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Welcome to the Crossroads Blog Tour of 2012!

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Hooray! Today kicks off the 2012 Crossroads Blog Tour! Starting today until October 28, 13 authors are touring eight blogs. Lots of interviews! Tons of books! And an AWESOME grand prize!!!

How awesome?

How about a Kindle? With 13 books pre-loaded onto it?

I know, right???

For more information on how the tour works, check out Judith Graves’ site here.

Here’s the list of authors participating (taken from Judith’s site – seriously, check it out for all the info!):

 

Judith Graves – Leap Books – Under My Skin, Second Skin, Skin of My Teeth, Killer’s Instinct

Joy Preble – Sourcebooks – Dreaming Anastasia, Haunted, Anastasia Forever. Soho Press (forthcoming May 2013) – The Sweet Dead Life

Stacey Kade – Hyperion – The Ghost and the Goth, Queen of the Dead, Body & Soul

Amanda Ashby – Speak – You Had Me at HaloZombie Queen of Newbury High, Fairy Bad Day, Demonosity

Lucienne Diver – Flux – Vamped, Revamped, Fangtasic, Fangtabulous

Kiki Hamilton – Teen / Macmillian – The Faerie Ring, The Torn Wing

Jackie Morse Kessler – Harcourt Graphia – Hunger, Rage, Loss

Christine Fonseca – Compass Press – Transcend, Libera Me

Carrie Harris – Delacorte Books for Young Readers –Taste In Boys, Bad Hair Day

Dawn Dalton – Leap Books – SPIRITED Anthology, Killer’s Instinct

Leanna Renee Hieber – Sourcebooks – Darker Still (Magic Most Foul, #1), The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart (Magic Most Foul, #2)

Ty Drago – Sourcebooks – The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses, The Undertakers: Queen of the Dead

Janet Fox – Speak – Faithful, Forgiven, Sirens

~

For Day 1, Judith Graves and I visit A Simple Love of Reading! This one’s all about Halloween. Check it out! And remember to visit the main Crossroads Blog Tour page for information on how to participate – who wouldn’t want a free Kindle with 13 e-books pre-loaded? 🙂



Authors Against Bullying

Friday, October 19th, 2012

The following is from my author’s note in LOSS. To help promote bullying awareness, I’m going to give away a copy of LOSS and RAGE, both of which have bullied protagonists. I’m also going to give away other books. But first, my note:

~

In eighth grade, I got mean.

I was lucky growing up. I wasn’t bullied, not more so than anyone else. Sure, there were lunchbox wars in second grade, and the girls tended to play mercy a lot, but I didn’t mind those things; I usually got my metal lunchbox up in time to block a swing, and I actually rocked at mercy. I was active in school: I was the fourth grade class president and the sixth grade co-president, and I participated in the annual storytelling contest. I had friends. I invited kids to my birthday parties, and they always came. It didn’t matter to me that I was always one of the last kids picked for any sport; I wasn’t good at sports. That was all right. Elementary school, overall, was all right.

But then came junior high.

I was an art geek. My school had talents, or majors, and mine was studio art. So I hung out with some of the art kids and some of the kids in my homeroom. Seventh grade was okay. Mostly, I watched things happen from a distance.

But by eighth grade, the insults started coming my way. One guy—Vinny? Victor? Something like that—started calling me “Jerky Horse.” Someone else called me “Thunder Thighs.” And from there came the rank outs, everything from “Your momma” to cursing. So I learned how to curse. I remember walking down the school hall with my friend Carol, and some guy named Dennis shouted something at me. I don’t remember the words, but I remember that it was an insult. I shouted back, “Shut up, Dennis, you prick!” I didn’t even know what a prick was—but he shut up. And Carol cracked up.

That’s when I learned how to be mean.

I wasn’t a total jerk; I didn’t walk around insulting people just because I could. But there were two distinct times when I did something horrible. The first was to this girl who was on my bus. I changed the lyrics to a commercial jingle and made it about the girl’s weight. I sang it to some of the other kids on the bus. It was funny, you see. Hee-lar-i-ous. Boy, was I a riot. I have no idea if she knew about it. Thinking back, I’m pretty sure she did.

That was shitty of me. I’m sorry, Kelly.

The other time was to a girl I’d known for years, because her grandparents and mine were friends. Eighth grade can be an awkward period; for me, my face had exploded with acne (a condition that wouldn’t get under control until I was in my twenties), and I was short and chubby with no fashion sense (conditions that have yet to get under control). For this girl, Lisa (no—not from Hunger; that’s just one of those strange coincidences), it was her teeth. She had buckteeth. And one day, this guy called her “Beaver” to her face. And I laughed. Because, you know, it was hee-ster-i-cal.

Sorry, Lisa. That was shitty of me too.

By the time I was in high school, a lot of that shitty attitude was gone. I wasn’t mean anymore. Maybe that’s because I was mostly invisible. I had my core group of friends—we were the rocker crowd—and I didn’t venture out of my social circle. I didn’t dare. Sharks swam in those waters. I didn’t have the right clothes, or the right accessories. I didn’t listen to the right music. I didn’t get the right grades. I didn’t get involved in high school politics or popularity contests. High school, for me, was a series of I Didn’ts. It was my version of Keeping My Head Down. I did do some things, like play varsity soccer (man, was I bad) and be art director for Sing (think High School Musical, but with a much smaller budget). But for the most part, people had no idea who I was in high school. I wasn’t bullied. And I didn’t bully. I was inconsequential.

Soon I had an eating disorder, but that’s another story.

#          #          #

Soapbox time. You’ve been warned.

Here’s the thing: bullies tell you all about themselves when they bully you.

That nasty song I wrote about poor Kelly? That was a weight issue. And God knows, I had—and have—major weight issues. Laughing at someone’s appearance? That’s a self-esteem issue. I’m still working on that one.

When Victor (or Vinny) called me “Jerky Horse,” well, I guess he was worried that he was a jerk. Either that, or he just had a penchant for rhyming. And I know for a certainty that the guy who called me “Thunder Thighs” was—and is—extremely image-focused. If you looked up the word “superficial,” you’d probably see his face there in the dictionary.

So if someone calls you a name, keep in mind that it’s less about you, and more about the person who’s calling you the name. That doesn’t make it right, but it might make it easier to get through.

And you will get through it. You will. You know why? Eighth grade isn’t forever. And while high school may feel like an eternity, it’s not.

You must have heard of the It Gets Better Project. It’s there for a reason. It does get better. It does. Here’s the main link.  And here’s a terrific video from a group of authors and illustrators.

If you’re getting bullied, talk to someone. A parent. A teacher. The school counselor. A friend. If the first person you talk to can’t help, try someone else. And someone else. Keep on talking. You’ll find someone who listens. I promise you, you’re not alone.

Maybe you’re not the one being bullied. Maybe you’re the one who laughs when someone says something mean. Maybe you even get inspired to say, or do, something mean yourself. If you are…just think about what you’re doing, okay? Think about how your words matter. Think about how they can hurt.

Think about how easy it would be instead to make your words help.

Be stronger than the bullies.

Speak out.

~

Giveaway time!

I am giving away four books:

RAGE (by me) – I’ll sign it and personalize it for the winner.

LOSS (by me) – Ditto the signing and personalizing.

PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ by A.S. King – A signed copy of a book by one of my favorite authors.

EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS by A.S. King – Ditto!

And hey, A.S. King has a new book hitting the shelves next week – ASK THE PASSENGERS. **throws confetti**

For a chance to win, all you have to do is comment below. Comments are open until midnight, October 30, 2012. In the comments, you can talk about bullying, or not. You don’t have to say anything at all, but it would be nice if you did. You have to include a valid email address, or the comment won’t count. (I promise not to spam you.) On Halloween, I’ll pick the four winners at random. I’ll announce the winners here on my blog, and I’ll email them for mailing info. (Thus the need for a valid email address.) Good luck!

Finally, please be sure to take part in the Authors Against Bullying Blog Hop! Here’s the full list of participants. Extra kudos to Yasmine and Mandy for everything they’ve done to make this blog hop a success!

Mandy M. Roth
Yasmine Galenorn
Lauren Dane
Michelle M. Pillow
Kate Douglas
Shawntelle Madison
Leah Braemel
Aaron Crocco
NJ Walters
Jax Garren
Shelli Stevens
Melissa Schroeder
Jaycee Clark
Shawna Thomas
Ella Drake
E.J. Stevens
Ashley Shaw
Jeaniene Frost
Rachel Caine
Kate Rothwell
Jackie Morse Kessler
Jaye Wells
Kate Angell
Melissa Cutler
PT Michelle
Patrice Michelle
Julie Leto
Kaz Mahoney
Cynthia D’Alba
Jesse L. Cairns
TJ Michaels
Jess Haines
Phoebe Conn
Jessa Slade
Kate Davies
Lynne Silver
Taryn Blackthorne
Margaret Daley
Alyssa Day
Aaron Dries
Lisa Whitefern
Rhyannon Byrd
Carly Phillips
Leslie Kelly
Janelle Denison
Graylin Fox
Lee McKenzie
Barbara Winkes
Harmony Evans
Mary Eason
Ann Aguirre
Lucy Monroe
Nikki Duncan
Kerry Schafer
Ruth Frances Long



LOSS blog tour recap

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Well, it’s been a heck of a month! I want to thank all of the phenomenal bloggers who toured me and helped promote LOSS:

YA Highway
Chapter by Chapter
Book Nerds Across America
Confessions of a Bookaholic
Mundie Moms
League of Reluctant Adults
Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf
Literary Escapism
Book Monsters
The Compulsive Reader
Diary of a Bookworm
Paperback Dolls
Books Make Me Happy
The Book Smugglers
Deadline Dames
I Swim for Oceans
Presenting Lenore
The Story Siren
A Backwards Story
The Book Faery
Wicked Awesome Books
Tynga’s Reviews
Bitten by Books
The Book Cellar

Thank you, awesome bloggers and blog visitors! I’ve had a blast on the LOSS blog tour, and I hope you have too.

NOTE: The LOSS cover poster giveaway is still going at some of the blogs — please check to see which ones. And remember: all commenters who win a LOSS cover poster are automatically entered into the grand prize drawing: one lucky person will get all three books — HUNGER, RAGE and LOSS — signed by me, as well as the opportunity to name a character in the fourth and final book in the Riders of the Apocalypse, BREATH. I plan on picking the grand prize winner this Sunday, April 1. (No foolin’!) So this is your last chance to comment on the LOSS blog tour (not here — I mean, sure, go ahead and comment here, if you want, but for a chance to win, it has to be at the participating blogger’s sites as part of the LOSS blog tour). Good luck! And thank you again for helping me celebrate LOSS.



LOSS book signing

Monday, March 5th, 2012

I’ll be reading from LOSS, answering questions and signing copies from 2 – 5 pm on Sunday, March 25, 2012, at Flights of Fantasy in Colonie, NY! Here’s the Facebook page about the event. Hope to see you there!



LOSS Blog Tour

Monday, March 5th, 2012

[Image from the amazing MaryAnn at Chapter By Chapter!]

LOSS hits the shelves on March 20, 2012, and a terrific group of bloggers are participating in a book tour! Along with guest posts from me – each on a different topic – and a few interviews, many of the bloggers will also be posting reviews of LOSS (for better or for worse!). Check it out…including the giveaways and grand prize!

SCHEDULE OF LOSS BLOG TOUR STOPS: (links to be added when the tour arrives at the blog below)

March 5, 2012: Guest post at YA Highway
March 6, 2012: Review and guest post at Chapter by Chapter
March 7, 2012: Guest post at Book Nerds Across America
March 8, 2012: Interviewed by Total Bookaholic
March 9, 2012: Review and guest post at Mundie Moms
March 10, 2012: LOSS giveaway at the League of Reluctant Adults
March 12, 2012: Guest post at Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf/podcast with Literary Escapism
March 14, 2012: Podcast posted at Literary Escapism
March 15, 2012: Review and guest post at Book Monsters
March 16, 2012: Guest post at The Compulsive Reader
March 17, 2012: Guest post and review at Diary of a Bookworm
March 18, 2012: Interviewed by Paperback Dolls
March 19, 2012: Guest post at Books Make Me Happy
March 20, 2012: Guest post and review at The Book Smugglers/Giveaway at the Deadline Dames
March 21, 2012: Review and guest post at I Swim for Oceans
March 22, 2012: Guest post at Presenting Lenore
March 23, 2012: Guest post at The Story Siren
March 24, 2012: Review and interview at A Backwards Story
MArch 25, 2012: Guest post at The Book Faery
March 26, 2012: Review and interview at Wicked Awesome Books
March 27, 2012: Review and interview at Tynga’s Reviews
March 28, 2012: Guest post and live Q&A at Bitten by Books
March 29, 2012: Review and guest post at The Book Cellar
March 30, 2012: Recap!

At each stop on the blog tour, I will be giving away a copy of a small poster of the LOSS cover (which is utterly gorgeous and once again designed by the amazing Sammy Yuen) to a random commenter.

PLUS!!! All poster winners will automatically be entered into the grand prize giveaway: signed copies of HUNGER, RAGE, and LOSS…**and** getting to name a character in BREATH! Grand prize winner to be picked on April 1, 2012. (No foolin’!)

Hope to see you on the blog tour!



Top 10 Things To Know About Loss

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

LOSS will hit the shelves in less than three months. (Cue music!) I thought it would be fun to give you an idea of what to expect.

Top 10 Things To Know About LOSS

10. LOSS is about a boy named Billy Ballard, the most bullied kid in tenth grade.

9. LOSS is also about Pestilence, the White Rider, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

8. Some people refer to Pestilence as the Conqueror — and you get to find out why!

7. The cover depicts arrows and a crown, both of which are important to the White Rider.

6. You get to see more of Famine and War and all the steeds.

5. One of LOSS’s subplots focuses on coping when a loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s — and a portion of proceeds from the book will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.

4. There’s a hat-tip to Piers Anthony in LOSS. 🙂

3. LOSS is very different from both HUNGER and RAGE — and yes, you can read it as a standalone without having read the two earlier books.

2. LOSS is peppered with foreshadowing about BREATH, which I’m writing now. AND…

1. LOSS shows a a lot more of Death — including an entirely different side to the Pale Rider. 🙂

~

I’ll be making LOSS posters, as well as more HUNGER and RAGE posters. Everything should be available by February! 🙂



Crossroads Blog Tour and LOSS

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

I am so behind the times. But then, my kids could have told you that.

Today is Day 4 of the awesome Crossroads Blog Tour!

Here is the official press release, posted on the amazing Judith Graves’ blog. In sum, 15 authors (including yours truly) are doing blog tours from October 22 through October 29. What do readers get out of this, besides a chance to be introduced to new-to-them authors and learn more about authors they already knew? As Judith says, “Participating bloggers will give away ghoulish amounts of SWAG donated by the authors, as well as inscribed copies of books by touring artists and a chance to win a Skype author visit from bestselling author Rachel Vincent.”

Cool, eh?

I’m touring with the fabulous Lucienne Diver! Here is our schedule:

October 22 – Narratively Speaking

October 23 – Electrifying Reviews

October 24 – Just Your Typical Book Blog

October 25 – Late Bloomer Online

October 26 – Book Faery

October 27 – Confessions of a Bookaholic AND A Simple Love of Reading

October 28 – Book Swarm

October 29 – Kid Lit Frenzy!

Want to know why else you should participate in the Crossroads Blog Tour? You could win this:

LOSS

That’s right — LOSS ARCs have arrived!!! And one of them will be given away at the end of the Crossroads Blog Tour!!! So check out the official info, and go meet some terrific authors and bloggers. (And me too!)



We gots praise, yes we do

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

You know what’s cool about being an author? Besides the bow ties and fezzes, I mean? It’s getting other authors to read your book before it’s a printed book. I was fortunate enough to have three amazing people read the LOSS manuscript…and here’s what they have to say about it.

“Jackie Morse Kessler has a keen eye for capturing the awkward uncertainty of adolescence, which she wraps quite deliciously in a coating of mystery, fright, and suspense. LOSS is a treat for readers, a one-of-a-kind, twisty turny carnival ride through Billy Ballard’s struggles and triumphs. I loved this book.”
Andrew Smith, author of The Marbury Lens

“I lost sleep to finish this, and I’m not sorry at all. Jackie Morse Kessler’s prose illuminates an ancient, disintegrating king as poignantly and effortlessly as it does a bullied teen; it’s easy to see ourselves reflected in Mita’s grief and Billy’s desperation. LOSS is whip-smart and elegant, a truly worthy companion to HUNGER and RAGE.”
Saundra Mitchell, author of The Vespertine

“Gritty and raw with powerful truths. An addictive read.”
Sophie Jordan, New York Times bestselling author of Firelight

Thanks so much, Andrew, Saundra and Sophie!!!

And really, if you haven’t read The Marbury Lens, The Vespertine, or Firelight (or Sophie’s latest, Vanish)…what are you waiting for? Also, Andrew’s new book, Stick, will hit the shelves in October. Preorder your copy at fine bookstores near you!



And now…the cover to LOSS!

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Look! Look, look, look!!!

The third book of the Riders of the Apocalypse series is officially coverfied. 🙂 Many thanks once again to the incredibly talented Sammy Yuen and the terrific folks at Harcourt/Graphia!

Did you notice the spiffy “Riders of the Apocalypse” logo? Didja? Didja? **happy dance**

Here are more cover tidbits:

Back cover copy:

Fight back.

Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on, from the school bullies to the teachers. Things change drastically when Billy learns that years ago, he’d been tricked by Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now it’s Billy’s turn to wield Pestilence’s Bow and spread sickness through the world. He uses his new power to lash out at his tormentors . . . and accidentally causes an outbreak of disease. Horrified by his actions, he wants nothing more than to be rid of the Bow. For that to happen, Billy must track down the previous White Rider, who is hiding in a place where even Death cannot go.

Billy’s search takes him across the centuries: from ancient Phrygia, where a man called King Mita agrees to wear the White Rider’s Crown; to a mighty forest, where Pestilence plans to cheat Death; from the docks of Alexandria, where plague is packed into cartons of grain; to the Children’s Crusade in France, where the White Rider learns a truth that will break him. By the time Billy finds the man who had tricked him so long ago, the White Rider is completely insane—and is poised to unleash a plague that would make the Black Death look like a summer cold. And only Billy can stop him.

Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground—and the courage to save the world?

And a terrific blurb from author Saundra Mitchell:

“I lost sleep to finish this, and I’m not sorry at all. Jackie Morse Kessler’s prose illuminates an ancient, disintegrating king as poignantly and effortlessly as it does a bullied teen; it’s easy to see ourselves reflected in Mita’s grief and Billy’s desperation. LOSS is whip-smart and elegant, a truly worthy companion to HUNGER and RAGE.”
—Saundra Mitchell, author of The Vespertine

You can preorder LOSS at Amazon, your favorite local indie via Indie Bound, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble and the Book Depository.

I’ve got to say…it might have taken me 22 drafts to write, but I truly believe it was worth it. I hope you think so too!



LOSS back cover copy

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Psst. Want to know what will be on the LOSS back cover copy?

~

Fight Back

Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on, from the school bullies to the teachers. Things change drastically when Billy learns that years ago, he’d been tricked by Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now it’s Billy’s turn to wield Pestilence’s Bow and spread sickness through the world. He uses his new power to lash out at his tormentors…and accidentally causes an outbreak of disease. Horrified by his actions, he wants nothing more than to be rid of the Bow. For that to happen, Billy must track down the previous White Rider, who is hiding in a place where even Death cannot go.

Billy’s search takes him across the centuries: from ancient Phrygia, where a man called King Mita agrees to wear the White Rider’s Crown, to a mighty forest, where Pestilence plans to cheat Death; from the docks of Alexandria, where plague is packed into cartons of grain, to the Children’s Crusade in France, where the White Rider learns a truth that will break him. By the time Billy finds the man who had tricked him so long ago, the White Rider is completely insane—and is poised to unleash a plague that would make the Black Death look like a summer cold. And only Billy can stop him.

Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground—and the courage to save the world?

~

I am so psyched. 🙂

For those wondering, LOSS will have a lot more worldbuilding than either HUNGER or RAGE. And there will be a lot more of Death in the book — including a whole other side of him. **rubs hands gleefully** LOSS is also significantly longer than either of the previous books — almost 20,000 words longer than HUNGER.

And the incredible Sammy Yuen will once again be doing the cover. **happy dance**

Guys. GUYS. I am so thrilled about this book! It’s due to hit the shelves in spring 2012; once there is an actual launch date and preorder information, I’ll blog about it.