Thursday, January 31, 2013

0 Character Bucket List: Angel from DESERT ANGEL by Charlie Price


 – Character: ANGEL

         Bucket list? Before I die? A mom who’s not in jail? A mom who’s not in rehab? A mom who’s not in a fistfight with a creep loser in a trailer somewhere? Forget about it. My mom’s already dead. Scotty killed her.

         Before I die? -- What about a good night’s sleep?

        You got a hope? I hope Scotty doesn’t kill Rita and her family because they tried to help me. They’re incredible people. Kind. They love each other. They don’t deserve to die.

        You got three wishes? I wish you’d go to hell. And stay there. And leave me alone. Okay, I wish I could hide where I’d never be found. I wish the cuts on my leg would stop itching. I wish . . . what?

       Money? I could buy what I need. Somebody’d try to take it.

       Protection? No such thing.

       I know. I wish I could get away clean. Get someplace big like San Diego. Mexico. Get somewhere where no one could find me.

      You know what I used to want? Somebody to want me. Me. Somebody who thought I was pretty, even when I knew I wasn’t. Somebody who asked me a question and wanted to hear my answer. Somebody who looked at me and saw a person, not a sex toy. Somebody who actually wanted to know me, little miss runaway rat.

      Think about it too much and it’s hard to breathe. Think about it a little. See a good guy who works. Cares about his own life. Has a future. Won’t trash it with drugs or crime. Has room in his mind to like someone else. Likes me. Surprises me. Smiles when he sees me.

      Sometimes I think about someone like that. Pretty sure Scotty would kill him. Kill me last. Make my brain stop . . .

      Okay, I got it. Bucket list? Another shot at life. . . . Don’t say shot, right?

About the Book

A taut thriller about Angel, a 14-year-old who is pursued by a man who has a deadly need to silence her.

In a keenly evoked California desert setting, Angel desperately seeks to escape. Inadvertently, she finds help with a group of caring Mexican-American neighbors, who refuse to let her face her nemesis alone. A loner, Angel’s been homeschooled by a meth-addict mother who has hooked up with a “long string of abusive boyfriends picked with the accuracy of a heat-seeking missile.” Her latest, Scotty, is a doozy, and when Angel finds her mom buried in the desert, he realizes she can put him behind bars. A hunter of contraband, he proceeds to use all his wiles to keep her quiet. Neighbor Abuela makes a plan to help her escape, resulting in the entire family becoming targets. Angel struggles with trust, guilt and maintaining her focus even as she is frightened to death. Suspense never lets up, as the third-person narrator monitors Scotty’s pursuit when Angel doesn’t. Kids and their teacher at a Head Start classroom provide a sense of normalcy and yet are clearly potential victims, upping the ante even more. The small, decaying towns, the Salton Sea and the desert heat provide a vivid backdrop for the unfolding drama. Angel is a tough heroine who needs help but knows if she accepts it, she is risking other lives, too.

Relentless, heart-stopping suspense. (Thriller. 12 & up)

Buy DESERT ANGEL on Amazon
Find DESERT ANGEL on Goodreads

About the Author

Raised in Colorado and Montana, Charlie graduated from Stanford in the late 60's and has lived in Italy, New York City, Oakland, and Mexico before settling in Northern California. From street schools in Bedford-Stuyvesant, to locked psychiatric units, to Academic Dean in a therapeutic boarding school, he has worked with adolescents and adults in trouble since the early seventies. Currently he consults and coaches for public and private agencies.

His fifth book, Dead Girl Moon, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, comes out October 25th. Dead Connection and Desert Angel have also been bought by Random House, London, UK, and will be translated for world distribution. Thierry Magnier, Paris, has published all four books in French translation.

Charlie has been delightfully married for the past thirty years and, in spite of abundant flaws, he's a decent guitar player, fly-fisherman, and free throw shooter. He currently lives on a river in Northern California.

Visit Charlie's website
Check out Charlie's blog

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

6 WOW Wednesday: Laura Ellen on Using Criticism

When I started getting critiques and rejections from editors and agents, I wasn’t sure how to take their feedback. It intimidated me. It confused me. I wasn’t sure who to listen to or what I should change – sometimes what I heard varied so drastically I wanted to bang my head against the wall. Often I came away from a critique wondering if I was the writing equivalent of an American Idol contestant – the one who REALLY thinks she can sing and CLEARLY cannot. It made me unsure, defensive, and yes, depressed. I had to teach myself how to incorporate criticism into my writing to make it work for me. Once I had it figured out, I started getting 'good' rejections and manuscript requests. Here are a few things I learned on my journey that helped me get there:

1. Get criticism from the right people.
I taught a workshop this past weekend and during the Q&A a teen asked how to tell her friend that the story she was writing was seriously lacking a plot. She didn’t want to hurt her friend’s feelings and knew her friend would take it the wrong way – especially since their other friends all kept gushing about how great the story was.

What she describes is a common problem when an author shares with friends and family. Your friends and family will tell you what you have written is great – and if they don’t, you will inevitably take it very personally. The only way to get good, constructive criticism is to have your work read by others in the profession. Join a critique group. Go to conferences and sign up to have your work critiqued by another author, an editor, or and agent. Hearing how great your writing is from family and friends is an awesome feeling, but it won’t help you learn to listen when you get that professional criticism you’ll need to get your work published.

2. Separate yourself from your work.
Writing is extremely personal. Often we see it as an extension of ourselves and so anything said against it seems like a personal attack. It’s hard to do, but try to take ‘you’ out of the book. Think of your book as a product that is not finished yet and you need feedback to complete it. Think of it like a math problem you almost got right, but you messed up in the calculation. You wouldn’t get defensive and tell your math teacher that you just wanted 12 X 4 to equal 50 – that would be absurd. In the same light, you have to see that if you are being told something is not working, you’ve gone wrong somewhere. This is your work, not you. You are trying to improve your work and these professionals want to help you do that. The sooner you can see it as something separate from yourself, the easier it will be to cut and change and switch things around.

3. Filter out the negative.
No matter how gentle someone gives criticism, we are bound to hear the negative over the positive. It’s just how most of us are wired. Train yourself to filter that part out. Instead of focusing on that first statement that sounds negative, jump past and listen for the reasons the editor feels this way. For example, if the editor/agent says: I had trouble getting into the story, instead of hearing He hates my story and then going into a depressed funk, push that aside and LISTEN. He will follow up his statement with reasons he felt this way. Maybe you started in the wrong spot. Maybe your first paragraph does not grab the reader. Maybe your character is lacking likeability. These things are fixable, but if you get stuck on the negative and stop listening, you’ll never hear what will help you make it better.

4. Not all criticism is created equal.
The most difficult part about criticism is knowing what is valid. Writing is subjective. One person may love something, while another can’t get past the first paragraph. For this reason, you can’t take every piece of criticism at face value. On the flip side, if you never listen to anything, always telling yourself “he doesn’t like fantasy” or “she doesn’t get my writing”, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. How do you strike that balance?

A) Look at who is giving you the advice. Is most of this agent/editor’s work in a genre very different from yours? Most editors and agents work on many types of novels, but some are limited. Some absolutely hate a certain type of story – knowing this ahead of time will save you a lot of wondering, and depression, after the fact.
B) Look at what is being said. Have several people pointed out the same thing? Or have several people said opposite opinions about the same aspect? If so, these are red flags. Sometimes the person critiquing sees a problem but can’t quite put his finger on it. This is why you may get differing opinions on the same aspect. One person may think your pacing is too slow, while another may say it is too fast – either way, it sounds like you may need to examine it.

5. You are your best problem solver.
When you are getting feedback from an author, editor or agent, the suggestions on how you might fix something are invaluable. Listen to their recommendations. Think hard on those ideas. Try them out. Play with them. Think about how using a suggestion will change the rest of your story. Can it make it better? Or will it change your vision? If it does change that vision, is there another way you can fix it while staying true to what you wanted? Remember though, the suggestions people give you are only that: suggestions. YOU are your best problem solver because you know your vision for that story the best. If you have been listening to them about what the problem is, how you solve it will inevitably be ten times better than the solutions you were given. Believe in your ability to problem solve.

6. Sometimes Revision Means Re-Vision
Many times we have a particular concept, format, scene, or character . . . some ‘thing’ we become attached to in the novel. As the story takes shape and the revision process begins, however, these items sometimes lose their validity and purpose, and they either need re-visioning or letting go. You’ve heard the expression “kill your darlings” – well this is what that means. Too often an author gets so attached, he can’t let go, at the detriment of what could’ve been a good novel. If you keep it, make sure it works with the rest of the novel, otherwise, cut it out.

Hope this helps some of you take that next step. Happy writing!

About the Author

Laura Ellen is a full-time writer and mother of 3. She has a MA in Children's Literature and is a former Language Arts teacher. Diagnosed with juvenile macular degeneration as a teen, she drew upon her own experiences with vision loss to write her debut YA thriller Blind Spot, an emotional and suspenseful page-turner. Born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, she now resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Laura's website

Friend Laura on Facebook
Follow Laura on Twitter

About the Book

Winter stops hiding Tricia Farni on Good Friday.

When a truck plunges through the thinning ice of Alaska’s Birch River, Tricia’s body floats to the surface– dead since the night she disappeared six months earlier.

The night Roswell Hart fought with her.

The night Roz can’t remember.

Missing things is nothing new to sixteen-year-old Roz. She has macular degeneration, an eye disease that robs her central vision. She’s constantly piecing together what she sees– or thinks she sees–but this time her memory needs piecing together. How can Roz be sure of the truth if her own memory has betrayed her? Can she clear her name of a murder that she believes she didn’t commit?

Buy BLIND SPOT on Amazon
Find BLIND SPOT on Goodreads

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

8 Introducing the Agents and Judges for the Pitch+250 Contest

Please note: We changed the submission time to Monday, February 4th at 12:00pm eastern, to accommodate people attending SCBWI this weekend and our west coast entrants.

Link to the Pitch+250 Contest information

Now, we would like to introduce all of our fabulous judges for the contest. We are so excited to bring together a brilliant group of individuals who all give so much of their talent, expertise, and kindness to the online writing community. We're beyond grateful to have them all participating in this, and we hope that we will be able to make some good things happen to a lot of writers!

Round 1 Judges - Brilliant Bloggers, Authors, Editors, and Agent Interns


Stina Lindenblatt - Stina Lindenblatt is a mother of three, an adoring wife, a photographer. She's also a fiction writer who's addicted to YA and NA (New Adult) novels, chocolate, and exercise. She's a member of the RWA and SCBWI, and a contributing member of the Blog.
Stina's blog
Stina's Twitter 

Kat Ellis - Kat Ellis writes YA sci fi and fantasy, which has so far included: hot dragon boys, giant squid, drug abuse, robots, little people in trilby hats, winged aliens, shuttle crashes, kissiness, evil moths and malicious vomiting. She talks about pretty much all of those things on this blog. She's represented by Molly Ker Hawn of The Bent Agency.
Kat's blog
Kat's Twitter


Vivian Lee Mahoney - Vivian Mahoney writes books about rebels. She's also a postergirlz for readergirlz, a literary advisory group for teens. Who knew going back to the teenage years would be so rewarding?
Vivian's blog
Vivian's Twitter

Sheri Larsen - Sheri Larsen is a YA/MG/PB author repped by Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary. A published freelance/short story writer of numerous community interest articles; children's articles HE DREAMS IN GOLD (June 2012), MARTIAL ARTS ARE ALL IN THE FAMILY (Aug. 2012), IT'S ALL ABOUT COMBINED LEARNING (Aug. 2012), FOR LOVE OF THE FIGHT (Aug. 2012) published in Martial Arts Magazine; short story 'HIS SHIRT' in Daily Flash Fiction Anthology 2012 published by Pill Hill Press; vignette 'Tape Recorder' in The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal 2012 published by eMergent Publishing.
Sheri's blog
Sheri's Twitter


Carol Riggs - Carol Riggs is a YA writer represented by the fantastic Kelly Sonnack of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She is also a member of SCBWI, and has a degree in Studio Arts. She's a Christian who lives in Magalia, California with her hubby.
Carol's blog
Carol's Twitter


Susan Sipal - Susan Sipal is published in both fiction and nonfiction but is perhaps best known as an analyst of the Harry Potter series. Over the last several years, she has developed and presented A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter, which helps writers of all genres improve their craft with Harry Potter as their text. She has worked in the industry for many years as an editor and marketing consultant for both small traditional publishers as well as electronic. Now she is happily editing for Musa Publishing in their YA line, Euterpe.
Susan's blog
Susan's Twitter

Lydia Sharp - Lydia Sharp is an author of young adult contemporary, fantasy, and romance. She has been dedicated to helping fiction writers improve their storytelling skills through her own blog (since 2009), at the award-winning Writer Unboxed blog (since 2010), and at the Write It Sideways blog (since 2012). Laughing is her favorite pastime. Kissing is a close second.
Lydia's blog
Lydia's Twitter

Dee Romito - Dee Romito loves to explore education, parenting, and writing. She has two beautiful children who inspire her and remind her how exciting it can be to learn and discover. She is a New York State certified teacher, PreK-6, and has mainly taught grades three through five. She also does freelance writing for educational companies and writes Middle Grade fiction. She is represented by the amazing Kerry Sparks of the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency.
Dee's Blog
Dee's Twitter

Tonya Kuper - Tonya Kuper is a YA writer rep'd by Nicole Resciniti, she is also the Promotions Manager at The Seymour Agency, and a literary intern for Marisa Cleveland. She's a contributor at YA Stands & All the Write Notes.
Tonya's blog
Tonya's Twitter


Lisa Gail Green - Lisa Gail Green writes paranormal and fantasy. She is a generous and brilliant contributor at the First Five Pages Workshop. Look for the first novel in her DJINN series, THE BINDING STONE, available this April! She would most definitely have a werewolf for a pet if she weren't allergic.
Lisa's blog
Lisa's Twitter

Round 2 Judges - Authors

Angela Ackerman - Angela Ackerman lives in Calgary, Alberta, just a short drive from the Canadian Rockies. A writer of Chapter Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult, her work has appeared in Spider Magazine, Wee Ones Magazine and several local city newsletters. When she isn't plotting about pirates, zombies or monsters made of cereal, she enjoys photography and taking in the natural beauty of Alberta with her family. She belongs to several writing groups, moderates for The Critique Circle, an online critique community and co-owns a popular writer's blog, The Bookshelf Muse. She is the co-author of THE EMOTION THESAURUS.
Angela's website
Angela's Twitter


Jodi Meadows - Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a cat, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of INCARNATE and ASUNDER.
Jodi's website
Jodi's Twitter

Mindy McGinnis - Mindy McGinnis is a YA writer repped by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary. NOT A DROP TO DRINK is a post-apocalyptic survival tale set in a world where freshwater is almost nonexistent. Coming Fall, 2013 Katherine Tegen / Harper Collins.
Mindy's website
Mindy's Twitter

Kat Zhang - Kat Zhang is an avid traveler, and after a childhood spent living in one book after another, she now builds stories for other people to visit. An English major at Vanderbilt University, she spends her free time performing spoken-word poetry, raiding local bookstores, and plotting where to travel next. WHAT'S LEFT OF ME is her first novel.
Kat's website
Kat's Twitter

Elana Johnson - Elana Johnson wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to go, and have cool superpowers. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult science fiction and fantasy. She lives in central Utah where she spends her time with many students, one husband, and two kids. She is the author of POSSESSION and SURRENDER.

Round 3 Judges - Agents

Brooks Sherman is an associate agent at FinePrint Literary Management, a full-service literary agency based in New York City.
He is on the lookout for adult fiction that runs the gamut from contemporary (with an eye toward multicultural or satirical) to speculative (particularly urban/contemporary fantasy, horror/dark fantasy, and slipstream). He also has a weakness for historical fiction and a burgeoning interest in crime fiction. On the children’s side, he is looking to build a list of boy-focused Middle Grade novels (all subgenres, but particularly fantasy adventure and contemporary), and is open to YA fiction of all types except paranormal romance.
Brooks is specifically seeking projects that balance strong voice with gripping plot lines; he particularly enjoys flawed (but sympathetic) protagonists and stories that organically blur the lines between genres. Stories that make him laugh earn extra points. Recent favorites include Whiteman by Tony D’Souza, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, the Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey, The Thieves of Manhattan by Adam Langer, and Horns by Joe Hill.
He is thrilled to be living once more in Brooklyn, after a two-year stint with the Peace Corps in bucolic West Africa and a one-year stint in the savage jungles of Hollywood. As befitting his chosen career in publishing, he subsists on a diet of breadcrumbs and bourbon.
Brooks' blog
Brooks' Twitter

Sarah LaPolla is an associate agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. She studied creative writing at Ithaca College and has an MFA in creative nonfiction from The New School. She started working in the foreign rights department at Curtis Brown, Ltd. in 2008 and became an associate agent in 2010. Sarah represents both adult and YA fiction. For adult books, she is looking for literary fiction, urban fantasy, magical realism, dark/psychological mystery, and literary horror. On the YA side, she welcomes all genres and is drawn to unique voices and strong, complex characters.
Sarah's blog
Sarah's Twitter

Jordy Albert is a literary agent and co-founder of The Booker Albert Literary Agency. She holds a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University, and a M.A. from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with Marisa Corvisiero during her time at the L. Perkins Agency and the Corvisiero Literary Agency. Jordy also works as a freelance editor/PR Director. She is a fan of the SyFy, History and Discovery Channels, enjoys studying languages (French/Japanese), spends time teaching herself how to knit, is a HUGE fan of Doctor Who, and loves dogs.
She is looking for stories that capture her attention from beginning to end; stories that have heart, and characters that are hard to forget. She would love to see fresh, well-developed plots featuring travel with unique, exotic settings, competitions, or time travel. She is particularly interested in romance (contemporary or historical) and women's fiction. Jordy is also looking for YA and New Adult contemporary/historical or dystopian, sci-fi/fantasy with romance weaved throughout. She is also open to YA LGBT within those genres. She enjoys intelligent, quirky characters with a deadpan sense of humor. Jordy is not looking for stories post-marriage/divorce/children, erotica, inspirational or paranormal at this time.
Jordy's blog
Jordy's Twitter

Molly Jaffa has been working closely with Folio Literary Management authors’ projects since 2008, and is an Associate Member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR). In addition to building her selective but growing list of clients, Molly utilizes her editorial background, previous work experience in the e-publishing industry, and intimate knowledge of the Folio list in her position as Director of International Rights. She actively pursues sales of international and audio rights and attends all major international book fairs, helping Folio clients’ books reach wide audiences in as many formats as possible. Molly is an avid reader, and when she’s not devouring manuscripts, she can usually be found camped out in the aisles of the Union Square Barnes & Noble (until they kick her out at closing time). Her clients include Lana Krumwiede (FREAKLING, Candlewick, October 2012, and an untitled sequel in 2013), Julie Murphy (SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY, HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray, 2014), and Gever Tulley (50 DANGEROUS THINGS, NAL, 2011).
In fiction, I focus exclusively on middle grade and young adult fiction. I’m looking for books that challenge the reader intellectually and emotionally, from the high-concept and fantastical to the frank, fresh, and contemporary. I love fiction set in another country, time, or place (real or imagined!) that opens up a rich new world for the reader to discover. Stories featuring characters with strong passions, talents, or smarts – or characters in search of theirs – resonate with me. I’d also like to see: Contemporary YA that’s not afraid to explore complex social issues, historical fantasy, smart middle grade adventures, and good, old-fashioned YA romance. In nonfiction, I’m looking for books that explore social issues relevant to women of all ages. Think Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters; The Purity Myth; Pledged; The Morning After; Enlightened Sexism.
What I’m not looking for: Paranormal “creature” YA (no werewolves, vampires,shapeshifters, selkies, or mermaids, please). I’m probably not the right person for books narrated by animals or focusing on a human-animal bond (girls and their horses, boys and their dogs).
Molly's blog
Molly's Twitter

Pooja Menon joined Kimberley Cameron & Associates as an intern in the fall of 2011, with the aim of immersing herself in the elusive world of books and publishing. She soon realized that being an agent was what she was most drawn to as the job was varied and challenging. She represents both fiction and non-fiction for Adult and YA markets.
Her passion for reading inspired her to acquire a BA in Literature and Media from England. Her love for writing then took her to Los Angeles where she pursued an M.F.A in Fiction from the Otis School of Art and Design.
As a new agent, Pooja is looking to build her client list and is eager for submissions by debut novelists and veteran writers. She's looking for writing that has an easy flow and a timely pacing, along with a unique perspective and a strong voice.
In fiction, she is interested in literary, historical, commercial, and high-end women's fiction. However, she's most drawn to stories with an international flavor, vibrant characters, multi-cultural themes, and lush settings.
In fantasy, she's looking for original, layered plots with worlds as real and alive as the ones that were created by J.K Rowling and Tolkien.
In non-fiction, she's looking for adventure & travel memoirs, journalism & human-interest stories, and self-help books addressing relationships and the human psychology from a fresh perspective.
In YA, she's looking for stories that deal with the prevalent issues that face teenagers today. She is also interested in fantasy, magical-realism, and historical fiction.
Pooja's blog
Pooja's Twitter

Jennifer Udden joined the Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2010. She represents science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries, and is particularly interested in finding works that creatively combine aspects of all three genres. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College and previously worked in nonprofit arts fundraising.
Jennifer's blog
Jennifer's Twitter

Monday, January 28, 2013

5 Inspired Openings: Robyn Bavati

On the Opening of Dancing in the Dark and Other Beginnings 

DANCING IN THE DARK begins with a scene that builds to the most climactic moment in the story. We meet a narrator who is feeling trapped, yet is afraid to leave her room, afraid of her father. The reader does not yet know why, and hopefully will want to find out.

The narrator, Ditty, tells us that she has a dance performance that evening, and is expected at rehearsal. But she is tired and troubled. “I want to close my eyes and make my problems disappear. I don’t want to deal with the consequences of the past five years.” At this point, hopefully the reader will wonder what these consequences are, and what has been going on for the past five years that has led to such consequences too dreadful to face.

Deciding, after all, that she can’t let herself or her teacher down, Ditty tries to sneak out of the house, but her father intercepts her and forbids her to leave. He issues an ultimatum: “If you leave now, you are not to come back. Do you understand, Yehudit? You are not to come back.” These words form the pivotal point around which the story revolves.

Ditty hesitates. “I don’t want to stay here, but I don’t want to leave here and never come back, either. I’m only seventeen.” If she disobeys her father now, she will never again be welcome in her home. So ends the prologue. The rest of the story, beginning with Chapter One, is a flashback that leads up to this point and beyond.

So, why did I begin with the climactic prologue? Why didn’t I tell the story strictly chronologically, beginning it with Chapter One?

Firstly, it’s important to establish the narrative voice early on. Given that the bulk of the story spans five years, and the entire story eight years, the reader might have wondered who was telling the story – the twelve-year-old Ditty from Chapter One? The twenty-year-old Ditty from the epilogue? By beginning the story with a prologue, I was able to establish the narrative voice as that of the seventeen-year-old Ditty at a defining moment.

Secondly, beginning with the point of climax is an almost guaranteed way to arouse the reader’s interest, as it provides a taste of the tension and conflict to come. It reveals the story’s central dilemma – even though it’s not until later that the reader is able to place it in context, to understand that Ditty’s parents have just found out that she has been deceiving them for the past five years; she has disobeyed them by attending dance classes when they’ve forbidden her to do so, and has violated the Sabbath and other religious commandments. Ditty realizes, once and for all, that her double life cannot continue. She can be part of her family – or she can live as a dancer. She cannot do both, and this is the dilemma that lies at the heart of the story. The opening foreshadows this dilemma, promising to explore it.

In hindsight, it’s easy to analyze why I began the way I did – and why it works. But the truth is, I experimented with many different beginnings, and it wasn’t until I knew my characters and had a strong idea of the where the story was headed that I was able to write the opening the story required.

Here are some other openings:

1. THE DECLARATION, by Gemma Malley:
“11 January, 2140
My name is Anna.
My name is Anna and I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t exist.”

So much information in so few words. Already we know that this is Anna’s story, set in the future. Already we are wondering: Why shouldn’t Anna exist? We want to read on.

2. SAVING FRANCESCA, by Melina Marchetta
“This morning, my mother didn’t get out of bed.”

A simple sentence, but it does raise the question, ‘Why not?’ An apt beginning for a story about a girl whose mother is suffering from depression.

3. GRACE, by Morris Gleitzman
“In the beginning there was me and Mum and Dad and the twins.
And good luck was upon us and things were great and talk about happy families, we were bountiful.
But it came to pass that I started doing sins.
And lo, that’s when all our problems began.”

What we notice first is the highly original voice – childish and Biblical. It’s the voice of a girl raised in a very insular religious cult. Kept away from modern life and anyone outside the cult, the language she uses is heavily influenced by the linguistically outdated Bible. This opening also tells us about the narrator’s family and lets us into her psyche – she has done something wrong, or thinks she has. But what?

There are many different kinds of openings. The good ones raise questions. They hint at conflict and keep the reader turning the pages. And writing them depends on knowing what comes later. As the renowned French thinker and writer, Blaise Pascal, famously said: “The last thing one knows when writing a book is what to put first.”

About the Author

Robyn Bavati lives in Melbourne, Australia. Dancing in the Dark is her debut novel. Her next novel, Pirouette, will be out in November.

Check Out Robyn's Webpage
Friend Robyn on Facebook

About the Book

When Ditty Cohen first sees a ballet on TV, the beautiful, gravity-defying dancing captivates her.

She’s instantly connected to the graceful performers, realizing her passion is to be a dancer. There’s just one problem: Ditty is from an ultra-orthodox Jewish family and her parents forbid her to take dance lessons.

Refusing to give up on her newfound love, Ditty starts dancing in secret. Her devotion to dance is matched only by her talent, but the longer Ditty pursues her dream, the more she must lie to her family. Caught between her passion and her faith, Ditty starts to question everything she believes in. How long can she keep her two worlds apart? And at what cost?

DANCING IN THE DARK is the dramatic, inspiring story about a girl who discovers the trials and triumphs of pursuing her greatest dream.

Find DANCING IN THE DARK on Goodreads

Sunday, January 27, 2013

9 Announcing the first Pitch+250 Contest

Get your pitches and first pages ready! On February 4th, we will start accepting submissions for our first ever Pitch+250 contest! We have a fabulous line-up of bloggers, YA authors, and agents who will be judging the contest.

Pitch+250 is open to YA, NA, and MG submissions only. It will consist of 3 rounds of judging.  Martina and Jan will judge the initial submissions and narrow them down to the top 50, who will start Round 1.

Round 1: A great set of bloggers will judge the top 50 submissions. The 25 submissions with the highest scores will move on to the next round.
Round 2: YA authors will judge the top 25 submissions. The 10 highest scores will move on to the next round.
Round 3: Agent judges will score the top 10 submissions.

The top 25 entries will each win a full chapter critique from one of our judges. The top three will receive a chapter critique from an agent.

We will release the names of the judges next week and then accept submissions from February 4th at 12:00pm eastern time to February 9th at 11:00pm eastern time. Please send your pitch of no more than 250 words plus the first 250 words of your manuscript in the body of an email to 4kidlit (at) gmail (dot) com. We will accept a maximum of 100 submissions. You must include Pitch+250 in the subject line. Please use the following format in the body of your email:



1st 250:

Good luck!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

3 This Week In Writing 1/26/2013

Getting Published

Agent Spotlight: Laurie McLean
from Literary Rambles

Thursday Night at the Question Emporium
from Janet Reid, Literary Agent

Where Kristin Discusses The Importance Of Metadata
from Pub Rants

What I Look For In A Submission
from Babbles from Scott Eagan

Interview with Agents Ella Diamond Kahn and Bryony...
from YA Stands

Creating Your Literary Ecosystem: The 10 Elements...
from BookBaby Blog

You Have The Tools, But You Need To Use Them
from Babbles from Scott Eagan

The Dare to Dream ... Change the World Annual Writing...

Deciding Between Traditional and Self-Publishing
from Rachelle Gardner

from Brenda Drake Writes . . . under the influence o

Secret Agent Unveiled: Caryn Wiseman
from Miss Snark's First Victim

Skinny Fiction! This is so cool!
from The Passive Voice - Latest Updates

A Rejection Doesn't Mean The Industry Is Out To Get...
from Babbles from Scott Eagan

On Scouting
from The Emperor of Ice Cream

from Book Dreaming

Indie vs. Traditional: Round 2!
from Paranormal Point of View

How Much Can You Really Tell From a Query?
from QueryTracker Blog

Conference Connoisseurship
from Jane Friedman

Announcing New Online Master Class in Plotting from Cheryl Klein!
from Brooklyn Arden

Peep around the Greenhouse Literary door
from Sarah's Blog

from kt literary

Query Roundup 1/18
from Confessions

Writing Craft

7 tips for staying motivated by self-created deadlines
from Jenna Avery

How to get your novel or screenplay character deeper...
from Time to Write

Writing a Premise Statement--Why This Tip from Screenwriters...
from How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book

Mystery, Magic, and the Aha! of the Reveal
from Blood-Red Pencil

Should Writers “JUST” Write?
from Writer Unboxed

WOW Wednesday - On Failing to be Perfect by Michelle...
from Adventures in YA Publishing

Researching Your Novel: Dos and Don'ts
from QueryTracker Blog

Arrogance vs Hope – The Writer’s Mindset
from The Bluestocking Blog

Mixed emotions
from edittorrent

WOW Wednesday: Celia Rees on Updating Old Ideas to...
from Adventures in YA Publishing

Carpe Annum--Seize the Year! We Can All Be Astonishing
from Novel Matters

My Writing Routine, aka Always
from YA Muses

25 Hard Truths About Writing
from The Passive Voice - Latest Updates

Plural But Singular in Construction
from Daily Writing Tips

The Magic Of Stephen King: A Sympathetic Character...
from Karen Woodward

Writing, Illustrating And Marketing Books For Kids...
from The Creative Penn

Wednesday Writing Workouts - a new offering from Teaching...
from The Official SCBWI Blog

When It Feels Like You've Given Up The Dream
from YA Highway

6 Reasons I Stop Reading (And How to Avoid Them)
from Anna Staniszewski

Is Your Research Showing?
from The Passive Voice - Latest Updates

Breaking Down Story Structure: MORNING GLORY, Act...
from Lydia Sharp, author

Megan: Mentor Texts - A Wrinkle in Time
from Crowe's Nest

5 Examples of the Need for Multiple Hyphenation
from Daily Writing Tips

Cut the Flab—Make Every Word Count
from The Editor's Blog

Writing Boo Radley
from AuthorCulture

Characters Who Surprise Us
from Mystery Writing is Murder

Simile Fever Spreads Like Wildfire
from Writer Unboxed

In the Quagmire of the First Draft
from YA Muses

8 Genres. 8 Experiences.
from Wendy Paine Miller ~ thoughts that move

Guest Author Michael Kinn: ­­Muzzle Your Inner Magician
from The Other Side of the Story

25 Things Non-Writers Don't Know
from Justine Dell--official blog

Hey, Y'all: Dialects and Slang
from From the Write Angle

Answers to Questions About Abbreviations
from Daily Writing Tips

Fleshing Out Your Protagonist: Creating An Awesome...
from Karen Woodward

How to create vivid characters for your novel or screenplay
from Time to Write

How Can We Avoid Cookie-Cutter Writing?
from Author, Jody Hedlund

Cynthia Leitich Smith's Great Resources for Writers...
from The Official SCBWI Blog

What I Learned While Writing My First Sequel
from The Lucky 13s

Three Ways Cause and Effect Can Build Your Story
from Adventures in YA Publishing

Walking in your character’s shoes: Writing with authenticity
from The Book Deal: A Publishing Blog for Writers and

5 Tips to Create a Page-Turning Plot
from Mystery Writing is Murder

How to Write Powerful Endings
from Stavros Halvatzis

4 Benefits of Listening to Your Characters
from .W.I.P. It

Keeping Your Promise
from Blood-Red Pencil

3 Ways to Change Your Thinking Today
from Rachelle Gardner

3 tips for the multitasking writer
from Don't pet me, I'm writing

Monday Quote Day!
from Wavy Lines

How Do You Teach Writer's Instinct?
from The Other Side of the Story

Character Development Series: Question #5 - Tagging...
from Seeking the Write Life

On Following Your Unique, Creative Self
from YA Author Elana Johnson

9 Ways To Stay On The Writer’s Fast Track Once You’re On It
from Ollin Morale

Is Your Research Showing? | Write To Sell Your Book
from Diane O'Connell

The Sharp Angle: Connecting Your Opposite Turning Points In Story Structure - Part One
Lydia Sharp

The Writing Career and All the Moneys (Read this if you want to write full-time)
from Mur Lafferty

Networking and Promotion

Thursdays with Amanda: What is a Twitter Party
from Chip MacGregor .com

Blogging for Writers
from Mystery Writing is Murder

Coming soon — WU’s 2nd annual auction!
from Writer Unboxed

Behave…The Internet Never Forgets
from Jami Gold, Paranormal Author

Getting the Silent Treatment
from Author Marketing Experts, Inc. » BLOG

The New Art of the Cover
from Hey, There's A Dead Guy in the Living Room

Building, not Burning, the Bridges
from YA Stands

5 Great Author Interview Practices
from BookBaby Blog

Being An Author Opens Doors You Can't Imagine
from The Indelibles

Beyond Book Rental: The Next Big Thing on Campus
from News Articles

Thursdays with Amanda: Dispelling the Top 5 Facebook...
from Chip MacGregor .com

Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of...
from Author Marketing Experts, Inc. » BLOG

Considerations When Choosing Our Author Name
from Mystery Writing is Murder

What Is Your Web Presence?
from Babbles from Scott Eagan

The Most Powerful Social Media Tool for Building an...
from Kristen Lamb's Blog

Creating Your CCSS-Aligned Curriculum Guide.

Top 10 Things One Writer Learned About Social Media...
from Mystery Writing is Murder

How Writers Can Benefit from a Negative Book Review
from BookBaby Blog

Michael: 5 Tips for School Visits
from Crowe's Nest

Matthew Turner: Using A Short Story To Rock My Novel
from The Bookshelf Muse

Lisa Schroeder's Timeline and Checklist for a YA or...
from The Official SCBWI Blog

Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of 1/7
from Author Marketing Experts, Inc. » BLOG

Inkygirl Golden Cupcake Award: Writer's Knowledge...
from Inkygirl: An Illustrated Guide For Writers

A Cover That Sells
from The Blood-Red Pencil

Author Questionnaire
from Caroline by line

7 Things I've Learned So Far (a satire), by Patricia...
from Guide to Literary Agents

Marketing Round Up (7/23)
from Market My Words

5 thoughts on book promotion
from The Intern

Marketing Strategies for Writers
from Mystery Writing is Murder

Making a Living at Writing
from Chip MacGregor .com

Christopher Cheng: A Step by Step Guide To Making...
from The Official SCBWI Conference Blog

How Book Club Readers (and Bookstores) Can Drive Success
from There Are No Rules

Various and Sundry
from Kiersten Writes

The Woman Who Paid Models to Read Her Book
from GalleyCat

Why Inbound Marketing Makes Sense
from Author Marketing Experts, Inc. » BLOG

What You Can Do: Twelve Easy Steps (Rerun)
from Pimp My Novel

Jill Alexander and Michael Bourret: Your Manuscript...
from The Official SCBWI Conference Blog

Why Inbound Marketing Makes Sense
from Author Marketing Experts, Inc. » BLOG

7 Secrets to Getting into Libraries
from Author Marketing Experts, Inc. » BLOG

How To Plan A Virtual Book Launch Party

Top Twenty-Six Places Where Your Book Should Be
from The LL Book Review

From freemium to paid: the new marketing model
from Time to Write

Leverage Relationships to Sell More Books
from Writers in the Sky E-zine

Planning a Book Tour
from Mystery Writing is Murder

8 Secrets for Getting into Bookstores
from Author Marketing Experts, Inc. » BLOG

5 Ways to Use Book Trailers to Drive Sales
from There Are No Rules

News and Trends

Kerri Kolen Heads to G.P. Putnam’s Sons
from GalleyCat

Publishing Pulse for January 25, 2013
from QueryTracker Blog

Buying is a hard thing for bookstores to do effectively,...
from The Shatzkin Files

Libraries: Good Value, Lousy Marketing
from News Articles

Movie Alert: 'Beautiful Creatures'
from News Articles

Delirium Trilogy Heads to the Small Screen
from News Articles

New Adult & Marketing (Author Meredeth Houston)
from S.R. Johannes

Scribner & Touchstone Publicity Departments Restructured
from GalleyCat

4 Years!
from Katie's Book Blog

Being A Hybrid
from Craic-er

Celebrate 5 Years With Us & WIN!
from The Bookshelf Muse

On gendered and group-based insults and the characters...
from WORD for Teens

53% of Library Users Want ‘A Broader Selection of...
from GalleyCat

Random House Launches BookScout App on Facebook
from GalleyCat

Plagiarism and Terrell Mims–A Chronic Case of EPIC...
from Kristen Lamb's Blog

This Service Could Dismantle Copyright Forever
from The Passive Voice - Latest Updates

Writers beware: Sitting is the smoking of our generation!
from Go Into The Story

More book news!
from S.R. Johannes

Will Omniscient POV Ever Be Popular Again?
from Jami Gold, Paranormal Author

Does everyone have to be so attractive all the time?
from Steph Bowe's Hey! Teenager of the Year

Is Traditional Publishing the Raging Bull of Industry?
from The Kill Zone

Why YA?
from Unedited

Is the Internet the Death of the Novel?
from edittorrent

The Evolving World of Publishing: What authors must...
from Author Marketing Experts, Inc. » BLOG

How Publishers Are Taking Advantage of New Opportunities
from News Articles

This is a Post About Literary Rape
from Words on Words by Maggie Stiefvater

41 New Bookstores Opened Last Year
from GalleyCat

This Week's Bestsellers: January 21, 2013
from News Articles

News Briefs: Week of January 21, 2013
from News Articles

The Building Blocks of Penguin Random House
from News Articles

Books and Giveaways

An Open Letter to Laini Taylor
from We Heart YA

Egmont USA's Triple Threat Blog Tour
from Mundie Moms

30 Days of Bookery, day 19: Win a copy of The Avengers...
from Dancing with Dragons is Hard on Your Shoes.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken: Cover Designer...
from Novel Novice

Thoughtful Thursday: The Year of the YA Movie Take...
from Mundie Moms

The Scholastic Spring 2013 Preview!
from Brooklyn Arden

Altered (Altered #1) by Jennifer Rush
from Katie's Book Blog

30 Days of Bookery, day 18: Win a copy of The Sweetest...
from Dancing with Dragons is Hard on Your Shoes.

The End is HERE: Interview & Giveaway - BOUNDLESS...
from Confessions of a Bookaholic


Character Bucket List: Cate Tiernan
from Adventures in YA Publishing

Brain-Breaking-Books: EMPTY and HOPELESS
from christina lee

The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle
from Writer Musings

Book Trailer: Splintered by A. G. Howard
from Cynsations

Book Review: Broken by A.E. Rought
from Mundie Moms

Friday Faves: Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
from Beyond The Margins

30 Days of Bookery, day 17: Win an ARC of Mila 2.0...
from Dancing with Dragons is Hard on Your Shoes.

Giveaway: The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead!
from Katie's Book Blog

Book Review/Blog Tour: BOUNDLESS by Cynthia Hand
from Mundie Moms

Book Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
from Mundie Moms

Book Review - Double Crossed by Ally Carter
from Mundie Moms

Book Review: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
from Novel Novice

Just One Day: Author Interview & Giveaway
from Mundie Moms

Happy Book Birthday to The Archived by Victoria Schwab...
from The Bookshelf Review

Review: Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
from Candace's Book Blog

Book Launch: Love All by Kelly Hashway
from We Do Write

Boundless by Cynthia Hand
from The Story Siren

from Literary Rambles

New YA Book Releases: January 22, 2013
from Novel Novice

What We Saw At Night
from WORD for Teens

from Oasis for YA

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis + Swag Giveaway
from The Bookshelf Review

from Writer Unboxed

Blog Tour: Prodigy by Marie Lu
from The Story Siren

from Literary Rambles

30 Days of Bookery Double Dip! Win an ARC of Heart...
from Dancing with Dragons is Hard on Your Shoes.

30 Days of Bookery Double Dip! Win an ARC of Flying...
from Dancing with Dragons is Hard on Your Shoes.

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans Blog Tour: Character Interview
from Novel Novice

Bestselling Children’s Books by Self-Published Authors
from GalleyCat

Open Access Emily Dickinson Archive Coming This Fall
from GalleyCat

Pre-#NY13SCBWI Interview with Matthew Kirby
from The Official SCBWI Conference Blog

Saturday Situation ~ Link Up Your Reviews & Give@ways!
from Candace's Book Blog

Cover Reveal: RECLAIMED by Sarah GUILLORY
from Mundie Moms

Weekly Round-Ups

Cynsational News and Giveaways
from Cynsations

from Mystery Writing is Murder

Field Trip Friday
from YA Highway

Thursday, January 24, 2013

13 Melissa De La Cruz Interview Plus YALit Releases 1/26-1/31 Plus GATES OF PARADISE, MADMAN'S DAUGHTER,UNRAVEL ME Giveaways


Gates of Paradise (A Blue Bloods Novel)
by Melissa de la Cruz

Win a Hardcover!

Schuyler Van Alen is running out of time. The Dark Prince of Hell is storming the Gates of Paradise, intent
on winning the heavenly throne for good. This time he has his greatest angels by his side, Abbadon and Azrael—Jack and Mimi Force, as they are known in the Coven.

Or so he thinks. Even as Lucifer assigns Jack and Mimi the tasks of killing their true loves, the Force twins secretly vow to defeat the Dark Prince once and for all. But how far will Mimi and Jack go to conceal their real loyalties?

Meanwhile, former vampire Bliss Llewellyn has joined forces with Lawson, the greatest wolf of the underworld, to free his people from their imprisonment in Hell. As they struggle against impossible odds, an ancient message, woven into the very fabric of time, reveals just how much depends on the success of their mission.

Lucifer seeks the key to the Gate of Promise, and when Schuyler is taken captive and delivered straight to Hell, she must make an unthinkable choice—the same one the archangel Michael was forced to make during the Crisis in Rome. Will Schuyler find the strength to do what he could not?  The epic, heartbreaking Blue Bloods series comes to a close with this final novel about staggering courage, unbearable sacrifice, and the immortality of true love.


What is your favorite thing about Gates of Paradise (A Blue Bloods Novel)?

The story of what happened between Michael and Gabrielle - the secret of what destroyed their bond is the foundation of the Blue Bloods series - if that hadn't happened, Schuyler would never have been born and there would have been no story. So we had to figure it out (and I say 'we' because my husband and I worked on the series arc together) from the beginning and I've always loved it because it was so beautiful and human and tragic what happened to them and I think it's the classic - 'everything went wrong' 'your greatest strength is also your greatest failure' sort of thing... If things don't go wrong, there are no stories. :)

What was your biggest surprise in writing this final book, or did you have everything all mapped out in preparation for the next Blue Bloods cycle?

The last chapter with Oliver was pretty surprising, I had no idea really, but it just felt so natural, and when it happened on the page, I remember feeling like I was being pulled out of my seat, it was so exciting. So that was a new twist I didn't see coming. That's why you have to listen to your characters. :)

Which character ended up being your favorite in the series and why?

Mimi has always been my favorite from the beginning. She's so much fun and so evil and flawed, but she has her reasons for acting that way. Mimi's very much a traditionalist and I sympathize with people like that. She likes things the way they were, whereas Schuyler is the revolutionary who is forging a new path. Change is frightening!

If you could go back to the beginning of the series and change one thing, what would it be and why?

Oy. I would fix all the inconsistencies, like when did Schuyler's mother go into a coma- when she was born or when she was three years old. That sort of thing. I was able to fix stuff in Keys to the Repository, so that was cool. When you write a book it goes through so many changes in each draft, and sometimes you don't catch all the changes you make. Allegra does die earlier and not later. Because of the timing of what happened to Bendix.

Order Gates of Paradise (A Blue Bloods Novel) on Amazon

View Gates of Paradise (A Blue Bloods Novel) on Goodreads

Visit Melissa's Web Site


The Madman's Daughter
by Megan Shepherd

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.
Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.
Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Madman's Daughter?

I tried to include a little something for everyone in this book: mysteries & suspense, philosophical questions, steamy romance, plot twists to keep people guessing...but my personal favorite part of the book is a minor character named Balthazar. He's a sweet, unusual, kind man, and I never expected to develop such a soft spot in my heart for a fictional character.

Order The Madman's Daughter on Amazon

View The Madman's Daughter on Goodreads

* * * *

Unravel Me (Shatter Me)
by Tahereh Mafi

it's almost
time for war.
Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.
She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.
Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.
In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.

Order Unravel Me (Shatter Me) on Amazon

View Unravel Me (Shatter Me) on Goodreads


The Darkness Dwellers (Kiki Strike)
by Kirsten Miller
Full Set of Kiki Strike Books


First they ventured deep under New York to save the city itself. Then things got personal as the Irregulars ventured into a haunted mansion in Chinatown to uncover an evil twin. Now, in the third installment of bestselling author Kirsten Miller's Kiki Strike series, this delightful group of delinquent geniuses jump feet first into a fast-paced international pursuit, going underground in Paris to pursue a pair of treacherous royals who have killed Kiki's parents. With a dash of romance, a fresh take on good manners, and loads of butt-kicking bravery, Kiki, Betty, Ananka and the other Irregulars sharpen their amazing skills in this highly anticipated new adventure.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Darkness Dwellers (Kiki Strike)?

I’m very proud of every aspect of The Darkness Dwellers. I personally think it’s the best book in the Kiki trilogy. However, if I had to choose what I like most, I’d pick the inscription. I dedicated my book to my daughter. Although I began writing the series long before she was born, with hindsight I can see that the Kiki books were intended to be how-to manuals for my own little Irregular. I always imagined I’d have a kid who would be a lot like Iris McLeod. And you know what? I got lucky. My daughter is going to grow up to be a butt-kicker extraordinaire.
(P.S. I’m also quite fond of The Darkness Dwellers “Guide to Friends and Enemies” at the end of Chapter 10. Take the quiz. It really works!)

Order The Darkness Dwellers (Kiki Strike) on Amazon

View The Darkness Dwellers (Kiki Strike) on Goodreads

* * * *

Asunder (Incarnate)
by Jodi Meadows

WINNER: Kimberly Barban

Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls—and the newsouls who may be born in their place.
Many are afraid of Ana's presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
Ana was told that nosouls can't love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.
In the second book of Jodi Meadows's Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. asunder explores the beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Asunder (Incarnate)?

I have a lot of favorite things about INCARNATE and ASUNDER, from the covers to the fact that they're being published to the amazingness that my words are inside. But the best? The very best is probably that people read the books. They connect to the books. I (with the help of a ginormo publishing company) put the books out there, but readers make it real. And that happening is my favorite thing.

Order Asunder (Incarnate) on Amazon

View Asunder (Incarnate) on Goodreads


What the Spell (Life's a Witch)
by Brittany Geragotelis

A teenage witch juggles popularity and romance while keeping her powers a secret in this spellbinding debut.Almost-sixteen-year-old Brooklyn feels invisible, but she desperately wants to be pretty, to be popular, to be adored by a cute guy. Luckily for her, she’s a witch about to come of age—so she’s only a few spells away from making it all happen.

On her milestone birthday, Brooklyn’s conservative parents finally unbind her powers, which include the ability to magically match couples with a love spell. Brooklyn uses her special skills to get a makeover, new friends, and the attention of her crush, Asher. But the popular clique Brooklyn wants to infiltrate puts her in the same precarious position as her Salem ancestors: If she’s found out, she could be vilified—and lose Asher in the process. Can she make the most of her magic, or will she be luckless and loveless? Be careful what you witch for!

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about What the Spell (Life's a Witch)?

My favorite thing about WHAT THE SPELL? is that it involves a character who really just wants to fit in. High school was a really tough time for me. I was a cheerleader, but not popular, I was bullied, boys weren't interested in me and I had very few friends. I think that high school can be hard for a lot of people (I can't identify with those who say HS was an awesome experience). It's a time where you're trying to figure out who you are and where you fit in and shaping your morals, etc.

In the book, the main character Brooklyn, is practically invisible at her school. She wants so badly to be someone at her school that she'll do just about anything to get it. And now that she's come into her powers as a witch, she can finally do something about it. It's a cautionary story, but I think a lot of teens will identify with wanting to connect and fit in with their peers. The book's also really funny at times and involves some crazy characters, awesome magic and a little action (some of the romantic variety).

Order What the Spell (Life's a Witch) on Amazon

View What the Spell (Life's a Witch) on Goodreads

* * * *

Nobody But Us
by Kristin Halbrook
Paperback Original

Maybe I'm too late. Maybe Zoe's dad stole all her fifteen years and taught her to be scared. I'll undo it. Help her learn to be strong again, and brave. Not that I'm any kind of example, but we can learn together.
When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can't run fast enough.
Maybe it'll take Will years to come to terms with being abandoned. Maybe it'll take forever. I'll stay with him no matter how long it takes to prove that people don't always leave, don't always give up on you.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Nobody But Us?

My favorite thing about the book is that it asks the reader to think. About the systems that lead the characters on their paths, about the crimes they commit and intent, and about whether that was the "right" ending for these characters. I love when readers say they weren't sure how to feel, or are taking some time to process the book. That means more to me than simply saying "I liked it" or "I didn't like it." (I mean, "I liked it" is cool, too.)

Order Nobody But Us on Amazon

View Nobody But Us on Goodreads

* * * *

Unbroken: A Ruined Novel
by Paula Morris

Welcome back to New Orleans.
Where the streets swirl with jazz and beauty.
Where the houses breathe with ghosts.

A year ago, Rebecca Brown escaped death in a New Orleans cemetery. Now she has returned to this haunting city. She is looking forward to seeing Anton Grey, the boy who may or may not have her heart.

But she also meets a ghost: a troubled boy who insists only she can help him. Soon Rebecca finds herself embroiled in another murder mystery from more than a century ago. But as she tries to right wrongs, she finds more questions than answers: Is she putting her friends, and herself, in danger? Can she trust this new ghost? And has she stumbled into something much bigger and more serious than she understands?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Unbroken: A Ruined Novel?

My favorite thing about UNBROKEN is that I was able to return to the characters I loved, Rebecca and Anton and Aurelia, and pick up their story again to see where it lead. I don't usually write sequels - not for my 'adult' books, anyway! So this felt exciting and almost illicit.

Order Unbroken: A Ruined Novel on Amazon

View Unbroken: A Ruined Novel on Goodreads

* * * *
by Liz Fichera

When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done. 

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred. 

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile... 


Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Hooked?
My favorite part about HOOKED was creating a Native American teenaged girl as the book’s heroine.  There are so few strong Native American main characters in YA fiction and it was a pleasure to create Fred Oday (Fred is short for Fredricka, and a member of the Gila River Indian Community) and watch her come alive on the pages of this story.   



Prodigy (Legend )
by Marie Lu

"Prodigy" by Marie Lu is the long-awaited sequel to Legend, the must-read dystopian thriller novel. Perfect for all YA fans of "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth. A brilliant re-imagining of "Les Miserables", the series is set to be a global film sensation as CBS films have acquired rights to the trilogy. The "Twilight Saga" producers, Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, will produce. Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic's most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots - a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games? Dystopian fiction at its very best in this thrilling instalment in the Legend trilogy. Praise for "Legend": "If you liked "The Hunger Games", you'll love this". (Sarah Rees-Brennan, author of "The Demon's Lexicon"). ""Legend" is impossible to put down and even harder to forget". (Kami Garcia, author of "New York Times" bestselling author of "Beautiful Creatures"). "A fine example of commercial fiction with razor-sharp plotting, depth of character and emotional arc, "Legend" doesn't merely survive the hype, it deserves it". ("New York Times"). "Marie Lu's dystopian novel is a 'Legend' in the making". ("USA Today"). "Legend is impossible to put down and even harder to forget". (Kami Garcia, "New York Times" bestselling author of film sensation, "Beautiful Creatures"). Marie Lu works as an art director for a video game company. "Legend" and "Prodigy" were built round the world that Marie Lu created for a popular Facebook game also called Legend. She was born near Shanghai but currently lives in California.

Order Prodigy (Legend ) on Amazon

View Prodigy (Legend ) on Goodreads

* * * *

Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire)
by Courtney Allison Moulton

Your strength in heart and hand will fall. . . .
Ellie knows that the darkest moments are still to come, and she has everything to fight for:
She must fight for Will.
The demonic have resorted to their cruelest weapons to put Will in mortal danger, and Ellie makes an unlikely alliance to save him and to stop Lilith and Sammael, who seek to drown the world in blood and tear a hole into Heaven.
She must fight for humanity.
As the armies of Hell rise and gather for the looming End of Days, Ellie and her band of allies travel to the world's darkest and most ancient regions in her quest to come into her full glory as the archangel Gabriel.
And Ellie must save herself.
Her humanity withers beneath the weight of her cold archangel power, but Ellie must hold tight to who she is and who she loves as she prepares for the ultimate battle for Heaven and Earth.
In this final installment in the Angelfire trilogy, Courtney Allison Moulton brings her dark world of epic battles and blistering romance to a blazing bright conclusion.

Order Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire) on Amazon

View Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire) on Goodreads

* * * *

The Look
by Sophia Bennett

Can she be a supermodel and a super-sister? She finds her answer in just one look.

Two sisters, both beautiful in different ways: Fifteen-year-old Ted has got "The Look." That's what the scout for the modeling agency tells her, and she can't believe her luck. But just as Ted's jet-setting off on her new career, Ava is diagnosed with cancer. Can Ted be a supermodel and a super-sister? Or will she have to choose between family and fame? With their worlds turned upside down, the girls have to look past appearances, look deep inside, to figure out what really matters.

Order The Look on Amazon

View The Look on Goodreads

* * * *

The Test (Bluford)
by Peggy Kern
Paperback Original

Bluford High: It's not just school--it's real life.

Liselle Mason is in trouble. For weeks, she ignored the changes in her body and tried to forget her brief relationship with Oscar Price, her moody classmate at Bluford High. But when Liselle's clothes stop fitting, and her brother notices her growing belly, she panics. A pregnancy test confirms her biggest fears. Unwilling to admit the truth, Liselle suddenly faces a world with no easy answers. Where will she turn? Who will she tell? What will she do?

Order The Test (Bluford) on Amazon

View The Test (Bluford) on Goodreads

* * * *

Battle Magic
by Tamora Pierce

NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Tamora Pierce returns to the magical world of Winding Circle.

On their way to the first Circle temple in Gyongxi, mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy pay a visit to the emperor's summer palace. Although treated like royalty when they first arrive, the mages soon discover that the emperor plans to invade Gyongxi, posing a fatal threat to the home temple of the Living Circle religion. Accompanied by one of the emperor's prize captives, the three mages rush to Gyongxi to warn its citizens of the impending attack. With the imperials hot on their trail, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy must quickly help the country prepare for battle. But even with the help of new allies, will their combined forces be enough to fight the imperial army and win the war?

Order Battle Magic on Amazon

View Battle Magic on Goodreads