Monday, August 18, 2014

GET EVEN sneak peek!

In which I read a section of GET EVEN aloud in vlog form, and try not to stumble over my own words.

And don't forget, you can get a free copy of the GET EVEN bonus material booklet, including two preview chapters from the sequel GET DIRTY! Go here for details.


Monday, July 21, 2014

GET EVEN Pre-Order Giveaway

mood: excited
pandora/ipod: "word crimes" by weird al yankovic

Let me start by saying, this is by far the most exciting giveaway I've ever done.

As you may know, GET EVEN - which hits shelves on September 16, 2014 - is the first in the Don't Get Mad series, and the sequel, GET DIRTY, is scheduled to come out just nine months later, in June 2015.

Here's what people are saying about GET EVEN:
"The suspense that McNeil (Ten) builds should keep readers curious to discover what happens next." (Publishers Weekly)

"A compelling contemporary thriller." (Kirkus)

"McNeil concocts every private school's worst nightmare...the mystery McNeil creates will engage readers." (Romantic Times)

"GET EVEN expertly mixes suspense and snark, proving once again that Gretchen McNeil is a master of the teen thriller." (Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, founders of Go Fug Yourself)

"Don’t get mad, get reading this wild ride filled with twists and turns, revenge and romance, suspense and Shakespeare. I can’t wait to see what Gretchen McNeil comes up with next." (Elizabeth Eulberg, author of Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality)

"A revenge story with murder, mayhem, and Gretchen McNeil’s signature snark? Yes please! Gretchen proves once and for all that revenge is a dish best served deadly. Readers will be immediately sucked into the dangerously intriguing world of DGM and by the end they’ll be dying for the sequel." (Jessica Brody, bestselling author of The Unremembered Trilogy and The Karma Club)

"GET EVEN is an edge-of-your-seat, sink-your-teeth-into-it mystery -- filled with vivid, intriguing characters, set against the ruthless landscape of a modern high school. I’m dying for the next book!"(Katie Alender, author of the Bad Girls Don't Die series)

Exciting, right?  And, if you'll notice, the theme "dying for the sequel" popped up quite a few times.  So...

In order to get the word out about my first-ever series, and as a thank you to you, the amazing fans who have been so supportive over the years, I've gotten special permission from my publisher to release the first two chapters of GET DIRTY on September 16th.

Why two chapters?  Because a huge, massive, game-changing plot twist is dropped in the very last line of Chapter 2.

The chapters will be printed up in a signed, special edition booklet, along some GET EVEN bonus material and a signed Don't Get Mad bookplate.

"Gretchen, how can I get my hands on all this awesomeness?"

Easy!  Pre-order GET EVEN.


(1) Pre-order GET EVEN in paperback, ebook, or audio format from your favorite chain, independent, or online retailer, such as:

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(2) Submit proof of purchase (email, scan, photo, etc. of your receipt) at, along with a valid mailing address.  Alternately, you can pre-order from one of the participating bookstores listed below and pick up your booklet from them on release day!  Note: if you have already submitting proof of purchase for a previous giveaway, you must do so again.

(3) On September 16, 2014, you will be mailed/pick up a signed, special edition booklet containing the first two (2) chapters of GET DIRTY, which does not go on sale until June 2015, along with bonus content for GET EVEN and a signed Don't Get Mad bookplate.

(4) Submissions for the giveaway close September 15, 2014 at 11:59pm PST.


- You Must be 13+ to enter.
- One Entry Per Pre-Order Proof of Purchase.
- Open to U.S. and Canada residents only, but participating bookstores will ship internationally!

And again, thank you guys.  I can write books because of you!


The list of participating bookstores is growing.  Check back for additions!

Please remember to ask the bookseller for your bonus booklet when you pick up your pre-order.


Face In A Book
4359 Town Center Boulecard
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762

Mysterious Galaxy
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Suite #302
San Diego, CA 92111
858.268.4775 (fax)

Towne Center Books
555 Main Street
Pleasanton, CA 94566


Tattered Cover
Colfax Avenue, Historic LoDo, or Highlands Ranch
Please order in-store, by phone, or by email!


Schuler Books and Music
1982 Grand River Avenue
Okemos, MI 48864


Red Balloon Bookshop

891 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105


Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011

Oblong Books
26 Main Street
Millerton, NY 12546

Oblong Books
6422 Montgomery Suite 6
Rhinebeck, NY 12572


Malaprop's Bookstore

55 Haywood Street
Asheville, NC 28801


Jan's Paperbacks
18095 SW Tualatin Valley Highway
Beaverton, OR 97006


Children's Book World
17 Haverford Station Road
Haverford, PA 19041


Blue Willow Bookshop

14532 Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77079


The King's English Bookshop
1511 S 1500 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84105


Hooray for Books
1555 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


University Book Store

4326 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

University Book Store
990 102nd Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

University Book Store
Mill Creek Town Center
15311 Main Street
Mill Creek, WA 98012

Want to see your favorite bookstore on this list?  Pitch this giveaway to them in person, then send me some contact info!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Reads Scavenger Hunt!

I'm excited to be a part of the Summer Reads Scavenger Hunt! There will be swag giveaways, book and gift card giveaways - all kinds of neat stuff.

For my stop on the tour, I'm going to give you my Top Five Summer Movie Adaptations, plus I'm giving away swag from Laney McMann. At the bottom, I'll give you the link to the next post in the chain, and don't forget to find the secret number (in red) hidden somewhere in this post!

Ready? First off, let's start with the...


The Summer Reads Scavenger Hunt will run from TODAY until midnight on SUNDAY (19th July). To enter to win THIRTY-EIGHT signed paperbacks by a wide range of authors PLUS $30 worth of Amazon Gift Cards, simply hop around ALL participating stops, collect all of the highlighted numbers, add them together, and then go enter the requested details along with your calculated answer in the ENTRY FORMYou can find more information on how the stop works HERE. All stops will direct you to the next place to hop across to. And don’t worry if you get lost, because the entire list of participating authors can be found HERE.

Now that that's out of the way, here are my Top Five Summer Movie Adaptations!

5.  Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - The original with Gene Wilder always makes me think of rainy June days (I grew up in San Francisco, remember...) in front of the T.V.

4.  Field of Dreams - What says "summer" more than baseball?  I'm a huge fan (go Giants!) and this movie perfectly captures my love of the game.  I bet you didn't even know this was based on a book?  Yeppers.  Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella.  Also, Ray Liotta's eyes make me swoony.

3.  The Princess Bride - Who didn't fall in love with Wesley after seeing this movie?  Who doesn't quote lines like "Inconceivable!", "Have fun storming the castle!", "Mawage is wot bwings us togeder today",  or "My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die."?  The perfect blend of fantasy, romance, and adventure = the perfect summer flick.

2. Pride and Prejudice - Look, no one can top Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy (please see below) but I really love the Joe Wright version with Keira Knightly and Matthew McFadden.  Especially that moment when Darcy walks over the field, framed by the rising sun, and his shirt is unbuttoned, and...

1.  Bridget Jones' Diary - I loved the book, and I loved the movie even more because they cast freaking Colin Firth as the modern Mr. Darcy.  Also, Hugh Grant.  It's one of my favorite movie adaptations of all time, and perfect for a breezy summer day!

I feel like I could add number 6, but top five lists are so much easier to process.  ;)  So I'll leave it there.

Now, to give away some swag.  Laney McMann will be giving away a signed paperback copy of TIED and five TIED bookmarks!

Here's how to enter to win:

Post your favorite book-to-movie adaptation in the comments below, include your email address or a reasonable facsimile, and you'll receive an entry.

I'll choose one (1) grand prize winner for the signed paperback, and five (5) bookmark winners at random!

Sound good?

Now, to continue the hunt, go to Laura Pauling's site for the next hidden number and swag giveaway!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Limited Edition DGM buttons!

mood: sickly
pandora/ipod: "hooked on a feeling" by blue suede (blame the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer)

Last year, in an effort to promote 3:59, I did a pretty awesome T-shirt giveaway, if I do say some myself.  I had fans and supporters wear my shirt to BEA, ALA, ComiCon, RT, and so many others I can't even list them all.  They posted photos, and tweeted about all the questions people asked about what the shirts meant.  All in all, it was pretty freaking amazing to have 40 3:59 T-shirts walking around the US.

Still, though, that was only 40, and I had to turn a lot of people down after I ran out of shirts.  So this year I'm looking to do something...bigger.  250 buttons bigger, to be exact.

Behold - the Don't Get Mad blood-splatter button!!!

Designed, as always, by the lovely Amber Sweeney from Me, My Shelf, and I, these buttons are 1.75" x 2.75", and are the perfect representation of the Don't Get Mad series which, if you remember, I pitched as "John Hughes with a body count."

In GET EVEN (Don't Get Mad, book 1 which hit shelves on September 16th) four girls form a secret revenge society where they get back at bullies, mean girls, and teachers who have victimized their classmates.  At the scene of each prank against their targets, they leave a white card with the DGM printed on them in an old-fashioned typewriter font.

Which all goes well until a blood-splattered card is found on the body of a murder victim, a classmate and soon-to-be DGM target who was bludgeoned to death in his bed.

Like I said, this is perfect.

So how can I win one of these bloody marvelous buttons?  EASY!!!

(1) in the comments, tell me where you'll wear your button - convention, library, school, day job
(2) how you'll promote said wearage of the button - Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, carrier pigeon
(3) give me an email address where I can contact you

Yeah, it's that easy!  I'm giving them away to folks who will wear them and wear them well.

Oh, and anyone going to BEA?  I'm going to have a supply on hand, both before and after my signing on Thursday, May 29th at 2:30pm, Table 14.  I'll give away until I run out, including people in line for the signing.  First come, first served!

Okay, that's it.  Comment away!  I can't wait to start mailing these babies out!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The First GET EVEN Giveaway!!!

April 24th, 9:07Am PST

A signed DGM bookplate has been added to the giveaway, for anyone who preorders GET EVEN! 
Rules below still apply.

Now back to your regularly scheduled giveaway.

It's time!!!!  With just under five months left before GET EVEN hits shelves, I'm running the first giveaway.  But I'm not giving away ARC's.  Not yet.  This time you can win...

Your name in the Acknowledgements!

That's right, five (5) lucky winners will get their names in the Acknowledgements of GET EVEN, releasing on September 16th.  Ten (10) runners up with win signed Gretchen McNeil promo postcards, and ten (10) more semi-finalists will win signed GET EVEN bookmarks.*

What do you have to do to enter?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Proof of purchase may be emailed to this address.


Proof of purchase must not be older than 4/21/2014. Purchases made prior to this date are not valid for entry.

Each entry will be checked for photo-shopping or other altering. Those found providing a doctored image will be disqualified and sent to live in the Bog of Eternal Stench.

All purchases will count toward any future giveaway Gretchen McNeil holds during the pre-order campaign of GET EVEN leading up to it's release.

Must be 13 + To Enter | Open Internationally

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Upcoming Appearances!

mood: bouncy
pandora/ipod: "the promise" by when in rome

I've been freaking horrible about keeping my appearances page updated, so I'm going to apologize for that upfront.  I still can't figure out how to maintain writing, promoting, and blogging without losing my ever loving mind.  I think I need an intern.  Or a clone.  Or both.

Anyway, here's a quick update on where I'll be in the next few months, including RT and BEA!

WONDERCON - Sunday, April 20th, Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA
11:30AM Panel: Surviving Well - Saving the world, etc. is always important, but so is the quality of life for the survivors. Guest Marjorie Liu (Labyrinth of Stars), Cecil Castellucci (The Tin Star), Genese Davis (The Holder’s Domain) , John Mulhall (Geddy’s Moon) and Gretchen McNeil (3:59) discuss when “just” saving the world is not enough. With moderator LeAnna Herrera of Mysterious Galaxy. Room 208

3:00PM Signing - Mysterious Galaxy Booth #709

PASADENA TEEN BOOK FESTIVAL - Saturday, April 26th, Pasadena Public Library, Pasadena, CA
1:40PM Panel: Thrills and Chills - I'll be moderating this panel, featuring Catherine Linka (A Girl Called Fearless), Lissa Price (Enders), Sarah Skilton (High & Dry) and Carol Tanzman (Circle of Silence) in the Auditorium.

2:30PM Signing

RT BOOKLOVERS CONVENTION - Thursday, May 15th-Sunday, May 18th, New Orleans, LA
I'll be signing paperbacks of TEN at the Avon party Friday, as well as participating in the Giant Book Fair, and Teen Day speed rating events and the big Teen Day Party (where I hear there will be ARCs of GET EVEN in the gift bags...)

BEA - Thursday, May 29th, Javits Center, New York, NY
2:30PM Signing - I'll be signing ARCs of GET EVEN!  Remember, these tend to go really fast, so you might want to get there early!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

mood: groggy
pandora/ipod: "oxford comma" by vampire weekend

I was tagged by my Apocalypsies co-founder Lynne Kelly, a sign language interpreter and a writer of novels for children and young adults. Lynne is represented by Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary and Media Representation, and her first novel, CHAINED, is out now from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.  You can follow Lynne on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

I'm so excited to be continuing this tour! I think there's something intrinsically needy about writers when it comes to talking about their process, probably because the creative process is such a vague, intangible thing to begin with, we like to talk about it because in doing so, it becomes less elusive and more concrete.

Or I just like to talk about myself.  :D

Regardless, here's a little insight into my ever-capricious "Writing Process!"

What am I working on?

At the moment I am chin deep in edits for GET DIRTY, the sequel to GET EVEN which is the first book in my new Don't Get Mad series for Balzer + Bray, on shelves September 16, 2014.  GET DIRTY was bumped up a season, from Fall 2015 to Summer 2015, so I had to write the entire book in 60 days, and now I have three weeks to turn around the first edits.

Fun, right?

If anything, a schedule like this brings your "process" into laser focus!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I pitched the Don't Get Mad series as "John Hughes with a body count" which I kind of think says it all.  Basically, I'm doing funny teen emo angst with romance and dead bodies.  So comedy-suspense?  Is that a thing?  No idea.

Why do I write what I do?

I try to write what I would have wanted to read when I was a teen.  While I loved gothic romances, my first love was always scary stories (I dig the creepiness of Thornfield Hall over the Jane-Rodchester romance any day...) I loved reading books that scared the crap out of me, books that I desperately wanted to put away, but literally couldn't stop reading.  So I've tried to tap into some classic horror tropes - demonic possession, trapped on an island with a serial killer, evil twins - that strike that chord.

How does your writing process work?

I don't know?  HAHAHAHHAHA.

Okay, seriously.  The initial book idea can come from anywhere.  At the moment, the SHINY NEW IDEA I'm thinking about was inspired by an episode of A&E's Biography that my husband wrote, directed and produced 15 years ago.  After the idea nugget takes hold, I usually do some research, starting online while I amass a reading list.  Since this would be an historical novel, it will require more research than a book like TEN, and I'll start sneaking that in over the next few months, taking notes in mid-sized spiral notebooks.

Research influences plot in my world, so while I'm reading, the plot bunnies are working hard, bringing it all together.  At that point, notes turn into an outline.

My outlines are a mixed bag.  Usually, I have a pretty firm outline for Act One, and a good idea of the climax of Act Three, and maybe some tent poles for the rest of the book.  But I do give it room to develop because things will change as I write.  Characters morph, plot points become more or less important as relationships change, and I need the space to let that happen.

When I'm writing a draft, I treat it like a job.  If you haven't already seen it, check out my spreadsheet writing schedule for the first draft of GET DIRTY.  I basically write every book like this, though on a slightly less masochistic timeline.  I just need to get out of my way and get the words on the page, and I absolutely refuse to go back and edit as I write.  If something big changes, I make a note and keep moving forward.  I find 15 minute writing sprints are my gold standard - I set a timer and don't do ANYTHING else online for those 15 minutes.  I can usually knock out 350-500 words per sprint, which makes my daily word count goal seem more tangible.

After I type "the end" I usually print out the entire manuscript, then out comes my trusty red pen.  I try to read the whole book through in like two days, so it's all fresh in my mind, and I slash the hell out of it.  Red pen is awesome - I can say things like "Fix! This is stupid!" without actually telling myself how to fix it.  That's for later.

When the red pen notes get incorporated into the manuscript, that's where the magic happens.  Meaning, I can't quite articulate it. Something just comes together in my brain, and I start fixing all the crap that's wrong with it.

And that's it.  So not glamorous, right?  Especially when I'm usually doing all that in my jammies.

I've tagged two of my favorite people in the world to continue this blog tour!

Carrie Harris and I both write scary/funny books and we share a love of Agatha Christie.  BAD TASTE IN BOYS, BAD HAIR DAY and SALLY SLICK AND THE STEEL SYNDICATE are all on sale now, and DEMON DERBY (blurbed by yours truly) will hit shelves this July!

Stages on Pages founder Stasia Ward Kehoe is, like me, a former performing artist.  A ballerina for years, Stasia now writes gorgeous prose novels about the performing arts, including AUDITION and THE SOUND OF LETTING GO.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

YA Scavenger Hunt!!!!

The YA Scavenger Hunt for Spring 2014 is now over.  Please check back in the fall for the next one, and thanks for your participation!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Presents: Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready is one of my favorite people in publishing, and I'm so glad I get to help promote her knew release THIS SIDE OF SALVATION!

This Side of Salvation


Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure:  The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.

Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties in to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.

But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined… 

What Others Are Saying:

“THIS SIDE OF SALVATION is impossible to pigeonhole. It’s a mystery, a
love story, a tale of friendship, of prejudice, and of a family
overcoming tragedy…Jeri Smith-Ready has her finger on the pulse of
American youth.” — Printz Honor winner and NYT Bestseller Elizabeth Wein

“This is a frighteningly realistic story that delicately handles the issues of religion and family—an emotional mystery sure to be popular and perfect for discussion.” — VOYA, **Highlighted (Starred) Review**

“[A] smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale...bringing to light
issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus
self—while never being heavy-handed.” Booklist, **Starred Review**

“This book has some of the best written, strongest, and most satisfying
character dynamics that I have read in a long time...There are no
extreme moral rights and wrongs in this book. These people just are, and
they work, and they make this story beautiful.” — Bibliopunkk

Giveaways Galore!

Jeri has two ongoing giveaways to celebrate the release of This Side of Salvation.

Join the Rush swag fest: free EXCLUSIVE swag for everyone who orders TSOS on or before Monday, April 7.

Superfan contest (March 31 – April 9): share the TSOS characters’ “trading cards”  on your social networks to earn points. Biggest Superfan wins the grand prize, but there’s a chance to win a book and a gift card every day you play!

Here's the first day's card, featuring the main character, David Cooper:

Cat blogging meets book birthday!

Meet Misha and Twinkle, the real-life inspiration for the cats of This Side of Salvation, on PulseIt, the official site of Jeri's publisher, Simon Pulse.

Order the hardcover:

Order the ebook:

Find Jeri

Visit Jeri's website, or follow her on one of these sites: