Happy Book Birthday, STILL POINT

About six years ago I was driving to the coast on Highway 34, a road that twists through the Oregon coastal range that separates the ocean from the valley. I remember passing through a lush rainforest with ferns as thick as curtains. Coming from the flat farmlands of Wisconsin, I was caught in a world that was so different from what I knew it felt surreal most of the time. It made me fall in love with trees, with nature, and with getting unplugged and being fully aware, and in the moment. That drive inspired the opening journal entry for AWAKEN.

Six years later, the trilogy’s come to a close with STILL POINT. If you want to know more behind the meaning of the title which was inspired by Sting’s song, LOVE IS THE SEVENTH WAVE (great song), check out an old post I wrote.

Happy Book Birthday to STILL POINT! I had so much fun writing this series. It was challenging, sometimes terrifying, but more than anything, it was inspiring. I grew up alongside Maddie. Life lessons, struggles and personal experiences I had flooded into these books. These characters are close to my heart and I’ll never forget them. Thanks for taking the time to read this series. I hope it’s inspired you to carve out your own path and live in the moment.

Okay, I’ll stop babbling now so you can READ.

STILLPOINT_coverFINAL

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TECHNOLOGY and THE HEAD-DOWN FAMILY

One of my favorite things to talk about (well, argue about) is technology and the way it is shaping our lives. I recently interviewed one of my fans, Gloria Kwan, who is sixteen years old and lives in Hong Kong. This is a real person, just like you, going to school, and dealing with technology and how it is impacting our lives. One of her issues with technology is the “head-down family,” a virus that is spreading in her country. She is fighting to avoid it. Here are some of Gloria’s thoughts about technology in the real word:

As a student in Hong Kong, can you describe what a typical school day is like for you?

I am studying in an international school, and a typical school day would be sitting in front of my lap top for most of the classes for the entire lesson. During lunch time, I use technology (laptop) for homework and studies.

How does technology play a part in your school life?
We don’t usually use textbooks nowadays, we use laptops for most of our lessons, so laptops have replaced the use of textbooks almost completely.

How does technology affect your social life? How important is it to you and your friends?
In Hong Kong, people mainly communicate with Whatsapp, Snapchat and Facebook. As people use these apps all the time, your popularity on these social websites are your reputation in real life. In order to be famous or have a good reputation at school, you need to spend a lot of time online to “connect” with your friends. The more you use it, the more swag you’re considered to have. Moreover, our topics and gossips are mainly about others’ online statuses, so you have to be alert to the latest online trend in order to stay in your group. Basically everyone has at least one of these apps. The more you use it, the more popular you are at school!

How much time do you spend behind a screen on a given day?
During school days, apart from sleeping and dinner, I spend most of the time in front of the screen, at most 2-3 hours without my laptop. There’s no way you can avoid it, because every piece of homework needs to be done online.

During weekends, I only spend 2-3 hours in front of the screen for homework. It is because my parents have persuaded me not to use technology too much. But for most of my friends, they just spend most of their time in front of the screen too, even more than on school days.

Can you discuss the “the head-down family” and why you feel this is a virus you don’t want to catch?
“The head-down family” is a social phenomenon in Hong Kong due to the abuse of smart phones. When you take the MTR (underground train) in Hong Kong, there will be 90% of the people with their heads down, flirting with their phones, as everyone is busy using their smart phones. You barely see anyone with their heads up. Since the invention of smart phones, the head-down family virus has spread like moths. The situation is even more obvious in Hong Kong.

Luckily, I’m immune to this virus, well at least I’m still fighting against this virus. It is because of my parents, as they are also anti-smartphones. They refuse to let me be one of them (the head-down family), because they start to ignore everything around them and cut themselves off from the real world. People don’t notice small things around them, all they care about are their smart phones. I just don’t want to be a part of that. I don’t want to waste all my time in front of the screen. I’d rather spend more time with my family. I’d rather see my friends in real life than text them every single minute. I don’t want to be a smartphone slave!

How do you think technology is affecting your culture?
First of all, the only time I use pen and paper now is either exams or math homework. As technology is more convenient, our knowledge of language is being affected. Especially for Chinese, we can type Chinese characters without actually writing it when we are trying to send messages. It seems like everyone is forgetting how to write Chinese in real life now. The less time we use to write, the less Chinese characters we remember. Chinese words are difficult to remember, and with less opportunities we have to write, the culture will certainly be affected.

On the other hand, I think more and more people are staying indoors, because you can talk to a lot of people without actually seeing them. In Hong Kong, a lot of boys play video games at home and they never get out. We have a special term for them, which is called “home-boy.” I think because of this consequence, less people are willing to go out now. Therefore, their communication and social skills are considered as bad.

Moreover, people talk less and less nowadays, because they can communicate without speaking. They use less with their voice and more with their fingers. Even sometimes, my friends text me when we’re having dinner together while they’re just sitting right across me!

Do you personally know anyone who is addicted to technology? (Tweeting, facebooking, texting, emailing, gaming, watching TV…)
Yes. I think 90% of my friends are addicted to technology now. I am not exaggerating the fact, it is true that I can barely find any people who can leave their phone for more than an hour now.

Do you think your country is more “plugged-in” compared to other countries? Why or why not?
Yes. I think Hong Kong is a more “plugged-in” city, but China may not be the most “plugged-in” country. It is because the demand of smartphones is increasing rapidly. Moreover, Hong Kong is a busy city, people intend to do things in a faster speed, and technology is the only way to solve the problem. Hong Kong has a really high density of population but not enough land. Since everywhere is so crowded in Hong Kong, people avoid going out and choose to stay indoors for less troubles. Therefore, the only entertainment we have is the internet.

Why does my Awaken series connect with you? 
The Awaken series has pointed out the problem we have nowadays. Although it is a dystopian story that is set in 2060, I don’t find it exaggerated or unreal, because I am sure that such a society will happen in a blink of an eye. Especially with the serious situation in Hong Kong, I don’t even find anything odd about the series. The story is the consequence in the future if we keep on ignoring the problem now.

As the major idea of the series is about being unplugged, I think that is what everyone should listen to. People are blinded by the pros of technology but they don’t even realise that they are so “plugged-in.” The Awaken series has reminded us what kind of problem we are facing and the consequence it will lead us to.

The Awaken series have given me sparks of hope, when I think the world is going downhill, it gives me hope that we may change the world if we are willing to. That’s why I feel so connected to the book, because I no longer feel lonely about my special point of view towards technology. I finally find someone who feels the same as me.

What do you and your friends enjoy doing for fun?
I enjoy being surrounded by people, and discovering different places in Hong Kong with my family. My favourite thing to do is go swimming at the beach with my parents at least once a week in summer. I love doing all kinds of sports with my friends, because I’m a really sporty person. To be honest, as long as it includes interactions with others, I consider it fun.

For my friends, they really enjoy going on Tumblr, Youtube and surfing online or maybe going shopping in the malls. Even though I love making friends who love being outdoors, I think it is really rare now.

Additional comments:
When I was answering the above questions, I felt really bad for what our world is turning into, especially when I am writing about the problems in Hong Kong. I feel really desperate about it. I have witnessed people around me who have changed since the invention of smart phones and the saddest part is the people who inspired me to stop using smart phones (my parents) are turning into a part of them without noticing it. I really hope more people can read the Awaken series and change their minds because I feel like I’m losing people around me day by day and I really hope such problems can be stopped. I hope people can wake up.

~Thanks so much to Gloria for her time and thoughtful answers to all of my questions! I hope you enjoyed reading about her perspective. I think this is a very important dialogue to have circulating.

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Join the STILL POINT STREET TEAM

As many of you know, STILL POINT, the grand finale to the AWAKEN series, has a release date of September 2nd! That is coming up close, my friends. My publicist is currently reaching out to bloggers and reviewers to help spread the word about this book. If any of you are interested in joining the marketing team to promote STILL POINT, please shoot me an email and I will forward your information along.

You can email me at: katiekacvinsky(at)uwalumni(dot)com

Just let me know your what your blog/website link is, and how you would like to help out, and I’ll contact you. Thanks for your support for my books and thanks SO MUCH to everyone who is tweeting to HMH, begging for a print edition! I appreciate all of your support.

Also, for those of you eagerly awaiting the release date, I published a short story last fall called MADDIE’S TATTOO. Although the short story is a prequel to Awaken, more than anything it sets up people and events for Still Point. I’m pretty sure after you read Still Point you will want to go back and check out MADDIE’S TATTOO, but I would recommend reading it now. It will give you something to think about before the final installment. Here is a link to the story.

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STILL POINT COVER REVEAL

For those of you who follow me on Facebook, or Twitter, you have probably already seen this, but I wanted to officially reveal the cover of STILL POINT, the final book in the AWAKEN trilogy.

STILLPOINT_coverFINAL

Gorgeous, right? I want to frame it. The more I look at the design, the more it makes me think. I love the hand behind the pixelated screen—that is definitely my favorite element, and very fitting to the story. What do you guys think?

For all of my German fans, I will post news about the German release date as soon as I hear it (yes, it WILL be released in German translation). The US release date is:
September 2nd. It’s available to preorder now, through the usual links: Barnes and Noble, Amazon…wherever you prefer to shop.

There is something else you need to know about this book. As of right now, STILL POINT is scheduled as an Ebook only release (I’m talking about the US edition). Yes, this means it will only be available to read in a digital format. It’s a bit ironic, since my series is about an anti-digital movement, yet you will only be able to read it using a digital device. I am hoping and praying that a print edition becomes available, but honestly, that is up to YOU. My READERS and my FANS. The more you help to spread the word about this series, the better are the chances a print book will be published. If I can get enough preorders of STILL POINT, it would definitely encourage HMH to publish the print copies sooner. I am still bugging them (politely) and my editor is trying very hard to make a print edition possible. But, like I said, it’s up to my readers and fans to help make it happen.

You could even send HMH a kind Twitter message, asking them (or begging, or bribing them) to make a print edition available! (Their handle is @HMHKids)

Why isn’t there currently plans for a print book? Well, the answer’s simple. It comes down to sales. The print editions of MIDDLE GROUND didn’t sell very well, but the ebook sales for this series has always been strong. When my agent and I pitched STILL POINT, Houghton Mifflin teeter-tottered over whether to take on the last book of the series. My editor, Julia Richardson, loved the manuscript and was able to make an offer. But it was an ebook only offer. HMH still owns the print rights, so I can’t make the book available by print-on-demand. That is why it is up to you to spread the word and get people talking about this must-read series. Help me make this print book a reality! I really, really want to hold this book in my arms.

How do I feel about this decision? At first I was disappointed. Obviously every writer wants to see their books and words in print. I mean, I don’t even read ebooks. But…I feel like the pros outweigh the cons. I got to work with an AMAZING editor on this book. Julia Richardson is my coach and my greatest writing teacher. I’m thrilled I got to write an entire series with her and finish off Maddie’s story. I feel privileged and blessed to have a publishing team behind me. After trying out self publishing, which has its own perks, what it lacks is a TEAM. A team of talented editors, designers, copy editors, agents…all the components that take a sloppy manuscript and help to make it shine. I want to produce quality writing. That’s what it comes down to.

And the best news of all is: I LOVE THIS BOOK. I do. So much. It might be my favorite book in the series. I don’t really reread my books after I publish them but I seriously CAN’T WAIT to reread STILL POINT. Yes, I will even go so far as to read it digitally. Because I’m very proud of this book. There are so many poignant scenes and messages that will truly make you think. There are new characters to meet. There is action, there is romance. Lots of good drama. I can’t wait for you to read it.

So, get online, get plugged in and preorder this book! (But, as soon as you’re done reading it, go outside, take a walk, talk to someone face-to-face, and always be in the moment). :)

~Katie

 

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One More Week

FF 1_sale

So, I am leaving Finally, Forever at .99 cents for one week. Basically, I just want everybody in the world to read this book. That’s a realistic goal, I know.

I want everyone to know Gray and Dylan, and to experience their story. I want to write NA books that touch on the emotional issues we face during this season of our lives. We break away from high school–this authoritative lifestyle paroled by so many schedules and rules–and all of a sudden WE ARE SET FREE. It is such an unknown, experimental phase of our lives. I would say my NA years (17 to 24) were the most complicated, challenging, liberating, scary and emotionally packed years of my life. It is endless writing material.

Anyway, enough about me. Let’s move on to Gray and Dylan. I hope you enjoy their journey. And, I always love to hear your thoughts: katiekacvinsky(at)uwalumni(dot)com

~Katie

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Happy Loooong Weekend

Since it’s a long weekend for most of you, I am figuring you will need some good reading material. So…for the weekend my latest NA novel, Finally, Forever, will be available for $.99 cents on Kindle. Yep, only on Kindle. Click here and you can read it.

Add some quality Gray and Dylan time into your Memorial Day Weekend plans. I promise, they will make you smile.

FFcover3FF Teaser 2

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Praise for FINALLY, FOREVER

I have been collecting some quotes from reviews for Finally, Forever and I would just like to say THANK YOU for taking the time to express what this book means to you. This is when my work is so fulfilling…when I get to read responses on how it inspires and entertains readers. Here are a few blurbs:

“In an industry where finding a good romance is a dime a dozen, Katie Kacvinsky’s First Comes Love series stands out as a beautifully crafted story about the sacrifices, trials and joys of love. FINALLY, FOREVER is a fitting and worthy final installment in her story following the cynical Gray and the quirky world traveler, Dylan. It can be read as a standalone or as a series conclusion.”
–Jenna Does Books

“The writing in this book was so absolutely gorgeous that I highlighted roughly 30% of it. Katie has a way with words and they’re like an arrow straight to my heart, in the best way possible.”
— kimberlyfayereads

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“This book is the perfect combination of an intriguing storyline, fantastic humor, and a heartwarming love story. You just never know where Dylan and Gray’s story will lead but they keep you interested from page to page. It’s so different. It’s creative, spunky, and so refreshing. You’ll get sucked into their tale and won’t want to let go. I highly recommend not just Finally, Forever but the entire First Comes Love series.”
–Southern Belle Book Blog

“YOU NEED TO READ THIS SERIES. That alone should be enough for you to one-click and devour two, almost three books, of this amazing, different, sensual love story of two very star-crossed lovers walking the same, yet very different paths in life.”
–Heidi McLaughlin, USA Today bestselling author of My Forever Girl

“Finally, Forever is filled with so much humor and heart. Once you start it you won’t want to stop and you will highlight every page with a favorite part that you will always want to remember.”
–Actin’ Up With Books

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FINALLY, FOREVER RELEASE DAY

Happy Book Release to FINALLY, FOREVER! I’m so excited to finally reveal Gray and Dylan’s story.

Here are links to where you can purchase this book:

For a print copy, there is only one place where it is currently available: AMAZON.

For ebooks you can get it at KOBO, AMAZON, and BARNES AND NOBLE. Just click the distributor for the link. It’s $2.99. Pocket change, right?

Did I mention bonus extras? Who doesn’t love these? Both the print and ebook editions have a deleted scene (from Gray’s POV), as well as the playlist with a final song that I added–which I consider to be Gray and Dylan’s theme song for their entire relationship. You will have to buy the book to see. :)

I hope you love this story as much as I do. Here is one more teaser that the fabulous Kimberly Faye designed. Happy Reading!

FF Teaser 2

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One. More. Day.

The other night I had a nightmare (more like an anxiety dream). In my dream it was May 9th, the Finally, Forever release day. I went out to dinner with my family to celebrate. Just as the drinks and appetizers arrived (fried cheese curds, of course), I realized I had forgotten to physically release my book. I hadn’t submitted it anywhere. I jumped up in a panic and the rest of the dream was my chaotic attempt to get home so I could submit the manuscript. Every possible thing that could go wrong happened: we lost our car keys, then we lost our car, then we lost one of our kids. My fans and friends were emailing and messaging me with betrayed fury. I woke up panting.

To avoid the chance of my really sucky nightmare coming true, I’ve already downloaded the book in several distributional sites. Some sellers can take a few days for the book to show up (unfortunately, I can’t control exactly when the book becomes available). Amazon has a ludicrously fast turnaround time, so I PROMISE it will be available in some way/shape/form by tonight. :)

I would just like to say thank you to all of the people who have emailed me, tweeted (twittered?) to me, called me, messaged me, shouted out to me in public, their encouragement and support for this series. This has been a ROUGH couple of months. My best friend and part soul mate passed away (my dog, Graham), my husband is unemployed, my kids and I have been trading and sharing every cold virus in existence–it has just been an emotional ride. The greatest distraction has been publishing this book and the excitement from my fans. So, thank you. You have helped me cope, and also encouraged me to finish the story of Gray and Dylan.

Thanks to my family for all of their support. Thanks to my kids for all of their love. And I will never, ever forget you, Graham. Image

Best,

Katie

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May Book Pick: BREAKABLE by Tammara Webber

Every month I try to share one book on my website–simply a book that I highly recommend. Not only will it force me to get back into reading (I pretty much only read children’s books these days because I have little kids), but I also love to support other authors for their woUntitledrk, their talent, and the important stories they write.

Most of you have heard of EASY, the NA sensation written by Tammara Webber. This week, she released the companion novel, BREAKABLE. I love these books, not only for the important messages that Webber addresses, but also for Webber’s thoughtful, descriptive writing style. So, my book pick for May is BREAKABLE–and best of all–it’s already available. You know where to get it: Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or your amazing local indie bookstore should have it, too. You can visit Tammara’s website for more information about her and her books. Here is a teaser from BREAKABLE:

BREAKABLE.12b

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