Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Free Read of Midnight Brunch Extended Through 5/7!

 

Great news! Midnight Brunch at Casa Dracula is now #8 bestselling book in Kindle Humor books, so I've decided to extend the giveaway for another day! If you haven't gotten your free copy, it's not too late. Please tell your friends!

Get your free ebook of Midnight Brunch at Casa Dracula now!

Danielle Binks at Alpha Reader says:
Ms. Acosta writes comedy of manners and errors. The storylines are sometimes non sequiturs that lead the character’s into random adventures of comedic brilliance. In ‘Midnight Brunch’ Milagro finds herself fixing a screenplay at a desert resort, playing maid to a B-grade heartthrob and chasing a chupa with a high school English teacher. The plot is a criss-crossing, beautiful mess of epic proportions – and as a reader you’ve just got to go with it and trust that Ms. Acosta will blow your mind and bust your gut.
Hope you'll enjoy my screwball comedy...with vampires!


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Monday, May 06, 2013

GIVEAWAY EXTENDED! Free Kindle Ebook of MIDNIGHT BRUNCH AT CASA DRACULA!

"Beautiful and funny and smart, all wrapped up into a nice, fun read that's great for vacation. Snap it up!"
--Nicole, Something Wicked

The free giveaway of Midnight Brunch at Casa Dracula is now open at Amazon! It has been extended and will run through midnight tonight Pacific Standard Time, TUESDAY, May 7, so act now to get your free Kindle ebook with bonus features.


Amanda at Love Vampires said:
"The well written characters - who manage to be realistic, comic and appealing - have a lot more going for them than just supernatural thrills, which should make Midnight Brunch appeal to a wider audience...a highly entertaining, fast-paced read and definitely a book to add to your summer reading list. 5 stars out of 5 stars (read the whole review here)"
Martina at Book Loons wrote:
"It's filled with another generous helping of smart and hip satire and a cast of characters who are as quirky as they are charming. The best part of the story is of course Milagro, whose zest for life is addictive. Her enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge propel the story forward and land her in pecks of trouble, but our feisty heroine doesn't let anything stand in her way. Acosta's vampires are also a nice change from the norm, (read the whole review here)"
If you haven't read my books before, I hope you'll take this chance to read Midnight Brunch at Casa Dracula now. If you have, I hope you'll enjoy the new bonus feature in this Kindle edition!

Please help me get out the word about my giveaway by mentioning this fun free read to others via Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads!

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Sunday, May 05, 2013

CORRECTION to Giveaway of MIDNIGHT BRUNCH AT CASA DRACULA!

"Being a vampire has never looked so fun! A hilarious novel with plenty of colorful characters; MIDNIGHT BRUNCH will make you an instant Marta Acosta fan."
-Fresh Fiction
The correct date for my one-day giveaway of Midnight Brunch at Casa Dracula is all day Monday, May 6, and I deeply apologize for any confusion, frustration, cursing and shaking one's fist at the sky, etc.  The giveaway is at Amazon. This new Kindle edition has a bonus feature -- Milagro's own version of her history and how she came to be at Casa Dracula!

Here's the summary:
Horror story writer/gardener/party girl Milagro De Los Santos thinks she's well on her way to becoming the sincere and serious person she knows she should be. She's in a serious relationship with a fabulous man, Oswald Grant, MD, and living at his wine country ranch with his career-fixated relatives. It's true that Oswald accidentally infected her with the rare family condition that makes them crave blood cocktails and need protection from the sun, but what family doesn't have it's quirks?

She thought they accepted her, so she's hurt when she's excluded from a midnight ceremony with special guests including a creepy family elder, Oswald's hostile parents, and Milagro's ex-lover, decadent and powerful Ian Ducharme.

When Milagro's life is threatened, she flees to the desert to hide and work on a screenplay. Instead of solitude, she encounters an egomaniacal actor, a partying socialite, a sly tabloid reporter, and a lavish spa full of dark secrets. It's all lots of fun until the bwaa-ha-ha laughter and the knives come out. Now all Milagro has to do is finish her screenplay, ambush a world domination movement, and overcome a terrible infection before she can make her way back to Casa Dracula.
Get your free read of this book that the Romantic Times called "hilarious" and Publishers Weekly called "an addictive combo plate of romance and vamp satire."

This is the second book in the Casa Dracula series, but I think the bonus feature can catch a new reader right up. And if you've already read the books, I think you'll enjoy this brand new short piece.

The contest starts Monday morning, May 6, just when you need something fun and summery to entertain you, and runs through midnight, so be sure to get your copy and share the link with your friends, too!

DIRECT LINK: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CMHU4AU

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

How Geek Girls Will Rule the World


I'm very happy to announce that Jennifer Thorpe-Moscon has just published How Geek Girls Will Rule the World! Jennifer interviewed me for her book, and I told her a little of my geeky history and geeky experiences, including my teen passion for science fiction books and my love of physics and math courses.

Here's the description for Jennifer's book:
A book for girl geeks, by girl geeks! Are you a geek? Do you enjoy geeky things in your spare time, or do you work in a geeky field? Many women who aspire to a geeky lifestyle have experienced sexism, holding them back from their dreams. This book features interviews with famous women in the fields of computer science, science and mathematics, gaming, science fiction and fantasy, and comics and manga to learn how they overcame any sexism they experienced to get where they are today. Each interviewed woman answered questions about: -How her passion for her geeky field grew -How she chose/landed upon her career path -Her current and planned projects -Whether or not she experienced sexism, and how she overcame it if she did -Her advice for girls and women interested in her field.
It was really an honor to be included in this terrific project. This sounds like just the book to give to a young women considering a career in some nerdtastic field. I hope you'll check it out!

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Hear Ya Knocking, But You Can't Come In

 

I continue my visit at Misprinted Pages with Stephanie Carmichael, and we discuss genre confusion,  mislabeling, and sexism...but our conversation is more fun than it sounds.
MP: Your trouble with mislabeling has gone on for a long time. What makes this sort of thing happens, and how does this affect your outlook and how your approach books moving forward?

MA: Part of the mislabeling is my own damn fault. I don’t want to write literary fiction for readers who will appreciate every precious reference to John Milton. I want to reach teenage girls who are sneaking novels into boring classes. I want to connect with other chicas who are figuring out bicultural lives and women who are imperfect but optimistic. I want to entertain snarky grandmas and also those guys who dare to pick up a book by a woman. This doesn’t mean I don’t have allusions to Milton in my books because I totally do. (Paradise Lost in the house!)

I think that I’m part of a transition. I don’t think I’ll ever be invited into the party, but I do think that perhaps I can open doors for others who follow me. I think that if I inspire a few others to follow, or change a preconception of what a Latina is supposed to be, I’ve succeeded.
Read the rest of our conversation and comment!


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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Nexus of Green Bottles & Green Girls


I'm a guest today at Misprinted Pages yammering about how no one understands me. This is what happened: Stephanie Carmichael wrote a blistering reaction to what she thought was a romance novelization of She-Hulk, and I contacted her, and then she invited me to 'splain myself, Ricky.
It almost makes me question the wisdom of starting each day with a dozen Sudafed and a tumbler of Tanqueray because my appalling pretentiousness is in direct inverse relation to my, uhm, cheerfulness. Luckily, readers quickly assumed that I’d merely written a really bad teen romance. Whew, that was a close call!
 Yes, I'd like some cheeze with that whine! Come on by to read about my stumbles along the road to not get a real job pursue my writing career.


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Friday, March 15, 2013

The Hybrid Author: Jumping into Self-Publishing

Exciting things happened for me this week. Not only did I sign a contract for another book with Hyperion/Disney, but I also received reversion rights for Nancy's Theory of Style and three of my Casa Dracula novels. Woohoo!

I like all the things that a publisher can provide, especially wonderful guidance from insightful editors, and I'll always want to pursue traditional publishing. However, I'm delighted that I'll be able to offer my older books to new readers at more reasonable ebook prices and with cohesive cover art.

Jumping into self-publishing is a bit nerve-wracking, and I often go to the The Passive Guy and J.A. Konrath for guidance. I also had the pleasure of meeting indie wonder Amanda Hocking when she joined the Tor Teen book tour at our visit to Third Place Books in Washington.

The moment I found out that I was getting ebook and print book rights reverted, I contacted illustrator Nan Richards, who I'd proposed to my publisher for the original Nancy cover a gazillion years ago. (Instead I got the toilet paper cover.) Nan and I were able to reach an agreement for the cover art of Midnight Brunch, The Bride of Casa Dracula, Haunted Honeymoon, and Nancy's Theory of Style. We're calling it the Doodle Project. Nan knows exactly what I'm writing about -- because she was a chic young woman living in Pacific Heights like my character Nancy, and because she's visited the ranch that inspired the setting for the Casa Dracula novels.

I've gone through a long learning period about covers and I've worked with talented designers. But sometimes the cover art that I love isn't effective at a quick glance and as a tiny online graphic. I've had to accept that I can't be too literal or detailed with cover art, that it should be more symbolic and simple.

I hope to have my ebooks available as Kindle ebooks by the end of the month.

Next week I'll have galleys for The She-Hulk Diaries! This book is more of a flat-out comedy, and I hope people enjoy Jennifer Walter's/She-Hulk's shenanigans as much as I enjoyed writing them. My favorite part: song lyrics. Because I've realized that my secret talent is writing nonsense poetry. I've been writing silly poems since I was about ten. If I'd focused on them I would have been the Chicana Ogden Nash by now, revered by three or four people the world over.

After The She-Hulk Diaries is published, I hope everyone will refer to me that way: "Marta Acosta? Oh, she's the Chicana Ogden Nash!"

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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Visit Me at Reel Girl!


I'm a guest at Reel Girl, where Margot Magowan quizzes me about The She-Hulk Diaries and gender issues in the media.
I don’t care one way or the other about the term chick lit. It was used as a way to market humor written by women. It was twisted into an insult, which isn’t uncommon for anything that is female-dominated. I like funny women so I’m absolutely going to pick up funny books written by women.
Yes, I have opinions! Drop by and comment.Margot does the same thing that I do: obsessively count female representation in the media. When you count, you notice how disproportionate it is. Yes, I have issues from being the only girl in the family. I told one of my best friends, who's the oldest in a family of girls, that I always wanted an older sister. She said, "No, you don't. They just boss you around and tell you you're wrong all the time."

I think galleys will be out for She-Hulk this coming week. Woo-hoo! I hope to get a few to share in contests.

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Friday, February 08, 2013

THE SHE-HULK DIARIES - My New Novel!


I''m very happy to announce that The She-Hulk Diaries, my next novel, will be published by Hyperion on June 18, 2013. You can read more about the book in Publishers Weekly.

NYT bestselling author and comic book legend Peter David offered an early endorsement, saying:
Marta Acosta's "SHE-HULK DIARIES" is an absolute delight. Those who are unfamiliar with Bruce Banner's wayward cousin are in for a treat as they read about Jennifer Walters and her first hand dilemmas trying to navigate her new attorney's job, an old flame, and the ongoing festivities/adventures/partying life of her gamma-irradiated female Hulk side. Whether you like She-Hulk straight up, comedic, or a combination of both, SHE-HULK DIARIES is the She-Hulk endeavor for you.
In the midst of my good news, I was saddened to learn that Peter has had a stroke. I've never met Peter, but I hope he has recovers soon. Here are some ways to help him out, the most significant one being to buy his books on Amazon, using this link, or at Barnes & Noble, using this link. ComicMix has set up a page to buy his ebooks.



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Saturday, January 26, 2013




Lately, I've been acting as my nephew's secretary, typing his stories as he dictates. He's eight, and the stories are full of action, danger, aliens, outlaws, and time-travel. One of the characters in the story he wrote today is a criminal named Rotten Cookie. I asked him if he wanted to be a writer when he grows up. He said, "That's crazy. Writers don't make any money."

I've been obsessed with typographic book covers, and I love the design above by Jessica Tapolcai and Elizabeth Bradley for a Penguin edition of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. I think the design reflects Jane's own character -- look beyond the governess's severe and plain exterior and you'll discover a rich, intricate inner life.

I recently contributed a piece to the International Association of Reading on gender disparities in book awards and critical recognition:
One could get angry and rail about the disingenuous claims by men that the disparity of critical recognition is due to women’s lack of skill and also how very yucky girls are. I love a good tirade and have a special fondness for spitting-mad outrage and bickering, particularly when it includes irrelevant personal swipes. (Is it really a coincidence that kerfuffle rhymes with truffle?) As much fun as that is, fuming about the literary glass ceiling distracts us from one of the marvels happening now in the world of books.
While I was working on this, my youngest brother was crawling around the attic doing an electrical repair for me. He yelled down to ask what I was writing, and I told him, "It's an opinion piece about how terrible men are."

He said, "Oh, you libbers," and I offered to make him breakfast.

I finally had the chance to meet Patricia Fructuoso, my Audible audiobooks narrator, when she visited Berkeley. She's stunning, bright, and so nice that I immediately wanted to listen to her voice-over work again.


I have been waiting and waiting for the official announcement of my next novel so that I can share the title and fab cover art. It's a return to comedy.. I think galleys will be out next week. I'll try to wrangle a few to give away in contests.

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Saturday, January 05, 2013

Free E-Read - Your Chance to read THE SHADOW GIRL OF BIRCH GROVE



Happy New Year! I will spend the next six months writing 2012 on all my correspondence. I haven't made any resolutions, because the only one I've ever followed is: never buy cut flowers again. That was fairly easy, because I can always find something blooming in my garden. Even now, my antique tea roses are about to open.

To celebrate the New Year, for a limited time, I'm offering a free read of The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove at its original home on Scribd, where you can read it or download it in your preferred format.  When my agents were unable to sell my YA gothic, I posted it as a free read; it quickly became Scribd's number one YA novel. Many thanks go to Amanda of Love Vampires, who liked the story so much that she surprised me with wonderful cover art.

Please do not embed this free read on any other sites.
It is an exclusive to Scribd.

The Shadow Girl's success at Scribd led to Tor Teen's interest. I worked with Susan Chang, my fantastic editor, to revise and develop the story, which was recently published as Dark Companion.

Working with a skilled editor is such a joy. Susan understood that I was writing a contemporary gothic and that I wanted to use classic tropes to tell the story of Jane Williams, a broken young woman who begins to heal herself. She coached me through plot structure and character motivation. She gave wonderful suggestions for chapter headings that celebrated gothic literature. The finished novel has entirely new chapters, scenes, and characters. There are different plot points and...more scenes with Mary Violet, Jane's lovely and hilarious poetry-spouting friend.

I hope you'll take this chance to meet the world of Birch Grove Academy and then want to go on to read Dark Companion!



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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Cover Art & Diversity in Speculative Fiction


Simon & Schuster surprised me recently by telling me that my Pocket and Gallery books, including my frothy social satire, Nancy's Theory of Style, will have new cover art for the digital editions. I really like this initial artwork for Nancy, which slyly mocks my character's persnickety personality.

The American Library Association's Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has formally announced the nominees for 2012's Best Fiction for Young Adults, and Dark Companion, my gothic tale, is included.  Jane Williams, my protagonist, is not always easy to like. She's not a bright and shiny "heroine," but a damaged girl from the foster care system who makes some terrible decisions. I'm really happy when readers understand Jane's motives. Liz Burns at the School Library Journal wrote:
I was so frustrated with Jane, but then I remembered who Jane was. A child without parents; without any memory of her dead mother; raised in some of the worst situations possible. OF COURSE she is going to have her own needs, her own dark desires, that those raised in a healthy family would not have. Like I said, Jane was brought to Birch Grove. Part of the reason is not just that she is an orphan with no relatives; it’s that she has the types of needs that can be used or manipulated by others. Who would think that the desire for family, for friends, for belonging, could be twisted and manipulated?
Classic Gothics, including Jane Eyre, are straight-forward about social class, money, and power.In our current society, social class and issues of race/ethnicity are inextricably tangled. Educator and author J.A. Blackman and I have been having an ongoing discussion about diversity in speculative fiction as part of her "Minority Report" feature.
Although the publishing world is in culturally rich Manhattan, publishers, editors, and agents are not a diverse group. Those who go into publishing as a career must have an education and the financial stability to survive in such a poorly paid profession in such an expensive city. You’ve got to consider not only the connection between race/ethnicity and social class, but also the fact that an educated person of color might be encouraged to pursue a more stable career, or a career where she feels as if she can advance and have her voice heard.
You can find the links for our entire discussion at J.A. website.

AudioFile Magazine is featuring my Casa Dracula audiobooks, narrated by beautiful, hilarious, and talented actress Patricia Fructuoso, in their current issue. Patricia and I hope to have the audiobook of Nancy's Theory of Style completed soon. I'll miss working with her!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

DARK COMPANION Nominated by ALA for Best Fiction for Young Adults Award!

illustration by Christian Nacorda

 Last week, my editor gave me the wonderful news that Dark Companion has been nominated for the Best Fiction for Young Adults award by the American Library Association's Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). I'm thrilled that this respected group has recognized the serious themes within my young adult gothic. I've always used humor, especially satire, as  commentary. Writing a gothic challenged me to approach issues of inequity, exploitation and abuse, feminism, social contracts, etc., without humor as both a tool and a buffer.

Which is not to say that I could leave humor out of the story altogether, or that I don't enjoy silliness for its own sake, because I totally do. As Nancy Carrington-Chambers says, "Life without silliness is like champagne without bubbles." Patricia Fructuoso, the narrator for my Casa Dracula series, is now recording the audiobook for Nancy's Theory of Style. It is very silly -- but in the good way.

In other news, Simon & Schuster/Gallery is planning to design new covers for the ebook editions of the Casa Dracula novels and Nancy's Theory of Style. Pretty swell, right? Right.

Also, I have a new book coming out in June 2013. I am not at liberty to discuss it yet, but it's sort of fantastic. And awesome. And super funny.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Next Event at Book Passage in Marin & CASA DRACULA Series on Audible!




I'll be talking about and reading from Dark Companion at wonderful Book Passage in Marin County soon and also giving away some promo swag:


Friday, September 28, 7:00 p.m.
Book Passage
51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Corte Madera, CA 94925

This is a special teen event, but you don't have to be a teen to come and say hello!

Also, I'm delighted that all four books in my Casa Dracula series are now available as adiobooks at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. It's been wonderful experience working with the team at Audible to create these recordings with producer/narrator Patricia Fructuoso. Patricia has a special talent for voicing all the lunatics and eccentrics in my stories, and now we're working on the audiobook for Nancy's Theory of Style. 

Amazon is having a promotion where you can get a FREE Casa Dracula audiobook when you sign up for Audible membership. You can click on the audio covers above to listen to free samples of my books.

In other good news, Simon & Schuster/Gallery will be creating new covers for the Casa Dracula series and Nancy's Theory of Style, and having a special promotion for them. I'll post and update when that happens and I'm looking forward to seeing the new cover art.



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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I'm on the Tor Girls Night(Mare) Out Book Tour - Starting August 16!



I've almost got my bags packed and tomorrow I'm flying to LA for the first stop on my book tour with other Tor Teen authors,  Lisa DesRochers, author of the Personal Demons series, and Kendare Blake, author of the Anna series. It's my sixth book, my first tour, and the first time I'll be visiting a few of these states.

If you live near any of these locations, please do come out and say hi.

Here's the schedule:

La Verne, CA
Thursday, August 16, 2012, 6:00 PM
Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop
1030 Bonita Avenue
La Verne, CA 91750

Houston, TX
Friday, August 17, 2012, 6:30 PM
Murder by the Book
2342 Bissonet Street
Houston, TX 77005

St. Louis, MO
Saturday, August 18, 2012, 7:00 PM
Books provided by Pudd'nhead Books
St. Louis County Library
640 South Lindbergh Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63124

Crestview Hills, KY
Sunday, August 19, 2012, 6:00 PM
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
2785 Dixie Hwy.
Crestview Hills, KY 41017

Gurnee, IL
Monday, August 20, 2012, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Warren Newport Library
224 North O'Plaine Road
Gurnee, IL 60031

Skokie, IL
Tuesday, August 21, 2012, 7:00 PM
Books provided by The Book Stall
Skokie Public Library
5215 Oakton Street
Skokie, IL 60077

Beaverton, OR
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
7:00 PM
Powell's Books
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd.
Beaverton, OR 97005

Lake Forest Park, WA
Thursday, August 23, 2012, 7:00 PM
Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA 98155

Menlo Park, CA
Friday, August 24, 2012, 7:00 PM
Kepler's Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025



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Friday, July 13, 2012

Dark Companion Book Trailer & Audiobooks!


One of my recent projects was creating a trailer for Dark Companion. Although no one knows if trailers help promote a book at all, they can be fun to watch, and I wanted one that reflected the theme and mood of my book.  I love the quick thumbnail sketches that illustrator, Christian Nacorda sends me for other projects (see above), so I thought, "I'll ask Christian to illustrate my trailer!"

I'm so glad I did! Talented actress Patricia Fructuoso provides the narration and also edited. The music is by 700P3D and sets the right tense mood. I hope you like it and will share it with others!



Next week I'll post more about the audiobooks of the Casa Dracula series, which are now available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. It's so exciting for me to hear my stories read aloud by Patricia, who can bring the funny, sexy, quirky characters to life. You can listen to samples of the books at Audible.

It's always wonderful to see that readers are enjoying my coloring-outside-the-lines writing, and here are a few new reviews of Dark Companion:

Kimberly at Sliced Open Reviews says, "Dark Companion does bloom into the promised Gothic Paranormal, there is also quite a bit of social issues brought up. Social and economic issues in inner cities, the effects of foster care on children and teens, constant changes in foster and group homes, women’s rights, abusive and potentially abusive relationships…I can keep going, but you can see, like WOW? (more)"

Becky at Stories & Sweeties says, "Dark Companion is such a unique, dark, and mesmerizing story with lots of twists and plot surprises, some really hilarious quick-witted dialogue and fantastic characters, but also some really frustrating moments where I absolutely loathed what was happening. I think my opinion of this book changed a million times while reading, but looking back on the story as a whole after I'd turned the last page---all I could think was... 'Wow'. (more)"

Becky LeJeune at No More Grumpy Bookseller says, "Marta Acosta has built a wonderful homage to Bronte in this unique and twisted version of Jane Eyre. Laced with quotes from classic gothic literature and filled with chilling atmosphere, Dark Companion is an all new and original tale contains just enough of the classic for fans to recognize. (more)."

Lydia at The Lost Entwife says, "I think Dark Companion is a book that will appeal to those lovers of gothic and boarding school novels out there, and may just do a little bit to redeem the vampire craze by providing us with a book that was intelligent, interesting, intriguing, and even funny when it needed to be. (more)"

Mary at Forever Young Adult says, "ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT... There are going to be the obvious comparisons to Jane Eyre and the story does follow it a bit with the characters and plot, but this dark Gothic with paranormal twists is updated and modern. (more)"

Enjoy your weekend!

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Thursday, July 05, 2012

Q&As and Giveaways, Inc. Audiobooks

I'm a guest at Suzanne Johnson's Preternatura blog - woohoo! Suzanne is a fellow Tor writer and her wonderful debut urban fantasy, Royal Street, was released earlier in the year and River Road, Sentinels of New Orleans #2, comes out in November.  Sometimes I grind my teeth in jealousy over the amazing book giveaways she has, but her niceness makes me forgive her every time.

Suzanne asks me questions and I answer all fancy like because that's how I roll, and she's got a contest for Dark Companion.

Michelle of Much Loved Books says my book has "a mixture of secrets, mysteries, friendships and romance and of course hot boys" and also interviews me:
Perfection doesn’t interest me though. People who don’t make mistakes never take chances either. I’m fascinated by our errors in judgment, by ambiguity, by emotional conflict, by opposing motives.
Alice Marvels, a teen fiction book site, has a contest for Dark Companion and a review:
A powerful and darkly entrancing gothic novel that, like its diamond-in-the-rough heroine, takes commonplace elements and turns them into something dazzling.
Lea at YA Book Queen has something wonderful! She's got links for two free audiobooks: the very ghostly Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, another Tor author, and, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins! Kendare and I will be on Tor Teen's Girls Night(mare) Out tour, and I'll post about that when the schedule is finalized. I've always wanted to read Collins's classic Gothic, but I thought it would be too spooky. I'm going to listen to it though!

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Sunday, July 01, 2012

Context is All & New Reviews


When I recently commented that Anne Bronte doesn't get much attention, author and blogger KT Grant aka KatieBabs shared this delightful cartoon by Kate Beaton.

KT/KatieBabs writes erotica and I think that will be the next hot (hawt?) genre with the success of 50 Shades of Grey. Sex comes out of the closet, or dungeon, or whatever. Of course, what makes 50 Shades so insanely popular is the action within the context of the passionate emotional relationship, because context is all.

I've tried to make actions true to characters within the context of Dark Companion. A few early reviewers don't agree that my protagonist would make the decisions she does, but perhaps they have rosier views of the lives of most foster children than I do. Susanne Babbel, Ph.D., references a former foster child in a series she wrote on the foster care system:
Amy (name altered)...told me that roughly nine out of ten fellow foster children she crossed paths with claimed that they had been abused by their foster parents.She also expressed that foster children are often taught by their circumstances not to speak up and are conditioned to think abuse is "normal.".
I tried to address the questions of context in my Behind-the-Scenes with Dark Companion Q&A.

I realized last week that my book is being released on Tuesday! All this time and it's finally coming out. Here are a few nice early reviews:

 "Simply put, Dark Companion is an enchanting Gothic read, deliciously reminiscent of Jane Eyre...a complex and beautiful read full of shades of gray and uneasy moral choices, charming and haunting."
.........................................Kara-Karina, Nocturnal Book Reviews

"I absolutely loved it. I found the gothic nature of the book quite reminiscent of Jane Eyre, but with a fairy tale spin. I loved the mythological aspect of the trees in the book, and how much this subtly played into various plot points...I found the book to be lovely. I thought the writing was lush, and often haunting."
..........................................Tiffany, Tiffany's Book Shelf

"I think readers who love the paranormal and romance with enjoy getting to know the smart and feisty Jane Williams and will empathize with her. The story has wonderful gothic overtones that are highlighted by the quotations from gothic novels of the past that begin each of the chapters."
.........................................Kathy Martin, Ms. Martin Teaches Media

"I am happy to tell you that this creepy, dark and unique novel delivered. It has mystery, romance, interesting characters and a plot filled with twists...The tale Acosta has spun is unique and at times very dark. The whole tale is shrouded in mystery and we learn things as Jane does. This added to the whole creepy factor and I loved every minute of it!"
.........................................Kimba, Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer


"While containing aspects of stories that I love, this is not a cookie cutter tale that falls into one category or another...I'd say this is definitely a book to read. I think Marta Acosta is a genius because anyone who can combine the feel of Dangerous Minds, Jane Eyre, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants all into one smorgasbord of awesomeness is full of win!"
.........................................Jessie, The Elliot Review


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Monday, June 11, 2012

Publishers Weekly Rave & Behind the Scenes with DARK COMPANION



I've waited for years and now there's less than a month before the release of Dark Companion! Alexandra Machinist, my wonderful agent, surprised me this morning by sending the terrific review in Publishers Weekly:
Buttressing adult author Acosta's (the Casa Dracula series) YA debut are nods to the gothic tradition and Jane Eyre parallels that she encourages through epigraphs, character names, and the events that unfold. Her well-drawn characters shine--Jane especially, whose very nongothic life on the street makes for a gritty opening and influences the whole. Jack Radcliffe (the mountain-biking incarnation of Mr. Rochester) and Jane's clearly delineated classmates are vivid actors in the drama as well...

Acosta's story is an impressive contender in the crowded YA paranormal field.
It's so nice that the reviewer saw all the gothic references!

I've been talking a lot about gothics, especially with readers who have questions about the genre and my novel. One reader told me that she enjoyed getting a "behind the scenes" perspective, so I decided to post a Q&A with answers to questions at Marta Acosta's Dark Companion. This Q&A is on a separate blog because it has so many spoilers.

I've done a little searching around and I think that Craig White of the University of Houston does a great job summarizing the elements of gothic fiction.
  • haunted houses - castles - woods mazes - labyrinths - closed doors & secret passages/rooms
  • light and dark interplay with shades of gray or blood-red colors fair &amp
  • dark ladies - twinning, doubling, & doppelgangers
  • repressed fears & desires
  • memory of past crime or sin
  • death & decay
  • bad-boy Byronic heroes
  • blood as visual spectacle and genealogy/ethnicity
  • spectral or grotesque figures
  • lurid symbols, creepy or startling sounds, screams in the night, groans from unknown rooms
I can put a check next to each of these elements!

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Saturday, June 02, 2012

Kirkus Praises DARK COMPANION & Contest for All of My Novels!


I'm having a contest at my Vampire Wire blog for signed copies of all my novels: my entire Casa Dracula series, Nancy's Theory of Style, and an ARC of Dark Companion. The contest is open worldwide and runs through June 15.

I received a great review from Kirkus Book Reviews for Dark Companion, which called the novel "savvy" and said it has "bracing astringency."
It’s a breath of fresh air in a genre marked by creaky gender relations and unchallenged class stratification.
Smart, ambitious and now aged out of foster care, Jane Williams is thrilled with her free ride to Birch Grove, a prestigious private high school. Her scholarship includes a cottage of her own, courtesy of headmistress Radcliffe and her family. Jane’s streetwise toughness conceals a naive, inexperienced heart that’s soon given to self-centered but gorgeous Lucian Radcliffe. (His musician brother, Jacob, has his own disturbing appeal, but he’s no Lucian.) While Jane recognizes that Lucian harbors his own sinister agenda, she thinks she’s willing to pay the price, which buys other compensations.
This Jane’s true peers are the heroines of the historical gothic romances. Quotes from such deathless classics as The Monk and The Castle of Otranto, among others, begin each chapter, making the book something of a survey of the genre all by itself.
This story is a change from my romantic comedies, and that can be a bit of a surprise to my Casa Dracula fans, but I've always written darker stories and I really enjoyed returning to a grimmer tale.

I'm back to writing funny fiction today, but my train of thought keeps getting derailed by my dogs, who are being driven to insanity by squirrels scampering through the trees. Note to self: next time, get cats.

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