Wednesday, April 30, 2014

3 Three Tools to Make Your Fantasy World Realistic by Molly Cochran

We're so excited to help Molly Cochran celebrate the release of WISHES, her new e-novella companion to the LEGACY series. Molly is an award-winning, NYT bestselling author with 26 novels under her belt. Today, she's sharing her tips on making a fantasy world feel real. Plus, she's giving a signed copy of LEGACY to the first 15 people who send her links to their review of WISHES on Amazon or Goodreads. Fill out the form at the bottom of the post to claim yours!

The Hometown That Never Was
By Molly Cochran

There is a town somewhere along the coast of Massachusetts that was founded by witches in 1658. Today its population includes the largest percentage of people with extrasensory abilities in the United States.

That place is my imagination.

But I’ve named that segment of my imagination Whitfield, and I’ve based three novels and two novellas there which, on paper at least, makes the place real. It isn’t, of course; the “real” Whitfield exists only in my mind. But its reflection—all those pages filled with words—enable Whitfield to be seen and explored by anyone who cares to read the books.

It is that construction of words that can achieve the impossible. A town peopled by witches exists because we writers make that possible. How? Through history, characters, and a special vocabulary, we can amass enough details to explore a colony on Saturn, reincarnate King Arthur, make animals speak . . . With these three tools, we can bring the ideas in our imaginations to life.


Very few stories take place in a vacuum. If you set your action in Anywhere, USA thinking that the location has no bearing on your story, you’ll end up with something like a painting of figures against a bare canvas. The background—even if that’s all your location is—tells its own story. In Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, for example, Macon, Georgia, with its oppressive heat and the longstanding narrow-minded attitude of its citizens, creates the power keg that explodes in the book’s climax. A novel’s setting becomes even more important in cases in which the entire world must be restructured to fit the realities of the story.

World building is most often used in Science Fiction or futuristic novels in which dwellings, transportation, clothing, and even language depart from current reality, but it is also necessary, if less graphic, in fiction about seemingly ordinary places that nevertheless possess extraordinary characteristics. To create a town populated by witches, I had to create its origins.

My premise is that Whitfield, Mass., was founded by 27 families from the British Isles who traveled together to the New World to escape persecution. In this universe, the 27 families have remained in Whitfield, allowing other, non-magical people (cowen, in my lexicon) to move into the town’s periphery, but never selling their homes in what I call “Old Town” to anyone except other descendants of those founding families, and never revealing their particular talents to outsiders.
The witches in Whitfield live by the ancient Witches’ Rede, which is: To know, to act, to dare, to keep silent. By filling my town with secretive, close-mouthed personalities, I maintain its singularity.


Naturally, when a writer creates a place so different from reality, the characters will exhibit their own eccentricities, even if they behave quite normally most of the time. In Whitfield, the residents seem quite ordinary at first glance. It is only as the stories progress that we learn that my main character, Katy Ainsworth, is a telekinetic, or that her 86-year-old great-grandmother is a healer whose touch dispels sickness and injury, her Aunt Agnes is a professor at Stanford University in California and commutes to work by teleporting; that the assistant headmistress at her school is a djinn who can plant thoughts into the minds of others, and her boyfriend’s eleven-year-old brother can raise the dead.

Finally, I invented a “character” I call the Darkness to add an ongoing touch of menace to each of the Whitfield stories. The Darkness is what keeps Whitfield from being a Utopia. It is the fly in the ointment, the elephant in the room, the evil entity that lurks forever just out of earshot, but is always present.


In every imaginary world that deviates significantly from reality, there will be a specific vocabulary for the characters and situations in that world. In the Harry Potter books, muggles was the author’s made-up word for non-magical people. I chose to use a real term, cowen, used from time immemorial by avowed Wiccans to indicate “other”.

As with foreign words, the unique vocabulary of your world must be explained within the context of your narrative. For example, the word “witch”: In other works of fiction, it has come to mean anything from an evil woman who curses using Latinate phrases to a supernatural being who flies through the air on a broom. In my purview, though, I mean something quite different. “Witch,” in Whitfield, is a word used by the extraordinary residents themselves only to distinguish themselves from cowen, and carries no haunted-house overtones. So Katy’s ability to move objects with her mind, which would be regarded as freakish anywhere else, is nothing remarkable in Whitfield.

With the otherworldly aspects of the town established, I’m free, then, to take Katy on adventures that I hope are accepted as utterly believable. So far, she’s come to Whitfield, discovered her roots there, fallen in love with the handsome and loyal—although often clueless—Peter Shaw, encountered the Darkness several times, opened a portal to another plane of existence, and, in the third novel to be released later this year, goes to Paris, where she gets to know a whole different variety of witch from the homey residents of Whitfield.

In the novella Wishes, she comes upon a snarky fairy who grants every wish Katy makes, with disastrous consequences, all of it totally in keeping with the funny/creepy vibe I’ve tried to infuse in all the works in this series by making Whitfield as believable as everybody’s own hometown.


Eager to party, Katy Ainsworth and her friends go on a lighthearted "fairy hunting" expedition, expecting little more than a good time. But when Katy actually encounters one of these magical creatures (in the guise of a cynical, sarcastic teenager) who insists on granting her new master's every wish, Katy's world turns upside down until everything she knows seems to be tumbling in a terrifying and uncontrollable freefall.

Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Molly Cochran, author of the teen paranormal romances LEGACY and POISON, has written 26 published novels and four nonfiction books under her own name and various pseudonyms. Her books include New York Times bestselling novels GRANDMASTER and THE FOREVER KING, coauthored with Warren Murphy, and the nonfiction DRESSING THIN, also a NY Times bestseller. She has won awards from the Mystery Writers of America (Best Novel of the Year), the Romance Writers of America (Best Thriller), and the New York Public Library (Outstanding Books for the Teen Age).

SEDUCTION, the third installment in the Young Adult LEGACY series, is scheduled for release on December 2, 2014 from Simon & Schuster. Two novellas in the series are also coming in 2014: WISHES, due April 29, and a Halloween novella, REVELS, tentatively scheduled for September release.

Molly has lectured extensively and has taught writing at the college level as well as at a women's prison (where she was NOT an inmate). She also writes a blog on writing technique which appears on her website.

She lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

25 Signed SWEET EVIL Trilogy Giveaway and YA Pick and Mix 4/29 Edition

Some amazing stuff this week! Seriously, it's like Christmas, and I'm so, so honored to have incredible blurbs for Compulsion from two of my favorite authors. Megan Shepherd's MADMAN'S DAUGHTER and HER DARK CURIOSITY combine creepy originality and romance to induce double chills, and Kat Zhang's haunting philosophical questions crept up on me for months after I read her beautiful and fast-paced dystopians WHAT'S LEFT OF ME and ONCE WE WERE.

Here's what they had to say:

"Beautifully written, with vivid characters, a generations-old feud, and romance that leaps off the page, this Southern ghost story left me lingering over every word, and yet wanting to race to the compelling finish. Martina Boone’s COMPULSION is not to be missed." — Megan Shepherd, Author of THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER 

"Ancient spirits, mystery, and Southern charm—what more could you ask for? COMPULSION mixes dark magic with darker family secrets in a way that'll make you relieved there are two more books. I can't wait to continue reading about Barrie and the rest of Watson island!"— Kat Zhang, Author of WHAT'S LEFT OF ME

Amazing right? The world is full of awesome. At least until I remember how far I  have to go on Book Two still (one third of the whole freaking book!) and the panic sets in. 

Do you ever panic about your writing? How do you get over it?


via Pinterest from  Found on


The third and final book of the SWEET EVIL trilogy by the incomparable Wendy Higgins launches today. You don't want to miss this one, and seriously? If you haven't read the first two books, what are you waiting for. Run, don't walk.

In honor of the launch, I'm giving away a signed set of the complete trilogy. It's only for a week though, so enter fast!

Sweet Evil

by Wendy Higgins

Signed Paperback
Harper Teen
Released 4/15/2014

Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Purchase Sweet Evil at Amazon
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View Sweet Evil on Goodreads

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Sweet Peril

by Wendy Higgins

Signed Paperback
Released 4/15/2014

Anna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things.

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?

Purchase Sweet Peril at Amazon
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View Sweet Peril on Goodreads

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Sweet Reckoning

by Wendy Higgins

Signed Paperback
Released 4/15/2014

It’s time.

Evil is running rampant and sweet Anna Whitt is its target. Nobody knows when or how the Dukes will strike, but Anna and her Nephilim allies will do anything necessary to rid the earth of the demons and their oppressive ways.

The stakes are higher than ever, and Anna is determined that the love she feels will be her strength, not a liability. But trying to protect the ones she loves while running for her life and battling demonic forces proves to be perilous—especially as faces are changing and trust is fleeting. When the Duke of Lust sends Anna’s great love, Kaidan Rowe, to work against her, Anna must decide how much she’s prepared to risk.

In the most sensual and fast-paced installment yet, Sweet Reckoning brings all the beloved Neph together one last time to fight for their freedom.

Purchase Sweet Reckoning at Amazon
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  • A brand spanking new trailer for The Fault in Our Stars has hit and it has turned us to mush
  • We Need Diverse Book Campaign!
  • Harper Lee agrees to release To Kill A Mockingbird as an e-book
  • Mundie Mom's revealed the cover of the 5th and final book in Jennifer L. Armentrout's LUX series, Opposition
  • JK Rowling expresses her sadness that her mother never experienced her daughter's success
  • Maggie Stiefvater revealed the title and cover of the 3rd Raven Cycle book and it is beeeautiful! Plus, she shared notes from her first original draft of The Raven Boys
  • On April 19th, Alexandra Duncan, the author of Salvage, wrote an amazing post about slut shaming in YA
  • Stephanie Meyer's production company options film rights to Mindy McGinnis' post apocalyptic debut, Not A Drop To Drink
  • The UK/US covers of the Sarah J. Maas' Heir of Fire was revealed on the Throne of Glass facebook page
  • John Green listed on Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People's list and Shailene Woodley writes the post about it
  • Love Frozen? What about Game of Thrones? For fans of the two, here's a great mashup of the epic, unforgettable song. In Let It Go(T), singer Gail Folsom does a fabulous job with the lyrics by Joanna Robinson and Dave Gonzales. But warning, there are spoilers for Season 4. : )
* Thanks so much to Alyssa Hamilton for help with this section, and don't forget to stop by Swept Away By Books for her book reviews!



“Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. When you're conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader. He or she will recognize his or her life and truth in what you say, in the pictures you have painted, and this decreases the terrible sense of isolation that we have all had too much of.” 
― Anne Lamott 

Monday, April 28, 2014

15 Giveaway of WHAT WE HIDE and ACID plus New YALit Release 4/29-5/5


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What We Hide
by Marthe Jocelyn
Advance Reader Copy Giveaway
Wendy Lamb Books
Released 4/8/2014

Americans Jenny and her brother, Tom, are off to England: Tom to university, to dodge the Vietnam draft, Jenny to be the new girl at a boarding school, Illington Hall. This is Jenny's chance to finally stand out, so accidentally, on purpose, she tells a lie. But in the small world of Ill Hall, everyone has something to hide. Jenny pretends she has a boyfriend. Robbie and Luke both pretend they don't. Brenda won't tell what happened with the school doctor. Nico wants to hide his mother's memoir. Percy keeps his famous dad a secret. Oona lies to everyone. Penelope lies only to herself.

Deftly told from multiple points of view in various narrative styles, including letters and movie screenplays, What We Hide is provocative, honest, often funny, and always intriguing.

Purchase What We Hide at Amazon
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by Emma Pass
Hardcover Giveaway
Delacorte Press
Released 3/11/2014

The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong's world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna's violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary.

When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID, and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They have taken her life, her freedom, and her true memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn't know who to trust?

Strong, gritty writing, irresistible psychological suspense, and action consume the novel as Jenna struggles to survive against the all-controlling ACID. Seriously sinister stuff.

Purchase Acid at Amazon
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The Hunt
by Stacey Kade
Hardcover Giveaway
plus Paperback Giveaway of The Rules
Released 4/22/2014

Winner - Lisa Trinh

Ariane Tucker has finally escaped GTX, the research facility that created her. While on the run, Zane Bradshaw is the only person she can trust. He knows who-and what-she is and still wants to be part of her life.

But accepting Zane's help means putting him in danger.

Dr. Jacobs, head of GTX, is not the only one hunting for Ariane. Two rival corporations have their sights set on taking down their competition. Permanently.

To protect Zane and herself, Ariane needs allies. She needs the other hybrids. The hybrids who are way more alien and a lot less human. Can Ariane win them over before they turn on her? Or will she be forced to choose sides, to decide who lives and who dies?

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

Oh, gosh, I had so much fun writing this book, it's hard to choose! It was a blast getting Ariane and Zane out of their normal (school) environment, and I loved seeing Ariane use her skills and training as alien/human "weapon."

But my favorite has to be the scene between Ariane and Zane in the van, known on Twitter as "the sex and elbows" conversation. We all worry about someone wanting us, about someone caring enough that we can risk being vulnerable, and I love that they talked about it. In a very awkward, sweet and funny way!

Purchase The Hunt at Amazon
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by Josin L McQuein
Hardcover Giveaway
Greenwillow Books
Released 4/22/2014

Winner - Kathy Lynn

Marina thought that she had solved all of the Arclight’s mysteries. She had found her own history—that she was one of the Fade, that she never should have been human. She knows that the Fade who surround the Arclight don’t want to be the humans' enemies at all. She knows that the leader of those inside the Arc, Honoria Whit, never told the whole truth.

But there is so much more that Marina is just discovering. There are more survivors out there. Only Marina—and her friends, all of whom have connections to the Fade they'd never known about—can lead her people to them. But there are also darker dangers, things that even the Fade fear. And Marina slowly realizes she may never have been “cured,” after all.

The sequel to Arclight, Meridian is an intense, action-packed page-turner about the lines we draw between right and wrong, light and dark . . . and the way nothing is ever that black and white.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Meridian?

My favorite thing about writing Meridian was breaking the boundaries the characters used to define their world. The defining feature of the Arclight and what lies beyond is that there are strictly defined barriers, and strict assumptions about what lies beyond them. In Meridian, those beliefs are challenged when the characters learn that not only are they possibly not the last humans, but there are scarier things out there than the creatures they call the Fade. Leaving the relative safety of the Arclight facility itself, and traveling into what's always been a forbidden place gives the characters an idea of the true scope of the disaster that led to humanity's fall. They've seen the houses used by the Fade, and they've got books to show them the world-that-was, but it's far less academic an experience when they're standing at the base of crumbling buildings that used to be cities, and walking through the accidental shrine of abandoned cars left behind when people tried to flee for their lives. For these teens, it's their first real taste of how big the world used to be compared to what it's become, and that's a humbling thing in the context of realizing just how little is left to them.

Purchase Meridian at Amazon
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The Last Best Kiss
by Claire LeZebnik
Paperback Giveaway
Released 4/22/2014

Winner - Delilah Vela

Anna Eliot is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook.

Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life.

All Anna wants is a chance to relive their last kiss again (and again and again). But Finn obviously hasn’t forgotten how she treated him, and he’s made it clear he has no interest in having anything to do with her.

Anna keeps trying to persuade herself that she doesn’t care about Finn either, but even though they’ve both changed since they first met, deep down she knows he’s the guy for her. Now if only she can get him to believe that, too....

With her signature wit and expertly authentic teen voice, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail and The Trouble with Flirting) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story. Fans of Polly Shulman, Maureen Johnson, and, of course, Jane Austen will love this irresistibly funny and romantic tale of first loves and second chances.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Last Best Kiss?

My favorite thing about The Last Best Kiss is that even though it’s a lighthearted romantic novel—a quick read for a lazy afternoon--there’s an undercurrent of something more serious under the surface. Deep down, it’s really about trust, redemption and forgiveness. I feel like there's something wistful and thoughtful about it that I hope will linger with the reader long after she puts it down.

Purchase The Last Best Kiss at Amazon
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Deception's Princess
by Esther Friesner
Hardcover Giveaway
Random House Books for Young Readers
Released 4/22/2014

Winner - Erin Koch

Some lies lead to true adventure. . . .
Maeve, princess of Connacht, was born with her fists clenched. And it's her spirit and courage that make Maeve her father's favorite daughter. But once he becomes the High King, powerful men begin to circle--it's easy to love the girl who brings her husband a kingdom.

Yet Maeve is more than a prize to be won, and she's determined to win the right to decide her own fate. In the court's deadly game of intrigue, she uses her wits to keep her father's friends and enemies close--but not too close. When she strikes up an unlikely friendship with the son of a visiting druid, Maeve faces a brutal decision between her loyalty to her family and to her own heart.

Award-winning author Esther Friesner has a remarkable gift for combining exciting myth and richly researched history. This fiery heroine's fight for independence in first-century Ireland is truly worthy of a bard's tale. Hand Deception's Princess to fans of Tamora Pierce, Shannon Hale, and Malinda Lo.

Purchase Deception's Princess at Amazon
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Victories (Shadow Grail)
by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
Hardcover Giveaway
Tor Teen
Released 4/22/2014

Winner - Rachel Bostick

The fourth and final book in the Shadow Grail series by the "New York Times "and "USA Today "bestselling authors Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

Spirit White and her friends Burke, Loch, and Addie have escaped from Oakhurst Academy. But their freedom has come at a terrible cost--a dear friend sacrificed her own life to save theirs. In the wake of Muirin's death, they are also forced to deal with the terrifying truth behind the facade of Oakhurst Academy: all of the legends are true.

Queen Guinevere, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table really had existed. With the magic of Merlin, they were able to imprison their greatest foe, Mordred, before he could plunge the world back into the Dark Ages. But Mordred is now free, in charge of Oakhurst Academy, and determined to finish what he started so long ago.

Pursued by Shadow Knights, the reincarnated remnants of Mordred's original army, Spirit's small band undertakes a quest to recover the Four Hallows, objects of immeasurable power. Memories of a past life have begun to surface, one in which Spirit wields a legendary sword. She comes to realize that these memories are the true key to Mordred's defeat. Can Spirit and her friends manage to recapture the magic of Camelot in time to save their fellow students and prevent the end of the world?

Purchase Victories (Shadow Grail) at Amazon
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Catch a Falling Star
by Kim Culbertson
Scholastic Press
Released 4/29/2014

A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself.

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?

Purchase Catch a Falling Star at Amazon
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by Kevin Emerson
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 4/29/2014

Catherine Summer Carlson knows how to manage bands like a professional—she’s a student at the PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High, where rock legends Allegiance to North got their start. Summer knows that falling for the lead singer of her latest band is the least professional thing a manager can do. But Caleb Daniels isn’t an ordinary band boy—he’s a hot, dreamy, sweet-singing, exiled-from-his-old-band, possibly-with-a-deep-dark-side band boy. And he can do that thing. That thing when someone sings a song and it inhabits you, possesses you, and moves you like a marionette to its will.

Summer also finds herself at the center of a mystery she never saw coming. When Caleb reveals a secret about his long-lost father, one band’s past becomes another’s present, and Summer finds it harder and harder to be both band manager and girlfriend. She knows what the well-mannered Catherine side of her would do, but she also knows what her heart is telling her. Maybe it’s time to accept who she really is, even if it means becoming an exile herself. . . .

On sale in April 2014, Kevin Emerson’s EXILE is a witty and passionate ode to love, rock and roll, and the freedom that comes in the moment when somebody believes in you, even if you’re not quite ready to believe in yourself.

Purchase Exile at Amazon
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In the Shadows
by Kiersten White
Scholastic Press
Released 4/29/2014

From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures.

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who've been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can't.

Arthur is also new to the boarding house. His fate is tied to that of Cora, Minnie, Thomas, and Charles. He knows what darkness circles them, but can't say why, and doesn't even know if they can be saved.

Sinister forces are working in the shadows, manipulating fates and crafting conspiracies. The closer Cora, Minnie, Arthur, Thomas, and Charles get to the truth, the closer they get to harm. But the threat is much bigger than they can see. It is strangling the world.

Until one of the boys decides he wants to save it.

Told in an astonishing mix of art and words, IN THE SHADOWS collides past against future, love against evil, and hope against fear. The result is both a mystery and a masterpiece.

Purchase In the Shadows at Amazon
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* * * *

Sleep No More
by Aprilynne Pike
Released 4/29/2014

Lisa McMann's Wake trilogy meets the blockbuster Inception in this dark page-turner from #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike.

Oracles see the future but are never supposed to interfere. Charlotte learned that the hard way. If she hadn't tried to change one of her childhood visions, her father would still be alive. Since the accident, Charlotte has suppressed her visions to avoid making the same mistake. But when she receives a premonition of a classmate's murder, she can no longer ignore her powerful gift.

Then Charlotte meets someone who not only knows her secret but who also has a way for her to stop the killer. He offers to teach her how to manipulate her visions to change the future. But doing so will put Charlotte in the path of the murderer.…

Aprilynne Pike's bestselling Wings series was called "remarkable" by Stephenie Meyer, bestselling author of the Twilight Saga. And her most recent novel, Life After Theft, was cheered as a "whirlwind adventure" by School Library Journal. Now Aprilynne returns with this exhilarating departure from her previous novels. Sleep No More is a psychological thrill ride that is sure to keep readers' hearts racing until the very end.

Purchase Sleep No More at Amazon
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View Sleep No More on Goodreads

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by Amanda Maciel
Balzer + Bray
Released 4/29/2013

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault.

At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media.

During the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

In this powerful debut novel inspired by real-life events, Amanda Maciel weaves a narrative of high school life as complex and heartbreaking as it is familiar: a story of everyday jealousies and resentments, misunderstandings and desires. Tease is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt readers long after the last page.

Purchase Tease at Amazon
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The Drowning
by Rachel Ward
Chicken House
Released 4/29/2014

Water, water, everywhere: His brother has drowned, but Carl can't remember a thing. Until it all comes flooding back...with a vengeance. By the author of the internationally bestselling NUMBERS series

With a jolt, Carl opens his eyes. He's on the bank of a lake, soaked to the bone. Rob, his brother, is being zipped up in a body bag. And a girl, drenched and trembling, is talking to the police. Who is she? What happened in the water? And why can't he remember any of it?
"Bring her to me . . ."
At first Carl thinks it's his grief speaking. Remembering Rob. The sound of his voice, things he used to say.
"Bring her to me . . ."
But then Carl starts to see him. Rob's face in the water before it washes down the drain. His ghost rising up from the puddles. His hands clawing out of the moldy, rain-rotted walls. Like a dripping tap, he won't stop.
"Bring her to me!"
Rob may be dead. But he's not gone. Because he wants to finish what he started, and he won't go under alone.
By the author of the internationally bestselling NUMBERS series, THE DROWNING is a dark psychodrama about love and brothers, crimes and consequences, redemption and revenge.

Purchase The Drowning at Amazon
Purchase The Drowning at IndieBound
View The Drowning on Goodreads

* * * *

The Taking
by Kimberly Derting
Released 4/29/2014

A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

Purchase The Taking at Amazon
Purchase The Taking at IndieBound
View The Taking on Goodreads

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

4 Adventures in PubSmart (Part Two) by Kate Tilton

We're thrilled to introduce part two of Kate Tilton's recap on PubSmart, the great writer's conference she attended down in Charleston, SC from April 16 to 18. The information Kate has gathered is invaluable, so whether you're an author with a published book (or one coming out soon), or an aspiring author, take advantage of the bounty of tips gathered from some of the most eminent media experts. Here you go! : )

Adventures in PubSmart (Part Two)

by Kate Tilton

This was my favorite master class, social media. There are always new things to learn about how to master the platforms of social media. As a social media manager it was encouraging to hear many of the tips I regularly give authors be given by social media pros. Check out the tips below and if you missed part one of the PubSmart series check it out here.

Master Class

Social Savvy & Media Mastery: Take Your Message to the Masses
Speakers: The founders of PubSmart, Brenda McClain, Jacqueline Gum, Kathy Meis, Kendra Haskins, and Shari Stauch, accompanied by Porter Anderson
Brenda McClain
Jacqueline Gum

Kathy Meis

Kendra Haskins

Shari Stauch

Porter Anderson

Tips for authors:

  • Figure out what you need to say, what is your subject, your attitude towards the subject, who is your audience, what do they think of your subject, what do you want your audience to feel and do, and how will you get them to act. 
  • Identify the groups that can help you achieve your goals. 
  • Use your website as your home base with social media driving traffic back to your website. 
  • Have a way for people to subscribe by email on your website. 
  • Keep your website fresh and up-to-date. 
  • Make sure you have social sharing buttons on your website. 
  • Make a commitment to your social media and let others know it, e.g. I will blog once weekly. 
  • Follow the 20/20/20 rule: 20% of your time on research, 20% on digital content, and 20% on engagement. 
  • Use more visuals! A picture on your blog will increase the share rate. 
  • Interact beyond social media with sites like Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari. 
  • If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it! Don’t argue online. You will never win and it turns people away. 
  • Pick one or two platforms to focus on and develop instead of trying to be on all of them. 
  • Twitter is a language; look up people’s handles to give them credit, use hashtags, use your name and not your book title, make your bio informative, and use your picture instead of your book cover. 
  • Answer the comments you get! 
  • People want to meet YOU. Follow what you love and have the guts to share. 
  • Make sure you have a copyright on your website. It is easy to do: just put Copyright year content first posted/current year - your name – All Rights Reserved. For example Copyright 2007/2014 | Kate Tilton | All Rights Reserved. 
  • Make sure your website is responsive, meaning it can be easily viewed on a mobile device. 

  • Social media & blogging is the key to growing your audience. 
  • It is not about who has the most fans but who has the right fans. The real key is getting fans that will amplify your message. 
  • You need to start now, not later. 
  • The trend is towards visual. Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram show this. 
  • How you converse with others will bring people to you or push them away. 
  • Your role in social media is to engage socially to build a following. Think about talking as the creator instead of as the sales person. 
  • It can be easy to connect with other writers and forget about why you joined these sites, so make it a point to reach out to readers. 
  • Social media is NOT a marketplace! Conversion does happen but it is social media, not sell media. 

Brenda McClain, Jacqueline Gum, Kendra Haskins, and Shari Stauch are the wonderful women behind Where Writers Win and part of the PubSmart committee. Kathy Meis is the founder of Bublish, a discovery platform for authors, and a member of the PubSmart committee. Porter Anderson is one of the best publishing reporters of our time. For more information about each speaker please check out the PubSmart website

If you have any questions about this article, publishing, or social media I would love to hear from you! Just leave a comment below or connect with me on my website,

Related articles: 

About Kate Tilton:
Kate Tilton has been in love with books for as long as she can remember. Kate believes books saved her life and strives to repay authors for bringing books into the world by serving as a dependable author assistant. A cat-lover and fan of many geeky things, Kate can likely be found curled up with the latest Doctor Who episode, plotting world takeover, or assisting authors and readers in any way she can.

Kate is also a self-proclaimed Twitter addict. You will find her hosting #K8chat, her own creation, every Thursday night on Twitter from 9-10pm Eastern.

Friday, April 25, 2014

5 Craft of Writing: Why Outlines Work for Some by DJ MacHale

DJ MacHale is the author of many middle grade and young adult novels that have kept readers on their toes with excitement. The second book in his SYLO CHRONICLES series, STORM hit shelves in March and readers can't wait for the final book to come out!

Why Outlines Work for Some by DJ MacHale

Writing about writing is a tricky thing. That’s because every writer’s process is different. What works for one person may be poison to another. I know. When I speak on panels the question often comes up about process and practices and I’m quick to explain what works for me. Often times the other writers on the panel look at me aghast. “How could you possibly work like that??” is the basic response. Well, that’s because, as I said, everyone is different. I mention this as a preface to the writing advice I’m about to offer. This may not work for you. But I can say with 100% certainty and authority that it works for me. So take from this what works for you, and shred the rest.

The issue comes down to this simple question: To outline? Or not to outline? I am a firm believer in writing outlines. (You are free to be aghast now) I am not one of those writers who can pour a glass of wine, put on some classical music, sit down at my typewriter and let the inspiration flow from my fingers. No way. I will say this, my stories are also not written in elegant prose that compels the reader to get lost in my literary genius and weep for the sheer joy of experiencing my brilliant, poetic use of the English language. Nope. I tell stories. Kick-ass stories. I paint pictures, create compelling characters and put them both through their paces. For that, I need to think through my story before I even consider typing the words: “Once upon a time...”

Actually, I don’t really write official outlines. There’s nothing that formal about it. What I do is lie on my couch and, in between naps, I imagine the story in my head. Who are my characters? What are they like when I meet them? What conflicts will they encounter? How will these conflicts change them? What do they want? Will they get what they want? I think of all those things and a million others and take notes. The best thing about it is that I’m writing words that nobody will ever read. That’s incredibly freeing. I don’t sweat the details, or even the spelling. The only reason I type it at all is so I won’t forget it. The best thing about these notes is that they are easily changed. Maybe I don’t like where my character is heading, so I change the circumstances to send them in another direction. It’s just that easy. I figure out the rhythm of the story. The highlights. The major twists. The places where surprises will be revealed. And ultimately, how it will end. This whole process takes no time at all. I kid you not, I outlined the entire 10-book Pendragon series in one week. Of course there were very few specific details, but that’s not what these outlines are for. I just need to set a general path for myself before stepping on to it.

The next thing I do is throw the outline away. Seriously. Or at least I don’t look at it anymore. The whole exercise was so that I could think the story through. That’s when I type: “Once upon a time...” and let the story go wherever it takes me. That’s the best part. When I’m actually writing the words that people will read, I discover all sorts of things that I never imagined in the outline, and I go with them. Sometimes I’ll get stuck and not know where to go next, so I’ll drag the outline out. Often times I discover that my story has gone in an entirely different direction than I had originally planned. And that’s okay. You can’t really know what’s going to happen until you take the actual journey. But even with those changes, I always know what the ultimate destination is so I know I won’t get into trouble.

Trouble? Trouble to me is writing a book for three months and then hitting a dead end or a fatal flaw in logic that I hadn’t thought of that makes everything I’ve written not work. That would be devastating. Worse, imagine hitting that wall while writing Book #2 and Book #1 has already been published? Oops. Thinking through the logic of a story beforehand eliminates that possibility. That’s not to say that I haven’t painted myself into plenty of unexpected corners, but as long as my overall story makes sense, I can always find a way out. Haven’t failed yet...knock on wood.

Keep this in mind too. The kind of books that I write are heavily plotted. There are mysteries. There are secrets. There are unique worlds with rules other than our own. When you operate in that kind of territory, you have to be on your game. Readers, especially young readers, will pick out logic flaws and inconsistencies in a heartbeat. Everything has to add up. To make sure everything clicks into place, you have to create a machine where all the cogs fit, the belts are tight and the wheels are greased. For me, that takes a massive amount of forethought and planning. But never does it hinder the creative process. So for me, I have the best of both worlds. Once I start to write the words that people will read, I do it with the confidence that my story will work and that allows me the freedom to let it fly.

Try it. Or be aghast. Your call.

About The Author

D.J. MacHale is a writer, director, executive producer and creator of several popular television series and movies.

He was raised in Greenwich, CT and graduated from Greenwich High School. While in school, he had several jobs including collecting eggs at a poultry farm, engraving sports trophies and washing dishes in a between playing football and running track. D.J. then attended New York University where he received a BFA in film production. His filmmaking career began in New York where he worked as a freelance writer/director, making corporate videos and television commercials. He also taught photography and film production.

The book series: Pendragon - Journal of an Adventure through Time and Space marks D.J.'s first turn as a novelist. He plans for this series of Young Adult adventures to span a total of 10 books.

D.J. lives in Southern California with his wife Evangeline and daughter Keaton. They are avid backpackers, scuba divers and skiers. Rounding out the household are a Golden Retriever, Maggie; and a Kitten, Kaboodle.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About The Book

After a harrowing escape from Pemberwick Island, Tucker Pierce and his surviving friends—Tori, Kent, and Olivia—have finally reached the mainland, only to find that no one is left.

That’s not their only sickening discovery. Moments before they are attacked by another of the mysterious black planes, they investigate one’s wreck and are horrified to find that it bears the logo of the U.S. Air Force. This can only mean one thing: the United States is at war with itself—the deadly technology of the Air Force against the brute force of the Navy’s SYLO unit, which still holds Pemberwick Island and its residents captive.

Tucker must lead his friends to safety, but his head is spinning. How can the Air Force be perpetuating such genocide against not only its own citizens, but the world? What is SYLO’s role in this, and why did Tucker’s parents betray him by allying with SYLO, whose commander, Captain Granger, killed Tori’s father at point-blank range? And what did his mother mean when she told him to trust no one?

Tucker, Tori, and friends set off cross-country on a quest for answers and, for Tucker, vengeance. But as one highway gives way to the next—and one death-defying escape precedes another—Tucker soon realizes that “trust no one” doesn’t just mean the U.S. military.

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

Thursday, April 24, 2014

12 Adventures in PubSmart (Part One) by Kate Tilton

PubSmart is a new conference for writers – but before you sigh and say “not another writer’s conference,” take a closer look. PubSmart was created to bridge the gap between publishing routes. PubSmart is about learning how to publish smarter no matter how you publish – indie, self-publishing, or traditional. Finally.

I was honored to be able to attend the first annual convention. I went in with the expectation of meeting connections and friends, and hoping to learn more about publishing. And PubSmart delivered more than expected.

Instead of focusing on the differences between publishing methods, the sessions were on topics every author needs to know about. Master classes were held to give authors an in-depth look at topics such as metadata and social media. Authors and professionals from all publishing backgrounds held sessions on authorpreneurship, getting reviews, editors, and more. PubSmart is the first conference I have ever known to focus on the business of writing.

Now that you have an idea of the concept behind PubSmart, let me give you a sneak peek at some of the sessions and keynote highlights. Due to the wealth of information at PubSmart this will be the first of six posts featuring different events from the conference, so sit back and enjoy!

Master Class

IBPA’s Mini Publishing University: Publishing Smart in the Modern Age
Speaker: Angela Bole, executive director of the Independent Book Publishers Association

This was a two-hour mini version of IBPA’s publishing class. The session focused on the great democratization of content and how authors can stick out of the crowd of free content online now that anyone can publish.

Tips for authors: 
  • Create a code of ethics. This is something IBPA has done and it is a good practice for all professionals. 
  • Professionalism matters. 
  • Pay attention to your brand as an AUTHOR; your brand is who you are as an artist. 
  • Whatever you publish, find others who are publishing the same and learn from them. 
  • Be generous and it will come back to you. 
  • There are two kinds of digital content, reflowable content (ebooks) and fixed layout/static content (print books, pdfs). Therefore your ebook does not need to look like your print book. 
  • Metadata is king! Correct metadata is vital to success as an author. Learn about metadata and how to use it. Many authors skip this step. 
  • A detailed subtitle can help your book be found, but remember you cannot use an author’s name in your subtitle (tip via Hugh Howey). 
  • For textual descriptions of your book, put the most important things first. Avoid complex styling, and do not copy and paste from Word. 
  • Subject headings are NOT keywords. Use only two to three subjects from the industry approved list. 
  • Avoid using “general.” The more specific you can be, the more your book will stand out. 
  • For your cover, the longest side of your digital image should be 1,000 pixels or more. 


  • We must promote publishing smarter instead of the idea that anything we write is automatically worth publishing. (It isn’t.) 
  • ebooks is still a growing market; don’t let the “statistics” fool you. 
  • Romance/erotic fiction is still the top selling genre in ebooks while cookbooks are last. 
  • The competition between ebook distributors is good. If one controlled the whole market they would make the rules instead of the authors. 
  • There has been a shift from ereaders to tablets for reading, so authors now have to compete with other forms of media as well. 

Angela Bole is the executive director of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). For more information about IBPA check out there website, If you have any questions about this article, publishing, or social media I would love to hear from you! Just leave a comment below or connect with me on my website,

Related articles:

About Kate Tilton:

Kate Tilton has been in love with books for as long as she can remember. Kate believes books saved her life and strives to repay authors for bringing books into the world by serving as a dependable author assistant. A cat-lover and fan of many geeky things, Kate can likely be found curled up with the latest Doctor Who episode, plotting world takeover, or assisting authors and readers in any way she can. Kate is also a self-proclaimed Twitter addict. You will find her hosting #K8chat, her own creation, every Thursday night on Twitter from 9-10pm Eastern.

The rest of the dates that we will be posting about PubSmart are

April 26th (part two)
May 8th (part three), 10th (part four), 22nd (part five), and 24th (part six)

So make sure you follow along with the posts!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

4 Book Anticipation Disappointment and The Books We Use To Get Over Them

Hello Hello lovely readers! This is Alyssa here, and I know I never do any posts, but that's mostly because I am so not a writer and I work on the behind the scenes stuff here but I had something to say today :)

Have you ever had that feeling of anticipating and anticipating a book for months on end, and you hype it up so much in your own mind that you just know it's got to be the best book? And then when you finally get your hands on the gorgeous thing, it completely falls flat? I had this happen very recently with a book that i've been salivating over from the moment I first saw it on goodreads. I won't say which book, because the absolute last thing I want is to discourage other readers from picking it up, especially because everyone has different tastes.

I was so disappointed by this book that I immediately had to go pick up another book. Luckily for me, it was a total win and I want to talk about something more positive than being disappointed by books, because no one likes that!


The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just... disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try... unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait... what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um...


Morgan Matson has done it again with this book. If you haven't read AMY & ROGER'S EPIC DETOUR or SECOND CHANCE SUMMER, you are seriously missing out. Morgan is able to create these coming of age stories that deal with grief and loss in such interesting and heart wrenching ways. Emily's loss in this book was from a death of a close family member, but from a best friend suddenly gone. It was different and fresh, and not your typical bucket list kind of book. There was something personal and unique about each of the tasks Sloane leaves for Emily to do, and learning what the significance behind each one was a blast. Emily was a bright, fun and dynamic leading lady and SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE has quickly shot to one of my favourite contemporaries ever. It was the perfect book to completely take me out of the funk I felt after having to put down one of my most anticipated reads of 2014!

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

Do you ever have that feeling of crushing disappointment? What were some of the Young Adult books you can always rely on to pull you out of a reading funk or get over a disappointing book?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

27 THE MIRK AND MIDNIGHT HOUR Giveaway and YA Pick and Mix 4/22 Edition


I heard a new term from two different people this week, and then in the inimitable way of the universe, it appeared in my newsfeed as a Buzzfeed post. (Hear that, Wendy Higgins, Buzzfeed is monitoring your Facebook page!) Have you ever heard of a book hangover?

Apparently a book hangover is when you read a book and you miss it when it's over. I head a couple of people say it about Compulsion, and I honestly don't know whether to be delighted or to apologize. (I've opted to do both.) But I instantly recognized the feeling. 

I've felt that way about each book of THE DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE SERIES after I read them. And now I'm reading the third book and dragging my feet. Partly, yes, that's because I'm working frantically on Book 2 of the Heirs of Watson Island I suspect that's partly because I'm DREADING having my beloved series come to an end. 

What about you? What are you reading? Do you ever consciously or subconsciously slow down because you don't want a book or series to end? Have you experienced a book hangover? And in case you haven't, here's a list of books that are apparently notorious for providing them. 

I also have to confess that I'm changing my mind about posting reviews or blurbs here each week. I'm putting them up on my website instead, so if you're interested in reading them early, or if you might be interested in finding out more about being on the Compulsion street team, please go here.


The Mirk and Midnight Hour
by Jane Nickerson
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 3/11/2014

A Southern girl. A wounded soldier. A chilling force deep in the forest.
All collide at night’s darkest hour.

Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war—a war that has already claimed her twin brother.
       When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy—one of the men who might have killed her own brother—and yet she's drawn to him. But Violet isn't Thomas's only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds—keeping him alive—and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn't been out of compassion.
       Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves.
       From the author of Strands of Bronze and Gold comes a haunting love story and suspenseful thriller based on the ancient fairy tale of “Tam Lin.”

  What is your favorite thing about THE MIRK AND MIDNIGHT HOUR?

  The basic plot of a Southern girl meeting a wounded Union soldier is one I have played around with for ages. Through the years, I’ve made up tons of stories in my head as I’m falling asleep, and this is one of them. It’s so fun that I could take this old favorite, adapt it to loosely fit “The Ballad of Tam Lin”—a story I love—and create a book I would love to read myself. It’s kind of like having a dream come to life.

Purchase The Mirk and Midnight Hour at Amazon
Purchase The Mirk and Midnight Hour at IndieBound
View The Mirk and Midnight Hour on Goodreads


The Here and Now
by Anne Brashares
Delacorte Press
Released 4/8/2014

Winner - Markella Whetzel

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

Thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking, The Here and Now is a twenty-first-century take on an impossible romance. Ann Brashares’ first novel for teens since The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Meet seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when she falls for Ethan Jarves. 

Purchase The Here and Now at Amazon
Purchase The Here and Now at IndieBound
View The Here and Now on Goodreads


  • And done various sobbish things because you're worrying about The Giver?


Six best pieces of advice from successful authors
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