downplay the seriousness of either of those issues. But even if the numbers in this chart were different, given that in every election a significant percentage of registered Democrats vote Republican and a huge number of Dems don't vote at all, there's no logical reason to blame third party voters (who are often Independents), other than the fact that they're convenient scapegoats. But do you know what else they are? They're people who might have taken the time to vote for your preferred down ballot candidates, even if they didn't share your choice for president. They're also the voters most likely to return to the fold if the Democrats put forth a strong progressive candidate in 2020.

So if you truly believe that swing state third party voters had a major role in putting Trump in office, my recommendation would be to stop bashing them, or else we might be right back here in four years. Because when it comes to influencing voter behavior, shaming and coercion don't work. If you don't believe me, review the psychological theory of reactance, which states essentially that when someone or something threatens our idea of free will, we adjust our behavior in a way that works to reestablish it.

You know you want to.


But why would people throw away their votes in such an important election?

Well, I suspect for most, it wasn't throwing away their votes. There's been a lot of talk of "wasted protest votes" but when I think of a protest vote, I think of the 88,000 Michiganers who voted down ballot but skipped over the choice for president. I think of people who wrote in Sweet Meteor of Death or Cthulhu for president. Those people literally selected "None of the Above." Don't get me wrong--I'm not saying you should shame or blame those people either. We need their votes for 2020 too. But I think their motivations were different from those of third party voters. I asked a few people I know who voted for Stein or Johnson why they went third party. Here's what I found out:


Third party voters invested their votes for 2020:
"Growing up, I thought the Republicans were the party of the rich and the Democrats were the party of the common people, but this year both parties seemed to serve the same master. We need a third party for the 99% I voted for Jill Stein because I wanted to increase the chance that the Green Party could get campaign funding for next time."
This hasn't been mentioned much in the media, but the #1 reason people voted for Green or Libertarian candidates was to try to get them federal funding and auto-ballot access for 2020. If a third party received 5% of the popular vote, that party would have been automatically eligible for millions of dollars in federal funding. They also wouldn't have had to petition each state individually to get their names onto the ballot--something that burns through a lot of limited resources each cycle.

Simply put, these voters invested their votes, hoping to be able to build a viable third party for 2020. Considering that more than 60% of people said they think we need a viable third party, this feels like the furthest thing from a "protest vote." It was a strategic choice that didn't pan out, but given that Stein was polling 2-3% and Johnson was polling 4-6% in polls that focused mainly on older respondents with landlines, there was no reason to think this goal would be impossible to achieve.


Third party voters wanted to send a message/decrease the chances of a mandate:
"I don't like Trump at all, but as a Bernie supporter I just didn't feel like the democrat platform was progressive enough. And after the whole "public and private" policy debacle, I didn't even trust Hilary to stick to any of the things she promised Bernie."
One of the reasons third parties exist is to keep the main parties "honest." Did you notice how as the race progressed, Clinton veered more toward Republican ideals and started courting neocon endorsements while Trump began stealing lines from Sanders? That's a thing that happens as candidates try to draw in undecided voters, many of whom are presumably moderates.

When the Democrats look back and see that although the Green Party percentage of the vote was still very small, it was three times what it was in 2012, what they should do is recognize that they failed some of their progressive base. Ballots don't have a comment section and voting is the most powerful way to send a message to a political party that says "Hey. Not good enough." Also, if HRC had won, but ended up without a mandate, it might have made it harder for her to go to war or implement policies that the majority of people did not want.

If you saw my chart numbers and thought "Yeah, but I'd feel better if HRC had won Michigan and Wisconsin because it would have been really close and with her winning the popular vote it would have been like she lost on a technicality," that's the whole point of what I'm talking about here. A lot of people are desperate for change. If HRC wins huge or loses in some way that it looks like a technicality, then the Democratic Party will change nothing.

And before you judge people for sending messages and demanding change instead of fighting Trump, ask yourself if you have a home, a job, health insurance, and a fallback source (spouse/parent/savings account/401K/etc.) of financial support. Many people don't have those things. Many people have spent the last eight years struggling. Asking them to support a candidate who they felt would be a less-effective version of Obama is asking them to struggle for eight more years without even voicing their opposition.


Third party voters voted based on their principles:
"Donald Trump is offensive and unqualified but Hillary Clinton has made choices that killed thousands of innocent people and she wants to go back to the Middle East and do it some more. Both of these candidates also support the death penalty and don't seem worried about climate change at all. They stand for everything that I don't. I voted Jill and I don't regret it."
These people took a lot of crap online for allegedly acting morally superior or something, but I related to this woman's reasoning because I am also anti-war, anti-death penalty, and anti-fracking. But when I think about how my principles figure into voting, it has nothing to do with being able to pat myself on the back later. It's not like people who voted based on their principles are going to shrug it off if we go to war and the bodies start piling up, like "Don't blame me. I voted for Jill!" No, it's more a matter of reducing the chances of a mandate, as mentioned before, and not giving tacit consent for your government to engage in activities you find morally unacceptable.


Third party voters voted for their preferred platform:
"It's weird so many people are asking why I voted for Gary Johnson. I did it because I wanted him to be president. Isn't that the whole point of voting? I figured anything was possible this year and I like what Johnson stands for--the whole less govt interference thing. I'm sick of rich politicians telling us we have to buy expensive health insurance and putting people in jail for smoking weed."
Sometimes it's just that simple. I mean, I think they still teach in school that voting is to select who you want to be the leader, right? And the major reason third party candidates can't win is because no one votes for them because people think they can't win because no one votes for them... If Stein and Johnson had been given media coverage, if they'd been allowed in the debates, I think this could have been a whole different race.


Full disclosure: I voted for the Green Party.  I have the good fortune of living in Oregon, one of the bluest states in the nation, so I was able to vote Green with no real fear of affecting the final outcome. I do not regret this vote. I do not view it as a wasted vote, because like the Green voters I quoted above, I was hoping to help a more progressive party gain federal funding for 2020. If the Democrats do not veer back to the left and once again become the party of the 99%, I will continue supporting the efforts of more progressive third parties.

Trump was not an option for me because, well, he's Trump. Nothing in this post should be interpreted to mean that I support Trump. I didn't before the election and I don't now. I do not condone his actions or his words. I hate that his election has emboldened racists and neo-nazis. I condemn any and all acts of racism and bigotry, as does every third party voter I know.

With respect to Clinton, I was disappointed by the various scandals and outraged by the DNC's unfair treatment of Bernie Sanders in the primary, but the biggest reasons I didn't vote for HRC were her disastrous foreign policy record and her eagerness to establish a no-fly-zone in Syria, a move which would, in her words, "kill a lot of Syrians."


A couple people felt I was misinformed about that, so in the interest of info sharing, here's a 30 second video of a high-ranking U.S. general on C-SPAN saying that implementing a no-fly-zone would be declaring war on Syria and Russia, here's an article from Salon quoting HRC as saying a no-fly-zone would "kill a lot of Syrians" and here's an article from Vox explaining why that is. Here's another article discussing why establishing a "safe zone" would also be highly problematic and require 30,000 or more U.S. troops to maintain it.

When I researched HRC's foreign policy history, from voting to go to war in Iraq, to pushing for more intervention in Afghanistan, to advocating regime change in Libya, to facilitating a coup in Honduras and later advocating deportation of child refugees who fled the new violent government, etc., what I found was someone who is very pro-war and pro regime change, but doesn't seem to learn from her mistakes. Syria, if it happens (and it still might) will probably be Iraq 2.0. I don't claim to be a foreign policy expert and I'm sure a lot of people disagree with my assessment, which is fine, but I take voting seriously and I put a lot of thought into my decision.

I was never in the armed forces, but back in my twenties I was engaged to a soldier who deployed to Iraq. I count several military members and veterans among my family and friends. Our enlisted military is full of brave people who sign up to protect America from enemies foreign and domestic. That shouldn't include fighting in other countries' civil wars for profit or political gain. It shouldn't include forcing democracy on countries that don't want it or aren't ready for it.

I was unable to verify the source of this meme, but I have no reason to
believe it's fake. If you have any info about it, please email and let me know.

Our leaders will tell you that when we intervene, we do it for "humanitarian reasons" and it's true that our brave military heroes have saved a lot of lives. But a glance back through history's genocides and massacres reveals that our government picks and chooses who it is that we help. A glance back through some of our military interventions shows that we've spent trillions of dollars killing people, destroying infrastructure, and bombing whole cities to rubble. Sure we depose the occasional tyrant or capture/kill the occasional terrorist, but more often than not we leave behind an unlivable country and a fragmented society ripe for a new dictator or terrorist group to move in. Trump was wrong to say that Obama founded ISIS, but it's undeniable that America's actions around the world have bred more terrorism and created circumstances ideal for radical groups to thrive.

I realize war may be an abstract concept if it hasn't touched you personally, and that the media often shields us from the knowledge of what are tax dollars are doing overseas. I know some people can rationalize "collateral damage" in exchange for political power or economic gain. I can't. The "lesser evil" argument falls away for me when we start talking about thousands of people dying. (Again, I am not saying Trump is better. I am saying both choices were unacceptable to me.) A couple of people cut me out of their lives because they said my vote means I don't care about marginalized groups, and all I can say is that the people we kill in our wars are marginalized too, and it will be easier for us to fight to protect the rights of people here in the U.S. I have put myself in harm's way to defend the rights of others and I would do so again. I'm sure many of you feel the same way.

Trump could very well be worse when it comes to war, but according to someone who has listened to a lot of his speeches, Trump professes to be anti-war, except for fighting ISIS.
"Much to my surprise, the young Yemeni American shopkeeper at my local convenience store in Brooklyn supported Trump. Why? Because, instead of hearing in Trump’s rhetoric a threat to round up Muslims, he heard a promise to stop supplying Saudi Arabia with bombs to drop on Yemen. “Over a thousand school kids killed by those bombs! Just little kids!"” -Christian Parenti, Listening to Trump
Of course I have little confidence in what Trump says, especially when he's surrounding himself with warmonger types, but when the choices are definite war and probable war, that's when (for me, anyway) it was time to look for better options. We third party voters understand if you're angry, but society needs dissenting opinions. Without them, you get things like Bay of Pigs. Also, we are angry too. We're angry that the DNC conspired against Bernie Sanders. We're angry that the Clinton campaign and major media tried to help Trump in the primaries because they felt he'd be easy to beat. We're angry that more people didn't choose peace. I think anger can be a positive, motivational force, but keep in mind that if we want to win in 2020, the Democrats, liberals, progressives, and whatever else leftists are calling themselves will have to find their way back to common ground. I'm open to that. Are you?

This is TV coverage during the primaries, not the general election. I wonder
why the media worked so hard to put the blame on third party voters. Could
it be partially because they don't want you to blame them?


Also, and this is not to downplay the horror of the recent surge of hate crimes, or of probable worse things to come, but it's important to realize that a lot of what people fear about Trump was already happening long before the election. I campaigned fervently for Obama and I truly believe he had our country's best interests at heart when he was elected, but at some point he got sucked into the cesspool of politics or something and stopped being our "hope and change" president. Obama has deported more illegal immigrants than any other president. He has detainment camps full of immigrants living in terrible conditions. The FBI is already profiling and spying on Muslims. On the war front, Obama has bombed seven countries this year. He's ordered ten times as many drone strikes as George W Bush. In addition to innocent foreign casualties, these drone strikes kill Americans, both on accident and on purpose. He's currently letting the #NoDAPL water protectors be attacked with tear gas and water cannons. Oh, and the U.S. spent the last year helping Saudi Arabia commit war crimes against Yemen, including providing the bombs from the above quote that killed lots of kids :/

So yes, we should be worried about Trump, for sure. We should resist the terrible things he stands for. But we also shouldn't give the current administration a pass. Be informed. Be angry. Be active. Be vocal. Be brave. Protect each other. And please know that I accept you and support you regardless of how you voted/you would have voted/your family voted. Political beliefs come from a variety of places--parents, teachers, friends, churches, communities, and more. They are influenced by past experiences and current situations. We can learn from each other if we're willing to listen. If you've walked away from friends or disowned family over this election, I hope you spend some time thinking about who they really are over the holidays or the next few months. Do they want the same things you want? Are they willing to fight against ignorance and hatred? If so, maybe you're on the same side in everything that really matters. We can help each other if we're willing to unite against common enemies. It is our actions that define who we are. It is our actions that can save us <3


*Comments disabled because the people who shared their thoughts with me have been blamed unfairly and I won't subject them to more hate. I'm totally open to discussing my thoughts with anyone, so hit the contact tab for my email address if you want to talk. I probably won't be on Twitter much for the next couple of months because I'm hard at work on books #11 and (hopefully) #12 :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

VICARIOUS: Reviewer Appreciation Giveaway

Hi guys :D In case you missed it, I revealed the cover for FEROCIOUS as part of the YA Scavenger Hunt. I love love love love it, maybe even more than the cover for VICARIOUS. I honestly can't decide. Check it out in extra-large size:


We're not releasing the official description for the book yet, because it will be hard to do so without spoiling any of the twists in Vicarious, but I'm going to give away a signed ARC to one lucky reader (INT) who has read and reviewed Vicarious online.

Wondering why I'm running a reviewer appreciation giveaway? Here are some reasons why reviews are important to authors:

1. There's the obvious way, where if a book has a lot of positive reviews, then a prospective reader might be more willing to take a chance on it. Positive reviews have the power to influence readers who are "on the fence."

2. There's the inverse (converse?) where a negative review might prevent someone who wouldn't like the book from picking it up, which is also a good thing. Sometimes I’ll read a negative review that says “This book had too much swearing and underage drinking” or “I hated that this book had a love triangle.” Readers are totally justified in not liking those things. However, those things don’t bother me, so those reviews they don’t affect whether I’ll buy a book. Other reviews says stuff like “This book was really slow-paced and took 250 pages to get to the inciting incident” or “I hated that the heroine’s pet kitten died a brutal death.” When I read that, I’m less likely to pick up a book, and that’s actually a good thing for everyone involved. Maybe it means that I don’t buy a book I was thinking of buying, but I am much more likely to buy the author’s future books if I haven’t labeled her or him in my brain as slow-paced or “Violent Kitten Killer Author.” 

3. So-so reviews can also sell books. One of the three-star reviews I've seen for GATU was extremely well-written and complimentary--the reviewer mostly felt that book was kind of long. (It is.) If a reader sees that and likes long books, that might be even more persuasive than a 5-star review. Also, everyone knows that not all 3-star reviews are the same. Some reviewers have their reader-meter set to LOVE and three stars means the book let them down. Other reviewers have a "no five star" policy since no books are perfect, and three stars might be a really good review from them.

4. Even one-star reviews can sell books. I will openly admit that when I see a book being obliterated with one-star reviews, my curiosity is piqued and my sympathy-response is activated. I am more likely to read that book. Also, some one-star reviews are more "it's not for me" than "no one should ever read this." One of my Liars, Inc. one-star reviews says this: No matter how I didn't like the plot/decisions of the characters, I will say the writing was exceptional, and the book is a fast read. I love flawed characters and fast reads. That's basically a blurbable quote from someone who "borderline-hated" the book.

5. Most book-buying websites also have algorithms that cause the more "popular" books to come up more frequently in site "If you like [Book] you might be interested in [Other Book]" features and targeted emails, etc. This placement can be tremendously helpful in getting the word out about a new book to targeted audiences--almost like free advertising. One way a book's "popularity" is measured is by number of reviews.

6. Sometimes just the sheer numbers of reviews (say 60 on Amazon vs. 10) is enough to cause a potential buyer to click for more info. The only reason I ever clicked on Susan Ee'sAngelfall is because it had a massive number of reviews, and I really enjoyed that book. Volume of reviews can influence casual browsers who might click on "People who bought [Book] also bought [Other Book]" links.


RULES FOR ENTERING:

1. You must have read Vicarious in order to enter.
2. Your review must be at least 50 words long. (Reviews that you have already posted also count. No need to edit or update, unless you need more words.)
3. You can copy/paste the same review to different sites for multiple entries.
4. You must fill out the Raffecopter below, providing links/identifying info to your reviews.
5. There are more points for Amz/B&N than GR/your blog because right now those are the places where more reviews will really benefit the book, and also because I'm hoping this giveaway might encourage people who reviewed on their blog/GR to cross-post those reviews to Amz/B&N.

If you want to enter but you don't generally leave reviews because you're not sure what to say or not comfortable sharing your prose publicly, consider leaving a list of things you liked and/or didn't like about the book. That adds up to 50 words pretty quickly :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

OTHER FINE PRINT STUFF:

The dangers of running a giveaway likes this include that people will plagiarize/write fake reviews to qualify or that people will think I am bribing readers for positive reviews. It's important to me that neither of these things happen. So:

1. If I think your review is fake or plagiarized (meaning that you copied someone else's review, not that you used quotes from the book--that's totally fine), I will disqualify you from consideration without notification.

2. Any honest review qualifies you to win the ARC. 5 stars. 1 star. A GR review with no rating if that's how you roll. I probably won't even read your review unless you're the contest winner. And if you didn't like the book and would prefer a $10 gift card to Amazon or Book Depository instead of an ARC, that's fine too.

Got questions about the giveaway or about reviews? Put 'em in the comments.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

YA SCAVENGER HUNT!



Hi hi! Once again it's time for the YA Scavenger Hunt!!! YASH gives you a chance to check out scads of fun bonus material and enter to win like a bajillion books. If you're confused about how to play, check this site for instructions on how to hunt.


This hunt I am proud to represent the GREEN TEAM.

I'm hosting Jennifer Bardsley who is new to YASH this year. Welcome, Jennifer! I hope you have a blast :D Be sure to check out Jennifer's website because there are at least 5 pretty things in her header that I wish I had, starting with that cake. Is that red velvet?


Jennifer wrote GENESIS GIRL.  Here's a little bit more about the book:

Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she's been protected from the Internet. Blanca has never been online and doesn't even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint has made her extremely valuable and upon graduation Blanca, and those like her, are sold to the highest bidders. 

Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.


Dude! How awesome does that sound? Can you imagine what you'd be like right now if you had been shielded from the Internet your whole life? What a cool premise!


For her bonus content, Jennifer is sharing the official playlist for GENESIS GIRL. Check it out:

****************************************************************

“Girl is On Fire” Alicia Keys

“God’s Gonna Cut you Down” Johnny Cash

“It’s My Life” Bon Jovi

“To Be With You” Mr. Big

“Help Me Find It” Sidewalk Prophets

“I Won’t Give Up” Jason Mraz

“Cups” Anna Kendrick

“Galileo” Indigo Girls

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” Everclear

“She Will Be Loved” Maroon 5

“I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” The Proclaimers

“Soldier” Gavin DeGraw

****************************************************************

What a fun mix of songs! Thanks for sharing, Jennifer :D BTW, here's more about Jennifer herself.


Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. Her debut YA novel, “Genesis Girl” was published Month9Books on June 14, 2016. The sequel, "Damaged Goods," releases next year. “Genesis Girl” is about a teenager who has never been on the Internet. Jennifer however, is on the web all the time as “The YA Gal” with over 20,000 followers on Facebook, and 15,000 followers on Instagram. On Facebook, she hosts the weekly instant book club called #TakeALookTuesday where YA Gal friends geek out, share pictures of what they are reading, and chat about books. Jennifer is a member of SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens debut author group, and is founder of Sixteen To Read. An alumna of Stanford University, Jennifer lives near Seattle, WA where she enjoys spending time with her family and her poodle, Merlin.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter as @JennBardsley and check out her website!

For more info and to buy GENESIS GIRL, check out the Amazon page.


SECONDARY GIVEAWAY!!!


One lucky green team winner will score a 20-book prize pack, including a finished copy of VICARIOUS. But you guys know I love these secondary giveaways, so a second lucky winner will win their choice of any of my last four releases (shown in the sidebar.) Read more about each title on my Books page.

The book the winner chooses will ship directly from me if you're local or from The Book Depository or Wordery if you live outside the US. 

Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter. The comment prompt is:

Do you write reviews on book buying sites like Amazon or international sites? Why or why not? 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more about why reviews matter, especially to midlist or non-bestselling authors, check out this post I wrote before THE ART OF LAINEY released or this updated post with even more reasons. (Note: The reviewer appreciation giveaway on the second post is over, but I will be starting a new review-themed giveaway after the hunt.)


Are you ready for more YASH epicness? Lisa Amowitz is next for TEAM GREEN.  Happy hunting, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Once again, A HUGE THANK YOU to the organizers of the hunt for including me, and to all of the participants for taking the time to stop by our blogs and enter our contests. Books and <333  --Paula



Thursday, September 8, 2016

Vicarious Gratitude Giveaway

It's time for another gratitude giveaway! I'm very thankful to Lindsay Cummings, Victoria Scott, and Kristi Helvig for providing blurbs for VICARIOUS. Scoring blurbs for a book's jacket is something that is highly stressful to most authors, and extremely so for me, because I have been rejected a lot--way more than I ever got rejected by agents. (Stuff like this is part of what I mean when I tell people the rejection part of writing increases dramatically after you land an agent.)

All three of these fabulous authors have written books that I think are good comparison titles for Vicarious, and I am grateful they found the time to fit reading my ARC into their busy schedules. If you have enjoyed their novels, chances are you'll enjoy the action-packed sci-fi storyline and tough but vulnerable heroine of my latest novel too :)




Lindsay also hosted the book's trailer reveal! Vicarious features Korean sisters as main characters. ICYMI: You can read more about why I made Winter and Rose Korean in my blog tour posts.




For this contest, I'm giving one lucky reader their choice of one currently available book by Lindsay, Victoria, or Kristi. This giveaway is INT and I will be ordering from The Book Depository or Wordery. Here's some information on each author's latest book or series.


An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?


Do you already own a copy of The Murder Complex? Check out Lindsay's other books here.


Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit 
neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.

She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.

But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.

Victoria's got two fantastic series in addition to Titans. See her whole collection here.



Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth's final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns "red giant," but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.

Holed up in an underground shelter, Tora is alone--her brilliant scientist father murdered, her mother and sister burned to death. She dreams of living on a planet with oceans, plants, and animals. Unfortunately, the oceans dried out ages ago, the only plants are giant cacti with deadly spines, and her pet, Trigger, is a gun--one of the bio-energetic weapons her father created for the government before his conscience kicked in.

When family friend, Markus, arrives with mercenaries to take the weapons by force, Tora's fury turns to fear when government ships descend in an attempt to kill them all. She forges an unlikely alliance with Markus and his rag-tag group of raiders, including a smart but quiet soldier named James. Tora must quickly figure out who she can trust, as she must choose between saving herself by giving up the guns or honoring her father's request to save humanity from the most lethal weapons in existence.

Have you already read Burn Out? Here's more information about Kristi's other books!

Enter in the Rafflecopter below. Don't forget to comment on the post and tell me one bookish thing or person you are grateful for :)


a Rafflecopter giveaway