Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Happy Book Birthday to THE SWEETEST THING!

Today is the day!! My book, THE SWEETEST THING, whose fate was uncertain just a few months ago -- is once again FOR SALE! It has a pretty new package, is now available in paperback and ebook, and there's a teaser chapter for the sequel at the end, which I am writing now (or will be as soon as I finish this :)

Please feel free to share the link with anyone you think might like the book (you can click on just about anything in this post to take you to the Amazon page!) Like that shampoo commercial of old, any sort of publishing success is largely built on the concept of "and she told two friends, and she told two friends, and so on, and so on..."

I can't promise you shiny hair, but I hope I can entertain you with a good story. Thanks in advance!

Speaking of thanks ...

I'm so very grateful to everyone whose advice and support kept me on track to get this project done. Thank you especially to Kiki Hamilton, author extraordinaire, who calmly talked me through a few formatting-related panic attacks while she was also in rush hour traffic. That's some serious multi-tasking for which I am supremely thankful! And to Kristin Rae, who, in addition to being a talented author, is also (lucky me!) a talented artist. Her cover design is my favorite thing ever.

To my writer friends, the Empire CafĂ© gang, the LOD'ers, the Class of 2k11 and my critique group, Will Write for Cake, you all are such a blessing! And my non-writer family/friends too, who just put up with me and buy my books, I love you all! To anyone who has ever said a nice word about my writing, who has bought the book previously, the bloggers and teachers and my young readers who are still asking me, "when does your next book come out?" I LOVE YOU!

Thanks to my agent Danielle Chiotti, who is always there when I need her.

Thank you always to my husband Michael, and daughters Lily and Cate, who just make it all worth it.

Thanks to my God who gave me this crazy love for telling stories that, even on my worst days, brings me joy.

And so, without further ado -- feel free to do a happy dance with me as THE SWEETEST THING goes back into the world!!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Release Date, a Surprise and a Giveaway, Oh My!

Good news around here -- first of all, THIS HAPPENED:

This is the printed proof of my book, which arrived in the mail a few days ago. I almost fainted with joy when I opened the box. I seriously had the vapors. It's gorgeous. I love it.

BUT, smelling salts aside, the purpose of this little gem was for me to read through again to find all the little mistakes that might still be hanging around. What mistakes, I thought, it's PERFECT?!


Yeah. Every one of these Post-It scraps represents a correction that needed to be made (luckily, mostly small formatting things -- it looks worse than it is). Anyway, I whipped through these edits quickly and now I HAVE AN OFFICIAL RELEASE DATE!

Mark your calendars for TUESDAY, AUGUST 18th, 2015!

I guess it's an official re-release date. I sort of feel like this is THE SWEETEST THING 2.0. The story is the same, but there are extras, people! EXTRAS!

First there's a PRETTY NEW COVER. Although the original cover was appropriately sweet, I think this fresh, modern cover is mind-blowingly gorgeous.

Second, it comes in both e-book AND paperback! If you're all about the e-book, that's great, but if you like a nice bendy, light, portable paperback to carry around in your backpack or purse, we've got that!

Third, there's a special surprise at the end of this version -- it's the first chapter of the sequel, called CAKE GIRL.

I've been wanting to write the continuation of Sheridan Wells' story since the original book came out, and I hope you'll love the sneak peek. You can bet there will be more romance, drama and (naturally) plenty of cake!

Lastly -- to celebrate the countdown to release day (T-minus 10 DAYS!) -- I'm hosting a giveaway of the new paperback on Goodreads.

You can enter starting today -- until September 7 (that's Labor Day if you're counting -- which is fitting -- because that's what this new edition of TST feels like, a total labor of love). After that, I'll be sending two pretty new SIGNED paperbacks to the lucky winners (and some sweet new swag items too!) Here's the link to enter:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski

The Sweetest Thing

by Christina Mandelski

Giveaway ends September 07, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Good luck to all who enter, and thanks for celebrating this good news with me! Til the next time, stay cool (it's HOT here in Houston) and EAT CAKE!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Everything Old is New Again

Well, maybe not everything. My minivan is still really old. But today feels like the beginning of something very new for me. 
Back in 2009, my first book, a young adult novel about a gifted and troubled cake decorating teen, sold to a new US-based offshoot of the UK publisher Egmont. It was a dream come true. THE SWEETEST THING came out in May 2011.
Earlier this year, however, Egmont US closed its doors. Soon after my initial panic/sadness, I found out that because of the closing, the rights to THE SWEETEST THING were reverting back to ME. This was big, because after four years, the book had fallen off of most radars, and there was not much I could do about it. But when I received the rights back, I was given an opportunity to breathe new life into my book.
After conferring with my agent, (who I will thank now, the lovely, patient-as-a-saint Danielle Chiotti of Upstart Crow Literary), we decided to pursue self-publishing THE SWEETEST THING through Amazon. It was a scary prospect. Traditional publishing had always been my plan. But the writing on the wall couldn't have been clearer. It was time to dip my toe into the waters of self-publishing. And so far, it's been an adventure!
For this new edition of the book, I've done an edit of the original manuscript, taking out references to things like a Blackberry (so 2009!) and tweaking some of the dialogue. Most exciting was being able to write a special extra for the end, which I'll talk about more in a future post, closer to the pub date.
For now, however, I get to show you THE SWEETEST THING'S pretty new cover. Here it is: 
Sigh. I think I'm in love.

I spoke in my post yesterday about it's designer, Kristin Rae. When she and I discussed what I wanted in a cover, my wish list included wanting to make the title the dominant graphic element, and also: NO PINK.
I wanted to throw in elements of main character Sheridan Wells' other artistic interests (other than cake). Hence the watercolor background. I asked for a yellow butterfly (also important to Sheridan's story). Kristin more than delivered on all that I asked. And did you notice the distinct lack of pink? I love what she did. And the back cover (for the print version) is just as gorgeous.
So there it is, friends:
Traditional publishing to self-publishing.
SO Pink to NO PINK. 
Candy hearts to watercolor butterflies.
Old to new.
I don't know what the future holds for this shiny new version of THE SWEETEST THING, but today it doesn't matter. Today, anything is possible!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Big Reveal (not quite, but getting there...)

Here we are, a mere day away from revealing the new cover of THE SWEETEST THING, and here I am, still updating my website so that I have someplace to actually REVEAL it. Sigh. I'm helplessly non-techie, though I'm lucky to have folks in my life who tolerate this characteristic and actually HELP me.

For this website redesign, these 'folks' include my good friend, amazing author and mind-blowingly talented designer Kristin Rae. I told her I needed a new website and something along the lines of "well, I like the beach, and I like these colors." Now make it happen! Please?

LOL, she DID make it happen, and along with tech maven Kim Franklin, turned an outdated, completely non-user friendly website into something gorgeous that I can actually update on my own!

In fact, I liked what Kristin did with my website so much that I asked her if she would try her hand at designing the new cover of THE SWEETEST THING. She was somewhat on the fence about giving it a try, but I think she has great taste and I hoped she would say yes. Long story short -- she did! Wait til you see the result! It was a joy seeing her turn my 'vision' such as it was, into a real, beautiful book cover.

So. Excited.

Okay, so since I'm thanking people, I have to also thank my husband, Michael, who linked all this stuff up so that my old website name redirected to this website and a whole bunch of other stuff that I was happy to let him handle. I'm so grateful for this guy. He can cook too, and those of you who have tasted my cooking know what a bonus this is.

This time tomorrow, there will be a beautiful picture of my new cover in this space. I hope you'll love it as much as I do!


Monday, June 29, 2015

Getting My Ducks in a Row...

to reveal the new cover of THE SWEETEST THING, my young adult novel, on July 1st!