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  • 04/04/12--07:18: Our Hackathon Roundup
  • Hi everyone! Last Friday we held our first-ever internal hackathon at Wattpad HQ. The rules were simple: pitch an idea, form teams, build something, then demo it 24 hours later. So, we coded all day and all night and in the end delivered some awesome creative projects! Hopefully you will even see a couple of them live on Wattpad one of these days!

    The event was a lot of fun for our team, it gave us all the chance to work across departments and explore different technologies, however we were so exhausted from all the hacking that we forgot to update our blog with the results.  So here’s another peek into the action! 

    The Teams:

    [[MORE]]

    And now the winners… Most Imaginative:

    Most original idea… ever! Congrats to Kevin and Tony for their “Theme Song Generating Device” - Tap your security card at the door and a theme song of your choice will rock the office!! Nicely done!

    Most Impossible:

    “Can’t believe they were able to do that in 24 hours!!” Amos, Ivan and Eva put together Wattpad Jr - an iPad app for kids concept!!! 

    Most indispensable: 

    Rich, Grace, Maria and Amy built a “Cover Art Generator”. And by Rich, Grace, Maria and Amy, we mostly just mean super-engineer Rich!! 

    So until next time…


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    Wattpad brings you a guest post from Charlotte English, author of Draykon:

    Of Gems and Jewels and Fantasy Books

    Throughout history, gems and jewels and precious stones have fascinated humankind. It’s not just the colours, though they are magnificent. It’s not just the rarity, though their monetary value is a big part of it. It’s got a lot to do with the way they shine and twinkle; the way a well-cut stone seems to have endless depths. That mesmeric quality has a strange way of speaking straight to the imagination.

    Just about every conceivable power has been attributed to various jewels at one time or another. Examples include the power to heal sickness; to promote wellbeing; to confer protection; to attract ghosts; to raise the dead; to inflict misfortune or death and even to grant invisibility to the wearer. And that’s not even counting the host of magical powers attributed to jewels in fantasy fiction.

    [[MORE]]

    In Draykon I wrote about a mesmerising gem, dubbed “istore” for its starry qualities. This mysterious jewel hides a powerful secret, and it has the power to change lives – which is exactly what happens when my protagonist, Llandry Sanfaer, discovers it by accident.

    In connection with this story I’d like to share some strange and wonderful myths about jewels. Of the following six tales, three come from the myths and legends of the real world and three come from the pages of fantasy and mystery books. Do you know, or can you guess, which is which?

    Let’s begin with…

    Tales of Dark Curses

    There was once an enormous blue diamond adorning a statue of an Indian god. Bought – or stolen – by a French jeweller, the diamond passed into the hands of the king of France where it proceeded to visit disaster upon all who wore it. The curse led to the banishment, poverty and eventual death of the French jeweller who had carried it out of India; the French king met a painful end; in fact, everyone who came into close contact with the jewel was later executed or murdered, or suffered some other grave misfortune.

    Tales of Dark Deeds

    History tells of another fabulous diamond which also adorned the forehead of a Hindu god. It was carried to England by an officer of the British army, and later given to his young niece. It was worn for only one night before it was stolen, in fabulously mysterious circumstances. This jewel was said to bring a curse upon all who tried to possess it; despite this forewarning, several murders were committed and multiple thefts staged by those determined to take the diamond.

    Tales of Vengeful Kings

    One day long ago, an enormous ruby was found in a river by a simple fisherman. When placed into a glass of milk, the ruby turned the milk bright red. The stone was given to the king, and was set into the royal ring, becoming a symbol of royalty. Many said that ownership over the ring granted the bearer the right to rule the kingdom.

    But then a merchant arrived at court and offered the king another ruby, just as large and just as beautiful as the first. When put together, the two pieces fitted against one another exactly. The king concluded that the fisherman had betrayed him, and given him only half of the beautiful stone. It is said that the king ordered the fisherman’s entire village to be burned in retribution.

    Tales of Witches and Magical Powers

    Once there was a princess who was given, as part of her dowry, a magnificent pair of ruby ear-tubes. The beautiful red stones glowed with their own radiance, and were precious beyond compare. But when the princess arrived for her wedding to a foreign king, her husband-to-be clearly saw that the radiance of the rubies was due to the magical spirits trapped within. Thus revealed as a witch, the princess was sent home in disgrace. On the way back, she buried the ear-tubes in order to contain their magical powers…

    Tales of Ancient Spirits

    There was once a wandering hermit who stumbled upon an enormous, glittering sapphire gem. He spent many, many years working the jewel into the shape of a rose. An ancient spirit was trapped inside the stone, granting it remarkable magical powers: it was said to be able to cure disease, and even rumoured to cause death to any who touched it without the spirit’s permission. The gem became the property of kings and was passed down through many generations… until at last, it was lost.

    Tales of Dragons!

    A great jewel was once found beneath a vast mountain. It was worked into a faceted gem, pale and radiant and shining with colours under the light. As with many such jewels, it became an heirloom of kings; but its eventual fate was to become part of the jealously-guarded hoard of a dragon.

    … And a New Tale

    I leave you with one final picture: the beautiful star sapphire. It’s the closest approximation I can find to the stone that Llandry Sanfaer named “istore”, after the stars. If you’d like to hear the strange story of this particular gem, you can find “Draykon” in its entirety on Wattpad.

    Check out Draykon, a suspense-filled fantasy fiction.


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  • 04/05/12--07:30: MEET US IN LONDON!
  • The Official Wattpad London Meetup - Saturday, April 14th!
    Join us in London to meet fellow Wattpadders over tea and scones on April 14 and you’ll be on the receiving end of some of the best Wattpad swag we’ve ever given out.
     
    Coolify your wardrobe with this vintage American Apparel t-shirt emblazoned with the sexy Wattpad logo and add some swagger to your walk when you throw one of our fun tote bags over your shoulder!
    Here are the details:

    Saturday, April 14, 2012 

    Time: 2 - 4 pm 

    Location: The Brunei Suite at the School of Oriental Studies, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG Map

    What’ll go down at the event:
    • We’ll be premiering a Wattpad video featuring fallenbabybubu, mamie1990, Reekles
    • We’ll be running a quiz, giving you everyone a chance to win cool prizes.
    So, please email us at meetup@wattpad.com using the subject line “LONDON MEETUP 2012” to get on our guest list. 

    We’ll need the following information from you: 


    1. Your full name and a link to your Wattpad profile.
    2. Let us know how many guests you’ll be bringing and their names.
    3. Everyone’s t-shirt size.

    See you in London!
    - The Wattpad Team

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    Every Friday, we bring you an undiscovered gem to read on Wattpad. This week, our readers recommend Vampire Empire - The Covenant, a vampire action story:

    Amethyst and Altore adventure to a past life to find a former Britannian worker, but they aren’t able to bring him back because he is protected by a hunter. While forumlating a new plan the teenagers accidentally encounter a group of warlocks, a discovery which further confuses the situation.

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  • 04/09/12--11:15: My Writing Career, So Far…
  • WATTPAD BRINGS YOU A GUEST POST FROM MARY E. MARTIN, AUTHOR OF Conduct in Question:

    As a child, I made up stories. As a teenager, I wrote them down. At University, I nearly stopped. English literature classes had nothing to do with creativity and everything to do with criticism. Discouraging! On graduation, I surprised everyone by going into law. After fifteen years of law practice and three children, I started to write—again. As I tell you here about Conduct in Question, you’ll see how important place—geographic, chronological, social or spiritual—has been for my writing. 

    My law practice gave me a window on the world of humanity—perfect for a writer-in-the-making. After years of listening to clients, I had my own stories for Conduct in Question. I named the trilogy after Osgoode Hall, the law courts in Toronto. 

    Osgoode Hall, Toronto

    I modeled my protagonist/lawyer, Harry Jenkins, on my senior partner, a wise and kind gentleman, with whom I began practice when he was sixty-five. Harry, my partner’s younger, novelistic version, is longing for freedom and love. Trapped under his senior law partner’s thumb and in a loveless marriage, he’s at his breaking point. The city is haunted by the spectre of the Florist, a sadistic murderer with an artistic flair. When his partner drops dead in the office, Harry is free to make his own mistakes.

    [[MORE]]

    This is my protagonist, Harry Jenkins

    This is the trademark of the serial killer dubbed The Florist

    Did I tell you that I’m a born and bred Torontonian? One’s hometown forms a very solid place for a writer to set his or her scenes. Toronto has grown from a staid, provincial town into an energetic home for people all over the planet. Let me show you around my city and how it permeates my writing.  

    Marjorie Deighton’s house in High Park

    Marjorie Deighton, one of Harry’s wealthiest clients, lives in High Park. Her stately home is the centre of a massive money-laundering scheme and murder. My father, a school teacher, made extra money as a real estate agent in the summer and so I’ve seen a lot of neighbourhoods—some grand and some not so. Childhood memory permeates this novel.

     

    St. Timothy’s Church next to Marjorie’s house

    Next to Marjorie’s house stands a church, where a child is molested. The Archbishop wants to sell it to pay the court judgments of innocent children. My family did not attend church. Consequently, it has always seemed a mysterious and remote place which is why it figures so prominently in the novel. 

    Laura is Harry’s wife. Money has poisoned their love and marriage. This is her Rosedale childhood home. When I was a child, my Dad and I would drive through its leafy, winding streets always hoping  to sell one of them—but he never did. A feeling of exclusion from the “grand” parts of the city comes through in the novel. In the 1950’s immigrants flocked to Toronto and so it had not only very expensive areas but also near poverty stricken back lanes. 

    Laura’s Rosedale mansion

    Harry’s childhood home

    Harry grew up in this house light years from Rosedale and Laura’s home. To Harry, it was neat square and ordinary. A personal connection? This is the first house my father ever sold. I went through it as it was being built. 

    Harry’s new client, the wealthy Mr. Chin, has his offices in Chinatown. The massive money-laundering fraud spreads out from here aided by the venerable law firm Cheney, Arpin. In a fast growing city, sources of money are numerous and plentiful and, under the surface, fraud often lurks. Harry reports money laundering fraud by the lawyers to the discipline committee at Osgoode Hall.

    Mr. Chin’s Chinatown in Toronto

    Harry is a reluctant member of the Alton Club, bastion of wealth, power and sexism. When I began law practice, women were excluded from such places.  

    The Alton Club

    Harry’s Bank, The Toronto-Royal

    Harry insists that banks are not your friends. We share certain views. Anyone who has run a small business knows what Harry’s saying. According to him, the banks lure you into the valley of debt only to issue ugly demands for payment. 

    The Scarborough Bluffs

    Harry comes to the Scarborough Bluffs, lying east of downtown, when he learns his wife is leaving. His reflection on the city shows the heavy loss he feels. 

    “The afternoon sun shimmered on the smooth and sheer rock face. On the horizon, his city lay reduced to a tiny black smudge, as if it had floated away from him forever. With Laura gone, the city he once loved existed only in a jumble of memory.”

    Massey Hall, where Marjorie Deighton first heard “Pomp and Circumstance”

    Near the end of the story, Harry wanders into Massey Hall, a concert venue. He’s broken free of his past and is beginning life anew. 

    “He opened the tall, heavy doors of the concert hall, to see a lone figure sweeping away paper cups and empty soda cans. Beyond the next set of doors, he could hear the sombre tones of a chamber ensemble in rehearsal. Sometimes his life seemed spent in doorways, looking beyond to the future, longing to step forward into the light, but fearing to do so. And so he had spent years clinging to a dead marriage and a hopeless position under Crawford’s thumb. The time for change had come.”

    From this, I hope you’ll see that one’s hometown can have a very great affect on what and how you write—for, I believe, place forms the writer’s world view and provides themes to explore. At least, for me, it has.

    ———

    Since publishing Conduct in Question in 2005, I have written and published four other novels. 

    The Osgoode Trilogy is composed of Conduct in Question, Final Paradox and A Trial of One. 

    The Trilogy of Remembrance is two thirds complete. You can read some of The Drawing Lesson, the first in the trilogy on Wattpad. The next novel is The Fate of Pryde. 

    Print copies of all novels are available on Amazon.

    Download E-books for any reading device from SmashWords.com.


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    Wattpad Community Contests: Vampires Drool! Zombies Rule!:

    In Rusty Fischer’s Vampires Drool! Zombies Rule!” zombies and vampires wander the halls among their unsuspecting human peers. What would it be like to be a vampire or a zombie trying to blend in at school? 

    Enter the contest now for some amazing prizes!


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    Check out our awesome new Wattpad shirts! You can win one of these limited edition prizes in our April Fools Recommend to Win contest.

    All you have to do is recommend a Wattpad story that made you laugh, smile, or brightened your day! Find out more here.


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    Wattpad brings you a guest post from Liliana Hart, author of mystery/suspense Dirty Little Secrets:


    There are a lot of great heroines in books out there, but I’ve culled it down to my favorite five. These are all heroines that take command of the book from page one. They all make you think and wish you could be them. And they all stay with you long after the book is finished. This was actually a more difficult blog to write than I thought it would be because there still aren’t that many strong female characters that have the power to propel an entire series all on their own. These heroines are my favorites, and if you’ve never had the chance to check these particular books out, I’m proud to be the first to introduce them to you.

    5.) Kay Scarpetta (Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta Series)

    Patricia Cornwell was revolutionary in introducing a character like Kay Scarpetta more than twenty years ago. Scarpetta propels this series with her intelligence,dry wit, and her cool logic in some very gruesome situations. Not to mention Patricia Cornwell pens books that will keep you turning pages even as you cringe and try to hide your eyes.

    [[MORE]]

    4.) Sabina Kane (Jaye Wells’ Sabina Kane Series)

    Being half-mage and half-vampire has complicated Sabina Kane’s life and put her in the middle of a power struggle so intense that I can’t wait to see what happens in the series’ conclusion this summer. Sabina’s a strong female character, both in mind and strength, and she’s not someone I’d want to cross paths with, but she’s also someone you can feel great empathy and respect for. With a fantastic secondary cast to back her up, Sabina Kane is a heroine you don’t want to miss out on.

    3.) Merry Gentry (Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry Series)

    Laurell K. Hamilton is unique on this list in that she’s written two of the best heroines in fiction. Ever. I’ll defend that statement until my dying day. Merry Gentry is a princess of the Fae, but she’s had to go into hiding in the human world to keep her relatives from killing her. These novels are part noir, and part fantasy, and I’ve never read fight scenes better in any series (not by a man or a woman) than those in these books. Her use of magic is inventive, and I frequently find my mouth hanging open at the awesomeness of LKH’s action scenes. The series is extremely racy, but I think the scenes add to a very intricate plot, so don’t let the intimate scenes scare you away from reading.

    2.) Anita Blake (Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Series)

    Anita Blake is another creation of Laurell K. Hamilton, and she’s the pioneer of what we know today as modern Urban Fantasy—a little bit mystery, a little fantasy and a little romance. Anita raises the dead for a living, and she’s caught in a political power struggle, trying to stay alive and defend those she loves from the Vampire Council. She’s romantically tied to the Master Vampire of her city, as well as the Werewolf Lupa, and their power is linked so that their lifelines are tied together. Anita kicks ass with a vengeance and doesn’t take prisoners. The plots are mysteries and she and her men are always looking for the bad guy, but Anita rules this land with an iron fist and uses her brains and an amazing amount of physical strength, so good triumphs over evil.

    1.) Eve Dallas (J.D. Robb’s In Death Series)

    Eve Dallas is without a doubt the most badass heroine around. I’d put her up against almost any male lead character. J.D. Robb has created a futuristic world and a heroine with a troubled past and a strict moral code. Eve Dallas is a New York City cop in the year 2060. She’s a master at looking at crimes and evidence, of putting herself in the victim’s place, and then chasing down the bad guys with a strength and skill honed by the physical and mental demands she puts on herself. She’s a character you can root for and believe in. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that her sexy husband, Roarke, is there to throw in a few curves to her straight and narrow philosophy.

    The great thing about all of these books is that they’re in a series. You can peel back the layers and get to know each of these women as their story progresses. These are all books on my keeper shelf, and I encourage everyone to check them out. It should keep you busy for a while;-)

    Happy Reading!

    Liliana Hart (www.lilianahart.com)

     

    Check out Liliana’s Dirty Little Secrets on Wattpad!

    J.J. Graves has seen a lot of dead bodies in her line of work… She’s not only in the mortuary business, but she’s also the coroner for King George County, Virginia. When a grisly murder is discovered in the small town of Bloody Mary, it’s up to J.J. and her best friend, Detective Jack Lawson, to bring the victim justice. The murders are piling up… When a popular mystery writer shows up on J.J.’s doorstep with plans of writing his new book about the Bloody Mary Serial Killer, J.J. has to decide if he might be going above and beyond the call of duty to create the spine tinglers he’s so well known for. And passions are rising… J.J and Jack discover each victim had a shocking secret, and the very foundation of J.J.’s life is in danger of crumbling when it turns out she’s harboring secrets of her own—secrets that make her a perfect target in a deadly game.


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    Wattpad brings you a guest post from Liliana Hart, author of mystery/suspense Dirty Little Secrets:

    There are a lot of great heroines in books out there, but I’ve culled it down to my favorite five. These are all heroines that take command of the book from page one. They all make you think and wish you could be them. And they all stay with you long after the book is finished. This was actually a more difficult blog to write than I thought it would be because there still aren’t that many strong female characters that have the power to propel an entire series all on their own. These heroines are my favorites, and if you’ve never had the chance to check these particular books out, I’m proud to be the first to introduce them to you.

    5.) Kay Scarpetta (Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta Series)

    Patricia Cornwell was revolutionary in introducing a character like Kay Scarpetta more than twenty years ago. Scarpetta propels this series with her intelligence,dry wit, and her cool logic in some very gruesome situations. Not to mention Patricia Cornwell pens books that will keep you turning pages even as you cringe and try to hide your eyes.

    [[MORE]]

    4.) Sabina Kane (Jaye Wells’ Sabina Kane Series)

    Being half-mage and half-vampire has complicated Sabina Kane’s life and put her in the middle of a power struggle so intense that I can’t wait to see what happens in the series’ conclusion this summer. Sabina’s a strong female character, both in mind and strength, and she’s not someone I’d want to cross paths with, but she’s also someone you can feel great empathy and respect for. With a fantastic secondary cast to back her up, Sabina Kane is a heroine you don’t want to miss out on.

    3.) Merry Gentry (Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry Series)

    Laurell K. Hamilton is unique on this list in that she’s written two of the best heroines in fiction. Ever. I’ll defend that statement until my dying day. Merry Gentry is a princess of the Fae, but she’s had to go into hiding in the human world to keep her relatives from killing her. These novels are part noir, and part fantasy, and I’ve never read fight scenes better in any series (not by a man or a woman) than those in these books. Her use of magic is inventive, and I frequently find my mouth hanging open at the awesomeness of LKH’s action scenes. The series is extremely racy, but I think the scenes add to a very intricate plot, so don’t let the intimate scenes scare you away from reading.

    2.) Anita Blake (Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Series)

    Anita Blake is another creation of Laurell K. Hamilton, and she’s the pioneer of what we know today as modern Urban Fantasy—a little bit mystery, a little fantasy and a little romance. Anita raises the dead for a living, and she’s caught in a political power struggle, trying to stay alive and defend those she loves from the Vampire Council. She’s romantically tied to the Master Vampire of her city, as well as the Werewolf Lupa, and their power is linked so that their lifelines are tied together. Anita kicks ass with a vengeance and doesn’t take prisoners. The plots are mysteries and she and her men are always looking for the bad guy, but Anita rules this land with an iron fist and uses her brains and an amazing amount of physical strength, so good triumphs over evil.

    1.) Eve Dallas (J.D. Robb’s In Death Series)

    Eve Dallas is without a doubt the most badass heroine around. I’d put her up against almost any male lead character. J.D. Robb has created a futuristic world and a heroine with a troubled past and a strict moral code. Eve Dallas is a New York City cop in the year 2060. She’s a master at looking at crimes and evidence, of putting herself in the victim’s place, and then chasing down the bad guys with a strength and skill honed by the physical and mental demands she puts on herself. She’s a character you can root for and believe in. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that her sexy husband, Roarke, is there to throw in a few curves to her straight and narrow philosophy.

    The great thing about all of these books is that they’re in a series. You can peel back the layers and get to know each of these women as their story progresses. These are all books on my keeper shelf, and I encourage everyone to check them out. It should keep you busy for a while;-)

    Happy Reading!

    Liliana Hart (www.lilianahart.com)

     

    Check out Liliana’s Dirty Little Secrets on Wattpad!

    J.J. Graves has seen a lot of dead bodies in her line of work… She’s not only in the mortuary business, but she’s also the coroner for King George County, Virginia. When a grisly murder is discovered in the small town of Bloody Mary, it’s up to J.J. and her best friend, Detective Jack Lawson, to bring the victim justice. The murders are piling up… When a popular mystery writer shows up on J.J.’s doorstep with plans of writing his new book about the Bloody Mary Serial Killer, J.J. has to decide if he might be going above and beyond the call of duty to create the spine tinglers he’s so well known for. And passions are rising… J.J and Jack discover each victim had a shocking secret, and the very foundation of J.J.’s life is in danger of crumbling when it turns out she’s harboring secrets of her own—secrets that make her a perfect target in a deadly game.


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    Every Friday, we bring you an undiscovered gem to read on Wattpad. This week, our secret Wattpad Talent Hunters recommend Conduct in Question, a mystery/suspense thriller:

    Conduct in Question by Mary E. Martin

    Meet Harry Jenkins, Toronto lawyer. Look below the surface of his city. Follow his growth toward compassion and understanding while he tracks a killer dubbed The Florist and roots out a massive money laundering fraud from the darkest corridors of power and influence. All is not as it seems.


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  • 04/16/12--07:39: Wattpad in London
  • Writer Gillian Brown blogs about the very first Wattpad meetup in London, UK! Check out her post + photos below:

    [myself & Maria Cootauco, Community Engagement Manager @ Wattpad]

    I just came back from London where I attended the Wattpad meet-up. My friend came along with me and neither of us were sure what to expect as we nudged our way into the School of Oriental and African Studies, near Russell Square. Once inside we we were greeted with a room full of Wattpaders - readers, writers and editors. It was great to get ourselves a cup of tea and a biscuit but I’d say the highlight of the whole event was meeting the people who actually run the website.

    I’ve been publishing my novel Amber Diaries on Wattpad for about eight months now. It’s been a total adventure. Instead of working in complete isolation - just me and my laptop endlessly perfecting a manuscript that would most likely end up on the “slush pile” of a big publishing house, I’ve been uploading the chapters as they’re ready and getting them straight into the hands of readers. So far I’ve had 13, 671 reads - which is about 13,661 more than I would have had if I had not gone onto wattpad. The sum total of my readership would have likely been my Mum, my husband, a handful of friends and possibly Auntie Kath (one of my most dedicated fans!)

    Read more!


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    Wattpad Meetup in London 2012

    allenlau:

    Here’s the video one of the Wattpad ambassadors put together for our London meetup. So awesome!


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    Join The Survivors author Amanda Havard at her next book signings at the Texas Library Association conference this week!

    What’s so fun about book signings anyway? Amanda shares with us her perspective as a writer:


    Hey Wattpadders. I’m excited to be here today to talk to you about one of my favorite things I get to do as an author: book signings. Book signings are fun for me for a number of reasons. For one, there is nothing better than getting to meet fans of The Survivors (and if you ever happen to be at a signing or event where I am, then please please come say hi and tell me you’re from Wattpad!). But more than that, signings are fun for me because I’ve instilled a few rituals for myself any time I sign or speak at events and the like.

    Of course, everyone has rituals. Authors use the same fountain pen they’ve used for the last twenty years or only sign in metallic Sharpie (For me? It’s classic black Sharpie every time). But my rituals go a little further. When I embarked on my journey as an author, I did it thinking about all the small things I enjoy in my regular life to see how I could fit them into my author life. From music that inspires me that I love sharing with readers to my love of impractical shoes to even my indecision on which way to wear my hair, every little thing has found a place in my author life. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or if you follow the Survivors on Twitter and Facebook, maybe you’ve seen me use Polyvore to get votes on what shoes to wear to a signing (or on more indecisive days, what to wear to dinner). Or maybe you’ve seen the Instagram photos of what shoes I’m wearing when I sign, speak, record a song, shoot a video, or anything else. It’s become a bit of a thing, and I love it. I love that people ask me to poke my feet around the table when there’s a tablecloth at an event. I love that I recognize someone from a Facebook comment they left voting on a look as I’m signing her name in a book. Sometimes as an author, you live in an isolated world. I’m lucky because I have you awesome Wattpadders, and so I’m not so isolated. I get to talk to you, hear what you think about the story, get to talk to you in all kinds of places online. But all these silly little rituals, as frivolous as they may seem to some, are a part of the way I get to connect to all of you, as author, as storyteller, and then as a person.

    When I was dreaming of being an author, as I know so many of you are, I hadn’t ever thought of things like this. I would, in fact, bet that many authors don’t ever think of things like this, and that’s cool. But for me, it’s been a great tool. I didn’t know what to expect of a book signing or an interview. Maybe I was afraid to think what it was really like in case my expectations were so far off from reality. So I found my own amusement in these kinds of things that are all my own, and that I get to share with all of you who aren’t going to be where I’m going to be. Some book signings are just the dream you imagine. People are waiting for you when you get there, listen to the words you say, and can’t wait to meet you. And some? They won’t be. There will always be a time when you go somewhere and either no one shows up or people don’t care that you’re there signing. It’s true. It’s happened to almost every author at one time or another (I read a blog post from Rick Riordan about showing up to signings no one attended when he first started out that he posted just last week!). But for me, every signing still feels like it’s a big deal, still feels like something to be excited over because I prep in the same way. And in life? The ability to find simple things you can do for yourself that keep you happy in moments that might be disappointing, or things that empower you to feel like your most awesome self in every moment? I’ve found them quite useful.

    So when you see me, whether it’s in passing and no one’s at my table or a hundred people are waiting in line, look for the shoes. And in the mean time? Have fun dreaming about the things you’ll do when it’s time for you to hold the pen (or Sharpie) and sign your own book.

    Say hi to Amanda at her upcoming book signings this week!

    Where: Texas Library Association conference

    Wednesday 4/18: 10:15 - 11:00 am (Chafie Press booth 1220);

                    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm (Author Area)

    Thursday, 11:00 am - Noon (Author Area);

                    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm (Chafie Press booth 1220)

    Special Event:

    YA Author Tea Wednesday, 12:00 PM - 1:20 PM


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    We had such an awesome time at our recent Wattpad meetup in London. A heartfelt thank-you, once again, to those who joined us in celebrating our love of reading and storytelling, and everything Wattpad! You can read all about how the meetup went down in this post by writer Gillian Brown. In the meantime, have fun checking out more of our photos from the April 14th event:

    Wattpadders show off their new Wattpad swag.

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    Signing in and getting name tags.

    Our snacks table: full of yummy cookies, and more!

    Saying hello to some Wattpadders in London!

    Wattpad HQ’s Allen and Maria with 2 WP Ninjas.

    Watching our top-secret Wattpad meetup videos! ;)

    Answering our Wattpad Trivia Game to win prizes!

    Wattpad Ninja Gavin checks everyone’s answers.

    Thanks to our awesome team of Wattpad ambassadors for all their help!

    See you at the next Wattpad meetup!


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  • 04/18/12--13:02: Wattpad Meetup in London!


  • Wattpad Meetup in London!


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    Win limited edition Wattpad shirts!

    Recommend a funny Wattpad story. Find out more.


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    Wattpad brings you a guest post from Megg Jensen, author of fantasy romance “Anathema”:

    Okay, okay, so film rights are still available for the Cloud Prophet Trilogy (you hear that Hollywood?!), but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about who I’d love to see playing the main characters in Anathema.

    Reychel – Molly C. Quinn (from ABC’s Castle)

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    Why: She has the perfect combination of vulnerability and strength. I’ve spoken with Molly via Twitter. She’s actually read Anathema. Here’s what she had to say about it:

    Molly C. Quinn @MollyQuinn93

    @RhianBowley @slackerheroes Luv that! Great list!!!! I chose @MollyQuinn93 for Reychel in my head.” Thanks, I love that book.

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    Ivy – Abigail Breslin (Zombieland, Little Miss Sunshine)

     

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    Why: I can’t say enough about this young actress. I think she could totally embrace Ivy’s nastiness and give Ivy a whole new dimension.

    Mark – Alexander Ludwig (Race to Witch Mountain, The Hunger Games)

     

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    Why: Um, have you seen him? He’s totally hot and the girls would drool all over him. Totally love triangle worthy, right?! Let’s not forget what an outstanding actor he is too!

    Kandek – Christian Bale (Batman, American Psycho)

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    Why: Because I love him and want to meet him. Oh, and he’d be an awesome evil nobleman!

    Johna – Amy Yasbeck (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Wings)

     

    Why: She’s a beautiful, incredible actress. I know she’s almost too beautiful to play the role, so the makeup people would have to tone her down – a lot – but I think she has just the right inner strength to play Johna.

    Nemison – Alan Rickman (Harry Potter movies, Die Hard)

     

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    Why: Do I really need to explain why?

    There’s my picks for the major players. Who do you think should play my characters in a movie????

    Check out Anathema FREE on Wattpad!

    Anathema - Book One in the Cloud Prophet Trilogy by Megg Jensen

    Reychel is a slave girl surrounded by magic, lies and manipulation. Her best friend disappears in the middle of the night leaving Reychel to face her fifteenth birthday, the day her master burns his brand into the back of her bald head, alone. She’s sheltered from the outside world and doesn’t have any hope for escape, but when people desperate for freedom ask for her help can Reychel learn to believe in herself?


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    Which version of “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden do you like better -1, 2, or 3?


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  • 04/20/12--08:47: TOP TEN MUSICAL NOVELISTS
  • Great songwriters are novelists too. Check out this guest post by writer Bill Cokas for some of the best musical storytellers out there:


    Music figures prominently into both of my humorous suspense novels—in Ring of Fire, one of my main characters is a college student whose iPod is improbably crammed with selections from the Great American Songbook. In Battle Axe, the protagonist leads a weekend swing band. If I had any musical aptitude, I’m sure I would have tried to start my own band at some point in my life. As things went, I’ve had to settle for lyric writing for my best friend (who IS a world-class musician, songwriter, and now ebook cover designer) and simply surrounding myself with good music whenever and wherever possible. In fact, whenever I’ve changed addresses, the stereo is always the last thing packed and the first thing unpacked.

    You hear people say “oh, I like all kinds of music,” but they don’t really mean it. I really mean it. Among the 30,000 songs on my iPod, you’ll find everything from Benny Goodman to Bob Marley, from Flight of the Concords to Frank Sinatra. Classical, country, Latin and jazz, too. Basically, if it’s got a melody, it’s fair game.

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    Lyrics are another matter. I can suffer through lame lyrics if the melody’s catchy enough, but not the other way around. To me, great lyrics set to bad music is simply poetry. Great lyrics set to great music, however, is timeless. Sorry Bob Dylan—I can’t hum words.

    Here are my Top 10 Musical Novelists. Criteria? The ability to consistently create compelling, memorable characters, conjure up moods or atmospheres or flat-out tell a story. All in the context of an unforgettable tune.

    Billy Joel

    Haven’t we all known a Brenda and Eddie? Or had a Leyna we were fruitlessly obsessed with? I was born well after the early days of rock and roll, but An Innocent Man takes me back, every time. And when 2017 rolls around, I will be nowhere near Miami.

    Ben Folds

    Thanks to Ben, I know how it feels to take your girlfriend for an abortion. I know how it feels to get fired after working for a newspaper for 30 years. He cheated recently, because he did an album with a novelist. But for my money, Ben’s lyrics are as good if not better than Nick Hornby’s.

    Fountains of Wayne

    An easy pick—their titles are characters: Michael and Heather, Denise, Yolanda Hayes, Richie and Ruben, even Stacy’s Mom. Their eye for detail—no, rhyming detail—is amazing, and no action is too mundane to be immortalized. Oddly enough, it all rings true. “Checking out the women on Spanish television?” Come on, we’ve all done it.

    Paul Simon

    Paul is a thinking man’s lyricist, but he knows it. He gave Billy Joel the complete Oxford English Dictionary as a wedding present. Sure he’s oblique, but he puts you in places you’ve never been before. When I was in Brussels recently at the Magritte museum, I had trouble focusing on the artwork because I couldn’t get “Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War” out of my head.

    Aimee Mann

    Texturally, Aimee can get a little redundant, and her voice has its limits, but when it’s singing plaintively to Mr. Harris, it’s right on the mark. In her hands, the 30-ish woman pining for her 60-ish neighbor isn’t creepy, but naively sweet.

    XTC

    Weird yet accessible. I’ve never sat on a picnic blanket by a babbling brook in the English countryside in the dead of summer, but I have listened to “Summer’s Cauldron/Grass,” and that’s pretty much the same thing. “Then She Appeared” is either about Botticellis’s Birth of Venus or the church doors parting, revealing my soon-to-be-wife walking down the aisle.

    Bruce Springsteen

    I admit I’ve never been a huge Springsteen fan (mainly because of the voice), but for working class characters with oversized—or shattered—dreams, no one can touch him.  Rosalita, Sandy, all the tortured souls on The Rising. If you aren’t these people, then you know these people.

    Donald Fagan

    If Springsteen creates characters you can relate to, then Donald Fagan creates characters who send you scrambling for the Purell. Cousin Dupree is the guy who gets a little older, gets a little money and “befriends” Janie Runaway. There are no morals here, only self-interest. Come to think of it, I guess I can relate to that.

    Leiber & Stoller

    In 2 ½ minutes, tell me a story about a sideshow belly dancer, describe her gyrations, her tattoos and her jewelry, and do it from the POV of a fan who stumbled upon her act, fell in love and started a family with her. Never mind, it’s been done: “Little Egypt.”

    Stephen Sondheim

    Before he was “allowed” to write music, he was tossing off classic lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy. When he finally had control over the entire songs, he created one of the latter day classics, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which perfectly complemented the slapstick script. Yet when the story called for murder, blood and cannibalism, he was right there with the uncomfortably hilarious “A Little Priest.”

    All over the map, right? I warned you. As long as we have music, we have the means to put ourselves into whatever kind of mood we wish. Hope you enjoy Battle Axe on Wattpad and give Ring of Fire a chance, too.

    -Bill Cokas (http://www.margawriterville.com)


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