Tuesday, October 15, 2013

House Of Ivy & Sorrow! Six Months!

I know I just had a contest for BLINDSIDED, but now it's six months until HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW releases and I find this very exciting!

Also, on October 10th, I passed my seven years of blogging mark, which begs to be celebrated. So part of this contest with also feature a chance to win a query and 10-page crit of your novel from yours truly. This is the only time in the year I offer this prize, just so you know.

AND, as if that's not enough to celebrate, I have a BLURB to share! Let's do that first:

"I can sum up this book in one word: COST. Everything in Natalie Whipple's HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW has a price. Every spell requires a sacrifice. But that's not where the price tags end. What is the price of a relationship? A friendship? A friend's life? And secrets. Secrets have the highest cost of all. A wonderful, dark tale of witches who feel all too human. Loved it!" 

Aprilynne Pike, bestselling author of awesomeness, creator of the Wings series, along with Life After Theft, the Earthbound series, and the upcoming Sleep No More
Awesome, right? I have to admit I love hearing Good Things about HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW, because it's pretty much my pet book. Yes, my favorite of the things I've written to date (except for maybe the thing I have on sub, but it's close). I really hope people enjoy it, and I feel like now is also a good time to share a teaser, yes? Because six months! And prizes! And today is a party! (I feel like I should have cupcakes now...)


I slam the door behind me and lean against it. My heart pounds, though I’m not quite sure why. He didn’t seem like a bad person, but there was something evil with him. It was wrong for him to be here, to see me.
After I bolt the door, I head back to Nana. “Here are your spiders.”
Her white eyebrows furrow over her impossibly dark eyes. “What’s wrong?”
So much for hiding my panic. “Nothing. There was just a man at the gate. I sent him away.”
She goes to the window and pulls the green velvet curtain back, as if he’d still be there. “He didn’t come for a spell?”
I shake my head. “He . . . asked for Carmina.”
Her eyes snap to mine.
“He didn’t know she was dead.”
She shuts the curtain with far more force than necessary. “You are not to go out there again.”
“Wha . . . wait, what?” I didn’t expect her to be happy about the stranger, but this is harsh, even for her. “Why?”
“Not safe . . . not safe . . .” She goes to her cabinets, grabbing all sorts of eyes. Eyes—for which to see. Magic can be rather literal at times. “No good can come from those who seek the dead.”
“Would you mind explaining?”
No answer. She’s already in full incantation mode, the small cauldron heating on a Bunsen burner and all. Nana is an incredible witch. I watch in amazement as she goes through each phase at lightning speed, and by memory. I still have so much to learn from her. The liquid is almost finished by the time I realize what she’s doing.
I groan. “Do I have to?”
“Yes, child, before it’s too late.” She motions for me to come over.
I grab the small knife on her desk as I go. Payment. Always. I hold my finger over the bubbling liquid and cut. It doesn’t sting until the blood is already dripping. I watch, only because I have to know when to stop the flow. The concoction turns from green to autumn orange. I pull my hand back and search for a tissue.
“That’s it. . . .” Nana waves her hands over the baby cauldron. In an instant a ghostlike figure appears—the man, with his sad eyes and nice suit, right from my fresh memories.

Cool, right? Okay, on to the PRIZES and how to win them. Admittedly, this contest is for The Writers out there, but I will have more contests! I still have a handful of ARCs to give away before HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW releases.


How To Enter: It's simple, really. You have a novel? I want to hear your pitch in seven words (To honor  seven years blogging, of course. Last year it was a six-word pitch, so no complaining you get a whole extra word!).

You may give that pitch here in comments, on Twitter (@nataliewhipple), or on my FB page. I will pick SEVEN favorites as the winners. And so you know, my winners have had shockingly good success in querying—three of the six winners last year emailed me to let me know they got agents, and one of them even sold their novel! (Yes, I'm totally proud of them and so excited.)

Prizes: The seven winners will all receive a query and 10-page crit of their novel. My favorite entry will also get an ARC of HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW plus swag.

Deadline: You have one week to enter! That means all entries are due October 22, 2013, at midnight Mountain Time. I will post winners October 23rd.

Good luck if you enter! This was one of my favorite things I did last year, so I can't wait to see how you pitch your novels in seven words!


  1. Thanks for the great contest and congrats on seven years of blogging! That's an amazing milestone. :)

    Here's my seven word pitch:

    Framed, Kora won't survive without enslaved Eros.

    That was really hard. Thanks again for this awesome opportunity!

  2. Happy Blogiversary, Natalie!

    My pitch:
    $5,000,000 was embezzled. Which parent did it?

  3. Your book sounds awesome!

    Pint-sized fairy godmother seeks gift to change.

  4. Is that the beginning of your book? Because it is awesome. I can't wait to read it.

    Here's my seven-word pitch:

    Choose – Parents’ safety or galaxy’s free will?

  5. My pitch: Girl marries teleporter who becomes a superhero.

  6. The title alone makes me want to read House of Ivy and Sorrow! I am adding it to my "to read" list right now! Here is my pitch:
    Shakespeare Festival road trip leads to LOVE!

  7. Yay! Have I mentioned lately how excited I am to read this?

    Pitch: Princess fights ghost magic with sea serpents.

  8. House of Ivy and Sorrow sounds SO GOOD! I've always loved witch stories, so this is definitely my kind of book. And congratulations on 7 years blogging (coincidence that 7 is a witchy number?)!
    My pitch:
    Zombie disease causes anxiety for germaphobic teenager.

  9. Seven years of blogging, and a favorite book baby on the way. Congratulations! :D

    And now, my attempt at a seven-word novel pitch:

    His defective love will darken the world.

  10. Those six months will pass before you know it!

    I'll have to think on those seven words for mine!

  11. I love these contests!

    My pitch:

    BFFs. Roller Coasters. Boys. Secrets Revealed. Kissing.

  12. That is great feedback about your novel - it sounds like an amazing read! Congrats on the pending book launch date, and on 7 years of blogging. That's massive!

    7 words to sum up my novel? Umm, here goes:

    Ten-year road trip ends in revelation.

  13. Congrats on seven years! I'm just starting out blogging and knowing now the work involved- having seven years of content under your belt is definite cause to celebrate. And great excerpt, can't wait to read the whole thing!

    Pitch: Grieving teen fights gargoyles in 1777 Boston.

  14. Can't wait to read this book!

    Here's a stab at my pitch:

    Nonmagical girl unravels magic and Hungarian revolution.

  15. My pitch:

    Italy: 1460 - Undead sorceress hunts death demon

    freshmankay [at] gmail [dot] com

    Thanks for the contest! :)

  16. Exciting excerpt!

    My pitch:
    Displaced souls terrorize girls abandoned on spaceship.

  17. Congrats on seven years in the blogosphere. Your excerpt is fantastic and enticing.

    My pitch: She's hunted. He's trained to protect her.

  18. Great excerpt, looking forward to the book!

    Her estranged brother is the rebel commander.

  19. Oh lord, this is hard!!!

    Blake can cross universes; now they're dying.

  20. Tater tots stink. So do vengeful ghosts.

    Thank you!!! :)

  21. I'm so excited for this book! Thanks for the little peek :)
    All of my 7 word pitches are really lame right now, but I couldn't get off the blog without commenting. I'll try to get my act together and Tweet you later.
    Congrats on 7 years!

  22. Yay, I've been waiting for House of Ivy & Sorrow every since you announced it. :) Congrats on 7 years.

    Here's my 7 word pitch:
    Girl courier delivers boxes to creepy mansion.

  23. Your book sounds awesome and witchy!

    Here is my pitch:
    Young geeky witch must reunite annoying ghosts.

  24. Congratulations on so many years!

    Here are my seven words:

    Girl's fictional heroine pushes girl to heroism.

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  26. Four pitch idea later.....

    Freedom means a fight to the death.

  27. Gerald just shrank an inch. Not Good!

  28. Congratulations! So exciting! I can't wait to read the rest!

    Here is my pitch (I feel like I'm writing a haiku, but only the middle part...):
    Elf Avatar: 1 Pixelated Panther: 0 w00t!

  29. I'm in LOVE with the title of your book! May the time pass swiftly!

    My pitch: Lost Prince doesn't want to be found.

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  32. Congrats on everything, Natalie! Thrilled for you!

    Pitch: Wronged bride gains a taste for revenge.

    (Sounds like a western, but it's not!)

  33. I am so excited for this book! I've been looking forward to it since you first teased it, what... years ago? Can't wait!

    My pitch: Magic gone crazy means hunter becomes assassin.

  34. I have to say that I love both the title and cover of your book! Just perfect.

    Thanks so much for doing this contest!

    My pitch:

    Her DNA will set a civilization free.

    (I wasn't sure if I should count "DNA" as one word or three. If it's considered three, then I'll re-do my pitch!) :)

  35. YAY! So excited for HoIaS!

    Pitch: Bad things happen at the Silagree. ;)

  36. Congrats on the book and the blogiversary!

    Pitch: Seven kids abandoned on an exploding asteroid

    See how I worked the word seven into my seven word pitch? I should get extra credit for that, don't you think? :)

  37. Can't wait to read House of Ivy and Sorrow, Natalie! I've always wanted to enter one of these, but never had something ready enough to pitch...

    My pitch: Cursed town's girls always die. Until...

  38. I seriously can't wait to read this book!

    Pitch: Death ruined happiness, heaven made it worse.

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  40. Very interesting way to extract memories. I like this fresh take on sorcery. Can't wait to hear more about it!
    Oh, and by the way... An orphan seeks hope in impossible dream .*

  41. This was so hard! It's difficult enough to pitch my story in a query, but here goes:

    One frantic deadline, one mission: Save Jane.

    Can't wait for HOIAS!

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  43. Sounds so cool! My pitch:

    Zombie movie fan battles real flesh eaters.

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  45. So excited for I&S! Congrats on the six month mark!
    Pitch: Unwilling George rescues dragon. Girl rescues George.
    Thanks for the opportunity!

  46. Good luck to the entrants! Natalie is a savvy critiquer!

  47. Congrats on the seven years! I am excited for House of Ivy & Sorrow. Pitch:

    Ava idolized her sister—now she’s dead.

  48. Thanks so much for doing this contest!

    I'm working on two novels right now, so I hope it's alright to pitch both.

    Must choose: human or alien. No alternative.

    One princess, escaped and disguised, three dresses.

  49. Congratulations on seven years of blogging! That’s really impressive.

    I’m looking forward to reading House of Ivy & Sorrow! It sounds really interesting, and unlike anything I’ve read in the past few years.

    For the contest: do the pages have to be all ready when you pick the winners? Because if not, I would love to enter. My pitch: “Living girl, dead brother, bureaucratic soul collecting.”

    1. Valerie, the pages don't have to be ready! I am happy to wait as long as you need. Many of my contest winners have collected their prize on a delayed schedule:)

  50. Vampire or Human? Caught in the middle

  51. Wow what a cool contest! And the book sounds amazing.

    Okay, here goes:

    Reluctant princess is betrothed to father’s murderer.

  52. Thanks for running this - so fun to read them all, and it made me look at my book in a totally new way - and for that I am sooooo grateful. Here's my pitch:

    Girl skates across dimensions, gets super-connected.

  53. What a fab idea! I've started my book in a different place and would love some feedback on the new first chapter. :)

    Pitch: Monsters in every reflection. Grace chases sanity.

  54. Congrats on all your milestones, that is so awesome!


  55. I'm so excited to read HOUSE OF IVY AND SORROW! Congrats on your milestone!

    My pitch: Framed for treason, synesthete fights for freedom.

  56. Congratulations on HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW! It looks amazing!

    Pitch: Recklessness? Suicide? Tamara's cousin seeks the truth.

  57. I'm so excited to read HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW!

    Here's my pitch:

    Monica's sister's years-old murder threatens her relationships.