Would you like some nice chocolate and maybe some tattoos on your face? Well then, it's your lucky day, because I am here to bribe you with exactly those two things!
And tattoos (as here modeled by my lovely niece Bella):
The tattoos are temporary, of course. Never fear. The chocolate is temporary too, really. But you know what is not temporary? What is forever?
Amazon reviews. But I'll get to that in a minute.
First of all, why chocolate and tattoos?
Well, if you've read Blackbringer, you might recall that Magpie is fond of chocolate. I adore this drawing done recently by awesome Lexi, one of my favorite young readers:
As a fan of chocolate, Lexi liked the chocolate passage in the book, which is as follows. (To set the scene, Magpie and her crow companions are camping overnight in the attic of a human school - along with Talon Rathersting and the scavenger imp Batch - and the crows have looted food from the humans, bringing back a picnic of white cake, sugared plums, walnuts, and damp, dirty radishes just pulled from the garden. Oh, and they brought back one other thing . . .)
. . . Mingus tossed Magpie a little square wrapped in paper. "Here, Mags," he said.
"What's this . . . chocolate? Chocolate?" She swooned. "Ach, Mingus, you always were my favorite!"
The other crows squawked in protest and Talon watched with curiosity as Magpie unwrapped the paper to reveal a simple brown square. She sniffed it and swooned again with rapture, and it all seemed a bit of a fuss to Talon, over a little brown square. He could tell Mingus was pleased, but the crow didn't say much until Magpie insisted he take the first bite.
"Not on yer feathers. I stole it special for ye. Eat, lass, eat."
"I'll save it for dessert," she decided. "I like that, cake for dinner and chocolate for dessert!"
Talon found that hunger did in fact win out over exhaustion, and he dragged himself within reach of a walnut, a plum, and a bit of cake. Between six crows, two faeries, and an imp the feast didn't last long, and soon they were listening to Batch lick and suck every last dribble of plum syrup from his fingers and toes.
Magpie caught a glimpse of his pink tongue gently probing between his toes, and she grimaced and turned toward Talon, producing again the little brown square. "Ever tried chocolate?" she asked.
He shook his head and she grinned. "You won't believe this," she told him, breaking off a corner.
Skeptically he took it, and he saw she was waiting to watch him eat it, and he squinted at her. "This some prank?" he asked.
"Neh! It's why humans aren't all bad. The Djinn might've dreamed up the cacao tree, but humans made this from it! Go on."
So he tasted it. His eyes went wide, then closed, and he sank back into the silk and let the flavor overtake him. He could hear Magpie and the crows laughing at him, but wasn't nasty laughter and it didn't bother him at all . . .
So there you see. In the eyes of faeries, the processing of chocolate from the cacao pod is one of the few things humans have ever done right!
Why tattoos? Well, that character Talon from the above scene happens to be a prince of the fierce Rathersting clan, notable for the tattoos the warriors have on their faces. I [heart] Talon, and I am very proud of the creation of him: a sensitve warrior prince with a knack for unusual magic. Oh yeah, he knits :-)
When I was trying to think up some cool promotion item that my editor might send out with the ARCs of Silksinger, I thought of temporary tattoos, and here they are! Tattoos for your face (or wherever).
So, what do you have to do? I mentioned Amazon reviews. Now, Amazon reviews don't mean a whole lot, I guess, just like Amazon ranking is sort of mysterious (fellow Putnam writer Royce Buckingham once compared writers checking their Amazon ranking to befuddled cats batting at TV birds, which I love). But it's one of the few visible signs we authors have that people have read our books! And I, for one, take note when browsing Amazon of whether a book has a lot of reviews or not. A lot of great books don't, so I certainly don't snub books with few reviews, but I *notice* it. And I'd like Blackbringer, which is coming out in paperback next month and currently has a respectable 24, to have MORE, and so I'm asking you, if you've already read the book, to please post a review, for which you will be rewarded :-)
If you have been meaning to read the book, now would be a great time!
(As a bonus, if you did post a review on your blog some time over the past two years, you could repost it now with a reminder of the imminent paperback release and this preorder link :-) You know, if you wanted to. Oh, pub date is May 14!)
For right now, this is an open-ended bribe. If it gets out of control and chocolate purchase threatens to bankrupt me, I shall bring it to an end. But for now, I'd just like to see how many reviews I can get! I hope you don't think this is unethical. I should be clear on a few rules:
Rule #1: You must have actually read the book! That doesn't mean the review has to be long or in-depth. My own Amazon reviews are brief and do not recap the story, just say in some way how much I liked the book.
Rule #2: You must have liked the book!!! (Of course you are absolutely welcome to not like my book, but I will not be personally rewarding such questionable taste! I reserve the right to deny chocolate and tattoos to all haters.)
So, what do you do?
Email me, with the subject heading: CHOCOLATE BRIBE, and include:
1) the text of your review (Blackbringer Amazon page HERE.)
2) the name under which it is posted
3) your mailing address
4) your chocolate preference. I make no promises here, but for those first reviewers at least, I will make an effort to send dark chocolate to dark chocolate lovers, milk to milk, etc.
Here, for the initial phase, is the selection:
Pomegranate dark chocolate. This is cool, because, if you've read the book, you know that there is a very special pomegranate that is integral to the story.
An extremely limited supply of both pear dark chocolate and coconut white chocolate. Personally, I love white chocolate, which I know is not really chocolate. But still.
And Ghirardelli milk chocolate, which I have the most of. Myself, I prefer milk chocolate to dark, but the real reason I have more of this is because it was on sale, and you know, good chocolate is expensive so I took advantage. So if you want dark or white chocolate, act fast! If and when I need to restock, I will.
Here again are the steps:
1.) Post a review on Blackbringer's Amazon page.
2.) Email me (subject header CHOCOLATE BRIBE): the text of the review, the name it's posted under, your mailing address, and your chocolate preference.
3.) Check mailbox frequently for a 6x9 white envelope with stickers on it, in which is enclosed both chocolate and tribal faerie facial tattoos.
4.) Eat chocolate, wear tattoos.
5.) Send me photos of you (or your children, or your husband, or whoever) wearing tattoos and I will post them all together in a special blog post linked in my sidebar.)
And that's that. Thank you in advance for participating in my bribery scheme!
Now all that remains is a short tattoo tutorial:
Here are my fabulous tattoo models, my brother Alex and his daughter Bella:
Some of you might be familiar with another picture of my brother, which I have posted before:
(smirk smirk smirk.)
Anyway. The tattoos come as a small rectangle. To best fit them into the angles of the face, I suggest cutting off the corners before removing the front plastic and then applying as so:
Then you want to wet the back of the tattoo with a wet cloth and press, holding there for about 30 seconds, making sure you've gotten the whole design. Now, remove paper carefully and voila!
See how one side says Dreamdark and the other says Silksinger? You get two symmetrical tattoos. If left alone, they supposedly stay on for a few days, but can also be easily removed, so never fear you will be stuck like this!
Have a great day, and I hope to start getting emails soon . . .
Oh, and a quick reminder, there are 7 hours left on the Silksinger ARC auction, signed and with a one-of-a-kind illustration by the fabulous Jim Di Bartolo! Last-minute bids can be placed HERE!!! Item closes at: Apr-13-09 18:00:00 PDT. Cheers!
Hey, cool! The Silksinger ARC went for $134.99! Yay! That's awesome! And NOW, the Lips Touch ARC, also with an illustration (this one in ink) by Jim, is on the auction block. If you want to bid, go HERE.