Posts Tagged ‘contest’

My best books of 2010

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Hello, friends. This week, I’m guest-blogging at the Book Smugglers. My subject, of course, is the best books I read in 2010.

There’s a contest, too! To celebrate my birthday, I’m giving away a prize pack that includes the very last Agency t-shirt. So what are you waiting for? Get over there! And I’ll see you here in the new year.

Bookmark and Share

One magickal winner, with more to come

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Thanks for entering the Magickal Agency contest and spreading the word, friends. In choosing a winner, I disqualified anyone who claimed not to like olives. Then I was consumed with pity for the misguided, olive-fearing people (because you can’t really claim to live a full and happy life without olives) and put you back in the contest. All right. So.

The randomly selected winner of the Stephanie Burgis prize pack, which includes the gorgeous UK edition of A Most Improper Magick and a set of bookmarks and postcards, is…

See what I mean by gorgeous?

Shel! Congratulations! Please send me your mailing address and I’ll get the book in the post.

I imagine the rest of you are saddened by this. You should be, because Steph’s book is absolutely wonderful and won’t be published in North America until April 2011. But if more conversation and prizes are what you’re after, there is some consolation…

Come to my online launch party for The Body at the Tower on Tuesday, where there shall be all manner of bookish chatter and prizes, oh yes. The lovely people at Candlewick Press and Walker Books UK will be there, refilling your virtual wineglasses. I’ll be giving away Agency t-shirts and stickers, and my publishers will be giving away books! Yes, I said books! The details, again:

UK/Europe: Tuesday, 28 September at 16.00 BST

US/Canada: Tuesday, September 28 at 4pm EST

The hashtag is #bodytower.

(Of course, you can attend whichever party you like. They’re just meant to be at convenient times.)

And there’s a traditional launch party, of course:

Wednesday, September 29 at 7.00pm

Novel Idea Books, 156 Princess St, Kingston

See you next week, at some point! And remember to click over to Steph’s blog to see if you won her contest.

Bookmark and Share

The Magickal Agency Contest

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Today is a glorious, big-news day. First, I’m so pleased to feature a double interview and contest with the delightful Stephanie Burgis. It’s a double contest because we’re each giving away a fantastic prize pack of each other’s books (details below). And it’s a double interview because I asked her 10 questions, which she twisted up and turned back on me. Plus, I can now share with you the details of my THREE launch parties: Kingston, North America online, and the UK/Europe online.

First of all, though, here are Steph and I in conversation:

Ying: What book do you wish you’d written, and why?
Steph: Any of Jane Austen’s novels. SO smart, so funny, and so full of layers!
Steph: Literary death-match among your favorite novels: Middlemarch, Emily of New Moon, or A Wrinkle in Time? WHO WILL WIN?
Ying: Middlemarch in a heartbeat, because I’m not 9 years old anymore. It would also win a literal death-match, as it’s physically the biggest book.

Ying: Black olives or green?
Steph: Green, stuffed with feta cheese!
Steph: Cornish pasty or Yorkshire pudding?
Ying: Cornish pasty FTW! Did you know that traditionally, Cornish pasties had a blob of jam in one corner for a dessert-like finish? This has always troubled me. I mean, what if you started at the wrong end?

Ying:  What are 3 things that make you laugh?
Steph: My crazy-sweet dog, my son, and Joan Bauer’s novel Squashed.
Steph: Which 3 literary heroines do you wish you could hang out with in real life?
Ying: Elizabeth Bennet, Harriet Vane (from Dorothy L. Sayers’s Peter Wimsey mysteries) and, like you, Amelia Peabody (from Elizabeth Peters’s Victorians-in-Egypt adventures). It would be a lively but dangerous gathering.

Ying: And are you a giggler or a cackler?
Steph: A giggler when reading, a cackler when writing. ;)
Steph: Are you a careful bookmark-er or a ruthless page-folder when you read?
Ying: Ack! Would you fold down the corner of your baby or puppy? I THOUGHT NOT.

Ying: What trait do you most admire in others?
Steph: Kindness.
Steph: What trait do you wish you had more of in yourself?
Ying: I’d like to be more disciplined – about writing, chores, time-management…

Ying: What’s the strangest place you’ve ever found your camera or keys?
Steph: In the refrigerator!
Steph: Confession time: which children’s TV show theme-songs have you memorized since having your son? (I know EVERY “In the Night Garden” song.)
Ying: This is going to sound so horribly smug, but we unplugged our TV 3 years ago and haven’t got round to setting it up again. (But it’s not because we think we’re better than everybody else! Promise!) But I’ve seen many, many more videos of tractors and fire engines on Youtube than I’d ever dreamed existed.

Steph: I am inherently great at _remembering historical trivia_. I am inherently terrible at _remembering to re-charge my mobile phone_.
Ying: I am inherently great at _remembering phone numbers_. I am inherently terrible at _remembering poems_.

Ying: What’s your favourite intersection?
Steph: The spot where the Kaerntnerstrasse runs into the Stefansplatz in the center of Vienna. Gorgeous!
Steph: What’s your favorite building in London?
Ying: The British Library. Yes, it looks like a giant primary school circa 1988, but it’s my spiritual home in London.

Ying: Do you have any reading rituals?
Steph: Curled up under the covers, drinking hot chocolate while reading is ideal!
Steph: Do you have any writing rituals?
Ying: Coffee. Glass of water. Email-check. Blog-check. Wander away. Herd myself back. Snack. Bathroom break. Really get started. Oops – reply to urgent email. Answer door. Back to desk. This is why I need more discipline.

Ying: If your mother had to describe you in 3 adjectives, they’d be:
Steph: Eek. Tempted to turn this over to Mom to answer, but at a hopeful guess: stubborn, smart, creative
Steph: If your husband had to describe you in 3 adjectives, they’d be:
Ying: Smart, funny, opinionated. Or maybe just opinionated, opinionated, opinionated.

(Seriously. My husband jokes that I should have a radio show called, “Strong Opinions”. I counter that there isn’t enough air-time in the world…)

And speaking of strong opinions, I thought that for the launch of Body, I should do more to reach readers who aren’t near the vast metropolis of Kingston, Ontario. To that end, I’m holding 3 different events.

UK/Europe online party: Tuesday, September 28 @ 16:00 BST

US/Canadian online party: Tuesday, September 28 @ 16:00 EST

Both online parties will take place on Twitter and the hashtag will be #body. Walker Books UK and Candlewick Press will be there! We’ll be giving away swag! If you’re not already using Twitter, it’s easy to register. And if any of this is confusing but intriguing, leave a comment or email me – I’m happy to answer your questions.

The Real Live launch party: Wednesday, September 29 at 7.00pm at Novel Idea Books. Click here for a map.

I hope you can make it to one of these events!

And now, the contest details

Here’s the deal: Steph and I are both offering a prize pack featuring each other’s books. I’ll be giving away the UK edition of Steph’s debut novel, A Most Improper Magick, along with an AMIM bookmark and postcard set! And over at her blog, Steph’s giving away a copy of The Agency 2: The Body at the Tower, plus an Agency sticker and bookmark.

Here are my contest rules. (You can, of course, enter both contests.)

- To enter, leave a comment answering any one of the interview questions above.

- You may have extra entries by sharing the contest on Twitter and/or Facebook (1 extra entry per site).

- The winner will be randomly selected.

- My contest closes on Wednesday, September 22, 2010.

Good luck, dear readers, and don’t forget to click over to Steph’s blog to enter her contest, too.

Bookmark and Share

FAQ: Are your books funny?

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Heigh ho! You have 5 days to enter the Tardy Contest to win ARCs of The Body at the Tower. Don’t be late! (har har)

Also, I’m featured at Books on the House this week. Enter there to win copies of A Spy in the House plus an Agency t-shirt.

When Misa Ramirez of Books on the House interviewed me, she asked, “Are your books serious, or does your wit come through?” I’m not really happy with the answer I gave then, so I thought I’d try again here. Ahem.

Long answer:

The Mary Quinn novels are dramatic novels that include comic moments. I write them in the tradition of two serious genres (historical fiction, mystery novels) but also joke about the expectations and conventions of those categories.

Having said that, one of the delightful things about novels is that nobody reads one the same way. What’s funny, dramatic, bland, or ridiculous to me will be quite different to you, dear reader. So while I wrote some scenes with the intention of providing comedy, some readers won’t find them funny. Some scenes, which I consider serious, will seem absurd to others. But it doesn’t really matter whether I think my books are funny. The question is, do you?

Short answer:

No.

Also, thoughts on author branding

Did you read Maureen Johnson’s Manifesto? It was much disseminated on Twitter this week but if you don’t want to click over, here it is in brief: Maureen Johnson spoke at a conference where her co-panellist endlessly declared, “I am a brand. I am a brand. I am a brand.” MJ begs to differ: she is just herself and uses social networks to have conversations and create connections with people. She also likes loves snacks.

MJ’s position is entirely reasonable and sane. But what really stayed with me was the unnamed co-panellist’s proud and frequent declaration: “I am a brand.” It’s one of the saddest things I’ve read lately. Not: I am a writer. I am a thinker. I am creative person. Not even, I am a lover, a believer, a human being with valuable and passionate relationships. No, the co-panellist (as depicted by Maureen Johnson) has reduced herself to a few key search terms and the smoothest veneer possible.

I take it back: it’s not one of the saddest things I’ve read lately. It’s one of the most grotesque things I’ve ever read.

I’m off to fetch MJ a snack.

Bookmark and Share

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?

Rules:

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!

Bookmark and Share

Contest winners!

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Dear Readers,

You are a delightfully insane bunch! Oh, I enjoyed your responses to “If I were a spy…”. For the record, here are a few of my favourites:

Linda Hitchcock, for the Mrs. Pollifax reference:
If I were a spy, I’d cloak myself in the disguise of an older, civic minded matron who spends her days volunteering at the library or attending committee meetings. My DAR pin would cloak my secret microphone. Mrs. Pollifax, watch out! Have hats, will travel!

Lori, for her radical vision of the Frumpy Spy:
If I were a spy I’d adopt the disguise known the world over as “American Tourist”. Jeans? Check! Fanny Pack? Check! Camera case? Check! Slip into my athletic shoes and I’m ready for whatever will come my way! Yes, I’ll notice the eye rolls thrown my way, but the joke’s on them.

Kathy Vogel, for getting straight to the point in a poetic fashion:
If I were a spy,
I would surely die.

Patricia Barraclough, for our link to reality:
If I were a spy, the country I worked for would be in big trouble.

Katy, for another reality check:
I would probably accidentally kill myself with one of my super secret spy gadets, because I would forget that the lipstick tube contained a deadly acid or a laser.

Liyana, for being creepy without actually sounding creepy:
If I were a spy, you wouldn’t know where the prizes went. Just saying.

ninefly, who’s clearly seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon too many times:
If I were a spy, I would love to be one of those cool Chinese spies with their black masks and pseudo-flying abilities lol
I don’t even care what I’m spying on, I just wanna fly to get there =X

Carol Thompson, for exemplary family support:
If I were a spy my mother would be convinced that I was only doing it to allow me to look at naked men and she would blame it all on my not getting chosen for the cheer leaders team in high school.

Melanie, for being a rubbish spy:
If I were a spy… What do you mean, IF?? Totally am. *buffs nail polished fingers*

Orchid, for aiming high:
If I were a spy… I would put James Bond to shame.

Kuri, for her superior sense of self-preservation:
If I were a spy, I’d stay the heck away from James Bond. All the women he meets tend to die.

Sheila, for – well, read it and see:
If I were a spy I would be the least successful spy in history because I have such a large chest that no matter how well I disguised myself anyone upon whom I attempted to spy would take one look at me and say, “Hey, I recognize those … uh, I mean, you!”

So, did coffee spurt out of your nose?

It came close, Sheila – yes, it did – and for that, you win the Mystery Prize. This consists of an Agency t-shirt and some terrific Invisible Ink Cards featuring pirates, sumo wrestlers, and bunnies – all handmade by Vee Blackbourn. The cards don’t photograph well (invisible ink, go figure) but please believe me – they’re delightful. The best part? You bake them to reveal the images!! If you’re tempted by the idea of concealed sumo wrestlers, octopus t-shirts, or other sly and stylish screenprinting, you should definitely email veeblackbourn [at] gmail [dot] com.

And now, the randomly drawn winners of the Agency prize pack (book plus t-shirt) are Carol M, Mimi, and Jayne Blackledge. Congratulations, you three!

And thanks to everyone who entered, for making this contest so much fun.

This week in reviews, Yuan of GAL Novelty deems Spy “an engrossing read, with a lead character you can root for with all your heart, an interesting premise, and a nice heavy amount of twists to keep mystery fans pondering. I, personally, am dying for the sequel. Is it August yet?!”

In her review at Books are Life, Christina says, “I was hooked on this book from the moment I opened it”.

Next week, Candlewick and Random House have organized for me a meeting with the booksellers of Kingston. I’ll report back then!

Bookmark and Share

More loot! aka the “If I were a spy…” contest

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Come to my book launch party on March 9! Details here.

To celebrate my North American debut, I’m giving away 3 fabulous prize packages. These will include a shiny new hardcover copy of The Agency: A Spy in the House and an Agency t-shirt. These will be randomly drawn.

There will be a fourth mystery prize, not randomly drawn, and this will go to the entry that makes me laugh really, really, hard. Ideally, it will make me spurt coffee out my nose. Yes, I’m that classy, and also willing to suffer for a joke.
Mystery prize rule 1: I reserve the right not to give this out at all.
Mystery prize rule 2: A randomly drawn winner may also win this extra prize.

So, what do you have to do? Simply leave a comment below that completes this sentence: “If I were a spy…” You can enter more than once by spreading the word on Twitter, Facebook or at your blog (1 extra entry for each means of dissemination). Tell me what you did in your comment. This contest closes on March 31.

Good luck, everyone!

Bookmark and Share

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 random.org, never fear – there will be a New and Even More Amusing Contest happening… ooh, right around March 9, I’d say.

No idea why.

Bookmark and Share

The First Lines Contest

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

It’s 6 weeks before the official North American release of A Spy in the House and I feel giddy, celebratory, and rather nervous. What to do then, but give away swag? Please join me in celebrating my North American debut – enter the contest, and encourage your friends to do the same!

The first-prize winner will receive a Candlewick Press ARC of A Spy in the House (featuring the cover at left) and one of these custom-made, not-for-sale-anywhere Agency t-shirts.

Don't worry; it doesn't say "Trainee Spy" on the back.

Don't worry; it doesn't say "Trainee Spy" on the back.

Second- and third-prize winners will each get a copy of the UK edition of Spy

That's the Walker Books ed, which looks like this.

It looks like this.

To enter, email me the answer to this question: What’s your favourite first line? Give me the sentence, author’s name, and the book title.

But that’s not all. You may enter a second time by announcing this contest on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook account and emailing me a link to your announcement. Please use some form of the following wording: Win an ARC of Y S Lee’s A SPY IN THE HOUSE, the first novel in the Agency series! Enter at http://yslee.com/2010/01/the-first-lines-contest/.

I’ll announce the randomly selected winners on Thursday 18 February. Good luck, everyone. I can’t wait to read your entries.

Bookmark and Share

On writer’s block (plus contest winners)

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

One question I’ve heard a lot recently is, “What do you think about writer’s block?” Oh, writer’s block. It seems to be a bit like Santa Claus, or Love at First Sight, or the Perfectibility of Humankind: either you believe in it, or you don’t.

Many writers I admire suffer, on occasion, from writer’s block. One of my favourite living novelists, Beryl Bainbridge, found herself unable to write after 2001’s According to Queeney (apparently, she quit smoking and it destroyed her routine). I held my breath for several years, but Bainbridge is supposed to be back this year with The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress. I live in hope. Other prolific, highly successful writers simply don’t believe in it (writer’s block, not chain-smoking!). In her recent profile in the New Yorker, Nora Roberts shared her golden rule of writing: “Ass in the chair”. I’m tempted to add, “No internet connection”.

In my experience, writer’s block is actually a fear of imperfection. If you can’t write that first sentence (that first paragraph, that first draft) because you’re trying to come up with the perfect first sentence, you’re “blocked” – not because you can’t write, but because you don’t want to write anything short of a polished, elegant, shapely final manuscript. Sadly, THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE.

So go ahead and give yourself permission to write imperfectly, clumsily, downright badly. Words on the page can always be altered – but only once you’ve got something to edit. So write. Your first sentence will probably be excised, and your first paragraph chopped up and rearranged. Your first attempts will bear only scant resemblance to your final draft. You’ll go back to it weeks or months or years later, and be embarrassed by your first draft. But so what? You wrote it down, cleaned it up, polished it to a high shine, and here you are.

Emphatically not blocked.

.

On an entirely different (though also triumphal) note: congratulations to Lauren Beazley and Eleitta Brazeau of Regiopolis Notre Dame HS, winners of the limited-edition, not-for-sale-anywhere A is for Agency t-shirts. Please let me know what size you’d like (S, M, L or boy’s M or L) and I’ll send them right out.

Next week: more on writing

Bookmark and Share