Sweat YA Tour Recap + giveaway

This giveaway has ended
 Click here for open giveaways
Once again I attended an event at the amazing Irving Public Library, and it was just fantastic. Authors! Books! Bloggers! Descriptions of hot guys' abs! TV cameras! Wait, what? One of these things is not like the others...but seriously, there were tv cameras there, which was weird but awesome because the IPL is absolutely one of the best libraries I've ever been to, and the more word gets out about it, the more events they'll be able to host!

Personal note, please excuse the dark quality and lack of zoom on my photos. I forgot my camera and had to use my tablet camera instead. It doesn't have a flash or a zoom. Sorry!

Look at how cute everything is! Huge posters of the book covers (I managed to snag one for the giveaway!) and these massive HANDMADE tissue paper sunflowers everywhere. What with the checkered tablecloths, I felt like I was at a picnic!

Speaking of a picnic, I thought I was in heaven with the food!

Books + food = a very happy Mary. Lemon bars, sandwich wraps, and scrumptious cupcakes! I limited myself to one because I am a Good Girl. Okay, I had two cupcakes, but I had to try the white AND the chocolate. Don't judge me.

 After a few minutes of talking and chowing down, it was time for the Main Event!
L to R: Debra Driza, Shannon Messenger, Amy Tintera, Kasie West

Once again, the fabulous Jenny Martin moderated! The authors started off with a round of Two Truths and a Lie, then Jenny and the audience asked some questions followed by a truly hilarious lightning round.

Two Truths and Lie
Shannon Messenger (SM): I once had coherent conversation with a shirtless Brad Pitt. I was a contestant on a Hollywood game show. I sat in the nominee section for an academy function; yes, academy like The Academy. Brad Pitt was the lie, but it was Rob Lowe at least. I went to USC film school, and I had a policy to never Google my teachers. I showed up at this function, and I asked where my teacher's class was sitting. They gave me this really nice parking spot. Then I asked inside, and they led me to a seat right in the second row. Then, my teacher walks out on the stage and looks at me like, "What are you doing there?" It turned out I was sitting with all the nominees because I'd been name-dropping him all day, and he was the president of the sound people (side note: I don't remember what Shannon said her teacher's name was or what exactly he was president of, but the whole story was freaking hilarious).
Debra Driza (DD): I am infamous for doing worm at writing functions. I put Starburst in my book because it's my favorite candy. I was at an event with Shannon where we read from each other's books. I didn't realize it, but the copy I gave her was soaked in puppy pee. Starburst is the lie. I just wanted a colorful candy.
Amy Tintera (AT): Reboot is my nineth completed novel. It only took three months to write and query. I was a bus driver. *snorts* Are you kidding? It took nine months to write and query Reboot. It is my ninth novel written but first published because the others suck. I really was a bus driver in college.
Kasie West (KW): One time, I choked on my own hair while talking to a cute boy in high sschool. I once walked around with a Ghirardelli square squished on my butt. One time I chipped a tooth on vacation and superglued it back together. The chocolate was the lie, but it was almost true. It was Jr. Mints. The hair thing happened when I leaned forward while laughing. I took a deep breath and sucked down my own hair. And yeah, the tooth thing was real. I called my dentist, who told me just to use superglue on it until I could get home. This tooth *points* is now fake.

Q1. Jenny: There are plenty of heated moments in your books. How do you create that chemistry, that great romance?
SM: I write middle grade so at first, it was harder to write steamy scenes. I sent an email to my critique partners saying I will die if I have to use the word tongue. My editor said, "it needs more smolder." I had to scale it back for book two so I guess I figured out how to do it now!
KW: It's more about the build-up to the kissing scene. Unless the characters have tension, it's not as exciting. The almost-kisses. You want them to get there.
DD: I love romance. The first book I tried to write was a Harlequin romance. It was about a veterinarian. I guess I have a thing for dogs. Mila is using her crush to prove she's human, normal.
AT: I'm the complete opposite of Shannon. My editor said they can't be kissing all the time. I said, "sure they can!" It is more about the build-up, less about the physical. My book is about going on an adventure and falling in love.

Q2. Jenny: Which of your characters do you admire and why?
DD: I relate to all of them. I have to make them real people. Teens can relate to feeling not comfortable in own skin.
SM: Probably Audra from Sky Fall. She's by far the most broken character I've ever written. I'm not kickass like Audra. I would go down in the first wave of the zombie apocalypse. Audra is the most broken, but she's also strongest. Paranormal romance tend to be girls getting rescued by strong boys. I wanted to do role reversal.
DD: Your boy has great abs, though.
SM: Yes, my boy has nice abs, but he doesn't know he's a supernatural creature.
AT: And he's kinda lazy.
SM: Yeah, he's lazy and arrogant. So Audra protects him.
AT: Callum. My girl is kind of a psychopath. Callum has strong morals. Sometimes, in my world, killing people is necessary,  but he won't do that. He puts other people above himself, even when he probably shouldn't.
KW: Addy in Pivot Point. She makes hard choices. She's very loyal. She makes choices I probably wouldn't, but I admire her for it.

Q3. Audience member: How do you decide on the names for your characters?
DD: Mine was easy because it's an acronym for something. That's a spoiler.
SM: I read baby name books. I wanted wind related names. Vane. Audra has something to do with storms.
Audience member: Audra means Strength and nobility.
SM: YES! Thank goodness for smartphones and Google! Strength and nobility. I read a new age baby name book for my middle grade book, which is why they're all kind of weird.
AT: Behindthename.com. I look down the list, pick out about six or seven, and one will just click.
KW: I hate naming characters. It's very hard for me. Seriously, everyone is called x for like 50 pages until I find something I like.

Q4. Audience: How long did it take to write each book?
DD: Mila was pretty quick. 2 1/2 months to write, but revisions were longer. Total over a year.
KW: Ditto. Exactly the same for me.
AT: Four months for the first draft; four-five for the second. It took a year for revisions.
SM: Four years to write one. The draft that's published was number 20. It's going quicker now, though.

Q5. Audience: Do you have to shut yourself off to write?
DD: Trying to write at home with kids is just not gonna happen. If I'm home alone too much, I start to go crazy.  I have to go to Starbucks or Panera. I like to have people around me.
SM: I'm the total opposite of Debra. I'm like dog in Up, but I'm learning how to write in public.
AT: I like to shut off from world, but I started writing in middle school in science class because science is boring.
DD: Funny how science is boring but Amy writes sci fi.
AT: It's not the same. My science is not real. *everybody laughs*
KW: I have four kids so I can't shut off from world. You learn to get in the zone when you're in the zone and be in mom zone when in the mom zone.

Q6. Audience: How do you deal with not knowing where the story is going?
SM: Deadlines help when I need to get it to the editor. I'm not a pantser or a plotter. I consider myself a connect the dots-er. I have to know the beginning, ending and three or four points in the middle.
KW: I have to give myself permission to suck. Accept it won't be good in the first draft. I literally forget how to start a book when I start a new draft. I'll be freaking out, and my husband will say, "haven't you done this before? You always do this!"
DD: You have to turn off your internal editor. Get the draft out as quickly as possible.
AT: For me, it's like the magic is gone. The idea is great, but it's hard ptting it down. Remember it will come out.

Q7. Jenny: It's clear that you all struggle with some of the same things, but you also struggle in unique ways as well. Can you tell us what's next for you?
DD: Mila 2.0 was the first in trilogy. The second book is written, but I need to do the third book. And everything else I have an idea for is contemporary.
SM: The sequel to my middle grade comes out  in October, and the sequel to Let the Sky Fall comes out March 4th. I'm really excited about it because the second book is hard. I'm writing book three for both series. And something they never tell you is that when you are an author, there's this thing called a Shiny New Idea. Every time I try to write, it pops up, and it's like, "Here I am!" Meanwhile my deadlines are saying, "Don't you dare!"
AT: The sequel to Reboot comes out in May 2014. It's just a duology.
SM: That's smart. Book three is woe!
KW: The sequel to Pivot comes out in February, and I have another contemporary in summer 2014 called On the Fence.

Lightning round!
Q8. What food should be banned?
DD: Pickles
SM: Cooked carrots.
AT: Beets.
KW: Um....um....um...artichokes?

Q9. What's your favorite city?
DD: Ireland?
SM: Paris
KW: Morro Bay

Q10.Which of the Scooby Doo gang do you see yourself as?
SM: There must be something about Scooby Doo because this is the second question we've been asked about it!
DD: Shaggy
SM: Probably Shaggy, but can I be unrealistic and say Daphne?
AT: I can't answer because I'm seriously just not familiar with Scooby Doo.
KW: Shaggy

Q11. Movie you've rewatched over and over.
DD: Matrix, Pretty in Pink
SM: Sixteen Candles
AT: Back to the Future 
KW: Pride and Prejudice, both

Q12. Movie you can quote. Bonus points if you can quote it!
DD: Seriously, I can't think of ANYTHING!
SM: Mean Girls. "Stop trying to make fetch happen!"
AT: Clueless. (note: sorry, I missed Amy's quote!)
KW: Pitch Perfect, and no, I'm not going to sing.
DD: Monty Python!

Q13. Dinner vs. dessert.
DD: dessert
SM: dessert!
AT: dessert
KW: dessert

Q14. Secret phobia.
DD: Spiders. Also, feet.
SM: Small spaces.
AT: Crickets.
KW: Heights.

Q15. I wish more people...
DD: Would eat chocolate.
SM: bring me cupcakes.
AT: I agree with the cupcakes.
KW: Laugh.

Q16. Twister or Clue.
DD: Twister.
SM: Clue.
AT: Clue.
KW: Twister.

Q17. Book that changed your life.
DD: Dune
SM: Ella Enchanted
AT: If I Stay 
KW: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Q18.TV show you wish weren't on tv.
DD: I don't watch shows I don't like so...
SM: The news!
AT: I like tv.
KW: I love tv.
SM: I'm still gonna go with the news.

Q19. In high school I spent Saturday night...
DD: Wishing I was at cool parties but really reading
SM: Homework.
AT: Work.

Q20. Favorite snack.
DD: Anything chocolate. Chocolate chip cookies
SM: Cupcakes!
AT: Cheetos.
KW: Jr. Mints

Q21. Jetpack or teleportation aka "Beam me up, Scotty!"
DD: Jet pack.
SM: Teleporting.
AT: Beam me up.

Q22. Avenger you want to be or Avenger you want to save you?
DD: Thor
SM: Thor
AT: Black Widow for both
KW: Iron Man. He makes me laugh.

Q23. Han Solo or Indiana Jones?
AT: They're the same person!
DD: Han.
SM: Indy
AT: Han
KW: Indy
Jenny: Wow, split right down the middle!

Q24. Mountains vs the beach.
DD: Mountains.
SM: Beach.
AT: Beach.
KW: Beach.

Q25. Superpower you want.
DD: Teleporting.
SM: I want them all!
AT: Flying.
KW: Same. Flying.

After the panel, we queued up for the signing. All four ladies were so kind and personable! Debra did indeed do the worm, although it was tough on the hard floor, and Kasie did indeed sing a couple rounds of "Cups" from Pitch Perfect. The ladies also took pictures with their posters and books. My favorite was Kasie, who took a picture with her book upside down at my urging and also decided to imitate art by matching her poster.

Super adorable! As always, it was nice to catch up with all my blogger author ladies like Kristin of the IPL & Cool Librarian Glasses, Kari of A Good Addiction, author Julie Murphy, Karen of Teen Librarian Toolbox, Marissa & Jasmine of Beneath the Moon and Stars, and all the other great ladies I get to hang out with during and after these events. And let me say this: I applaud the waitstaff at Mattito's Tex-Mex for not even blinking at a party of 20+ raucous women  bonding over over books and queso. Good times were had by all! And PS I totally want to make the fake street team I gave Shannon a real thing. Let's make #Messengerspigeons a thing, you guys! :P

And now for the Good Stuff: the giveaway!
Open to US/Canadian residents 13+.
12 AM August 13 - 12 AM August 27.
I highly advise clicking on the Site Policies tab and reading my giveaway policies because I retain the right to disqualify entires that are attempting to cheat the Rafflecopter system. Please don't paste the same tweet url over and over. That's completely unfair to those who actually tweet my giveaway that many times. You don't have to advertise the giveaway if that's not your thing, but if you cheat, I will disqualify your entries. All of them. You have been warned.

Ugh. Now that that unpleasantness is over, it's time for the PRIZES!
1st place: Signed copies of Mila 2.0, Let the Sky Fall, Reboot, and The Distance Between Us.
2nd place: Swag pack of things I picked up from the authors and a signed Distance poster! See the pic at the beginning of the post for the poster. It's gorgeous. And SIGNED. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Many books changed my life. I'm going to say The Secret Garden. It made me believe that even books written by adults a long time ago could still be so good I melted into another time and place and became someone else. Thereby discovering my passion for books early on in life! It's a passion that hasn't left me since!

    Dee @ Dee's Reads

    Come say hi sometime! :D

    1. I love Frances Hodgson Burnett! A Little Princess is one of my top childhood books too! I will definitely come visit! Thanks, Dee!

  2. Every book I read changes my life. They give me information and knowledge and transport me away.

    I love being a book geek.

    1. What a great answer, Jacquelyn! I'm kind of fishing for recommendations, but it is true that if we let them, all books have the power to changge us. :) Book nerds unite!

  3. The book that changed my life would probably be Charlotte's Web. It was the first book I vividly remember reading and since I've been reading since... it's pretty significant to me. :)

    1. Oddly enough, I haven't ever read Charlotte's Web, but I will always have a special place in my heart for the animated movie. :)

    2. It's just as cute as the movie. :)

  4. There are a few books that changed my life in the last 5 or so years. Reading Twilight made me open my eyes to new genres because before reading them I swore I would never enjoy a book about vampires or any other paranormal being. Then The Hunger Games made me realize I might really like YA books. And finally, after reading the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, I was totally hooked on YA. Before all of those, I pretty much read mysteries, chick lit, and memoirs.

    1. I wouldn't say Twilight was a game-changer for me, but it does seem like it was a game-changer for the world in general. HP, Twilight, and Hunger Games (which WAS a game-changer for me) seemed to blow ya wide open for the world. I've never read a Patrick Ness novel, but I'm hearing very good things about his work. On my TBR!

  5. Apart from the harry potter books, I'd say The book thief by Markus zusak. IT was just so beautiful and so impactful and it really affected me in so many ways! Lovely, lovely book. Definitely recommend it to anyone!

    1. YES to Harry Potter, which I talked about in my About Me tab. I also really enjoyed The Book Thief. Interesting format and narrator, and honestly, I loved looking for all the hidden clues and symbols throughout the novel. Rudy will always be my boy!

  6. The book that has changed my life and is my all time favorite is The Giver by Lois Lowry. Every time I read it I get a different perspective and I absolutely love the story :)

    1. I love The Giver. It's been a few years since I've read it, and I've never read the sequels, but I love it nonetheless. Can't wait for the movie!!

  7. Alice in Wonderland. It was the first real book I remember reading. I have loved cats and caterpillars ever since!

    1. Haven't read Alice, but I did read Through the Looking Glass. Wasn't my exact cup of tea, but I definitely understand and respect Carroll's status as an icon.

  8. Its so hard to choose but Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness has a huge impact with my life.

    1. I don't believe I've heard of that one, Sue. I'll have to look it up!

  9. Harry Potter all the way! I am sure there were earlier books but those were the best!

    1. Harry Potter was definitely one of mine too!

  10. I love Harry Potter! They got me into reading.

    1. HP didn't get me into reading, my parents and several other children's series did that, but HP KEPT me reading, which is important.

  11. Harriet the Spy is one of the books that changed my life! It has stuck with me through the years!!

    Crystal @ Crystal in Bookland

    1. Harriet! Another iconic book I haven't read. Sheesh, I'm behind the times on that one!

    2. I suggest you read it now! It's still enjoyable at any age. And see the movie!

  12. After numerous tries and a router reset I can FINALLY comment on this! Harry Potter definitely changed my reading life, but I would have to say that the Dear America/Royal Diaries series changed how I felt about history! (: They made me fall in love with historical fiction!

    1. I LOVE Dear America! I particularly liked the ones for the Titanic, the Oregon Trail, and the one where the girl is kidnapped by Native Americans.

  13. Many books have impacted my life since I began reading, but to name them is the challenge because I can't think of any off the top of my head. However, I believe Twliight initiated my love for the paranormal romance genre. And a book that impacted me recently would have to be THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green. It deeply moved me and is a novel I won't forget for a while.

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway, those are some amazing prizes!

    1. Twilight really started everybody's desire for paranormal romance. People may make fun of it and Stephenie for writing it, but a lot of authors and the publishing industry in general should only be thanking her! I really liked TFIOS as well. Can't wait for the movie!! Thanks for entering!

  14. Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. My grandparents would always give me books for holidays so these series started my love of reading.

    1. Love me some Nancy Drew! I have so many of those books! I also like the Hardy Boys.

  15. I saw someone else say Charlotte's Web and I'm going to have to agree. It's the first book I read (that I remember) that made me cry. I remember I finished it and was crying and then later felt, like, "What was THAT about?" Hahaha. But I loved it. What a quality book. Oh man.

    1. Clearly I need to step back in time and read it!