Monday, October 1, 2012

Austin Teen Book Festival

Howdy, y'all!

I spent the last few days in the Lone Star State at the Austin Teen Book Festival. And y'all, it was amazing! I got to rock out my cowgirl boots and meet some inspiring people. First off was a totally unforgettable keynote speech from the indomitable Libba Bray, followed by a day of panels, hobnobbing, signing, eating, laughing, and lots and lots and lots of books! So, yeah, pretty much the whole experience was dreamy.

As tasty as it looks, I'm going to resist temptation and instead use it as a Christmas ornament because I mean honestly LOOK AT HOW AWESOME IT IS. I don't know what ingenious Texan is responsible for this cookie BUT BASICALLY I WANT TO HUG THEIR NECK.

Basically, before this weekend, I knew only three things about Texas:

1. The Alamo
3.That Geico commercial

And, as the Gecko says, everything in Texas just seems bigger. And after ordering a country fried steak and getting this monster I am a one hundred per cent believer!

One of my favorite parts of going to book festivals is meeting authors I admire, because no matter how many books I write, I will always be a reader at heart and authors are my rockstars! Here are some of the incredible storytellers I met this weekend.

Marissa Meyer, author of Cinder and Scarlet

Will Richter, author of Dark Eyes

Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone

Rae Carson, author of Girl of Fire and Thorns and The Crown of Embers

These are just a few of the supercool people I met! Saturday night a bunch of us went out for dinner and had a great time swapping stories and enjoying scrumptious Tex-Mex cuisine.

On Sunday, Jessica Lee Anderson, Joy Preble, Kresley Cole, Will Richter and I had the privilege of speaking at the Book Spot in nearby Round Rock. Julie and Will, the shop owners, were so friendly and book savvy--I am so happy to have met them and been part of their event!

And I met Jayme, a girl after my own heart--we even play the same position in soccer! 

Austin is a fascinating and fun city and I'm so glad I got to see a little of it. I learned something about myself on this trip--that I love Texas and can't wait to go back! =)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Top 5 Writing Soundtracks

Music is a powerful tool for writing. It's so helpful in setting the mood, getting your brain juices flowing, and drowning out any distracting background noise. It especially helps me tap into emotions I need for a scene. In my years of writing, I've found certain types of music to be more inspiring than others. For example, music with lyrics is more distracting than helpful. The best stuff I've found is film scores, but only scores that aren't too iconic or closely associated with a film. For example, I could never write to the Star Wars or the Lord of the Rings soundtracks; I'd just see scenes from the movie in my head the whole time. Others I've tried but had to pass on were the Batman scores and Pirates of the Caribbean. 

My top 5 writing soundtracks are from films I'm less familiar with, or have only seen maybe once. I have to be able to disassociate the music with the story it's from, so I can adapt it to my own work. Sometimes, when I go back and read stuff I wrote, I can hear the music I listened to playing in my head--pretty awesome! Makes me feel like I'm reading a movie script. =)

1. Edward Scissorhands (quirky and whimsical)

2. Pearl Harbor (this is my favorite; I wrote my entire first novel to this one--so emotional and versatile!)

3. Requiem for a Dream (creepy and intense)

4. Forrest Gump (a little slower, very atmospheric)

5. Braveheart (epic and energetic)

Other than these, almost everything by Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer, or Danny Elfman is great writing music. I really like John Williams, but most of his scores are too iconic. But c'mon--you can't beat the Jurassic Park theme song! Ah, I can hear it now...

PS. The best way I've found to listen to music is through Pandora; I just put in these composers or films, and voila! An entire station of both that music and songs similar to it. This helps break up the monotony of listening to one score over and over again, and also helps me discover new great writing music.

I'm always on the prowl for new writing music. In the comments, let me know if you write to music, and if so, what your favorites are! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Snapshots from Publication Week!

It's been a whirlwind of a week for me! Origin hit stores on September 4th (I can finally say that in the past tense!) and so many amazing things have happened since! I want to share some snapshots of my publication week with you.

1. Origin Release Party
The Origin Midnight Release Party was a blast! It took place at [ash-ling] Booksellers in downtown Toccoa, Ga (where I live--and have lived for my entire life). It was so special to celebrate the launch of my first book with friends, teachers, librarians, babysitters, and family who have known me for my entire life, as well as new friends I've only known a short while. Here are some pics from that amazingly fun night!

The owner of the bookstore made this exact replication of Pia's birthday cake, complete with Skittles and orchids! And it was delishiusssss.

My husband helped me cut out this life-size Pia and everyone got their pictures taken with it throughout the party (and the braver party goers slapped on some Ai'oan facepaint!)

Ash-ling Booksellers decorated their windows with tropical plants and we played jungle drum music--awesome!!

We did a mini-version of the Origin Olympics. Everyone divided into teams and competed with scavenger hunts, trivia, and book poetry! The winner of the night was Team Anaconda, and they each got a Origin bookmark as a prize.

 I have to thank YA authors Susan Dennard (Something Strange and Deadly) and Sarah Maas (Throne of Glass) for their wonderful suggestion of using a copy of Origin as my guest book! So now I have my own copy filled with notes from everyone who came to the launch. So special!!

The team at Ash-ling are super savvy! They put on a fantastic party that I will always remember as the perfect start of my career as an author. I'm so grateful to them for their hard work and enthusiasm! If you want to order a signed copy of Origin, contact them through their Facebook page--right now they're the only store able to stock and ship signed copies.  

2. Barnes & Noble
I found out that Origin was both a Barnes & Noble Bookseller's Pick and a Best Book of the Month! My jaw dropped at both of these incredible honors--I couldn't believe it! I went into my local B&N (and by local, I mean it's a 50 minute drive away--I'm a country girl, y'all) on the 4th to peek at it on shelves. When I walked through those big glass doors, my stomach was fluttering so much I nearly turned around and left! All my life I'd been walking into B&N's dreaming of seeing my book inside--and that dream finally came true! I rode up the escalator, intending to make for the YA section to hunt for it, but as I stepped off I saw it! Right next to Elizabeth George and James Patterson! I almost toppled right down that escalator. (PS. note to authors--B&N loves for authors to sign their stock, and if you do, they'll likely move it to the front of the store w/those fancy "autographed copy" stickers).

3. Apple iBookstore
B&N wasn't the only major bookseller to highlight Origin--Apple also chose it as one of their Books of the Month! Which meant if you went to the iBookstore in iTunes, you'd see this! I was just floored.

I had the privilege of attending the Southern Independent Bookseller Association's annual trade show in Naples, FL this past weekend, where I signed copies of Origin, met a lot of fantastic bookstore owners, and some very cool authors! On Friday I spoke on a YA panel with Jackson Pearce, Gigi Amateau, and Kat Zhang--definitely a highlight of my week! What talented authoresses these gals are, and you guys should check out all their amazing books!

5. Just when I thought things couldn't get any better, USA Today chose Origin as one of their top recommended weekend reads--along with books by Michael Chabon and Junot Diaz! My eyes are still popping from this one!

6. Completely unrelated to Origin, I began watching Dr. Who this week, after hearing so many people rave about it for years--including my mom, who grew up watching it. So when I saw it on Netflix, I shrugged and muttered to myself, "Oh, all right. I'll see what the fuss is about, I suppose..." Anyway, suffice to say, I'm now a bonafide Whovian. There's no going back (I'm currently on season 4). 

On top of everything else, I've really enjoyed seeing the photos people send me when they buy my book, hearing about the random places Origin has turned up, and most of all, dwelling on the euphoric realization that dreams come true, and mine just has. And as a country gal who had zero connections, zero publishing credits, and zero experience--well, if I could do it, anyone can. So all you aspiring writers dreaming of your own publication week, let me tell you--it's totally, completely, and absolutely possible. Keep writing, keep querying, keep dreaming--because these things do happen!

So as you can see, I've been incredibly busy these past few days! I can't even describe how surreal and wonderful this week has been--and considering my line of work, that's saying something. It's truly a dream come true in every way! And because I'm just so overwhelmed with good feelings, I'm going to give you guys a chance to win a signed, finished copy of Origin! And I'll probably throw in some swag too, so enter below for your chance to win! =)


North America only
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Origin Blog Tour


If you're looking for the Origin Olympics, click here!
If you're looking for last week's winning PinFic entries, click here!

Oh boy oh boy! It's time for the Origin blog tour! And wow--I'm so thrilled and honored to be hosted by so many superstar bloggers! At each stop, you will find new excerpts from Origin, along with my own annotations explaining some of the deeper themes and inspirations behind them! Don't miss out on this exclusive look behind the scenes of Origin! The schedule is as follows:

Monday 8/27 The Book Smugglers
Tuesday 8/28 Pure Imagination
Wednesday 8/29 Steph Su Reads
Thursday 8/30 Mundie Moms
Friday 8/31 Forever YA

Monday 9/3 Novel Thoughts
Tuesday 9/4 The Page Turners
Wednesday 9/5 Frenetic Reader
Thursday 9/6 Bookshelf Banter 
Friday 9/7 The Story Siren

Monday 9/10 Green Bean Teen Queen
Tuesday 9/11 The Book Muncher
Wednesday 9/12 The Book Cellar
Thursday 9/13 Book Chic
Friday 9/14 The Compulsive Reader

Thanks so much to all these fantastic bloggers! What a privilege to have your participation.

It's getting so close to Origin's release date! I'm alternating between sheer giddiness and shivery nervousness. Have you pre-ordered your copy yet? If not, don't wait any longer! Order now for special discounted prices!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pinfic Giveaway


Now Closed. Thanks for entering!

Read the entries!

(You do NOT have to enter all five days to be eligible to win! So even if you miss one, two, or four days of the contest, don't let that stop you! Send as many or as few entries as you want! Even if you don't enter until Friday, that's fine! One entry is better than none!)

You asked, and I happily oblige! I'm running another Pinterest themed contest! This one is a little different from June's contest, so be sure to read all the rules carefully to see what has changed. We're mixing it up a little, throwing in some new awesome prizes, and bringing in four top secret guest judges (yes, they are all YA authors! Some new debuts and some familiar faces!) 

Here's how this Pinfic contest works:

1. Each day, I'll reveal a judge here on my blog.
2. Your job is to write a 500-character Pinfic* entry for that judge, based on that judge's chosen theme. For example, if my judge is Joe Schmoe, and Joe's theme is "Comedy," you must first browse Joe's Pinterest boards, select a pin, and submit a 500-character comedy-themed paragraph to ME. I'll post your entry on MY Pinterest, on a board titled "Joe's Entries." Then Joe will look at all of his entries and pick his favorite. That favorite will become one of the week's 5 winners. Of the five winners, ONE will be chosen through random selection and be named the Grand Pinfic Wizard (which just means that person gets the grand prize of a $35 Barnes & Noble gift card in addition to the ORIGIN ARC and swag).

Make sense?

The instructions are included in more detail below. Be sure to read them all! There are some rules I didn't mention above that you need to be aware of. If you have any questions or difficulty entering, post it in the comments section below and I'll work quickly to resolve any issues.

Thanks and good luck!

PS. It may look complicated but it's really not.

Trust me. 

To start things off, you must use the Rafflecopter form below to "like" my Facebook page. You MUST do this to be eligible to win, simply because it gives me an extra way to get hold of you if you DO win. =)

1. Check this post to find out the judge for the day. Follow the link to the Pinterest page belonging to that judge. (you shouldn't need a Pinterest account to view pins.)

2. Select one picture from any of the judge's boards.

3. Write a 500-character-maximum story or description about the picture, based on the judge's chosen topic. BE CREATIVE! (and remember--up to 500 CHARACTERS, not 500 words. Big difference, people. Also, this includes spaces!)

4. Email ME (Jessica Khoury, NOT the judge!) with the story and either the picture itself or a link to it. (my email is

5. You may submit one unique entry each day (maximum five entries total) at one entry per judge. Contest closes at midnight on August 17! For each entry you submit, you MUST Tweet about the giveaway (use the Rafflecopter form below to tweet).

6. At the end of each day, I'll post all the entries to a designated board on MY Pinterest, so you can browse the entries. Each day will have its own board, labeled with the name of the judge for that day.

7. At the end of the week, the contest will close and the judges will choose their favorites from the entries you wrote for their days (each person can only win once, so there will be four unique winners). Entries will be posted anonymously; your name will not be attached to the entry unless you win. (In the event there is a tie, and one person's entries are chosen more than once, judges will begin to draw from runner-up choices so there will be five unique winners).

8. Winners and their entries will be posted on Wednesday, August 22 here on my blog, and winners will be notified by email. IF YOU DO NOT RESPOND WITHIN 7 DAYS OF WINNING, YOUR PRIZE WILL BE FORFEITED. So check your email, folks.

9. Questions? Leave them below and I'll answer as quickly as I can.

10. HAVE AT IT. 

note: some of your formatting may be lost when posted to Pinterest, so be sure your entry does not rely too heavily on fancy formatting.

Oh, and hey--this contest IS open internationally!

These will give you an idea of how to write your entries.

Jessica Khoury
author of

Michelle Rowen
Morgan Rhodes
author of






Oh, and PS... 
Be sure to stop back here next week. Starting on Monday, August 20, I'm opening an even bigger contest/giveaway! As in BIGGER PRIZES. So don't you dare miss out.

Bye now!
Good luck.

(NOTE: the Rafflecopter form is being used only so you can track your Tweets and record them here. Tweeting does NOT constitute an entry; you MUST complete the Pinterest challenge to be considered for the contest. Each entry must be accompanied by a Tweet, which is completed below. Winners will be chosen by the judges based on the Pinterest entries, not at random by Rafflecopter. Questions? Ask in the comments.)

*PinFic (noun): a 500-character piece of fiction, meant to be posted on Pinterest

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 10, 2012

Upcoming Events

There are BIG DOINGS afoot...

For example,

on Sunday at Midnight EST

The PinFic Contest will open.

You can enter to win

$35 for Barnes & Noble

Also, ARCs of Origin

And some swag!


Because the week after that,

There will be ANOTHER contest

with even BIGGER prizes

And after that...

Origin will be in a bookstore

near you.

Pre-Order ORIGIN now,

And it can be delivered to you

On the morning of Sept. 4.

Does it get better than that?

Click any of the links below 
to pre-order your copy of Origin!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

YA Scavenger Hunt


Thank you to all who entered! And stay tuned for the next
YA Scavenger Hunt!


Welcome to my blog

on the 

4th YA Scavenger Hunt!

What a race!
Are you exhausted yet? Here, have some water:
New to the hunt?
On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each participating YA author, you also get a secret number. Add up the numbers, and  enter it for a chance to win a major prize--one lucky winner will receive at least one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team (for a total of 27 books! And that's not even including the giveaways many of us authors are doing on our own! For example--I'm giving away FIVE books right here!) But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon PST on Sunday August 5th!

You can start right here or you can also go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or both! I am a part of the RED TEAM--but there is also a blue team and if you do the blue hunt you'll have a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, see the full list of prizes up for grabs, or if you get lost along the way, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.


Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the red team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). Hint: the secret number is highlighted in RED.

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by August 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, I'll introduce the author I am hosting on this hunt. 

I am super excited to be hosting...


David has been a house painter, cafe­te­ria man­ager, book­store schleper, high school teacher, and col­lege pro­fes­sor. He now lives on the Car­olina coast with his fam­ily, plus four­teen fish, two res­cued dogs, and a noc­tur­nal mar­su­pial (I need more explanation on that last one--what is this marsupial of yours, David? So mysterious...) Check him out at his website to find out more!

David is the author of BLACK HOLE SUN and INVISIBLE SUN.

BLACK HOLE SUN came out in August of 2010, and it's sequel INVISIBLE SUN came out just last March! Here's a bit about INVISIBLE SUN:
You don't want to mess with Durango.
He left his crew behind.
His father is dead.
And he's going to prove himself to Vienne, 
even if he dies trying.
As he races through flood
and fire and across a violent
and terrifying planet, 
there's a 97% chance he's
going to die trying.
But who's counting.

SO COOL! If the kickin' cover art and that synopsis don't convince you these books are MUST reads--let Suzanne Collins, author of the HUNGER GAMES: she says BLACK HOLE SUN "Rock­ets read­ers to new fron­tiers … action-packed.” Plus, it's gotten a starred review from Booklist and Laurie Halse Anderson says, "In the best tra­di­tion of Hein­lein and Fire­fly, Black Hole Sun is for read­ers who like their books fast-paced, intense, and relent­less." OKAY. Sign me up. I'll take 7 of each, please! 

Thank you so much for visiting my blog! While you're here don't forget to enter the bonus contest I am running exclusively during the YA Scavenger Hunt.

I will be giving away a BOXED SLIPCASE packed with ARCS of ALL the Fall 2012 Breathless Reads from Penguin Teen! This includes VENOM by Fiona Paul, BLACK CITY by Elizabeth Richards, THE INNOCENTS by Lili Peloquin, FALLING KINGDOMS by Morgan Rhodes, and ORIGIN by Jessica Khoury. This is HUGE, people! To be eligible to win enter on the Rafflecopter below!

so pretty!

and it includes my YA debut ORIGIN!

Scroll down past the Rafflecopter widget to find the link to the NEXT author on the hunt!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Ready to move on to the next blog in the hunt? Click here!