Sunday, August 13, 2017

Ferocious mini blog tour


video


Hi everyone. Today I’m introducing a mini-travelogue blog tour for FEROCIOUS. This tour is in addition to a bigger tour planned by my publisher, so if you see overlapping posts, that’s why. The other tour is mostly videos and reviews—this one highlights the different parts of Korea that Winter Kim travels to in the sequel to VICARIOUS. Both tours include giveaways, so you should definitely check them out :)

I spent a year living in Seoul from 2005 to 2006, during which I fell in love with the frenetic pace and high-tech feel of the city. You might be surprised to find out that some of the technological advances that are somewhat new to the US, like paying for purchases with your cell phones, were already commonplace in Seoul over ten years ago. Korea is definitely ahead of the US when it comes to certain things.

I returned to Seoul in January of 2016 for research and so I could see how things had changed. I unfortunately got sick soon after arriving, so I stuck to the stuff that was essential for the novel and didn't do much sightseeing. That means my pictures (featured in four of these blog tour posts) aren't as gorgeous as they might have been, but you should totally go to Korea if you ever get the chance because it's amazing.




At the end of Vicarious, Winter is standing at a St. Louis train station, forced to decide between going to her therapist appointment as scheduled or embarking upon a mission of revenge. Spoiler: she goes for Option #2. This leads her from St. Louis to Los Angeles and then back to her homeland of South Korea.

While in Seoul, Winter visits several different areas of the city. At the end of the book, she has left the mainland for Jeju-do, a volcanic island located off the Southwest corner of the Korean peninsula. Follow this tour for a sneak peek at some of the unique and colorful settings of Winter’s adventures in Ferocious.

Mon. Aug 14: Itaewon Jen Ryland Reviews 
Tues. Aug 15: Gangnam-gu Beauty and the Bookshelf 
Wed. Aug 16: Namdaemun Market Snuggling on the Sofa 
Thurs. Aug 17: Namsan Tower Owl Always Be Reading 
Fri. Aug 18: Jeju Island Love is not a Triangle 




Have you read the first book in the duology? Here’s the mood board for Vicarious. Click here to learn more about the book and read the first few chapters!

Tomorrow, see the first place Winter and Jesse go when they arrive in Seoul over at Jenn Ryland Reviews.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Ferocious Graphics Contest!

I have mailed out all of my swag for THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED. You know what that means--it's time for another great graphics contest! Do you want to win a copy of any of my novels, including a pre-order of FEROCIOUS or my forthcoming NA novel THE KEY TO EVERYTHING? I'm looking for cool fan art or quote/image pairings to share on social media related to FEROCIOUS. You don't have to have read the book to enter.

These images should include the title of the book somewhere and can include quotes from the novel, suggested taglines, your own taglines, etc. You can use your own photography, draw something, make word art, create an image in Canva, modify the official cover art, etc. (Click the Books or Media tab for access to the official book cover.)

What you can't do is use someone else's copyrighted material as the base for your work. If you don't know for sure it's open source (from a Canva free image bank or via Wikipedia where the image info says open source, etc.) assume that it isn't. I know a lot of you guys pull images from Pinterest and Tumblr for your blogs, but technically you might be infringing on someone's copyright when you do that and writers have gotten sued for doing that in the past.

Here are some of my faves from the TIHIH contest :)

Cover art modification by Agustina Z.


Mixed media by Alyssa C

Original photograph by Mariely V

Modified graphic by Rebeca G

Just like last time, I am picking at least two winners for this contest (assuming I get at least 2 entries), one based on the artwork I like the best, and one randomly selected from all of the other entries that follow the rules. It's not always just about who has mad design skills--it's also about the fact you took the time to help me promote my book <3 Just like last time, I might award additional prizes if I have trouble picking winners.

Each winner of this contest will get a signed finished copy of Ferocious if you have a U.S. address or a Book Depository or Wordery pre-order of the novel + a signed bookplate if you live outside the U.S. If you want Vicarious or one of my other books instead, just ask. I have no problem subbing in a different title as long as it's available. Everyone who enters, regardless of location, will receive swag to include signed bookmarks and stickers. All submitted designs remain copyright of their creator but will be fawned over by me and may be shared via my social media ;D


Possible text for your graphic:
Your graphic does not need to have text (aside from the book's title if you're not using the cover image), but it can. If you've read the ARC, you can use anything that stood out to you. If you haven't read the ARC, you can check out this six-chapter sample. You can also use part of one of the quotes that are listed on Goodreads. You can make up your own tagline or phrase or use one of the ones below.
  • Everyone has a dark side.
  • Monsters don't get happy endings.
  • Tonight is just a single perfect moment trapped in glass.
  • An unfamiliar feeling starts to wash over me. I think it might be happiness.
  • My name is Winter Kim. Today I killed a man. Soon I hope to kill another.
  • How far would you go to protect someone you love?
  • How far would you go for revenge? How much would you sacrifice for love?
  • Sometimes I feel like I'm not even real anymore.
  • Vengeance is waiting.

Rules: 
  • You must share your graphic on Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr, at least once by August 14. Caption/tag the image similar to: Winter Kim is back and she's out for vengeance! #Ferocious by @pstokesbooks releases August 15 from @TorTeen
  • Again, you can't use copyrighted material in your entries. Aside from the book cover, which can be freely used/adapted, any photography or imagery must be open source or belong to you.  When in doubt, don't use it.
  • Designs can be any shape or size and do not need to be high resolution.
  • You can enter up to three graphics, but each one must be shared on social media.

Final designs need to be emailed to me as a .JPG or .PNG for easy sharing at pstokesbooks [at] gmail [dot] com by August 14, 2017, subject: Ferocious graphics contest. In your email, also include your mailing address if you want swag and a link or enough information so I can find your shared image on social media.

General questions? Put them in the comments.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Blog Tour: THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED


Hi :) I'm leading off a short five-stop blog tour for THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED this week. I decided to do a themed tour and talk about five of the challenges I had while writing and revising the novel. Here's the whole schedule:

Monday July 10
Author Paula Stokes: Intro + challenge of writing a book quickly

Tuesday July 11
Gabriella M Reads: Challenge of incorporating real places into the book

Wednesday July 12
That Book Gal: Challenge of incorporating the internet into the story

Thursday July 13
The Book Bratz: Challenge of incorporating a romance into the plot

Friday July 14
We Live and Breathe Books: Challenge of writing my first "issue" novel


Here's the story about writing books quickly--it's hard, but it's doable. You probably know that after a book is announced there's usually one and a half years or more before it's published. But what you might not know is of that one and a half years, the author might spend only about three months writing the book. Another few months are shared between author and editor in revision and editing. And then usually a hardcover title for a major publisher is completely finished, aside from in-house proofreading, ten to twelve months before the publication date.

Obviously this varies from house to house, book to book, and writer to writer. Paperbacks often have a shorter lead time. Some writers spend five years writing each book, but in that case the book is finished before it's announced or that release date is getting pushed back quite a bit. A delayed release generally results in delayed payments, and sometimes a delay in being able to sell more books. If you've read any of the "writer finances" blog posts I've tweeted lately, you know the only way to survive on a writing income is to sell, sell, sell.

So basically what happened with this book is that I hit a wall with the previous book, Jack of Hearts. I sold that book on proposal, meaning in this case that my publisher bought the title based off an outline (sometimes a proposal involves a lot more than that.) I was already behind schedule with it and the sequel to Vicarious, because my anxiety had derailed the revision process for both of my 2016 releases and I spent way too long on final edits for them. But then I got halfway done with Jack of Hearts and I was just...stuck. I hated the main character, I didn't like the plot, and I felt like I had so many loose ends floating around it was going to end up as a 150,000 word contemporary novel. I tried to fix it--I really did. I went on a retreat, I signed up for an online writing class. I even went back to Copenhagen for inspiration! But nothing helped, and in late October of 2015, just two months before my manuscript was due, I asked if I could start over with a new book.


My publisher said yes, what did I have in mind? I polished up a couple of my favorite ideas (contemporary romances, as that's what Jack of Hearts was so I figured that'd be best) as well as a couple other ideas--a Liars, Inc. companion novel with a speculative element, and the plot for This is How it Happened, back then called Shattered Hearts. I expected them to pick one of the contemp romances or the Liars companion, but they picked Shattered Hearts. Guys, I had literally come up with this idea a few days before. And now I had to outline it, write it, and revise it in about four months, and two of those months were November and December.

My publisher offered me the chance to bump the book back a year, but that would have likely meant bumping half the payment back a year, which at the time was simply not a financial option for me. So I outlined the whole story ASAP so my editor could preview the plot and point out any major issues with it. Once I got approval on the outline in early December, I had about two and a half months to write and revise the book and turn it in by the beginning of March to meet the publication deadline. Oh, and I also had the sequel to Vicarious due to my other editor at the end of January, and a week trip to Seoul in mid-January.

Long story long, I wrote the first draft of This is How it Happened in about six weeks. It was 85,000 words. It was also pretty terrible, as you can imagine. I had to go to NYC in April to sign Girl Against the Universe for Uppercase Box, and while I was there my editor and her assistant were like "Wow, your new manuscript is really compelling!" I just kept apologizing. I was so horrified that multiple people had read it. I got about a month to do a major revision and another week or two to do a second revision. Then (as I often do) I continued to tweak and rework the book at copy-edits...and first-pass pages [Newbie authors: This is a bad habit. Don't read this and think it's how it's normally done.]

I haven't read the whole book since I got printed copies because I know if I do I will see things I want to change. I will think "If only I'd had more time. If only I could have done a couple more revisions." The reality of professional writing is that there is not always more time, especially not when you're trying to do it as a career, not when paying your bills depends on meeting deadlines. Alternatively, sometimes your book publication date is bumped back months to years due to in-house scheduling issues, even though your part is completely finished. In that case, you might feel like there was too much time. For the most part, writers do not call the shots on their books' publishing schedules.



So...how did I write the book so fast? First, I had a tight outline. If you're writing on a time crunch, a detailed outline will save you because you won't have to stop to untangle plot problems or fill in plot holes. I also felt really strongly about the subject matter. I didn't have to stop and think "oh, but how would this character respond to that?" because I had been interested in internet shaming and its effects since 2005 and watched shaming dramas play out so frequently online. So it helps to be emotionally invested in your plot.

 Beyond that, I basically worked all day, every day until I was finished, giving myself mini-breaks to check Twitter or go for walks around the block. No TV (okay, I did watch iZombie), no movies, no hobbies, no social life. Thanks to tips from my friend Christina, I pretended like I was a resident doctor. Do you know what a resident doctor does for fun? They sleep. I got into a routine for eating--cereal in morning, sandwich for lunch, frozen thing for dinner--all easy to fix things requiring minimal thought. All my thought and effort went to the book. It's not a fun way to write, guys. But if you ever get into a situation where you feel like you have to get X pages done in Y days, whether it's a novel or a research paper for college or whatever, you can do it.

More tips. If you've got friends and family nearby, ask for help. If your family is pretty needy, ask for patience. (I am not advocating anyone neglect their children, or perhaps overfeed their extremely needy cats on a regular basis, even though I might have done one of those things.) Find a mantra. Something you can repeat in your head when you start to get distracted or despondent. Mine was: "What matters most is how well you walk through the fire." That's the title of a Bukowski book of poetry. I haven't read it, but I saw that line on Instagram and it spoke to me. I just kept thinking that writing isn't supposed to be easy, and that if I could survive the next few weeks I could survive anything Publishing threw at me. Also, tiny rewards. Even if all you can do is set an alarm for five minutes and spend that time with your cat, or take ten minutes to walk to the store for a cupcake. Cut yourself some slack on your diet and exercise plan because it's only for a limited time and you need to minimize other stresses as much as possible. But drink water and get sleep and eat something vaguely healthy now and then--even if it's just buying a bottle of Green Machine and chugging out of it.

And then, when you make it, because I know you will, CELEBRATE! You earned it :)



Have you ever had to write something quickly? What are your tips for surviving the process and ending up with a solid finished product? Share your experiences in the comments!

Want to win a copy of THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED or any of my novels? Enter the Rafflecopter below. And look for tomorrow’s blog tour stop about the challenge of incorporating real setting into novels at Gabriella M Reads.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About This is How it Happened:

When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.

As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.

Incredibly thought-provoking and beautifully told, Paula Stokes’s story will compel readers to examine the consequences of making mistakes in a world where the internet is always watching…and judging.

THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED  is available July 11th in the USA and on July 18th overseas. Read the first four chapters now or check out the discussion guide!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

This is How it Happened Graphics Contest!

It's time for another great graphics contest! Do you want to win a copy of any of my novels, including a pre-order of FEROCIOUS or my forthcoming NA novel THE KEY TO EVERYTHING? I'm looking for cool fan art or quote/image pairings to share on social media related to my next release THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED. You don't have to have read the book to enter.

These images should include the title of the book somewhere and can include quotes from the novel, suggested taglines, your own taglines, etc. You can use your own photography, draw something, make word art, create an image in Canva, use the official cover art, etc. (Click the Books or Media tab for access to the official book cover.)

Here are some examples from previous contests.


By Irene from Boghunden.dk


By Kim from Divergent Gryffindor



By Eli from The Silver Words


By Agustina Z


I made this one with Canva.

I am picking at least two winners for this contest (assuming I get at least 2 entries), one based on the artwork I like the best, and one randomly selected from all of the other entries that follow the rules. It's not always just about who has mad design skills--it's also about the fact you took the time to help me promote my book <3 I have extra ARCs and physical copies, so I might award additional prizes if I have trouble picking winners.

Each winner of this contest will get a signed hardcover of This is How it Happened if you have a U.S. address or a Book Depository or Wordery pre-order of the novel + a signed bookplate if you live outside the U.S. If you want one of my other books instead, just ask. I have no problem subbing in a different title as long as it's available. Everyone who enters, regardless of location, will receive swag to include signed bookmarks and either magnets or stickers. All submitted designs remain copyright of their creator but will be fawned over by me and may be shared via my social media ;D


Possible text for your graphic:
Your graphic does not need to have text (aside from the book's title if you're not using the cover image), but it can. If you've read the ARC, you can use anything that stood out to you. If you haven't read the ARC, you can check out this four-chapter sample. You can also use part of one of the quotes that are listed on Goodreads.  You can make up your own tagline or phrase or use one of the ones below.
  • Sometimes the simplest explanation is wrong.
  • You have more power than you know. Be careful what you do with it.
  • There are some mistakes you can't take back.
  • When the internet wants blood, someone is getting sacrificed.
  • We can't define people by their worst actions.

Rules: 
  • You must share your graphic on Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr, at least once before July 10. Caption/tag the image similar to: #ThisIsHowItHappened by @pstokesbooks releases July 11th from @HarperTeen 
  • Aside from the book cover, which can be freely used/adapted, any photography or imagery must be open source or belong to you.  When in doubt, don't use it.
  • Designs can be any shape or size and do not need to be high resolution.
  • You can enter up to three graphics, but each one must be shared on social media.

Final designs need to be emailed to me as a .JPG or .PNG for easy sharing at pstokesbooks [at] gmail [dot] com by July 10, 2017, subject: TIHIH graphics contest. In your email, also include your mailing address if you want swag and a link or enough information so I can find your shared image on social media.

General questions? Put them in the comments.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

BOOK BLAST GIVEAWAY: This is How it Happened

Hi lovely bookish peeps :) It's Book Blast time and I'm giving away the first finished copy of my newest contemporary novel, THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED.

About two-thirds of the book takes place in Springdale, Utah, near or in Zion National Park, one of my favorite places on Earth.

View of Zion Canyon and the Virgin River from Scout Lookout.

This is the view behind the Zion Human History Museum. When I visited,
an artist was back there painting it, which I totally understand.

Here’s more about the story:

When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.

As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.

Incredibly thought-provoking and beautifully told, Paula Stokes’s story will compel readers to examine the consequences of making mistakes in a world where the internet is always watching…and judging.


Here's what ALA Booklist thought about the novel:



Enter to win a finished copy of THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED by filling out the Rafflecopter below. The comment question is about the best book you’ve read in 2017, so don’t be shy—share the love :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want a sneak peek? You can read the first four chapters of the book here.

I'm giving away a second finished copy of This is How it Happened with this Book Blast on Instagram. Check my feed (@pstokesbooks) after 2pm Pacific on June 26th for another chance to win. Both contests are international. Both contests end on July 7, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Summer 2017 Pre-Order Incentives!

Are you planning to buy THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED, VICARIOUS, or FEROCIOUS? If so, you might want to order early and take advantage of one or more of these awesome pre-order incentives :D Three books = three different sexy giveaways, plus a bonus grand prize giveaway for one lucky reader who pre-orders multiple titles!


THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED:
Everyone who orders a new hardcover, e-book, or international paperback edition, from any store or website, by July 16th (so yes, if you ordered last week or 6 months ago it counts) is eligible to receive 2 signed bookmarks, a signed bookplate, a round sticker, and a magnet. Buying an ARC from e*Bay or a marketplace seller does not count. Please don't buy ARCs in general, and especially not this ARC because I'll be unpinning the link to the missing page after release.



VICARIOUS:
Everyone who orders a new e-book or paperback edition, from any store or website, by August 13th is eligible to receive 2 signed bookmarks, a signed bookplate (it's signed--you just can't tell in this picture), a sticker, and a magnet. Buying an ARC or used book from e*Bay or a marketplace seller does not count. Buying a hardcover technically does not count, because I ran a giveaway for the hardcover last year. However, if you decide you want to get a Vicarious hardcover to match your Ferocious hardcover and you really want the swag, send me your proof of purchase and if I have leftover swag I will hook you up.



FEROCIOUS:
Everyone who orders a new hardcover or e-book, from any store or website, by August 13th is eligible to receive 2 signed bookmarks, a signed bookplate (it's signed--you just can't tell in this picture), 2 stickers, and a magnet. Again, ARCs do not count. Please don't buy and sell ARCs.



All pre-order incentives are international. In order to get your free goodies, you need to email your mailing address to pstokesbooks [at] gmail [dot] com subject: [insert title] pre-order by the deadline listed for the book you bought, and include a photo, scan, or screenshot of your order confirmation or receipt. Lovely international peeps: It helps me a ton if you type out your address on multiple lines like my super-clueless self should address the envelope. Also, don't forget to include your postal code if that's something you're not used to using. Please allow four to six weeks for arrival.


MEGA BONUS SWAG PACK:
If you pre-order at least two of my three summer 2017 releases, you will be entered to win the super-swag deluxe prize, which includes:

from THE ART OF LAINEY: a postcard signed by the characters + two pin buttons
from LIARS, INC.: a black T-shirt, size 2XL
from GATU: a set of five blank inside notecards + envelopes
from TIHIH: a pad of desert sky at night sticky notes
from VICARIOUS: a notebook featuring both covers
plus surprise bonus gifts, which might include swag from other authors and/or mystery gifts/gift cards!





To be eligible for the bonus, either order multiple books on the same receipt or be sure to tell me in your second pre-order email that you also pre-ordered an earlier title. I don't want to miss anyone :)

Questions?? As usual, put 'em in the comments :)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Early Order Incentive: Girl Against the Universe Paperback


Are you planning to buy Girl Against the Universe? Everyone who pre-orders/orders a paperback of the novel (or makes a new order for the hardcover or e-book) during the month of June is eligible to receive a signed bookplate, a magnet, and a fun postcard drawn by Aila from Happy Indulgence books. Offer is international. Offer good while supplies last.


Did you buy your copy of GATU outside of the promo window? Email me your receipt/proof of order if you really, really want the swag and I'll hook you up if I have any left over.


In order to get your free goodies, you need to email your mailing address to pstokesbooks [at] gmail [dot] com subject: GATU pre-order, and include a photo, scan, or screenshot of your order confirmation or receipt. Lovely international peeps: It helps me a ton if you type out your address on multiple lines like my super-clueless self should address the envelope. Also, don't forget to include your postal code if that's something you're not used to using. Please allow four to six weeks for arrival.

Wanna try before you buy? Click here to read the beginning of Girl Against the Universe.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Girl Against the Universe: Seven Days Seven Giveaways Winners



Hi :) Before I get to the winners, just a quick update on my do-it-yourself MFA program. I am still working through the course of study I designed for myself, but I started a new nursing job and a new volunteer job in April/May, and I'm also trying to promote four books (2 paperbacks, 2 new hardcovers) that are releasing in June-July-August while revising one book for 2018, drafting a hopeful 2019, and working through the self-publishing process for a book that's releasing this fall.




So, long story short, I absolutely plan to meet my overall reading, writing, education, and community goals for the DIYMFA program, but I've had to cut back for May so I'm going to wait and do an official update in June or July, once things slow down for me a little bit :)

Now for the winners! Names below. All books have been ordered or mailed.


Day 1: Winner of the #MentalHealthBooks Instagram challenge is Marie

Day 2: Winner of the #InspirationalQuotes Twitter/IG contest is Kaitlyn

Day 3: Winner of the Twitter #Haiku contest is Maria M

Day 4: Winner of the Twitter/IG #Happy book contest is Irma J.

Day 5: Winner of the fears and strategies contest is Sarah R

Day 6: Winner of the Twitter/IG #LuckyCharms contest is Khae

Day 7: Winner of the GATU promo Rafflecopter is Adik

Day 7: Winner of the bonus Rafflecopter is Khayzelle


Other recent winners: 

Winner of The Art of Lainey is Sandra

Winner of any book (via the Liars, Inc. RT contest) is Denise


I just want to say a huge thank you to my amazing blog hosts and to all of the people who entered the contests. The winners were chosen randomly via Rafflecopter or random.org, but I had a lot of fun going through all the posts :)

If you didn't win and you're sad about that, I highly recommend joining my newsletter :) I only send out 8-10 issues a year so it's not overly spammy, and almost every issue has an exclusive international contest. Another perk of newsletter subscription is that if you win one of my books that you already have or don't want in a newsletter giveaway, I will let you substitute in a different one of my books that you'd prefer. Newsletters also contain writing/editing tips and book recommendations. And subscribers get first crack at participating in blog tours, book blasts, and other ways you can earn awesome swag.

Speaking of awesome swag, if you're planning to order Girl Against the Universe, This is How it Happened, Vicarious, or Ferocious in the next couple of months, I'll be running a pre-order signed swag giveaway for all of those books, with a larger prize that anyone who pre-orders two books will be eligible to enter to win. Here's the first incentive, for people who buy the Girl Against the Universe paperback. Stay tuned for more!


Random kitty pic: Happiness is a fresh haircut and a big bed ;)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Girl Against the Universe: Seven Days Seven Giveaways Blog Tour


Hi everyone! Girl Against the Universe releases in paperback on June 6, 2017 and I’m so excited about that I decided to do an entire blog tour of giveaways to celebrate! In the story, main character Maguire creates a list of seven challenges to help her overcome her fears. This week, I posted seven fun challenges for you around the blogosphere, which are also seven chances to win a shiny GATU paperback :D

Some of the contests require you to have a Twitter or Instagram account, but others just require you to leave a blog comment. These contests are all international, but due to shipping costs, US winners will receive signed copies sent by me and INT winners will receive their books from Wordery or The Book Depository, with signed bookplates mailed separately.

All contests will end on May 31, 2017. All winners will be contacted via Instagram, Twitter, or email as well as posted on my blog in early June. If you’re going to enter a Twitter or Instagram challenge, be sure your account is set to public during the contest period so I will be able to see your entries and contact you if you win. 

My editor and I updated the sales copy for the book to help it better reflect the mental health and therapy components, as opposed to making it sound romance-centric. Here's the new description:


From the author of The Art of Lainey and Liars, Inc. comes a fresh, contemporary story about a girl coping with PTSD and the boy who wants to help her move on from the past. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen or Jenny Han.

Sixteen-year-old Maguire knows the universe is against her. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when she's around. Like that time the roller coaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash--and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch. 

Despite what her therapist tells her, Maguire thinks it's best to hide out in her room, far away from anyone she might accidentally hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star who wants to help her break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for him is to stay away, but it turns out staying away may be harder than she thought.


If GATU were a gif, it would be this one :)

Ready to start winning? I tried to create challenges that not only promoted GATU's paperback release, but were also fun to complete and benefited the literary community. After all, who doesn't need recommendations for thoughtfully written mental health novels? Who couldn't use an inspirational quote or a fun haiku to brighten their day? You can enter one contest or all seven. I'm not expecting more than ten entries for most of these, so if you want a free signed copy of the novel, this is an excellent chance to score one. Note: if you already have a copy, these make great gifts :D


Challenge #1:
Bookstagram a mental health novel you felt was well done.
Requires Instagram. Read blog post for full details.

Challenge #2:
Tweet or Instagram one of your favorite inspirational quotes
Requires Twitter or Instagram (but not both.) Read blog post for full details.


Challenge #3:
Write a haiku about luck, tennis, dolphins, or burritos :)
Requires a blog comment or Twitter (but not both.) Read blog post for full details.


Challenge #4: 
Share a book that made you feel happy or empowered after reading.
Requires Instagram or Twitter (but not both.) Read blog post for full details.


Challenge #5: 
Make like Maguire and share one of your own fears, plus two strategies for working on it. Requires blog comment. Read blog post for full details.

Challenge #6:
Share the luck! Or your lucky charms anyway :)
Requires Instagram or Twitter (but not both.) Read blog post for full details.


Here's one of my good luck charms with my next release :)


Which brings us to:



Challenge #7:
Share the first six challenges.
Today's challenge is an easy-breezy Rafflecopter, with points for tweeting and retweeting.


Below it is a bonus Rafflecopter because I promised a bonus giveaway with this tour. Remember, all challenges go until the end of the month, so there's still plenty of time to enter as many times as you want :) 

Questions? Put 'em in the comments.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

DOUBLE BONUS GIVEAWAY: Don't miss a chance to win a copy of The Art of Lainey too :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Art of Lainey Three-Year Bookaversary

That's right, The Art of Lainey, my little paperback novel that could, the first book I wrote where I have the copyright, is turning three-years-old soon. Sounds like a good excuse to do a giveaway! :D


Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to win Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with, if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?


Here are my top ten reasons you might want to check out The Art of Lainey:

10. It might help you understand The Art of War (or make you want to read it, if you haven't read it yet.) Note: once you read The Art of War, you will start applying it to everything.

 9. The character of Trinity. That is my favorite name out of ALL the names, so you can bet she's made of win. Also, Trinity's cat shoes, which I own :)

 8. Sporty girls! Warning: this book might make you want to kick around a soccer ball or go for a run.

 7. Ms. Creant's House of Torture (and Pancakes.) I think that name speaks for itself.

 6. Book-boy Micah is a punk-rock baker with a tattoos and a mohawk. So basically, imagine if Peeta were actually hot. Heheheh I am so #TeamGale! :D #SorryNotSorry

 5. The strong female friendship between Lainey and Bianca.

 4. Lainey's wonderfully wacky parents who are present throughout and do parental things like talk about birth control and give their daughter a curfew.

 3. Laugh out loud moments. When you mix a preppy jock with a rocker boy and fold in a cast full of coffee shop misfits, hilarity is bound to ensue. 

 2. Girl power. This is not the story of Lainey picking a boyfriend. This is the story of Lainey picking a Lainey. There might be two boys, but this is not a love triangle book.

 1. Character development. Yes, Lainey is flawed and yes, trying to scheme warlord-style to win back your boyfriend is probably a bad plan. But sometimes you have to do the wrong thing before you can even figure out what the right thing is.

 0. Bonus! Once you're finished reading LAINEY, you'll want to read the 100-page, Micah-flavored prequel novella called INFINITE REPEAT and the totally free and so adorable you might spontaneously explode into glitter short story/epilogue NEW MUSIC. [Note: that should be a direct link to New Music so you can read it without a Wattpad account, but remember, it's like an extended epilogue, so reading it will spoil parts of the novel.]





Need more convincing? 
Here's what some other smart people think of the novel:

“Refreshingly honest, sweet and romantic. The love story is everything readers want—perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, but with an edge.” --Romantic Times Book Reviews

"Stokes does a good job with the sports subplots as well as the familial relationships. Lainey is a driven athlete who focuses on her passion, which is a refreshing change of pace." --School Library Journal

“A mesmerizing journey of discovery, navigating that slippery line between what one wants and what one really needs. Romance, wit, and highly relatable characters join forces to create one addictive story.” --Rachel Harris, New York Times bestselling author


You can even read the first couple of chapters here if you want a preview.


The Amazing Jaye Robin Brown drew this doodle in my ARC.
It's Lainey and Micah at the Arachne's Revenge concert :D

If you like fake-dating, enemies-to-lovers stories, squishy adorableness, soccer, pancakes, coffee shops, best friends, punk-rock boys, and/or ancient military strategy, you will (probably, I mean almost definitely, I mean there is a solid chance) L-O-V-E The Art of Lainey.

Enter below for a chance to win. US winner scores signed paperback. INT winner scores order from Wordery or TBD with signed bookplate mailed separately.


Remember, like Sun Tzu used to say, the only way to win is to recruit all of your friends and frenemies into battle alongside you and go on as many outrageous dates as possible along the way ;)

Good luck, and keep an eye out around the interwebz next week because I'm giving away seven--yes, seven!--lucky copies of Girl Against the Universe :)






Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Spring 2017 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 awesome twenty-book prize packs, not to mention all the secondary contests with more good stuff up for grabs. If you're new to YASH or confused about how to play, check this site for instructions on how to hunt. If you're in the middle of the mayhem and completely stuck, here's some help for that.


This hunt I am proud to represent the PURPLE TEAM!! I'm hosting Claire Luana. From the pictures on her website, I can tell that Claire has done more than 5  (yes, FIVE) things I still need to check off my bucket list, like glacier hiking and scuba diving #ENVY ;D

Claire’s here to talk about her book, Moonburner! The book is set in an Asian-inspired fantasy world and is filled with snarky talking animals, devious villains, and girl power. Here’s the blurb:



 When 17-year old Kai is exposed as a female sorceress–a moonburner, she knows the punishment is death. Despite the odds against her, Kai escapes her fate and undertakes a harrowing journey to a land where moonburners are revered and trained as warriors.

But the moonburner citadel is not the place of refuge and learning that Kai imagined. The ongoing war against the male sorcerers, or sunburners, has led the citadel leadership down a dark path that could spell the end of all magic. Armed with a secret from her past and a handsome but dangerous ally in the sunburner prince, Kai may be the only one able to prevent the destruction of her people.

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

Claire: Today, I’ll be sharing a deleted scene from Moonburner!

But first, a little backstory. Moonburners are female sorcerers who draw their power from the light of the moon. Moonburners are forbidden to marry, have children, or have any relations with men. The punishment for violating this ban is death. Kai, the main character, is walking around the citadel, the moonburner school, with her silver fox animal companion, Quitsu. Ok, here we go!

The sunlight filtered through the trees, leaving this corner of the garden half-cast in shadow. Kai and Quitsu rounded a stone wall and found themselves in another courtyard, even more deserted than the first. An ornamental bridge spanned a narrow pond in the center of the space, koi fish floating lazily in its depths. As Kai took a deep breath, reveling in the serenity of the solitude, she froze. They weren’t alone.  Against the far stone wall, a couple lay under a red maple tree, clearly engrossed in each other. 
Kai shrank against the wall, kicking herself for her intrusion. Her cheeks flamed red as she tried to cast her eyes anywhere but the most intimate scene. She froze as something caught her eye. A light blue uniform top lay discarded on the green grass next to the entwined couple. 
“A samanera,” Kai whispered to Quitsu. “I thought we weren’t supposed to… you know.”
“I guess they don’t all play by the rules” he retorted quietly. 
“Let’s go before they see us.” Kai began creeping backwards, out of the courtyard, when her heel caught on a rock and she tumbled backwards, landing in an undignified pile in a rustling bush. Kai shot to her feet, her ears burning. The couple was on their feet, the girl with her light blue top clutched to her bare chest, and the boy, no, man, standing protectively in front of her. 
“Maaya?” Kai exclaimed. Even across the courtyard, she recognized her friend’s pigtail braids, now mused with dust and crowned with a stray maple-leaf. And the man…he looked familiar too. Kai’s eyes narrowed. It was Atsu, the biwa player from the Fox and Fiddle.
“Kai,” Maaya exclaimed, a look of relief plain on her flushed face. She darted across the bridge, pulling her shirt over her head. Maaya gripped Kai’s arms, a fervent gleam in her eye.
 “Kai, please. You cannot tell anyone. I know I’m not supposed to, but…” she looked back at Atsu, who stood and watching the scene impassively.
“How long has this been going on?” Kai hissed. “Don’t you understand how dangerous this is? How could you bring him here? If one of the masters found out…”
“I know,” Maaya said miserably, biting her lip. “I saw him after that night at the Fox and Fiddle. We’ve…been sneaking off together ever since. I know it’s insane, but…Kai.” Maaya’s voice wavered. “I’ve never felt like this as long as I’ve lived. I love him. I can’t live without him. I don’t want to live without him.” A rivulet of tears ran down Maaya’s cheek.
Kai sighed, drawing Maaya into a hug, glaring at Atsu over Maaya’s shoulder. “It’ll be okay,” she murmured, not at all sure that it would be. If Maaya and Atsu were found out, the punishment was death. What were they going to do?

Moonburner is available in Print, eBook, or Audio! To find out more, click HERE.

And don’t forget to stop by Claire’s website to snag a copy of Burning Fate, the prequel to Moonburner for FREE!

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

Great scene, Claire! And oooh, a talking silver fox animal companion. I want one :) 

Here's more info about Claire herself:

Claire Luana lives in Seattle with her husband and two dogs. By day, she works as a commercial litigation attorney, and by night, she writes young adult fantasy novels.

Some little-known facts about Claire:

She knows how to Scottish Highland Dance.
Cadbury Mini Eggs are her Kryptonite
She sucks at any sport that requires hand-eye coordination.
She loves country music.
She wishes she could freeze time and catch up on her reading list!

Find Claire online:


SECONDARY GIVEAWAY!!!

One lucky purple team winner will score a 20-book prize pack, including a copy of MOONBURNER from Claire and an ARC of THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED from me. But you guys know I love these secondary giveaways, so a second lucky winner will win their choice of any of my YA books shown in the sidebar + a second YASH book of your choice (max value US $18.00, to ship from Book Depo or Wordery) or a ten-page critique of your writing (submission due by 12/31/17.) Read more about each of my titles on my Books page.

The winner's choice of Paula Stokes novel will be signed and personalized if you have a US address, or shipped from Book Depo/Wordery with a signed personalized bookplate mailed separately if you're an international reader.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you hungry for more exclusive content, epic secondary contests, and general YASH mayhem?!? My agent-sister Ilsa J Bick is next for Team Purple. Happy hunting, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

As always, 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.