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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Terrified Author Post

No, it's not another giveaway. *cue disappointed faces* This is the post where I confess how absolutely terrified I am that my book is coming out in 33 days. People might read it. Or they might not. They might like it. Or they might not. Right now, it's all in front of me--this big abstract MOMENT I've built up in my mind which could turn out to be anything from abysmally disappointing to supremely lovely to anywhere in between.

The strange thing is, as the release day ticks ever closer, instead of wanting to publicize and promote and pimp like crazy, more than ever I want to hide from the world--just hibernate in a comfy cell with no internet connection and emerge some time in May after it's all over. I'm an introvert at heart--always have been. Anything remotely resembling a spotlight sends me into "fight or flight" mode, and right now I'm a major flight risk.

But I know I can't go anywhere. I have a release date set. A launch party planned. Yes, family and friends and colleagues are coming out to cheer me on at a real live bookstore. There will be food! And a reading! And a signing! The stuff of my adolescent dreams! And while I am endlessly grateful for this opportunity and for the support of friends and loved ones, I am also still that little girl who cried when she got one question wrong on her Kindergarten achievement test.

Yes, I'm a perfectionist. A people pleaser. I want you to like me. I want you to like my words. The thought of my little book going out into the big scary world sometimes paralyzes me. And yet, this is why I took my manuscript out of the drawer one day and sent it away to agents. Because I wanted to be a writer then, and I still do. All introversion aside, I want to connect with people, and this is the best way I know how.

So on March 31, as much as I might want to hop the next flight to Mazatlan and not come back until I'm fluent in Spanish, I'll be at the Doylestown Bookshop signing copies of my book. If you live in the area, I'd love to see you there. And I'll try real hard not to throw up on your shoes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Breath of Eyre ARC & swag winners

Thanks so much to everyone who entered my giveaway for 2 signed ARCs and swag for A Breath of Eyre! I really enjoyed your predictions about what will happen next in the teaser scene. It was almost unanimous--most of you thought the kiss would be interrupted. How very cynical of you! I'm not telling what really happens. You'll have to read the book to find out...

You have all been such great supporters of my blog giveaways, and I wish I could give each and every of you an ARC, but the entries selected were:

Erica and Rebecca (RivkaBelle)!

I'll email the winners for their addresses. Thanks again everyone for entering, and I wish you a great week!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

February ARC giveaway of A Breath of Eyre & Exclusive Sneak Peek!

A Breath of Eyre is six weeks from its release day, so I thought this would be an excellent time for another ARC giveaway (I'm giving away 2 signed ARCs with swag!) plus a teaser excerpt. As many of you know, A Breath of Eyre is about a girl who gets lost, literally, in her favorite novel, Jane Eyre. Emma is a sucker for storybook romance, so much so that she fails to see the possibilities for love in her own world.

I’m also sharing an exclusive teaser from A Breath of Eyre in which Emma may or may not be ready for a little real world romance. All you have to do to enter is read the teaser below and then, in the comments section, predict what's going to happen next. Plus, you'll get:
 +1 entry for tweeting or posting on Facebook: February ARC #giveaway for @evemariemont's A BREATH OF EYRE, plus exclusive sneak peek teaser: http://tinyurl.com/7m8a8cp
+1 entry for posting the contest link on your blog
+1 entry for following my blog
The giveaway is open internationally and will end Monday, February 20 at midnight EST. Remember there are 2 ARCs up for grabs now, so better chances! Thanks so much for entering!

A Breath of Eyre Excerpt:

“Tell me about your necklace.” He stopped walking and reached across to touch the pendant. When his finger brushed my skin, I stopped breathing.
“It was my mother’s,” I said, hearing my voice shake.
“Oh yeah. I knew I’d seen it before.” He bent his head to inspect it, his eyes at my level. I dropped my own because the moment felt too heavy, too real. I was staring at the top button of his shirt when I saw a glint of silver. “Hey, you’re wearing something, too.” I reached out and barely grazed his collarbone with my knuckle. He drew open his shirt to reveal a pair of dog tags.
“My uncle’s,” he explained. “He died in Cambodia when he was nineteen. My dad tells me I’m a lot like him. I wish I’d known him. My dad and I don’t really get along, but I have a feeling me and my uncle would have. My dad just thinks I’m a screw-up.”
“My dad thinks the same thing.”
“Your dad thinks I’m a screw-up?” he said.
“No, no,” I said, laughing. “He thinks I am.”
Gray regarded me quizzically. “He couldn’t possibly. You’re, like, the goody-two-shoes, straight-A student. My mom told me you have over a 4.0 G.P.A. with all those honors classes you take. We refer to you as Miss Perfect around the dinner table."
“Believe me, I’m not perfect,” I said, flattered that they talked about me at the dinner table. “Barbara thinks I’m troubled. My dad doesn’t even like me anymore. I’m just so tired of trying to please everyone. I’m tired of being good all the time.”
“Don’t underestimate good. There are times I’d give anything to be good.” His face clouded over, like some awful memory had just caught up with him. I wanted to say something to make him feel better, but I didn’t know what. When he turned to face me, he looked like he wanted to tell me something.
“What is it?” I said.
“Nothing. It’s just…” His voice trailed off, and he bit the inside of his cheek. For a moment, his eyes held on to that vulnerability, and then they got a mischievous glint in them. “It’s hard to take you seriously in those braids, Townsend.”
I glanced down at my costume. “I know. I feel so stupid. Nobody else dressed up.”
“Don’t feel stupid,” he said. “You look adorable.” He tugged gently on one of my braids, and my heart soared. One little compliment, and I was getting all soft around the edges.
I started to say something, but before I could finish my sentence, his hand was cupping my cheek and he was leaning in to kiss me.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine's Day & The Freedom to Love

I never liked Valentine’s Day. Well, that’s not entirely true. When I was in grade school, we used to have these fun parties where every student would write a Valentine’s Day card for every other kid in the class. Then we’d put all our cards inside a special Valentine’s Day mailbox, and our teacher would play postman, showering us all with shallow yet sweet messages of love, often with animal themes like: “Owl be your Valentine” or “Bee mine” or “You’re Purr-fect!”

That’s what I liked about Valentine’s Day back then—it was so inclusive. Everyone got a Valentine. Everyone felt loved.

But then I got to high school, and there was no longer a teacher to make sure our expressions of love were democratized. During homeroom, the popular girls would be deluged with multicolored roses from not only their boyfriends but from all the guys who wished they were their boyfriends. And me? I got nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. (Except the year my best friend and I decided to send each other a rose so we’d feel less like losers. It didn’t help.)

So basically I’ve hated Valentine’s Day ever since it started feeling like a holiday meant only for the beautiful and the popular. Valentine’s Day made me feel unworthy, unlovable, like I’d never be able to partake in the festivities of flowers, chocolates and candle-lit dinners in the way my more socially savvy peers did. Valentine’s Day seemed like a holiday for the few, and my exclusion from it left scars.

Now that I’m happily married, it shouldn’t matter anymore. In fact, my husband and I have boycotted Valentine’s Day since we first started dating. And despite not receiving a pink card or a heart-shaped box of chocolate every February 14, I know that I am deeply loved. I know that I am married to the man I love. And I know that this is because I’m free to love whomever I choose.

But just like in my high school days, I can’t help feeling that this privilege of loving is still doled out unfairly. I usually don’t blog about political topics, choosing to focus on oh-so-important matters like Doctor Who, swoony love interests from YA fiction, or shameless acts of self-promotion. But California’s Proposition 8 was just ruled unconstitutional, a major victory for marriage equality. And yet our country still has a long way to go. Yes, our country, which was founded on the principle of equality and which prides itself on its diversity and tolerance, has only six states that allow same sex marriage. We will never be a truly enlightened nation until we grant all our citizens the right to love, and to marry, any person they choose, regardless of sexual orientation.

And just because I love her, here is Ellen Degeneres addressing critics who think she shouldn’t be a spokesperson for J.C. Penney because she’s gay. In her inimitable warm and witty style, Ellen captures what’s at the heart of this issue in the last thirty seconds: “Here are the values I stand for. I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you'd want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. That's what I stand for.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.