Mindee Arnett

The Nightmare Charade Cover Reveal + Giveaway

Welcome to the headquarters of the official cover reveal and giveaway of The Nightmare Charade. To enter and see the cover, please visit anyone of these participating blogs linked below. The contest is open internationally and ends at midnight EST, May 13, 2015. Thanks so much to these awesome blogs and to you for entering. Good luck!

The Cover Contessa

Carina Olsen

In Love with Handmade


Paper Cuts

Twinning for Twins

Carmel and Kyla

Skye’s Scribblings

Why I Chose to End my Series Early

I’ve been getting the question lately about why I decided not to write a fourth book in the The Arkwell Academy, and I figured it best to just lay it all on the table here, down and dirty and completely candid. But before I get started, I’ve got to say that I’m really grateful to get the question at all. It means that there are some people who would welcome a fourth book, and that fills my imagination with baby unicorns and kittens. I would insert a cute picture right now, but my silly website isn’t working (side note: I would love to hire an assistant with some light skills in html – email me, maybe?)

Anyway, back to the point. First let me just say that I think endings are pretty much the most important of any story, both in individual books and in a series. You might have a great beginning and middle but if you botch the ending you pretty much cancel out all that came before. Or you color it an unpleasant shade, leave people with a bad taste, [insert every other metaphor here]. Given my feelings on endings, here is why I stopped with book 3:

  1. I saw the chance to write the ending I wanted− early. This is totally thanks to my brilliant editor. I had an idea in mind for the ending of this series I finished the first book. And while my editor was down for not wrapping things up in Charade, she did have some comments when she read the first draft of the book that got me questioning my ending. What I discovered was that I could end the whole series on the right note, the way I intended− and most importantly, the way it was supposed to end, in Charade.  There just wasn’t a need for a fourth book. This was a shortcut that proved worth it. I’m pretty certain that if you liked the other two books, you’ll be happy with where we go in this last one. Just hang in for the ride.
  2. I didn’t have a true “story” for what would’ve been book 4. You know how the last Harry Potter felt so different because Harry and his friends were out wandering aimlessly through the books instead of attending Hogwarts? Well, I was facing something similar if I decided to do book 4. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to tread water or draw things out. These books are not Hobbit movies. Why do it in two when one will work?
  3. I was ready to write something newI love these books, don’t get me wrong. But I was ready to close the door and say goodbye. And I was ready to open the window on something new.
  4. Sales are king. I wish I could say that in the real world story is king, but sadly, it’s not. There are plenty of awesome stories that never really take off and crappy stories that sometimes do. I can’t say I know what makes for good sales or not, but I do know that when it came to book 4 I was afraid. Even though my wonderful publisher, Tor Teen is so supportive and great, I worried what a fourth book might do− or more accurately, what it might not do, i.e. sell. And again, given that I saw my ending sooner than I expected why wouldn’t I take it? Sure, the journey is the best part, but sometimes taking the long way around just isn’t worth. Not when the destination is so great. And trust me, getting the chance to finish this series on my own terms? Well, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Anyway…please come back next Wednesday for the “official” cover reveal of The Nightmare Charade + a giveaway of two ARCs (international). You all are the best. Oh, and don’t forget, you can send me questions anytime over on Goodreads or Tumblr.

Happy Endings!



The Avalon Fantasy Casting Call Giveaway


***And thanks to all who entered. Be sure to keep a look out for the final cast results coming soon***

As promised, I’m giving away another signed arc of Polaris, the sequel and conclusion to Avalon. This giveaway is international and entering is super duper easy and fun—I hope.

Here’s the skinny. I’m working on an upcoming blog post where I’m going to chose my dream cast for the Avalon movie, and I need your help! First though, let me crush your hopes in one quick blow—no there are no current plans to make Avalon into a movie. Sadly, the film rights haven’t even been optioned. But it’s never too late. And hey, an awesome space-based sci-fi that’s both funny and warmhearted smashed the box office recently so there’s always a chance Hollywood might come looking for more, right? (And if you haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet, seriously…stop everything and do that now!)

Anyway, to enter my little contest all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me who you would pick to play any (or all) of the characters in Avalon. Tell me who would make a good Jeth or Sierra. Or Lizzie, Shady, Flynn, and Celeste. Don’t forget Milton, Hammer, Daxton, and Renford as well. I would prefer recommendations for current/available actors, please. I mean, as much as a teenage Nathan Fillion would rock for Jeth, I’d rather have someone ready made to call out in this fantasy casting.

The contest will remain open until Thursday at midnight EST. I will use random.org to select the winner. One enter per person, although please feel free to comment as much as you like. I’m seriously looking for inspirations here. I will announce the winner on the blog and on twitter and FaceBook. Good luck!

p.s. If you have trouble commenting, you can enter the contest on my FaceBook page here instead:


Giveaway Alert: Gates of Thread and Stone and More!

It’s almost August, and guess what that means? The fabulous Gates of Thread and Stone by my friend and critique partner Lori M. Lee will be hitting shelves. I loved this book folks, and I hope you do, too.

There’s been so much going on, and I’ve been super duper busy for months now. But happily, I’ve turned in the draft of the third book in the Arkwell Academy and I’m finally working on new things. Given all this awesomeness happening, I’ve decided to celebrate with a giveaway. Here’s what’s up to win:

  • A hard cover of Gates of Thread and Stone
  • A signed paperback of The Nightmare Affair
  • A signed hard cover of The Nightmare Dilemma

Entering is easy. Just fill out the rafflecopter below. Unfortunately this is limited to US only.

And in case you haven’t heard about Gates, here’s the official description:

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where shecame from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Polaris arc Giveaway – One Day Only!

That’s right. I’m giving away an arc of Polaris today. But first up, check out this super cool radio interview I got to do on crafttheshow.com.

For the arc giveaway, it’s open internationally, and there are three ways to enter. You can leave a comment here, you can comment on my FaceBook status about the giveaway, or you can tweet using #POLARIS and tagging me in it @mindeearnett. That’s it. Easy-peezy. The giveaway will be open for 24 hours. Be sure to check back for the winner announcement. Good luck!



Word and Page Counts

Recently, I had a reader and aspiring writer (presumably) ask me about the page counts of my books as they existed in the drafting stage. I love these sorts of questions, mostly because I’m a nerd about statistics like this. I’m not sure why.

Anyway, I decided the best way to answer would be a quick blog post. The question, while simple, requires some conditions for the answer to make accurate sense. Pagination–as in the way the document is formatted–has an impact on page counts. This is why most people in the pub biz refer to books by length of word counts. Word counts are universal across pagination. That said, the specific pagination layout I use while drafting is this:

  • Double spacing
  • 1 inch margins
  • .5 inch paragraph indents
  • Times New Roman, 12 point
  • 4 paragraph returns at the start of each chapter
  • Orphan/Widow control turned off

With this pagination applied, I’ve listed the page counts for all of my books below These are the counts just prior to copy edits. I didn’t give copy edit counts because that is the stage when the publisher imposes their own pagination onto what I use while drafting. I’ve also included the word counts, because really, that will prove more useful to you in the long run.

  • The Nightmare Affair, 304 pages, 85,000 words
  • The Nightmare Dilemma, 362 pages, 102,000 words
  • Avalon, 368 pages, 100,500 words
  • Polaris, 370 pages, 106,000 words
  • Proxy, 72 pages, 20,000 words (note, this is a novella)

There you have it. I could provide you all kinds of analysis on the variation you see there, such as the reason why Avalon’s page count is higher than Dilemma‘s even though Dilemma is actually longer (answer: this mostly has to do with chapters lengths. Avalon has shorter chapters), but I don’t really have the time. In case you’re wondering, I’m hard, hard at work on the third book in the Arkwell Academy series. Maybe soon I’ll get to post those numbers as well.

Happy writing!

p.s. Be on the lookout for the Polaris cover reveal happening in the next week or so!

Ohioana Book Festival!

Hi All,

This Saturday I’m going to be at the Ohioana Book Festival in Columbus, Ohio. I went to this last year, and it was completely awesome. It’s free to the public, and not only can you come in and get signed books from dozens of authors, but there are author panels going on all day.

You can find all the important details here.

The doors open at 9:45 and my panel is at 10:15. I know that’s early for a Saturday, but did I mention the free part? And the lots of awesome author part? Oh, and I will have swag with me, including Avalon Star Charts and emblem stickers. Hope to see you there!


News and Events!

Firstly, and super-duper awesomely, The Nightmare Affair has been nominated for the YALSA Teens’ Top Teen . I’m pretty sure this a big deal, and some of the other nominees are oh-my-gosh amazing. Anyway, if you’re a teen, you can vote for the book. There’s also a giveaway. More details here. Also, if you vote for me, there might be unicorns and rainbows in your future from yours truly.


Secondly, I’ve got two events coming up in a few days. I’ll be doing a chat and signing with Erica O’Rourke and Stacey Kade at Read Between the Lines in Woodstock, IL on Thursday April 24 at 7:00.

After that, I’ll be spending the weekend hanging out at the Chicago Spring Fling Writers Conference. I’ve participating in a panel on Friday, as well as the Librarian Tea, and on Saturday, I’ll be signing books. Hope I get to meet some of you.

Building Suspense, the art of emergence

So this past Saturday I had the lovely fortune to present a workshop on suspense at the Wayne College Writers Workshop. I had an absolute blast with the class. The participants were attentive and eager and all things wonderful.

Anyhow, the materials I presented seemed to go over pretty well, and I thought I’d share a little bit of it here. Cheesy at it sounds, I created an acronym out of SUSPENSE. And while I won’t go through all of them here—some of them are fairly obvious (the first S = Sympathetic Characters)—I did want to share my favorite “letter” of the acronym, the final “E.”

In the workshop, the final E = Emergent. Here’s what the slides looked like:

–Definition: arising as a natural or logical consequence.
•As much as possible, the events in the story should emerge from what happened before; they should be consequential.
•Avoid the “and then” problem (as described by the creators of South Park on mtvu.com).
–Definition of the “And Then” problem:
•If you draw a flowchart of the events in your story and find yourself using “and then” to connect them, you have a problem.
•Instead, your connectors should be “therefore” or “but.”
Here’s an example of how this works in an actual story:
I know this is pretty simple, but it’s also super duper important. If you want to have any kind of suspense in your story, if you want a carefully plotted and tightly woven story in general, then you’ve got to employ this emergence technique. Not doing this in a story is one my all-time biggest pet peeves. I recommend to the participants that if they aren’t sure if they were employing emergence, they should map out their stories in flow chart format like that above. I’ll go ahead and recommend the same to you.
Happy Writing!

The Nightmare Dilemma is out!

Hooray! If you’ve been waiting to hear what happens next for Dusty and her friends, you’re in good luck. The Nightmare Dilemma hits stores today.

To celebrate, I’m holding two separate giveaways for a signed hard cover of Dilemma, one on Facebook and one on Twitter. For Facebook, all you have to do is comment and share this post.

For Twitter, simple write a tweet that includes the hashtag #NightmareDilemma and include this link: mindeearnett.com/nightmare-dilemma/ If you can, please @ me too (@mindeearnett.com)

Hope you can participate, and be sure to stop by my events page for a list of my tour stops as part of the Three Nightmares You Can’t Resist tour!