Monday, December 31, 2012

Writing - Even on Vacation

Wendy snapped this photo of me writing in our cabin at Boon Lotts Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand:

Boy, it was HOT that afternoon. Got my hair up. Surrounded by photos of elephants and lovely dark wood.

Friday, December 28, 2012

In Which I Travel to Thailand and Breakfast with Elephants

I'm typing this in Phuket, Thailand, from a ridiculously luxurious resort that makes me a little sad.

Allow me to explain.

I flew from Los Angeles to Bangkok a little over a week ago. The trip took nearly three days thanks to a delayed flight in LA. So my travel buddy Wendy and I had to spend the night at the Radisson in Tokyo. Could have been way worse, but it was extremely tiring. I did, however, get to try out an amazing Japanese toilet in my room which had a heated seat and various settings to rinse you in various places. The dang thing could probably make toast in the morning if you tried.

By the time we got to Bangkok it was late, and we had to fly out the next morning to Sukhothai, a town in the central plains area of Thailand, about 90 kilometers from the Boon Lotts Elephant Sanctuary, our ultimate destination. So we found a cheap airport hotel in some suburb near the airport called The Cottage which had a restaurant called Amigos that served delicious panang curry.

The air here is warm and damp. This is neither the hottest nor the coolest time of year - it's the dry season. Which means we've seen no rain, but the air is still pregnant with moisture. Growing up in Hawaii made me accustomed to humidity, but not like this. Hawaii enjoys trade winds thanks to its location in the middle of a vast ocean. Thailand enjoys no such relief. I have come to understand the atmosphere in The Bridge on the River Kwai all too well.

I find this sort of heat a bit paralyzing. Also I was very tired because I don't sleep well on planes or sleep well in general.

Then we got to Boon Lotts, or BLES. Oh my dear readers. It is a wonderful place, an elephant sanctuary that is truly all about the elephants (and the five dogs and 14 cats). As beautiful as Phuket is (and more on it in a bit), everything else pales in comparison to the wonder of BLES.

First, the advisory. BLES does not ask its elephants to perform, because that's not what elephants are made to do. You won't get to ride them or see them paint or even get too close to some of them because they're trying to release them back into the wild. There are three elephants, however, that you do get to touch and chat with and feed. They are Lotus, Pang Dow, and wonderful Wassana. The first two have foot issues they are slowly overcoming due to years of abuse before they got here, so they won't be able to go back to the wild, and they are very gentle and accustomed to people. Wassana is their joyous friend.  Here I am giving her a banana bunch early one morning.

And here I am leaning against her. (Keep in mind it's early, I'm tired and wearing no make up. BLES is not a make-upy sort of place.) That's Lotus's butt on the right. Pang Dow is just off camera.

They're eating from the banana trough, and if you go there, you can hand them bananas and chat with them and just hang out like you're old friends. Here's our friend Dan sharing a secret with Lotus.

And the other elephants are ridiculously entertaining just wallowing in the lotus pond or scratching their sides against a river bank or ducking their head under the water. Here's flower girl Lom (she's been known to pick flowers and toss them on her head) playing with baby boy Mee Chok, who is nearly completely submerged.

And here is lovely little Mee Chok. He has the most amazing eyes.

When I say little, that means he's only three, at which time an elephant should still be with their mother. He's a rescue, so the lovely Lom and slightly older Pang Tong are his family now, with bull elephant Somai as a kind of father figure. They make a charming, devoted family.

Mee Chok weighs an estimated 2000 pounds, and is growing handsome tusks. Only male Asian elephants grow tusks you can see. The females have tusks in their cheeks that never grow out.

Sometimes the family of four would hang out together just below our cabin. Here's Wendy watching them.

If any of this interests you and you can afford it, I can't recommend visiting BLES enough. The water you bathe in is tepid at best, and the weather is hot. But the vegetarian food is delicious, the host and elephant/animal activist Katherine is inspiring and warm and welcoming, and you'll get to really know some amazing creatures. It also turns you into an elephant radical. Because seeing elephants get to be elephants made it tough when you later see them forced to perform (often drugged or coerced or abused to make them do these unnatural things) in other places

Which brings me to why the beautiful Phuket makes me sad. Thanks to Wendy's accumulation of award points, we're staying at a five-star resort for free. It's gorgeous - long white sand beaches, greenery everywhere, amazing service and delicious food.

But I've seen two baby elephants here, younger than Mee Chok, probably drugged to keep them from being too rambunctious, taken from their mothers far too soon, forced to pose for photos and entertain the guests here. The guests haven't been to BLES or haven't done research and so don't understand that these tiny babies need to be with their families for years after they are born. Seeing this adorable hairy baby elephant walking up and down the beach with its mahout makes me, and the others who went to BLES, very very sad and a bit angry. We've seen how the older Mee Chok still needs his doting adopted parents, how affectionately the elephants touch each other, how very social they are amongst themselves. To think of these babies here, and other elephants all over the world, ripped from their families or left alone in zoos or other attractions is truly tragic.

I can't even bear to post the photo I took of the baby elephant in Phuket. I don't want to encourage any kind of further exploitation of these amazing creatures by posting his cuteness.

I want to take the babies here and whisk them off to BLES to lead the life elephants should. But I can't. So I'm going to buy the BLES calendar and continue to contribute to Katherine's mission in whatever way I can. I'm also going to write a letter to the resort here, asking them to consider banning baby elephant performers.

We have to start somewhere. The city of Los Angeles just banned the use of performing elephants inside the city. It's just one small spot on the map, but maybe awareness will spread.

There's more to the Thailand trip - ancient temples, cool markets full of nifty things, biking down tree-lined boulevards, visiting monasteries, and so on. It's a land full of fascinating history and culture. Hopefully I'll post more on that soon.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

In Which I Hang with the Apocalypsies as the End of the World Looms

Authors of young adult novels are a friendly, helpful bunch. Back in 2007, a tradition started among YA authors having their debut that year to form a group to help each other out, cross-promote, and all that good stuff.

Since then, every year a new group sprouts up, so my group was the 2012 crowd - the Apocalypsies, so named by Gretchen McNeil for the Mayan Apocalypse supposedly predicted (but not really) for Dec. 21, 2012.

I love the folks in this group. They are funny, kind, and very talented. I had my first (and perhaps last - if the end is really nigh. ...Nah.) signing with some of the Los Angeles contingent at the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in Redondo Beach on Dec. 1. We each read a short snippet from our book, answered questions, gave away swag, and ate chocolate cupcakes made (or perhaps they were engineered... she does write steampunk) by Suzanne Lazear.

Dang, it was fun. The readers who joined us asked great questions - sex, cocaine, and gender bias were all discussed (!) I always enjoy meeting and hanging out with my fellow authors, who never fail to be very interesting people.

Here we all are. I was not having a good hair day, but I did have a good day.

From left to right, Suzanne Lazear (and her fabulous daughter), Ann Stampler, Carrie Lawler Arcos, Jenn Reese, Gretchen McNeil, Jennifer Bosworth me, Sara Wilson Etienne, and Elana K. Arnold.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Win an Advance Copy of Othermoon!

Now that I have my ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) of book 2, Othermoon, I've set up a contest on Goodreads to giveaway two copies!

Make with the clicky-click below to enter! US and Canada only, sorry.


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Othermoon by Nina Berry





          by Nina Berry


            Giveaway ends December 13, 2012.

            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.




      Enter to win

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Othermoon ARCs!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Got the advance reader copies (ARCs) of my second book today! Fanned them out of my floor all pretty and green!

I can't stop looking at them. The second ARC's just as thrilling as the first. It's a confirmation that yes, I am a writer and I have books coming out and -- woo hoo!

Trying to figure out how to change my widget so I can do a countdown to Othermoon next. But first  there will be eating of turkey and stuffing and pie! I'm off to see our closest family friends for Thanksgiving tomorrow.

I hope my old lady cat Lucy doesn't murder new kitten Marlowe while I'm gone... Here he is, a few weeks ago. He's grown since then! As I type, he's carrying around his stuffed orange toy "Chandler," proudly, as if he killed it himself.

So far Lucy's only whacking him irritably when he gets too rambunctious. Good thing he's so cute!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Two and Twenty Dark Tales Book Signing Bonanza!

This Sunday at Noon, if you're near Redondo Beach California, stop by the fabulous Mysterious Galaxy book store and come see me and four other fabulous authors talk about the short stories we wrote for Two and Twenty Dark Tales and sign your books!

All of us contributed a short story to this anthology. Gretchen McNeil is also the author of Ten and Posses, Suzanne Lazear wrote the steampunk extravaganza Innocent Darkness, powerhouse writer Nancy Holder's latest is Vanquished, and C. Lee McKenzie offers up spooky middle grade fun with Alligators Overhead.

Alligators Overhead? Is that the best title or what?

Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 05, 2012

In Which I Have a Lot of Fun Doing an Interview

I got a request to do an interview from a site with the most interesting name I've seen so far - I Smell Sheep.

These readers rock!  I had such a good time answering their questions. I just know they'd be a blast to hang out with, and I'll be checking out their interviews with other authors.

You can read the interview here, and enter the giveaway for a copy of my book by entering a comment. Instructions at the bottom of the post.

Sheepish thanks, Katie Dalton and Sharon S!

I Smell Sheep

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Do Shape-Shifters Trick or Treat?

Yes they do. And you can read all about it in my story on Good Choice Reading today.

If you've read Otherkin, you'll recognize the characters. In my own little timeline of events, this story takes place just before Dez arrives at Morfael's school.

There's also a giveaway you can enter to win my book! And a bigger contest to win a free Kindle and $25 gift card. Go here to see all the fabulous authors posting for Halloween and to enter the big contest.

Now that's a treat!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Death is a Cat

This is a story about death, and cats, and how things go.

Miss Kitty died last week. She was the feral cat whose kittens I rescued, then had spayed, then fed and greeted daily for over 13 years. The story of her death is sad and a little gross and ends up okay at the end. Well, as okay as these sorts of stories go. So don't say you haven't been warned.

I didn't name her Miss Kitty. About five neighbors ago, the very nice man next door  helped me buy a humane cat trap and we trapped and neutered a bunch of stray cats in the area. He's the one who called the skinny black girl cat with a little white on her chest, "Miss Kitty." The name stuck.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Halloween Booktacular!

I've been so busy proofing pages of Othermoon, writing guest blog posts, and, well, working for a living, that I haven't blogged much lately.  But you should know one of the things I did was write up a scene using characters from my books for Halloween!

Yes, the otherkin go trick or treating.

This is all thanks to the Halloween Character Booktacular, created by A Book Lovers Review and Good Choice Reading, with featured blogs:  Books With Bite, The Book Reaper, and Once Upon a Twilight.

You can win any number of fabulous books in the giveaways, or even a Kindle and a $25 gift card! Swag-a-riffic!

Today, for example, writer Cylin Bus has a scene up involving her characters in a Halloween setting on The Book Reaper here. Every day a cool spooky scene shows up on one of these blogs, featuring your favorite paranormal book characters doing something Halloweeny. Tomorrow,  my fellow Apocalypsie, Gretchen McNeil has a cool scene going up on Books With Bite.

My own post will go up Oct. 23 on A Book Lover's Review. I'll alert you again on that day. Until then, enjoy all the other fabulous Halloween fun.

Also, don't forget that October is the month of All Hallow's Read, a movement started by Neil Gaiman in which you give a friend (or a stranger) a scary book to read for Halloween. Neil explains it all, below:

I'll be giving a recommendation for a book to give for All Hallows Read when it comes out officially - next Tuesday!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In Which I Answer Questions and Sign Books at the Big Orange Book Fest

What a crazy week this has been! First up, a post in which I discuss being on a panel at the Big Orange Book Fest.

How lucky am I? To get invited to be on a panel, and to go to a place where there are many books. And there was even more to discover, I found.

1. On Saturday I was a member of a panel of Debut Authors/California Voices at the Big Orange Book Fest in lovely Orange, California. I hadn't been to Orange before. It's incredibly charming, with a cute main drag featuring shops and restaurants with outdoor seating, and of course the Orange County Fruit Exchange.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Enter my Giveaway on Goodreads!

Attention, users of the fabulous Goodreads site! I'm hosting a giveaway of three copies of my book, available in all countries the US Post Office cal reach!

Free books! Everyone loves free books. You have till next Thursday, Sept. 20, to enter.
Clicken-zee on the button below to enter! Or if that link doesn't work, go here.

Thanks, and good luck!


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Otherkin by Nina Berry





          by Nina Berry


            Giveaway ends September 20, 2012.

            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.




      Enter to win

Friday, September 07, 2012

School's In with the Otherkin!

Dear Readers of Otherkin,

Want to know what November's first day at Morfael's school was like? Well, I wrote about it for Literary Escapism's School's In feature, and the post is up today.

And when I say "I" wrote it, it's actually a letter from November (the school's resident, smart ass rat-shifter) which Morfael forced her to write as a homework assignment. She wasn't thrilled about it, but by now I think she's glad she wrote it.

You can also enter a giveaway to get a free copy of the book!

Be sure to check out Literary Escapism's many wonderful School's In posts throughout the schooly month of September. Which is the name of November's ninth's brother, by the way. No, her sixth brother isn't named June. Her mother's not THAT crazy.


Saturday, September 01, 2012

In Which I am Interviewed About E-Book Success

As Otherkin heads into its third week in the top ten of the Children's List at the Sony Reader Store (can you believe it? AAAAHHH!), it's the perfect time to post this interview with me by Karleen Tauszik at

I'm no expert in e-publishing, but like everyone I have thoughts on it - and I'm continuing to learn more! So thanks to Karleen for asking me to babble about the subject on her blog.

Also big thanks to all the folks at the Reader Store for putting me on the list! You guys rock!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Two Lost Cats. Two Happy Endings

For once, I'm so glad I had to go to the laundromat. My apartment building's plumbing has been on the fritz for months, so they had to remove the washer/dryer ages ago. So I've been going to the laundromat every two weeks for months now.

And I hate it.

This is the couch in the laundromat. I don't hate going because of the couch. I'd hate going even if it was luxurious inside, but the photo conveys my feelings.

But today I'm glad I had to go do my laundry, because I witnessed the happy end of what I thought was a sad tail, er tale.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Giveaway on Facebook and Twitter!

It's past time I did a quick giveaway, and a recent influx of followers on Twitter and "likes" on my Facebook page is a great excuse! It's my way of saying thanks!

This is an international contest. If the US Mail can reach you, you can enter.

What will you win?

1 personally autographed copy of my book, Otherkin (if you already have it - good for you and thanks! If you win it in this contest, you can give it to a friend or to a library, plus this one will be signed personally to you or whatever name you tell me to put in it.)

Five Otherkin bookmarks

One cover proof of the Otherkin cover. Something usually only publishing insiders get! (No, it's not very useful, but I have, like, dozens of them and now so should you!)

One set of tiger ears. (Not actual ears of course. Fun ears. Wear them at Halloween or give to your favorite child.)

Three temporary tiger tattoos. (More fun. Put them on with water, they last for days, or just remove them with rubbing alcohol or baby oil. Hand out a couple to your fellow tigers.)

 (Yes, that's my green couch.)

Here's the deal

To enter the Facebook contest:

1. "Like" my page on Facebook (if you haven't already) and comment on the giveaway post there, telling me what kind of shifter you'd be if you could, and why.

So write along the lines of "If I could shift into any animal, I'd be a tiger because they fear nothing and no one."

The contest starts August 28 at 11am PST and ends in two days, August 30 at 11am PST.

2. The winner will be chosen randomly from among everyone who made a comment during that time using a random number generator.

3. I'll message the winner, get your info, and send you the goodies.

To enter the Twitter contest:

1. Tweet  something like: "In @Ninaberry's Otherkin, I'd shift into a (some kind of animal) because..."  Include the hastag #otherkinbook.

So if I entered, I'd tweet: "In @Ninaberry's Otherkin I'd shift into a tiger because they fear nothing and no one. #otherkinbook" That's way less than 140 characters so hopefully no one will have a problem.

2. You've got between the hours of 11am Pacific time August 28 and 11am Pacific time August 30. So just two days.

You don't need to do it more than once, and doing it more won't increase your chances to win.  You don't have to follow me on Twitter to win. You just have to tweet something like what you see in #1, above.

3. After 11am on August 30, I'll go through the list of the Twitter handles of all those who tweeted something along those lines and use a random number generator to pick one, you guessed it, randomly. I'll tweet and DM the winner and get your info so I can mail you the swag.

4. Be sure your tweet has my twitter handle @Ninaberry in it and/or the hashtag #otherkinbook, or I won't be able to find your tweet and enter you in the giveaway!

Yes, you can enter both contests to double your chances. But you can't win both. I'll pick the Facebook winner first, and if that's you, I'll disqualify you from the Twitter contest so that I can spread the swag as far and wide as possible.

Yay for swag!

Good luck!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Stomp vs Romp! Vote Stomp!

I wrote a prequel action scene involving a major supporting character from Otherkin (hint, she likes to pick locks...) for my Team Stomp post on Rabid Reads Stomp vs. Romp August extravaganza, appearing on the site today.

Want to get inside the head of one of Otherkin's supporting characters just before the book begins? Want to read a fun action scene? Want to see a cool map/info graphic from the POV of the Tribunal assessing the "Otherkin Threat" made by the amazing Elisa Nader?

Then get thee over to my post at Rabid Reads now, and vote for Team Stomp!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Teen Night at the LA Public Library!

I'll be one of four YA authors on the Teen Reader Panel at the main branch of the Los Angeles Public Library this Thursday, August 23 at 6:30.

It almost feels like I'm really an author....

I mean, look at the cool company I'm keeping! Along with fabulous moderator Cecil Castelluci, check out my fellow panel members:

Each of us will read from our books for a short bit, then Cecil will ask and moderate questions.

If you or your teen are in the area, stop by! Should be tons of fun.

Friday, August 17, 2012

In Which I am Interviewed and Talk of My Time at Playboy

This interview with me is appearing in a number of newspapers and online sites today, thanks to interviewer David Kentner and GateHouse News Service.

It's weird to see my own words about my own crazy life in print. It's like I'm me and someone else at the same time. But I talk about my work at Playboy (those were some interesting years!) and how I'm not the model on the cover of my book and how my writing got better once I stopped using it to run away.

Oooh, here it is in another paper! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

OTHERKIN Kindle edition only $3.99!

I just happened to check out the Kindle edition of my book today and saw that it's been discounted to only $3.99! (Usually it's a bit over $7, I think.)

So Kindle owners, if you haven't checked it out yet, now's the time. I have no idea how long this special price will last.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Visit the World of Otherkin!

Today on All Things Urban Fantasy's Deadly Destinations, Otherkin is featured, along with a fabulous info graphic created by designer extraordinaire Elisa Nader.

The graphic is a bit hidden at the very top of my post (at least it is on my browser), so be sure to click on it to embiggen! It's amazing how seeing a map and info on it makes a world feel so much more real.

For those who have read the book, the map and accompanying letter will give you insight into events that lead up to the beginning of Otherkin, as well as hints of dangerous things to come...

For those who have not read it, the post gives you insight into the world that book readers do not have. If/when you do read it, you'll enter the book armed with a bit more information that other readers.

Friday, August 03, 2012

A Visit from Shortie the Raccoon

Those who have followed this blog for awhile will know that I have a lot of wildlife come visit my back door. One memorable night a mother raccoon brought five of her babies by to snack on the kibble I put out there for Miss Kitty. (Miss Kitty is a story in herself, but suffice to say she's a feral cat I had fixed after I adopted out her kittens and kept one for myself.)

Well, I think one of the babies stuck around, grew up, and is now a mom herself. I named her Shortie because in the dark her tail looked kind of short. Today she came at dusk for a snack, and a showdown commenced with Miss Kitty while Lucy (my cat and Miss Kitty's daughter) looked on from behind the screen door.

Miss Kitty meows as Shortie moves defensively behind the steps. Lucy's ears lurk in the foreground as she watches it all like a movie.

Shortie circles around and comes back from a different angle as Lucy continues to observe. Miss Kitty is off camera to the left.

Shortie stands up to get a better look at me and Lucy. You might not be able to see it, but at this point I saw that she must be nursing, which means she has little ones somewhere. She needs to eat to feed them!

As Shortie noses the kibble, Miss Kitty moves in behind the raccoon and pokes at her tail with a paw.

Shortie backs away. An uneasy moment or two passes as the trio eyes each other.

All is resolved when (no photo of this) I pour a cup of kibble in a line down the back porch area, so that Shortie and Miss Kitty can both eat at the same time, far enough apart for everyone to be happy.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Interviews, Reviews, and More!

Yesterday was amazing. Because of my book launch, I got so much love on Twitter and Facebook I almost felt beat up by it. But in a good way. (Does that make any sense? Do feelings have to make any sense?). A few dear friends took me out for flaming margaritas at El Compadre to celebrate.

I'm so lucky!

When I checked Amazon a little while ago, Otherkin was #73 in Love and Romance! Woo hoo! Thank you all!

In case you're not sick of me yet, below are some links to interviews, reviews, and an article I wrote, all sent to me by the kind folks who put them on their sites.

RT Book Reviews has a review, an excerpt from Otherkin, and a short piece I wrote about otherkin in the "real" world.

I did an interview with La'Tia at The BoOki3 blog. She asked a lot of great questions!

Over in Australia, Ellen at Reading is My Drug also did a terrific interview with me, then wrote a review.

Sana at Arty Musings gave me a very nice review.

Kala at Toonari Post gave me delusions of grandeur with her review.

August is going to be full of more posts by me for some very cool blogs. August 9, I'll be featured in All Things UF's Deadly Destinations event. Be sure to check out the other authors' contributions, a new one each day, to learn more about the worlds they created.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Birthday, Otherkin!

There have been early sightings in bookstores, but today is the day my first book, OTHERKIN, comes out.

July 31, 2012.

I'm a bit dazed, overwhelmed, and giddy.  My book is out! Sing hey!

Thank you, KTeen. Thank you, everyone.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Crazy and Amazing Otherkin Book Launch and Signing

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life. I had my first book launch and signing at Vroman's Bookstore with fellow authors Brigid Kemmerer and Marni Bates.

It went well. To put it mildly.

(That's Brigid on the left, then Marni, then me - holding our books at the signing!)

It went so well that the day after I was completely drained and overwhelmed with all the love and support I felt yesterday. And I was a little scared. More on that later.

About 50 people showed up, and the store sold out of my book, as well as selling a lot of Marni and Brigid's books. A good number of people there were my amazing friends (this is my home town and Brigid and Marni both live elsewhere and kindly came to the signing while they were at the RWA convention in nearby Anaheim), so that's why more of my book sold. But Brigid and Marni had fans there too.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Book Signing Next Saturday!

The cupcakes have been ordered! Sparkling wine and sparkling cider has been purchased!

Cool giveaways of - Books! Gift Cards! A Nikon Coolpix S6100 Digital Camera!

Why wouldn't you come to my book launch/signing with Brigid Kemmerer and Marni Bates next Saturday at 3pm at Vroman's in Pasadena?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Visit the World of Otherkin!

I'm one of the lucky authors who'll be participating in Deadly Destinations 2012 on the All Things Urban Fantasy blog in August. Guides to fantasy worlds and giveaways galore!

I've got something very cool planned to share with you - you'll be able to enter the world of my book and learn all kinds of secrets about it. But that's not till August 9.

And every day in August, All Things Urban Fantasy will bring you a new fantasy location. Can't make it to Paris or Costa Rica this summer? No worries - you can visit other worlds instead!

More details as we get closer to the date.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Watershed Moment: Seeing My Book in a Bookstore

It happened today. I still can't quite believe it. I took my lunch hour to go to Pasadena and check out Vroman's Bookstore, where I'll be doing my book launch and signing with fabulous authors Brigid Kemmerer and Marni Bates.

It's really a gorgeous bookstore. Here's the area where we'll be doing our talking and book signing. You should come - there will be cupcakes!

I wandered into the children's section because that's always my favorite part of the store, turned down one aisle, up another, admiring everything then -- pow!

There's my book. IN A BOOKSTORE.

I mean, I know that's where books go, usually. But this is different. This is my book.

This is freaky!

I tweeted and texted, stared, managed to be coherent when talking to the very nice staff there, then drove back to work in a daze.

I'm still kind of dazey.

So if you really really need a copy of my book before it comes out officially on July 31, just head on over to Vroman's in Pasadena! Hee hee!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Read the First Chapter of Otherkin!

My book may not come out till July 31, but you can read the first chapter for free!

Thanks, KTeen, for posting it. Hopefully folks will want to read the rest!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Rare, Spectacular Footage of a Tiger Hunting a Boar

A young tigress shows she is queen of her realm. This sort of footage is very hard to find.

Note how she carefully circles her tail around the tall grass as she stalks, so that it makes as little noise as her feet. Amazing.

Kirkus Review of Otherkin!

Kirkus Reviews is a notoriously tough reviewer, and I just got their full review of Otherkin and...

It's awesome!

I can't post the full review yet. Kirkus does that first, later in the month, then I can link to it.  But I can post the "pull quote," which shows you that not only did they like the book, they really "got" it.

“Berry’s debut offers just the right combination of  high-stakes exploits and steamy love scenes to keep readers up until the wee hours…ripe with issues that will resonate with readers. From body image to friendship, first love and betrayal, the novel explores the truth that no matter who or what you are, there’s no escaping the politics of high school.” – KIRKUS REVIEWS

 Woo hoo!!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! I'm celebrating independence and a great review!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Taste of the Tasty Reviews for Otherkin...

The reviews are starting to come in for my book, and so far so great! Below are links and some text of one of the reviews. Yes, I'm tooting my own horn a bit here, but hat the hell. Maybe nice words about my writing will be old hat one day, but right now they make me feel awesome.

I will throw in the caveat that I don't read reviews on Goodreads and will probably not read reviews on Amazon. Bad reviews may appear in publications or on blogs, and I will probably avoid reading them and thus not post about them here. I caught a glimpse of one negative remark about the book on Goodreads (although most comments there seem to be positive so far...) and it really played with my head for awhile. As a writer I need to protect my writing head space. More on that in another post. But for now, onto the good stuff!

First up, OTHERKIN got a four out of four star reviews at RT Book Reviews! This is a paid subscription site, so I can't link you directly to the review.  I'll just quote a couple of salient paragraphs here:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Winners of the ARC Giveaway!

*Drum Roll*

To hell with waiting any longer! Without further ado, the winners of the two advance reader copies of Otherkin are:

Leo Bullock

Karen (Commenter #15, your favorite animal was a turtle. I love turtles too!)

Congratulations to Leo and Karen!

Both of you, please send me your mailing addresses at ninaberrybooks [at] gmail [dot] com and I'll send them to you right away. (My email addresses is printed that way to avoid spam. It works!)

So sorry to all those who didn't get a copy. It was hard for me to type the names of the winners because I knew that meant excluding most of you! The winners were chosen by a random number generator using the order in which you commented to establish your number. If a person left more than one comment, I used only their first comment as their number.

I will be doing another giveaway in about a week. If you want to enter again, follow me on Twitter, "like" me on Facebook (see the right hand side of my blog to do that), or check back here in a week or so to enter.

That giveaway will feature another question in the party game, but first l have to tell you that the words you used to describe your favorite animal actually describe...

...your ideal life partner.

No really! Well, okay. It's just a party game, but still!

I love the variety of the words chosen. I totally get how those words could apply to a very cool life partner.

My own three words were: cuddly, playful, and sleek. Used to describe a cat. I can still remember how I felt when someone at the party revealed what those words indicated. It took me aback, but when I thought about it - yeah. A partner with those qualities would be pretty great! I can think of a couple of guys I dated who qualified. Ahem!

And I'm not the only one who chose the word "sleek!" We should start a "Sleek Appreciation Club."

It's amazing what a variety of animals this small sample of people chose: unicorns, dragons, ducks, cats, dogs, pandas, crows, lions, tigers (yay!), ravens, elephants, panthers. I'm a huge lover of all animals (well, except maybe ticks and fleas) so it was a ton of fun to see how YOU saw these animals.

If you've already found your significant other for life, I can't help wondering if the words you chose seem like an accurate description of that person to you. If you feel like letting me know, please do in the comments! And of course, it's just a party game, so you should take it with a wee grain of salt.

Thanks for coming by and taking the time to enter this contest. You guys rock!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Art of Revision

When I get notes from my editor on a manuscript, a concatenation of emotions tumbles through me. Because I just got the manuscript for Othermoon back with revision notes today, I'm still dealing with all the feelings it brings up. It's a great trip to go on, don't get me wrong. But it's quite a roller coaster.

1. I see an email from my editor in my Inbox. A jolt rocks through me. It contains a jumble of feelings:  excitement, fear, knowledge and pressure that work and a deadline lie ahead.

2. I hesitate. What if she hated it? What if she has notes I disagree with? Even more emotionally charged - what if she loved it? Oh no. That's too much to hope for.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Giveaway: An ARC of Otherkin

UPDATE: June 19, 2012, 9:37pm PST.

And now, because you're all so awesome, double your chance to win!

I've so been enjoying all your animal choices and descriptive words! Can't wait to tell you what they mean, according to this party game.  I'll post that information along with the names of the winners  the morning of June 21. Morning my time, here in Hollywood, Califonia, that is.

But I've also decided to give away not one but TWO ARCs of Otherkin!

Yes that's 2, deux, due, dos, iki (that's Turkish. I can count to 29 in Turkish. Long story.) つ (that's Japanese, according to Google translator) copies of the book will be mailed off to two of you lovely folks, selected at random.

If you haven't entered yet, what are you waiting for? Read the original post, below, to see what you need to do.

The deadline to enter is Midnight (Hollywood, California time), June 20, 2012. Winner announced the next morning. This is open to everyone in all countries anywhere mail can be delivered. I love to travel. If I'm lucky maybe some day I'll come visit you and the ARC and we can chat. Maybe have a nice cup of tea, or whatever they like to drink in your country.

And if you don't win, don't worry. I'll be doing another giveaway at the end of June, with another party game question to celebrate my and my Dad's birthdays.

Thanks, everyone!

In celebration of my Mom coming to visit this weekend, and to thank you, the readers of this blog, I'm giving away a personally autographed advanced reader copy (ARC) of my book! Woo hoo!

Unlike the giveaway on Goodreads, this is open to international folks. The winner will be chosen randomly.

All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me:

1. Your favorite animal;
2. Three adjectives describing that animal.

Why? Because it's fun, and because Otherkin is about people who shapeshift into animals. I'll choose the winner from among the commenters using this random number generator.

This is actually part of a party game, and it supposedly says something interesting about you. Hee hee. I'll reveal what that is (and if you know, don't tell!) when I announce the winner, next Thursday, June 21.

For the record, when I was asked this question at a party (before I knew what it supposedly meant about me) I said that my favorite animal is a cat. (It's actually a tiger, but I went more general rather than specific for some reason. You should feel free to be as general or specific as you like.)

And the three adjectives I chose were: cuddly, playful, and sleek.

There is no right or wrong answer! If you don't really have a favorite animal, just try to think what cool animal skill (flying, stalking, camouflage) you'd like to have and brainstorm from there.

The contest is officially open now and will close at 12am Pacific Time on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. I'll announce the winner the next day, get your info, sign a book, throw in a cool bookmark, and mail it off to wherever you are.

Can't wait to see what you guys post!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Otherkin - A Great Review!

I promise not to post here every time my book gets a good review. That would get tiresome fast. But this is my first novel, and this is the first "official" review I've seen of it.

It's at a blog called Paranormal Reads. Check it out here.

My head is spinning. Logically I know it's just one review on one blog. I know that there will be people who don't like the book for one reason or another. I'm braced for hate mail, honestly, even though my book isn't the controversial type that usually draws anger. But you never know. The world is big and wide and holds all kinds of opinions, and if you put your work out there, you have to be prepared for the consequences.

But a person I don't know read has my novel - and they liked it. And they wrote down in an official blog about books that they liked it. A lot. And they're looking forward to the next one.

That's just... freaky.

And fantastic.

Getting your first book published is this weird, slow entry into a whole new world. Or maybe it's the world that's entering you. And everything else.

As a writer, you spend so much time alone in front of your computer, living in the world you made, that it starts to seem real. Then you go to brunch with friends or talk to your Mom and you realize, duh,  nobody else is living in that world. It's not real, you silly writer, you!

Then, after a long long LONG time, if you're lucky and you work hard and persist, the book gets bought and you move toward it being published. Someone gives you money for your writing, and they give you notes to make it better, and you realize the world you thought was yours alone now belongs to a few other people besides.

Your private world, which was once just a thought in your head, has become a shared dream.

Then it gets listed on Amazon as copy writers step in and polish it up, and cover artists give you a gorgeous visual glimpse, and the advance copies go out to reviewers.  Dozens of people have knowledge of the world you made.

The shared dream has become instead a hologram, popping into our world like Princess Leigh emanating from R2-D2's projector. It's isolated, far from life-sized, and you can put your hand through it, but it resembles the real thing if you squint.

Then a reviewer comments, and people post about it on Goodreads, and the world you created isn't just an isolated Princess Leia-like hologram. It's as if the book world has begun infiltrating the fabric of the real world, warping things till they resembles the made-up world just a little.

See? I told you. It's freaky.

I can't wait to see what happens when the book is actually released!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Title and Cover Reveal for Otherkin's Sequel!

I'm so thrilled to share with you the cover for the sequel to OTHERKIN, which will also tell you its title:

Don't you LOVE it?

There's so much I think is amazing here - the moon looming behind her, that the model is moving and in action, that her hair (and her butt!) look great, that the tiger lurks almost like something out her subconscious in the background...

That not only is green my favorite color but it echoes the green in the eyes on the cover of OTHERKIN.

The branches are particularly apropos, and hint at part of her character development in this book, which is called OTHERMOON for a very good reason I can't share with you. That would be a spoiler, and we can't be having that. Most of you haven't even read the first book yet, for crying out loud.

The tagline is also an indication of plot and character development to come.... Too bad you have to wait until February of 2013 to figure out what the heck I'm talking about.

...pausing now to reflect on the fact that my name is in green on the cover of another book.

Holy dreams come true!

Guess this means the first one wasn't a fluke.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Title and Cover for Book 2 Coming Soon!

OTHERKIN is the first in a series of books. It's out July 31, and book 2 will be out in February of 2013.

Which means, given how things work in publishing, that I've written book 2 and will shortly be getting my editors notes on it to do a quick rewrite.

Meanwhile, the fabulous folks at KTeen have been working on other things, like publicity for OTHERKIN (more on that soon!), and cover art for book 2.

I got the art, and I love it. Like, unreservedly, fabulously, LOVE. IT.

I first saw it on my phone in an airport, and my heart leapt. I thought, "It can't be THAT cool, can it?" So when I got home and looked at it properly, I was prepared to find things wrong with it.

Except I just kept finding more things I loved!

So I'll be sharing the cover art and the title for book 2 in the Otherkin series early next week. Seriously, folks, it rocks!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Podcast with Jen Klein and On The Page!

I was very fortunate to be invited to be part of "Pat's Angels" in a podcast with screenwriting instructor/guru Pilar Alessandra in their latest podcast for On The Page. You can find it on iTunes here or here.

The lovely, brainy, writer extraordinaire Jen Klein was my co-guest, making it even more fun and informative. That's her on the right hand side, and in between us (in a redhead sandwich he's long dreamed of) is the fabulous Pat Francis. You can find his wonderful podcasts about music called Rock Solid here.

We discussed book writing versus script writing and the YA market because we're both involved in both things.

Pat and Pilar made it so easy and fun. You really should check out their other podcasts.

My voice sounds so... sleepy and nasally and drawled out and yet pushy and somehow weird. And I was wide awake and not clogged up and trying to be nice. Makes me appreciate folks who do this for a living and sound perky and fabulous, like Jen and Pilar and Pat. They are all truly awesome.

I also talked a bit too much. Shut up, Nina! Let Jen talk! Or maybe that's how I am in real life too. If so, I apologize in advance to everyone, ever.

Who knew doing a podcast would be the case for so much self reflection for me? I'll shut up now and let you go listen to it.

Here I am with the lovely Pilar and Jen: