Melissa Marr

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Faery Tales & Nightmares + Made For You Giveaway



To celebrate the 2nd birthday of Faery Tales & Nightmares—Bestselling Author Melissa Marr’s Official Forum—and the release of her newest novel Made For You, we are hosting our first Giveaway!

• The Prize Packages:

• Tier One:

A signed and dedicated copy of Made For You
A copy…

I absolutely love the team who does my forum and now they have a tumblr AND a big giveaway. 

Please  RT their news. 

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Anonymous asked: What are you favorite perfumes/scents to wear??xxx

I don’t wear perfume.  I periodically consider it, but I’m always afraid it’ll get in the way of … umm… being able to smell what those around me smell like.  I tend to identify people, in part, by their scent. 

My favourite scent on other people is sandalwood. (If you use sandalwood soap, I’m fairly certain I will automatically like you just a little bit extra bc I find it such a relaxing scent.)

My favourite scents (for ME) in bath salts & oils & bubbles are lavender, jasmine, raspberry, or vanilla.  I like citrus in a kitchen hand soap (lemon or orange) bc it smells “clean” to me, and I almost always use lavender bath soap. 

Those are the same scents I like in candles… EXCEPT in Sept/Oct/Nov when I’m fairly convinced that houses should smell like cinnamon. 

(Fun question. Thank you.)

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Publishing a book (a couple notes)

"How much did you pay to publish your book?" is one of those questions that always makes me feel all  … *HEADDESK* 

Let’s look at the current publishing situation.

1. There are companies where you can pay to get published. These are places that take advantage of aspiring authors. I tried to think of a situation where there are reputable options here, but all I think of are places that are making money from authors who are dreaming of publication. They remind me of “lose weight fast” or any number of scams. 

2. In traditional publishing (i.e. where author sells book to a publishing house), the publishers PAY an advance for the book. If a book earns out (sells enough copies to exceed the advance), the author then earns more. Some books earn out, & some don’t. Either way, the author keeps the advance. In this model, the publishers ALSO do the work of editing, cover design, typesetting, shipping. In exchange for the advance & the work, they earn money on the books.  Authors get a percent of cover price usually ranging from 8% to 15%. 

  • NOTE: An agent also gets a percentage of all of earnings (both advances & royalties) for things like arguing on contract terms bc publishing is a businessso if publishers can put in contract clauses that are better for you than them, they will.  This is not a cuddly lemonade stand, side gig. It’s an industry with corporate entities who buy & sell goods.The goods in this case are books, but it’s still a mercantile situation.  
  • ANOTHER NOTE: No matter how much editors, publicists, et al love books, they are NOTyour friends when it comes to contracts. Publishers have legal divisions, accounting departments, etc.  An editor might be the one conveying the offer to you, but you can guarantee that that offer is a result of other people (who you will probably never meet) doing math. It’s not about friendship or book love. They are accounting & legal people doing THEIR job.  (Ergo, I believe in having an agent/agency who also has a shark tank to fight for terms that are better for me. Again, it’s business.) 

3. Indie/self-pubbed authors don’t pay to get published. Many invest in hiring an editor or buying cover art (etc). This is akin to start up fees in their business. There is more risk, but there is a higher percentage pocketed too. They then keep 100% of their sales income.  This model has been particularly successful for romance authors, New Adult (typically romance), thriller, SFF, and for authors who have established names. 


If someone comes to you with a hand out saying “I can publish you if you pay me this bargain rate of $x,”  I suggest you smile politely (or flip them off if you’re more into birds than teeth) and refuse to partake of the snake oil sales pitch. 

For some authors, indie is more fitting, & for some traditional is the right path, & for some “hybrid” (i.e. some of both kinds) is.   

If someone tells you that ONLY indie or ONLY trad or ONLY hybrid is the right path, I would ask some questions.  One of the great beauties of this industry is there is rarely ever only one way to do it.  There may be ONE way that works for an individual, but to suggest that their way is the way everyone should do is problematic.  I have friends making a good living in all three types of publishing models (indie, traditional, & hybrid). Maybe that will shift in the future, but much like academia where there are online, live, hybrid course options, I think publishing can support varying models. Currently, it is.  The one model it isn’t supporting (and shouldn’t) is the one that starts with “Pay me to publish you.”

Therein ends my overprotective mother streak.  Go forth & write. When you’re done with the book, switch to business mode & think critically no matter which route you choose.


M (currently in a mothering mode).

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Book Looks - Made for You


Book Looks – Made for You

Book Looks was created by Jen at Books and Other Happy Ever Afters ,combining our love of books & fashion with book cover or scene inspired outfits. 

This weeks pick is:

Made For You by Melissa Marr Made For You by Melissa Marr
rhinestone wedding shoes

View On WordPress

LOVE this! 

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Bunny Roo … read to its original audience of one.

As most of you know, I wrote a book  for my baby when we were in the hospital bc our pediatrician (the ever-patient & wise, Dr. Mark Brown, Head of Pediatrics at Eastern Maine Medical Center) suggested that my voice “calmed” my son & I should “sing or read” to him.

The book I wrote (BUNNY ROO, I LOVE YOU) was about finding a wee creature who was going through some difficulties, just as my son was.  He was exposed to drugs in utero & was going through extreme Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. I felt very honoured that his birthmother selected me as his mother, and my son & I bonded instantly.  Despite my joy, it was still very difficult, and as part of my “read to him” solution, I wrote the story of his journey through NAS & our adoption journey together.   

I now have a proof copy of the final book, & he loves it.  I’m not sure whether it’s because he remembers hearing the words so often in those earliest months or he likes that he is in a book.  Regardless of the reason, I am quite weepy & happy. 

And HE is simply happy:

Deepest gratitude to Nancy Paulsen (my editor at Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin) and Teagan White (the talented & lovely artist) for helping me take my pediatrician’s advice to this end result.   It’s exceedingly satisfying to have my son point at all of the different pages & then at himself & by the end, he jabs the picture of the mother & yells, “Mama!” & the baby in her arms & then himself and pronounces: “Zazzy K!”  

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Anonymous asked: May I ask how Asia spent her 21st birthday?? All my love to her and all of you x

In classes :) Asia is in her senior year of a double major in archaeology & anthropology.  

HOWEVER, while she was in Europe as my research assistant, we had dinner in Paris (her request) as an early birthday present … and bc I’m a big believer in commemorating events with some sort of memento (& she’s not yet a tattooed woman), we bought matching mother/daughter rings in Prague too to celebrate her 21st birthday.

NEXT month, I’m taking my eldest son (Dylan) to an air show in CA to celebrate HIS 16th birthday a week early.  The kids got to ask for what they wanted.  She wanted dinner in Paris, & he wants to go to the airshow. I don’t say no very well. 

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Happy Birthday, Asia!

My baby girl is 21 today. When Loch & I decided to get married, he was going to take my name. Asia objected: “Moms should have the same name as their kids.”  

So, I took HER last name as my legal surname, & her brothers now both wear that surname. I would’ve never changed my last name for a man no matter how much I love him, but when my daughter asked? There was no debate. I added her surname to mine. 

Asia, there is not another woman in the world who could be as amazing of a daughter as you are. It has been & remains a honour to be your mother.

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Anonymous asked: What does Keenan from Wicked Lovely look like

In my head, I suspect all of my characters look a little different than they do in readers’ heads.  When you read, the way he looks to you is precisely right.  That’s not always an answer folks like, but it IS the truth. 

For starters, I don’t see faces very well (in real life) so it’s hard for me to answer that always. I see characters’  movement, hair, skin, body art, and I hear characters’  voices. The finite details of faces elude me as a rule… which is why most of my characters’ faces are never described in books.  Right now, I have just walked downstairs, & I couldn’t tell you what my spouse’s face looks like—and I saw him 10 min ago. I could describe his walk or his tattoos, but that’s usually not what people mean when they ask what someone looks like. 

Sorry I’m not very good at answering this one!

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Anonymous asked: R u making another book for the Wicked Lovely series because that series is awesome

My daughter wrote a WICKED LOVELY book this summer. It’s on my desk for me to revise & write on further, and I suspect we’ll give it to my publisher at that point.  

I started the series for her back when she was 12, & she turns 21 tomorrow (!?).  This is her first novel … and it’s kind of exciting to me to see her write my characters.  It’s extra fun bc the characters that comes easiest for HER are the ones I don’t get as easily (& the inverse).  We plotted it together, so it’s been a fun project.  Whether or not it ends up in print remains to be seen.

I never meant to write the WL DESERT TALES novel, but I did, so … I’m not always sure I can totally let go of those characters.  

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Anonymous asked: I was wondering if The Arrivals will remain a stand-alone book? I'd also like to know the same for Carnival of Souls? I loved them both and have been wondering. Also, I can't wait for Made For You!♥ So pretty!♥ Thank you.

THE ARRIVALS was always supposed to be a stand-alone… as is MADE FOR YOU. Those are both all done. 

Carnival … (which btw, the title of that book is now CARNIVAL OF SECRETS) that’s the hardest question these days.  I started the sequel, have a chunk of it written, and then I adopted a baby who was very sick, & my schedule got weird, & since then, I’ve tried to go back to that book so many times & struggled with it. It’s like a block on the story in my head which I’ve never experienced with any other writing project. 

Honestly, I’m still hoping to write it, but it’s not SOLD to anyone and other things are so they come first. I imagine I’ll end up finishing it eventually just bc I hate that it’s unended. I like resolutions. If nothing else, I can post it online, right? However, right now, I have no set plan for when it’ll go from idea to book.  I have these other deadlines first, so I have a schedule.


Next 2 YA books (duology): Finishing the 1st one right now & then will write the sequel/conclusion (sequel already sold & due to publisher in summer15).

A NOT-YA deal-not-yet-unannounced duology (sold & due to publisher in 2015 & 2016). 

Aside from that, I’m wide open … with no plans for what happens next in YA, MG, or adult, so maybe I can do that sequel then? We’ll see.  I’ve been under contract for at least 3 years in front of me up until right now, so the wide-openness of my schedule after summer 2016 is both excited & scary. 

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Interview & big sale on my books

Google Play did an interview with me. They ALSO have my books on sale. You can go there to listen &/or buy my books at deep sale prices.

(PS If you watch as well as listen, please ignore my deathlike paleness & sick eyes. That was recorded in May when I was on 4 different meds and far sicker than almost ever in my life, & even with the meds, my being under the weather STILL shows. I swear I’m not always so corpse-like in appearance!!!)

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Slut shaming?

The general topic is one I’ve spoken about before—in classrooms & as a mother & as a writer. I know full well that some of what I’ll say below will make some people look at me differently. It always does, but my firm belief is that silence gives power to those who who would judge.  <—  It’s not a coincidence that my antagonist in MADE FOR YOU calls himself JUDGE or that he is critical of girls who are sexually active even as he himself is :)  

Why discuss this now? Because a blogger review in which MADE FOR YOU was charged with slut shaming got me thinking again about the topic.

NOTE: Obviously, all reader reviews are valid (including this one), especially if they have quotes to support them (as this does).  As I believe that there are no RIGHT answers in this world, only opinions which come from one’s worldview & experiences, I want to stress that this reviewer might be just as right as I might be even though we disagree. 

My gut reaction was that it would be exceedingly odd (& hypocritical) for me to suddenly take issue with promiscuity. I didn’t set out to write a commentary on the topic in MADE FOR YOU, but my beliefs filtered into the text fairly obviously.  The sexuality & sexual actions of all of the main characters in this book are a topic of discussion throughout the novel.

… but this shouldn’t be a surprise to regular readers considering how the topic filtered into many of my earlier books too. In Ink Exchange & Radiant Shadows, there are characters who are physically/sexually addictive (gancanaghs, which are directly from folklore).  In The Arrivals, there is an moment where one of the characters points out that the town has sex workers who provide a service just as tailors or banks do (& that one IS my opinion as well). In fact, I was asked about that in an interview last year (archived on WIRED). My answer is pasted here:

I thought it was interesting that there’s a part where Chloe is from 2010, and she’s starting to be interested in Jack who’s from the Old West, and she’s startled to realize that he has a very blasé attitude toward brothels. I was curious, what do you think about those two attitudes toward brothels? Do you fall more on the Chloe side or more on the Jack side?

I actually fall more on the Jack side. I understand that there are people that have an issue with it, but it’s a service like any other service. I think that sometimes in our country people are a little more uptight about sexuality than makes sense to me. I had a lot of friends that were dancers. I used to spend a lot of good time in strip clubs. There are people that appreciate being able to have relations without having to worry about emotions, and if it’s a service, and people are responsible, and not taking advantage of each other, I don’t see an issue with it.

(My answer remains that I see no issue with prostitution if it is the worker’s choice to do so.) In the entire Wicked Lovely series there are summer girls who enjoy the freedom of sex without commitment. The series contains TWO poly relationships. I think various sexual life paths are fine.

PLEASE NOTE: Obviously, any & all topics of sexual nature are ONLY in my teen & adult books. My middle-grade books are & will be 100% clean. One kiss on the cheek is as risqué as those books get!  

Part of my reason for the sequence cited below (& in the review) is the way Eva’s attitude contrasts with Judge’s (the sexually obsessed serial killer). 

Below is the quote in question. In it, Nate is with Eva when they learn that a friend of theirs was killed & the news is comparing it to the attack on Eva; she has just asked him to stay with her in her hospital room:

“I’ll warn you before I tell Robert [her boyfriend] I’m sleeping with the Jessup man-slut.” 
“You’re what? Eva, that’s not—” 
“Hush.” Offering him my most innocent look, I say, “I’m going to sleep. You’re here. Ergo, sleeping with the man-slut.”
 “Jesus, Eva. You can’t say things like that.” 
I put my hand over his mouth. “Shh. Sleeping now. I’ll let you know if you live up to your reputation, although so far, I’m not seeing what all the fuss was about.” I close my eyes. There’s a lot wrong right now, far more than ever in my life, but I feel safer and happier because Nate’s with me.

Nate is a promiscuous boy. It’s a fact. Eva teasing him is not intended to be about her shaming him. The potentially negative thing here (and, I suspect, the source of the charge) is the use of the word “man-slut,” and therein lies the point of divergence. 

Personally, I don’t believe that “slut” is an insult/negative thing at base.

Moreover, I believe that using the word “slut” in non-insulting ways is part of how we change perception. (Yes, I do come from the feminist era of “reclaiming” words.)

This is clearly where experiences & opinions are a factor in the formation of my opinion. Slut was a word many of my friends & I used lightly. That habit began with various of us being called sluts (including those among us who were virgins). We wore revealing clothes, dated the “wrong sort” of people, & were—without exception—poor.  The word was often used as an insult by the same boys who would call us secretly or by girls who dated the boys who were looking our way.  It was a word that they used in fear, shame, & guilt.

Initially, it stung, but we came to realize that it was ludicrous that we should be ashamed of owning our sexuality. We found it ludicrous to think of only having sex to “keep” or get a guy.  We approached sexuality differently than the people using that word negatively, albeit not always kindly I fear (sometimes we provided critiques to partners and spoke about what was & was not working). Overall, though, our attitude was sex-positive. Answering the phone to hear a greeting of “Hey, Slut” from a female friend was more normal than hearing my given name. (“Hey Bitch” was also a common version of hello.)  It was not an insult, nor did we choose to hear it as one when others used it. We owned our own bodies & did what we chose to do with them—from ornamentation to experimentation. (Not surprisingly, many of those friends went on to be assertive & outspoken in their career paths & personal lives as well.) 

Admittedly, there were historical factors in my younger years that are very different now. My daughter’s generation, having grown up in a world where AIDS was more understood, seems different than mine.  Many of her peers (male & female) were still virgins at graduation… a thing I couldn’t have conceived of at her age. But I also see many of these currently young women possessing an awareness of safety (physical & emotional) while simultaneously knowing they have  a right to have good, satisfactory sex (as opposed to the patriarchally preached notion that the act is merely for procreation or duty/expressing devotion). 

Back in the 80s, though, we were in the AIDS-is-new era. We thought the biggest danger of sex was pregnancy or a disease that required a shot in the bum. AIDS was new, & many of us thought we were somehow not at risk. (We were also fairly convinced that we could use drugs without getting addicted. Some of us have proven both of those theories inaccurate. I was one of the lucky ones to dodge the AIDS bullet. Most of us were lucky there.) 

Our choices eventually resulted in people organizing AIDS test “group date” in the 90s & developing a mindset of “safety matters”—which meant everyone I knew carried condoms in case they or friends needed them. It didn’t mean changing our stance of owning our sexuality, but it did mean pondering risk factors. I dated a sex worker when I was 20, but we had a strict no sex policy.  He didn’t want to “work” when he wasn’t on the clock, & I didn’t think the risk level was okay bc of his job. On the other hand, I’ve stopped dating someone because we weren’t compatible sexually, & I’ve had more “friends with benefits” than actual relationships. It was always about the choicesof the parties involved.

Slut was not an insult.  Neither was virgin… or bitch, or ‘ho, or any number of words that I expect were intended to be insults or evoke shame. That, too, is a choice.

As a teen & 20-something, I was, however,—if one used a common usage term—a slut. Simultaneously, I’ve had friends who were only monogamous as well as friends who maintained their virginity until marriage. (One friend is still a virgin in her 30s.) I have zero issue with anyone else being promiscuous OR monogamous OR virginal. 

That said, I do think all life paths have pros & cons, but that’s for the individual to decide, not for outsiders to judge.

In MADE FOR YOU, there are characters who have different attitudes toward sexuality (healthy & less healthy). I suspect that this is bc I’ve thought a lot about attitudes towards sex (both because I taught gender studies & because I am a. female, b. aware that my attitude is not always mainstream, and c. a mother). Thus far, I think most people tend to fall into a few basic groups on this topic (although I suspect there could be more & my list will shift & evolve still).

There’s the basic split:

GROUP A. Those who opt not to have sex.

GROUP B. Those who opt to have sex

From there, it can divide based on motives:

GROUP A splits into:

A1. Those who opt to not have sex for reasons of their personal values.

A2. Those who opt to not have sex for reasons of fear (personal reasons or societal judgment).

GROUP B splits into:

B1. Those who opt to only have sex as part of a monogamous committed relationship. {UDPATE: Monogamy changed to committed bc it occurs to me that “monogamy” technically means a two party relationship, not simply committed.} 

B2. Those who opt to have sex casually.

And I would posit that B2 also divides:

B2i.  Those who opt to have sex casually because they are seeking something (i.e. pleasure, approval, turning the brain off briefly, closer bonds with friends, etc.)

B2iI.  Those who opt to have sex casually because they are afraid of something (rejection, et al) or working something out (i.e. “I have the right to say yes or no here” as was a common post-rape response for me & for various friends).

In my life, I’ve been in all of those categories at one point or another.  I don’t see how there’s any reason for shame about any of them.  If I did, I wouldn’t speak openly with my kids or blog here (or answered in the past) or write books where different aspects of sex are presented positively. 

I firmly believe that, when possible, we as individuals should own our own bodies without shame or fear. It should always be the individual & his/her/their partner(s) choice as to whether to have or not have sex, with whom, when, where, and why.

Of course, that’s the crux of my entire belief system though: choice.

In almost everything I write, you will see some version of the line “there are always choices” or “she chose” et al.  I don’t look for spaces where I can fit it. It simply fits bc it’s a huge factor in my books & is key in most (all?) of my personal beliefs. That stance means I disagree with the legislation of women’s bodies. It means I believe that all consenting adults should have the choice to marry or not. It means that I believe racial/gender/ethnic/religious intolerance is disgusting, and as part of that, I also believe that legislating based on any ONE religion (including mine) is unacceptable.

… and it means that I believe that there is never ANY need to feel shame for any sexual encounter between two or more consenting adults (or individually with one’s self).  I believe, quite simply, in choice. 

Thanks to the anonymous reviewer for giving me something to ponder.  I always enjoy topics like these! :)