Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Harry Potter Means to Me

This month has been a bit of an emotional one. After more than a decade of Harry Potter, it's all come to an end, (on my birthday, July 15th, no less). Over. I have to admit, never in my life have I felt like I've ate, drank, and breathed something as I have Harry Potter. Every book, every movie, was a moment.

For most of the books even, I can remember where I bought them. The first couple were from Barnes & Noble. I bought a lot of them at Target (they NEVER had lines on release days!) and I remember going to Target the morning after my wedding in 2005 to get Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with my husband and BFF from Germany before going to my after-wedding brunch. I remember my husband reading it on the balcony of our vacation apartment, overlooking the Mediterranean in Nice, France on our honeymoon. I remember hustling down to Hugendubel bookstore on the Marienplatz in Munich in 2003 to pick up the UK copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for myself and same German BFF and then heading back to her apartment where I read the whole book in a day. I've collected copies in German, Spanish, and French so far, and hope to collect some more.

I have 3 copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in English, all US versions. One of them we just discovered at my Grandma's house after she passed away. It was worn, she had clearly read it, which I thought was way cool. (I already knew my granny was cool, she read Into the Shadows, so there you go!)

I saw all of the movies in the theater, my husband went with me to all of them, and always went on the day they came out, but never at midnight, because I get sleepy!

I have all the films (except for HP 7 Parts 1 & 2) in German and show them to my German students every year. They are bilingual in Harry Potter vocab, which I think is pretty awesome.

I also have a growing Harry Potter poster and Lego collection which has now taken over a room in my house, aptly dubbed the Harry Potter room. It's where my 'office' is now.

I do realize that I'm 33, I'm not a young kid who grew up reading the books. I started reading Harry Potter in the spring of 2000 when a student at Fremd High School in Palatine, where I was student teaching, recommended it to me. She really had to convince me it wasn't just for kids. I was definitely skeptical. But after I read the first book, I was sucked in. J.K. Rowling's writing was so rich, so colorful, so imaginative. She had me from this opening line:


Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

Her voice, her style, her British-ness. Awesome. Reading the rest of the books, I was drawn into a world that I loved, somewhere I wished was real. And loved characters like members of the family.

When the books ended in 2007, I was a bit lost, unsure of what to read next. It was then that I decided to start writing. I will never be J.K. Rowling, there is only one throne, and she's earned it. But I must thank her for inspiring me so much. If it wasn't for her and Harry, I wouldn't be writing this blog right now, I wouldn't have written the books I have, I wouldn't have all my friends at DarkSide Publishing,  and I wouldn't be sharing this future with you.

Whatever the future brings me for Harry Potter, whether it's Pottermore, or having the ebooks on my Kindle for easy reading, or maybe (one can dream) more books related to the Potter world, as well as a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, I'm excited for it. My daughter, who is now 4, has seen all the movies, but I look forward to the day she pulls my well-worn hardcovers of the Harry Potter series off the shelf and begins to read them herself. I love it when I hear her playing with other kids and saying "I'm Hermione!" So for her, it's just the beginning.

100 years from now, readers and film fans will continue to enjoy Harry Potter, just like I enjoyed greats like The Wizard of Oz. And hopefully they'll understand why we loved it so much.

And as Severus so succinctly says in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:

"It's real for us."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Into the Shadows Gets A Facelift

I'm super excited to reveal the new cover for Into the Shadows, which you can see here on the left. While I thought the original cover was great, Carl Graves does wonderful work, when I thought about the covers for the rest of the series, I wanted something a little different. Obviously, I really needed all the covers to match, that was important. And I really have a thing for people on the cover. I am a sucker for pretty people, what can I say.

My idea here was I wanted to give my main character, Paivi Anderson, a face. The challenge was (*spoiler alert*) her hair changes color and style by the conclusion of book one and I really needed to reflect that in the covers on the other books in the trilogy. Luckily I was able to find this stunning model, quite by accident, who had a variety of hair colors and styles. It totally saved me! And my cover designer, Robin Ludwig, did a fantastic job bringing the essence of Paivi to life.  I love that she kept a similar title banner as well, it sort of blend a little of the original book cover with the new one.

As for the Into the Shadows Trilogy, we're moving forward. I'm working on the sequel, which I'm hoping for a late Fall 2011 release. Look for a title and cover reveal in the coming weeks. And the final episode of the trilogy should hopefully be available in Winter or Spring of 2012.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I AM a Mature Adult...Or That's What I'm Supposed to Be...

I, for some reason, decided to count the amount of t-shirts in my closet last night and guess how many t-shirts I happen to own? 75. SEVENTY-FIVE T-SHIRTS. This only counts casual and cozy wear (casual means I can wear them with jeans, cozy with sweats). This does not count t-shirts for my job (add another 10) and t-shirts only for sleeping or working out, and a box of t-shirts from high school that are 'saved' from my old basketball days.

I love t-shirts. I'm probably every fashion designer's nightmare. I like fashionable things as well, but jeans and a t-shirt are probably by far my favorite thing to wear. Again, not necessarily the type of mature clothing an adult would wear. I would struggle if I had to wear a suit to work every day.

Just to give you a little insight to my wardrobe, which I am well aware is completely useless information, my t-shirts also fit into categories. I do collect certain t-shirts, which you'll notice in the themes below:

8 Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts (Europe and US, one from Mexico)
6 are pro sports related (Chicago teams or World Cup Soccer)
13 band t-shirts (U2, Grateful Dead, Beatles, Oasis, Paul McCartney, Rage Against the Machine)
9 represent foreign countries (not counted into other categories - all European)
22 are college t-shirts (from all over the country)
1 Harry Potter t-shirt

So if you ever feel like sending me a present, you're completely safe with a Hard Rock Cafe or college t-shirt! hehehehe How about you? Anything you have way too much of?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Revision Overload

Do you cook? I don't often (that's the lovely husband's job because he loves it), but when I do take on some large-scale cooking, I find that by the time the product comes out of the oven I no longer want to eat it. Or even taste it. It doesn't mean what I made isn't good, I don't know, it's like I'm over it already!

I finished revisions for The Green the other day and while I'm pretty sure the characters and story are pretty solid and I really think readers will enjoy it, I really was glad to see it sent off to my beta readers at DarkSide. I couldn't read it any more! The Green has been in revisions forever I feel like, but I think I finally got it where it needs to be. We'll see what the ladies say!

I will now take a break from reading my own writing and read some for the other girls in the group. I can't wait! I'll also dive back into writing, which I've been enjoying as well and had to stop for a few days to finish my revisions. I know in the end it will be worth all the labor!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Very Full Plate

I was very excited for this summer - I figured I'd have a ton of time to work on new things and wrap up The Green for publishing. I never figured the foot surgery would wipe out so much time and energy. Good news there is I'm finally walking without crutches, now just need to get back to walking normal! In any case, I've got some great things started and near finished at this point, so hopefully, something new for you to read in the next month. Here's a little breakdown of the writing work I've got on my plate, all of which I'd like to have done before school starts on August 20somethingth.

1. The Green - My new YA contemporary romance about a drug-dealing cheerleader. My hope is to get my revisions done (I feel like it's had a hundred) this weekend so my lovely DarkSide beta readers can hack it up and get it back. Then it needs corrections, a round of proofing by my English hawk-eye Adrian, and another round of corrections. Then formatting and boom. You've got a new book. :D Again, hoping that will be out to you sometime in August for sure.

2. Sequel - Into the Shadows - I started the sequel for ITS during the start of Camp Nanowrimo. My hope was to get the rough draft done by end of July and 'win' Camp Nano, but there is some other DarkSide work that needs to get finished first. The story is cooperating though, so once my other work is finished, I hope to jump back into this and get it written for you. I'm shooting for a Fall 2011 release if I can get a draft done by the time school starts.

3. Into the Shadows Trilogy book covers - being that I now have the second book coming alive for ITS, I need some great book covers to pull the series together. Carl Graves did a great job first time around (and I'll keep his cover for the paperbacks), but I've pulled some great pics for my other designer, Robin Ludwig, to work with. I know she'll come up with something fantastic. We should hopefully have the 3 new covers to release (and the new titles, of course) by end of July.

4. Beta Reading/Proofing - in the meantime, I'll also be beta reading and proofreading some great novels from Megg Jensen and G.P. Ching from DarkSide Publishing. We've got some great things coming in the next few months. Be sure to stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer of Harry Potter: Not Gonna Make It!

I can't believe it, I'm actually going to fail. I'm not going to complete my own Harry Potter-reading-all-the-books challenge. I did make it halfway through Prisoner of Azkaban. My plan now is to jump ahead and read Deathly Hallows one last time before next Friday. Really, time just got away from me. The foot surgery slowed down all aspects of my life, even reading, because I wasn't feeling up to much but sleeping.

But not to worry, the Harry Potter movie marathon will commence next week. Hopefully we'll be able to pick up our tix for the movie this week.

And in Harry Potter Room news, I got 2 new HP lego sets (Quidditch and the Forbidden Forest). I'm contemplating getting more of the sets...my birthday is coming up ON Harry Potter day itself, July 15th, so it's for sure the perfect birthday gift. Now I'll need to get a shelf to display them on so they don't clutter up my brand new writing desk. I also have an HP6 movie poster ready for framing, just have to get around to it and get it hung up.

How far did you get in your HP book quest? Anyone finish? Thinking they'll finish?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bookaday: Maybe, Maybe Not by Rae Hachton

Maybe, Maybe NotYA Romance/Coming of Age

David likes Lisa, Lisa likes Colton, Colton likes David. But what if David secretly likes Colton, too? How will they ever solve this love triangle?

Amazon Paperback: Currently $14.95 http://amzn.to/ks3WoB
Amazon Kindle: $5.99 http://amzn.to/joauea
Barnes and Noble Pre-order $10.08 http://bit.ly/kWBbBi

Author Info:
Rae Hachton is the nom de plume for Desirae Hennington. Maybe, Maybe Not was written during four days during Spring Break of 2008 when she was nineteen. This is her debut novel.

Contact Info: http://raehachton.blogspot.com 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bookaday: Oubliette (Cloud Prophet Trilogy #2) by Megg Jensen

Oubliette (Cloud Prophet Trilogy)YA Fantasy

Reychel thought she was finally free. She was wrong.

Everyone saw her gift of prophecy as a blessing, but her gift is uncontrollable. No one alive can teach her to manipulate her unique gift and the answers she needs lie buried within a madman’s journals.

She’s thrust in the midst of a brewing war and the only uniting factor for her people is their belief in the Prophet. Will Reychel learn to control her gift or will she be forced to deliver a false prophecy that could lead her people into a violent war?

Purchase Info: $3.49 in ebook!
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Oubliette-Cloud-Prophet-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B0056BLQVK/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1308537492&sr=8-4
Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Oubliette-Cloud-Prophet-Trilogy-Book/dp/1463521391/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1308537492&sr=8-3
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/oubliette-megg-jensen/1031526888?ean=2940012960375&itm=2&usri=megg%2bjensen

Contact Info:
www.meggjensen.com