Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The News About My Newsletter!

Did you know there is a G.P. Ching newsletter?  You might not. It's only a couple of weeks old. If you sign up for my new newsletter, here is what you can expect:


1. Never miss news about new cover art, releases, tour dates, or personal appearances.


2. Find out about friends and family promotions and special giveaways.


3. Learn insider scoop on details about the books.


Here's what you won't get:


1. I will never share or sell your information to third parties.


2. I won't spam you.


To sign up, enter your email address in the upper right corner of this blog OR follow the link below OR use the QR code above.  Why use a QR code on my blog?  No reason but that I thought it was cool!  I think I might have Anjin design add it to the paperback covers.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Cover Reveal: Sleepers by Megg Jensen!


Introducing the new artwork for fellow DarkSide author Megg Jensen’s bestselling novel SLEEPERS!
To celebrate the re-launch of SLEEPERS in January of 2012, Megg is giving it a new cover with artwork from the incredible PhatPuppy.
Synopsis: An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she's filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her.
Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy?

On sale now for only 99 cents!

On a personal note, Sleepers was, I think, the first book I ever read of Megg's, and I fell in love immediately with the story by this very talented author.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Guest Post: Magan Vernon on...Easter Eggs!

According to Wikipedia a Virtual Easter Egg is: A virtual Easter egg is an intentional hidden message or an in-joke in a work such as a computer program, web page, video game, movie, book or crossword. This practice is similar in some respects to hidden signature motifs such as Diego Rivera including himself in his murals, Alfred Hitchcock's legendary cameo appearances, and various "Hidden Mickeys" that can be found throughout the various Disney Parks.
As the self-proclaimed geek-to-glam poster child, I couldn’t let my debut novel go without a few Easter Eggs and the lucky readers of this blog will get to know a few of them (spoiler free!)

Calta- The planet of Ace’s origin. Why didn’t I use Mars or another planet that we are all familiar with? I wanted to create my own planet and at the same time honor my late Nana. Her maiden name was
Caltagerone, but that seemed a little too long for a planet name, so it was shortened. In retrospect I should have made it a tropical planet since my Nana was Sicilian and that is an Italian island, but I think Calta works just find as a cool planet.

Winnebago- Who would ever think of a geeky girl from Winnebago, Illinois? Uh, that would be the actual geeky girl from Winnebago-me. Yes, Winnebago is a real town and I really did go to the high school. No, Alex is not based off of me in any way, but I needed her to be from a small town and Winnebago was one that I knew inside and out. (This definitely comes around a lot more in Book 2).

Alien names- How did I come up with the names for all of the aliens in the books? I could have just made up some different names, but that would have been too easy. I figured that I actually should acknowledge my Italian heritage and decided to use the names of Italian philosophers for the different aliens in the story- Marsilo, Nerses, Machiavelli, etc., etc.

Adam Lambert- As I started writing this story I needed to come up with a visual of an alien. I texted one of my friends and asked her for a guy that had spiky black hair and was kind of squirrelly. She said Adam Lambert since he kind of looks like an alien and frightens and intrigues her at the same time. All of a sudden the original Ace I had was thrown out the window and guy liner alien was born. His lyrics also spurred a lot of changes in the novel with the dark side and the light side references and if you look REALLY closely you will see a few lyrics sprinkled throughout the novel.
These are just a few of the Easter Eggs spread throughout How to Date an Alien. Now to find more of them you will just have to pick up a copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords.
*****
Self-proclaimed geek-to-glam poster child who channels her inner geek by writing science fiction for teens. Even though she slept with a night light until she was in middle school for fear of alien attacks. She now lives with her husband, daughter, and dog in central Illinois where she still sleeps with a night light...just in case.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Giveaway Winner

My 2,000 twitter follower giveaway is now over.  All of the entering tweets were placed into a numbered spreadsheet and then a random number in the range was selected using Random.org.  The winning tweet was by WordSpelunker Aeicha Matteson.  


I'll be contacting Aeicha for her choice of book.


Thank you to everyone who participated!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

G.P. Ching's 2,000 Twitter Follower Giveaway!

I've reached 2,000 twitter followers! To celebrate, I'm giving away your choice of one of the ebooks below by fellow authors that I admire.  Some I've read, some I haven't.  But they are all on my TBR list because these authors can write.

You might ask why I'm not giving away my own ebooks. Well, The Soulkeepers is already free, and if you're visiting me today chances are you've already read it. If not, it's free almost everywhere, so help yourself!

To win your choice of one of the following titles for your eReader, simply tweet the following:

I want to win my choice of YA ebook from @GPChing http://bit.ly/iMn5xR #kindle #nook #ebook #giveaway 

The giveaway will end in 48 hours. I'll randomly choose a winner, and contact them via twitter. Winner will have 48 hours to get back to me with their choice of one of the eBooks pictured below and their email address or they forfeit their prize (and a new winner will be chosen.) Giveaway is eBook only.


Good luck! And thank you so much for following me on twitter!


How to Date an Alien
Sleepers
Severed
The Fairy Godmother Dilemma: Catspell
The Secret Of Spruce Knoll
Tangled Tides
Running Wide Open
Untraceable
Oubliette
Open Minds
Become
Vex
BOUND
Burn
Clockwise
Wicked
Land of Corn Chips
Tremble
Bloody Little Secrets
Loramendi's Story: A Lord's of Shifters Novel
Getting Sideways
Into the Shadows
Exiled
Dream Smashers
Ethereal
}

Friday, December 9, 2011

Like YA from a Boy's POV?

As a writer of one of the rare YA books from a boys POV, I was excited to hear about this original, new contemporary series about boys, cars, and growing up by fellow author Lisa Nowak. Check them out.  These books are available now.


Getting Sideways: Book 2 in the Full Throttle Series Getting shipped off to live with his uncle Race was the best thing that ever happened to fifteen-year-old Cody. Then a wreck at the speedway nearly ruined everything. Cody’s making every effort to get his life back on track—writing for the school paper, searching for the perfect girlfriend, and counting the days until he gets his drivers’ license—but there’s no escaping the nightmares that haunt him. A chance to build his own car seems like the perfect distraction. Until Cody realizes he’ll have to live up to Race’s legendary status. But that’s the least of his worries, considering he doesn’t have his dad’s permission. All he has to do is the impossible: keep Race from discovering his lie until he can convince his dad that racing’s safe. Yeah, sure. That’ll be easy.
Haven't read the first book? Running Wide Open is on sale now for 99 cents. Running Wide Open: Book 1 in the Full Throttle Series Cody Everett has a temper as hot as the flashpoint of racing fuel, and it's landed him at his uncle's trailer, a last-chance home before military school. But how can he take the guy seriously when he calls himself Race, eats Twinkies for breakfast, and pals around with rednecks who drive in circles every Saturday night? What Cody doesn't expect is for the arrangement to work. Or for Race to become the friend and mentor he's been looking for all his life. But just as Cody begins to settle in and get a handle on his supercharged temper, a crisis sends his life spinning out of control. Everything he's come to care about is threatened, and he has to choose between falling back on his old, familiar anger or stepping up to prove his loyalty to the only person he's ever dared to trust.

Praise for Running Wide Open: "It doesn’t matter if you are a racing fan or not, Running Wide Open will captivate you and capture your heart." – Cari J, Amazon reviewer “The roar of engines practically explodes off the page in this compelling, heart-thumping debut. Cody Everett is a straight-shooter with attitude, smarts, and whip-cracking wit; he doesn’t pull any punches, and neither does author Lisa Nowak. The collision of Cody and the world of stock car racing makes for a great story, one of the best I’ve read in a long time. Running Wide Open is a book not to be missed.” - Christine Fletcher, author of Tallulah Falls and Ten Cents a Dance "The racing is easy to understand and does not get in the way of a rattling good story. I still couldn’t put it down on a re-read." – Elisabeth Miles, Amazon reviewer "We race stock cars during the summer and even though this is a recommended read for Young Adults, we are seniors and enjoyed every page. We can hardly wait for the sequel to come out. MUST READING!" – Maxci Jermann, Barnes and Noble reviewer "I say read this book, it’s fun, it’s beautiful, it’s a very cool read that will give you a feel-good state of mind. Awesome read." - L.E.Olteano, Butterfly-o-meter Books
Author Bio: In addition to being a YA author, Lisa Nowak is a retired amateur stock car racer, an accomplished cat whisperer, and a professional smartass. She writes coming-of-age books about kids in hard luck situations who learn to appreciate their own value after finding mentors who love them for who they are. She enjoys dark chocolate and stout beer and constantly works toward employing wei wu wei in her life, all the while realizing that the struggle itself is an oxymoron. Lisa has no spare time, but if she did she’d use it to tend to her expansive perennial garden, watch medical dramas, take long walks after dark, and teach her cats to play poker. For those of you who might be wondering, she is not, and has never been, a diaper-wearing astronaut. She lives in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her husband, four feline companions, and two giant sequoias. Connect with Lisa online:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Airing of Grievances


Today, in an early version of the great Festivus tradition, I am airing my grievances.  Here are the five things that drive me CRAZY about the holiday season. *Shakes Fist*

1. People who drive, shop, and park as if they have nothing better to do all day long. You know this person. They drive ten miles under the speed limit, sometimes because they haven't driven in a really long time, but usually because they are trying to smoke, eat, talk on the phone, or wrap a present in their lap while they drive.  These are also the same people who walk slowly around the mall, shoulder to shoulder with their four friends, so that you have no hope of getting around them. Or they stand at the counter of your favorite store, ignorant of the lengthy queue of people behind them, digging in their insanely large purse for a mysteriously missing coupon while you wait, and wait, and wait. You also find them in the parking lot.  They are the ones sitting in their car drinking coffee while you wait with your blinker on for their spot.

2. Coupons. Not the coupon itself but the crazy restrictions and sheer quantity. We have a stack of cardboard squares that say things like this: save $10 (big print) if you spend $75 (really small print) between Monday and Wednesday. You would have to be a full time coupon analyzer to take advantage of these things. Is there an iPhone app that takes pictures of your coupons and sorts them for you, automatically deleting the expired ones?  Let me know if there is.  I'm on board with that.

3. Planned Obsolescence. I hate it when you buy a gift for some one and something better comes out in January. When it comes to clothes, have you noticed that the sale merchandise is sometimes a lesser quality than the post holiday merchandise?  But my real grievance is with electronics.  My GPS recently informed me that I could either pay a certain sum to download new maps or buy a new GPS for close to the same amount.  Really?  When I buy a pricy electronic item, I don't want to think of it as disposable.  I want the functionality to last.

4. The Holiday Robot: He or she already has all of her Christmas cards done, presents purchased and wrapped, party planned, cookies baked and can actually enjoy the season with a cheery smile. I will be her next year. *Writes self a note on tiny post-it.*

5. Cold Weather/ Hot Stores:  You get bundled up because it's 20 degrees outside.  But then you get to the store and they have the heat turned up to 75.  So you take off your marshmallow down jacket, and so do your kids, and before you know it you look like a human coat rack, hopelessly juggling your packages with bulky winter wear.

Ahhhhh. I feel so much better.  How about you?  Any grievances to air?


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is My Friend Dead? (A Useful Guide)

If you are a character in a young adult novel, movie, or television show, you may find the thin line between life and death confusing.  Here's a useful guide to deciding just how upset you should be.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm As Free As A Bird!

Yes, The Soulkeepers is free, free, free on Amazon US, Smashwords, iBookstore, Sony, and Diesel.  If you haven't read it yet, now is your chance.  Think of it as an early holiday gift from me.  Thanks to everyone who has helped spread the word today! I would love to introduce more readers to the series.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Post for Women Only

Here's a little secret.  I love to eat.  I've never met a meal I didn't like. When I was younger, I could eat pretty much anything and not gain weight.  But age, cookies, and sitting at a computer terminal all day have finally caught up to me. I've decided for the sake of my health and a tiny bit of vanity, I'm going to lose weight and get in shape. (Plus Cathy at Life on the Muskoka River just lost 50 pounds! Inspire much?)

I've started taking a class called Zumba.  It's like aerobics but to better music. I am convinced that my Zumba instructor is a Red Bull fueled cyborg who eats energizer bunnies for breakfast.  I have no idea where she gets the energy.  Anyway, if you've ever taken a Zumba class, you know that the dance moves are like one continuos double dog dare.  How far are you willing to go in front of an audience to the tune of I'm sexy and I know it?

As I was bent over with my hiney in the air tonight,  I was completely irritated by the injustice of men's vs. women's athletic garb.

If this guy ever shows up to
Zumba, I am NOT staying.
Let's COMPARE:

Men's athletic clothing consists of roomy and comfortable T-shirts and shorts.

Women's athletic wear consists of form fitting stretchy fabric, specially created to hug every curve and roll. And the tops conveniently have triangles of lining in them that shift in the wash.  Forget to straighten those puppies out and not only do you look like you stuff your bra but that you use the tissue box to do it. Sure, you can get pants in different lengths and shirts with sleeves but women's athletic clothing is cut curvy not boxy.  So no matter what size or style, all of your design flaws are painfully on display.

Maybe this is why the Indian woman next to me was doing Zumba in her jeans and a T-shirt.  I think she's got the right idea. Next time I might opt for one of my husband's boxy T-shirts.  That or stick to the back row.

Here's your visual. This is not my class but same dance.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Where Are You Thankful For?

I've traveled to some fabulous locations over the last couple of years.  Here are the five I'm most thankful for.

1. L'auberge de Sedona, Arizona- Nestled among the red rocks of Sedona is a romantic hideaway bordering Oak Creek.  Here the weather is cooler than most of Arizona and the landscape truly transcends the ordinary.  I woke up to morning yoga, coffee and fresh baked scones, and spent my days hiking the magnificent red landscape. This place is not for kids, so save it for that special getaway with your one and only.

2. Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada - I visit Vegas every year and have stayed at most of the places on the strip. (I refuse to stay at Circus Circus because I'm afraid of clowns *shiver*) Hands down my favorite place to stay is Caesars. Aside from the luxurious accommodations, the service in the casino is excellent. Although Caesars is conveniently located near the center of the strip, you will never want to leave. The pool area, called Garden of the Gods is a great way to spend an afternoon. The food is fabulous and the shows are some of the best in the world.  Don't miss Absinthe  but if you do wander, take in O at the Bellagio. There is something in Vegas for everyone...accept kids.  Don't bring your kids. Save this trip for an exciting vaca with your best pals.

3. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando, Florida- The best family vacation we've ever taken was to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.  This is one of those rare places where everyone, young and old, comes away happy. We spent four full days in the two parks but the highlight of the trip was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The place is nothing less than magical.  Don't miss Olivanders. (I recommend getting in line for this first) or Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.  Lunch at the Three Broomsticks is worth waiting for.  Your kids will love the butterbeer and pumpkin juice.  The rest of Universal is lots of fun, too, when you've had enough of Hogwarts.

4. Turtle Bay Resort, North Shore Hawaii- My favorite place to stay when visiting my husbands birthplace of Oahu, Hawaii is the Turtle Bay resort.  It was featured in the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall and let me tell you, you could forget a lot watching the waves wash toward this island paradise. When you've had enough of sand and sun, go snorkeling, surfing or horseback riding or try the restaurant on the beach.  You'll never forget a stay at Turtle Bay and of course, if you visit North Shore, don't forget to have a shave ice at Matsumotos.

5. Washington D.C - For something completely different, visit Washington D.C with your family. We took the train from Union Station, Chicago on a seventeen hour ride to the capitol. Stay on Dupont Circle and you are walking distance from most attractions.  We visited the Washington Monument, toured the White House and the House of Representatives, visited the Library of Congress, and spent whole days wandering through Smithsonian museums for free.  I don't consider myself a history buff but the multi-cultural population and political intrigue that surrounds the place is beyond interesting.  It's an affordable place to take the whole family and it will change the way you think about the United States.

Where are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What Are You Thankful for?

Continuing with my November theme of giving thanks, here are some gadgets that have changed my life this year.

1.  iPhone:  How is it possible that I survived into adulthood without this?  Besides giving you 24/7 access to email, twitter, and Facebook, it can give you directions, tell you if you need an umbrella, and  notify you when you're late for your kid's soccer game.  Then, it can take pictures and video of that soccer game when you forget your camera in the rush.

My only complaint about iPhone is my jealousy toward Siri who my husband talks to almost as much as me.  I heard him ask her to marry him the other day.  Lucky for me, she wasn't interested.

2.  Kindle:  As I writer, I'm thankful for all eReaders but as a reader, I own a kindle.  Kindle has enabled my book addiction.  No longer am I limited to a certain amount of shelf space.  I can buy as many books as I can read and it goes anywhere.  I especially love that it stays open and is easy to operate on the treadmill.  Anyone who's ever tried to read while running with a paper book knows this is a major plus. And, let's not forget there are some amazing deals out there on kindle ebooks.


3. Macbook Air: Keeping with my Apple obsession, I am thankful for the Macbook Air my husband gave me for my birthday.  It's small and light enough to fit in my purse, plus powerful enough to support all of my computing needs.  I take this thing everywhere and have officially written a book on it over the last month.




4.Ooma:  Are you still paying for phone service?  If you have wifi in your house, you don't need to.  Pick up this baby and send your calls over the internet for free.  Love it. I'm frequently surprised how few people are taking advantage of this technology. It's a great deal if you still have a land line.

5. Roku: I'm a busy person.  You know besides the writing gig, I'm also working as the goddess of hearth and home.  So, I rarely watch TV.  But I have this nifty device called a Roku that allows me to stream a bunch of stuff when I want to watch it.  It's better than a DVR because the shows don't have commercials and I don't have to remember to record them.  I recently watched the first two seasons of Vampire Diaries on my Roku.  In my opinion, this technology is just taking off and I wouldn't be surprised if everything is streaming in the not so distant future.

So what technology are you thankful for this year?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You Veterans!

Today is the perfect opportunity to say thank you to all the men and women who serve or have served in the military.  In this world where we are constantly surrounded by reports of self serving and morally bankrupt behavior, veterans remind us that there are still brave people wiling to act selflessly for the greater good.  It goes beyond that though.  Veterans remind us that there is a greater good.  They remind us that we are worth fighting for.  And they challenge us to not take their sacrifice for granted but instead to work to solve the problems we face as a country and to act honorably in its leadership.

So, as you read your two hundredth story about occupy wall street, partisan politics, and/or some elaborate fraud to pillage taxpayer dollars, remember, at least for today, that there were and are people that understood that even though the US system isn't perfect, it's pretty darn good.

Thank you veterans!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Guest Post: Alex Bianchi Talks Alien Gift Giving


Alex Bianchi, main character of How To Date an Alien by Magan Vernon, is here today to talk about holiday gift giving.

The Holidays are coming up and you are probably all wondering, “What the heck am I going to get my boyfriend or girlfriend or domestic life partner or whatever?”

Okay, first off, you really shouldn’t complain because at least your boyfriend isn’t of a different species and you aren’t even sure if that species celebrates Christmas and if they do what you would get them.

Sorry, rant over.

Actually no it’s not. Do you know what it’s like shopping for an alien boyfriend? It may be hard trying to figure out what stupid action movie to get your human boyfriend or whatever people in normal relationships do, but it’s even harder when your boyfriend isn’t even from the same planet.

Alright this time I’m done. For real.

So you’re at the mall and  you’re thinking that you need to get something for this other person or alien or whatever you are dating. You want something that says, “Hey I really like you and thank you for saving me from dying.”  But then you don’t want it to be too mushy  because you haven’t been dating for that long, but they did save you from several alien attacks, so you probably should get them something nice. Does Hallmark have a card for this sort of thing? They really should.

You could always just go with the generic gift and get some Blu-Ray of a movie that you saw on your first date or an ITunes gift card, which is probably what you should do if you’re in a normal relationship.

If you are NOT in a normal relationship, well then you’re stuck in the same situation as me aren’t you? I guess you could always go out and buy a book. Books are always good gifts. Even if your boyfriend doesn’t read, he will at least look smarter with a book in his hand, and you might have something to talk about if you are reading the same book.

Hmmm…maybe I should just go and buy Ace a book. Okay, this post is over I’m scooting over to Amazon now. Bye!

___________________________________________________________

Magan Vernon is a geek-to-glam poster child and author of How to Date an Alien, coming from Darkside Publishing Fall 2011.


Add How To Date An Alien to your TBR pile here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Who Are You Thankful For?

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it's the season to be thankful.  This November, I'm going to list some of the things I'm super thankful for, starting with some amazing groups of people.

1. Book Bloggers and Reviewers. These amazing folks read your book and write clever things about it.  Then they tell other people. Can you say best thing since sliced bread! There is something magical about reading a well written review of your work.  Reviewers like Fiktshun, That Bookish Girl, Word Spelunking, Abnormally Paranormal Reviews, YA Book Haven, Lady Reader Bookstuff,  The Bookish Babes, Two Chicks on Books, I Devour Books, and Me, My Shelf, and I, as well as others, have meant the WORLD to me as a debut author.

2. Readers and Parents of Readers.  It's a beautiful thing to have someone read your book.  It's a supernova of joy to be contacted by a reader who just wants to tell you that your book changed them.  Or to be contacted by a parent to say your book is their child's favorite and they love it, too.  I've had the privilege of some great moments with readers this year and I'm so thankful for you.

3.  Fellow Authors.  I can't begin to tell you how my relationship with DarkSide Publishing authors Megg Jensen, Karly Kirkpatrick, Angela Carlie, and Magan Vernon have changed my life.  But I'm also thankful for the many authors I've known across the twitterverse who have openly shared their knowledge, experiences, and encouragement.  The FridayFlash community has been especially supportive and more recently, so have the group of authors whose covers are in the right margin. (They're called the Indelibles and you'll be hearing more about them soon.)

4. Librarians and Teachers.  How cool is it to find out libraries have ordered your books?  How much cooler is it to know your book is frequently checked out? I deeply appreciate those librarians and teachers who have ordered my books for their classrooms and libraries and told me about their success. And to the people who coordinate author fairs, you are amazing!

5. Writing and Critique Groups.  I've been so fortunate to be part of two amazing writer's groups in town, the Central Illinois chapter of SCBWI and Heart and Scroll, a local RWA chapter.  The members of these groups are a godsend, brimming with helpful information and experiences as well as writerly camaraderie.

So, who are you thankful for this holiday season? 

Next week, what I'm thankful for in technology!


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