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O Canada!

Canada_flag

This one is for all my Canadian readers! So…. probably two people in Manitoba. Please click play on the YouTube video right now, then continue to read as the music plays. I’d like to set the proper mood for this entry.

Since Iron Night came out in January, I’ve done a few giveaways over at Goodreads. This is always pretty fun – hundreds of people sign up, a few lucky people win free signed copies of the book, and then ideally those hundreds of people are motivated to check the book out even though they didn’t win it. (I’ve actually been told by a friend who works in publishing that this last part actually happens almost never — but, hey, worth a shot amiright?)

But when I’ve done these giveaways in the past, I’ve always restricted the giveaway to the US, purely because of the cost of shipping. In fact, whenever I do a giveaway, whether on Goodreads or a private site, I almost always restrict to the US. There was only one time that I didn’t, and that’s because I was on a site run by a Canadian. (Hi Julie!) But I only have five copies left of Iron Night to give away, so this will be my last Goodreads giveaway until Tainted Blood comes out in November. So I thought – well, why not give a little love to my brothers and sisters in the snowy north? Besides, then I’d get to have a lot of fun with the promotion for the next month.

Fun like this.

Fun like this.

And like this.

And like this.

Oh my god, baby beaver in a plastic swimmy tub! Look at its cuteness! Best idea ever!

Oh my god, baby beaver in a plastic swimmy tub! Look at its cuteness! Best idea ever!

Will this actually work out in numbers and promotion, enough to offset the increased price of shipping that I’m going to have to eat? Um… actually I don’t know. I probably won’t know for about a month. The last giveaway I did had 484 entries, and the best giveaway I did for Iron Night had 778 entries. So if I have anywhere from that base number to anywhere in the middle to beyond, I’d call it a success. So, Canadians! Put down your hockey sticks for a second and listen with the politeness I’ve come to expect from you! I’d love it if you entered here for a chance to win a signed copy of Iron Night, and if you passed this along to other people in Canada who might enjoy a copy.

Books I Loved In 2013

It’s the end of the year! I have to say, 2013 was a pretty landmark year for me, what with the publication of Generation V and everything. Next year will be starting off with a bang as well, since Iron Night is coming out only seven days into January, and Tainted Blood is slated for November. Lots to look forward to!

Back when I first got into contract on Generation V back in 2012, my agent told me that I would need to start working on social media. I admit that there was a bit of reluctance on my part (between my day job and my writing, I honestly felt pretty tapped out), but I set up the website, the Facebook, and the Twitter. (Twitter turned out to be an extremely pleasant surprise – it’s much more conducive to quick conversations and general silliness, which are both things that I enjoy, as everyone who has seen me in action on Twitter knows)

Goodreads, though, was something that I really lagged on. I set up the entry for Generation V early, but other than that I really didn’t make much use of it for a while. I did the usual setup thing, checking off the books I’d read from the classics list, but other than that I generally wasn’t doing anything. In retrospect this is kind of a head-slapper, since I’m the kind of person who will actually list “reading” as a legitimate hobby, and my husband is constantly finding my book collection encroaching on any reasonably shelf-like surface.

Fun side-story – my agent was the person who brought up the subject of my author bio, somewhere mid-way through my edits on Generation V. Now, at that point I was juggling some pretty extensive edits (all of which made the book MUCH better and taught me a whole lot, by the way), plus a full-time job, plus laying out the initial plot elements for Iron Night, so believe me when I say that I was kind of fried. She was talking about how this was a good opportunity to showcase my personality and activities outside of writing to make myself more appealing, and so forth. I think that this is the part of the process that the agent is kind of hoping that the author happens to be some kind of modern-day gentleman adventurer in their spare time (When I’m not base-jumping off of bridges, I’m hiking up Mount Everest or defeating the forces of evil with my kung-fu prowess! I also knit!) – well, let me tell you, I am none of those things. It’s possible that if I had to choose a power-animal, it would be the sloth, because I am basically THAT sedentary. Give me a book and a warm sunbeam, and I’m basically good for about ten hours. My response to my agent was, “Um…. I like to read?” (not what she was hoping for, alas) (though, really, it happened with Iron Night as well – at a certain point in the publication process, you kind of lose all your hobbies for a little while)

Tangent over. But can you see now how nuts it is that I didn’t completely embrace Goodreads from the start? I actually set up my account for the sole purpose of being able to upload a .jpg of the book cover, and possibly host giveaways. Nuts! So my list of books that I read this year is actually a little sparse, since I didn’t track my first book until March (Erin Morgenstern’s amazingly dreamlike Night Circus), and I didn’t start tracking my reading thoroughly until around May. I’ll be much more thorough next year, since I was having a huge amount of fun today playing with the stats feature, and I liked being able to see a neat little list of what I’d read (mostly) this year.

Right now a lot of people are posting their top lists of books for the year (some are even including Generation V and Iron Night!) , which I’m really enjoying. I really wasn’t sure I wanted to do a Top Ten or something like that, but I wanted in on the fun somehow. So here’s a list of the books that I thought were pretty amazing of the 63 that I listed on Goodreads this year (plus the date I finished it). There were three authors who were so awesome that I had to just sit down and devour their whole series, and I put them at the end.

Books I Loved

Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant (September 30)
The Borgias: The Hidden History by G. J. Meyer (October 27)
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (May 25)
The Darwin Elevator by Jason Hough (July 7)
The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler (August 15)
Gulp by Mary Roach (April 24)
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh (June 5)
Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn (June 27)
La Santisima by Teresa Frohock *short story (December 22)
Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh (July 9)
Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock (May 24)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (March 6)
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi (September 21)
Parasite by Mira Grant (November 17)
Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes (August 6)
Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro (December 17)
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (September 23)
Secrets of the Sands by Leona Wisoker (July 29)
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson (September 28)
The Thousand Names by Django Wexler (April 9)\
Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm (November 30)
The Witch of Duva by Leigh Bardugo *short story (November 3)

Series:

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (September 26)
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (November 2)

Idlewild by Nick Sagan (June 2)
Edenborn by Nick Sagan (June 5)
Everfree by Nick Sagan (June 11)

Shadow Kin by M.J. Scott (no date)
Blood Kin by M.J. Scott (no date)
Iron Kin by M.J. Scott (May 15)

So, what do you think? Have you read any of these yourself? See anything that you’re curious about yourself? Have suggestions for what I should be reading in 2014? Throw it all down in the comments!