Thursday, January 12, 2012

Going on tour this February

Happy New Year, guys! Hope you all had a fantastic holiday season. To kick things off in 2012, I have some very exciting news: I am going on a book tour in February! Penguin has announced their Breathless Reads tour, which will include myself and three amazing authors: Andrea Cremer, Beth Revis, and Jessica Spotswood. Check out our tentative tour stops below. Hope to see you at one or more events! (More details to come in the following weeks)



Wed., Feb. 15, 2012

Chicago

Anderson's Bookshop



Thurs., Feb. 16, 2012

Washington, D.C.

Politics and Prose



Fri., Feb. 17, 2012

New York City

Dolphin Bookstore

Books of Wonder public event @ 6 PM



Sat., Feb. 18, 2012

Philadelphia

Towne Center Book & Cafe



Sun., Feb. 19, 2012

Philadelphia

Doylestown Bookshop



Tues., Feb. 21, 2012

Atlanta

Little Shop of Stories



Wed., Feb. 22, 2012

Houston

Blue Willow Bookshop



Thurs., Feb. 23, 2012

Dallas

Barnes & Noble, Frisco



Fri., Feb. 24, 2012

Los Angeles

Once Upon A Time



Sat., Feb. 25, 2012

Los Angeles

Passion and Prose event @ Westin Long Beach



Hope to see you there! Also, I wanted to say a huuuuge thank you to everyone who has sent such kind notes about enjoying Legend. I can't tell you how happy they make me. So much :heart: for you guys!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Legend is finally here. An emotional day.

(posting a few hours early :) )

Today is November 29, 2011. It is the day my first novel, Legend, releases in bookstores.

I’m sitting in the little living room of the bungalow I share with my boyfriend, buried under a pile of dogs (I have three—two corgis and a Chihuahua), and attempting to not hyperventilate into a paper bag. Playing the ‘Finding Nemo’ theme song on repeat is probably not helping, either. (Could there BE a more depressing theme? I want to bawl every time I hear it. Oh, Nemo! You adorable little gimpy-finned fish egg! Anyway. I digress.) Is it really The Day? How do I articulate the avalanche of emotions going through my head? How do I even begin to communicate this? Today, my twelve-year journey of trying to get published officially comes to an end, and I will have stepped through the looking glass to the other side.

Sorry, I may get a little metaphorical and cheesy, but come on! You only get a debut novel release date once in your life. (Well, once in your country, anyway…) Cut me some slack, yeah? Besides, I like cheese. It’s very delicious.

For some reason, the only thing I can picture in my head is my fourteen-year old self, back when I first started trying to get published. I remember setting my alarm for 2 AM every night, then writing by lamplight for two hours with a robe stuffed under my door so that no one would know I was awake. Out of all my writing memories, this is the one I see the most clearly. I remember everything about those late-night writing sessions. How quietly I tried to type on that old IBM computer. How annoyingly hot the lamp would get. How chilly the nights in winter were, and how stuffy the summers felt (this was taking place in Houston, by the way). How sometimes I’d pass out in front of the computer from sheer exhaustion, then wake up after half an hour and keep going. I’m fairly convinced that I might have gotten a few more A’s in school if I’d gotten more full nights of sleep. But I can’t say that I regret it. For any of my high school teachers who might be reading this, now you know why I occasionally looked glassy-eyed in your class. I promise I still loved learning! I just…lacked sleep…

I was incredibly na├»ve at fourteen, so blissfully unaware of how long the journey would really take. In fact, I think I had less fears back then than I do now. It’s the day Legend launches and I am scared, so very scared. Eat-a-pint-of-ice-cream-by-myself scared. There are a thousand expectations I’ve created for myself, and so far to fall. Am I any good? Will readers be disappointed? Will they like the story? Will they like the characters? Will they egg my door? Should I change my address? Move to the Alps and hide in obscurity and shame? The closer I got to seeing Legend on the shelves, the more I understood why a lot of writers are a little wonky in the head. I feel the wonk quite strongly now.

But just when I think the pressure and terror might swallow me whole, I remember that I’m walking a well-trodden path. There are hundreds of thousands, millions, of writers who have taken this road before, and I’m just one traveler in a group of many, many others. I’m not alone. I remind myself that a lot of people held my hand through the bumps in the road. I remember that I have so much more to learn. I think of all the kind words and support people have given me during the time leading up to today, and those words help quell the fears.

It’s no secret that there has been a lot of upheaval in the book industry lately. A lot of bad blood, a lot of fear, a lot of anger thrown back and forth between all the cogs of the profession about contracts and technology and change, about money and percentages and formats and royalties. But in the midst of that, there are books—little bundles of words built on heart and soul that we tentatively push out to the public and then cross our fingers for. This has never changed. (Okay, except for Snooki. Maybe.) It reminds me that in spite of all our bickering, we all love books, we all love words, and we wait for these little moments, the quiet connection between our world and our readers’ world. This unites us, no matter what.

So… Thank you booksellers, thank you writers, thank you bloggers, thank you reviewers, thank you Penguin, thank you NLA and UTA, thank you CBS Films/Temple Hill, thank you family and friends, and thank you readers. Thank you, readers.

Thank you for giving me today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Legend's launch party!

Specifically, if you happen to be in or around the Los Angeles area on Dec. 1st at 7:30 pm. Because Legend's official launch party is happening at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in Redondo Beach, CA at that time!

Legend Launch Party Info

Where: Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, 2810 Artesia Blvd, Redondo Beach, California 90278

When: Dec. 1st, 2011 from 7:30 - 8:30 pm

What: Legend's official launch event, which will include signing, possibly some talking, and a lot of books

(If you'd like to say "Attend" on Facebook, the event page for this is here: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=257493287633334 )

Open to: Everyone who can make it! In other words, I have a terrible fear of sitting by myself in a bookstore with a stack of Legend books....so, please feel free to bring as many friends as you can! I would be so extremely grateful and so thrilled to see you there. :heart:

I also wanted to say, thank you all so very much for your support, kind words, and encouragement. Can't believe the release is finally around the corner. You guys are the best! :heart:

We are now less than two weeks away from Legend's release (Nov. 29)!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A very special, free copy of Legend

(Reposted from my deviantArt blog)

Update: The winner of the limited edition ARC of Legend is........

~drosana! (from deviantArt)

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~drosana's entry: "I'd go by Puck. It's the name of the impish character featured in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (hehe, Even Robin Hood has taken his name from this character! Puck is also called Robin Goodfellow. Robin Hood's mother even called him Robin-Puck!)

Like him, I like to joke around and act a bit silly, even more so, I love to be mischievous and sneaky. I am good at lying and misleading, leaving most to believe they know me well, when in fact, they're more acquainted with one of my facades. I am a master of disguise without the need of a mask (or fake mustache, thought it cannot be said that I haven't tried it anyway!) Despite all of this, I'm a laugh and a rather good natured person. I try to keep to my manners and with my boyish appearance, most call me a gentleman! I have a flair for the dramatic and fun. So that's my entry! *tips hat and jumps off*"
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Congrats on winning the limited edition version of Legend! I'll Note you with details. :)

We had well over 150+ entries combining all deviantArt, Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads entries. Man, you guys are GOOD at coming up with rebel names. I love these! I may do another contest in the near future where the prize is to feature your rebel name in Legend 2 as a side character. Thank you all for participating!

The winner was chosen by a random number generator and a list of all the entries. While the winner was randomly chosen, I also wanted to give a shout out to my 3 favorite entries from you guys:

1) (from deviantArt's ~Star-Bunny): "I'd be Pancakes... cause pancakes are awesome. They are unassumingly delicious and its hard to be upset with someone named pancakes."

This just made me laugh out loud.

2) (from Twitter's BookWormLove): "@Marie_Lu My streetname would be Gadget (It was my nickname in girl scouts for years because I'm all about technological stuff) :) #Legend"

Gadget from Rescue Rangers was one of my favorite childhood characters. LOVE girls with techie know-how!

3) (from Facebook's Jeni Hackett): "Assuming astronomy is roughly the same (or at least the names of the stars), I'd go by Polaris after the North Star. It's a good name for a 'guiding' rebel, which is what I'd likely aim to be; less of a hell-raiser, and more of a care-taker, guardian sort. Maybe I'd run a safehouse, where the North Star parallel ties in as Polaris has always been a star associated with pointing towards home and safety."

I love astronomy. Yay Polaris!

Again, thank you so much to all who entered! I had a ton of fun, and I hope you did too. :) Stay tuned for further contests!

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Legend's official Facebook page has now reached 502 "Likes", thanks to you guys!

I said before that once it passed 500, I would give away a very special, limited edition version of Legend. So here we go, as promised!

The Prize: I have exactly ONE of these. Here's what it looks like.

This is a limited edition version of the advance copies of Legend (which doesn't go on public sale until Nov. 29 this year). Penguin, my publisher, made a very small number of these. They probably won't make any more. Unlike the regular advance copies, these are packaged in a gorgeous box that opens up into a limited edition magnet, profile info of Day and June, and etc. (And, of course, it also includes a softcover advance copy of Legend.) The one that I have is still in its plastic wrap and brand new.

How long this giveaway contest runs: From today (9/27) until midnight Pacific Standard Time on next Tuesday (10/4).

Open to: Everyone, both in the U.S. and internationally.

What you have to do: (You can enter by posting a comment to this journal entry right here. OR, you can also enter by commenting on the same journal entry at my deviantArt blog , my Facebook page , or send me a tweet.)

At any of the aforementioned places, answer the following in your comment:

All rebels in the Republic, the dystopian future version of America in Legend, have a street name. (For example, "Day" is the street name of Legend's boy protagonist. He has his reasons for nicknaming himself that.) If you were a rebel in the Republic, what would your street name be, and why?

On next Wednesday (10/5), I will read through all the entries and pick a random winner.

Have fun! Looking forward to hearing your street names, rebels. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

(that's a Jobs quote, btw)

Steve Jobs resigned as Apple CEO today, possibly because of his health. Taken from his official resignation letter, he says, "I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come."

This, coupled with a few emails I've gotten from readers and aspiring writers over the last few days, has made me really pensive. So I'm going to quote Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford commencement address below:

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

You only have one life. Don't spend your precious days working at a job to please your parents, or at a job you hate in exchange for some financial security. Believe me, I understand--I still regret not majoring in art and I almost went for a career I would have hated. I know the urgency of a roof over my head and food on the table, but my life's work should never be something I don't want to do. Do what you have to do to survive, but never lose sight of your real goals. Never get lost in the maze of Security. As Steve Jobs says, you have got, you have GOT, to find what you love. Life is just far too short to be spent otherwise. It stuns me every time I stop to think about how much Jobs has achieved in only 55 years of life. I hope that I'm able to achieve even a sliver of that.

If you know that you'll regret pursuing an accounting degree instead of a creative writing degree, pursue the creative writing degree. If you want to be an artist instead of a doctor, then be an artist. Be brave. Have faith. Do it. You only get one shot at life.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Trend Labels kill organic instinct

Once I'm told about a trend, I can't ever go back to "unknowing" that it is a trend. And that is extremely frustrating. Why?

Because when I'm writing BEFORE I know about All The Trends, the reasons why I choose to do certain things is organic and instinctive. I can guarantee that to myself. I wrote Legend as a YA before I knew I was writing it as YA. I wrote Legend as a dystopia before I knew that dystopias were The Thing. I wrote Legend with a male 1st person POV before I was told that a 1st person POV is a trend in YA and a male POV is not a trend in YA. So when I'm told that dystopia is a trend, I feel like I've sold out. When I'm told that male POV is NOT a trend, I feel good because I think I'm going against the grain. And then I feel frustrated.

Every time I find out about a trend, I feel something taken away from me.

Because AFTER I know of a trend, I feel like future writing decisions I make are forever influenced by that trend, regardless of which side of the trend I fall on. For example, if I now choose to write something purely from a female's POV, I will always think to myself: am I writing female because it is a trend? Or am I choosing it because that's what I want to write? Am I adding romance between my characters because it is a trend, or because I genuinely see the romance between those characters? Am I writing YA now because it is a trend? My brain becomes this feverish list of trends, no matter how hard I try to "unknow" them.

Male POV = not trend
Female POV = trend
Romance = trend
Ethnic main characters = not trend
1st person POV = trend
3rd person POV = not trend
Present tense = trend
Past tense = not trend
Dystopia = trend
Historical fiction = not trend
Paranormal = trend

This is a bad, bad way for me to think. I want to write an ethnic main character without thinking that I'm choosing it because I want to buck a trend. Once, I could be sure that I chose these things strictly because I wanted to write that way; now I can never be sure. Am I subconsciously influenced forever by knowing of these trends? I greatly dislike that feeling, because it takes away my Organic Instinct.

I want my Organic Instinct back.

I want to be able to write a paranormal story from the 1st person point of view of a gay Chinese girl without hearing all these whispers in my head that say, "You're following a trend! You're breaking a trend! You're following a trend! You're breaking a trend!". I like writing boy POVs. I like writing 1st person POVs. I want to pick what to write without feeling guilt (following trend) or pride (not following trend). I want to pick what to write simply because I want to write it.

So if there's a new trend going around, please don't tell me! I don't want to know that it exists.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Legend is in the Wall Street Journal today

(Reposted from my deviantArt blog)

There are 2 different articles about Legend in the Wall Street Journal today! The first is in their print edition and also online under their subscriber content, and the 2nd is online at their Speakeasy section. There's some extra information about the inspirations behind the book as well as other tidbits:

Online article: ‘Twilight’ Producers, Penguin Are Betting on ‘Legend’

Print/Subscription article: Penguin Puts Marketing Muscle Behind 'Legend,' a Dystopian Debut

I wanted to say major thanks to reporter Barbara Chai, who was such a delight to talk to. You are amazing!

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Also, Legend has now sold foreign rights for Complex Chinese and Dutch! My family members in China can now have an edition they can read, which makes me all kinds of happy.

In other news, I've been writing the beginning of Legend 3 and am discovering all sorts of new things about what it's like to write the final book in a trilogy. Legend 2 (which is still undergoing revisions) was way, way, WAY harder to draft than Legend 1 was. In fact, I'd say the first book of any series must be the easiest one to write....and the second one is the hardest. I'm still afraid of Book 2. Man, it pwned me so much. It's STILL pwning me.

Legend 3, though, is an interesting beast. Writing it is, again, completely different from writing the previous two. Book 2 is a lot of character fleshing-out, digging deeper into the personalities and motivations of the characters that were introduced in #1. #3 is so far all about Tying The Loose Ends. Getting everything that's been wandering about in #1 and #2 back together and tied together into one thick string is a much bigger challenge than I guessed. I suppose it's sort of like writing #1 in reverse--where #1 is about starting off with one thick string and then branching it all off into multiple little strings. Much of the challenge I'm hitting is being able to think of the right plot scenes to match the tying of loose ends. What scene can be used to start tightening up two or three individual strings? That's pretty much all I've been mumbling to myself lately. I take notes at the gym, at restaurants, at the laundromat, everywhere. And then I toss them out and write new ones. I'm so glad no one sees me working at home. People would probably think I'm nuts, walking around in my PJs, mumbling to myself and running my hands through my messy hair until it looks absolutely incomprehensible.

I've never ever tried writing a book 2 or 3 before in my life. I've had practice writing book ONES of stories....I mean, all the unpublished manuscripts I wrote before Legend were all book ones of stories. But this is the first time I've gone farther than the first one. And man, it is a serious learning experience.

Also, still pinching myself. Most days, I still can't believe everything that is happening. Today is definitely one of those days. <3