Saturday, September 20, 2014

0 Sherry Thomas, author of THE PERILOUS SEA, on running with no memory.


What was your inspiration for writing this book?


I've always wanted the middle book of the Elemental trilogy to have a sort of The Bourne Identity feel, i.e., protagonist with no memory, not sure why he is being chased, except that I want it to be the girl who is being chased.

What are you working on now?

Book 3 of the Elemental trilogy, for which I am going for a Return of the King vibe--but probably only in my head. 


ABOUT THE BOOK


The Perilous Sea
by Sherry Thomas
Hardcover
Balzer + Bray
Released 9/16/2014

From acclaimed author Sherry Thomas comes the striking sequel to The Burning Sky, book two in the Elemental Trilogy, for fans of Cinda Williams Chima, Rae Carson, and Kristin Cashore.

After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.


Sherry Thomas brings her trademark blend of dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and exciting action in this striking sequel to The Burning Sky.

Purchase The Perilous Sea at Amazon
Purchase The Perilous Sea at IndieBound
View The Perilous Sea on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Sherry Thomas writes both historical romance and young adult fantasy.

On the romance side, she is one of the most acclaimed authors working in the genre today, her books regularly receiving starred reviews and best-of-the-year honors from trade publications. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award.

On the young adult fantasy side, there isn't much to say yet, as her debut book is not scheduled for publication until September 2013.

Sherry writes in her second language. She learned English by reading lots of romance and science fiction--every word Isaac Asimov ever wrote, in fact. She is proud to say that her son is her biggest fanboy--for the YA fantasy, not the romances. At least, not yet...

"Sherry Thomas is the most powerfully original historical romance author writing today."—Lisa Kleypas, New York Times bestselling author

“Thomas weaves a lush, intricate fantasy world around a gorgeous romance that kept me riveted until the very last page. What a breathtaking journey!” (Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of the Legend series )




Visit Sherry at her website

1 Fiona Wood, author of WILDLIFE, talks about rewrites and the trouble with coffee shops.


What was your inspiration for writing WILDLIFE?


There were a few points of departure. One was the idea of a character, Sibylla, who’s not quite sure who she is, navigating her first romantic and sexual relationship, and testing her ideas against some realities. The concept of what constitutes good and bad friendship interested me, too. Why do we sometimes settle for mean friends? In what circumstances might we fail as friends? The setting was also something I wanted to explore – we have a number of schools in Melbourne that also have dedicated campuses out of the city where groups of students board for a whole term, and combine outdoor education with the usual academic curriculum. My husband went to one of these schools, and I was always intrigued about the extra pressure – and extra fun – that accompanies this experience, away from many of the usual support structures. I was looking at themes of jealousy and betrayal, and so Othello was an inspiration and a reference point for me, too. The character, Holly, is loosely based on Iago. Death and grieving are explored in the character Lou’s story. So, I had all those things – and the loops and links between them – in mind.

How long did you work on the book?

About three years. There was some overlap with the books on either side of it.

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

My first book, Six Impossible Things, was published. I’ve only written three books – one still in progress. So, no rejections so far. I wrote TV scripts for twelve years, so I had a lot of writing experience before writing and submitting SIT. Even so, I spent a long time on it, five drafts, at least, over more than three years. And big drafts – story structure changes, and things like changing it from past tense to present tense – all before I submitted it. The other thing is that I do a lot of planning, so I do plenty of my own rejecting at that stage. 

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

For years I worked at home, but for the last seven years I’ve had a small office away from home, which I really appreciate. I need a quiet atmosphere for working. I could never even do my school homework if I had music playing. I don’t know how people work in a coffee shop. The distractions! I’d feel self-conscious sitting with my laptop – as though I were trying to look like a writer. Then if I were staring into space for minutes at a time – which I do half the day – I’d imagine people judging me: wow, she’s not doing much writing, for a writer. And I’d be worried about how much coffee I should be drinking. How many coffees per hour would justify my space in the room? Also, when you really do a lot of writing, your workstation has to be set up properly, or you hurt your back, neck, shoulders, wrists. When I’m writing a first draft I don’t let myself leave work until I’ve written my word count for the day. I write down the daily, accumulating word count, a page per month. It’s surprisingly encouraging seeing it there, growing a little bit at a time. 

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

The best writing advice I ever got was from a screenwriting teacher: finish it. You can’t even begin to make something work until the rewriting starts. Lots people have good ideas, and can write good sample chapters – but it’s a much smaller number who persevere with the hard slog of draft after draft after draft that might result in a well-written manuscript, and lead to publication. And the other thing is that I think characters and story ideas are more likely to wander into a quiet mind. So, the advice that relates to that is to give yourself some quiet time when you can. (Easier said than done.)

What are you working on now?

The second draft of my third book, Cloudwish.

Giveaway ends 9/212014 at midnight EST.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Wildlife
by Fiona Wood
Hardcover
Poppy
Released 9/16/2014

During a semester in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sib expects the tough outdoor education program and the horrors of dorm life, but friendship drama and an unexpected romance with popular Ben Capaldi? That will take some navigating.

New girl Lou has zero interest in fitting in, or joining in. Still reeling from a loss that occurred almost a year ago, she just wants to be left alone. But as she witnesses a betrayal unfolding around Sib and her best friend Holly, Lou can't help but be drawn back into the land of the living.

Fans of Melina Marchetta, Rainbow Rowell, and E. Lockhart will adore this endearing and poignant story of first love, true friendship, and going a little bit wild.


Purchase Wildlife at Amazon
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View Wildlife on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Fiona Wood has been writing television scripts for the last ten years on shows ranging from MDA and The Secret Life of Us, to Home and Away and Neighbours. Six Impossible Things is her first YA novel. She lives in Melbourne with her husband, two YAs and a bad old dog.

1 Caragh M. O'brien, author of THE VAULT OF DREAMERS, on writing what fascinates you and 13 drafts!


What is your favorite thing about THE VAULT OF DREAMERS?


My favorite thing about The Vault of Dreamers is likely to be its most controversial aspect, too, and that’s the ending. I can’t explain it without spoilers, but I can say that Rosie’s story is really a novel of ideas. The characters are artists at an arts school where creativity is highly prized, and they are urged to take risks and experiment. To be true to that premise, I felt that I needed to take risks, too, and since my art form is the novel, I played with the book itself. I wrote what fascinated me, even when that involved exploring unknown dimensions, and it became intense. So, my favorite thing is the last chapter. It’s the perfect ending for this particular book.


How long did you work on the book?

It’s hard to say exactly how long I worked on The Vault of Dreamers because I had interruptions to the process while my first editor was on a leave of absence, and then later I started working with a second editor when my first editor left Roaring Brook.  These kinds of shifts are part of the business, so we made it work, and I definitely benefited from having input from two great editors, Nancy Mercado and Kate Jacobs.  Altogether, I’d say it took me about a year and a half to write this novel.  It went through 13 drafts.


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

My road to publication was initially quite short because I published a romance novel soon after I finished college, but then it took me another decade to publish again, and still another decade before I published Birthmarked, which was the beginning of my YA writing work.  I honestly can’t count how many novels are in my attic.  Half a dozen?  I’ve always written, even when I’ve had other work or when I’ve been discouraged.  I would have stopped if I possibly could have, to be honest, but I kept returning to it.  When writing becomes a version of being alive, a state unlike anything else, a person craves it.


Giveaway ends 9/21/2014 at midnight EST.

ABOUT THE BOOK


The Vault of Dreamers
by Caragh M. O'Brien
Hardcover
Roaring Brook Press
Released 9/16/2014

From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.

The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success:  every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.



Purchase The Vault of Dreamers at Amazon
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View The Vault of Dreamers on Goodreads


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caragh M. O'Brien is the author of the BIRTHMARKED trilogy and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS, both from Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ms. O'Brien was educated at Williams College and earned her MA from Johns Hopkins University. She recently resigned from teaching high school English in order to write young adult novels. For more information, visit http://www.caraghobrien.com.

0 Stefanie Gaither, author of FALLS THE SHADOW, explains the importance of playlists and falling in love.



What is your favorite thing about FALLS THE SHADOW?

Besides the fact that it's an actual, real life book that I can now hold in my hands, lol? :) Hmm, I'd have to say it's the relationship between my protagonist, Cate, and her sister's clone, Violet. These two were so explosive anytime they ended up on the page together, and I loved bringing their complicated history and unconventional bond to life.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I've always loved science-fiction, and I've always loved stories that center around family, so I wanted to write something that combined the two in what I hope is an intriguing way. 

How long did you work on the book? 

The initial draft took about two and a half months, then after that snagged me an awesome agent, we did a round of revisions that took about a month, and then once we sold it to Simon and Schuster, it went through a few more rounds of edits that took a combined total of about three months. So, six, seven months, all together? Though it felt like a lot longer! And there was plenty of brainstorming in-between edit rounds not included in that, too.

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

FALLS was my fourth completed book, and it will be my first published. It took me about four years between my first declaration of "I'm going to write a complete novel!" (and actually following through with that!) before I got an agent and then went on to sell FALLS. So, medium length and difficulty? :) I know people who have taken way more time and people who have taken way less time. I like to think it was enough time and rejection for me to build up a thick skin, but not so much time and so many rejections that I ended up going insane (well, not completely at least...) 

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

I usually have to have music, and each of my projects has its own playlist. True story: I can usually tell how serious I am about a book by how many songs I'm adding to its Spotify playlist. When like every song I hear is starting to remind me of a book I'm writing, and I have to add it to said book's playlist, then I know stuff's getting real. 

As for where I write, I have an office space at home, but I'm most productive in coffee shops, far away from my cozy bed and all those seasons of Doctor Who waiting to be re-watched on Netflix. 

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

"Fall in love with as many things as possible." I totally stole that from a pin I saw on Pinterest, but yeah, I sort of love it. Live widely and experience widely, because you never know what random lovely new thing might inspire your writing. And also? Stop comparing your writing journey to others'. Every writer I know does this during weak moments (myself included), but seriously, it's just poison to a writing career. And most of the time you're only seeing the good stuff that's happening to these other authors, so of course their successes look shinier than whatever you're currently slogging through.




ABOUT THE BOOK


Falls the Shadow
by Stefanie Gaither
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 9/16/2014

When Cate Benson was a kid, her sister, Violet, died. Two hours after the funeral, Cate’s family picked up Violet’s replacement. Like nothing had happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to give their children a sort of immortality—by cloning them at birth—which means this new Violet has the same smile. The same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all of the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

At least, that’s what the paparazzi and the anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that. She’s used to defending her sister, too. But Violet has vanished, and when Cate sets out to find her, she ends up in the line of fire instead. Because Cate is getting dangerously close to secrets that will rock the foundation of everything she thought was true.

In a thrilling debut, Stefanie Gaither takes readers on a nail-biting ride through a future that looks frighteningly similar to our own time and asks: how far are you willing to go to keep your family together?

Purchase Falls the Shadow at Amazon
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View Falls the Shadow on Goodreads


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After co-managing a coffee shop for several years while simultaneously earning her B.A. in English, Stefanie Gaither left the small business world behind to focus on her author career instead. Now, in addition to penning YA novels, she also work part-time as a copywriter for an advertising agency. She lives near Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and her incredibly spoiled Shih Tzu.

0 Victoria Strauss, author of COLOR SONG, discusses fascinating old maps and ingenious young women.

What is your favorite thing about COLOR SONG?


Without a doubt, being able to set a novel in 15th century Venice. I visited Venice just once, but it made an indelible impression on me (as it has on so many people) and it was wonderful to become a time traveler for a little while, and imagine the glorious city as my heroine, Giulia, would have experienced it.

Researching COLOR SONG was so much fun--there are so many wonderful resources, including an amazing (and huge) map of the city created in 1500, which shows every street, square, canal, and building in Venice, and is so detailed that you can count the windows of the houses and see the wellheads in the squares. It was invaluable in helping me and Giulia find our way around. Giulia's experiences also reflect my own memories of Venice--from the magnificent yet crumbling palazzos, to the bustle of the Rialto, to the maze of squares and alleyways and canals in which it's incredibly easy to get completely lost. I'd love to set another book there some day.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?


I wanted to continue Giulia's story (begun in PASSION BLUE), and show how it might be authentically possible, even within the narrow conventions of 15th century Italy, for a woman of talent to transcend strict gender roles and follow her passion. I'm also fascinated by stories of women who disguise themselves as men (such as the surprisingly large number of women who fought as men during the Civil War), and COLOR SONG gave me the chance to incorporate that interest into a book.

How long did you work on the book?

Including research, about a year and a half.

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


COLOR SONG is my ninth published book. I've lucky in that I've never completed a book that hasn't been published (though I've started and abandoned several).

It took me a very long time to sell my first novel, a YA historical called THE LADY OF RHUDDESMERE. I wrote it when I was 17, during a year off between high school and college, and queried sporadically over the next few years without success (my query letter was really awful; that may have had something to do with it!). By sheer luck, my manuscript landed on the desk of an editor who was in the process of switching careers to become an agent, and she took me on as one of her first clients. Initially she wasn't any more successful than I had been, but she never gave up, and six years after she took me on--and nearly ten years after I wrote the novel--LADY was finally published (in much-revised form).

I'm still with the agency, and LADY, which has been out of print for many years, is about to be be re-published.

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 mainly consists of procrastinating until guilt forces me to my computer...But seriously, I start work in the morning, take a break for lunch and exercise, and continue until dinner. I work at my laptop in the dining room (my office, with its reminders of bills to be paid and emails to be answered, is too distracting) and I use a little program called Freedom that shuts off the Internet for whatever amount of time I plan to be writing. I prefer silence--music is also too distracting--and solitude, except for my two cats, who love to help me by lying on my keyboard.

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


Educate yourself! Take the time to learn about publishing and self-publishing before you take steps to get your work published. There are so many pitfalls for writers--writing scams, unqualified editors and literary agents, amateur publishers, bad contracts. The more you know, the better you'll be able to protect yourself, and the better decisions you'll be able to make.

What are you working on now?

For the past few months I really haven't been working on anything--there's an illness in my family and it's taking up a lot of my time and energy. But I'm trying to carve out space to plan another YA project, including doing preliminary research. I have two ideas in mind--now I just have to choose!

Giveaway ends on 9/21/2014 at midnight EST.



ABOUT THE BOOK


Color Song
by Victoria Strauss
Hardcover
Skyscape
Released 9/16/2014

By the author of the acclaimed "Passion Blue," a "Kirkus Reviews" Best Teen Book of 2012 and "a rare, rewarding, sumptuous exploration of artistic passion," comes a fascinating companion novel.

Artistically brilliant, Giulia is blessed?or cursed?with a spirit's gift: she can hear the mysterious singing of the colors as she creates them in the convent workshop of Maestra Humilit?. It's here that Giulia, forced into the convent against her will, has found unexpected happiness and rekindled her passion to become a painter?an impossible dream for any woman in 15th century Italy.

But when a dying Humilit? bequeaths Giulia her most prized possession?the secret formula for the luminously beautiful paint called Passion blue?Giulia realizes she's in danger from those who have long coveted the famous color. Faced with the prospect of a life in the convent barred from painting as punishment for keeping Humilit s secret, Giulia is struck by a desperate idea: What if she disguises herself as a boy? Could she make her way to Venice and find work as an artist's apprentice?

Along with the truth of who she is, Giulia carries more dangerous secrets: the exquisite voices of her paint colors and the formula for Humilit s Passion blue. And Venice, she discovers, with its gilded palazzos and masked balls, has secrets of its own. Trapped in her false identity in this dream-like place where reality and reflection are easily confused, and where art and ambition, love and deception hover like dense fog, can Giulia find her way?

This stunning, compelling novel explores timeless themes of love and illusion, gender and identity as it asks the question: what does it mean to risk everything to pursue your passion?

Purchase Color Song at Amazon
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View Color Song on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Victoria Strauss is the author of nine novels for adults and young adults, including the Stone duology ("The Arm of the Stone" and "The Garden of the Stone"); the Way of Arata duology ("The Burning Land" and "The Awakened City"); and "Passion Blue" and "Color Song," a pair of historical novels for teens. She has reviewed books for SF Site, Black Gate, and Fantasy magazine, and her articles on writing and how to get published have appeared in Writer’s Digest and elsewhere. In 2006, she served as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards.

She is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), and co-founder, with Ann Crispin, of Writer Beware, a publishing industry watchdog group that warns about literary schemes and scams. She maintains the Writer Beware website, blog, and Facebook pages, and she was honored with the SFWA Service Award in 2009.

0 Top Ten Finalists in the Pitch Plus Five Contest!



I'm sure the last couple of weeks have been stressful for our top 25 finalists! I want you all to remember that if you didn't get in to the top ten that doesn't mean you should quit. Far from it. You should be thrilled and give yourselves a pat on the back for doing so well! It was close for a lot of people, but there were in the end, a clear top ten.

Ready?

According to our esteemed author judges the ten that will go on to our agent round (in no particular order) are:

  1. The Lost Pearls of Indarnini
  2. The Apothecary of Forbidden Clocks
  3. Twice Dead
  4. Timekeeper
  5. The Troll Diaries
  6. Mash Up
  7. The Blood Rose Rebellion
  8. Noble Virtues
  9. The Past Life of Jase Byrn
  10. Phoenix Rising
Congratulations to our winners!! Please send your revised pitch (remember only the pitch part) and first five pages by midnight EST tomorrow, so that we can post them for our Agent Round on Monday.

Good luck!

0 Gretchen McNeil, author of GET EVEN, wears her 80's influences on her sleeve.

What is your favorite thing about GET EVEN?

I think my favorite thing about the book is the mix of comedy and suspense.  I was definitely influenced by Heathers, a movie that manages to be menacing and hilarious at the same time, and I worked really hard to gain the right balance between the two.  I had so much fun with the humor, especially with some of the secondary characters like Ed the Head and Peanut, and I think it heightens the suspense to have moments of terror juxtaposed against moments of hilarity.

At least, I hope it is!

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I started off with a revenge plot, kind of like The Count of Monte Cristo set in high school.  But I realized early on that I preferred an A-Team style group of revengers working unselfishly to avenge others.  But I wanted it to have a light tone, in the same way that John Hughes used difficult issues like class struggle and bullying, but in a humorous way.  That's when the pitch solidified in my head: The Breakfast Club with a body count.  And I went from there!

How long did you work on the book? 

I wrote the first draft in about three months, then spent a long time in revisions with my editor.  This book is significantly more complicated than my previous books, and we worked long and hard to get it right!

What are you working on now? 


I just finished the sequel GET DIRTY which will be out in June 2015.  My first series!


Giveaway ends 9/21/2014 at midnight EST.






Get Even
by Gretchen McNeil
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
Balzer + Bray; Original edition
Released 9/16/2014

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars in Gretchen McNeil’s witty and suspenseful novel about four disparate girls who join forces to take revenge on high school bullies and create dangerous enemies for themselves in the process.

Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot have nothing in common—at least that’s what they’d like the students and administrators of their elite private school to think. The girls have different goals, different friends, and different lives, but they share one very big secret: They’re all members of Don’t Get Mad, a secret society that anonymously takes revenge on the school’s bullies, mean girls, and tyrannical teachers.

When their latest target ends up dead with a blood-soaked “DGM” card in his hands, the girls realize that they’re not as anonymous as they thought—and that someone now wants revenge on them. Soon the clues are piling up, the police are closing in . . . and everyone has something to lose.

Purchase Get Even at Amazon
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View Get Even on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown. Her YA horror POSSESS about a teen exorcist debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011. Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic Times Top Pick, a Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth, a finalist for the 2015 Evergreen Young Adult Book Award, and was nominated for "Best Young Adult Contemporary Novel of 2012" by Romantic Times. Gretchen's 2013 release is 3:59, a sci-fi doppelganger horror about two girls who are the same girl in parallel dimensions who decide to switch places. Gretchen's novels have been optioned by Hollywood production companies, and have sold internationally in Chinese, Spanish, and Turkish.

In 2014, Gretchen debuts her first series, Don't Get Mad (pitched as "John Hughes with a body count") about four very different girls who form a secret society where they get revenge on bullies and mean girls at their elite prep school. The Don't Get Mad series begins September 16, 2014 with GET EVEN, followed by the sequel GET DIRTY in the summer of 2015, also with Balzer + Bray. In addition, Gretchen has contributed an essay to the Dear Teen Me anthology from Zest Books.

Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and was a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels. She is repped by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd.


You can find Gretchen on Twitter, Facebook, and on her blog.


0 Kat Zhang, Author of ECHOES OF US, on Closure and Songs on Repeat.

What is your favorite thing about ECHOES OF US?

The end, haha. And that's not even me being facetious. I've put all my characters, especially Addie and Eva, through so much over the course of this trilogy, and it felt really great to give them an ending. A bit of closure. I can't get into the specifics, of course, without being spoiler-y!

On a more meta level, having worked on this trilogy for years and years, starting when I was 17 years old, it's a bit surreal to be 23 and seeing the final book release. I went through college while writing these books. I grew up with them, in a way. It feels like closure for me, as well, on a part of my life.

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 feel like my road to publication was long, mostly because I literally starting dreaming about publishing a book when I was 12 years old, and that's about the time I started writing novels, too. However, I never actually finished a book until I was 17, and that was also the first book I queried. However, I only reached out to about 10 agents, maybe even less, and I never even got a full request! (I was…pretty bad at writing queries)

So I guess if you count from that first querying attempt, things went pretty quickly. I started writing What's Left of Me while querying Book #1, and queried it at age 19. Signed with my agent after about 2 months, and sold the trilogy later that year. :)

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

It really depends. Before this current book, I'd say I never listen to music while writing, but I've found a cover of "I See Fire" that I've listened to over 1000 times now on repeat while drafting! I write all over the place—home, coffee shops, libraries, the mall...

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

Keep writing. Keep reading. :)

Giveaway ends 9/21/2014 at midnight EST.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Echoes of Us
by Kate Zhang
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 9/16/2014

To change the world, I may lose everything

All Eva ever wanted was the chance to be herself. But in the Americas, to be hybrid—to share your body with a second soul—is not tolerated past childhood. Now Eva and Addie, her sister soul, are constantly on the move, hiding from the officials who seek to capture them. But the tide is changing. A revolution is brewing, and people are starting to question the hybrids' mistreatment.

Then Marion, an ambitious reporter, offers Eva and Addie a daring proposal: If they go undercover and film the wretched conditions of a hybrid institution, she will not only rescue them, she'll find a way to free Jackson, the boy Addie loves. It's risky, and Eva will have to leave Ryan and her friends behind, but if she succeeds, it could also tip the scales forever and lead to hybrid freedom.

As Eva and Addie walk into danger, they cling to each other and the hope of a better future. But the price they might pay is higher than they ever could have imagined.

Purchase Echoes of Us at Amazon
Purchase Echoes of Us at IndieBound
View Echoes of Us on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR




Kat Zhang spent most of her childhood tramping through a world weaved from her favorite stories and games. When she and her best friend weren't riding magic horses or talking to trees, they were writing adaptations of plays for their stuffed animals (what would The Wizard of Oz have been like if the Cowardly Lion were replaced by a Loquacious Lamb?). This may or may not explain many of Kat's quirks today.

By the age of twelve, Kat had started her first novel and begun plans for her life as a Real Live Author (she was rather more confident at twelve than she is even now). Said plans didn't come into fruition until seven years later, when her agent sold her trilogy, The Hybrid Chronicles, to HarperCollins. The first book, WHAT'S LEFT OF ME–about a girl with two souls–will released September 18, 2012. Book 2 in the series, ONCE WE WERE, will be released September 17, 2013.

Kat is represented by Emmanuelle Morgen of Stonesong. She also performs as a Spoken Word poet and contributes to Pub(lishing) Crawl, a site for aspiring writers to talk about books, storytelling craft, and the publishing process. Kat has also had the pleasure of remote interning for a literary agent, specializing in Young Adult fiction.

When she is not exploring the world of her characters, she is exploring her own. To date, she's had the pleasure of visiting five countries, including more than half of the United States. She hopes to always keep writing and traveling.

Friday, September 19, 2014

4 Craft of Writing: From Pantser To Planner: How I Changed My Writing Style by Victoria Strauss


We are incredibly pleased and tickled pink to have Victoria Strauss on the blog today discussing some amazing writing techniques. Victoria is the widely acclaimed author of many young adult and adult novels and her advice is something to watch out for.

From Pantser To Planner: How I Changed My Writing Style by Victoria Strauss


I'm the original pantser. I hate planning and preparing. I'd rather just dive into whatever it is and learn as I go. This has gotten me into some messes, as you can imagine. Deciding to refinish a table and realizing halfway through that you really ought to know how to work with furniture stripper is not a recipe for a happy outcome.

Once upon a time, that was also how I wrote.

Nearly all my books require some degree of preliminary research. But after investing that initial effort, I just want to get on with the actual creation. When I first began writing, I'd start out with a premise, a setting, a compelling image for the beginning, and a definite plan for the end. The rest was a blank canvas that I couldn't wait to fill, discovering the bones of the story as I wrote it.

The problem was that the story never fell organically into place. I'd get interesting ideas for characters and scenes and plot points that sometimes worked, but often took me down irrelevant byways or banged me up against dead ends. Somewhere around the middle of the book (which never turned out to match any of the hazy ideas I might have had at the outset), I would realize that I’d gotten to a place that didn't fit either my planned ending or my already-written beginning, and be faced with the choice of throwing out a lot of material or making major changes to my basic concept. You'd think, since my concept was so nebulous, I wouldn't have a problem tossing it; but those strong beginning and ending images were (and still are) the essence of the book for me, what made me want to write it in the first place. I could never bring myself to abandon them.

In the end I always managed to pull it together. But it was exhausting and frustrating to do so much backtracking and re-writing, and with each book the process seemed to become messier. By my third novel, I felt that I was doing more fixing than creating--and if you do too much fixing, the seams start to show. Writing by the seat of my pants clearly wasn't working for me. I realized that if I wanted to continue with my writing career, something had to change.

So I decided to turn myself into a planner. No more pantsing. No more blank canvas. I'd discipline myself to craft my plot in advance, creating a road map to guide me all the way from A to Z.

But how to plan, exactly? Books on how to write offer a plethora of methods. Index cards. Whiteboards. Timelines. Checklists. Worksheets. Character questionnaires. Three-act structure. The Snowflake Method. Yikes.

Outlining (the kind of conventional I.A.1.a. outlining I learned in school) seemed most familiar. So for my fourth novel, that's what I decided to try. It totally did not work for me. It was too terse, too cold, too structured. Too boring.

Next I attempted a chapter-by-chapter synopsis. But that felt too arbitrary--how could I lock myself into a chapter structure before I knew the rhythm of the narrative?--and too choppy. I didn't want to jump from chapter to chapter like hopping across a series of rocks. I wanted the story to be all of a piece: to simply flow.

So I decided just to tell the story from start to finish, imagining myself speaking to a rapt audience in the warm glow of a blazing campfire, with darkness pressing all around. This approach fit me much better. It felt creative; it had flow. I still took wrong turns and stumbled down blind alleys--but it's a lot easier to fix those in a synopsis than in a manuscript. And when I was done, I had a clear path from my blazing beginning image to the ending I was dying to write.

For reasons that had nothing to do with planning, I never did finish that fourth novel. But I've used this basic method ever since. First I figure out the core of the book: premise, setting, opening and conclusion. Then I build a bare-bones road map in my head, establishing the story arc and the main characters, making sure I can travel all the way to the end without getting lost in the middle. Then I write a synopsis, fleshing out the story bones and adding detail to plot and characters, but not drilling down to the level of individual scenes (unless an image really grabs me). For a 100,000-word book, my synopses generally run about 10-12 single-spaced pages. I also do brief character sketches as I go along.*

Once I'm done with all this preparation, I file it away and never look at it again. This may seem like a waste of effort. But writing from memory, without paying slavish attention to a plan, gives my pantser's soul the flexibility it needs, allowing room for change and inspiration, for those "aha" moments that, for me, are the most exciting part of writing. Because I do have a plan, however--because I've fallen into most of the holes and backtracked out of most of the dead ends in advance--I don't veer off track the way I used to; and where I do diverge, it's productive rather than destructive. My finished books nearly always differ in significant ways from my initial road map. But the important plot turns don't change.

This melding of planning and improvisation is the best balance I've found between the creative license I crave and the structure I need.

Changing my approach to writing has also taught me something important about writing itself: there is no "correct" or "best" way of doing things--only what's best for you. I can't count the number of times I've heard that planning destroys inspiration, or that only hack writers plan, or that real creativity is letting the story find you, not the other way around. Conversely, most of the highly-recommended planning techniques I tried felt too constraining or too boring.

Trial and error is the key. Don't be afraid to experiment. If something isn't working for you, don't be afraid to abandon it and try something new. It took me a long time, and many mistakes, to figure out my ideal method. But eventually I found my way.

You will too.

* If worldbuilding is needed, as with my fantasy novels, I work that out in between the in-my-head planning and the written synopsis (I've written about my worldbuilding method here: http://www.victoriastrauss.com/advice/world-building/).

About The Author


Victoria is the author of nine novels for adults and young adults, including the Stone fantasy duology (The Arm of the Stone and The Garden of the Stone) and Passion Blue and Color Song, a pair of historical novels for teens. In addition, she has written a handful of short stories, hundreds of book reviews, and a number of articles on writing and publishing that have appeared in Writer’s Digest, among others. In 2006, Victoria served as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards.

Victoria is the co-founder, with Ann Crispin, of Writer Beware, a publishing industry watchdog group that provides information and warnings about the many scams and schemes that threaten writers. She received the Service to SFWA Award in 2009 for my work with Writer Beware.

Victoria lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

ABOUT THE BOOK


Color Song
by Victoria Strauss
Hardcover
Skyscape
Released 9/16/2014

By the author of the acclaimed "Passion Blue," a "Kirkus Reviews" Best Teen Book of 2012 and "a rare, rewarding, sumptuous exploration of artistic passion," comes a fascinating companion novel.

Artistically brilliant, Giulia is blessed?or cursed?with a spirit's gift: she can hear the mysterious singing of the colors as she creates them in the convent workshop of Maestra Humilit?. It's here that Giulia, forced into the convent against her will, has found unexpected happiness and rekindled her passion to become a painter?an impossible dream for any woman in 15th century Italy.

But when a dying Humilit? bequeaths Giulia her most prized possession?the secret formula for the luminously beautiful paint called Passion blue?Giulia realizes she's in danger from those who have long coveted the famous color. Faced with the prospect of a life in the convent barred from painting as punishment for keeping Humilit s secret, Giulia is struck by a desperate idea: What if she disguises herself as a boy? Could she make her way to Venice and find work as an artist's apprentice?

Along with the truth of who she is, Giulia carries more dangerous secrets: the exquisite voices of her paint colors and the formula for Humilit s Passion blue. And Venice, she discovers, with its gilded palazzos and masked balls, has secrets of its own. Trapped in her false identity in this dream-like place where reality and reflection are easily confused, and where art and ambition, love and deception hover like dense fog, can Giulia find her way?

This stunning, compelling novel explores timeless themes of love and illusion, gender and identity as it asks the question: what does it mean to risk everything to pursue your passion?

Purchase Color Song at Amazon
Purchase Color Song at IndieBound
View Color Song on Goodreads


Thursday, September 18, 2014

3 A Conversation with Whitley Abell of Inklings Literary and an Announcement

Lisa here to introduce another amazing agent. But before I do I have some great news to share!

I'm thrilled to announce that I not only have an amazing new agent, Melissa Nasson of RPC, but also a multi-book publishing deal with Samantha Streger at Full Fathom Five Digital. And since we have even MORE good news coming up, and we LOVE to share with you, we will be having a contest to celebrate, so stay tuned for details!

Now I'm happy to introduce you to our agent of the week, Whitley Abell of Inklings Literary.

Whitley Abell joined Inklings Literary Agency in 2013. Before joining Inklings, she completed successful internships with Carol Mann Agency and P.S. Literary Agency. She is based in St. Louis, MO, where she daylights as a production manager for several medical and S & T journals. She graduated in 2011 BA in English and Creative Writing, and again in 2012 with a MAT in Secondary English Education, which basically means she can tell you anything there is to know about feminist literary theory and the Common Core Standards. 



What is on your wish list? 
  • A strong contemporary with literary leanings. Something along the lines of Nova Ren Suma's IMAGINARY GIRLS, Lauren Oliver's BEFORE I FALL, E. Lockhart's WE ARE LIARS, or Cammie McGovern's SAY WHAT YOU WILL
  • YA and Women's Romantic Comedies that make me laugh and swoon while still tackling a bigger topic, a la Stephanie Perkins, Jennifer Castle, Lindsey Leavitt, Jenny Han.
  • Historical. These were my favorite growing up, and I'm always craving a new perspective or a fresh voice in history. I'd especially love to a more literary historical (ex: CODE NAME VERITY, THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN, BURIAL RITES) with a powerful story and really strong prose 
    • Note: I'm not particularly interested in medieval times, which is what I see in my inbox mostly, and I don't really lump RECENT history (re: 1990s / 2000s) in my historical cravings. I get my love of history from my grandpa, so you can always grab my attention with the WWI and the 1920s/1930s, and I'm an absolute sucker for the 1940s. 
  • A great psychological thriller. Bring on the unreliable narrator and the chills! I'd especially love to see a modern take on Henry James' A TURN OF A SCREW, but that's getting really specific.
Can you define voice for us?
This is so hard because voice is intrinsic and can't be taught. Voice is the author's style of writing, the quality that makes their writing unique, met with the tone with which the author has approached the story. It's the way the story is told. It's the rhythm of the words and the personality of both the author and the narrator showing through. It's the individual way of thinking, what you believe and how you form that thought, unprompted and uncensored. It is so intrinsic and so unteachable that it's difficult to describe and everything I think to say feels overreaching and yet not nearly enough. But to me, just as your "real" speaking voice is natural, and is often toned down or changed in various social situations, the voice in writing is the natural way in which the writer sets about telling the story, and I greatly admire authors who have the courage and the strength to let their natural voice shine through. You can't learn it, and you can't copy it (trust me, I've seen writers try), but you can hone it. Practice peeling all the untrue parts of yourself away and putting yourself, raw and bared, on the page. Listen to the way they sound, feel, taste, and find the rhythm that speaks for you and your characters.
Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, or any other vices?
  • Tea (I drink green tea daily, but I'm absolutely addicted to Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Sunset black tea. Mmm, so good!)
  • Also, Bubble Tea... minus the "bubble" boba. Weird, I know. If you haven't tried it, DO IT. NOW. I highly recommend ginger milk tea, but my bff says I'm strange, and Chocolate Coconut tea with boba is the way to go. To each their own, I guess.
  • David Tennant. Need I say more?
  • Analyzing everything. The curse of a former english major and the bane of family dinners, but a definite plus as an editorial agent.
I'm totally with you on David Tennant! But back to business LOL! What advice do you have for writers getting ready to query you?
  • Don't be afraid! I really am a real person, the same as you, and I really want to like you and your work. Definitely don't be afraid to talk to me via social media. Talk to me about books, or Dr. Who, or what you should do while you're in St Louis.  Challenge me with Harry Potter riddles or throw in your two cents about that article I shared. This isn't an invitation to spam me with info about what you're writing, but I love connecting with writers and putting a face and personality to a potential future client. 
  • Keep in mind that the query letter is kind of like a business letter, yes, but it's okay to let your voice shine through. A well-written query can get me really excited for the pages. 
  • Make sure you read over my submission guidelines, which are up both on my blog (http://whitleyabell.wordpress.com/submissions-2) and on Inklings website (http://www.inklingsliterary.com/Submission_Guidelines.html). For example, I don't open unrequested attachments, and I typically don't hunt down materials that should have been included in the initial query unless I'm completely blown away by your letter. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by forgetting to check. That said, if you forgot to include, say, your sample pages as pasted text, it's totally ok to send them as soon as you realize. Just make it clear that I should disregard the previous e-mail for the new query. I totally understand that we're all human and we all make mistakes. 
Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability? 
Emotion. Yes, marketability is important, but not as much so. If I recognize a story is marketable but I'm not emotionally invested, then I'm guaranteed to pass. But if I'm in love with a manuscript, I will fight tooth and nail to get it the deal it deserves.
Why did you become an agent?
I became interested in agenting because I love reading, and what could be better than a career spent reading books (because, you know, that's all agents do, right?). But I pursued it after interning because I love connecting with authors, working with them to strengthen their craft and helping them reach their goals. I love editing one-on-one with the authors, and being able to pick and chose and really dig into whatever sparks my interest. I love having the opportunity to champion the writers that I fall in love with in a way that literature classes and book clubs never really allow you to do, and to analyze the market (because, again, I love analyzing) and find clients' works the perfect home.

Thank you, Whitley!!



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

13 An Interview with Melissa Marr about MADE FOR YOU, and a Giveaway

It's an honor to have Melissa Marr, one of the authors on the upcoming (amazing!) Compelling Reads Tour, answer some questions for us today following the highly-anticipated release of her Southern Gothic thriller, Made for You. Kirkus calls it "a tightly choreographed spine-chiller with an intriguing view into the mind of a psychopath," and says the "riveting whodunit delivers a bouquet of teen romance, paranormal and thriller."

So here we go, questions for Melissa:

Q: What’s your favorite thing about Made For You?

A: Writing Judge. I’ve wanted to write the voice of a killer since I first taught Joyce Carol Oates’ fabulous short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” (when I was teaching university in the 90s). That was also right before I had a stalker. . . all of which was when I lived in North Carolina. So I think this particular novel has been percolating longer than anything I’ve written. It was exciting to get to write the story, and especially Judge.

Q: What inspired you to bring many of the themes you’ve tackled in fantasy into a contemporary setting?

A: Is this the part where I admit that I’m not sure what themes you mean? I don’t set out with themes. Sometimes I can find them when I’m in revision, and sometimes I find out what they are when readers or interviewers ask about them. Sadly, though, I don’t do any of it on purpose. If the same ones are in there, I suspect they must be things I’m pondering or interested in exploring further.

Q: In which ways were you constrained or liberated by writing within a “real” world as you navigated Eva’s newfound power to foresee people’s deaths?

A: I didn’t feel constrained. The only real exceptions were that Eva needed to get discharged from the hospital sooner than would be medically wise, and that her broken leg really limited her mobility, so there are a number of scenes where she needs carried or pushed in her wheelchair. That was hard because I wanted to avoid the “damsel” trope. Overall though, the book was a big logic puzzle. Most of the real-world aspects simply added to the difficulty the characters faced, which was an asset to the story.

Q: You do suspense and intrigue so well. How did you begin to construct the mystery for this story? Character or plot?

A: Thank you! The story started with Eva getting hit. From there, I did what I do for every book: I asked “what next” & “how did we get to here?” That, as it often does, answered a lot of my questions on characters (“who are they?” answers spring from “what do they want?”) and plot trajectory.

I write in layers, so each draft I’d layer in different clues. It’s a slower process, but I wanted to insert cues that could lead readers to think this or that person was Judge—and possibilities as to which person would be the next victim.

That’s my standard process: a) inroads scene, b) questions, c) layers. It generally results in the first draft of a book, and then I revise repeatedly.


Q: What drew you to the Southern Gothic setting and genre?

A: My graduate thesis was on Southern Lit (Faulkner specifically). I lived in North Carolina for 7 years, and in Virginia for 9 years (split over two separate times living here). Mix that with a childhood in a rural area, and the draw towards this setting was hard to resist.

That said, I wouldn’t call this properly Southern Gothic. (It’s my publisher who affixed that tag to the book.) There are elements of the Southern Gothic in the novel (class issues, a bit of creepiness, and a section with some decayed architecture). However, the general sense of the decay of the Southern aristocracy, the gorgeous decaying visuals, and the near-grotesque (in literary not literal terms) elements are absent. If we were to define the genre properly, I’d say that Made For You is a Southern-lit influenced romantic suspense novel. . . but I’m guessing that’s far too wordy for publishing labels :)

ABOUT THE BOOK


Made for You
by Melissa Marr
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 9/16/2014

Bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely books Melissa Marr’s first contemporary YA novel is a twisted southern gothic tale of obsession, romance, and murder. A killer is obsessed with Eva Tilling. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.

Purchase Made for You at Amazon
Purchase Made for You at IndieBound
View Made for You on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melissa grew up believing in faeries, ghosts, and various other creatures. After teaching college lit for a decade, she applied her fascination with folklore to writing.

Melissa writes fiction for adults, teens, and children. Her books have been translated into 28 languages to date and been bestsellers in the US (NY Times, LA Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal) as well as various countries overseas. She is best known for the Wicked Lovely seriesfor teens and Graveminder for adults.  

Wicked Lovely was her first novel; it was simultaneously released in the US and UK by HarperCollins in 2007 (with translation rights also sold in twenty-some countries). It debuted as a NY Times Bestseller and evolved into a multi-book series with myriad accolades and international bestseller lists.  

Her debut adult book, Graveminder, released to strong critical reception in 2011.  Following that she has edited anthologies with Kelley Armstrong (Enthralled and Shards & Ashes) and with her friend Tim Pratt (Rags & Bones), and released a second adult novel (The Arrivals) in 2013.  

With Kelley Armstrong, Melissa is the co-author of the Blackwell Pages trilogy (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), a children’s series about the Norse myth of Ragnarök. 

Her upcoming HarperCollins 2014 release, Made For You, utilizes both her graduate degree in Southern Literature and her personal experience with stalkers in a story about a killer who terrorizes a small North Carolina town.

Currently, Melissa resides in Virginia with her spouse, children, and many dogs.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

18 The Circle of Publishing . . . Light Speed and Slower than a Crawl PLUS Win Complete Hybrid Chronicles Trilogy Signed by Kat Zhang

This blog is four years old. Four years. We're approaching three million visitors. Dun dun dun. Say that with me in a Dr. Evil voice, okay?

Three million visitors.



I thought about doing another huge "million" milestone giveaway, but I've already got the HUGE Compulsion Prize Vault giveaway going on, and there are going to be more big things afoot for the Compulsion launch, which is coming up in six weeks.

Instead of celebrating the next million, this time, I want to reflect on how amazing this industry is, and how much things have changed in the past four years that it's taken me to get published. That seems like forever, doesn't it? Yet it doesn't feel like very long.

First, the whole publishing landscape is different. Ebooks were looming large on the horizon four years ago, and everyone was promising the demise of the printed format. There were many more bookstores. There were many fewer books. Dystopian was a dawning blip on the radar. Twilight movies were in theaters and that's all people were talking about.

Well, not all. The last of the beautiful, beautiful Wicked Lovely series, one of my favorites, was out that year.

Want to Know How Much Things Have Changed? 

In six weeks, my own book is going to be out in the world, and I'm doing two events with Melissa Marr, the author of Wicked Lovely and other phenomenal books. How mind-blowing is that? Melissa's got a new thriller set in the South, that comes out today.

Happy book birthday to Made for You!

Melissa and I are going to get together to chat with readers and writers in the Northern Virginia area about "Southern Kisses and Spanish Moss" -- sultry romance and southern boys, in other words, each with a side of danger. Check out the events on the Compelling Reads tour.

But in the meantime, check out her book below. I've been lucky enough to read it, and you won't be disappointed. Want to talk about delicious boys? Phew! There is a giveaway going on for Made for You here.


Made for You
by Melissa Marr
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 9/16/2014

Bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely books Melissa Marr’s first contemporary YA novel is a twisted southern gothic tale of obsession, romance, and murder. A killer is obsessed with Eva Tilling. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.

Purchase Made for You at Amazon
Purchase Made for You at IndieBound
View Made for You on Goodreads

 * * * * 

Another Birthday and a Final Chapter


Also in the course of those four years, one of the finalists in our very first Pitch to Query contest here on the blog has sold and published a complete trilogy with HarperCollins. Kat Zhang's gorgeous Hybrid Chronicles trilogy, comprised of What's Left of Me, Once We Were, and Echoes of Us finishes today. I remember beta reading the first book and being blown away by the premise and the writing. The fact that the series is over, that's mind-boggling. It's going to be such a bittersweet good-bye for me.

Happy, happy book birthday, Echoes of Us! I can't imagine how Kat is feeling today, but my thoughts are with her. And to celebrate, I'm going to giveaway a signed set of Hybrid Chronicles hardcovers. See below, guys. You won't want to miss this chance to win!


* * * * 

GIVEAWAY: THE HYBRID CHRONICLES


What's Left of Me
by Kat Zhang
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
HarperCollins
Released 4/15/2014

I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

Purchase What's Left of Me at Amazon
Purchase What's Left of Me at IndieBound
View What's Left of Me on Goodreads

* * * *

Once We Were
by Kat Zhang
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
HarperCollins
Released 9/17/2013

"I'm lucky just to be alive"

Eva was never supposed to have survived this long. As the recessive soul, she should have faded away years ago. Instead, she lingers in the body she shares with her sister soul, Addie. When the government discovered the truth, they tried to “cure” the girls, but Eva and Addie escaped before the doctors could strip Eva’s soul away.

Now fugitives, Eva and Addie find shelter with a group of hybrids who run an underground resistance. Surrounded by others like them, the girls learn how to temporarily disappear to give each soul some much-needed privacy. Eva is thrilled at the chance to be alone with Ryan, the boy she’s falling for, but troubled by the growing chasm between her and Addie. Despite clashes over their shared body, both girls are eager to join the rebellion.

Yet as they are drawn deeper into the escalating violence, they start to wonder: How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom? Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever.

Purchase Once We Were at Amazon
Purchase Once We Were at IndieBound
View Once We Were on Goodreads

* * * * 

Echoes of Us
by Kate Zhang
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
HarperCollins
Released 9/16/2014

To change the world, I may lose everything

All Eva ever wanted was the chance to be herself. But in the Americas, to be hybrid—to share your body with a second soul—is not tolerated past childhood. Now Eva and Addie, her sister soul, are constantly on the move, hiding from the officials who seek to capture them. But the tide is changing. A revolution is brewing, and people are starting to question the hybrids' mistreatment.

Then Marion, an ambitious reporter, offers Eva and Addie a daring proposal: If they go undercover and film the wretched conditions of a hybrid institution, she will not only rescue them, she'll find a way to free Jackson, the boy Addie loves. It's risky, and Eva will have to leave Ryan and her friends behind, but if she succeeds, it could also tip the scales forever and lead to hybrid freedom.

As Eva and Addie walk into danger, they cling to each other and the hope of a better future. But the price they might pay is higher than they ever could have imagined.

Purchase Echoes of Us at Amazon
Purchase Echoes of Us at IndieBound
View Echoes of Us on Goodreads




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