Monday, February 28, 2011

44 In Stores This Week (with Interviews & Giveaways) Part 1

We've been waiting for this week for a long time. LIAR SOCIETY, the debut of fabulous and reliably hilarious Lisa and Laura Roecker emerges, among many other hot books. Finally, the wait is over. Read on for new books, as well as author interviews. Be sure and scroll all the way down to enter to win some of these books. We almost forgot to mention we have 11 of them up for grabs!

This Week's Interviews

The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker
  • From Goodreads: Kate Lowry didn't think dead best friends could send e-mails. But when she gets an e-mail from Grace, she’s not so sure.

    Sent: Sun 9/14 11:59 PM
    Subject: (no subject)

    I'm here…
    sort of.
    Find Cameron.
    He knows.
    I shouldn't be writing.
    Don't tell.
    They'll hurt you.

    Now Kate has no choice but to prove once and for all that Grace’s death was more than just a tragic accident. But secrets haunt the halls of her elite private school. Secrets people will do anything to protect. Even if it means getting rid of the girl trying to solve a murder...
How long did you work on this book?
The first draft of this book took about three months to write. Perhapst that's why we spent over a year editing. Ha!

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Our journey was definitely a roller coaster ride. We had many close calls, a few revisions for editors and a bunch of rejections. But we were just waiting for an editor to truly get us and Kate and the entire concept behind The Liar Society. And we found him...or he found us! From start to finish, our submission process lasted around five months. That's five long months of refreshing email.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Accept feedback from other writers. Don't be afraid to dive back into a manuscript and get all dirty during revisions. As much as we would love to say our first drafts are perfect, they are NOT. One of our most valuable tools as writers is our incredible beta reader.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
We keep saying this, but the community is what surprises us on a daily basis. It is the least-competitive, most supportive, entertaining, diverse, talented, most refreshing community we've ever been apart of. Everyone understands us and we've made true friends. Three years ago we would have thought that was impossible. Now we can't imagine our lives without everyone!

Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins
  • From Goodreads: Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch. That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth. Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers. But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?
How long did you work on this book?
I worked on DEMONGLASS for about seven months. I actually wrote the first three chapters in one day, and thought, "Aha! I will write this book in, like, A WEEK." Sadly, that didn't turn out to be the case. :) I will say that the last half only took a month or so, though. For me, writing is always like the whole snowball down the hill thing- once it gets going, it GOES.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I was ridiculously lucky in my publication journey, so it was pretty short! I found my agent after about two weeks of querying, and then it was about 6 weeks from when the first book, HEX HALL, went on submission to when we sold the trilogy. Of course then I DID have a nearly 2 year wait until the book hit the shelves, so maybe it all evened out.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Read a lot! I think sometimes writers get so caught up in their output that they can neglect their INPUT. Also, remember that as fun as the people in your head are, the people in your life always come first. :)

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I think how LITTLE my life has really changed. I mean, yes, I work in jammies now, and I get to write serious, business-y emails about elves sometimes, but the day-to-day stuff is surprisingly normal. And honestly, I think that's a good thing! :) 

Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave
  • From Goodreads: Andy is the janitor's son, an outcast, a nobody. Then the rumor starts—that Blake has a gun in his locker. In a moment of misguided hopefulness, Andy steals the keys from his dad and opens up Blake's locker, hoping that finding the gun will change his own status. But the gun isn't there and Andy remains an outcast. When an unlikely friendship develops between the two loners, Blake shares most of his secrets with Andy, including the gun. But there's one secret that worries Andy more than anything—the date circled on Blake's calendar. Does Blake have something planned? Something that Andy can prevent? In a fascinating look at how teens deal with the now constant threat of school violence, debut author Ryan G. Van Cleave provides a unique, emotional perspective on how it feels to be the one who can prevent a tragedy.
How long did you work on this book?
Writing UNLOCKED took me about a year. I thought I was done when I had 50 pages. Then my agent pushed me to get 100. Then my editor pushed me further. The final product ended up taking many months (and many pages) more than I expected, but it's a far richer, better story for it. I was very lucky to have so many people around me who insisted the novel be as strong as it could be.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I was able to sign up with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency off the strength of a historical novel. That book came close about ten times but never quite caught on anywhere--largely due to most publishers being extraordinarily picky thanks to the economy, I think. In the meantime, I wrote a pair of other manuscripts and UNLOCKED was the first to get taken. It didn't rack up that many rejections, which is awesome, though it still took many months to go from a submission to a signed contract. I certainly know about rejection from sending out individual stories, poems, essays, interviews, and reviews. Over the past decade, I must have a trash bag or two full of them!

The good news is that I now have two other YA books that I think are equally strong. With some luck, UNLOCKED's publication is the beginning of a long relationship between myself and the Young Adult publishing world. I loved reading YA books as a kid, so it's incredibly rewarding to be a part of that world for others.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
The Young Adult market is very difficult to break into. But my advice to writers who want to get there is this: Don't quit. Every year, hundreds of very fine writers quit on their dream of being a published YA author. Nearly every successful YA author I know had to stick with it through some tough years that made them doubt their ability, their courage, and their confidence.

One of the hardest parts of being a writer is persevering through lots of rejection and delays and almosts. Stick with it. If it's truly your dream, you CAN'T give up.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
While I've published more than a dozen other books prior to UNLOCKED, none of those were in the Young Adult category. What I found surprising about the process of publishing a Young Adult book is the opportunity to have fun. For instance, when I was asked to write up something for the Spring 2011 catalog for Walker Books for Young Readers, I was encouraged to include such things as a "5 Things You Didn't Know About Ryan Van Cleave" list. Here's a favorite of mine (#5): My youngest daughter gets along quite well without the number five. Whether it's counting Cheerios or dropping pennies into a jar, it's always "One, two, three, four, SIX!!!" I didn't get to do that when compiling poetry anthologies!

The Chaos (Numbers #2) by Rachel Ward
  • From Goodreads: Adam sees 'numbers' - when he looks in peoples' eyes he can see their death-dates, just like his mum Jem used to. Adam has trouble dealing with his awful gift, and when he realises that everyone around him has the same series of numbers, he becomes deeply afraid of what might happen in 2025. Desperate to find out what could be about to go wrong, Adam spends hours researching possibilities - war, nuclear accidents, killer viruses. He knows something big is coming, but what? And is there anything he can possibly do about it?
How long did you work on this book?
'Numbers' took six months to write and six months to edit. Looking back, it all seems really easy. The second and third books have been a lot more tortuous to write and edit.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I wrote two books before 'Numbers.' Both were rejected by every agent and publisher I sent them to and quite rightly because they weren't good enough. I've been writing in my spare time for seven or eight years, experimenting with radio plays and short stories as well as novels. Writing has been a hobby - done in splendid isolation without going on any courses or joining any writers' groups - which has turned into something rather wonderful.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
I would say to write something that you're really interested in, or that challenges you or fascinates you or even frightens you. A book is a big commitment and it's got to be something that you're happy spending time with for a year or more. Write something that you would like to read, and try and write every day. It's amazing how a novel can build up if you add to it every single day.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
Well, the whole thing has been a surprise. I had no idea what went in to publishing or promoting a book before it happened to me. One of the best things has been visiting schools and libraries talking with teenage readers. I've met some truly inspiring teachers, librarians and students. You never quite know what's going to happen and it keeps you on your toes. The other surprising thing is how little the rest of my life has changed. I feel like a writer when I'm actually giving a talk or writing or editing, but the rest of the time I'm just me doing all the normal things I've always done.

Blood & Flowers by Penny Blubaugh
  • From Goodreads: Three years ago, Persia ran away from her drug-addict parents and found a home with the Outlaws, an underground theater troupe. With time, this motley band of mortals and fey, puppeteers and actors, becomes the loving family Persia never had, and soon Persia not only discovers a passion for theater but also falls in love with one of the other Outlaws. Life could not be more perfect. Until an enemy makes an unfair accusation against the group and forces them to flee their world and hide in the neighboring realm of Faerie. But in Faerie, all is not flowers and rainbows. With bloodthirsty trolls, a hostile monarchy, and a dangerous code of magic, the fey world is far from the safe haven the Outlaws had hoped for....
How long did you work on this book?
I'd guess a year to get it ready, then another two years before it came out. Part of the reason for that was because the publication date was pushed back a year after the contracts were signed so we didn't rush with copyedits and editor comments.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?Oh, yeah, long! It was about 10 years after I started submissions before my first book was published. I'd had a few small things published -- a poem and I won a story contest with New England Science Fiction and Fantasy Association -- and a slew of library-related articles (I'm a YA librarian) in journals. But a book, a real live book -- that took a while.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
I think you can get so anxious to be published that you can lose your story in the desire for acceptance. (If vampires are in, I should write about vampires!) Be true to your story and to yourself. At some point someone will find the value in what you're doing. (Let me add that this is much easier to say than it is to do.)

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
There was lovely idea in my mind that once that first book was everything was going to change. What actually happened was that I just kind of exchanged my problems and anxieties for a brand new set. I feel now like there are expectations to be met regarding reviews and all that author stuff. (See previous answer last sentence.) And there's still nobody who's begging to clean my house!

On the other hand, holding my book, that real, live book -- wow!!


Who's ready to win some amaaaaazing prizes? We've got a copy of LIAR SOCIETY & fun swag for LiLa's book, as well as copies of DEMONGLASS, BLOOD & FLOWERS, and 3 copies of THE CHAOS (NUMBERS #2)! Please fill out the form below and leave a comment on this post for a chance to win. The contest is open to US residents. Don't forget to stop by tomorrow and enter a second time to double your chances of winning. More prizes will be revealed then. We'll announce winners on Thursday morning. Good luck!

Happy reading,
The Ladies of ACP

Friday, February 25, 2011

12 Best Articles This Week for Writers 2/25/11

To Market
After the Sale
Book Reviews
Just for Smiles
Social Media
Other Weekly Round-Ups:
Did we miss anything? Anyone? Please leave a comment!
Happy reading and joyous writing,

Martina, Marissa, Clara, Cam and Cici

Thursday, February 24, 2011

6 The Winner of Lesley Livingston's DARKLIGHT Is...

From last Tuesday's post on Crafting Character Likeability, the winner of Lesley Livingston's DARKLIGHT is...

S. Alston

We'll get that mailed out in the next few days.

As always, everyone, thanks for your comments and participation. We love sharing great books, book discussions, and discussions on the writing craft.

Next week will be another monster Monday of new releases with so many author interviews and book releases that it will spill over into Tuesday. But we will be back the following week with another craft post.

Happy reading,

Martina and Marissa

6 In Stores This Week: Contest Winners!

We love to spread great news. So here goes...

The 3 winners of Kimberly Marcus' EXPOSED are...

Vicki Tremper, The Total Book Nerd, and Crystal!!!

The winner of Caitlin Kittredge's THE IRON THORN is...

Shannon O'Donnell!!!

The winner of Joanna Nadin's WONDERLAND is...


The winner of Melissa Marr's DARKEST MERCY is...

Jennifer S.!!!

The winner of fun swag for Kelly Keaton's DARKNESS BECOMES HER is...


The winner of Julie Chibbaro's DEADLY is...

Tom M Franklin!!!

The winner Ni-Ni Simone's UPGRADE U is...

A Rick!!!

Many thanks to the generous authors and publishing houses, who provide these fantastic giveaways week after week. Thank you to all who entered. Don't miss Monday's post, featuring fabulous new books and 10 giveaways (and counting...)!!!

Happy reading,
The Ladies of ACP

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

11 WOW Wednesday: Miriam Halahmy on Weaving Edgy Contemporary Issues Into Teen Fiction

We are pleased to introduce author Miriam Halahmy, who has written novels, poetry and short stories for children, teens and adults. Her work has been read on the radio and performed on stage. HIDDEN is her debut Young Adult novel. It is in the first in a cycle of three novels set on an island off the south coast of England. A minor character in the previous novel becomes the major character in the next. Otherwise they are stand alone stories. The second and third titles, ILLEGAL and STUFFED, will be published in 2012.

Miriam was a teacher for 25 years and now mentors writers. She has worked with refugees and asylum seekers for many years, helping them to write their stories. Some of the inspiration for HIDDEN comes from her husband and his large Iraqi family. Miriam believes that all young people have a future and that reading helps to provide the route map forward. You can visit her online at or

How do you weave edgy contemporary issues into teen fiction?

By Miriam Halahmy

My novel HIDDEN deals with the complex issues of immigration and human-rights laws, through the eyes of teenage Alix. A coming-of-age novel it focuses on courage, prejudice, judgement and the difficulty of sorting right from wrong.
Fourteen year old Alix lives at the bottom of Hayling Island, near the beach. It is a quiet backwater, far removed from the international politics of war, terrorism and refugees. Alix has never given a thought to asylum seekers, she has enough problems of her own; Dad has a new life that doesn’t include her, Grandpa is dead and Mum is helpless and needy.
Then one day on the beach Alix pulls a drowning man out of the incoming tide; a refugee escaping certain death in Iraq. Alone, helpless and desperate not to be deported, Mohammed’s destiny lies in Alix’s hands. However, hiding an injured refugee is fraught with difficulties. Faced with the biggest moral dilemma of her life, what will Alix do and who can she trust?
My novel has emerged from a lot of different parts of my life. My grandparents were immigrants to the UK in the early part of the twentieth century, fleeing pogroms in Czarist Russia. I grew up hearing different accents and eating different foods. I have always fitted into other cultures, experiences, languages and religions. As a teacher in inner city schools in the ‘80s and 90’s I worked with many children who were refugees and asylum seekers, such as Vietnamese boat people. I am now involved as a writing mentor for asylum seekers keen to write their stories down and for their voices to be heard.
I have been married into an Iraqi family for thirty years. My husband and his seven brothers and sisters were all born in Baghdad. Joining the family opened up a world of Arabic, belly dancing and the classic Middle Eastern singers. I heard about sleeping on the roof in the fierce Baghdad summers and shopping in the Shorjah market.
Therefore when I saw a call from the writer, Tony Bradman, for stories about child asylum seekers for an anthology, I found that a complete story came into my head, Samir Hakkim’s Healthy Eating Diary. Samir is nine years old in 2002 and has been sent out of Iraq after all his family are arrested under Saddam Hussein’s terrible regime. Samir arrives at Heathrow airport all alone and is taken into care. He ends up in a foster home on the south coast of England, the only foreign boy in his school. But one day his teacher gives the class notebooks and tells them to record everything they eat that week. That won’t take long, thinks Samir and he decides to write his own diary at the back of the book, in his secret language, Arabic. The story is told entirely in diary form and therefore allows me to record the positive aspects of Samir’s week such as being invited home to a friend’s house, as a balance for the terrible story he is writing about his family’s disaster.
The anthology, Give me Shelter, was shortlisted for the UKLA Award, 2008. I felt that there was much more to Samir’s story and the stories of people seeking asylum in England. My family lived for twenty-five years on an Island off the south coast of England, opposite the Isle of Wight. I had always thought it would be a good place to set a novel. One day I was walking on the beach and thought, What if a couple of teenagers see a man thrown into the sea and rescue him? What if the man is a desperate, tortured asylum seeker? What would they do? That was it; my story was born and one of the teenagers is Samir.
I believe that the most important part of a novel is the characters. If the reader is engaged by the characters then they will want to read on and find out how they resolve their problems no matter what issues form the backdrop. I always find that if my characters are convincing they will start speaking and they will tell you where the story is going. They will also introduce new characters. It is almost a magical process. Their words run through my head as I’m out shopping, going for walks, cleaning the house, even in the cinema. Once they have come alive they actually won’t stop and it is their voices, telling the story, reacting to the dilemmas that arise, which allow me to cover the most difficult and demanding issues for any age group.
I know that young people today have a great interest in everything that is happening. Many of them believe they should be able to vote at sixteen and shape the world we live in. Tackling challenging material in fiction for young adults allows them to engage with some of the major issues of our times and encourage them to form their own opinions.
But whatever we do as writers, we must make our stories interesting, active and, where appropriate, funny.
In HIDDEN Alix has a very ironic view of life. As the novel opens she has been let down by her friend and left alone on the High Street, thinking about how her Mum expects her to do everything.
Even clean the loo.
“I’m not fifteen until May,” I yelled at her earlier.
“Save it. You’ll find the bathroom cleaner under the sink.”
“Might as well sell me into child slavery,” I muttered, because since we’ve not been getting along, well not getting along even worse than usual, because she broke her leg, (which for the record was not my fault) it’s just not worth winding her up. I try to think thoughts these days instead of actually saying them out loud, because you know how it is, everything you say out loud gets taken down and used as evidence or recorded on camera phone and loaded onto YouTube so everyone can view it. Well, that’s how it feels anyway.

So let’s write the books we want to for young people and not be afraid to challenge their view of the world but let’s keep the narrative alive and engaging. No-one likes being lectured to when they are settling down for a good read.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

21 In Stores This Week (with Interviews & Giveaways) Part 2

It's day two in our mega-giveaway of all things new in the land of YA. Click here if you missed day one. Read on for author interviews, fab books, and scroll all the way down to enter to win some wonderful prizes!

This Week's Interviews

Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales by Tamora Pierce
  • From Goodreads: Collected here for the first time are all of the tales from the land of Tortall, featuring both previously unknown characters as well as old friends. Filling some gaps of time and interest, these stories, some of which have been published before, will lead Tammy's fans, and new readers into one of the most intricately constructed worlds of modern fantasy.

How long did you work on this book?
It’s a collection of stories stemming from the 1980s, including three brand new ones written over six months in 2010 (those are the longest ones). “Plain Magic,” 1985, is my first published fantasy short story, from the U.K. anthology PLANETFALL, edited by Douglas Hill for Oxford University Press.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
My journey is quite unusual. All of the stories but “Mimic,” “Nawat,” and “Lost” were written on request for various magazines and anthologies, so there were no rejections or length submissions processes. The collection itself was the brainchild of my Random House editors, Mallory Loehr and R. Schuyler Hooke, so once I stopped screaming at the thought of writing three short stories in a row, we closed the deal.

This is not to say I haven’t had long journeys or rejections. Before “Plain Magic,” I was unable to sell any short stories in fiction—my short sales until and after that time were all non-fiction. Most of the rejected short pieces were on submission for months to various publications until I finally shelved them. My longest novel publishing journey is that of the The Song of the Lioness quartet. I began it as a single adult novel in November 1976; the first book in the revised quartet for teens was published in 1983, and the last book of the quartet was published in 1988. I’d say that’s a long journey!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Keep at it. All of us are bad when we start. The only way we get better is by continuing to write. And entertain yourself. That way you'll want to keep writing in order to learn how the story comes out!

What has surprised you most about becoming a published writer?
Realizing that people really want to read my work and that it has far more influence on my readers than just a fun story to read. They take so many ideas and new directions from my work. It’s always a surprise and delight to me, to share with others who want to share with me!

Upgrade U by Ni-Ni Simone
  • From Amazon: Life is poppin' and seventeen-year-old Seven McKnight is rockin' Stiles University's hottest baller, Josiah Whitaker, on her arm when it all falls apart. With groupies threatening her basketball wife status and Josiah's dreams of the NBA blowing up his ego, Seven finds herself in a tailspin. . .should she stay or leave? In steps the unbelievably fine sophomore heartthrob, Zaire St. James, who's been watching Seven and waiting for his chance. With Josiah doing his own thing, Seven finds herself falling for Zaire. But just when she decides to give Zaire her everything, Josiah becomes determined to win Seven back by any means necessary. . .
How long did you work on this book?
I worked on Upgrade U for two months. I work full-time, have a husband and three children so I write my novels most times between 5 and 7 a.m. and when I come home in the evenings; after, dinner, homework, and conversation with my husband of course. And no, I have no secret desire to be Wonder Woman. LOL. I prayed for the chance, God gave me the gift and sacrifice comes with it.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
My journey to be published was not a hard one. I sent my first manuscript out seven years ago and was accepted the first time; this was not under Ni-Ni Simone though. Along with writing YA fiction I also write adult fiction under my name, Tu-Shonda Whitaker.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
To always remember that writing is creative but being published is a business.

What surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The embracing of my work and that I was truly, truly living my dream.

Orchards by Holly Thompson
  • From Goodreads: After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg—a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American—wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family's mikan orange groves. Kana's mixed heritage makes it hard to fit in at first, especially under the critical eye of her traditional grandmother, who has never accepted Kana's father. But as the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Then news about a friend sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.
How long did you work on this book?
The actual writing of Orchards, once I allowed myself to drop all my other writing projects to focus on this one, took about a year. But the research for the setting in a Japanese mikan growing village took several years, including the 18 months that I spent working with a mikan farmer to learn everything from planting, pruning, thinning and harvesting to storage and shipping. That mikan research was actually for my second adult novel (still in progress), but a visit by the farmer’s American-born niece mid-way through my village work got me thinking about a YA story of a bicultural U.S. teen sent to stay with Japanese relatives. And actually going back farther, the key, very painful, seed for the book, the suicide of a friend’s daughter, occurred fifteen years ago. So although the writing period was relatively short (for me, anyways), Orchards had been gestating in my head for many years.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Orchards is my third book—first was my adult novel Ash in 2001, second my picture book The Wakame Gatherers in 2007—and now Orchards, my first YA title. To push myself with Orchards, I participated in the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program. Nevada is a long way from Japan where I live, but the program was exactly what I wanted for this project—a mentor to work with over a six-month period, which was not the sort of opportunity I could find in Japan. My amazing mentor Esther Hershenhorn provided me with just the feedback that I needed to hone my story into a polished draft, which I sent to agent Jamie Weiss Chilton, who presented at the April conference that kicked off the program. Incredibly, before the mentor program had ended, I had signed with Jamie and the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Just two months (and many post-its, several plot charts and multiple revisions) later, Jamie was sending the manuscript out. Not long after that I’d received an offer for a two-book deal from my editor Francoise Bui at Delacorte/Random House.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
When you write, do it for the sheer joy and pain and wonder of discovering and sharing stories. Go places near and far. Encounter the world. Learn and soak up as much of the world as you can. Distance yourself from what’s familiar so that you can gain new perspectives. Write for children everywhere. Share books and stories with children everywhere.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
What is always surprising to me is when my words touch people—when people write to tell me they were moved by a particular scene, or when I’m giving a reading and audience members laugh at the same moment, or when a child says, “That’s just what happens to me when I’m speaking two languages.” As an English-language writer living in Japan, I spend so much time creating stories in solitude that it is always a thrill to know that readers in many different locations connect with my characters. Even more thrilling is seeing kids and teens inspired to create their own original stories that one of my stories helped seed.

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
  • From Goodreads: Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is. Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued. She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her. Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.
How long did you work on this book?
About four months total in the actual writing and then revising, and then probably add couple weeks after getting notes from my agent and CPs. The story also stewed in my head for a bit before I sat down to write -- couldn't say how long that would equate to, though!

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Very long. I wrote my first manuscript back in 2003 (and before that it was plays and screenplays). I went through six manuscripts and years of rejections (they number in the hundreds). It was tough. A very long road with a lot of ups and downs.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
To keep writing new material. I see a lot of authors write one manuscript and then knock on doors for years and years. When you finish one and begin submitting, start another because you never know what will end up selling. It might be your fifth manuscript or your tenth. It doesn't mean you have to give up on your first book, it just means you're giving yourself more opportunities and chances of selling and getting better with each new book.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The stress. It's quite different than writing a book on your own timetable. It's quite another to write one on someone else's, when they've already paid for it, and have certain expectations and you have to write within boundaries... So it's a bit more pressure. And it's definitely a lesson in self-discipline and time management! There are good surprises, too, though. Seeing your book on the shelf, building great friendships, getting paid to do something you love. :-)

Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
  • From Goodreads:  A mysterious outbreak of typhoid fever is sweeping New York. Could the city’s future rest with its most unlikely scientist? If Prudence Galewski is ever going to get out of Mrs. Browning’s esteemed School for Girls, she must demonstrate her refinement and charm by securing a job appropriate for a young lady. But Prudence isn’t like the other girls. She is fascinated by how the human body works and why it fails. With a stroke of luck, she lands a position in a laboratory, where she is swept into an investigation of the fever bound to change medical history. Prudence quickly learns that an inquiry of this proportion is not confined to the lab. From ritzy mansions to shady bars and rundown tenements, she explores every potential cause of the disease. But there’s no answer in sight—until the volatile Mary Mallon emerges. Dubbed “Typhoid Mary” by the press, Mary is an Irish immigrant who has worked as a cook in every home the fever has ravaged. Strangely, though, she hasn’t been sick a day in her life. Is the accusation against her an act of discrimination? Or is she the first clue in a new scientific discovery? Prudence is determined to find out. In a time when science is for men, she’ll have to prove to the city, and to herself, that she can help solve one of the greatest medical mysteries of the twentieth century.
How long did you work on this book?
I got the idea for Deadly in 2003. My first draft was from a boy’s perspective, and the Typhoid Mary story was intertwined with another disaster at the time, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. After a few drafts, I changed the boy to a girl, Prudence, cut the Triangle story, and turned it into a diary. This took about five years of back and forth with my then-editor (with several long breaks) to figure out.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?My journey to novel publication was quite long, with lots of rejection letters, most of which my husband has finally convinced me to throw away. I wrote my first novel in 1993, which wasn’t published. I published a number of short stories and articles through the years, but didn’t sell a novel (the third I had written), until 2002. Redemption came out in 2004, nearly ten years after I’d committed myself to writing. I attended many conferences to meet folks in publishing, and it was through a conference that I met the editor who introduced me to my agent in Sept. 2001.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Each writer’s life is so individual, it’s hard to tell others what advice is best for them. I think it’s a good idea to get a sense of your own talent, but also to know that if you keep learning your craft, you can become a better writer. There are many wonderful books on writing that I re-read often, my favorite being Janet Burroway’s “Writing Fiction.”

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I think it’s the fact that once I write something and it’s out of my hands, it really belongs to the world, which judges and names it. That outside opinion of your darlings, works that you’ve held in your secret heart for so long without the public eye, can be quite shocking. Like being inside a dark box for a few years, scratching into the walls, then opening out into the sunlight.

Additional Releases

Haven by Kristie Cook
  • From Goodreads: One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future. But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven. Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.
Ominous (Private) by Kate Brian

  • From Goodreads: The Private series, which has 1.6 million books in print, begins it's final chapter!

Here comes part two in our mega-giveaway! We're happy to announce more awesome prizes in addition to those revealed yesterday. Kelly Keaton has offered fun swag for her book DARKNESS BECOMES HER. Julie Chibbaro is kindly offering a copy of DEADLY and Ni-Ni Simone is passing along a copy of UPGRADE U. Did we mention you can enter both days to double your chances of winning? The contest is open to U.S. residents and will run through Wednesday night. We'll see you back here Thursday morning when we announce the lucky winners!

Happy reading,
The Ladies of ACP