Sunday, October 23, 2016

0 Carol Lynch Williams, author of MESSENGER, on caring about your words, story, and characters

We're delighted to have Carol Lynch Williams here to share more about her latest novel MESSENGER.

Carol, what was your inspiration for writing MESSENGER?

I remember when the idea first came to me for MESSENGER. It was, of course, just a seed, an emotion.

Okay, how many times do you go to a public restroom and have to wave your hand under a sensor to turn on the water or get paper towels out of the dispenser and nothing happens?

One day, after practically dancing in front of an automatice paper towel dispenser and getting nothing, I thought, why is it that these things never detect me? Am I a ghost? And that sparked the idea. I could see a girl trying, without success, to wash her hands. The reason? She’s dead, but doesn’t know. She was clear in my mind. That was years before I sat down to write the book, but that picture of her--at the bathroom sink--stayed in my head.

0 S. D. Grimm, author of SCARLET MOON, on acting out fight scenes with a wooden spoon

We're thrilled to have S. D. Grimm stop by to tell us more about her debut novel SCARLET MOON.

S. D., what was your inspiration for writing SCARLET MOON?

Animals. I love animals, and I always wanted to be Dr. Doolittle. I loved reading Watership Down and Redwall, and I wanted to write a story with animal characters being important to the whole story. So I thought, what if there was this race of people who could bond with and talk to certain animals? Then, what if they got certain abilities from these animals. For example, bonding to a wolf could give you really good hearing. And bonding with an eagle would give you really great eyesight. Oh! And why stop there? What if bonding to a unicorn gave you the ability to heal others? Then I built a world and a story around a few characters who bonded with certain animals and used the gifts they had to make everything unique.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

0 Gretchen McNeil, author of I'M NOT YOUR MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL, on writing a book without a dead body

We're thrilled to have Gretchen McNeil stop by to tell us more about her latest novel I'M NOT YOUR MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL.

Gretchen, what was your inspiration for writing I'M NOT YOUR MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL?

My deep loathing for the manic pixie dream girl trope, which I feel is demeaning, restricting, and potentially dangerous for young girls who may internalize the male idealization of a female muse.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

I had some trouble writing the scenes where my gay character Gabe tries on the persona of a flamboyant gay stereotype. Like with the manic pixie dream girl trope, this is a stereotype that can be really harmful not only to young gay men (who may think this is the only “way” to be an out homosexual) and to the LGBTQ community in general. Like idealizing women, homosexuality doesn’t fit into a box, and the community is made up of all shapes, sizes, personalities, etc. So writing this stereotype was difficult, even though I was using it to illustrate a point.

0 Laurie Faria Stolarz, author of SHUTTER, on the benefits of joining a writers group

We're excited to have Laurie Faria Stolarz join us to chat about her latest novel SHUTTER.

Laurie, what was your inspiration for writing SHUTTER?

I love to play with perspective, looking at the same subject from different angles. In the case of SHUTTER, I wanted to explore a potential crime from different angles, rather than just painting it over in one color. By getting into the variations of shading, we can see how easily the truth can get stretched, misconceived, dismissed, and/or twisted up. In the end, Day must discover that no story is ever complete in the absence of perspective. On her quest to get to the heart of truth, Day comes to realize just how brave that quest is, because sometimes when we look that deeply, we see truths we’d rather not know.

0 Gregg Hurwitz, author of THE RAINS, on being inspired by zombie ants

We're thrilled to have Gregg Hurwitz stop by to share more about his latest novel THE RAINS.

Gregg, what was your inspiration for writing THE RAINS?

Probably a video I saw back in my high school science class that showed this:

I mean, ug, right? So it got me thinking. What if something like this happened to humans? More specifically—to adults? And what if those infected adults were even worse than zombie ants? What if they had holes bored straight through their heads in place of their eyes? What if their job was to seek out and round up kids? But we don’t know why they’re rounding up kids, so our main characters have to figure it out.

And it all exploded from there.

0 Thank You to the Mentors and Participants of the October 1st 5 Pages Workshop!

Congratulations to all of the participants who worked so hard during our October 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop! And a big thanks to our wonderful guest mentors, Anne Pillsworth as our author mentor, and Shannon Powers as our agent mentor! And as always, thank you to our talented and fabulous permanent mentors, who read, comment, and cheer on our participants every month!

Speaking of our wonderful mentors, we have exciting mentor news!

ILLUSION by AYAP and 1st 5 Pages founder, Martina Boone, comes out on Tuesday, October 25! I loved this YA fantasy, a swoony southern gothic, so you won't want to miss it!

FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP by Sarah Glenn Marsh was published on October 11. I couldn't put down this atmospheric historical fantasy!

MOTLEY EDUCATION by S.A. Larsen is a perfect fall pick for middle grade readers. Fanatasy, mystery, and a great friendship - this book has something for everyone!

CURSING FATE, the sequel to Brenda Drake's fabulous YA fantasy, TOUCHING FATE, will be coming out in November! You can add it to your shelf on goodreads!

And check out the cover reveals for Janet B. Taylor's sequel to INTO THE DIM (which I adored!) SPARKS OF LIGHT and Stephanie Scott's YA contemporary, ALTERATIONS! I can't wait to get my hands on them!

Our November workshop will open for entries on Saturday, November 5 at noon, EST. We'll take the first five Middle Grade or Young Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. (Double check the formatting - each month we have to disqualify entries because of formatting.) Click here to get the rules. I will post when it opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have Nancy Ohlin as our author mentor, and Tracy Marchini as our agent mentor.

We will be taking a hiatus for December, opening again in January, 2017! So get those pages ready - we usually fill up in under a minute!

Happy writing (and revising!)


Friday, October 21, 2016

1 Instagram for Authors: Reach New Readers in Ten Minutes a Day

YA author Stephanie Scott is one of our fabulous First Five Pages Writing Workshop mentors, and she JUST had a cover reveal yesterday for her brand new and gorgeous upcoming book, ALTERATIONS. Please give her a warm welcome as she reveals the secrets of Instagram for authors, and scroll down to admire the newly revealed cover!

Instagram for Authors: Reach New Readers in Ten Minutes a Day

by Stephanie Scott

As authors, pre-published or seasoned, we are always on the lookout for how to connect with readers. Did you know lots of readers, particularly young adult readers, hang out on Instagram? The bookstagram community is not only visual, but readers connect with each other through commenting and micro-blogging in photo captions.

Oh, great. Now I have to learn another social media platform?
I hear this a lot from authors. The truth is, you don’t HAVE to do any social media if you don’t like it, but how do you know you don’t like it if you don’t try? (Yes, I’m channeling all of our mothers today! Just try it!)

I started changing the focus of my own much-neglected Instagram account almost a year ago. I had no idea what I was doing, but decided to dive into a 30-day photo prompt challenge started by a popular Instagram book blogger. And … I loved it! I don’t use a fancy camera or a lighting rig—it’s just my camera’s phone and a nearby window for natural light. Since Instagram is meant to be a mobile app, I use free photo editing apps downloaded to my phone. Instagram has built-in editing features as well.

Where to start? Search Instagram’s popular book-related hashtags like #bookish #booknerd or #yalovin (for YA books). Check out the top 9 posts of popular tags to see what bloggers and readers are up to. Search a few of your favorite authors to see what they post. Book bloggers post pictures of books. As authors, we can post books, selfies, favorite writing spots, photos from book events, a pretty sunset. Use your captions to tell a story and invite readers to comment by posing a question. The idea here is personal rather than images of ads to buy your book.

Everyone’s short on time, so here are some tips!

Ten Minutes a Day Instagram
  1. Post a photo with a short caption (ideally ending with a prompt to encourage a response). Include relevant hashtags. If you skip posting for the day, go to the next step! *pro tip: you can take photos ahead of time and post later when you have time
  2. Click the heart comment icon (notifications tab along the bottom on your Instagram). Click on each person who liked your posts and like one or more of their posts. For anyone who commented on one of your posts, like and comment on their posts. This is how you engage! The comment can be brief.
  3. Click on the house icon to get to your home feed. Take 2-3 minutes to Like and/or comment on posts that interest you. You want to regularly engage with the people you follow.
  4. If your 10 mins isn't up, go to the magnifying glass search icon. The top is videos you might like and Instagram’s stories features. Look below that to suggested posts. Click on any that interest you or that relates to your author brand (books, reading, a related theme) and Like and/or comment. Follow 4 - 5 people from this list who seem like they have similar interests (ideally: readers). You can always unfollow later if their content doesn't interest you.
  5. Have fun! 

For more tips and general brainstorming of how to use Instagram as an author platform, feel free to join the free Facebook group Instagram for Authors. This group is specifically limited to writers who are pursuing publication or who are published.

About the Book:

Bloomsbury Spark
Releasing: 12/6/16

If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they'd think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn't know that all the plans she's made for them are just dreams, and that she's the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family.

When Amelia's abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can't imagine leaving Miami--and Ethan--for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan's awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app.

As Liam and Amelia grow closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The "new and improved" Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and choice she never dreamed she'd have to make.

Pre-order Now:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble |  Kobo | Goodreads

About the Author

Stephanie Scott writes Young Adult stories about teens who put their passions first. She enjoys dance fitness and cat memes, and Pinterest is driving her broke. Born and raised in Kalamazoo where there are no zoos, she’s a Midwest girl at heart. She now lives outside of Chicago with her tech-of-all-trades husband. You can find her chatting about all things books on twitter and Instagram at @StephScottYA.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

0 Red Light/Green Light Opens TODAY!

Red Light/Green Light officially opens TODAY as of Noon EST/9am Pacific Time. A maximum of 25 entries received during this window and accepted on a first come first served basis will be admitted into the contest. Our second submission window begins at 3pm EST/Noon Pacific Time, during which we will also accept up to the first 25 entries received, for a maximum of 50 first round competitors.

Don't forget, our prize is a PARTIAL REQUEST from our judging agent, Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency, which makes Red Light/Green Light a great way to stand out from the slush!

Entries time stamped before the first window's opening time will not qualify. Regrettably, neither will those sent after the contest spaces fill up. You ARE permitted to enter during both submission windows, but please only submit once per window. Entries submitted twice within a submission window will be disqualified.

If you have previously entered a manuscript in Red Light/Green Light, but did not place first in the contest, you are more than welcome to enter again.

Red Light/Green Light is open to completed YA, NA, and MG manuscripts.

For a full contest schedule/guidelines, please proceed here.

During the entry windows, submissions should be emailed to ayaplit(at)gmail(dot)com. Please format as follows.


Please type AYAP CONTEST ENTRY in the email subject line for your entry.

Name: Use your real name, and add a pen name in brackets if applicable.

Genre: Please include age category as well as genre. Example: YA Contemporary, NA Romance, MG Suspense.

Title: Your title.

Query Letter/3 Paragraph Pitch: Please include your query letter/3 paragraph pitch, minus any personalization. You do not need to include any biographical information--just the bones of your story, please.

First Page/First 250 Words: Please include your first page (up to 250 words--if a sentence cuts off at the 250 word mark, you may go a few words over to finish it).

Good luck! Can't wait to see your openings, and Happy Writing!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

1 The Myth of the Lone Wolf

We're excited to feature Jonah Lisa Dyer, co-author of THE SEASON, here today as she discusses how important it is to build your own wolf pack!

Most people imagine a writer as the solitary beast, entirely self-dependent, reclusive and brave. A cougar prowling the night. An owl perched high in a treetop scanning for movement below. A lone wolf. Pick your metaphor but the cliché is the writer in front of a keyboard late at night or in the pre-dawn morning, hunting alone, howling at the moon, licking their wounds, the sole source of all that they bring forth creatively.

“There’s nothing to writing. All you do
is sit down at the typewriter and bleed”

– Earnest Hemingway

That’s what I thought before I became a professional writer myself. It was scary. It sounded brutal & very, very lonely. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, there are certain periods of solitary work (the shortest periods), and there are times when a writer must grind it out alone (this is what chocolate was made for), but the creative process is far more collaborative than popularly imagined—significantly and crucially so. Just read the acknowledgements of any book and you will see pages dedicated to the numerous people instrumental in guiding, assisting, editing, and materially and emotionally supporting any author. This is their pack, and I want you to know that while there may be a few lone wolves out there, the majority of writers I know have formed packs, and you should too.

My pack begins with my co-writer, Stephen. Our book & screenplays are organically collaborative because there are two of us. Although only one of us actually types at a time, we plot, develop characters and situations, and even come up with snippets of dialogue together before we ever put anything on paper. We bounce ideas off each other and explore possibilities together for days and weeks. For us, it’s a cooperative process before we even write a single word.

But we don’t rely solely on each other for feedback even at this earliest stage. Once our story feels whole, and we have it down on paper in the form of a synopsis (for books) or a treatment (for films), we seek outside feedback before we move forward on an actual rough draft. We call this the gut-check. Is there enough here? Does it feel like an entire book or a whole movie? Does the shape of it work? Are we missing anything in a macro sense? Trusted partners, the wise wolves in our pack, give input about the basic concept and help us tease out the plot and develop the characters until we’re satisfied.

For people who don’t actually write with a partner, this early work & gut-checking is often done with a critique partner. These are usually close, one-on-one, quid pro-quo relationships. Your CP is like your writer BFF. You can pitch a half-baked idea to a CP. You can ask them to read a paragraph or a chapter before it’s really ready for prime-time. A CP is someone who understands your fears, your weaknesses, your self-doubt. A CP is SAFE. If you don’t already have a critique partner, get one—he or she is a key member of your pack, and cultivating one takes time, so start early. 

“Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it.
If it stays in your head, a perfect idea,
you’ll never be able to share it with anyone.”

– Pixar Rule #11

Once we have a good roadmap to follow, we write the rough draft. And yes, this part can be difficult & solitary, even with a partner. But it’s the shortest part of the process, or at least it should be. There’s a reason so many writers advocate just getting through the first draft as quickly as possible. They know that the real work is revising, but they also know that revising is the juicy, collaborative part of the process.

Our rough draft goes out to an inner circle of people we’ve cultivated over the years—beta readers whose judgment we trust. Your CP can be a Beta Reader but not all Beta Readers are CPs. They might be friends or members of a writing group. For a screenplay they might be your development exec, or just other professionals able to give notes and insight on an entire book or screenplay. Treat them well because they too are valuable members of your pack. Pay them in-kind, lavish them with praise and gifts, and when you need deep, specific or particularly steely-eyed assessments, pay them in cold hard cash.

Beta readers are not just about criticism, they’re about feedback—they let you know if your ideas are getting through, if your tone is working, if the opening feels strong or if the ending is satisfying. Like a painting where the viewer completes the process, professional writing is for readers. I recommend going out early to beta readers, and listening hard to their feedback. They force you to examine our choices and question our assumptions, and inevitably their questions lead to improvements. They don’t always have the perfect solutions, but they are great at spotting problems. 

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you,
spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”

– Amy Poehler

Beta readers’ feedback, plus more revisions, prepare your work for agents. That’s right, all that collaboration and we’re only just now to sending it to agents! Before our book, or our first screenplay, landed on an agent’s desk we had heard serious feedback from five to ten other readers. Agents are going to read your work and have their own feedback, before your work ever goes to a publisher. Sometimes agencies will even ask you to work with agency editor first. If they love and sell your work, they will become seriously important members of your pack, and get you to the final part of the publishing process—your editor and copyeditors.

If you thought you were done when you sold your book, you’re wrong. We worked with our editor at Viking for 15 months before our manuscript was fully approved and sent off for printing, and that included three passes from a copyeditor. 

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

– Helen Keller

So be a lone wolf if you like, and embrace a cold and lonely existence, but know that there is another path—building your own pack. Don’t fear working with others. Relish it. Don’t think of notes as something to endure but rather a genuine response to your work that can lead to new ideas and better execution. The people who read and seriously respond to your work are doing you a great service. At some point you will be forced into the open, and that world will be collaborative—agents, editors, and ultimately readers. Getting used to that process early, in a safe way, will prepare you for your future. I promise you’ll kill more prey working together than you ever will hunting alone.


The Season
by Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer
Viking Children's
Released 7/12/2016

Megan McKnight is a soccer star with Olympic dreams, but she’s not a girly girl. So when her Southern belle mother secretly enters her in the 2016 Dallas debutante season, she’s furious—and has no idea what she’s in for. When Megan’s attitude gets her on probation with the mother hen of the debs, she’s got a month to prove she can ballroom dance, display impeccable manners, and curtsey like a proper Texas lady or she’ll get the boot and disgrace her family. 

The perk of being a debutante, of course, is going to parties, and it’s at one of these lavish affairs where Megan gets swept off her feet by the debonair and down-to-earth Hank Waterhouse. If only she didn’t have to contend with a backstabbing blonde and her handsome but surly billionaire boyfriend, Megan thinks, being a deb might not be so bad after all. But that’s before she humiliates herself in front of a room full of ten-year-olds, becomes embroiled in a media-frenzy scandal, and gets punched in the face by another girl.

The season has officially begun…but the drama is just getting started.

In a partnership exceeding twenty years, native Texans Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer have made lots of amazing things together: the films Hysteria and Away & Back; a cozy home in the mountains of Idaho; a pact to always look for the good in the world; two exceptional human beings who love reading, laughing and pie as much as they do.

Originally from Texas, Stephen & Jonah Lisa Dyer live with their two children in rural Idaho, in the shadow of the Tetons. Per county regulations, they also have a shelter dog and a Subaru. They hope to continue making things for as long as they can.

Jonah Lisa and Stephen Dyer are the authors of THE SEASON.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

0 What Is Fantasy and Why Do We Write It?

“I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which 'Escape' is now so often used. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?”
 ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

I was honored, this past weekend, to do a panel with Victoria Schwab, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of This Savage Song, and Maria Dehvana Headley, New York Times bestselling author of Magonia, at the Southern Festival of Books. We started off with the question "What Is Fantasy?" and spent the entire hour and a half basically talking about that, both in general, and specifically what it means to us and within our books. 

It struck me that for each of us, fantasy is deeply personal and real--and very specific to each book or series. It contains magic or the unreal in some way, but that's always grounded in a core "what if" statement that sparks an entire world based on something related to our own lives. Whether that's a world layered on top of the present world, as is the case with Magonia or Compulsion, or the more unknown worlds like Victoria's This Savage Song, all three of us agreed that above all things, fantasy must be genuine.

Here are a few other thoughts about fantasy from authors I love:

“One day, you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.” 
~ C.S. Lewis 

“If something is there, you can only see it with your eyes open, but if it isn't there, you can see it just as well with your eyes closed. That's why imaginary things are often easier to see than real ones.” 
~ Norton Juster

"If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn't you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real."
~ Neil Gaiman

“The use of imaginative fiction is to deepen your understanding of your world, and your fellow men, and your own feelings, and your destiny.” 
~ Ursula K. LeGuin


Illusion comes out in a week, so there's a brand new blog tour to let you catch up on Compulsion and Persuasion. That includes two chances to win a full set hardcover set of the entire series.


Week One:
10/17/2016- Just Commonly- Review-Compulsion
10/18/2016- Kayl's Krazy Obsession- Guest Post
10/19/2016- Always Me- Review-Compulsion
10/20/2016- YA Book Madness- Guest Post
10/21/2016- The Young Folks- Review-Compulsion

Week Two:
10/24/2016- The Cover Contessa- Review-Persuasion (repost)
10/25/2016- Good Choice Reading- Guest Post
10/26/2016- Curling Up With A Good Book- Review-Persuasion
10/27/2016- Tales of the Ravenous Reader- Guest Post
10/28/2016- A Dream Within A Dream- Review-Persuasion (repost)

Week Three:
10/31/2016- Here's to Happy Endings- Review-Illusion
11/1/2016- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
11/2/2016- Bookish Lifestyle- Review-Illusion
11/3/2016- Dark Faerie Tales- Guest Post
11/4/2016- Book Briefs- Review-Illusion

You can also win a full signed hardcover set over at YA Books Central, where I was author of the week last week. Plus there's a beautiful necklace with that giveaway as well.

And of course, you can still get the charm bracelet here:


Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse
ISBN: 18732883

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

Three hundred years ago, an ancient spirit cursed one of the founding families of Watson Island and gave the other two magical gifts that became compulsions. Arriving for the first time at her aunt’s plantation home, Barrie Watson finds herself haunted by the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she can’t see. With the help of Eight Beaufort, who seems to know what she wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

RT Book Reviews Top Pick & Editor’s Best ~ USA TODAY Must-Read Paranormal ~ Goodreads Best Books of the Month & YA Best Books of the Month

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse
ISBN: 148141125X

As reporters chasing rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold descend on Watson Island, Barrie Watson discovers more is buried at Colesworth Place than treasure. A mysterious, magical man claims the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts and the Colesworth curse also lies beneath the mansion, and Barrie has no option but to help him find it. While she and Eight Beaufort struggle to make sense of the escalating danger and their growing feelings for each other, Barrie must decide not only whom to trust, but which gift is more reliable—Eight’s or her own. With the fate of the founding families at stake, she has to choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep her loved ones safe.

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon |  Book Depository | Goodreads

Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse
ISBN: 1481411306

Caged by secrets all around her and haunted by mistakes that have estranged her from Eight Beaufort, Barrie Watson is desperate to break the curse that puts her family in danger—without breaking the beautiful magic that protects Watson’s Landing. To do that, she must heal the rifts that have split the families of the island apart for three hundred years, unravel the mystery of the Fire Carrier and the spirits he guards, and take control of forces so deadly and awe-inspiring they threaten to overwhelm her.

With the spirits that cursed Watson Island centuries ago awake and more dangerous than ever, she finds an unlikely ally in the haunting and enigmatic Obadiah, whose motivations and power she still can’t read—or trust. His help comes at a price, however, plunging Barrie into a deadly maze of magic and wonder, mystery and intrigue that leads through history to places she never imagined she could go.

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Monday, October 17, 2016

11 New Releases this week 10/17 to 10/23 plus FIVE Giveaways

Happy Monday! The October giveaways are still in full swing and we have 5 more giveaways this week! Don't forget to check out all the other new releases and enter to win below.

Happy Reading,

Shelly, Sam, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Michelle, Laura, Anisaa, and Kristin


* * * *

I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl
by Gretchen McNeil
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Balzer + Bray
Released 10/18/2016

From acclaimed author Gretchen McNeil comes her first realistic contemporary romance—perfect for fans of Kody Keplinger’s The Duff and Morgan Matson’s Since You've Been Gone.

Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She's starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.

So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend Jesse dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it's time to use The Formula for herself. She'll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win Jesse back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.

Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn't all it's cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity and fix everything she's messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl?

I have two big pet peeves that I tackled in this book. First, deconstructing the manic pixie dream girl trope which I feel is demeaning, restricting, and potentially dangerous for young girls who may internalize the male idealization of a female muse. As I say in the book, "Women are not on this planet exclusively to inspire men and make them happy. We have our own dreams and needs, our own shit to get done." That's the message I want young readers to come away with! My second peeve is this idea that people are only portrayed in terms black and white morals - you're either a good guy or a bad guy, a protagonist or an antagonist, your choices are either right or wrong. In reality, the world is full of fuzziness and gray zones, and I wanted to explore that in terms of a traditional YA contemporary framework.

Purchase I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl at Amazon
Purchase I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl at IndieBound
View I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl on Goodreads

* * * *

Scarlet Moon
by S. D. Grimm
Signed Paperback Giveaway
U.S. Only

Gilead Publishing
Released 10/21/2016

The hunted Feravolk are counting on Jayden, a seventeen-year-old, dagger-wielding, storm-detecting orphan, to save their race. Maybe they should have thought of that before they killed her family.

The land of Soleden is dying because the sorceress queen hunts and kills the people who cared for all nature, the Feravolk. Through their special bond with animals, the Feravolk have become more than men. Faster, stronger, masters of camouflage and stealth. Only a Deliverer born the night of the Blood Moon can save them from extinction.

According to prophecy, Jayden is a Deliverer, but it’s not a destiny she wants. She has no sympathy for either side. The Feravolk killed her family, so they can die for all she cares. And fighting the queen with nothing but daggers and her special abilities—storm predicting—is a suicide mission. Destiny can pick someone else.

Except hiding from destiny proves difficult; Deliverers attract powerful Protectors. Jayden’s is one of the Feravolk, so he can’t be trusted. But he makes her feel safe. Makes her want to save his race. If she chooses to keep hiding, he’ll remain one of the hunted, but he’ll protect her even if it means his death if she faces the queen. Making the right choice has never been so excruciating, especially since the prophecy says nothing about the Deliverer’s success, or survival.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Scarlet Moon?

My characters! So I'm one of those readers who loves character-driven stories. I specifically love relationships between characters--not just romantic ones--it could be a sibling or mentor-mentee or BFF relationship. I mean, let's be real, I love a good romantic subplot as well.

So I packed a bunch of unique characters with different relationships into Scarlet Moon: An introverted, dagger-wielding teen girl with superior sparring skills who’s afraid to kill anything (including a rabbit for supper). Check. A young man who doesn’t want to get attached to anyone because he has a strange talent that forces him to protect certain people—even if it means sacrificing his own life. Check. And a wolf who runs with a pack of humans and secretly likes to be petted, but won’t admit it. Check. They were so much fun to write about.

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* * * *

by Carol Lynch Williams
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Released 10/18/2016

From PEN Award–winning author Carol Lynch Williams comes an eerie and atmospheric coming-of-age tale about a girl who can talk to the dead—even if she would rather not.

Evie Messenger knows that her family is different from other families. But it isn’t until her fifteenth birthday that the Messenger gift is revealed to her. Evie has the family’s gift—a special power. Soon she realizes she is able to see and talk to the dead—ghosts—often with no idea who the person was. Or as Evie says: “I see Dead People. It’s a Messenger gift.” That doesn’t mean she wants the Messenger gift. So Evie tries to ignore it but soon she finds she cannot. Can Evie find a way to live her life without letting her power take over? And what if the dead person is someone close to Evie’s family?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Messenger?

That has to be the fact that I wrote all my grandmother’s siblings’ names into MESSENGER. My nana was an important part of my life. I knew she had five sisters and a brother because all but one (who was deceased) came to our family reunions. And I wanted to put all their names in the novel and so I began to research to make sure I had correct spellings etc. I knew there was a sister who died long before I was born. She had throat cancer. I couldn’t remember her name and I wanted to use her, for sure, in the book.

As I researched (my fourth daughter Caitlynne had a friend who helped me), we found there had actually been ten children in my grandmother’s immediate family. I’m not sure Nana even knew about the babies who died. Perhaps they were never spoken of. She never told me of their passing (not did she ever mention the sister who died from cancer first).

Anyway, the discovery of all these other family members was so cool.

And they all find their way into the MESSENGER. This book is sort of my genealogy, if you will.

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* * * *

by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Released 10/18/2016

• Julian Roman, age sixteen, is an escapee from the Fairmount County Juvenile Detention Facility.
• His parents, Michael Roman and Jennifer Roman, are dead.
• Julian is wanted for murder.

• Why is Julian Roman on the run?
• Just how dangerous is he?
• And who did kill Michael and Jennifer Roman, if not Julian?

Seventeen-year-old Day Baker views life through the lens of her camera, where perspective is everything. But photographs never tell the whole story. After Day crosses paths with Julian, the world she pictures and the truths she believes--neatly captured in black and white--begin to blur.

Julian is not the "armed and dangerous" escapee the police are searching for, but his alibis don't quite add up, either. There is more to his story. This time, Day is determined to see the entire picture . . . whatever it reveals. Did he? Or didn't he?

Day digs deeper into the case while Julian remains on the run. But the longer her list of facts becomes, the longer the list of questions becomes, too. It's also getting harder to deny the chemistry she feels for him. Is it real? Or is she being manipulated?

Day is close to finding the crack in the case. She just needs time to focus before the shutter snaps shut.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is a master of suspense and romance. In this page-turning thriller, Stolarz tackles dark truths with a powerful, contemporary voice. Shutter will keep readers guessing until the very end.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Shutter?

I love that a major theme in SHUTTER revolves around getting to the heart of truth. The main character, Day Connor, seeks to find the true story behind Julian Roman’s arrest. Julian is a seventeen-year-old boy who recently escaped from a juvenile detention facility while awaiting trial for the murder of his father. In order to find the truth, Day must look at Julian’s alleged crime from all angles. Meanwhile, Day’s parents are superhero do-gooders who fight for justice. Day has always felt as though she lives in the shadow of their all-important endeavors. By the end of the novel she comes to realize that giving people the benefit of the doubt, looking at the same story from different perspectives, regardless of the consequences – in this case the potential loss of someone she grows to care about – can be just as heroic.

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* * * *

Tattoo Atlas
by Tim Floreen
Hardcover Giveaway
Simon Pulse
Released 10/18/2016

A teenage sociopath is “fixed” after he gets an implant that’s supposed to cure him in this thrilling coming of age tale from the author of Willful Machines.

A year ago, Rem Braithwaite watched his classmate Franklin Kettle commit a horrific crime.

Now, apart from the nightmares, life has gone back to normal for Rem. Franklin was caught, convicted, and put away in juvenile detention for what he did. The ordeal seems to be over.

Until Rem’s mother selects Franklin as a test subject for an experimental brain procedure intended to “cure” him of his cruel and violent impulses. Suddenly Rem’s memories of that day start coming back to the surface. His nightmares become worse than ever. Plus he has serious doubts about whether his mother’s procedure will even work. Can evil really just be turned off?

Then, as part of Franklin’s follow-up testing, he and Rem are brought face to face, and Rem discovers … Franklin does seem different. Despite everything, Rem finds himself becoming friends with Franklin. Maybe even something more than friends.

But when another of their classmates turns up dead, Rem’s world turns upside-down yet again. Franklin insists that he’s innocent, that he’s cured, but Rem doesn’t know what to believe. Is someone else responsible for this new murder, or is Franklin fated to stay a monster forever? And can Rem find out the answer to this question before the killer, whoever it is, comes after him too?

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Bound by Blood and Sand by Becky Allen: Courtney W.
The Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati: Tiana W.


* * * *

The Rains
by Gregg Hurwitz
Tor Teen
Released 10/18/2016

The first YA page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz.

In one terrifying night, the peaceful community of Creek's Cause turns into a war zone. No one under the age of eighteen is safe. Chance Rain and his older brother, Patrick, have already fended off multiple attacks from infected adults by the time they arrive at the school where other young survivors are hiding.

Most of the kids they know have been dragged away by once-trusted adults who are now ferocious, inhuman beings. The parasite that transformed them takes hold after people turn eighteen--and Patrick's birthday is only a few days away.

Determined to save Patrick's life and the lives of the remaining kids, the brothers embark on a mission to uncover the truth about the parasites--and what they find is horrifying. Battling an enemy not of this earth, Chance and Patrick become humanity's only hope for salvation.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Rains?

When I dove into THE RAINS, I knew that I wanted to push the pacing to the wall. To write a book that took off like a rocket so that readers would have to hold on tight. Looking back on the book, I’d have to say that’s my favorite thing about it. From the minute that meteor breaks up high above the farming town of Creek’s Cause, unleashing hell, my characters have to scramble to stay one step ahead of the action.

And, well, am I allowed to have a second favorite thing? That would be my characters who showed up for all this mayhem and faced it more bravely than I would have. Two close brothers, Chance and Patrick Rain, are at the center of my story. They find themselves fighting for their lives as they piece together this terrible epidemic of science gone bad. Chance, our fifteen-year-old narrator, happens to have feelings for Patrick’s tough-as-hell, beautiful girlfriend, Alexandra. Alex is sixteen. Patrick is seventeen. And they learn soon enough that Very Bad Things happen to kids when they turn eighteen. So there’s a ticking clock built into the story—to save Patrick and eventually to save everyone.

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* * * *

by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 10/18/2016

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

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* * * *

Kiss Cam
by Kiara London
Swoon Reads
Released 10/18/2016

In Kiss Cam, teen author Kiara London asks, what's a little harmless kissing between friends?

Juniper, Jasper, and Lenny have been friends forever and co-own a vlog channel called WereVloggingHere. Their fans are huge "shippers" who believe that Juniper and Jasper are perfect for each other, and, despite warnings from friends and family, a simple Truth-or-Dare inspired kiss soon spirals out of control into a whole new world of making out and surprise kisses.

Juniper and Jasper's relationship begins to shift. But as fan requests for different "Kiss Cam" segments keep pouring in, Juniper puts her worries aside and convinces herself that it doesn't mean anything. After all, it's just kissing … right?

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* * * *

Life Uploaded
by Sierra Furtado
Gallery Books
Released 10/18/2016

This heartwarming, coming-of-age tale from top YouTube lifestyle vlogger Sierra Furtado explores what it means to redefine happiness on your own terms, and to stay true to who you are even in the face of Internet insta-fame.

All sixteen-year-old Harper Ambrose has ever wanted is to be recognized: for her zany sense of humor, her on-fleek fashion sense, and her love of all things makeup, flirty, and fun. After an awkward childhood where she fell out with her BFF Gwen and thought she'd never find her one true love, at last Harper feels as though she's finally discovered her voice in a space she never expected: on YouTube, making videos about her day-to-day life and broadcasting them to the masses.

Now an insanely popular vlogger with millions of followers, Harper balances the stresses of everyday high school life—SAT prep, boring teachers, and the mean girl clique staring her down in the hallway—with the glam, fast-paced world of online celebrity. But when one hater on Twitter starts targeting Harper in 140 characters or less, and a young British actor who's captured Harper's heart might not be everything he seems, Harper feels like her pitch-perfect life is suddenly going to pieces around her. Who better to help her pick them up and find herself again than her best friend Ellie and a certain tall, dark, and handsome someone she might not have realized was waiting in the wings for her all along?

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* * * *

Moon Chosen
by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 10/18/2016

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan; but she has cast her duties aside, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating clan strays across her path, that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now, darkness is coming, and with it, a force, more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By forming a tumultuous alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny … and obliterate the forces that threaten to destroy them all.

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* * * *

No Holding Back
by Kate Evangelista
Swoon Reads
Released 10/18/2016

A romantic European vacation is the perfect excuse to let go in this highly anticipated sequel to No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista.

Everyone knows that Nathan is in love with his best friend, Preston …Everyone except Preston. Nathan has always accepted that Preston was too focused on his swim training to worry about love. But Preston is heading off to train for the Olympics soon, so if Nathan wants his chance at love, he has to speak up now. But saying “I love you” is surprisingly difficult, even for someone as confident as Nathan. Maybe a whirlwind vacation in Europe could help? But … what if it doesn’t work out and he loses the best friend he’s ever had?

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* * * *

Rose & Thorn
by Sarah Prineas
Released 10/18/2016

This beauty isn’t sleeping! Sarah Prineas’s darkly imaginative retelling breaks down the classic story of Sleeping Beauty in a big, bold way. Brimming with action and romance, beautiful Rose must escape the curse that will force the kingdom to fall into a century-long slumber and fights for the freedom to find her own happily ever after.

After the spell protecting her is destroyed, Rose seeks safety in the world outside the valley she had called home. She’s been kept hidden all her life to delay the three curses she was born with, curses that will have drastic consequences if they take effect. Accompanied by the handsome and mysterious Griff and Quirk, his witty and warmhearted partner, Rose tries to escape from the ties that bind her to this forced fairy tale. But will the path they take lead them to freedom, or will it bring them straight into the prescribed story they are trying to avoid?

Set in the world of Prineas’s Ash & Bramble fifty years later, Rose & Thorn is a powerful retelling of Sleeping Beauty. If you like your fairy tales dark, your heroines daring, and your suitors dashing, this is the book for you.

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* * * *

Royal Tour
by Amy Alward
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 10/18/2016

Sam Kemi is off on another Hunt around the world, chasing secret potions and magic diaries in the second novel of the “charming and humorous” (Kirkus Reviews) Potion Diaries series.

After winning the Wilde Hunt, things are looking up for Sam Kemi and her family’s potion business—until suddenly they aren’t...

When someone goes after her grandfather, stealing his memories and priceless knowledge, the Kemi’s Potion Shop is forced to close and Sam is left scrambling for answers—without her grandfather’s help. Part of Ostanes’s mind is trapped in those memories, and without them he’s lost and confused. And the more time passes, the worse his condition becomes.

Hoping to reverse the effect of dark potions on the body, someone is looking for the recipe for aqua vitae—an elixir that can cure any illness—lost in the pages of an old Kemi family diary. But aqua vitae could also be the key to bringing her grandfather back, and that’s all Sam really wants. Determined to find Ostanes’s memories and the recipe first, Sam finds herself on the most important and perilous Hunt of her life.

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* * * *

Saving Red
by Sonya Sones
Released 10/18/2016

Molly Rosenberg may only be fourteen, but she’s experienced more hurt and guilt than most adults. With her home life a mess, Molly takes part in a volunteer event tallying the city’s homeless population. There, on a windy Santa Monica bluff, is where Molly meets Red, an enigmatic homeless girl with more zest for life than she’s ever encountered. The two spark an unlikely friendship that pulls Molly out of her sadness. Finally, Molly can open up to someone about her brother’s disappearance that she feels she’s to blame for.

But whenever Molly tries to get Red to open about her family—where they are, why they left her, or if Red left them—Red quickly changes the subject, or starts rambling on about things that just don’t make any sense. Molly knows she can’t change her own past, but she vows to help Red salvage her future. In Sonya Sones’ latest novel, two girls with a unique bond give each other a new perspective on the meaning of family, friendship, and forgiveness.

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* * * *

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily
by Rachel Cohn
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 10/18/2016

Dash and Lily have had a tough year since readers first watched the couple fall in love. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.

With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the holiday magic of New York City in December.

Told in alternating chapters, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily reunites two beloved characters and is bound to be a Christmas favorite, season after season.

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* * * *

What Light
by Jay Asher
Released 10/18/2016

Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that's moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

0 Becky Allen, author of BOUND BY BLOOD AND SAND, on burning a book down and starting over

We're pleased to have Becky Allen swing by to give us more info about her debut BOUND BY BLOOD AND SAND.

Becky, what was your inspiration for writing BOUND BY BLOOD AND SAND?

BOUND BY BLOOD AND SAND actually has a very clear origin. My older sister (who also happens to be my roommate) teaches high school global history. It's a set of classes that takes two years and culminates in a major, state-mandated exam. So she always spends the last few weeks of the year reviewing, going all the way back to the beginning, trying to help her students prepare for the test.

One of her strategies are flashcards to help with multiple choice. It's a quick way to link concepts -- to know that if a question asks about X, the answer is almost always going to be Y. When she told me about it, her X and Y examples were irrigation and civilization. In other words, if the test asks for a major factor leading to the birth of civilization, the right answer is probably irrigation.

So I began to wonder, if irrigation was a necessity for civilization to form, then in a world with magic, would they use that magic for irrigation? Would their society be centered around it? And I began to imagine a desert world that was barely surviving -- and what little bit of civilization they could eke out was only possible because they had a magical source of water. And then I asked myself: what would happen if their magic, and thus their water, suddenly went dry?

0 Brie Spangler, author of BEAST, on it's okay if it takes a long time to get to your own personal 'there'

We're delighted to have Brie Spangler with us to share more about her debut BEAST.

Brie, what was your inspiration for writing BEAST?

Believe it or not, the New England Patriots. I grew up about twenty minutes away from Foxboro Stadium (now Gilette Stadium) and I remember going to my hometown all you can eat Chinese buffet with my mom for lunch one day and these absolutely huge, enormous men —just mountains of men!— came in, grabbed everything in the buffet, opened their mouths and poured it in, chewed a little bit, dabbed their mouths and went back to football practice. I was maybe eleven or so? Maybe twelve? And all I could think was, “What can that possibly be like, being that big?” It was seriously mind-blowing to think that people could grow that big, especially as I was still growing myself. So their size and the way they had no choice but to move through the world like titans (*ahem* not the Tennessee Titans, to clarify) and it never left me. So I put all that into the body of a fifteen year old boy who wants nothing to do with it.

0 Karen Fortunati, author of THE WEIGHT OF ZERO, on the confidence to write bold

We're excited to have Karen Fortunatim here to tell us more about her debut THE WEIGHT OF ZERO.

Karen, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

I have to say that last nine chapters of the book fill me with the most pride. I can’t say what happens for obvious reasons but it’s the one section of the story that I keep going back to and rereading now. I’ve been asked if it was emotionally difficult for me to write this story – about a girl who thought life wasn’t worth living. And the truth is that I always knew Catherine’s outcome so while many chapters were undoubtedly tough, I was able to get through it. On a technical note, these chapters were pretty much always there in my head once Catherine showed up with her story. It was cathartic and fulfilling to finally write the ending that had been brewing for so long.

0 M.P. Kozlowsky, author of FROST, on writers being the hero of an adventure story

We're thrilled to have M.P. Kozlowsky stop by to chat about his latest novel FROST.

M.P., was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

For me, the AHA! moment always comes before any writing takes place. The AHA! moment is the idea, however simple, that will drive the novel from beginning to end. It is the spark, the adrenalized sensation when you know you have latched onto something powerful. In the case of FROST, it was a single image: that of a girl dragging her dying pet through a city in order to save it. That’s all I started with and that got me through all 350+ pages. The beginning of the book always flies. It moves fast as you’re still soaring with your burgeoning ideas — there is so much possibility, so much excitement! The beginning is a pleasure to write and you are certain you are typing gold. The middle, however, is a nightmare. The sky has darkened and you’re about to be caught in a vicious storm, one that will take countless lives. The storm comes for us all and many a good writer has fallen victim. The key is to hunker down, to cling to the strong foundation you have built — always go back to that AHA! moment that brought you there — and wait out the storm. And as it passes overhead, you begin to see the light again. The end of the book is nearing, and the words aren’t so heavy in your mind anymore; they flow with ease. The excitement and optimism and energy you felt at the beginning of the process returns. Writing a novel is a journey; it should mirror any adventure story. And you are the hero.