Posts Tagged ‘ARCs’

This is when it feels real

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Hello, friends. Look at what turned up at my house recently!

Yes, these are ARCs of The Traitor in the Tunnel (publishing February ’12). That gorgeous cover is even better in real life (mitigated only by the knowledge that the finished copies will be even more stunning). As for its contents…

It’s a curious feeling, holding the book in my hands. You might expect that after having written, rewritten, and edited it, and having been edited, line-edited, copy-edited, and proofread, that it might feel, um, somewhat familiar (resorting to understatement). And it’s true: there are parts of it I’ve unintentionally commited to memory.

But seeing it bound is astonishing because it also distances me from the production of the book. After all, this is the part I know nothing about. It becomes less my book, and more like a strange and staggering miracle. The cover is lovely and intriguing and slightly nostalgic (because I have, after all, seen it before). And then I flip open the pages and the experience becomes terrifying because it feels like looking into part of my brain. From the outside.

It’s at this moment that the panic sets in. I’m about to send this out into the world? Without anyone to protect it? Or even an explanatory preface?

This is far from rational, of course. I know, at some level, that this is a strong book. Actually, I think it’s the best of the three Agency novels so far. But still. Still. This is the curious push-pull of the almost-published moment, for me.

Is it like this for you, fellow authors? And how about you, aspiring writers and fellow bloggers and readers? How do you feel when you’re about to send something Out There?

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Winners of the Tardy Contest

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Good day! You all made the Tardy Contest difficult and I felt serious anxiety just reading some of your comments:

Joanne missed her best-friend-from-high-school’s wedding by 7 days. Eek!

Steph almost missed a transatlantic flight by 24 hrs.

Mary, Penny, and Christie have missed doctor’s appointments by pretty wide margins.

Ari‘s family was 4 hours late to an event they thought was the next day (which makes them early, kind of…)

Lizzy was late to a grad school interview. (She got in anyway – yay!) Love the detail about driving for an extra 2.5 hours on Earth Day.

Tara was 2 hours late to her own wedding reception and blames her husband’s wardrobe malfunction. (Oh, sure…)

Sanjana missed an international flight by a good few hours, while idling in a coffee shop. Ouch.

Spav was 2 hours late for a flight because of a snowstorm – in Madrid!

BrittLit and Barbara keep it simple: just oversleep.

Sarah took a major detour to the starting line of a cross-country race – that’s a great image.

And there’s Rebs, who missed the contest deadline by 24 hrs, which is kind of awesome in itself.

But my favourite tardy story here is Griffin‘s, who managed a tour of 2 countries and 3 states in a snowstorm, yet never quite made it to his meeting. As he says, “we spent almost two full days driving, never reached our destination and became a cautionary tale for others”. Now THAT’s epic.

The randomly drawn winner is Steph Burgis. Yes, she’s a friend. But I promise: her number came out of the random generator. Congratulations, Griffin and Steph – an ARC of The Body at the Tower is on its way to each of you.

And shame on us all.

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The Tardy Contest

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Care to win one of two ARCs of The Body at the Tower? Read on!

Are you always running late? I try very hard to be punctual but occasionally, bad planning and fate get the better of me. I once missed a flight out of Paris because the journey to Charles de Gaulle took 3 hours, instead of the planned 1.5. (A lovely airline employee took pity on my idiocy and put me on the next flight.) Another time, I was 60 minutes late meeting friends in Victoria, BC because I missed my ferry (I didn’t have a cell phone then; amazingly, my friends waited around the cafe for a whole hour and we met up). And then I nearly missed the ferry back, because we were having dinner and talking too much to watch the clock. Yikes. Reading this over, I sound like a pretty feckless person. But I try, I really try.

So when I was researching The Body at the Tower, I felt a mingled sense of amusement and outrage when I read that the reconstruction of the Palace of Westminster (where the Houses of Commons and Lords sit, and the site of Big Ben) ran a full quarter-century late! That’s so late it’s almost fabulous. Almost.

And that’s the theme for my new contest. To enter to win one of two ARCs of The Body at the Tower (published August 10), just leave a comment answering this question:

What’s the most shamefully, ridiculously late you’ve ever been?

or, if you’re one of those sickening, effortlessly on-time people: What’s the silliest excuse anyone’s ever given for being late to meet you?


You may have extra entries for sharing via your blog, Twitter, or Facebook accounts (1 extra per network).

Contest closes June 30. June 15. Can’t wait to give these away!

One winner will be randomly drawn. The other ARC will go to the commenter whose reply makes me gasp aloud.

Good luck, everyone!

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Book club!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

First, a confession: I have never belonged to a book club. This might be because I spent quite a long time at university and so had many years of focused and sustained discussion about a book/poem we’d all recently read (or pretended to read). Most classes were adequate-to-fine. A few were dismal. A very few were spectacular. So while I do love talking about books, there’s something about the formality of a Book Club that gives me classroom flashbacks.

As a result, I’d no idea what to expect at my first book club meeting as an author. What can I tell you?

First, that it may be all about the food. Seriously: 8 women. Snacks for, ooh, 16? It was heaven.

Second, that they had all read Spy (or did a great job pretending) and had tons of questions. And they asked me things I’d never thought about – for example, what’s the backstory on the primary agent whose territory Mary Quinn treads on? My brilliant answer: “Um, I haven’t thought about her much.” I think I’d better get on that.

Third, I totally cracked: I’m not supposed to reveal the Candlewick cover for The Body at the Tower yet, because it’s not quite ready. (Soon, soon.) But I brought an ARC and flashed it around shamelessly. The bookclubbers were very kind and humoured my delirious babbling about the story behind the cover. Thanks, ladies.

I had such a great time, thanks to Jennifer O’Donnell who invited me, and Marcia Irving who hosted. It was terrific to meet all of you and I hope you keep in touch! (And thank you very much for the lovely bottle of wine! You really shouldn’t have, but I’m secretly very glad you did.)

This week in reviews:

Bookseller Ben McNally says Spy is “accomplished and believable. Mary Quinn and her supporting cast are developed with care and craft, and the plot is polished and quick.” Notes from a Book Addict, at BookLounge

The charmingly named NerdGirl is “on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book”!

And Ria at Tea and Tomes says the characters are “wonderfully real” and the period detail “made the story just that much more believable”.

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The first shiny hardcover! plus contest winners

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

(Looking for launch party details? Click here.)

This week, the wonderful Deborah Wayshak of Candlewick Press sent me an advance copy of the Real Deal. Yes, a crisply dust-jacketed, super-extra-luminous copy of A Spy in the House. It’s a hardcover. It makes me a little bit dizzy. And if you’re in my house, seriously – don’t even breathe on it.

A Spy in the House dustjacket

I haven’t been able to take a photograph that truly conveys the depth and lustre of the dust jacket. But! It looks pretty cool on the shelf, non? (The whole photo is extra-warmly lit. This is not a pretentious artistic device on my part, but an attempt to avoid using the flash.)





And now, the lucky devils who won the First Lines Contest:

The second and third place winners of the Walker Books edition of The Agency: A Spy in the House are Becky Earl and Catherine N!

And the winner of the Grand Prize – an ARC of the Candlewick Press edition of Spy and an exclusive Agency t-shirt is Lexie C!

I like giving things away, you enjoy receiving swag (I assume), so congratulations all around.

And for those of you who entered and are now feeling victimized by the evil machinations of, never fear – there will be a New and Even More Amusing Contest happening… ooh, right around March 9, I’d say.

No idea why.

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They’re hee-ere!

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

The ARCs for Spy, I mean. Look!

ARCs of A Spy in the House

If I had a few more, I’d cancel the contest and use them to wallpaper my study. As it is, I guess I’ll have to think up a new giveaway!

I’m planning the launch party right now and will have more details for you next week. And I’m writing book 3, The Traitor and the Tunnel – to which I must now return.

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