Contest Winners!

Last week, Shana Silver and I held a contest to win an ARC of MATCHED plus several other ARCs.

Here are some of my favorite responses when the entrants were asked to match up a boy from my list with a boy from Shana’s list.

Nathalie says:

Cameron Morgan with Humbert Humbert because…I think he’d really like her.

Authorwithin says:

Bella from Twilight and Scrooge. He’s a controlling miser and apparently Bella likes to be submissive. She took care of her father and would have no problem serving good old Ebenezer. Plus, she’s used to cold men so Eb’s cold shoulder wouldn’t bother her. A perfect match.

Besides, Scrooge’s fiance, Belle, left him so replacing her with Bella whose name is only one letter away seems appropriate. =D

Jen Hayley says:

I’d like to team up Katniss and Voldemort, just to see what would happen!

Beth says:

I’m going to say Zoey Redbird and James from Twilight because Zoey needs another bad boy vampire boyfriend. Plus, he’ll chase her down if she tries to stray too much.

Writertessa says:

Cameron Morgan from Gallagher Girls and Voldemort!!! Not because I hate Cameron but because she and her spy-girl network can keep Voldemort in line :)

Dara says:

Hermione and George Wickham from Pride and Prejudice. I think her logical nature and no-nonsense attitude would straighten out the cad. She’d keep him in line. And I think he’d introduce her to her wild side a little more :P Plus their both Brits–that’s gotta be a plus, right? LOL.

Spav says:

I would match Rose from Vampire Academy and James from Twilight because Rose would be able to kick his ass when he steps out of line and she could also try to make him a better “vampire”.

Kelley says:

I was going to go with Hermione and The Grinch because, just like Cindy Loo Hoo, Hermione would melt that grumpsters heart in no time, but then I realized Bella really needs someone to whip her annoyingness into shape. So, I’m settling with Bella and Voldemort. There’s no way her all-powerful shield will be able to protect anyone from Voldemort’s evil.

Emily says:

Katniss and Scrooge, because the story of Katniss’ depressing childhood will soften his heart without having to go through all that pesky ghosts of Christmas past stuff. Plus, with their combined (significant) financial resources, Katniss can help so many more people in need.

Secret_Ivy says:

I match Voldemort and Bella from Twilight because Bella can love any kind of monster if he has the right heart. Who knows? Does Voldemort have heart??? LOL


Looks like Bella and Katniss are going to have to battle it out to see which one gets Scrooge and which one lives (happily?) ever after with Voldy. Bella can shield Katniss’s attacks but we all know Katniss has a way with breaking down invisible shields. I’d love to see how this plays out.

And now for the winners. Drumroll please…

1st place goes to:


(who posted on my blog)

Second place goes to:


(who posted on Shana’s blog)

Third place goes to:


(who posted on Shana’s blog)

Prizes available:

Matched, The Duff, Nightshade, and The Map Thief are all ADVANCED READER COPIES

Losing Faith is signed by the other

Chosen is a regular book


1st place winner will choose first, then the 2nd place winner will choose from the remaining books, and 3rd place will get whichever is left. If the winners could email me at shanasilver at gmail dot com with their address and then rank the books from 1-6 with 1 being the one you want most, I’ll figure out who gets what and send it off! Since the books are possibly coming from different locations (since some are Chandler’s, some are mine), they might not all arrive in the same package.


MATCHED Contest!

When? January 17-January 24 

What? Matched Contest
Where? The combined blogs of Shana Silver and Chandler Craig
How? All you have to do is pick a “Girl” from Chandler’s list (below) and a “Boy” from the Shana’s list and tell us why the two characters should be matched for life. Leave your message in the comments and we’ll pick on January 25th.


1st Place: Choice of 3 books
2nd Place: Choice of 2 books
3rd Place: Choice of 1 book
1st place winner will choose first, then the 2nd place winner will choose from the remaining books, and 3rd place will get whichever is left.
Prizes available:
-ARC of MATCHED by Ally Condie
-ARC of THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger
-ARC of NIGHTSHADE by Andrea Cremer
-Signed finished copy of LOSING FAITH by Denise Jaden
-Copy of CHOSEN by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow — between perfection and passion.



Bella from Twilight
Hermione from Harry Potter
Aislinn from Wicked Lovely
Katsa from Graceling
Clary Fray from Mortal Instruments
Cameron Morgan from Gallagher Girls
Mary from Forest of Hands and Teeth
Zoey Redbird from House of Night
Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy
Viola Cohen from As You Wish
Gemma Doyle from A Great and Terrible Beauty
Charlotte Doyle from The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Chloe Saunders from the Darkest Powers trilogy
Tally Youngblood from Uglies
Ever Bloom from Evermore
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games
Ruby Oliver from The Boyfriend List
Stargirl from Stargirl
Kiki Strike from Kiki Strike

And remember, if you love us, tweet it. If you really love us, blog it!

2008 Wrap Up

I was checkin’ out Shelli’s blog the other day and really liked her review of her life in 2008. Since so much has happened in my writing (and personal) life this year, I thought it’d be nice to look back.

So here we go…

-Graduated a semester early to focus on writing

-Researched industry, tried to figure out what the heck I was supposed to do

-Found Absolute Write Water Cooler

-Finished book #1, a YA mystery titled WEIRD TATTOOS AND LOW IQS

-Queried WEIRD TATTOOS, racked up rejections

-Wrote the proposal for SCOUT, a YA graphic novel

-Started Fumbling with Fiction!

-Began receiving review copies of fabulous books like The Gargoyle, The Map Thief, Land of Invisible Women and many more–an unexpected perk

-Joined the Verla Kay Blueboards

-Discovered some of my all-time favorite YA books: The Boyfriend List, Wicked Lovely, Twilight, I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You, Thirteen Reasons Why…

-Found artists for SCOUT

-Queried SCOUT

-Moved from Philadelphia, PA to Austin, TX to start law school at the University of Texas

-Found Purgatory and the fabulous Purgatorians

-3 offers of representation for SCOUT, plus 1 offer of represenation for WEIRD TATTOOS

-Signed with Super Agent Dan Lazar of Writers House!

-Nate (boyfriend) moved from Washington, D.C. to Austin

-Finished SCOUT script, lengthened synopsis, completed proposal, signed contracts with artists

-Wrote an article for SCBWI’s January issue of Sprouts

-Agent began subbing SCOUT

-Went in a hole to study so that I would not fail out of my first semester of law school

-Met some great writing friends through Purgatory whom I am so thankful for because I know that I would not know half of what I know now without them

-Began work on next 2 proposals/projects

…And here we are. That’s a pretty successful year if I do say so myself. It will be interesting this time next year to check back and see how much has changed and how much as stayed the same. I certainly hope to have taken the next (or next several) step(s) in my writing career. And you can bet that I’ll be spending another year working my tail end off to make sure that happens.

Book Review: The Map Thief

First, y’all should know that I hold a special place in my heart for lawyer-authors (or author-lawyers, as they might prefer to be called). So when Heather Terrell’s book arrived on my doorstep I was excited to get started. A quick glance at the inside back cover revealed a stylish, young attorney who quite apparently writes books–in other words, everything I’d like to be.  

But, I’ve been known to be disappointed by books. High hopes dashed and, when I cracked open The Map Thief, my heart sank. This was not what I expected. For some reason–I think because Tess Gerritsen provided a blurb for Terrell’s first book–I’d decided the book would read like The Sinner or even The Bone Garden.

Not the case. Though the book is a thriller. 

After two pages, I overcame my preconceived notions and discovered something better than I’d anticipated. If you can wrap your head around this, The Map Thief is a thriller told in a fable-like manner comparable to the works of  Paulo Coelho, which in my opinion is a beautiful style and a ginormous compliment to Heather Terrell.

The narrative shifts between Beijing in 1421, Lisbon in 1496, and present day New York City. So, while the chapters set in the present day have more zing, Terrell writes the more historical sections in prose that marks the story as something of a hidden legend. 

Ok, so unique writing style? Check. But, the book has another component I love: a main character with a really cool job. 

I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for that brand of MC and Mara Coyne is no exception. She’s an attorney who starts her own firm to help restore stolen artwork to its rightful owner, often requiring her to work on the fringe of the law.

Mara’s story is satisfying, but the real magic comes as Terrell details the career of Ma Zhi, the gifted cartographer. 

You’ll love this book if you enjoyed the Da Vinci Code, The Thomas Crown Affair, or just like learning cool things while reading and thinking about history in a new way. And, though Terrell openly admits to tampering with history, the question of whether the Chinese could have been the first to discover the New World remains intriguing.

Finally, we still have half the summer left and with easy-to-digest chapters and a pace that will speed your metabolism, The Map Thief will serve as a tasty treat for a day at the beach.  


For a description of The Map Thief visit Heather Terrell’s website.

Or to Buy it click here:  The Map Thief: A Novel

Want to read another book review? Check out my thoughts on the House of Night series.

** Comments today count as double entries to win your copy of The Map Thief! Since Heather Terrell takes us globe-trotting across time and space, tell me about the coolest place you’ve been OR if you could go back to any time in history what would it be??


Status: Shipping boxes today. The Breaking Dawn party was really cute. I’ll talk about it tomorrow. Have lots of work coming up this week.

Friday Forecast: Blog To Book–I Guess They Lost My Number

Have y’all heard of this blog called “Stuff White People Like“? I hadn’t. The name is pretty self-explanatory, but apparently we should have been paying more attention because this guy (Christian Lander) bagged a $300,000 book deal from Random House.

And! It wasn’t even some fancy-schmany blog. It was a WordPress one just like I’ve got here.

The kicker is he started the blog in January 2008 and had the deal by March! Well, shoot, by those calculations I’ll be expecting my call in another month or so.

Ok, Random House? You’ve got my number? Alright, I’ll wait by the phone.

Oh, and this will light a fire under your blogging bum–lit agents are popping up bloggers like they’re fat free M&Ms.

You might say the trend started with agent, Kate Lee, who, in 2003, was looking for a way to build her list. Following closely on her heels were Erin Malone and Kate McKean.

But internet and print are two different donkeys. Will people be willing to buy what they got for free? Or will they surf their way over to the next big thing? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, I’d keep blogging away until your fingers fall off and then go purchase one hundred and twenty-three lotto tickets.


P.S. Simon & Schuster? I didn’t mean to discriminate. I mean, if you’re interested, I guess I won’t block you on my caller ID.  K, thanks.



For another one of my Friday Forecasts, read Honey, I Shrunk Our Audience.


Status: Well, first off, you’ve got today and tomorrow to comment in order to enter yourself in the drawing for The Map Thief. Can’t wait to hear from y’all! Second, I finished my audition for the video game company. We’ll see how that goes. It was a lot of fun to do, but it kind of caught me on a bad week. So, I did my best.

Nate and I are going to head over to the Breaking Dawn party at our local Barnes and Noble tonight! I’m excited just to see what it is like. I’ve never been to a book party. I’ll let you know how it goes and maybe some of you will have your own experiences to report.

Thursday Pics: Introducing…Scout!

For today’s picture day I’m going to give you a sneak peek of Scout. This is a cleaned up sketch and flatted version that Scott Forbes, Scout’s artist did. I should be receiving the completed, color version of the first page later today! 

I can’t tell you how cool it is to see my ideas interpreted into a completely different medium. I am in love with the look Scott has come up with. 

This and other drawings from SCOUT will be available on the SCOUT page on the top right. I will continue to add to it, but probably won’t publish a ton of artwork that will actually appear in the book. 

I hope that someday you’ll be able to share my love for this kickass heroine by reading the completed, published graphic novel. But, until then, this will have to count as Scout’s first debut!



And…in color!



*** Don’t forget to comment to be entered to win Heather Terrell’s The Map Thief. The more you comment, the better chance you have!

Status: I have so much writing work it’s scaring even me. I have a lot of opportunities coming my way all at once, which is great! But, really, really busy! Later today, I’m meeting Nate’s future roomie and my new classmate at UT law, so that will be fun. I’m getting excited to move, but sad that I will not see Nate for so long. 

Say What?: How Dialogue Can Keep Your Readers Sane

“You know, fellow blog reader, Chandler’s blog is beginning to read a lot like a monologue. She keeps talking and talking and talking-”

“I know what you mean! It’s like she can’t shut up. You’d think she believes she owns Fumbling with Fiction or something.”

“Yeah, like yesterday, she wrote two posts. Two posts! How could one person have so much to say!?”

“Exactly my point! I mean, let someone else chime in, why don’t ya?”

“Right! She can’t just sit there and narrate the entire publishing industry to us. I’d rather smell like Funyans for the rest of my friggin’ life than listen to that!”

“And we thought Stephenie Meyer’s descriptions were tedious! I’m sitting here like, ‘Chandler, hello? Some dialogue might be nice!’”

“No kidding. Doesn’t she know that a few snippets of witty repartee might keep her readers from being bored into rigor mortis?”

“Not to mention speed up the pacing. Geez!”


“Oh shoot! Do you think she heard us?”

“Too soon to tell!”

“Of course I heard you, you’re on my blog!”

“Classic example of a heavy-handed author, no?”

“Excellent diagnosis.”

“Guys! I can still hear you!”


“Ugh! I do use dialogue! The comment section. Ever heard of it?”

“The comment section…the comment section. Nope! Doesn’t ring a bell.”

“No ringing here either.”

“The comment section, y’all! And! If you get your bony bums over there you might just win yourself a copy of Heather Terrell’s The Map Thief while you’re at it.”



Status: Goodies from Random House today! I now have the advance reading copies of The Gargoyle in my hot little hands and Random House threw in a couple other books for fun. I got One More Year by Sana Krasikov and the bound galley for When We Were Romans by Whitbread Award Winner Matthew Kneale. They all look great and I look forward to reading and reviewing them.

Christmas in July

Here at Fumbling with Fiction, I am working hard to get y’all HOOKED UP! And, I must say, these next two weeks are something special. Between now and Saturday, August 6th I will be giving away 8 advance copies!

As you guys know, this week, I’ll be giving away 3 copies of Heather Terrell’s The Map Thief. Every comment enters you to win one and on Saturday, your comments count as two entries because I’ll be reviewing the book!


Oh, and then do y’all remember that little book we talked about during Fumbling with Fiction’s infancy? The debut novel with the $1.25 million advance? Yeah, that one.


The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson coming out from Doubleday. Well I have FIVE ADVANCE READING COPIES (ARCs) to give away next week!

And I’m taking contest ideas. How do you want to win them?

Plus, if you’re interested, check out the links to The Gargoyle Burned By Love videos. We’re always talking about creative ways to promote your book. Well, this is fascinating. The link after it takes you to the New York Times article on the promotion tool.

The Gargoyle Burned By Love Videos

The New York Times take on the Burned by Love Videos


More exciting news to come! In the meantime, enjoy!

Topical Tuesday: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda–The book I Wish I Wrote

As readers of this blog know, at the end of every interview I ask: “If you could have written one book that has already been published by someone else which book would it be?”

So for this week’s Topical Tuesday, Jay suggested we ask this of ourselves.

Immediately, I found myself pleading for what every interviewee asks, “Can I pick two? Please?”

But, I’m putting my foot down. I will not pick two. Here are the additional stipulations so that you can play along:

1. The choice may not be influenced by how much money you would have made had you written that book.

2. The choice can be a book within a series, but cannot be the entire series lumped into one.

At first I thought Harry Potter. And not because of the money, but because of the fun those books brought to people’s lives and the joy kids as well as adults found in reading them. Also, I really loved the world-building.

Then, I thought The Hobbit, because, well, it’s my favorite book. But…no dice.

If I could have written any book, I would choose…(drum roll, please)…


The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron


I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably like, “Say what? You write YA, your first thought was that you wanted to write Harry Potter and then maybe The Hobbit, and then you go and choose Styron!”

It’s ok. You can be disappointed in me because I went all pompous-Pulitzer-Prize-winning-literary on you…And that is sooooo not me. But wait! I have reasons why. I swear! I’m not just a snob!

Here’s why I wish I wrote Confessions of Nat Turner:

1. I’m super patriotic and this book is profoundly American. It covers a pivotal part of our history as a country even if it is the equivalent of casting a spotlight on our dirty drawers.

2. The writing took my breath away. Yes, I’m using a cliche, but I’m not using hyperbole.

3. Gray characters. Styron took a lot of flack for portraying many of the slaves in the story as not good people and many of the slave owners as halfway heroes. However, there were also slaves who were good people and slave owners who weren’t. That’s life. And much of his point is that the institution of slavery brought out the best in no one.

4. The entire book, I was upset by how Styron portrayed God. Big, fearsome and out for revenge. Then, FINALLY, on the very, very last page, the reader got to see something different. And Styron, through Nat, revealed a different angle. It was refreshing and, what is more interesting–this view was personified throughout the story by a white girl.  

5. Nat is a compelling narrator, though not always a sympathetic one.


I could go on, but really, you should just read it. I can only hope that one day Mr. Styron’s ghost will sprinkle some of his magic, writing fairy dust and then I can create a story equally beautiful.


Now, for the fun part! Which book would you have written? Reminder: Every comment you make will enter you in the drawing to win one of three hardback copies of Heather Terrell’s The Map Thief!

Can’t get enough Topical Tuesday? Check out Ideas and Execution in Book Packaging and Brand Yourself.


Status: Last night, I read half of The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart. I’m loving it so far. It’s really cute and, for a first person narrative, is framed wonderfully. I talked a lot last night with SCOUT’s artist and I love the vision he has for Scout. She is modeled after an actress who I wouldn’t call A-list but who is perfect for the part. And I wouldn’t have thought of her in a million years!

The artist has been out-of-town but soon he will be sending me some more of his work. I’ve already seen sneak peeks! So, as you might guess…I’m writing SCOUT today! And the audition for the video game company.

Featured Writer of The Day: Michael Murphy

**Reminder: Every comment this week counts as an entry in the drawing to win a hard cover copy of Heather Terrell’s forthcomingThe Map Thief from Ballantine Books.

Today, I’m talking to Michael Murphy, an established novelist and teacher. He has some excellent insight on a bunch of things I know nothing about: producing book trailers, teaching writing, creating screenplays, and more! So, enjoy!!

Hi, Michael. Thanks for joining us! So, one of the things I really want to know about is book trailers. Tell us a little bit about producing them. What is your goal when producing a trailer? What is the process like?

I try to capture the mood of the novel with the trailer.  My goal is for a reader to view the trailer and get a flavor of what reading the novel might be like.  In Class of ’68, for example, the trailer has terrific sixties music and images and doesn’t tell what the story is about at all.  In Try and Catch the Wind, the trailer, lays out the story.  That book is the first in a series and I wanted to introduce to the reader, Casey Bannister, a fun hero.  My most recent trailer is for my romantic comedy novel, Ramblin’ Man.  I gathered images and music that I hoped would reveal the humor and romance of the novel.  I think it works.

I have to admit when I started, I had no idea how to produce a book trailer.  Try and Catch the Wind has had over 3000 views of the trailer, Class of ’68, more than 1500 and Ramblin’ Man is well on its way to 1,000, so I think they’ve been well received. The process I use, is to begin by gathering images into a folder.  Then I write gather text I want to show, such as reviews and how to order the book.  Once I have these items saved, I search for music that will enhance the images.  Then I open up my movie maker software and load the music and add the images.

It’s essential to make sure the images are on the screen long enough for the reader to appreciate them.  This is especially crucial with text.  Perhaps the most important challenge is to make sure the images and the music work together, enhance suspense, humor, or whatever desired emotion you’re hoping to convey.

Thanks for sharing. I understand you also teach a few workshops on writing novels. What are the most common challenges your students face when writing a novel? 

I love helping others who are where I was ten years ago, with a desire to write, but not sure how to go about writing a novel.  The theme of my You Too Can Write a Novel workshop is to give students the confidence that they can produce a novel-length manuscript.  Some really good writers don’t think they can write 75,000 words.  Many also believe they have to master each paragraph, each scene with brilliance the first time.  They delay starting a novel until they’ve taken classes on dialogue, scene structure, characterization, etc.

What advice do you give your students? 

To get over the intimidation factor of crafting a novel-length manuscript, I explain that the basic component of fiction is the scene.  When we were in high school, we could handle an assignment to write a 500 word essay.  I tell the students, if you can write a 500 word essay, you can write a 500 word scene.  If you can write a scene, you can write three, and what do you know, you have a chapter.  If you can write one chapter, you can write 25.

I also encourage students to not focus on starting a novel until they’ve perfected their craft.  I encourage them to plow ahead and finish a first draft then take time to polish.  When I complete a novel, my final draft is probably my 50th.  I emphasize that one of the most important elements of writing is rewriting.   I also encourage them to join a critique group and during the rewriting phase, present the novel, or portions of the novel to the group.

Do you think teaching has helped your own writing? 

Preparing for and teaching my You Too Can Write a Novel and my You Too Can Write a Mystery has definitely helped my writing.  I get questions all the time on scene structure, dialogue and characterization; how to add tension and drama to a scene.  When I encounter a problem in my own work in progress, I’ll often reflect on what advice I might give my students.  That really helps.

But even if it doesn’t, I love meeting other writers.  During a break, I had one students tell me she didn’t want to write a novel, she wanted to write a non-fiction story about her survival from cancer and the role that spirituality played in her recovery.  I suggested that she could convey the same information in  a compelling novel and it would be much more emotional.  Nearly instantly, her face lit up. She realized she could do so much more by fictionalizing her experiences than she could in non-fiction.  She couldn’t thank me enough.

I think it’s great when writers take the time to reflect on their craft like that. You’ve also written a couple screenplays. Did those skills translate into novel writing? How so? 

 Even if I never see my screenplays translated to film, writing screenplays has helped in a number of unanticipated ways.

In a screenplay, a writer must be constantly aware of length of scenes and the overall length of the screenplay.  Most producers prefer screenplays less than 100 pages.  A rule of thumb is one page equals one minute in film, so a 90 page screenplay should result in an hour and a half movie.  A 120 page screenplay would produce a two hour movie.  The financial reality is, theaters can show a 90 minute film  more times in a day than they can a two hour film.

Therefore, a screenplay writer must concisely develop the story, and write each scene with intense conciseness.  This is good advice for any type of writing whether it’s a novel or a short story.  Scenes should start late and end early.  For example, avoid starting scenes where a character gets out of his car, walks to the front door of a house and knocks.  Start the scene when the door opens.

Each line of dialogue must be purposeful.  The same should hold true in a novel, but in a screenplay dialogue must be purposeful and starting a scene late and ending it early can enhance drama.

In a film, the story must be told visually and can’t rely on dialogue, so I look for ways to convey the story through action and setting rather than characters talking.

Now when I’m writing a novel I am much more aware of how I start a scene and end one.  I also make sure I’m telling the story visually, and each line of dialogue is purposeful.

As writers, we all must deal with rejection to some extent. How do you deal with rejection and what advice can you give to others?

I began to deal with rejection about the time I reached puberty.  The longest walk in my life was back to a group of my 7th grade friends after a girl turned me down when I asked her to dance.

As a writer, I’ve built up emotional scar tissue from the hundreds of rejections I’ve received from agents and publishers over the years.  A salesman friend told me he expected ten rejections for every sale he makes, so he uses rejection as a way of saying, “I’m one step closer to a sale.”  I try to take that philosophy when I send out query letters.  I might have to send out twenty query letters to get one agent to request to read the manuscript, and I might need four or five agents who’ve read the manuscript to want to sign me.

Finally, if you could have written one book that was already published by another author, which book would it be? 

The DaVinci Code.  How long was that on top of the best seller list?

Seriously, I write the types of novels I enjoy reading, which is suspense novels with a twist of humor and touch of romance.  When I first read Nelson DeMilee’s novel, Plum Island, I thought to myself that I wished I could write like that.  Now I do.



For another author interview check out my chat with Samhain author Allie Boniface!



Status: Working on SCOUT some today. I just moved out of my apartment in Philadelphia last night and didn’t get into DC until after 1 am. I have an audition to write for a video game company, so I’ll do some research, then get started on that as well.

Lots going on in my writing life, but I love keeping it busy!