Saturday, November 30, 2013

67 Pick Any YA Book of Your Choice Giveaway and #YALit Pick and Mix 11/30/13

Lots of great news this week! BEHOLDEN is off to copyedit, and I'm so excited about that and about starting back on Book 2. At the same time, I'm scared. I've heard about the fear from other authors. I know that no one really feels like they "get it" any better no matter how many books they've written. I had a chance to talk to the fabulous Libba Bray at YALLFEST about this, and she said she drives herself crazy with every book. Here's the post of hers that we talked about, by the way. If you're a writer, read it. If your a fan of Libba's read it. Hell. Everyone. Read it.

The bottom line, all writers, all human beings, have doubt. I wish I could say I had less doubt now than I did when I was fifteen, or seventeen, or before I got a book deal. I think I just have different doubts. And you know what? I think that's okay. For the first time in my life, I'm at peace with doubt. I'm going to embrace it. Doubt gives me the kick in the a$$ I need to push myself.

I have a new trick I'm going to try to play on doubt. I bought the supplies for it today. Look for some photos next week. :)

But I said I had two pieces of good news, didn't I? My second piece is that YASeriesInsiders.com is finally alive and doing well. Here's a list of all the fabulous giveaways we're offering around the web to celebrate.

http://childrenspublishing.blogspot.com/p/ya-fiction-giveaways.html 


Thought for the Week

via teen.com

 

Young Adult Novel Giveaway This Week

This week's giveaway is a pick-your-own! Complete the form entry and leave a comment saying which book you're most dying to read, and I'll pick a random winner from those comments and send you the book of your choice. Any book. At all. No limits.



And since someone accidentally put BEHOLDEN up early on Goodreads, become a fan of mine there for a for a second change to win. I'm picking a second winner from my fans!


For an additional bonus in BOTH giveaways, add BEHOLDEN to your Goodreads list. :)



Young Adult Novel Giveaway Last  Week 

The Fiery Heart
by Richelle Mead
Hardcover
Razorbill
Released 11/19/2013
Winner: Chi Shannon

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure--and re-education--looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

Purchase The Fiery Heart at Amazon
Purchase The Fiery Heart at IndieBound
View The Fiery Heart on Goodreads

Books, Books, Books

How to turn an old book cover into an e-reader case via Lifehacker (which I think is mega cool).



13 Young Adult adaptations to look out for via Mundie Moms. (Which one are you most excited for)?



An awesome article about YA books and the moral center from YA Stands.

Photo via Marsmattn Tallahasse on Flickr


Why YA boyfriends are so much cooler than your real-life boyfriends.



And as a bonus, here's a quiz on which YA book you should read next.



Actually, I have a short cut to that quiz. Laini Taylor has a brand new novella in her DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE series called NIGHT OF CAKE & PUPPETS. And OHMYGOD. Love!



And finally, here's Libba Bray and a slew of your favorite YA authors. doing Bad Vampire at YALLFEST. Enjoy!



Young Adult Reader of the Week:

Donna Hosie

My Photo


* Want to be the reader of the week next week? Leave a comment on our Thursday or Friday posts! 

   

Blogger of the Week: 

rhapsodyinbooks at "Color Online"


My Photo



* Want to be the blogger of the week next week? To be honest, this is pretty much the only way I have time to discover new blogs, so it's a great way to get into my twitter feed and into these round-up posts if you have great content to share. Leave a comment. I'll pick from among the bloggers who leave comments here on the blog today through Wednesday.

Writing Tip of the Week


via lolsnaps.com

Bonus Tip


via Pinterest


Friday, November 29, 2013

9 Giveaway of CRACKED and EMPTY by K.M. Walton plus New YALit Releases 11/29-12/5

The December First Five Pages Workshop with mentor K.A. Barson will begin accepting submissions Saturday 11/30 at noon eastern time. Remember the workshop is first come, first serve, so check out the rules and get your submissions ready!  http://firstfivepagesworkshop.blogspot.com/p/workshop-rules.html


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


* * * *


Empty
by K.M. Walton
Paperback Giveaway
Simon Pulse
Released 12/3/2013
**Plus Paperback Giveaway of Cracked

A girl tumbles into a downward spiral when a romantic encounter turns violent in this heartwrenching novel from the author of Cracked.

Dell is used to disappointment. Ever since her dad left, it's been one let down after another. But no one--not even her best friend--understands all the pain she's going through. So Dell hides behind self-deprecating jokes and forced smiles.


Then the one person she trusts betrays her. Dell is beyond devastated. Without anyone to turn to for comfort, her depression and self-loathing spin out of control. But just how far will she go to make all of heartbreak and the name-calling stop?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Empty?

My favorite thing about EMPTY is my main character. Dell was such a inwardly complicated character to write, so privately vulnerable. Being her creator, I felt all of Dell's feelings as I wrote her. Countless times I wanted to jump into my computer, "Mary Poppins style" and embrace Dell with the love I had for her. I hope readers will want to do the same.

Purchase Empty at Amazon
Purchase Empty at IndieBound
View Empty on Goodreads



YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


* * * *


Angel Fever
by L. A. Weatherly
Hardcover Giveaway
Candlewick
Released 11/26/2013

Winner: Lisa Basso

As half-angel Willow strives to save the world from her parasitic otherworldly kin, romance and tension heat up to a climactic finale.

In the devastated remains of the world, millions of people live in "refugee" camps provided by the angels who have all but enslaved humanity. As this angelic stranglehold tightens, Willow and Alex are recruiting and training new Angel Killers while struggling to hold ground on the celestial battlefield. But Willow continues to have feelings for Seb, and her love and resolve are tested as a shattering revelation sends Alex on a separate journey. Now that the final battle versus the angels is about to begin-and the fate of the world hangs in the balance-each of them must face the consequences of their own choices. Will love endure? Will the human race survive?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Angel Fever?

My favorite thing about writing Angel Fever was seeing Willow grow so much as a character. She goes through great pain in the story, but comes out on top and fighting. I also loved getting to revisit characters from Angel Burn, and bringing the series to a satisfactory conclusion. I'd journeyed for so long with all of these characters that it meant a lot to me to wrap up their stories in a way that felt right to me and that readers would enjoy - I hope I was able to do that!


Purchase Angel Fever at Amazon
Purchase Angel Fever at IndieBound
View Angel Fever on Goodreads

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Red
by Alison Cherry
Hardcover Giveaway
Delacorte Press
Released 10/8/2013

Winner: Jill Lurie

Felicity St. John has it all--loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she's right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair.

Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power--and everybody knows it. That's why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note:

I know your secret.

Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she'd be a social outcast faster than she could say "strawberry blond." Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it--money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school.

Felicity isn't about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Red?

My favorite thing about RED is Felicity's best friend, Ivy--she's funny and snarky and doesn't care what anyone else thinks of her, and I'm honestly quite jealous that Felicity gets to hang out with her all the time!

Purchase Red at Amazon
Purchase Red at IndieBound
View Red on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Deadly
by Sara Shepard
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 12/3/2013

Deadly, the fourteenth volume in Sara Shepard's YA Pretty Little Liars series, delivers more juicy scandals, dark secrets, and shocking plot twists. This #1 New York Times bestselling series is also a hit ABC Family original TV show.

High school seniors Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer have all done horrible things—things that would put them behind bars if anyone ever found out. And their stalker "A" knows everything.

So far A has kept their secrets, using them to torture the girls. But now A's changed the game. Suddenly the girls are hauled in for questioning, and all their worlds begin to unravel. If A's plan succeeds, Rosewood's pretty little liars will be locked away for good. . . .

Purchase Deadly at Amazon
Purchase Deadly at IndieBound
View Deadly on Goodreads

* * * *


Racing Savannah
by Miranda Kenneally
Paperback
Sourcebooks Fire
Released 12/3/2013

They're from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin--cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn't exactly one to follow the rules either. She's not going to let someone tell her a girl isn't tough enough to race. Sure, it's dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack.

Purchase Racing Savannah at Amazon
Purchase Racing Savannah at IndieBound
View Racing Savannah on Goodreads

* * * *


Rebel Spring
by Morgan Rhodes
Hardcover
Razorbill
Released 12/3/2013

Love, power, and magic collide with war in the second book of the Falling Kingdoms series

Auranos has fallen and the three kingdoms--Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia--are now united as one country called Mytica. But still, magic beckons, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the world...

When the evil King Gaius announces that a road is to be built into the Forbidden Mountains, formally linking all of Mytica together, he sets off a chain of events that will forever change the face of this land, forcing Cleo the dethroned princess, Magnus the reluctant heir, Lucia the haunted sorceress, and Jonas the desperate rebel to take steps they never could have imagined.

Purchase Rebel Spring at Amazon
Purchase Rebel Spring at IndieBound
View Rebel Spring on Goodreads

* * * *


Third Lie's the Charm
by Lisa and Laura Roecker
Paperback
Sourcebooks Fire
Released 12/3/2013

New friend into old, the bond of the Sisterhood will never grow cold.

Life at Pemberly Brown is a whirlwind for Kate Lowry. Determined to finally destroy the secret society responsible for her best friend Grace's death, Kate joins the Sisterhood hoping to go all Trojan Horse on their asses. But the night of her initiation another student at Pemberly Brown dies in what looks like tragic accident.

Kate knows better.

Kate and her faithful ginger, Seth Allen, immediately uncover a connection to the boy's death and the secret societies that rule Pemberly Brown. But it's not until Kate begins receiving pages from Grace's old journal that she begins to piece together what really happened the night she died and how it connects to Pemberly Brown's most recent tragedy.

Meanwhile, Kate's ex-boyfriend Liam is following her around like an angry guard dog and she's falling hard for the mysterious Bradley Farrow. Both boys are tied up in the mystery that surrounds Pemberly Brown, but only one of them can truly be trusted.

In this chilling conclusion to The Liar Society series Kate will fight to save her school from the evil that lurks beneath its hallowed halls. But will her quest destroy her or finally lead her to true love? She can only hope her third lie's the charm.

Purchase Third Lie's the Charm at Amazon
Purchase Third Lie's the Charm at IndieBound
View Third Lie's the Charm on Goodreads


Thursday, November 28, 2013

4 Happy Thanksgiving and the Books We're Thankful For

All of us here at Adventures in YA Publishing would like to with you a very happy Thanksgiving! We'd like to share with you the books we are most thankful for and would love to hear which books you're thankful for in the comments!


Martina Boone
I have to say BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. That was the book that reminded me how much I love southern gothics, with all their quirky characters, luscious settings, spooky atmosphere, and haunting tragedies. I couldn't stop thinking about the world of Beautiful Creatures, so I had to write my own southern gothic. That is the book that became BEHOLDEN, the first book in my HEIRS OF WATSON ISLAND trilogy that's being published by Simon Pulse next year.


Alyssa Hamilton
I am most thankful for the PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS and THE HEROES OF OLYMPUS series by Rick Riordan. Riordan's humour, sense of adventure and seamless ability to integrate Greek mythology with modern day situations is what makes this series so amazing to read. I loved watching Percy, Annabeth, and Grover grow up and later on Leo, Hazel, Frank, Jason and Piper go through these absolutely crazy adventures. My favourite part of this series is how funny it is. When I'm trying to sell it to a reluctant kid whose parents want to get them into reading, I talk about how absolutely hilarious Percy is, and what a blast each quest is in each book. I am so happy and thankful that Rick Riordan still has so much to go with these amazing characters!


Lisa Gail Green
I'm most thankful for THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH. Why? Because that's the book that taught me there are no limits to imagination. Also, that other people have my sense of humor. I'm grateful that it's a classic that continues to teach kids that there is value in the fantastic.


Clara Kensie
The ONE book I’m most thankful for? Just one? How am I supposed to pick only one? After much, much thought, I finally realized the answer, and it was so obvious that I should have known it immediately: ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I loved this book as a child, as a teen, and as an adult. It’s probably the book I’ve re-read the most number of times, I’ve had the same battered paperback since I was a kid, and it was the very first book I downloaded onto my very first e-reader. The book has such heart and such humor. When I was younger, I wanted to be Anne Shirley—or at least posses her same level of passion, fire, and imagination. Come to think of it, even as an adult, I wish I had her passion, fire, and imagination! I love how stern, no-nonsense Marilla slowly warmed up to Anne, and how shy Matthew immediately loved her. I love the friendship shared by Anne and Diana. And don’t even get me started on Gilbert! Finally, I'm most thankful for ANNE OF GREEN GABLES because it’s had a huge influence on my life: I named my daughter after Anne (well, Anne Shirley and Anne Frank). The book even plays a role throughout my RUN TO YOU series. And one day, I would love to live on Prince Edward Island. So, thank you, L.M. Montgomery, for influencing my life in such a nice way through ANNE OF GREEN GABLES.


Kate Foley
I am most thankful for the HARRY POTTER series by J.K. Rowling. I can't imagine a world without Harry. Imagine if J.K. Rowling had written the entire Harry Potter series and never shared a word of it. Imagine if she'd taken Harry, Ron, Hermione and all of the other beloved characters to the grave. No Hogwarts, no movies based on the books, no Harry. J.K. Rowling has offered us writers so much inspiration. Imagine if that inspiration never existed. I'm sure lots of our stories would be immensely different. I know my stories would be different!


Jan Lewis
I am most thankful for THE GIVER by Lois Lowry. It was one of the first YA books I ever read, and it really made me fall in love with YA. In addition to being such a beautifully written book, it's deep and thought-provoking in a very accessible way. It made me realize that YA books have the ability to change people's lives, and it most definitely changed mine.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

16 WOW Wednesday: Keeping Your Eyes to Yourself by Lydia Kang

Today we have the absolutely lovely author of a book that I personally am so beyond excited for, CONTROL. This book sounds so incredible and original, and with Lydia Kang's background in medicine, it will no doubt we amazing!

Keeping Your Eyes to Yourself by Lydia Kang



I probably sound like your grade school teacher. I’m not talking about cheating. I’m talking about something that’s horribly detrimental to your writing:

Comparing yourself to other authors.

You know you’ve done it. I have! Maybe you’re one of those people who gets super-energized and motivated by other authors’ successes. Great! This post is for everyone else. :)

Because here’s the thing. All that time you might spend wondering about other book deals, or how may best-seller lists some book is always on, or why you’re not as prolific as Author X, you’re not writing.

Not only are you not writing, but you’re taking little pecks of confidence away from yourself when you need it the most. It’s disheartening and can seriously cripple your muse. I remember what it was like when I wrote my first YA books. I’d have inner monologues that sounded like this:

“Man, I still have 30K more words to write. And what I have down already is so flawed! The revisions are going to take forever! Look, Author X just queried her book and got five offers of representation. I’m so many months away from querying! What if I don’t get any requests and this is all for nothing?” **flails**

Those frustrations made it very tempting to rush my writing, do a quick spackle job on my revisions, and force my book prematurely out into the world. Even now that I have an agent, a wonderful publishing house, and a book about to come out, those comparison demons still lurk on my shoulder, threatening to undo my productivity.

Someone will always have a better deal, better reviews, a more stunning story about getting an agent. But then again, there are likely people who may look at you and be jealous of what you’ve done in your own writing career, no matter how new you are to it.

So my advice to you?

Control what you have power over—your own writing. Remember that you and only you can write your story.

Several years ago at Thanksgiving, my kids pulled on a wishbone and it broke like this:


I had a revelation when it broke this way. Why should one person’s dream come at the sacrifice of another, especially in a creative endeavor like writing?

It shouldn’t. And it doesn’t.

In publishing, there is a lot of room for a lot of books. If you look at how many books were published in just 2013, it’s enormous. There is traditional publishing, small press, self-pubbing...so many ways to get your work out there tailored to what publishing career you wish to have.

When you compare yourself to other authors, there is this innate assumption that causes the bad feeling—what they have is what you don’t. And that’s not necessarily true. Because at the core, at its purest level, you have the same thing: the love of a story that you are compelled to create.

So whenever I start looking sideways at what other authors have and I don’t, I remember that wishbone. Mentally, I wish them well. I take a huge breath and let go of my jealousy to remember: Their success does not subtract from mine. Then I immerse myself in my work and give it my full attention.

My story deserves it, and so do yours.

About The Author


Lydia Kang is an author of young adult fiction, poetry, and narrative non-fiction. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, completing her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She is a practicing physician who has gained a reputation for helping fellow writers achieve medical accuracy in fiction. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Great Weather for Media. She believes in science and knocking on wood, and currently lives in Omaha with her husband, three children, and a terrarium full of stick bugs.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About The Book


An un-putdownable thriller for fans of Uglies

When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn't even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

3 Craft of Writing: Write Outside The Lines of Your Book by Josin L. McQuein

Josin L. McQuein is a 2013 debut author whose books have flown off the shelves and blown up the blogosphere. Her first book, ARCLIGHT came out earlier this year, with the sequel coming out early 2014. Her newest book PREMEDITATED, came out in October and absolutely captivated me. Please welcome Josin L. McQuein!!

Write Outside The Lines of Your Book by Josin L. McQuein


I think everyone’s probably familiar with the idea of a paint-by-number set, but just in case, it’s a small kit that comes with a piece of cardboard that’s been sectioned into numbered zones. These zone match the numbers on miniature pots of paint, and the idea is that if you put the right color of paint into the right zones, then you’ll end up with a (slightly blotchy) replica of The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, or maybe some laughing dolphins at sunset.

It’s a simple idea that should work fine: do the work and get the result.

But here’s the thing – you’re not actually creating anything. You’re not even learning the craft of painting that well because you’re not learning the techniques that led to that original work being made in the first place. It’s practice; it’s a hobby, but it’s not a reflection of the person holding the brush, and that’s what art is supposed to be. Including, and especially, the art of the written word.

We all start off copying those who’ve gone before so that we can figure out “the rules.” This gives us the basics of structure and grammar and all that stuff that assures a reader will be able to understand our words as we write them. Once you do that, you’re capable of reproducing any piece of writing you like, meaning that you can literally take a book and retype it, if you want, but that’s not creation any more than a paint-by-number.

It is, however, a foundation. You discover which books and authors write books that you’d like to emulate. You can see how they structure their novels, chapters, and sentences for specific effect. It teaches your fingers the rhythm of typing out an action sequence, and trains your brain to change your word choices to fit the mood of the moment you’re trying to create. You get used to differences between character voices, and finally, you’ll find your own voice. And once you’ve done that, you’re ready to build your story.

I’m generally a visual person. For me, crafting a story involves needing to see it in some form before it’s actually written, and that starts with as big a piece of paper as I can get my hands on. Recreating all the Rembrandts in the world won’t help me, because I’m more of a Pollock. I throw things at that page and see how they fall, line-up, and mix organically.

I disregard the lines, if it’s notebook paper, and fill the sheet with haphazard notes about scenes, characters, plotlines, etc. Hopefully, I can manage to work things into a semi-coherent timeline as I go, so that the beginning’s in the top left corner and the end is in the bottom right, with a chaotic purge of ideas in between. Then I can go back and clean things up, pulling those ideas into a very loose bullet list / outline. Then scene-by-scene, I script my story as though it were a screenplay, which lets me get a feel for the characters’ voices as they interact with each other, without a heavy focus on the setting beyond a simple slug-line. Then it’s onto the actual “writing” part, which means translating those dialogue scenes into chapters, and trying those chapters as 1st person vs. 3rd.

It’s a long, scattered, and complicated method, but it’s what works for me. It’s all very plot centered.
What I wasn’t expecting with Premeditated was that none of it applied. The idea this time came out as an actual image. What ended up on my paper was a sketch of a girl hiding behind a stairwell. I thought it was just a doodle at first, but she looked so sad and so haunted, I couldn’t get her out of my head. I kept going over that picture, and every time I did, more details came. She sprouted a bird-shaped charm bracelet. Her clothes morphed into a school uniform, but not a regulation one. It got to the point that I wanted to ask her who she was and what she was doing on my brainstorming page.

So I did.

I did a character “interview” of sorts, and figured out that her story was all about the characters. They drove the plot, rather than the plot driving them. Instead of a girl reacting to the circumstances of her world, she was going to be the one causing the situations that others would react to. I’d never attempted or conceptualized anything like it, and I found out pretty quick that my usual methods wouldn’t work. I had to adapt them.

That’s the beauty of an organic medium; new ideas and methods won’t break it. Things can be strange and uncomfortable. Characters can – and will – surprise you, if you stay true to the personalities and voices that develop as the story progresses. All the planning and structure become the fence around a play park, containing the madness of a crowd of excited ideas running wild and screaming while they leap off swings and run up the slide instead of sliding down it.

"Go with it."

That’s my best advice on the craft of writing. It’s art, not law. You’re not going to ruin someone’s life by breaking the rules or changing your mind. If what you’re doing doesn’t work, or isn’t the way you’ve “always done” something, so what? Writing is problem solving; the same solution isn’t going to work for every scenario. If it did, there wouldn’t be nearly as many novels out there.

But what do I know? I’m just the kid who got bored with the instruction guide, and used to do her paint by numbers backward so the sky was green and the grass was blue, and trees grew brown atop green trunks.

About The Author


Josin lives with her three crazy dogs in Texas town so small that the buffalo occasionally outnumber the people, and things like subways or reliable internet coverage are creations of that far-away fairy land known as civilization. Premeditated is her second young adult, but first contemporary novel.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads












About The Book


A week ago, Dinah’s cousin Claire cut her wrists.

Five days ago, Dinah found Claire’s diary and discovered why.

Three days ago, Dinah stopped crying and came up with a plan.

Two days ago, she ditched her piercings and bleached the black dye from her hair.

Yesterday, knee socks and uniform plaid became a predator’s camouflage.

Today, she’ll find the boy who broke Claire.

By tomorrow, he’ll wish he were dead.

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

Monday, November 25, 2013

2 Inspired Openings: Raise The Stakes in Writing Your First Line by Eric Devine

Today's guest author takes chances in his writing and creates fearless characters in bold and intriguing stories. His newest novel, DARE ME, came out in October and has pushed the limits on safe since. Please welcome Eric Devine!

Raise The Stakes in Writing Your First Line by Eric Devine


Writing a killer first line is everything. Without it, you will lose readers, especially in YA. The competition for your words is vast and slick, and is usually pressing into your readers' lives constantly. So how do you break through?

"There is, in any great opening line, a mini-conflict or tension that is strong enough to carry the reader to the next step in the narrative."
— Donald Maass

Enticing a reader is an act of promising that after this, the story only gets better. In Dare Me, my protagonist is not unique in that he possesses skills or powers or beauty. Ben is an everyman character, and so the trick was showcasing a conflict interesting enough that the reader would be willing to go for the ride.

First line: There is no doubt that one of us will die.

An old standby, the risk of death, but one that intrigues teens and fulfills the contract Maass suggests. Teens will want to read the rest of the opening in order to understand the situation Ben, and whoever else is with him, find themselves in. And this is where Maass provides additional insight about how to carry the story, step-by-step:

"If there is one single principle that is central to making any story more powerful, it is simply this: Raise the stakes."
— Donald Maass

This is a mantra that I cling to as I write, and is often offered by my fantastic agent Kate McKean as well. And I do it twice in the rest of the opening. The second line:

I’m not hoping for it, just considering the probability: three of us, ten stunts, each “death defying.”

With this, the parameters are set and the math crystallizes. What's the likelihood that all three friends are going to make it through ten, nasty stunts, unscathed? Pretty low. What's the likelihood of continuing if an injury—or worse—occurs? It depends. What's the motivation behind them? Because teens will do the insane, in spite of harm or risk, if there's enough pressure. Time to lay down the last "stake" card:

At least that’s the plan: spend senior year completing one dare a month. Why? So we’re legends by the end.

There it is. Tension and conflict via possible death, stakes raised by the volume and nature of the conflict, and stakes raised again by the motivation for completing the dares.

Awesome! I can just have these guys thwart death in increasingly crazy ways and that should keep the readers' attention, right? Yes and no.

"You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you find out who they really are."
― Joss Whedon

Certainly some teens would love to read a narrative of Jackass. But what point would that serve? What substance would be offered? How would we ever learn anything about who Ben and his friends are if I left it at that?

Therefore, my challenge with Dare Me, after writing a startling beginning, was figuring out how to create multidimensional characters who step back and ask: Why the hell am I doing this? I needed them to challenge the very premise of the novel and be willing to walk away, because that felt honest. What also felt honest is the pressure that would exist for anyone who did bail. Which peril would be worse: the dares or the fallout of not being man enough? And that is the element that keeps the story intriguing: the push-pull of the dares with common sense.

Ultimately, this is a story about friends with a strained relationship trying to come back together to leave a mark. What that means to each is different, and how Ben understands this is the key to the story. The reluctant everyman puts this craziness into perspective for the reader, not because he wants to, but because he has no choice.

Or does he? And that's the clincher. Choice. At what point do we lose it? Or, if it's never lost, at what point do we lose our "self" because of it? The old adage rings true: We are defined by the choices we make.

I did not come to these questions and considerations easily. The aforementioned Kate McKean and my editor, Lisa Cheng, dragged me to them, because they demanded to know more about these boys. And they were right to want such. The boys, not the dares, are the heart of the story.

I think there is beauty in that killer opening, where the stage is set and everything feels like it could fall apart. But we must remember not to lose sight of the rest of the story, its layers and its soul, to not only focus on the hook. Offer more than the superficial that is so often all that exists in the YouTube clips, Facebook posts and Instagram comments that our audience devours.

Be brave at the start. Grab those readers! But once you've done so, be like my characters, step back and ask questions of yourself, especially: Why am I writing this? The answers may not come easily, but when they do, get ready, because that's when the real storytelling begins.

Consider the implications provided by these fantastic beginnings:

“The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World. I’m sixteen now, so you can imagine that’s left me with quite a few days of major suckage.”
––Going Bovine by Libba Bray

“The afternoon my parents died, I was out shoplifting with Irene Klauson.”
––The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

"Before I died I hid my secrets in the Master Oak. This book is about my best friend, Vera Dietz, who eventually found them."
––Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

About The Author


Eric is a high school English teacher, husband, and father of two girls and is the author of several fearless teen fiction books, Tap Out and This Side of Normal

He is represented by Kate McKean of the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads












About The Book


When Ben Candido and his friends, Ricky and John, decide to post a YouTube video of themselves surfing on top of a car, they finally feel like the somebodies they are meant to be instead of the social nobodies that they are. Overnight, the video becomes the talk of the school, and the boys are sure that their self-appointed senior year of dares will live in infamy. Every dare brings an increased risk of bodily harm, but Ben cannot deny the thrill and sense of swagger that come with it. The stakes become even more complex when a mysterious donor bankrolls their dares in exchange for a cut in the online revenue the videos generate. But at what point do the risk and the reward come at too high of a price? What does it take to stay true to one’s self in the face of relentless pressure.

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

Sunday, November 24, 2013

7 The YA Series Insiders Share What Book They Are Most Thankful For

Thanksgiving is this week, so I thought it would be fun to find out what books people are most thankful for.  The lovely ladies of YA Series Insiders were kind enough to share their answers with us. Their new website just launched this week and they are having a HUGE giveaway, so make sure you check it out if you haven't yet!

Later this week, the Adventures in YA Publishing contributors will share what books they are most thankful for. Stay tuned!


Jennifer Armentrout
I am most thankful for Twilight. No matter if you read the book, loved it or hated it, Twilight gave YA the boost that it needed and I think that a lot of books were published afterward because of the success of Twilight. The series proved that people of all ages read YA.


Nina Berry
I recently reread the stand alone YA thriller ESCAPE FROM EDEN, by my critique partner, Elisa Nader, and I'm thankful because Elisa's lush prose and deep understanding of her character's emotions - plus her relentless pacing - really inspired me to push my own writing during my most recent pass on THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES.
The YA series I'm most thankful to have read recently is the DIVERGENT series by, of course, Veronica Roth. I came a bit late to this series because I'd thought I'd had my fill of dystopian for awhile, and then pow! The first book hit me between the eyes right from the start. It made me feel like I wasn't alone in believing that labeling people is a way to control them.


Anne Blankman
I can only name ONE book? This is a hard question! I guess I'd have to pick RAMONA FOREVER by Beverly Cleary. It's the first book I read on my own. My parents used to take turns reading a chapter to me every night before bed, and one evening I was so eager to find out what happened next that, as soon as my mother left, I tiptoed across the room, grabbed the book off my desk, and stayed up late, reading under the covers. My parents had no idea until they started reading to me the following night, and I interrupted them to say I'd already finished that part. Until RAMONA FOREVER, I'd loved books, but I hadn't been a "reader." From then on, I read everything I could get my hands on.


Martina Boone
I have to say BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. That was the book that reminded me how much I love southern gothics, with all their quirky characters, luscious settings, spooky atmosphere, and haunting tragedies. I couldn't stop thinking about the world of Beautiful Creatures, so I had to write my own southern gothic. That is the book that became BEHOLDEN, the first book in my HEIRS OF WATSON ISLAND trilogy that's being published by Simon Pulse next year.


Lanie Bross
Wow. How can anyone pick just one? I am thankful for YA as a genre itself. The enormous range of books within Young Adult allows for so much potential, both from a writing and a reading standpoint.


Tracy Clark
A near impossible question! Every book that I’m really thankful for has touched me in a different way. But The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak is way up on that list because I recall my mind being blown, like, “You can do that??”


Bree Despain
Wow, it's so hard to narrow it down to one! The Harry Potter series (while technically not quite YA) were the books that inspired me to write for young people, and books like the Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot are what made me want to specifically write YA. I will always be thankful for these books because they put me on the path to becoming the author I am today.


S.E. Green
I get teary eyed every time I read Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, It is definitely one of my all-time favorite books. It reminds all of us of the power of unconditional love and how as we grow older, the roles between parent and child sometimes blur and become reversed. It teaches the valuable lesson of how love begets love.


Kimberley Griffiths Little
Since I started writing a REALLY, REALLY long time ago, long before the current decade of trilogies and paranormal and sci-fi fantasy, I would have to say that the Young Adult books of Richard Peck were the most inspirational to me and changed the way I looked - and wrote children's literature. At the very first writer's conference I attended eons ago, Richard Peck was there and was magnificent, brilliant, and encouraging. He later blurbed my middle-grade novel, The Healing Spell, (Scholastic, 2010) and I was so thrilled I burst into tears!
Some of Richard Peck's early novels were ground-breaking in the 1980s and 1990s and gained him instant recognition in the YA community: Are You in the House Alone?, Remembering the Good Times, the first YA book about teen suicide, Don't Look and it Won't Hurt, about a girl who gets pregnant and has to decide whether to keep her baby, and Unfinished Portrait of Jessica, about a girl whose father leaves the family and she blames her mother instead.


Sara Raasch
I have to say...Twilight. *ducks thrown objects* Hear me out! Without that book, YA wouldn't have had the boost it did. Twilight, no matter anyone's opinion on it, helped a LOT of kids get into reading who wouldn't have otherwise. We all owe a lot to that book, and I'm thankful for it!



Saturday, November 23, 2013

13 Win LEGEND, PRODIGY, and CHAMPION signed by Marie Lu Plus INTRODUCING YASeriesInsiders.com

We're skipping today's YA Pick and Mix for something very special. Over the past couple of months, I've mentioned a super-secret project, and I'm thrilled to finally be able to share it with you all!

Please enter and spread the word!

Good luck,

Martina

INTRODUCING THE YA SERIES INSIDERS LAUNCH GIVEAWAYS

I've been working with a group of series authors to put together a new Tumblr blog for fans and readers. I'm excited to be able to share this fabulous new blog with all of you.

YASI is all about series fiction, and it's put together by a group of young adult authors who believe that books, and especially book series, can change hearts and form relationships with readers that last a lifetime. With that in mind, YASeriesInsiders.com is a blog about the discovery, celebration, and shared experience of the worlds and characters of the great teen series.

While each of the eleven authors involved have young adult series starting in 2014 from major publishers, this blog is about all teen series fiction—past, present, and future. As series authors ourselves, we have a unique experience in that we can look at the books we love both as authors and readers. We also have the opportunity to reach out to the authors of these great books (or to run into them at book events), so we want to be able take advantage of that to make YA Series Insiders a place where readers and authors come together.

The Tumblr blog is launching today, 11/23/14, with interviews and lots of secrets from great series authors including:

  • Melissa de la Cruz
  • Tahereh Mafi
  • Marie Lu
  • Lauren Oliver
  • Leigh Bardugo
  • Tamora Pierce
  • Ann Aguirre
  • Beth Revis
  • Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • Nancy Holder
  • Gennifer Albin
  • Jessica Brody
  • Susan Dennard

And many, many more!

Plus we'll keep adding new secrets about authors, characters, and books, not to mention great series news, book trailers, cover reveals and, of course, more giveaways of the hottest series books.

To celebrate the YASI launch, we are having a HUGE giveaway, including more than $1,000 of signed box sets or hardcover sets of our favorite YA series, plus jewelry, DVDs, and fun, handpicked items from each of the eleven YASI authors, at http://YASeriesInsiders.com.

We are also hosting smaller giveaways, including MORE jewelry, unique gifts, and swag from each of us on the following four blogs:

  • Adventures in YA Publishing - Gifts plus signed hardcovers of LEGEND, PRODIGY, CHAMPION by Marie Lu
  • Mundie Moms - Gifts plus signed hardcovers of INSURGENT, DIVERGENT, ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth
  • YA Books Central - Gifts plus signed hardcovers of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, THE CROWN OF EMBERS, THE BITTER KINGDOM by Rae Carson
  • Page Turners Blog - Gifts plus signed hardcovers of SHATTER ME and UNRAVEL ME by Tahereh Mafi and a signed hardcover of ICONS by Margaret Stohl

Also stop by the following places to win more great, signed books:


The giveaways all start today, November 23rd, and run through the end of the year. We'll announce all winners at YASeriesInsiders.com on January 1, 2014. There is only one winner per giveaway, eleven winners in all, so winners will be taking home boatloads of literary loot. :)

Please enter by completing the form in this post to win here, and then stop by the above sites and YASeriesInsiders.com for more chances to win.

We hope you'll be as excited about this project as we are!

The YASI Team:

Jennifer L. Armentrout, Nina Berry, Anne Blankman, Martina Boone, Lanie Bross, Tracy Clark, Bree Despain, Claudia Gray, S. E. Green, Kimberley Griffiths Little, and Sara Raasch.

The Giveaways

SIGNED hardcovers of LEGEND, PRODIGY, and CHAMPION by Marie Lu!





AND ALSO: 

FROM JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT:

From Publisher's Marketplace:

USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Armentrout's new young adult series in which a half demon, half gargoyle teenage girl risks the wrath of her adoptive clan and the trust of a boy she's loved forever by partnering up with a sexy, dangerous demon who claims he can protect her from dark elements in a usually quiet demon population, to Margo Lipschultz at Harlequin Teen, in a good deal, in a three-book deal, for publication in Winter 2014, by Kevan Lyon at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency (World).

Jennifer's Adventures in YA Publishing giveaway:
Enter here to win a stone gargoyle. Considering my characters are... well, gargoyles, that extra special prize seems a wee bit fitting. Head over to our main giveaway on our Tumblr for another chance to win this plus a signed Soul Screamers Omnibus by Rachel Vincent. And you can find out there why I have a girl crush on Rachel!




FROM NINA BERRY:

From Publisher's Marketplace:
Nina Berry's THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES, the first in a new series set in Berlin in 1961, in which a disgraced Hollywood starlet is pulled into a complex world of politics and intrigue as the Cold War heats up, to Annie Stone at Harlequin Teen, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Tamar Rydzinski at the Laura Dail Literary Agency.

Nina's Adventures in YA Publishing giveaway:
Enter here to win a 1960s-style double-stranded champagne pearl and rhinestone necklace. It's just like the one my character, Pagan Jones, inherits from her mysterious mother. Head over to our main giveaway on our Tumblr to win this and both of Judy Blundell's period mysteries WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED and STRINGS ATTACHED, and find out how they relate to THE NOTORIOUS PAGAN JONES.



FROM ANNE BLANKMAN:

From Publishers Marketplace:
Anne Blankman's PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, in which a seventeen-year-old Nazi who is the darling of Uncle Dolf--aka Adolf Hitler--is told shocking information about the death of her father--information that forces her to question everything she believes, to Kristin Daly Rens of Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins in a three-book deal at auction for spring 2014 publication, by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

Anne's Adventures in YA Publishing giveaway:
Enter the giveaway to win an Art Deco-style necklace just like the jewelry my main character wears to a 1930s nightclub. Visit our main giveaway on Tumblr to win a copy of CODE NAME VERITY, and find out why I haven't read this amazing book yet.



FROM MARTINA BOONE:

From Publishers Marketplace:
Martina Boone's Southern gothic trilogy -- with a dash of magic -- following a teen sent to live with her dead mother's twin on a decaying plantation where she discovers a centuries-old feud and dark secrets that require making peace with the local spirits, who may not be as welcoming as the sunlit boy who steals her heart, to Annette Pollert at Simon Pulse, in a pre-empt, by Kent Wolf at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin.

Martina's Adventures in YA Publishing giveaway:
Enter here to win a beautiful Tiffany-inspired key necklace. Why the key? Because Barrie, my main character wears three of the real Tiffany keys in platinum and diamonds. That's all I'm going to say here, but there's a lot more to it. Head over to our main giveaway on the Tumblr to win a signed box set of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, and you can find out how Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's beautiful books relate to mine.



FROM LANIE BROSS:

From Publisher's Marketplace:
Debut author Lanie Bross's FATES, the story of an Executor sent to earth to bring about human destinies, who finds herself unaccountably experiencing human emotions, leading to an epic romance set across multiple worlds, to Wendy Loggia at Delacorte, in a significant deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by Stephen Barbara at Foundry Literary + Media, on behalf of Paper Lantern Lit.

Lanie's Adventures in YA Publishing giveaway:
Enter here to win one of four one-of-a-kind firefly necklaces. I've handmade these beautiful necklaces to represent the Messengers from my book FATES! And don't forget to enter our YASeriesInsiders' giveaway to win ENVY/FURY/ETERNITY signed by the author, and a truly special, handmade necklace with a firefly charm and the quote “There will be no miracles today” to celebrate FATES!



FROM TRACY CLARK:

From Publisher's Marketplace:
Tracy Clark’s debut SCINTILLATE (plus two more books in this lush trilogy), in which ancient races within mankind manifest incredible power in their purist form as they battle for control in the contemporary world, to Karen Grove at Entangled Teen, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

Tracy's Adventures in YA Publishing giveaway:

Enter here to win a custom made heartstone with a unique gemstone, a card giving the gemstone "meaning," and the spiral that is a critical, mystical element in SCINTILLATE.






FROM BREE DESPAIN:

From Publisher's Marketplace:
The Dark Divine series author Bree Despain's new trilogy, INTO THE DARK, a re-imagining of the Persephone myth that explores love, duty, faith, and features really hot princes, to Greg Ferguson at Egmont, in a good deal, by Ted Malawer at Upstart Crow Literary (NA).

Bree's Adventures in YA Publishing giveaway:

Enter here to win a beautiful lyre necklace that is the ancient Greek symbol for music and storytelling. Music plays a very important role in THE SHADOW PRINCE, where it is forbidden for one character and essential to another. And don't forget to enter our huge Tumblr giveaway for another chance to win a similar necklace as well as a $30 iTunes gift card and the entire hardcover Abandon series by Meg Cabot.



FROM CLAUDIA GRAY:

From Publishers Marketplace:
Claudia Gray's A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU, the first book in the Firebird trilogy, about a girl who must pursue a killer through alternate realities where she sees all the radically different lives she might have led, and realizes her target may be far more than the cold-hearted murderer she'd believed him to be, to Sarah Landis at Harper Teen, in a three-book deal, by Diana Fox at Fox Literary.

Claudia's Adventures in YA Publishing giveaway:
Since A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU is a bit of SHADOW AND BONE meets ACROSS THE UNIVERSE meets HOURGLASS, I'm going to giveaway a fun set of Russian nesting doll earrings here. And jump over to YASeriesInsiders.com for a chance to win each of those great books plus a beautiful reproduction of Marguerite's favorite Faberge egg!



FROM S.E. GREEN:

From Publishers Marketplace:

S. E. Green’s Killer Instinct. First of a chilling series featuring a brilliant teenage girl who studies and understands serial killers... because she might be one herself, to Patrick Price at Simon Pulse, in a pre-empt very good deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in May 2014, by Jenny Bent and Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency.

Shannon's Adventures in YA Publishing giveaway:
Enter here to win an evidence bag loaded with KILLER INSTINCT swag. Head on over to our Tumblr for a chance at a copy of THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin, a copy of I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga, and a complete set of the hit Showtime series, DEXTER.



FROM KIMBERLEY GRIFFITHS LITTLE:

From Publishers Marketplace:
Kimberley Griffiths Little's GODDESS, pitched as "the YA Red Tent", to Karen Chaplin at Harper Children's, in a significant deal, in a pre-empt, in a three-book deal, for publication in Fall 2014, by Tracey Adams at Adams Literary (US).

Kimberley's Adventures in YA Publishing giveaway:
Enter here to win one of four sets of beautiful belly dance earrings so you, like my heroine Jayden, can feel like the luscious, gorgeous girl you are. Then head over to YASeriesInsiders.com to win a complete belly dance outfit and hardcover copies of Laini Taylor's fabulous DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE series.



FROM SARA RAASCH:

From Publisher's Marketplace:
Sara Raasch's debut SNOW LIKE ASHES trilogy about a fierce chakram-wielding warrior from the Kingdom of Winter, who must struggle to free her people from the tyranny of an opposing kingdom while also protecting her own destiny, to Kristin Daly Rens at Balzer & Bray, in a pre-empt, for publication in Fall 2014, by Mackenzie Brady at Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency.

Sara's Adventures in YA Publishing giveaway:
Win one of four handmade snowflake charms for SNOW LIKE ASHES here and also enter our main YASI giveaway, where I'm giving away a complete set of LORD OF THE RINGS plus a chakram keychain for SNOW LIKE ASHES!

Friday, November 22, 2013

18 Giveaway of ANGEL FEVER by L.A. Weatherly and RED by Alison Cherry plus New YALit Releases 11/22-11/28

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


* * * *


Angel Fever
by L. A. Weatherly
Hardcover Giveaway
Candlewick
Released 11/26/2013

As half-angel Willow strives to save the world from her parasitic otherworldly kin, romance and tension heat up to a climactic finale.

In the devastated remains of the world, millions of people live in "refugee" camps provided by the angels who have all but enslaved humanity. As this angelic stranglehold tightens, Willow and Alex are recruiting and training new Angel Killers while struggling to hold ground on the celestial battlefield. But Willow continues to have feelings for Seb, and her love and resolve are tested as a shattering revelation sends Alex on a separate journey. Now that the final battle versus the angels is about to begin-and the fate of the world hangs in the balance-each of them must face the consequences of their own choices. Will love endure? Will the human race survive?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Angel Fever?

My favorite thing about writing Angel Fever was seeing Willow grow so much as a character. She goes through great pain in the story, but comes out on top and fighting. I also loved getting to revisit characters from Angel Burn, and bringing the series to a satisfactory conclusion. I'd journeyed for so long with all of these characters that it meant a lot to me to wrap up their stories in a way that felt right to me and that readers would enjoy - I hope I was able to do that!


Purchase Angel Fever at Amazon
Purchase Angel Fever at IndieBound
View Angel Fever on Goodreads

* * * *


Red
by Alison Cherry
Hardcover Giveaway
Delacorte Press
Released 10/8/2013

Felicity St. John has it all--loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she's right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair.

Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power--and everybody knows it. That's why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note:

I know your secret.

Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she'd be a social outcast faster than she could say "strawberry blond." Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it--money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school.

Felicity isn't about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Red?

My favorite thing about RED is Felicity's best friend, Ivy--she's funny and snarky and doesn't care what anyone else thinks of her, and I'm honestly quite jealous that Felicity gets to hang out with her all the time!

Purchase Red at Amazon
Purchase Red at IndieBound
View Red on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


* * * *


Horizon
by Alyson Noel
Hardcover Giveaway
St. Martin''''s Griffin
Released 11/19/2013

Winner - Katie Green

Fate has bound them together--and torn them apart. Now Daire and Dace face one final fight that will seal their destiny forever.

Daire Santos is the last of the Soul Seekers, and the only thing standing between the Richters and the destruction of everyone she loves. With her grandmother gone and Cade back in Enchantment, Daire must finally step into her destiny and lead the fight against the Richters. But what if that means sacrificing the person she loves most?

Bound to the Richters by blood, Dace struggles against the darkness growing inside him that threatens to claim Daire too. Though Daire refuses to give up on him, the choice may not be hers. An epic battle is on the horizon and the end of the world looms near. With such insurmountable odds stacked against them, is their love really enough to conquer all?

Purchase Horizon at Amazon
Purchase Horizon at IndieBound
View Horizon on Goodreads


* * * *


Stained
by Cheryl Rainfield
Hardcover Giveaway
HMH Books for Young Readers
Released 11/19/2013

Winner - Alicia Marie Ezell

In this heart-wrenching and suspenseful teen thriller, sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for "normal." Born with a port-wine stain covering half her face, all her life she's been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she's abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It's that--or succumb to a killer.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Stained?

One of my favorite things about STAINED is that it is reaching people. It is such a good feeling to have a voice about some of the trauma I've been through, and to hear from readers that it's helping them. STAINED only just came out (Oct 1), but I've already heard from some survivors that STAINED helped them feel stronger, gave them hope, helped them heal, or helped them know that victims can get through trauma and become even stronger. I've also heard from some readers who aren't survivors who say that it was a gripping, painful, yet ultimately healing and moving read. I love hearing that; I want readers to feel when they read my books. I think that it's by feeling and identifying with the characters we're reading about that greater change and compassion happens. It means a lot to me that people are moved by STAINED; I drew on some of my own trauma and healing experiences to write it. Like Sarah, I was held captive, repeatedly raped, withheld food and water. And like Sarah, I had to save myself to get safe.

Another of my favorite things about STAINED was writing a character who, although she was raped and abused, was courageous and strong--so much stronger than she thought she was. I think we are all stronger than we think we are; sometimes it takes a traumatic experience to help us see that. And I also loved writing about superheroes in STAINED. Like Sarah, superheroes and comics were a source of strength and comfort for me, and a way to imagine myself stronger than I thought I was--while coming to realize, like Sarah, that I already had the strength I needed.


Purchase Stained at Amazon
Purchase Stained at IndieBound
View Stained on Goodreads


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

5 What Makes a Fierce Read? Discussion with Leigh Bardugo, Jessica Brody, Gennifer Albin and Ann Aguirre



Young Adult authors Gennifer Albin, Leigh Bardugo, Ann Aguirre, and Jessica Brody came through Albuquerque, NM at the end of October as stop two on their eight-city Fierce Reads tour. Authors Kimberley Griffiths Little and Caroline Starr Rose had the opportunity to talk with the authors beforehand and moderated their discussion.

Fierce Reads is home to the online YA community for MacKidsBooks. Each year the Fierce Reads authors go on a mega tour across the United States. These authors are all absolutely amazing people, and their books are just as wonderful. We are SO excited to post their discussion today!

Talk to us about the process of world building.

Leigh Bardugo: World building is not just reserved for science fiction or history, but all good books create a world and an instant sense of place. The setting becomes another character in the story.

Jessica Brody: I’ve set two stories in a high school. Definite world building there. I had to create a world and details in Unspoken for a world that didn't appear until book three.

Gennifer Albin: Technically I write science fiction, so I spent a lot of time reading physics books. That was a big part of my world building.

Ann Aguirre:  When I build a world I look at current technologies, things being studied at universities. For my next book I studied current research on time travel theories and read about an Australian group that teleported molecular structures. I always start from a real world point and then extrapolate from real research. I don’t put all the details in the world I have created, but I know these things. For example, a character wouldn't think about how a microwave is put together but they know how to use it.

What is the one core thing in your book that you would have fought to keep?

Jessica Brody, Leigh Bardugo, Kimberley Griffiths Little,
Gennifer Albin, and Ann Aguirre 
Jessica Brody: The idea that memories that are really important don't reside in the mind, they reside somewhere else. That's why they can't be destroyed. Also a comic relief minor character, Cody. My editor wanted to get rid of him. I fought to keep him. One of my first reviews said Cody was one of the most developed characters in the book.

Leigh Bardugo: I’ve been lucky I've not really been challenged on story. I like gallows humor -- when things are darkest -- but my editor discourages it. I didn't recognize the theme for my first book until the end: The things that make you different make you strong.

Gennifer Albin: I also had an editor and agent who both wanted a character gone. Occasionally they are right about [things like this] and sometimes I am. My favorite line, “It's how I imagine death will come to me: overdressed and smoking,” they wanted me to cut, and it has become the most quoted. My character’s father marks her with a tattoo burn. He says, "it will help her remember who you are." The meaning of the scar changes throughout the books. You can always decide who you are.

Ann Aguirre: My whole series boils down to one person can change the world, even when everyone is opposing them. For peace to take hold, one person must stop fighting. I never go head to head with editors. They give me a list of changes and I fix what I agree with. I stay quiet about the rest.

How do you keep up with emails, social media, and other non-writing but work-related commitments?


Jessica Brody, Leigh Bardugo, Kimberley Griffiths Little,
Gennifer Albin, Ann Aguirre, Caroline Starr Rose
Gennifer Albin: I have an assistant and I still spend too much time. The thing I miss the most are the days it was just about the writing. After writing Crewel, I focused only on the book for four months. That was the last time I had to just focus on the writing. I like everything that writing asks, but I would sometimes like to go in a hole for five months. I have little ones at home who need me, too. Taking them to the bookstore is my social outlet.

Jessica Brody: I let other things fall by the wayside before the administrative stuff. My husband cleans. I don’t always cook balanced meals or even remember to always eat. I’ve recently hired an assistant. I’d love to hire a chef! The life stuff is the hard part.


Leigh Bardugo: I don’t have an assistant. I haven’t done particularly well keeping up. I’m most comfortable on Twitter and Tumbler interacting with readers. I’m trying to get a handle on emails. I read them all but don’t always know how to manage them.

Three of the four of you use prologues. Why is that?

Gennifer Albin: A good prologue is awesome, but it should serve a purpose. I write mine first. They always take place right before the story starts. They’re a bridge from the previous story to the new one. I firmly believe it’s the best page in my first novel. Hopefully it encapsulates what I’m trying to do in the whole book.

Leigh Bardugo: I knew when querying some agents were very anti-prologue, so I sent things from chapter one. All three of my books are framed with a before and after, and they are written last. I wanted to write in first person, but wanted the sure and steady third-person guiding hand that is typical of fantasy. So the prologue has the traditional fantasy feel.

Jessica Brody: Ive never heard till recently that prologues weren’t popular. A good prologue hooks you in fast. Each of my prologues will challenge my character with a different element (science vs nature is a major part of the series). I’m inspired by Leigh’s pattern to her prologues. My second book’s prologue is a flash forward. I think they’re great if you can find a purpose. Can’t be info dumps. Mine are called chapter zero.

Finally, what makes something a Fierce Read?

Jessica Brody: Something that makes you think and challenge the world around you. It brings reality to a new level, takes normal circumstances and takes them to the extreme.

Ann Aguirre: A Fierce Read has an empowered heroine. I’m tired of books with passive girls who wait for others to solve their problems, wait for the boy, wait for their families to treat them better. I want to see a character standing proudly at the helm of her own life and want readers to see what’s possible if you try. In the last 2-3 years there has been a shift in the prevailing winds. There are a lot more empowered heroines.

Leigh Bardugo: There are lots of different ways to be empowered. For a time there was codified language used for a strong heroine. Now we can have heroines strong because they are clever or physically adept. There is so much range to build unique variety of characters.

About The Authors


Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she lives in Hollywood, where she indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as makeup artist L.B. Benson. Occasionally, she can be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.


She is the author of the New York Times Best Sellers, Shadow & Bone and Siege and Storm (Holt Children’s/ Macmillan). The final book in the Grisha Trilogy, Ruin and Rising, will be published in 2014. She is represented by Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of New Leaf.


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Jessica Brody knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self “publishing” her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples and electrical tape.

In four short years, Jessica has sold nine novels (two adult novels to St. Martin’s Press and seven young adult novels to Farrar, Straus, Giroux.) Jessica’s books are published and translated in over twenty foreign countries including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Norway, Denmark, China, Russia, Brazil, Poland, Bulgaria, Israel, and Taiwan. Jessica now works full time as a writer and producer. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Colorado.

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Gennifer Albin holds a Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Missouri. A recovering academic, she turned to writing her own books. 

 In her free time she sits on the National Novel Writing Month Advisory Board, laughs (and cries) with her mom writers group, and watches too much Doctor Who (if that's possible). 

Gennifer lives in Poulsbo, Washington with her family.



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Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order.

She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes books, emo music, and action movies. She writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens.

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