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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Favorite Reads of 2010!

I love reading other people's "best of" lists at the end of each year, especially for books (and okay, ESPECIALLY when Losing Faith is listed - LOL).

My list is a big one, but I make no apologies. First of all, because there was just so much awesomeness out there to read this year. But secondly because I read A LOT. More than ever before. Keep in mind, I am a slow reader, and I did not grow up as a reader or writer. In my teen and early adult years, I'd have been lucky to get through about three books in a year. During 2010, I read 82 books! And there are a few I'm still working on, but they will make it onto next year's tally.

Here is a list of some of my favorite reads from this year, in no particular order...

YOU WISH by Mandy Hubbard
TELL ME A SECRET by Holly Cupala
THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson
THE DEATHDAY LETTER by Shaun David Hutchinson
GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD by Eileen Cook
FLASH BURNOUT by L.K. Madigan
BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott
NOTHING LIKE YOU by Lauren Strasnick
BAD APPLE by Laura Ruby
FREEFALL by Mindi Scott
IF I STAY by Gayle Forman
BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver
WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED by Judy Blundell
STUPID CUPID by Rhonda Stapleton
TEEN IDOL by Meg Cabot
TORTILLA SUN by Jennifer Cervantes
THE RED UMBRELLA by Christina Gonzales
THE TREASURE MAP OF BOYS by E. Lockhart

If you haven't read any of these ones, I encourage you...go out and buy a copy. Support these authors so they can continue producing awesome books! And if you have read and loved any of these, which ones make YOUR favorite list?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I haven't been around much, and to tell you the truth, it's not because of the hustle and bustle of the season. I've been deep in my revision cave, only popping out for the odd silly thing like tweeting the odd tweet, giving away some copies of LOSING FAITH, and you know, feeding my family and such.

Our house is a disaster, I'm in way over my head on my revisions (the hardest set I've done), but it's all okay because I have a good excuse to put it all aside and just bask in the company of family for the next couple of days. Well, that, and eat some really yummy food. My mom makes great mince tarts, so you better believe I will be raiding her fridge and cupboards this weekend. Plus, my dad makes a mean cappuccino.

It's been a great week of reading, too. I've really been enjoying reading people's "best of the year" lists, (Losing Faith has even been on a couple, which totally made my year!) and so I hope to be back next week mentioning some of my favorite books I've read this year.

Until then, I wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe holiday! From our house to yours...Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

12 Days of Christmas (YA Author Version)

In between Christmas parties and shaking my bootie (aka professional gigs with my Polynesian dance troupe), I've been spending most of my waking hours deep inside my revision cave. But the brain needs a break once in a while, just a bit of a detour to get the creative juices flowing again.

That is my only excuse for this piece of silliness. (By the way, I got this idea from the fabulous agent/author/ Girlfriend, Lucienne Diver, who recently posted her Twelve Days for Publishing Professionals)

The Twelve Days of Christmas (The YA Author Version)


On the first day of Christmas, my Good Muse gave to me
a bright idea and an M.C.
On the second day of Christmas, my Good Muse gave to me
Two hot boys, and a bright idea and an M.C.
On the third day of Christmas, my Good Muse gave to me
Three school friends, two hot boys, and a bright idea and an M.C.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my Good Muse gave to me
Four motivations, three school friends, two hot boys, and a bright idea and an M.C.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my Good Muse gave to me
Five lines with zing! 
Four motivations, three school friends, two hot boys, and a bright idea and an M.C.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my Good Muse gave to me
Six hours of writer's block 
Five lines with zing! 
Four motivations, three school friends, two hot boys, and a bright idea and an M.C.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my Good Muse gave to me
Seven procrastination techniques 
Six hours of writer's block
 Five lines with zing!
 Four motivations, three school friends, two hot boys, and a bright idea and an M.C.
On the eighth day of Christmas, my Good Muse gave to me
Eight descriptive passages
 Seven procrastination techniques, Six hours of writer's block 
Five lines with zing! 
Four motivations, three school friends, two hot boys, and a bright idea and an M.C.
On the ninth day of Christmas, my Good Muse gave to me
Nine new sub-plots, Eight descriptive passages, Seven procrastination techniques, Six hours of writer's block 
Five lines with zing! 
Four motivations, three school friends, two hot boys, and a bright idea and an M.C.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my Good Muse gave to me
Ten detailed settings
Nine new sub-plots, Eight descriptive passages, Seven procrastination techniques
Six hours of writer's block
 Five lines with zing!
 Four motivations, three school friends, two hot boys, and a bright idea and an M.C.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my Good Muse gave to me
Eleven obstacles
Ten detailed settings
Nine new sub-plots, Eight descriptive passages, Seven procrastination techniques, Six hours of writer's block 
Five lines with zing! 
Four motivations, three school friends, two hot boys, and a bright idea and an M.C.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my Good Muse gave to me
Twelve steps of climatic tension
Eleven obstacles
Ten detailed settings
Nine new sub-plots, Eight descriptive passages, Seven procrastination techniques, Six hours of writer's block
 Five lines with zing! 
Four motivations, three school friends, two hot boys, and a bright idea and an M.C.

I offer up signed swag (and a big Merry Christmas wish!) to anyone who's brave enough to post a YouTube video of themselves singing this!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The One About My Office

I just realized I hadn't posted this yet. While recording a few vlogs last week, I did this one of my new (not-that-glamorous) office! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

SLJ Review!

It always seems to be the days that I'm down in the U.S. (where my iPhone costs an absolute fortune, so I don't use it) when "News!" comes in.

Yesterday I was finishing a bit of Christmas shopping in Bellingham, WA, when a fantastic review came in from School Library Journal! Many of you probably know I've been a little, um, eager to hear from trade reviewers on LOSING FAITH, and School Library Journal? Well, let's just say I'm *thrilled* to have their backing and approval.

I don't think I'm allowed to post the entire review here, but here's a couple of my favorite lines (and if you'd like to read the whole thing, feel free to email me at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com )

From SLJ on LOSING FAITH:
“This thoughtful first novel explores early grief and shows how it can tear at the structure of a family that cannot mourn together…. Brie does not want to mourn alone; she feels angry, guilty, and confused, and she wants answers. Once Brie uncovers the breakaway Christian study group that her sister belonged to, the story becomes a mystery thriller... [R]eaders are taken on a ride through a secret world of religious zeal gone haywire….  The fault lies not in the religion–an earnest Christianity–but in the fanaticism that can happen when people follow a charismatic leader with a personality disorder.With pitch-perfect portrayals of high school social life and a nuanced view into a variety of Christian experiences of faith, this first novel gives readers much to think about.”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tenners Library Giveaway

ATTENTION LIBRARIANS!!!

To celebrate the end of our debut year, The Tenners will be holding a special giveaway just for librarians. One public or school library will be selected to receive a set of 54 books by 2010 MG and YA debut authors.

How do you enter this massive giveaway? So easy. All you have to do is capture one of our books in the wild.* Take a photo of yourself, another librarian, a patron, or even an adorable library pet posing with one of our 2010 debut novels. Send it to us at 2010debuts@gmail.com from your institutional email address. Tell us your name, your library's name and mailing address, and who's in the picture.

Again, only librarians are eligible for this giveaway. Not a librarian? Encourage your friendly neighborhood librarian to enter! The contest will be open until February 15th and the lucky winning library will be chosen and announced on February 16th. Until then, we'll be periodically posting your pictures.

The Tenners would like to thank you all SO VERY MUCH for your support this year. It's been an amazing adventure and we're looking forward to sharing more books with you in 2011 and beyond.


Books included in the giveaway are:

The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
Change of Heart by Shari Maurer
The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk
The Dark Divine and The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson
Dirty Little Secrets by Cynthia Jaynes Omololu
Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Everlasting by Angie Frazier
Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount-White
The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston
Freefall by Mindi Scott
The Ghost & The Goth by Stacey Kade
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Hush, Hush and Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Inconvenient by Margaret Gelbwasser
Iron King and Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Kids vs. Squid by Greg van Eekhout
Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham
The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz by Laura Toffler-Corrie
The Line by Teri Hall
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
Magic Under Glass by Jackie Dolamore
The Mark by Jen Nadol
Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Nice & Mean by Jessica Leader
Other by Karen Kincy
Palace Beautiful by Sarah DeFord Williams
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl
Prophecy of Days by Christy Raedeke
The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtman
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
Sea by Heidi Kling
The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai
The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter
Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes
Wildfire Run by Dee Garretson



*No purchase necessary, so posing with a photo or artistic interpretation of a book's cover is just fine too.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Best I've Read 2010 - Losing Faith!

I'm THRILLED about this: Losing Faith was named as a favorite book of 2010 by a group of bloggers. They're running an event right now called "The Best I've Read in 2010!" and it is awesomesauce!



And here are some blogs that are a part of this event and have been celebrating with either a giveaway of LOSING FAITH (plus many other amazing books!) or an interview with me. Or both!

I'm so incredibly thankful that my book has been able to connect with people! I hope you'll stop by some of these blogs:


Fire and Ice (Giveaway!)
Mundie Moms (Giveaway!)
Books Complete Me (Giveaway!)
I'm a Reader Not a Writer (Interview and Giveaway!)
Once Upon a Twilight (Interview and Giveaway!)
A Reader's Ramblings (Giveaway!)
Late Bloomer Online (Giveaway!)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bookscan: My One and a Half Cents

Most of you have probably heard about the latest news: Authors can now see their bookscan sales figures for free. I tweeted yesterday about not needing another reason to obsess/procrastinate, but trust me, I'm not any stronger of mind than any of the other authors who haven't navigated away from their Amazon page in the last twenty-four hours. In fact, in full disclosure, I did go to Amazon to check it out and see what all the fuss was about.

But while waiting for the little tutorial tour about reading sales figures to complete, a little voice in the back of my head whispered, "Remember GoodReads?" And yes, I do remember GoodReads. Very well. GoodReads and I have a very close love/hate relationship. It's not that I mind finding mixed reviews of my book. What bothers me is that checking GoodReads has become such a habit, harder to break than a crack habit (or so I imagine), and it really can affect my day/mood/writing.

So I walked away. I decided not to learn how to open and read the Bookscan section of Amazon. I need another bad habit like I need a hole in the head.

This is not to say I disagree with Bookscan numbers being available. Well, not completely. But if an author is on there out of fear that their book is not selling well enough, that's not a good reason, in my opinion.That's just one big recipe for crazy-making.

Authors are encouraged to put a lot of their time and effort into marketing and promoting our own books, and it only makes sense that we should be able to track whether or not various promotions are working. And that sounds great. And it probably would be great if we were created part-machine. But as novelists we are emotional people. We NEED those emotions to make our books great. The last thing we want to do is allow ourselves to become jaded and apathetic, or worse, heartbroken and only able to write about mopey, depressed characters.

While I agree that we are adults and professionals who should have all necessary information regarding our careers, I return again to the crack addict analogy. Is this simply a bad habit we will pick up that won't really help us at all? 

So how many of us can be detached enough to look at the return on work/investment of marketing and promotion without allowing ourselves to feel like failures or having those numbers make us more weary for the road ahead? I know I can't. And so I will be steering clear of checking my own sales numbers.

I say leave the study of "the numbers" to those who are clear-headed enough to interpret them properly, and without a trigger effect to the rest of their lives.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wondering Wednesday - Favorite Recent Reads

Quick! Tell me three books you've really enjoyed recently - the ones that come to the top of your head first. This doesn't have to be favorite books of all time, or even this year. Just whatever you would consider "recent".

Here are mine:
TELL ME A SECRET by Holly Cupala
YOU WISH by Mandy Hubbard
FREEFALL by Mindi Scott

Your turn! Ready, set, go...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Bottom Ten: Movies of All Time (That I've Seen)

I think you can tell more about a person from their least favorites than their fave favorites. I could never do this with books (but I will be back soon with my BEST books of 2010!). Being an author, I know how much it hurts when someone doesn't connect with my book for one reason or another. But since I highly doubt Steven Spielberg will be reading my blog (not that any of HIS movies are on my list, actually, but you get what I'm saying) I'm going to stick with my 10 least favorite movies.

Please don't throw things at me if I'm insulting one of your favorites. It's just an opinion. (And if any of these ARE your absolute favorites, let's just agree right now to never go to the movies together, okay?)


Daddy Day Camp
Grease 2
Dumb and Dumberer
Waiting To Exhale
Mars Attacks
Rambo (the newest one)
Borat
From Justin to Kelly (okay, I didn't actually see this one, but I have no doubt it belongs on this list)

Okay, and just for fun, here are a few of my all-time favorites:

The Princess Bride
The Matrix (1st one)
With Honors
When Harry Met Sally
Say Anything

Okay, your turn!

Busy, Busy!

So many things to blog about, so little time!

Seriously, I keep thinking of things I'd love to write about, but I'm in the thick or revisions (you know the point where you think there's no possible way you'll be able to make all the threads come together?) and I'm using all my very limited time and energy on that at the moment.

But soon I will be back with some exciting vlogs about...my hair...my new office...my current projects. Well, okay, maybe exciting isn't the correct word. But I will be back. I promise.

In the meantime, if you haven't yet heard about my Have a Little Faith Contest, make sure to check that out, and help spread the word. Also, there MAY be some more fun LOSING FAITH swag in the mail to me at this very moment, and I MAY decide to add a few extra prizes! I've already given away two signed copies, an ARC, and a T-shirt, and it's only December 7th! Lots more fun to come!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday Four - The Video Edition

I didn't have time to blog today, but I just recorded a quick vlog if you're interested in what I've been up to this week!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Four - The Video Edition

I didn't have a chance to blog today, or even really collect my thoughts, so I made a quick vlog in case you're interested in what I've been up to!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Give back where you can!

LitWorld’s annual Holiday Book Drive is running 
Dec 1 to Dec 31

The idea is simple: people donate children’s picture books, mailing or bringing them to one of three drop-off points in New York. LitWorld, in partnership with The International Book Bank, will fill a 20ft container with the books (around 3,000 are needed) and ship them to Liberia and Sierra Leone. There, the books will be put straight into the hands of children. Some of these children will never have seen a picture book before; the majority are used to sharing what they do have: one book is shared among 75 children, on average.



Below you’ll find the addresses where books can be brought or sent, as well as more information about LitWorld, The International Book Bank and about the situation in Liberia.I'll be mailing a box of picture books this week. I hope you will too!

WHERE TO MAIL OR BRING BOOKS

http://litworld.org/holidays/bookdrive/

LitWorld is a non-profit organisation that advocates for global literacy. LitWorld believes stories are life-changing and sharing stories will create connections that have the power to change the world. LitWorld works closely with teachers all over Liberia, providing professional development around reading and writing. We also provide schools with much needed books, supplies and school materials. Currently the ratio of children to books is 75:1. Our dream is to change that to 1:1!
About The International Book Bank: An organisation that has been delivering free books and educational materials to developing countries since 1987, with the goal of increasing literacy and advancing education.

About Liberia: As you may know, thousands of people were killed in Liberia's 16-year civil war, leaving the nation in economic ruin. Many places are still without electricity and running water. Unemployment and illiteracy continue to be endemic. The country is attempting to rebuild and recover from this long and arduous war. A large part of this effort is rebuilding the educational system. In order for that to be successful they need an increased supply of books and materials.
About Sierra Leone: Though Sierra Leone is well known for its diamond industry, it was ranked as the poorest country in the world in 1998. The dispute over the control of the diamond mines erupted in an 11-year civil war, which began in 1991 and ended in 2002. Sierra Leone faces the intense challenges of reconstruction, with poverty and unemployment leading the major issues. The Civil War deconstructed 1,270 schools, leaving 67% of children in 2001 without an education. Today, two thirds of the adult population in Sierra Leone are illiterate.



CONNECT WITH LITWORLD!
litworld.org
facebook.com/litworld
twitter.com/litworldsays

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wondering Wednesday...

I've had some questions lately, you know, just general life questions, and I thought I'd share some of them. Some are kinda silly, and they're really all over the map, but I still do wonder.

If you have answers, or even just guesses, I'd love to hear it!

1. It's the start of Hanukkah tonight, and I'm interested to know what people do to celebrate, and what the significance is behind it all. Is it a traditional practice for you, or a deeply spiritual one? I'm just curious how different people express different faiths.

2. What percentage of Americans do you think go shopping on Black Friday?

3. What percentage of writers do you think have participated in NaNoWriMo at least once?

4. How's the best way to cook a turkey? I've heard that low temperatures for longer helps keep it moist, and just browning it at the end. Any other suggestions? And what do you use for spices?

5.I'm in the market for a small video camera. What should I look for/what's most important to you? Any model recommendations?

I'll leave it at five for today, but believe me, my overactive brain could go on for days. I wonder about EVERYTHING! So if you have a moment, drop me a note about one or all of these enormously important life questions!

Inquiring minds want to know!

Wondering Wednesday...

I've had some questions lately, you know, just general life questions, and I thought I'd share some of them. Some are kinda silly, but I still do wonder. If you have answers, or even just guesses, I'd love to hear them!

1. It's the start of Hanukkah tonight, and I'm interested to know what people do to celebrate, and what the significance is behind it all. Is it a traditional practice for you, or a deeply spiritual one? I'm just curious how different people express different faiths.

2. What percentage of Americans do you think go shopping on Black Friday?

3. What percentage of writers do you think have participated in NaNoWriMo at least once?