Friday, June 26, 2009


And the winner, selected by random draw, is...


Congrats, Emily! Email me which of the Shakespeare prizes you want, and I'll get it sent off to you!!

Thanks Lisa, and thanks everybody for playing!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Interview with Lisa Mantchev...and giveaway!

As promised, here's an *exclusive* interview with the lovely and talented Lisa Mantchev, author of EYES LIKE STARS. (which I reviewed yesterday) No fairies were harmed in the process of this interview. (well, MUCH)

Susan:Eyes Like Stars is based in an art nouveau-style theater, which happens to be magical and populated with Shakespearean characters. Bertie, the main character, is kind of stuck there. Would you want to live in the Théâtre Illuminata? Who would be your favorite characters to hang out with?

Lisa: I would move there in a heartbeat. Seriously... a messy bed that disappears below the stage, Mrs. Edith to do my laundry for me, food appearing in the Green Room? Sounds like a frazzled writer's dream-come-true! And I'd probably spend the majority of my time with Bertie, the fairies, the comedic characters, because I love to tell inappropriate jokes and have a good laugh. Cue Beatrice and Benedick, if you please...

Susan: One of the primary themes of ELS is Bertie's search for herself: her past, and her future. I'd think this would relate to just about any teenage girl. Did you plan that as a theme, or did it just develop through the story?

Lisa: Bertie's search for her mother and herself was part of the novel from its earliest incarnation, but I wouldn't say I thought about it in terms of "theme" when I was writing (mostly because "theme" is one of those words that got used in my high school English classes that made everyone groan.) Once I'd revised the novel four or five times, I could see the self-discovery was integral in a way that will make movie trailer voice-over guys say things like:
"A girl without a past.... *cue dramatic swell of orchestrated music* will seek the truth beyond the footlights."

Susan: The pirates are yummy. Tell me about the pirates.

Lisa: Oh, Nate. Well, he's got the requisite ship, muscles, accent, earring, sword, and "interesting tattoo" but he really does spend more time offstage with Bertie and the fairies than on it buccaneering and shouting "Arrrr, matey." In fact, he'd probably look askance at anyone who ran up to him and yelled that. In a conversation with Dan Bostick, who's directing the Full Cast Audio version of ELS, we discussed the need for him to have pirate-lilt rather than sounding like Long John Silver. And while I'm a huge fan of Johnny's Captain Jack, Nate's origins have more to do with the pirates in Peter Pan than those sailing the Caribbean.

Susan: Obviously you've been in the theatre a lot. What's the favorite part you've played, and why?

Lisa: I played the Stage Manager in a production of Christopher Durang's The Actor's Nightmare. Not a huge role, but I gave her this super-high Brooklyn accent that deepened when she also got shoved onstage to act; she went from Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors to a husky-voiced homage to our department's movement instructor in one line, and the transformation made everyone howl.

Susan: I've always thought there was a parallel between the ability to lose yourself in a part and in your characters while writing. Agree? Do you think the skills tend to overlap, to some degree?

Lisa: Absolutely. Nine times out of ten, when a scene is flowing, it's because all the characters in it are yammering away in my head... then I'm just transcribing the crazy. And then the writing is just limping along, it's usually because one or more of them has taken a coffee break and wandered off to the Green Room without telling me.

Of all the characters, the one most likely to disappear is Ariel. There's just something about that boy that makes me want to staple his shoes to the floor.

Susan: What would you like to tell readers, about Bertie and Eyes Like Stars? C'mon. Make it juicy. Something sekrit that happened offstage, maybe?

Lisa: Oh, there is much juice to be had... and those sorts of behind-the-scenes/offstage moments are going to be a feature at the Théâtre Illuminata website. (note: also PRIZES!) I've decided to write up some flash fiction to tide readers over until the sequel. *runs before you kill me with sticks*

Oh, all right, here's one thing I haven't shared anywhere else: Nate gets 95% of his accent from Gerard Butler. OM NOM NOM.

Susan: WHEN OH WHEN is the sequel coming out?

Lisa: PERCHANCE TO DREAM will be out in the Fall of 2010, and the third book (yes, Virginia, it IS a trilogy!) will be out in 2011.


Now that you've fallen in love with the book and are dying to read it...I don't have an ARC to give you. WHY? Because I loved it so very much I promptly passed it on for others to love. Still, there's no fun doing an interview without giving away goodies. So instead of an ARC, I'm going to give the winner a choice of one of these 3 Shakespearean goodies, from

Shakespeare Action Figure!

Shakespearean insult mug!

Shakespeare magnetic poetry kit!

Rules: Contest will be open until midnight MST Thursday, June 25th. You get one entry for posting a comment on this blog, and an additional entry for linking to the contest/interview on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog (just include the links in your post below, or send me an email at susan dot adrian @ entry for each proved posting! Winner must be in North America, due to shipping costs.

Let's spread the word about this fabulous book!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Tomorrow, I'll be posting an exclusive interview with EYES LIKE STARS author Lisa Mantchev.

Here's the blurb for EYES LIKE STARS:

    All her world’s a stage.

    Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.

    She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.

    She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.

    That is, until now.

    Enter Stage Right

    NATE. Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie.

    COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD SEED, and PEASEBLOSSOM. Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. BERTIE’S sidekicks.

    ARIEL. Seductive air spirit and Bertie’s weakness. The symbol of impending doom.

    BERTIE. Our heroine.

    Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

    Lisa Mantchev has written a debut novel that is dramatic, romantic, and witty, with an irresistible and irreverent cast of characters who are sure to enchant the audience.

    Open Curtain

I thought I'd love this book. I was a dancer, then an actress, devolving into a full-blown Shakespeare nerd in college. I audited Shakespeare classes for no credit, just because I loved to study the plays. I visited Stratford-upon-Avon, saw Shakespeare in the Park in London, made a trip to Ashland to see the festival there. I try to see at least one Shakespeare play a year, if I can manage it.

Plus, it's YA! And fantasy! And it has *pirates*! But would it be a great story?

Yes. She pulled it off. The book managed to integrate the theatre stuff in a new, original way. The characters--especially Bertie--were compelling and identifiable. There is wackiness--nutty fairies, buckets of blue hair dye, an onstage Turkish bath scene--but it was always believable. Better, even though I was on vacation, I never wanted to put it down. I kept sneaking off to read it for *just a few more minutes*.

My only complaint is that it's a series, and now I have to WAIT to find out what happens. As we all know, I'm Not So Good at waiting.

*stares at Lisa* O_0

But you'll want to join in too!

Come by tomorrow and check out the interview. Plus, I'm going to be giving away a fabulous Shakespearean-themed prize from this place. Can you guess which 3 choices I'm offering?

Monday, June 22, 2009

No, really, NOW it's good

I was thinking this weekend about that perennial question authors ask themselves, and each other:

How do you know when the book is done? When is it ready to send off into the world?

My answer, for myself, has always been when it's as good as I can make it. The funny thing is, I didn't realize that was a moving target.

I wrote a book. I thought it was as good as I could possibly make it. My agent loved it and agreed to represent it. Wahoo! Done, right?


It didn't quite sell, but we had consistent feedback. On reading the feedback, I realized the book COULD be better. I could go farther, deeper, if I let myself. I didn't know what I was thinking before, that it was as good as I could do. It wasn't. I just *thought* it was. So I revised it.

I thought I was done. NOW it's perfect, right?


Then a brilliant person suggested a completely different bent to the book. ("What would it be like if THIS happened instead?")

Ohhhhhhhh. Yessssss.

I now am just starting to realize that when I have that "oh" moment, there's yet another level to go. The book was good, maybe. It could still be better. And every time, I realize that where I thought I let go before, that I really gave it all I had, there's MORE.

Some people don't understand how I can keep making revisions when I was happy with the book to begin with. "If it was right before," they ask, "why do you keep messing with it?"

Because maybe it was right before for me a year ago, or 6 months ago. I keep growing and changing as a person, keep inhaling other books and thoughts and (hopefully) wisdom. So when someone I trust says "not quite right" I damn well WILL go at it again. And again. And again.

Is it perfect this time? No. I'm sure with the right eye I could make it EVEN better. But this time, really and truly, it's the best I can do.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Book YAY

Finally I've got my teeth into a new book.

All new. Brand new. Shiny and tempting and lovely.

Sparkly like this:

Or this:

Or especially THIS:

Though I will be keeping it close to my chest for quite a while yet, I wanted to share the GLEE.

Monday, June 15, 2009

ULTRA-MEGA Tiara Day winners!!

So the winners of the Tiara Day contest (announced on Twitter this weekend) were:

First prize (first pick): @JoanneLevy
Second prize: @DeadlyAccurate

Congrats to the winners! Books will be mailed soon. And thanks to everybody who played--that was ~*FUN*~. We should do it again sometime, y?

Friday, June 12, 2009


Happy ULTRA-MEGA Tiara Day, everybody!!!

As explained yesterday, to celebrate I'm holding an ULTRA-MEGA contest.

The prize: One of these fine books, chosen by the winner.*

You can't see all of them? Well, I tried to cover more than just YA, though it's still heavily YA. The titles/authors are:

Death by Bikini, by Linda Gerber (YA mystery)
Rebel Angels, by Libba Bray (YA historical)
Paging Aphrodite by Kim Green (um...women's fiction, I guess)
Enna Burning, by Shannon Hale (middle grade)
Heretic, by Bernard Cornwell (historical)
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart (YA)
My Name is Will, Jess Winfield (really cool Shakespeare-related fiction)

But what's that one in the middle, you ask? Oh, THAT:

THAT is a highly-sought-after ARC of Eyes Like Stars, by Lisa Mantchev. I'm only giving it away because I LOVED it so much that I want to share (though you may have to pry it from me). Seriously. It is amazing. You want to read this ASAP.

The rules: Change your avatar (on twitter, facebook, your blog, etc.) to somehow include a tiara. Tiaras by themselves are okay, but it's more fun if it's you or your regular avatar sporting a tiara (Photoshop is FINE). Tweet to me (@susan_adrian) or email me (susan dot adrian or comment on this post that you've participated, with a link to the pic for post or email. Contest closes at midnight tonight, June 12th.

I'll randomly draw a winner. Sorry, I can only ship to the U.S. and Canada, but please feel free to participate anyway!

*If we get more than 25 entries, I'll randomly draw TWO winners. 50 entries, THREE winners. 75 entries, FOUR winners. Should we happen to get 100 entries, I'll draw FIVE. (and I'll stop there or go broke from postage). This means you have a great incentive to SPREAD THE WORD about tiara day, post links, and re-tweet.

Winners will be announced sometime this weekend. Ready...go forth and wear tiaras!!! Enjoy!! :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

ULTRA-MEGA Tiara Day and ULTRA-MEGA Contest Tomorrow!

*announcement* *announcement* *announcement*

Tomorrow (Friday, June 12th) will be ULTRA-MEGA Tiara Day.

Tiara Day is partly just silly--the idea is to post a picture of yourself in a tiara, your usual avatar tiara'd, or a plain old tiara pic as your avatar for the day. Can work on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, whatever.

It's also partly about celebrating good news, and creating good, positive energy. It's FUN.

So to help make tomorrow ULTRA-MEGA, I'm also going to host a contest.

Detailed post tomorrow, but the gist is that if you participate in Tiara Day and let me know, you will be entered to win one of EIGHT books I've put up as choices. All different genres. Including a particular ARC that many many people would like to have....*

Books and deets tomorrow!! Polish your tiaras!!

*At this point I'm only going to have one winner, but if I get ULTRA-MEGA participation, you never know....

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


As you...ahem...*might* have noticed, I've been away. We darted out of town right after school was over for a much-needed week-long break.


I need my city visits. A week of indulgence, hotels, playing, and enjoying each other in new surroundings. Over our vacation I or we did all of the below (not in order):
  • Hung out with the lovely and talented Emily Hainsworth and her husband. We've been Twitter buds for a while, but this was our first real-person meeting. She is FABULOUS.
  • Cheered on our Padres at a Pads/Rockies game (sorry, Emily!)
  • Played frisbee at a local park, let Child crawl all over the new and different play equipment.
  • Hubby introduced Child & me to Dave & Busters. WAY too much fun. Addictive. And we came home with all sorts of interesting "prizes"!
  • Explored the Museum of Science & Nature (SO cool!)
  • Spent a whole day at the Denver Zoo.
  • Dashed through the, everywhere.
  • Checked out the Butterfly Pavilion. Child & I got to be right there while they released all the butterflies that had hatched that day.
  • Spent another whole day at Elitch Gardens, a fantabulous amusement park and waterpark. Though the amusement park bit turned out much better than the waterpark. Brrrr.
  • Child won a blue-striped gecko she'd coveted all day by making the booth guy NOT guess her birth month correctly.
  • Bought EVERMORE at the Tattered Cover.
  • Went to the Denver Art Museum on free Saturday, and ended up only going to the part we actually paid for, the Psychedelic Posters exhibit. Because it was that cool. And because Child got very intent on doing the light show (colored oil and water projected on a screen) and making a 60s-style poster.
  • Saw a B-17. Not only SAW...hubby went for a ride in it!
  • Had a great time at the Wings over the Rockies museum.
  • Bought clothes. Bought games. Bought doll and doll clothes. Bought books. Bought fishing stuff at Bass Pro Shops. Narrowly avoided having to buy another suitcase. :)
I'm sure that's not all. But we enjoyed every minute. It really was a relaxing, fun time.


(also, finished my revisions and sent them off today! Wahoo!)