Tuesday, October 21, 2014

0 Opening the Door to Failure and Starting the Path to Success

I quit writing for almost fifteen years.

I cringe to think about that now, because I imagine what I could have learned in that time. . . . Where would my writing career be now? I look at the young writers starting out, and I’m envious of all the years they have left to hone their craft.

So why did I quit?

I could say it was because I had two young children, both with medical problems. I could say that it was because the Air Force sent my husband away to school for a year. I could say that I started a business because we needed the money, and I ended up working close to eighty hours a week. I could say it was because the rock-star agent who intimidated the crap out of me dropped me like a hot potato and I didn’t know where my manuscripts had been or hadn’t been. . . . All those things are true.

But there’s a bigger truth.

I was scared and discouraged and tired to my soul of being rejected.

There’s also another truth.

I didn’t realize that failure was an opportunity.

Thomas Stasiuk - Do Not Fear Failure


As writers, as artists, we need failure to enable growth. If we don’t fail, we keep writing the same thing that everyone else is writing, which is great if we want to write fan fiction. But if we want to earn a place on bookstore shelves and in the hearts of readers, we have to write something that only we could write.

Writing something unique is scary. It opens us up to even more failure and rejection—a different kind of rejection, the kind that doesn’t have the safety net that comes with subconsciously knowing we’ve held a little something back and protected ourselves at least a little bit. Fear is what holds us back

But fear can also push us to a breakthrough.

Celestine Chua - Life's Real Failure


The breakthrough that finally got Compulsion published came from fear. I had amassed a list of about ten agents who, while rejecting a previous manuscript, had asked to see more work. Writing Compulsion, I had already pushed myself further than ever before. I wrote a southern gothic paranormal romance when I knew that paranormals weren’t really what agents were looking for anymore. I wrote bigger than life characters, knowing that some people wouldn't get them. I wrote a heroine who makes lots of mistakes, knowing some people wouldn't identify with her. I tackled a huge story. I scared myself writing this book. And I fell in love with it, with every single aspect of it. When it came time to start thinking about querying it, fear that others wouldn't love it the way I did kept me staring at my lists instead of typing up the query letter.

At that moment, it wasn’t just the fear of rejection that held me back. I had finally learned enough about writing a novel to know how far I still had to go in mastering my craft. I feared that I hadn't done justice to the characters and the story. I feared losing the opportunities I had built with the agents who had asked to see additional work.

I needed a safety net of expert opinion.

Ross Mayfield - Experts Only


I considered doing a mentorship. Cynthia Leitich Smith, one of my writing heroes, offers a mentorship for several months, as do other writers. Ultimately, I opted to hire a private editor to look at overall structure. For me, that didn’t work out. The changes she suggested were minimal, but they didn’t resonate, but because I didn’t really trust myself, I implemented them anyway. Every one of those was ultimately taken out in the editorial process.

Next, I looked for a workshop that was intensive and craft-oriented. I found one called Your Best Book through Free Expressions Seminars and Literary Services. The timing, price, and duration were right. It was a week-long, craft-based program mentored by Lorin Oberweger (half of the Noelle August of Lorin and Veronica Rossi who wrote Boomerang), Brenda Windberg, Emma Dryden (former Vice President and Publisher of Atheneum Books for Young Readers and Margaret K. McElderry Books, imprints of Simon & Schuster), and literary agents Josh and Tracey Adams. Not only did they all provide brilliant suggestions and insights over the course of the week, but the caliber of writers attending the program was truly stellar. These were writers who knew their craft and were looking to push themselves further. Many were already published, or agented and on the point of publication. Working with them opened my eyes and showed me how much talent agents and editors see every day. That was both daunting and exhilarating.

BK - Robert Warren Painter Jr. Good things are coming
I took my manuscript home, incorporated the suggestions I’d received and carried them through the rest of the manuscript. I sent off my queries with a sense of calm assurance. I knew this manuscript was going to be “the one.”

Of course, that assurance disintegrated as the querying process drew out. I got to the point where I convinced myself it wasn’t going to work after all, and decided maybe I needed to do another round of revision. But right at that exact moment, I got the first email from an agent wanting to schedule “the call.”

I ended up getting multiple offers of representation for Compulsion, and then interest from multiple publishers that resulted in a pre-empt from Simon Pulse. I couldn’t have landed with a better publisher, and I’m a firm believer that everything that happened along my journey needed to happen to bring me to this point.

Is every manuscript publishable? No. Is every publishable manuscript published? Sadly, also no. There is an element of luck involved, I’m not going to lie.

All we can do is learn our craft, study what others have written, read what publishers are publishing AT THAT MOMENT, and write the best version of a manuscript that only we can write.

Once we’ve done that, we send it out. We hope it finds a home, and if it doesn’t, we write the next manuscript. That previous book will still be there, waiting for us to look at again after the next is published.

What we can’t do is quit. Not if we have something to say. Not if we have a compulsion for writing and sharing our ideas with others.

To help YOU make the breakthrough, Lorin Oberweger of Free Expressions is generously offering a ten-page critique to a random winner, and I’m offering a $100 gift certificate to any of the Free Expressions seminars or services.



I want you all to learn from my mistakes. Don’t quit. Don’t tell yourself you aren’t good enough. Don’t tell yourself you don’t have time to become good enough.

Tell yourself instead that everyone fails. Tell yourself you’re going to embrace failure as a badge of honor, as a mark of courage.

Feed your compulsion to write.

And if you’re writing and you’re struggling, I’m sending you an enormous hug. Keep going. It’s worth it.

Compulsion hits stores in less than a week. I had my first school visit a week ago.


And my first book signing on Thursday. While I was there, I got to open the package with my first finished copy of my book. An actual, really-truly, never-thought-it-could-happen book.



Best feeling EVER, especially when the road has been so long.

It can happen. It will happen.

Just believe!

Want to win the Free Expressions gift certificate or critique from Lorin Oberweger, or a critique from Kent D. Wolf, my agent, or critiques from other agents, and tons of other gifts and prizes?


1) Why you're compelled to write
2) How or why you almost quit
3) What brought you back from the brink of quitting
4) Your favorite bit of advice or inspiration you'd like to share with other writers

Then join us tomorrow, 10/22/14 from 6:00 PM Eastern to 7:00 PM Eastern for live chats, prize drawings, and MORE spur-of-the-moment prizes!



Monday, October 20, 2014

10 Giveaways from Cinda Williams Chima and Karen Akins plus New YALit Releases 10/20-10/26

We're back again this week with a couple of amazing giveaways. Cinda Williams Chima is giving away signed copies of THE SORCERER HEIR and THE ENCHANTER HEIR plus tattoos and a signed poster, and Karen Akins is giving away a signed copy of LOOP. And of course, we have the rundown of new releases this week.

Have a great week and happy reading!

~ The ladies of AYAP
Martina, Alyssa, Lisa, Erin, Becca, and Jan

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


* * * *


The Sorcerer Heir
by Cinda Williams Chima
Signed Hardcover Giveaway 
plus The Enchanter Heir and swag
Disney-Hyperion
Released 10/21/2014

The delicate peace between Wizards and the underguilds (Warriors, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers) still holds by the thinnest of threads, but powerful forces inside and outside the guilds threaten to sever it completely.

Emma and Jonah are at the center of it all. Brought together by their shared history, mutual attraction, and a belief in the magic of music, they now stand to be torn apart by new wounds and old betrayals. As they struggle to rebuild their trust in each other, Emma and Jonah must also find a way to clear their names as the prime suspects in a series of vicious murders. It seems more and more likely that the answers they need lie buried in the tragedies of the past. The question is whether they can survive long enough to unearth them.

Old friends and foes return as new threats arise in this stunning and revelatory conclusion to the beloved and bestselling Heir Chronicles series.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Sorcerer Heir?

The Sorcerer Heir is the final novel in a series of five contemporary fantasies revolving around five magical guilds: Warriors, Wizards, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers. In this novel I was able to clear up the trouble I made for my characters in The Sorcerer Heir as well as giving two deserving minor characters some major stage time. I also got to change up the magical system a little. An appropriate tagline for these last two installments would be: This is what happens when magic goes mutant.

Purchase The Sorcerer Heir at Amazon
Purchase The Sorcerer Heir at IndieBound
View The Sorcerer Heir on Goodreads


* * * *


Loop
by Karen Akins
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 10/21/2014

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.


Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Loop?

LOOP is about a twenty-third century time traveler named Bree who meets a boy from the past who is already in love with her future self and is keeping his own set of secrets. One of the things I love most about the story is that Finn (the boy) refuses to give up on Bree even when she's almost at the point of giving up on herself. He loves her even when she's unloveable, and that makes it a very hopeful story.

Purchase Loop at Amazon
Purchase Loop at IndieBound
View Loop on Goodreads

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


* * * *


Damaged
by Amy Reed
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Jeanette Green

Two teens must come to terms with their friend’s death—and her afterlife—in this gritty and realistic novel from the author of Beautiful, Clean, Crazy, and Over You.

When Kinsey’s best friend Camille dies in a car accident while she was behind the wheel, she shuts down completely, deciding that numbness is far better than mourning. She wants to be left alone during the last few weeks of high school, but Camille’s mysterious boyfriend Hunter, who was also in the car that night, has a different idea.

Despite all of Kinsey’s efforts, she can’t shake Camille, who begins haunting her in dreams. Sleep deprived and on the verge of losing it, she agrees to run away with Hunter to San Francisco. As the pair tries to escape both the ghost of Camille and their own deep fears, Kinsey questions how real her perception of her friendship with Camille was, and whether her former friend’s ghost is actually now haunting her. Hunter, meanwhile, falls into a spiral of alcoholism, anger, and self-loathing.

Ultimately, Kinsey and Hunter must come to terms with what they’ve lost and accept that they can’t outrun pain.

Purchase Damaged at Amazon
Purchase Damaged at IndieBound
View Damaged on Goodreads

* * * *


Hero Complex
by Margaux Froley
Hardcover
Soho Teen
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Michelle Lee

Less than a month has passed since Devon Mackintosh uncovered the truth about the apparent suicide of Keaton’s golden boy and her unrequited love, Hutch. But that doesn’t mean the danger is over. Her own life has been threatened. Solving Hutch’s case only unearthed more questions: what lies beneath the Keaton land that could be so valuable as to tear the Hutchins family apart?

Hutch’s grandfather, Reed Hutchins, knows the answer. But Reed is dying of cancer, and this dark family secret might die with him. Faced with no other option, Devon swipes Reed’s diary  and plunges into his life as an 18-year-old science prodigy in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Through his adolescent eyes—and his role in biological weapons research, still classified to this day—Devon fights to piece together the final clues to what haunts the Keaton hillsides, the truth Reed’s enemies are still willing to kill for.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Hero Complex?

The thing that surprised me about HERO COMPLEX was the historical backstory I got to play with. I knew I wanted to dig into the origins of the Keaton School and the infamous Mr. Keaton, but I ended up getting really immersed in American life during WWII, particularly in California, which led me down a research vortex of the Japanese Internment camps and the forced internment of Japanese American citizens after Pearl Harbor. Our own President ordered the forced internment of any citizen with Japanese roots. People had to give up their houses, their businesses, their pets, their belongings, and some even their lives in a very thuggish attempt at American safety during WWII.

It seems like a very unthinkable act that could never happen today, but this happened in our recent history. I wanted to bring some of that to light and I really enjoyed weaving real history in with my imaginary Keaton School.

Also, on a totally separate note, I loved getting Devon and her friends off the Keaton campus and having them run around and play in Berkeley and San Francisco. Opening up their world a little bit was a fun way to try to keep everyone fresh.


Purchase Hero Complex at Amazon
Purchase Hero Complex at IndieBound
View Hero Complex on Goodreads

* * * *


Mortal Gods
by Kendare Blake
Hardcover
Tor Teen
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Julia Wellman

Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She's ready to wage a war of her own, and she's never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she'll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can't have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra's hate will get them ALL killed.

The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can't, fates far worse than death await.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Mortal Gods?

My favorite thing about MORTAL GODS is probably the trip to the underworld. I loved writing the scene where they cross over, and of course the three-headed dog!


Purchase Mortal Gods at Amazon
Purchase Mortal Gods at IndieBound
View Mortal Gods on Goodreads

* * * *


They All Fall Down
by Roxanne St. Clare
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 10/14/2014

Winner - Joycedale Chapman

Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination in this YA psychological thriller that will have readers' hearts racing right till the very end!

Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed.

All because of the list.

Kenzie Summerall can't imagine how she's been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.

This is the power of the list. If you're on it, your life changes.

If you're on it this year? Your life ends.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about They All Fall Down?

I’d never written anything quite like this book, so the story felt wildly fresh and unique to me. Not only had I never written a “thriller” before, I hadn’t read any teen thrillers. I actually had a hard time finding any on the market at the time I started writing. So, this was uncharted territory for me and I hope that translates into a book with plenty of twists and turns that surprise the reader as much as they surprised me.
The other aspect I loved was a chance to incorporate the “dead language” of Latin -- which is not dead at all! Through the assistance of my daughter and her Latin teacher, I was able to weave threads and clues using a language we really don’t know much about -- yet is the basis for so many of our words. What I initially thought would be an interesting character trait for the protagonist turned into a critical plot point for the whole book. I always love when that happens.
I guess there’s one more thing I loved about the book -- it is the first book I’ve written in my whole career where a romance isn’t front and center to the character’s story arc. There is a “love interest” in THEY ALL FALL DOWN but I would never classify this book as a romance. For me, it was liberating and great fun to write without worrying about over-developing that aspect of the story.



Purchase They All Fall Down at Amazon
Purchase They All Fall Down at IndieBound
View They All Fall Down on Goodreads

* * * *


Very Bad Things
by Susan McBride
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 10/14/2014

Winners - Heather Raglin, Anna Weimer, and Shannon Mizikoski

Katie never thought she'd be the girl with the popular boyfriend. She also never thought he would cheat on her-but the proof is in the photo that people at their boarding school can't stop talking about. Mark swears he doesn't remember anything. But Rose, the girl in the photo, is missing, and Mark is in big trouble. Because it looks like Rose isn't just gone…she's dead.

Maybe Mark was stupid, but that doesn't mean he's a killer.

Katie needs to find out what really happened, and her digging turns up more than she bargained for, not just about Mark but about someone she loves like a sister: Tessa, her best friend. At Whitney Prep, it's easy to keep secrets…especially the cold-blooded kind.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Very Bad Things?

At its core, Very Bad Things is a thriller with a lot of twists and turns, but it’s also a story about friendship, love, and trust. We’ve all had experiences where we’ve believed in someone and thought we knew that person so well only to find out that much of what we felt to be true was a pack of lies. In VBT, as Katie tries to unravel the mystery of Rose’s disappearance, she begins to realize that even the people she thinks she knows best and loves the most might not be who she thinks they are. So it’s the characters in Very Bad Things that I love best. They are complicated. They have lived through experiences—some good and some very bad—that have made them who they are. And they’re not always predictable.

Purchase Very Bad Things at Amazon
Purchase Very Bad Things at IndieBound
View Very Bad Things on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


* * * *


Beware the Wild
by Natalie C. Parker
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 10/21/2014

It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

Purchase Beware the Wild at Amazon
Purchase Beware the Wild at IndieBound
View Beware the Wild on Goodreads

* * * *


Famous in Love
by Rebecca Serle
Hardcover
Poppy
Released 10/21/2014

When seventeen-year-old Paige Townsen gets plucked from obscurity to star in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a bustling movie set on the shores of Maui, and she is spending quality time with her costar Rainer Devon, one of People's Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie's famous love triangle, Paige's crazy new life begins to resemble her character's.

In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is -- and who she wants -- while the whole world watches.

Purchase Famous in Love at Amazon
Purchase Famous in Love at IndieBound
View Famous in Love on Goodreads

* * * *


How It Went Down
by Kekla Magoon
Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 10/21/2014

When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white.

In the aftermath of Tariq's death, everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events line up. Day by day, new twists further obscure the truth.

Tariq's friends, family, and community struggle to make sense of the tragedy, and to cope with the hole left behind when a life is cut short. In their own words, they grapple for a way to say with certainty: This is how it went down.

Purchase How It Went Down at Amazon
Purchase How It Went Down at IndieBound
View How It Went Down on Goodreads

* * * *


Snake Bite
by Andrew Lane
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 10/21/2014

Kidnapped, Sherlock ~16 sails through tropical storm to Shanghai. Cook Wu Chung and father of new pal Cameron Mackenzie both die from same snake bite, first slow sickness, second instant paralysis. Veiled Mr Arrhenius hides small clawed shadow in cage, and coded circle-line web that attracts Chinese junk pirate attack. Only three boys can save an American navy steamer.

Purchase Snake Bite at Amazon
Purchase Snake Bite at IndieBound
View Snake Bite on Goodreads

* * * *


Stone Cold Touch
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Paperback
Harlequin Teen
Released 10/21/2014

Every touch has its price

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.

But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…

Purchase Stone Cold Touch at Amazon
Purchase Stone Cold Touch at IndieBound
View Stone Cold Touch on Goodreads

* * * *


Ticker
by Lisa Mantchev
Hardcover
Skyscape
Released 10/21/2014

A girl with a clockwork heart makes every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly died, the brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick managed to implant a brass ?Ticker, ? transforming her into ?the first of the Augmented!? But soon it was discovered that Warwick kidnapped and killed dozens of people striving to perfect another Ticker for Penny.

The last day of Warwick's trial, the Farthing factory is bombed, Warwick disappears, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom demand for all of their Augmentation notes if they want to see their parents again. Who is trying to stop their work? Or to control it? Or is the motive more sinister?

Determined to solve the mystery and reunite their family, the Farthings recruit their closest friends: fiery baker Violet Nesselrode and gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling. Unexpectedly leading the charge is Marcus Kingsley, the young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

Purchase Ticker at Amazon
Purchase Ticker at IndieBound
View Ticker on Goodreads

* * * *


Time's Edge
by Rysa Walker
Paperback
Skyscape
Released 10/21/2014

To stop her sadistic grandfather, Saul, and his band of time travelers from rewriting history, Kate must race to retrieve the CHRONOS keys before they fall into the Cyrists? hands. If she jumps back in time and pulls the wrong key?one that might tip off the Cyrists to her strategy?her whole plan could come crashing down, jeopardizing the future of millions of innocent people. Kate?s only ally is Kiernan, who also carries the time-traveling gene. But their growing bond threatens everything Kate is trying to rebuild with Trey, her boyfriend who can?t remember the relationship she can?t forget.

As evidence of Saul?s twisted mind builds, Kate?s missions become more complex, blurring the line between good and evil. Which of the people Saul plans to sacrifice in the past can she and Kiernan save without risking their ultimate goal?or their own lives?

Purchase Time's Edge at Amazon
Purchase Time's Edge at IndieBound
View Time's Edge on Goodreads


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 19, 2014

0 Adventures in YA Publishing Is Looking for an Interview Coordinator and an Interview Formatter

Hi all,

Due to illness, we are losing our Interview Coordinator effective immediately. We're heartbroken, because Katharyn Sinelli has very big shoes to fill. So big that we're effectively going to split the position in two to make it more manageable for a non-superhuman to accomplish. We've filled one portion of the position already, so here's what's left:

Interview Coordinator

1) Check the list of upcoming YA books and enter the title, ISBN-10, author's name and release date into our database.
2) Check contact information for authors, enter to database, and click the send button to generate automated interview requests.
3) Respond to response emails from authors and enter interview answers into the database and into a scheduled post as they come in.
4) Pass interest for WOW Wednesday posts and Craft Posts to appropriate editors

What do you get in return?  You'll be part of the team behind a two-time 101 Best Websites for Writers site. You'll learn from and interact with great authors. Help set new policy and directions for the site. Plus there's plenty of room (eventually) to make things your own.

Interested? Contact us at ayaplit at gmail dot com! Please include a resume or synopsis of your experience and why you're interested. Please also include a couple of references. : ) Thanks!

0 Tucker Shaw, author of OH YEAH, AUDREY!, believes there are little moments within big moments, and secrets to be found in NYC.

What is your favorite thing about OH YEAH, AUDREY!?

I had to think about this question for a bit before settling on an answer. At first I thought, well, obviously my favorite thing is Gemma Beasley, my main character and, during the process of writing her story, my alter ego. She’s outgoing, stylish, thoughtful, energetic, kind – all qualities I admire and would like to have more of.

Then I thought well, hmm. Maybe my favorite thing about this story is Audrey Hepburn. Of course, she’s not in the book, not really, but her sense of style, of acting, of living, of being, permeates every corner and idea in the book. What kind of person remains such a huge and lasting presence even so many years after “Breakfast at Tiffanys” and her other films? Who attains and retains her status as a powerful international role model even twenty-one years after her death? Who do millions of people want to grow up to emulate? It has to be Audrey Hepburn.

But the truth is, after thoroughly excavating my brain, I know that my favorite thing about “Oh Yeah, Audrey!” is New York City, where I spent the most important fifteen years of my life and which remains, even though I don’t live there now, my center of gravity. I love it because there are thousands – millions – of Gemma Beasleys (or Tucker Shaws or insert-your-name-heres) in New York on any given day, searching the city and its landmarks, accepting its dares, falling into its traps, discovering its hidden passageways, looking for a better understanding of who they are. They know, like Gemma knew, like so many know: There’s no other city in the world that holds the secret.

Holly Golightly, Audrey Hepburn’s character in “Breakfast at Tiffanys,” delivers a line near the end of the film that, more than any other moment in the movie, sounds as if it’s coming straight from the actress, not the character: “Oh, I love New York.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K1AssnvQFY) It’s an acknowledgement that Holly’s story couldn’t have happened anywhere else. And neither could Gemma’s. 

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I often think about small moments within big moments, and how things that seem relatively unimportant at the time later reveal themselves to be crucial. For all the thought and endurance that goes into planning big events, it’s the small decisions, the ones that others don’t always see or weigh in on, that really define who we are. Gemma, the main character in “Oh Yeah, Audrey!,” spends a lot of time and energy planning what should the biggest event of her life, but it’s the small, unseen decisions she makes that change who she is. My other inspiration? Hello, Audrey Hepburn. What a muse!

How long did you work on the book?

I spent about a year and a half on this book. It’s a good thing all my drafts were electronic and not actually on paper, or the northern forests would be a lot smaller right now.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I’ve lost track of the number of books I’ve written, or at least started, that didn’t get published. But I’ve been fortunate to have five novels published before this one (“Flavor of the Week,” “Confessions of a Backup Dancer,” “The Hookup Artist,” “The Girls,” and “Anxious Hearts”). I’ve also written a couple of cookbooks – my day job is as a food writer and editor for America’s Test Kitchen.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I’m not sure I have a ritual. I decided fairly early on in my writing life that, while I love the idea of holing up in a cabin in the woods and shutting out the world to concentrate, it’s just not realistic. And so, I have to be comfortable writing in any circumstance. Distractions exist even when you think you’ve banished them (because really, they’re in your brain). As I write this now, I have the US Open tennis tournament on the television and I have three unanswered texts on my phone. And I have four characters for my (hoped-for) next book causing mischief in my head.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

They’re just words. Don’t be afraid of them.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Oh Yeah, Audrey!
by Tucker Shaw
Hardcover
Amulet Books
Released 10/14/2014

It’s 5:00 a.m. on Fifth Avenue, and 16-year-old Gemma Beasley is standing in front of Tiffany & Co. wearing the perfect black dress with her coffee in hand—just like Holly Golightly. As the cofounder of a successful Tumblr blog—Oh Yeah Audrey!—devoted to all things Audrey Hepburn, Gemma has traveled to New York in order to meet up with her fellow bloggers for the first time. She has meticulously planned out a 24-hour adventure in homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s; however, her plans are derailed when a glamorous boy sweeps in and offers her the New York experience she’s always dreamed of. Gemma soon learns who her true friends are and that, sometimes, no matter where you go, you just end up finding yourself.Filled with hip and sparkling prose, Oh Yeah, Audrey! is as much a story of friendship as it is a love letter to New York, Audrey Hepburn, and the character she made famous: Holly Golightly.

Purchase Oh Yeah, Audrey! at Amazon
Purchase Oh Yeah, Audrey! at IndieBound
View Oh Yeah, Audrey! on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Tucker Shaw was born in Maine, went to high school in Denver, and lived in New York City for 16 years before returning to the Mile High City to review restaurants for the Denver Post in 2005. He's now an editor in the Features department, where he covers arts, entertainment, style, culture, books, food and more. OH YEAH, AUDREY! is his sixth book for young adults. Most of his time is spent thinking about lunch. The rest of his time is spent thinking about dinner.

0 Chelsey Philpot, author of EVEN IN PARADISE, on the benefits of early morning ocean breezes and jumping out of airplanes.

What is your favorite thing about EVEN IN PARADISE?

That it’s a real book…kidding…but kind of not.
Truthfully, I am so grateful that I had a story to tell and that that story is now a beautifully designed book that readers can read—that readers want to read.
It has been so rewarding and fascinating to learn what individuals take away from Even in Paradise—what motifs and themes one person might latch onto versus another. For example, YA author Leila Sales found the story to be about “tragedy and destructiveness of wealth,” while author Elizabeth LaBan latched on to “that startling concept that one mistake can change the course of your life forever.”

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

When my three siblings and I were growing up, our father used to say, “the day is half over by ten o’clock.” We grew up on a farm and even as adults, we all still cling to the habit of waking up wicked early. I wrote Even in Paradise in the dark hours of the morning at an old wooden desk in my shoebox-size Brooklyn apartment. I drank cups and cups of coffee so strong it seemed like I should be able to chew it. In warmer months, I wore faded T-shirts and too large shorts. In colder months, I pulled on a ratty cashmere sweater or one of the many well-worn flannel shirts I’ve stolen from my father.
For my second book, I’ve kept to this ritual, save for the facts that my desk is now in New England instead of Brooklyn and the morning breezes that come through my window smell of the nearby ocean instead of the donuts baking in the bodega on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Union Street.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

This question has been answered eloquently and thoughtfully by many talented writers, and I second their advice. It is so true that in order to be a writer you have to read, work at it every day, and accept setbacks as challenges.
To this wisdom, I would only add this in: To be a writer, you have to choose a brave life. Not just because writing is difficult and requires tenacity, but also because I’ve found that the larger you live, the more you have to write about.
Jump out of airplanes. Travel. Say “yes” instead of no. Live out of a suitcase. Start conversations with strangers. To poorly paraphrase Henry David Thoreau: you cannot sit down to write if you have not stood up to live.

What are you working on now?

I am working on my second young adult novel. I’m not ready to say much about it, but I will share that part of my research involved skydiving.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Even in Paradise
by Chelsey Philpot
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 10/14/2014

When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do... or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden … until now.

Purchase Even in Paradise at Amazon
Purchase Even in Paradise at IndieBound
View Even in Paradise on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Chelsey Philpot is a  bibliophile, museum haunter, and library devotee.

She writes about books, culture, travel, and the arts for the Boston Globe, New York TimesBuzzFeed, and many other publications. When she's not actuallywriting, she teaches writing at Boston University. Before moving to New England, she was a book reviews editor at School Library Journal in New York City.

HarperCollins will publish her first young adult novel, Even in Paradise, in October 2014.

0 Ben Tripp, author of THE ACCIDENTAL HIGHWAYMAN, traces the origins of "swashbuckling," and describes a childhood pickled in magic.


What is your favorite thing about The Accidental Highwayman?

That's a tough question, because I crammed the book with my favorite things. I love magic, history, true love, animals, and swashbucking in general. How often do you get a chance to throw a baboon into a Baroque setting? Or fly a horse off the roof of Hampton Court Palace? But I must say my favorite thing in The Accidental Highwayman is the language. Old forgotten words, 18th century phrasing, dialects, made-up terms, ridiculous insults. We think in words; the world is made of them, in a sense. So there is no greater delight for me than an opportunity to take our language up in the air and see how beautifully it flies.

I know this is precious book-pitching space, but can I just point out that 'swashbuckling' probably comes to us from the 1500s? It combines the onomatopoetic word 'swash' (to swish or strike) with 'buckler', which is a small shield. The original meaning was to bluster and act warlike, as by thumping your shield. I don't think it's actually in the book, come to think of it. But 'tatterdemalion' is. You'll have to read the book to find out what that one means.
What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I've been thinking about this a lot recently. The easy answer is that I was exposed all my childhood to fairy tales, myths, legends, and the classic stories intended for all readers, young and old. This came from growing up in a household devoted to the arts and literature, especially as my father was a children's book illustrator and author. There was magic in the air; I was pickled in it from an early age.
The tough answer is that it's also an homage to what I lost as a teenager. I got cynical and angry in a hurry. I couldn't succeed at anything, was confused and miserable. All of those glittering palaces of my childhood came tumbling down. The Accidental HIghwayman is a story about a sixteen-year-old whose life is the opposite of mine: he had a grim, magic-free childhood, and now enchantment comes into his life. I was inspired by this idea because that sense of wonder can always come back to us, no matter what age we are, if we are open to it. It happened to me 

How long did you work on the book?

Somewhere between one month and forty years, depending how you count it. The first draft took me a month to complete, writing sixteen or more hours per day. If you include subsequent drafts, it took six months. Add in the collaboration with my editor, and it goes up to a year.
But if you add in the gestation period, the time it took for these ideas to grow in the back of my mind from their first inklings, then the thing took me years. Everything's like that. Whatever we do, we do with the skills and experience of our lifetimes.

What's your writing ritual like?

How we write evolves over time. It's a rare writer who uses the same methods for her entire career. I used to write in my spare time, which required a great deal of mental discipline. There were a million distractions and I had to be able to write in five-minute bursts, or work in the wee hours when everything was quiet.

These days I write full-time, so I needn't be as disciplined, but I retain some of my old habits. I work at home, and typically start writing within a few minutes of waking up, often at four in the morning. Once the rest of the household (my wife and dogs) is awake, I often put on music -- mostly film scores, including a lot of Bollywood soundtracks. They're sung in Hindi, so the lyrics don't get in the way of the words in my head. I'll generally work for several three-hour heats, take the evening off, and late at night I'll write notes and fragments to prep myself for the next day. If I'm between projects I may only write for an hour or two, but I do write every day. If you're not in the chair, inspiration may decide to visit somebody else.

ABOUT THE BOOK


The Accidental Highwayman
by Ben Tripp
Hardcover
Tor Teen; First Edition edition
Released 10/14/2014

The Accidental Highwayman is the first swashbuckling adventure for young adults by talented author and illustrator, Ben Tripp. This thrilling tale of dark magic and true love is the perfect story for fans of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.

In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.

Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master’s quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, goblin attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows….

Fans of classic fairy-tale fantasies such as Stardust by Neil Gaiman and will find much to love in this irresistible YA debut by Ben Tripp, the son of one of America’s most beloved illustrators, Wallace Tripp (Amelia Bedelia). Following in his father’s footsteps, Ben has woven illustrations throughout the story.

“Delightful and charming. A swashbuckling adventure in the vein of Robert Louis Stevenson.” —#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson

Purchase The Accidental Highwayman at Amazon
Purchase The Accidental Highwayman at IndieBound
View The Accidental Highwayman on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


BEN TRIPP is the author of Rise Again and Rise Again: Below Zero, a two-part apocalyptic zombie saga for Gallery.

He has an upcoming trilogy of rollicking young adult novels in the historical fantasy genre for Tor, the first of which is The Accidental Highwayman. In addition, Gallery has secured rights to his first foray into the vampire genre, The Fifth House of the Heart.

Tripp is an artist, writer, and designer who has worked with major entertainment companies and motion picture studios for more than two decades. He was for many years one of the world's leading conceptualists of public experiences, with a global portfolio of projects ranging from urban masterplanning to theme parks. Now he writes novels full-time.

He lives with his wife (Academy Award-winning writer/ producer Corinne Marrinan) in Los Angeles and London.


0 Michael Grant, author of BZRK APOCALYPSE, on excessive homework in high school, and why you may not want to see close up pictures of the human tongue.

What is your favorite thing about BZRK APOCALYPSE?

The whole denouement pivots on an aspect of nanotechnology that I had not thought of until I reached the third book.  It was a very cool insight to me, realizing that nanobots could be used to inflict astounding destruction in a whole new way.  Obviously I’m trying to avoid spoilers here.  The best thing for me in terms of the whole series is that I can say with some confidence that no one has read anything quite like BZRK before, certainly not in Young Adult.  BZRK is not another. . . fill in the blanks.  BZRK is BZRK.  BZRK: Apocalypse is me carrying the series’  premise to its extreme.  

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

Bed bugs and obsessive compulsive disorder.  I only have a touch of OCD, but it runs strong in my family.  The research on this series was far and away the most disturbing preparation I’ve ever done.  I spent hours looking at scanning electron microscope pictures of everything from mites to neurons to blood cells, fungi, bacteria, viruses, pollen, every kind of human tissue.  And for me at least it’s kind of nightmarish stuff.  After you’ve spent some time with high magnifications or SEM’s of a human tongue with helpfully colorized bacteria, you hesitate just a bit before kissing your wife.
  
How long did you work on the book?

About six months.
  
How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I sort of snuck in the back door of publishing.  My wife and I wrote a Harlequin romance.  It was. . . well, it got published, which was the point.  Probably not going to be squeezed onto the shelf between Faulkner and Fitzgerald.  From there we started ghostwriting, then moved onto our own series, most notably Animorphs.  But for the early period I was writing with my wife.  Now I write alone.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

As of this writing I live in Tiburon, California, and am renting a house with a stunning view of San Francisco harbor.  So I go out on my deck where I have a rocking chair, I have a black coffee with me, and a cigar, and then I screw around on the internet for an hour until I finally force myself to actually get to work.  I’m a bit more self-disciplined than I was doing homework back in school, but not much more.  I do sometimes listen to music on my iPhone: Rancid, Offspring, Stones, Against Me, Shot Baker, Methadones.  Mostly punk, some reggae, some blues.
  
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Aspiring writers or fellow published writers? For the latter group I’d say: get a publishing lawyer, even if you have an agent.  For aspiring writers, I guess I’d say, look, the whole world is conspiring to destroy the one thing you absolutely need to become a writer:  your imagination.  Don’t let that happen. Also, have a life.  I really dislike the way high schools and even middle schools are relentlessly piling pressure on kids.  I think it’s obscene to have a kid put in 7 hours at school, plus 3 hours of homework, plus you need extracurriculars and charity to impress some elite college.  Just absurd and destructive, all in service to some credential.  Education is treated as an endurance event and a sprint all at once.  Kids need to have lives.  They need some slack in there somewhere.

What are you working on now?

I have the final pass on THE TATTOOED HEART, A MESSENGER OF FEAR BOOK in my in-box, and I’m about 2/3 done with SOLDIER GIRL, a new series.


ABOUT THE BOOK


BZRK Apocalypse
by Michael Grant
Hardcover
EgmontUSA
Released 10/14/2014

The Matrix meets Inner Space in this third book in the BZRK trilogy from New York Times best-selling author Michael Grant.

The staggering conclusion to the BZRK trilogy, from the author of GONE. The members of BZRK are preparing for their final stand, in the world's capitals and in the nano. Expect the unexpected in this novel packed with the author's trademark jaw-dropping action, violence, and pace.

Purchase BZRK Apocalypse at Amazon
Purchase BZRK Apocalypse at IndieBound
View BZRK Apocalypse on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Grant has always been fast-paced. He’s lived in almost 50 different homes in 14 US states, and moved in with his wife, Katherine Applegate, after knowing her for less than 24 hours. His long list of previous occupations includes: law librarian, cartoonist, bowling alley mechanic, restaurant reviewer, waiter, documentary film producer and political media consultant.

Grant and Applegate have co-authored more than 100 books, including the massive hit series Animorphs. Grant went on to write The New York Times and international bestselling series, GONE. His BZRK series takes participants on a roller-coaster ride across print and digital venues.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

0 Susan McBride,author of VERY BAD THINGS, talks about managing multiple POV's, and writing with a two year old.

What is your favorite thing about VERY BAD THINGS?

At its core, Very Bad Things is a thriller with a lot of twists and turns, but it’s also a story about friendship, love, and trust. We’ve all had experiences where we’ve believed in someone and thought we knew that person so well only to find out that much of what we felt to be true was a pack of lies. In VBT, as Katie tries to unravel the mystery of Rose’s disappearance, she begins to realize that even the people she thinks she knows best and loves the most might not be who she thinks they are. So it’s the characters in Very Bad Things that I love best. They are complicated. They have lived through experiences—some good and some very bad—that have made them who they are. And they’re not always predictable.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I have written lots of mysteries for the general fiction market, and the idea behind Very Bad Things was originally intended to be for adults. But after going through several other mystery ideas with my editor at Delacorte, I brought this idea up and she loved it!  I think the story actually works better as a YA mystery. The prep school setting just worked out so beautifully, and the complicated relationships between Katie, Mark, and Tessa probably wouldn’t have been as effective if the characters were, say, in their 30s. Everything just clicked.

How long did you work on the book?

I worked on Very Bad Things on and off for about two years. It went through three revisions before I knew I got it right. Initially, I had a character’s point of view that was eliminated entirely, and I had to start fresh using another character’s point of view. It was very tricky and totally absorbing trying to approach what happens in the story—the disappearance of Rose and the aftermath—from three separate perspectives. I didn’t want to give away too much with any one character, yet I had to keep revealing more and more secrets as the plot progressed. It was honestly one of the hardest books I’ve written and the most gratifying.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?


It took me over a decade to get published initially once I was out of college, and I still have about seven or eight unpublished manuscripts in a box in my basement. Luckily, I never tossed any of them, as three were recently dusted off and published by HarperCollins in a new mystery series (the River Road Mysteries, which came out this summer). So, aspiring authors, never throw anything away!  ;-) I’ve actually been writing professionally for 15 years. I have several women’s fiction books with HarperCollins, like Little Black Dress and The Truth About Love & Lightning. There are two books in a non-mystery young adult series with Delacorte, The Debs and Love, Lies & Texas Dips (the third in that series, Gloves Off, was never released so I got the rights back and will publish myself in 2015). And I’ve written the humorous Debutante Dropout Mystery series for HarperCollins that’s been on the USA Today Bestsellers List. Coincidentally, HC/Avon is releasing a five-book collection of the Deb Dropout series on October 14, the same day Very Bad Things drops!). I believe that Very Bad Things is my 18th novel written under contract for either Random House or HarperCollins since 1999. It’s been a very interesting ride, I must say!

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I can’t write with music because I end up listening to it and singing along!  I don’t think I could work in a coffee shop as I’d be too distracted. So I work at home. I have a “writing room”—it feels weird to call it an office because I pretty much just write in it. Before I had a baby two years ago, I would just write all day long, taking breaks for laundry, emails, whatever. Now that I have a toddler running around the house, I have to write when she’s asleep, so that means naptime, early mornings, and late at night. I need relative quiet so I can think, and I kind of like the lights dim so I focus solely on the computer screen.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
 Read a lot and read all different kinds of books. The more you understand what makes a story work, the more you’ll know what your book needs to succeed. Hang out with other people who love books and writing. It’s great to have that support system because we writers are just a different breed. We see things differently, we think differently, and we’re very sensitive and take things personally. If you’re with friends who understand that, it helps a lot. Keep a journal and write down observations, poetry, anything that motivates you. And keep at it. Like I said, I had quite a few manuscripts go unsold. If you believe in yourself, you will make it. It might not happen as fast as you’d like, but it will happen.

What are you working on now? 

I just turned in (and I mean just!) the sixth Debutante Dropout Mystery to my editor at HarperCollins. It’s called Say Yes to the Death, and it’ll be out in September of 2015. And I have an idea for another YA mystery floating around in my head so I hope to get to that one of these days!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Very Bad Things
by Susan McBride
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 10/14/2014

Katie never thought she'd be the girl with the popular boyfriend. She also never thought he would cheat on her-but the proof is in the photo that people at their boarding school can't stop talking about. Mark swears he doesn't remember anything. But Rose, the girl in the photo, is missing, and Mark is in big trouble. Because it looks like Rose isn't just gone…she's dead.

Maybe Mark was stupid, but that doesn't mean he's a killer.

Katie needs to find out what really happened, and her digging turns up more than she bargained for, not just about Mark but about someone she loves like a sister: Tessa, her best friend. At Whitney Prep, it's easy to keep secrets…especially the cold-blooded kind.

Purchase Very Bad Things at Amazon
Purchase Very Bad Things at IndieBound
View Very Bad Things on Goodreads

Giveaway ends 10/19/2014 at midnight EST.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Susan McBride is the USA Today Bestselling author of Blue Blood and four other award-winning Debutante Dropout Mysteries from HarperCollins/Avon, including The Good Girl's Guide To Murder, The Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club, Night Of The Living Deb, and Too Pretty To Die. A sixth title, Say Yes to the Death, will be out in early 2015. Susan has another series with Avon debuting in May 2014, the River Road Mysteries, starting with To Helen Back. Mad as Helen will follow in July 2014 and Not a Chance in Helen in September 2014. Susan's young adult thriller, Very Bad Things, will be published in hardcover by Delacorte Press on October 14, 2014.

In addition to her mysteries, Susan has penned three well-received women's fiction titles. The Truth About Love & Lightning (02/13) was selected by Target stores for their Emerging Authors program, was a Midwest Connections Pick, and was dubbed "a poignant page-turner" by Publishers Weekly. Little Black Dress spent five weeks on the St. Louis bestsellers list and was a Target Recommended Read. The Cougar Club was selected by Target Stores as a Bookmarked Breakout Title and named a Midwest Connections Pick by the Midwest Booksellers Association. Foreign editions of Susan's books have been published in France, Turkey, Croatia, and Bulgaria.

Susan has one nonfiction title available: In the Pink: How I Met the Perfect (Younger) Man, Survived Breast Cancer, and Found True Happiness After 40, which tells her tale of becoming an "accidental Cougar" and marrying a younger man, her cancer diagnosis at age 42, and finding herself pregnant at 47.

She has authored several YA non-mystery novels for Delacorte about debutantes in Houston: The Debs (2008) and Love, Lies, And Texas Dips (2009). Gloves Off, the third book, has not yet been released.

In January of 2012, Susan was named one of St. Louis's "Most Dynamic People of the Year" by the Ladue News. In April of 2012, she was given the "Survivor of the Year" Award by the St. Louis affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. As Susan likes to say, "Life is never boring."

Readers can visit her any time at http://susanmcbride.com or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/susanmcbridebooks 

0 Kendare Blake, author of MORTAL GODS, has not forgotten her long road to publication.

What is your favorite thing about MORTAL GODS?

My favorite thing about MORTAL GODS is probably the trip to the underworld. I loved writing the scene where they cross over, and of course the three-headed dog!

How long did you work on the book?

I worked on MORTAL GODS for probably a combined nine months, considering edits. The edit turned out to be a basic redrafting. The plot didn't change much, but the way I told it did.

How long or hard was your road to publication?

It was both long and hard. I always promised that no matter how far I came later, I would never forget the road, all the rejections, all the submissions, and how much it sucked. Oh, how it sucked.

How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

As of the writing of MORTAL GODS, I had written a total of nine books, counting my first in 7th grade. That one did not get published. Neither did three others. Now, a few years later, I've written three more, and I have hope for them all.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I write at my kitchen table, because my new office isn't finished. Maybe I'll always write there, who knows? Sometimes I listen to music, sometimes to Food Network. I find it impossible to work on the road, or anywhere in public.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a few short stories, edits for UNGODLY, which is the third and final book in the Goddess War series, and the first book in a new series that was announced in September!

Giveaway ends 10/19/2014 at midnight EST.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Mortal Gods
by Kendare Blake
Hardcover
Tor Teen
Released 10/14/2014

Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She's ready to wage a war of her own, and she's never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she'll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can't have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra's hate will get them ALL killed.

The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can't, fates far worse than death await.

Purchase Mortal Gods at Amazon
Purchase Mortal Gods at IndieBound
View Mortal Gods on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kendare Blake is an import from South Korea who was raised in the United States by caucasian parents. You know, that old chestnut. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Ithaca College and a Master’s degree in Writing from Middlesex University in London. She brakes for animals, the largest of which was a deer, which sadly didn’t make it, and the smallest of which was a mouse, which did, but it took forever. Amongst her likes are Greek Mythology, rare red meat and veganism. She also enjoys girls who can think with the boys like Ayn Rand, and boys who scare the morality into people, like Bret Easton Ellis. - See more at: http://kendareblake.com/about/#sthash.gxKkmABN.dpuf

0 Margaux Froley, author of HERO COMPLEX, on falling into research wormholes, and needing to write crappy chapters.



What is your favorite thing about HERO COMPLEX?

The thing that surprised me about HERO COMPLEX was the historical backstory I got to play with. I knew I wanted to dig into the origins of the Keaton School and the infamous Mr. Keaton, but I ended up getting really immersed in American life during WWII, particularly in California, which led me down a research vortex of the Japanese Internment camps and the forced internment of Japanese American citizens after Pearl Harbor. Our own President ordered the forced internment of any citizen with Japanese roots. People had to give up their houses, their businesses, their pets, their belongings, and some even their lives in a very thuggish attempt at American safety during WWII. 

It seems like a very unthinkable act that could never happen today, but this happened in our recent history. I wanted to bring some of that to light and I really enjoyed weaving real history in with my imaginary Keaton School.

Also, on a totally separate note, I loved getting Devon and her friends off the Keaton campus and having them run around and play in Berkeley and San Francisco. Opening up their world a little bit was a fun way to try to keep everyone fresh.

How long did you work on the book?

I ended up spending about 6 months on the first drafts of HERO COMPLEX. Because it's a continuation of ESCAPE THEORY, I had an inkling about where I wanted the story to go. But, I knew I also wanted to highlight a flashback sequence from the 1940s around WWIIl and the Manhattan Project. I spent a good chunk of time researching that and had to pull myself out of that wormhole and remember to let the characters still dictate the story rather than letting the research pull me too far off the mark. 

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

My writing ritual has evolved in the last few years. I used to only be able to write out of the house at a coffeeshop or library. Headphones and a playlist for a specific project has always been a must-have. Now I keep pretty consistent hours writing at home, which I think helps keep me moving through the book. I try to write about 2,000 to 2,500 words a day. Sometimes those are a great 2,000 words and they come quickly, sometimes it is like typing with bricks and the words come slowly. But at the end of the day, whether the writing is good or bad, I can feel good that I showed up and put my butt in the chair. Also, writing HERO COMPLEX I got into a habit of brewing a whole pot of English tea

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Be consistent. I feel like just writing and then writing some more is the only way to get better. Being patient with your process, has also been key to my own evolution. Sometimes I need to write a crappy chapter in order to work through a character or story hiccup. I always say that it's easier to improve upon crap than improve upon nothing at all. Just getting that first draft material down sets the stage to come back and make it better in the next draft.

Also, trusting our own inner voice is one of the best muscles we can flex as writers. That's why I think meditation is a helpful practice for writers so we can keep that pipeline to our unconscious open. 

What are you working on now? 

I'm developing a few new book ideas, which really just means writing early chapters of ideas and figuring out if any of them are valid ideas. I have a new murder mystery I'm excited about, which has been fun to crack. 

Giveaway ends 10/19/2014 at midnight EST.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Hero Complex
by Margaux Froley
Hardcover
Soho Teen
Released 10/14/2014

Less than a month has passed since Devon Mackintosh uncovered the truth about the apparent suicide of Keaton’s golden boy and her unrequited love, Hutch. But that doesn’t mean the danger is over. Her own life has been threatened. Solving Hutch’s case only unearthed more questions: what lies beneath the Keaton land that could be so valuable as to tear the Hutchins family apart?

Hutch’s grandfather, Reed Hutchins, knows the answer. But Reed is dying of cancer, and this dark family secret might die with him. Faced with no other option, Devon swipes Reed’s diary  and plunges into his life as an 18-year-old science prodigy in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Through his adolescent eyes—and his role in biological weapons research, still classified to this day—Devon fights to piece together the final clues to what haunts the Keaton hillsides, the truth Reed’s enemies are still willing to kill for.

Purchase Hero Complex at Amazon
Purchase Hero Complex at IndieBound
View Hero Complex on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Margaux Froley grew up in Santa Barbara, California, and attended not one, but two boarding schools during her high school years in California and Oxford, England.  She studied film at University of Southern California, and has worked for such television networks as: TLC,  CMT, Travel, MTV, and the CW.  She currently lives in Los Angeles and still loves Nutter Butters.  

0 Sara Raasch, author of SNOW LIKE ASHES, on non-evil winters and beginning the novel when she was a pre-teen!

What is your favorite thing about SNOW LIKE ASHES?

Meira, my main character. No matter how much the book has changed over the years, she's stayed the same -- spunky and feisty and stubborn and loyal and everything I want to be. She created me as much as I created her -- through discovering her and her world, through having her to rely on during the rough patches of growing up. I'm so excited to introduce her to the readers!

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I don't remember the exact idea, but a large part of it was wanting to write a book where winter is perceived as the "good guy." So often it's used to symbolize evil, but I love winter, and I wanted to embody the crystalline peace and positive sides of it.

How long did you work on the book?

I wrote the first draft of SLA when I was a preteen, and worked on the whole trilogy up until college. I shelved it for a few years to work on other things, but picked it back up in 2012 -- and Meira was waiting for me, just as snarky and endearing as I left her! After completely rewriting the book, my agent took it out on sub winter of 2012/2013, and it sold that January. A fitting time for a book about the Kingdom of Winter to sell, I feel ;)

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

Oh gosh. SO many. SNOW LIKE ASHES was my first "real" book, and I put my heart and soul into writing it and getting it published. When I couldn't even snag an agent with it, I shelved it, and worked on three other books. One of those got an agent, but it didn't sell, and after two and a half years on submission, I switched agents with a new book. Which also didn't sell. After only a few months on submission with that one, I got into SNOW LIKE ASHES, and everything just kind of clicked. This book has always been IT for me, and selling it...it was pretty perfect.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I work at home (thanks to my wonderful hubby). The first part of my day is spent at my desk, and I try to write/edit as early as I can. By lunch, I switch over to marketing stuff -- making whatever materials I need, setting up trips, etc. It's taken me a lllooonnngggg time to get into a routine that works for me, but this one finally helps me stay motivated and productive!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

My favorite piece of advice is: Keep Moving Forward. Yes, from the movie Meet the Robinsons. This industry can be so harsh -- even post-book-sale -- and it's all too easy to let the negatives get you down. But there comes a point when you just have to tell yourself that it'll be worth it, pick yourself up, and move on. You gotta live deliberately!

What are you working on now?

I'm currently editing the sequel to SNOW LIKE ASHES and drafting the third book in the trilogy. It's exhausting but so thrilling -- I am beyond excited for readers to meet some of the characters who get involved in Meira's life. Things get interesting, that's for sure!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Snow Like Ashes
by Sara Raasch
Hardcover
Balzer + Bray
Released 10/14/2014

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Purchase Snow Like Ashes at Amazon
Purchase Snow Like Ashes at IndieBound
View Snow Like Ashes on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then -- her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, is coming out Fall 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures.

She can be found on Twitter at @seesarawrite and blogging over at theValentines.