Saturday, May 31, 2014

6 Wish I'd Written: Jacqueline Green

You know how girls go all crazy when they see someone like Justin Timberlake or Harry Styles? The screaming, the swooning, the fangirling... That's kind of how I am when someone brings up the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor.

The characters! Swoon. Karou is that rare breed of YA protagonist who manages to have both great strength and devastating vulnerability. As a reader, you relate to her and aspire to her and stand in awe of her, all at once. But it's more than just Karou. The supporting cast hosts some of my all-time favorite characters in YA literature. "Rabid fairy" Zuzana? Perfection. Then of course there's Mik and Brimstone and Issa and Ziri and Akiva and Liraz and Hazael... The list goes on. Even Thiago, an atrocious, irredeemable beast of a creature, is an unforgettable villain.

When I manage to stop fangirling over the trilogy's characters, there's the settings to fall in love with. From Prague to Marrakesh to Morocco to Eretz, every setting--even the darkest of them--is infused with beauty and magic, and threaded through with creatures and histories and local stomping grounds that constantly stir the imagination.
Okay, I'm officially drooling.

And still I need to mention the plot. A girl is raised by monsters in modern day Prague, only to learn that the truth about herself spirals backwards, through time and space and worlds. The deeper you get into the trilogy, the less linear the plot becomes, yet Laini Taylor handles every twist and surprise with grace. There's nothing for the reader to do but relax and enjoy.

Did I mention that every page of writing is so beautiful, it makes you want to sink right into it, float around in its words?

It is, and it does.

For those reasons, and dozens more, I wish I'd written the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. But I'll settle for being one of its biggest fans.

About The Author

A pen name of Jacqueline Resnick.

Jacqueline Green received her BA from Cornell University and her MFA in writing for children from The New School. She grew up in Wynnewood, PA and now lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and their tiny dog (who sometimes moonlights as her writing companion). Truth or Dare, the first novel in a trilogy, is her young adult debut.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About The Book

Can you keep a secret?
Tenley Reed and Sydney Morgan have never seen eye to eye -- until now. United by a common goal, they are determined to find out who was behind their friend's murder. Joined by Emerson Cunningham, a gorgeous but troubled teen model, the girls start their own investigation. But in the isolated beach town of Echo Bay, it's hard to know who's a friend and who's an enemy.
Secrets and Lies is the second book in the Truth or Dare series -- and will keep readers in suspense from beginning to end.

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

Friday, May 30, 2014

1 From the Archives - The Ticking Clock: Techniques for the Breakout Novel by Martina Boone

Jill Corcoran blogged about ways to activate your story, using Gayle Forman's novel, If I Stay, as an example of a great beginning. She wrote:

Gayle does not start the book at the moment of the car crash. We first see the family together, we actually fall in love with the main character and her family so when the car crash happens, we are devastated along with the main character. Gayle starts the first line of the book with an intriguing sentence….a sentence that activates us to pay attention to this first meeting with the main character’s family. That foreshadows the doom and gloom to come:
Everyone thinks it is because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that’s true.
But the reason that sentence works, really works, is a tiny little piece left out of the quote. Here's how the novel really starts:
7:09 A.M.
Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that’s true.

Do you see it? It's there in big bold letters. The ticking clock.

Because that clock is there, we know to combine "it" with a timeline. We know something is going to happen soon. We know "it" is bad, because why bother with a clock that precise if it isn't a countdown of sorts. And we know it has to do with the snow. Sort of. So now, we're hooked. We have to know what "it" is, and why it wasn't completely to do with the snow. And we have an implied promise that it isn't going to take the author long to get there.

As readers, we haven't thought through any of this. It's simply there, in the back kitchen of our consciousness, if I may borrow the phrase from Kipling. And once it's there, it has a hold on us.

Even a reader who wouldn't normally read a book about bow-tie-wearing dads, or little brothers who let out war whoops, or mothers who work in travel agent's offices--who cares about all that stuff at the beginning of a book, right?--is going to be curious enough to read a little further. Sure enough, Forman delivers on the promise. At 8:17 a.m., a dad who isn't great at driving gets behind the wheel of a rusting buick and.... Well, we know we only have a few more pages.

Even after the accident, the clock doesn't stop. It continues until 7:16 the next morning, because Mia is trying to make her decision, and all along, all through the twists and turns and intricately woven scraps of memory and medical magic, that clock keeps us focused on the fact that something life-changing is going to happen. Soon. Soon. So you can't stop reading.

Building Suspense with a Ticking Clock

Having an actual Jack Bauer 24-style ticking clock only works if something momentous is going to happen:
  • An event, accident, or necessary meeting
  • A deadline given to prevent consequences
  • An opportunity that can, but shouldn't, be missed
  • Elapsed time from a precipitating event
The Clock

The clock is mainly a metaphor. You can use any structural device that forces the protagonist to compress events. It can be the time before a bomb explodes or the air runs out for a kidnapped girl, but it can also be driven by an opponent after the same goal: only one child can survive the Hunger Games, supplies are running out in the City of Ember....

Only three things are required to make a ticking clock device work in a novel:

  • Clear stakes (hopefully escalating)

  • Increasing obstacles or demand for higher thresholds of competence

  • Diminishing time in which to achieve the goal
Whether your clock is an actual countdown to a date or time of day, or some other method of event compression, it creates tension. It limits the time your characters have to think and act, forces them into decisions--perhaps rash ones--and, used skillfully, reinforces the consequences of failure. All of this creates urgency for your characters, and urges the reader to turn the pages.

A ticking clock doesn't make sense for every novel. But whatever novel you are writing now, consider whether your stakes could be further dramatized by adding a time limitation of some sort.

What books have you read that contain an interesting ticking clock? How many examples can we come up with?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

4 From the Archives - Building a Better Novel Premise by Martina Boone

Sit down, and put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer.  But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it. 

Building a Better Novel Premise

Last week while I was writing my list of Forty Questions for a Stronger Manuscript, I mentioned that I had written my elevator pitch and logline before I even started plotting my new novel. That may seem strange, but I wish I'd caught onto that process sooner. I would have saved myself, and my critique partners, soooooo much grief. It's a lot easier to tweak a pitch than it is to change an 80,000 word novel. Seriously.
And there are reasons to tweak the premise. However well we write, however creatively we move our characters across the storyboard, if the basic idea we want to convey isn't worth reading about, we're facing too much competition from other authors and entertainment options to hold a reader's attention.

Before I started my current manuscript, I wanted to be absolutely sure I'd made the premise as strong as possible. I've read dozens of posts and books on that elusive "high concept" beast we've all heard so much about lately, and I started thinking through how what the experts said related to my favorite books. Basically, what I've gleaned is that for me, there's a difference between gimmick and high concept.  And there's a BIG difference between high concept and well-executed concept.

A gimmick is something with a WOW factor, but once I've heard the WOW, I'm done. It loses its appeal because after I unwrap the shiny packaging, there's nothing much inside. It's like the wizard standing behind the screen in Oz. Once he's visible, all the magic fades.

With a great concept, there's a great wrapper, a WOW factor, but there's layer after layer of solid goodness underneath. And isn't that the key to any great piece of literature? Layers? Depth? Great characters? Beautiful writing? Universal appeal? Connection?

Yes, a great concept has to contain a "hook," but that's just the ending point. To make the hook resonate, the premise also has to have: 
  • At least one fascinating character: Someone bigger than life, who cares very deeply about someone or something and is willing to fight for it.
  • An interesting setting: A location or world where readers have never been but want to visit either in our dreams or in our nightmares.
  • An inherent conflict: The situation that pits the fascinating character against someone or something that is going to keep her from getting what she wants--while keeping readers at the edge of our seats unable to guess the outcome.
  • An emotional appeal: The reason readers understand the stakes, care about them, and connect to the events and characters on a personal, heart-deep level.
  • A universal or familiar idea: The connection to something we already know something about or have previously wondered about.
  • An original twist: The aspect of the story that makes it different from any other story--the way ordinary things are combined, slanted, spun, and stacked to take the universal or familiar idea and warp it into something unique and unexpected.
  • A piece of coolness: A tool, ability, artifact, or something in the character, setting, or situation that makes our jaws drop.
  • A high-impact inciting incident:  The situation that catapults us all into the story with no way back.
  • High stakes: The reason it matters if the fascinating character loses, not just to her but to other people. The actual consequences of failure that the reader can't bear to contemplate.
  • A great title: A word or two or three that intrigue and sum up the book.

Notice, there's no "hook" in that list. For me, the hook is the innate simplicity of the premise--something that lets us take all those things I've just listed and sum them up in one or two easily-understood sentences.

Beyond that, if the premise hits at least one or two of the following "it" factors, so much the better:
  • A topical or current subject or event.
  • A controversial, sensational, or heretical topic or subject.
  • An alternate view or explanation for a known person, event or potential event.
  • A mythological connection.
  • A primal fear. 
Simple, right? Let's all jump get on it and come up with some best-selling ideas.

But one more thing--and this one's critical: I think the best-selling idea, your best-selling idea, has to make you care. It has to have elements you want to explore, characters you absolutely love. Otherwise, the heart will be missing from your writing. For me, that's just as important as concept, and a lot harder to define.

So what do you think? Is high concept or a hot premise important to you? Can you think of any other way to beef yours up? What do you ask yourself before you sit down to write a new idea?

Are your favorite books high concept? What "high concept" books do you want to read over and over again?
Happy writing,


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

3 WOW Wednesday: A Q&A From Readers With Elsie Chapman

Elsie Chapman is a YA author who debuted last year and hails from my area of BC, and for me, there is something that is so cool about having such an amazing author come from a place that is so close to you. DUALED showed up on shelves last year and blew readers out of the waters with the action, and with the sequel, DIVIDED dropping just this past tuesday, i'm sure it's going to do the same!

A Q&A From Readers With Elsie Chapman

For my guest post for Adventures in YA Publishing, I opened up my author tumblr for questions from aspiring writers with the promise of answering them as honestly as possible.

I guess, realistically, do you think that the writing life is a good life? There are lots of writers who say, “Whenever someone asks me, I tell them they shouldn’t get into writing and that it’s not worth it, you make zero money.” Yet, those writers are persistent in the writing life. What is your perspective on the writing life, and would you encourage or discourage aspiring writers?

Realistically, I think it’s a tough career choice. Not a lot of writers make a living off of just writing. You really have to love it to do it and be okay with the act of writing being enough. Don’t go into it with the goal of making lots of money, or even to get published. Neither are sure things. Instead, write, see what happens, enjoy it. Be willing to adapt and adjust.

Also, being a Canadian author, what made you get an American agent? Do you feel that the American publishing industry can afford you opportunities that Canada can’t?

I queried both American and Canadian agents; the ones who offered all happened to be American. I think nowadays, with social media and everyone being online, not having an American agent isn’t that big of a deal. I remember reading once how important it was to not only get an American agent, but a NYC based one. But things have changed a lot since then; being online is what’s essential. I live in Japan now, which is pretty far from the US, but it’s never been an issue.

What is working with an editor really like? How much editing is done with your agent before you even move forward to the editor? What is the actual process for edits, does your editor work with you to develop your novel or do they send you a list of prescriptive changes?

Working with an editor is a real eye opener. You learn so much about your writing, about structure and development. I had a lot of facepalm moments, seeing things about my books I hadn’t been able to see before. So for me, it truly was a learning curve. From what I can tell, and have learned since becoming an author, all editors work differently. Not only that, I think each book itself invites a unique approach when it comes to edits. Regarding agents, some are more editorial than others, and they’ll usually note this on their site. So before you query, read up on an agent’s style.

I know that it was fairly easy (in terms of some of the mountain of rejection some authors go through) for you to find an agent. What was that initial offer like? Did your agent accept your book on the condition that it would be developed further or as is, how much did your agent expect of you in terms of building a platform? Basically what is the agent relationship like?

I was very fortunate to have multiple offers, but it still didn't feel easy getting there! I was incredibly happy, as you can imagine. A moment like that can be pretty significant in terms of what comes next in your life. Regarding the agent-author relationship, it really depends on the individuals. Some agents are more hands-on, some authors more independent, etc. It’s just about finding a great tandem, with the common goal of writing and getting books published.

When selling your book to publishers, did you want to take the highest paying offer, or would you consider an offer with less money if it seemed to have your best interests at heart.

Your agent will discuss all the business aspects with you, like how much marketing is being promised, or the pros and cons of certain sizes of advances. Look up how houses have supported similar books in the past, their backing of their current authors, etc. In the end, it comes down to both gut feeling and practicality.

There is a lot of talk about the need for diversity in YA, which I agree with. What steps do you think need to be taken in order to achieve that?

There are lots of amazing diverse books out there, but the problem is that most just don’t get nearly the same kind of media and attention as non-diverse books do. We’re not asking for favours—we are asking to be treated like we belong in the marketplace because we do. I think it comes down to everyone in the industry making very real efforts to change things up—librarians, booksellers, agents, editors, reviewers, bloggers, readers. This also includes writers committing to writing books with diversity in mind.

If you could change one aspect about the industry what would it be?

Less trend-watching. Less chasing of the market. More diversity.

Do you believe writers block exists? A lot of aspiring writers get stuck, or blocked, when you write, and you don’t feel like it that day, how do you force yourself to keep going, because you turn our your first drafts very efficiently and I can’t seem to do that.

I don’t know if it exists, to be honest. Sometimes we think too much about writing (or not writing, as it were) instead of just doing it and we begin to lose perspective. Certainly I’ve sat and stared at a blank screen before and felt frustrated and depressed. But I’ve come to recognize the onset of that feeling and to know to stop it before it gets worse. Usually I can just change the music and get some caffeine and plow through until things feel fine again. Or I’ll walk away and read for a bit and go back refreshed. Someone once said that writers need fallow periods in between drafting and editing, etc, otherwise we risk burnout, and I really do think this is true. And each writer will eventually find their own rhythm, find what works best for them. One thing to keep in mind is that no matter how rough a draft, it can still be edited, something that can’t be done with a blank page.

What would you say to people who think writing only happens with inspiration?

That sometimes inspiration needs a good kick in the butt. So write. Just write.

About The Author

Elsie grew up in Prince George, BC, before graduating from the University of British Columbia with a BA in English Literature. She currently lives in Tokyo, Japan with her husband and two kids, where she writes to either movies on a loop or music turned up way too loud (and sometimes both at the same time).

Elsie is repped by The Chudney Agency. Her debut novel, DUALED and its sequel, DIVIDED are both available now. Published by Random House Children’s Books.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About The Book

The hunter becomes the hunted. . . .

West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life.

The Board has other plans. They want her to kill one last time, and offer her a deal worth killing for. But when West recognizes her target as a ghost from her past, she realizes she’s in over her head. The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future.

How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything.

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

59 BEA Mystery Box/Wishlist Giveaway and the YA Pick and Mix 5/27/14 Edition

I'm off to BEA on Thursday, so I'm actually very nervous. The idea of autographing Compulsion is surreal, because I've never even been to BEA as a reader. And trust me, I am first and foremost a reader. There's no denying that. I'm going to be fangirling all over the authors I love, hopefully inside my skin and not all over my face.

Are you a reader first, or a writer? If you were going to BEA, what authors would you want to see?

Here's the sneak peak again from over at Jenna Does Books (thank you, Jen!)

What BEA books are you dying to get your hands on?

YA Book Giveaway This Week

You'll notice there's no book cover here and no description here this week. That's because of the question I asked above. What do YOU want from BEA?

Tell me in the comments and fill out the rafflecopter, and you might just get it. Or you might get something else that's fabulous. I'm going to try to bring back some amazing goodies!

And don't forget my FOUR Pick ANY YA Novel giveaways this month. They'll be ending on Saturday, and entering any (or all) of them will also give you an automatic entry for the May Grand Prize giveaway, which is a hardcover set of THE ARCHIVED and THE UNBOUND signed by Victoria Schwab, plus a key necklace, and a signed ARC of Compulsion.

Also, there's an interview with me and a giveaway of Ally Carter's DON'T JUDGE A GIRL BY HER COVER over at The Perspective of a Drama Queen.

I don't want to do a ton of giveaways or interviews -- although I'd love to! -- but I definitely also want to give a hand to some up and coming blogs as well as some of the more established ones. If you'd like to host a Pick ANY YA Novel giveaway, stop by my website and let me know.

For more giveaways, sign up for the newsletter, and if you've read Compulsion already and want to join the street team, check here. There's lots going on behind the scenes. : )





Life by Committee
by Corey Ann Haydu
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 5/13/2014

Winner - Helen Adi

Some secrets are too good to keep.

Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat.

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe.

Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own.

But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

What is your favourite thing about LIFE BY COMMITTEE?

My favorite part of my second novel is the character Sasha Cotton. I wanted to capture a very specific type of girl to be my main character, Tabitha's foil. I didn't want your average enemy-- the kind that has hurt you and is mean to you and that you hate for those reasons. I wanted a character for Tabitha to be jealous of and pained by even though Sasha never actually does anything to her. I wanted to capture something more complicated and, in my experience at least, common. Obsessing about someone and hating someone who you desperately wish you could be more like. Mistaking truly deep envy for distaste or anger.

Sasha Cotton feels full and real to me, and I don't feel that I've seen many characters like her in YA fiction. She's spacey and sexy and unusual and sad and needy and dreamy. She's everything Tabitha could never be. And she exposes something ugly in Tabitha, which makes her even more exciting to me. Some people are catalysts-- not necessarily of actions, but of feelings. Some of them bring out the very best of us and some bring out our very worst. I wanted to write a character who would stir of the very worst in Tabitha. And I wanted her to be somewhat unassuming. Not cruel. Not flashy. Just quirky enough to drive someone crazy.


Creativity takes courage. ~ Henri Matisse

And if you need a little help, here's a great post about stress and creativity from LitReactor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 26, 2014

20 THREE Giveaways plus New YALit Releases 5/26-6/1


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Surrounded by Sharks
by Michael Northrop
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
Scholastic Press
Released 5/27/2014

A thrilling survival story from Michael Northrop, the acclaimed author of TRAPPED.

He couldn't sleep. That's how it all started.

When Davey wakes, just as the sun is rising, he can't wait to slip out of the crammed hotel room he's sharing with his family. Leave it to his parents and kid brother to waste an entire day of vacation sleeping in! Davey heads straight for the beach, book and glasses in hand, not bothering to leave a note. As the sparkling ocean entices him, he decides to test the water, never mind that "No Swimming" sign. But as the waves pull him farther from shore, Davey finds himself surrounded by water -- and something else, too. Something circling below the surface, watching, waiting. It's just a matter of time.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Surrounded by Sharks?

Probably that the sharks are depicted realistically. They aren’t voracious human-seeking torpedoes or launched out of a Sharknado. They’re real sharks: They lurk, they circle, they’re curious… I think it’s a more responsible depiction, and it allows time, anticipation, and the main character’s isolation to build the drama of the book.

Purchase Surrounded by Sharks at Amazon
Purchase Surrounded by Sharks at IndieBound
View Surrounded by Sharks on Goodreads

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by Elsie Chapman
Hardcover Giveaway
Random House Books for Young Readers
Released 5/27/2014

The hunter becomes the hunted. . . .

West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life.

The Board has other plans. They want her to kill one last time, and offer her a deal worth killing for. But when West recognizes her target as a ghost from her past, she realizes she’s in over her head. The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future.

How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything.

Purchase Divided at Amazon
Purchase Divided at IndieBound
View Divided on Goodreads

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We Are the Goldens
by Dana Reinhardt
Advance Reader Copy Giveaway
Wendy Lamb Books
Released 5/27/2014

Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.

Purchase We Are the Goldens at Amazon
Purchase We Are the Goldens at IndieBound
View We Are the Goldens on Goodreads


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Biggest Flirts
by Jennifer Echols
Simon Pulse
Released 5/20/2014

Winner - Nichol Brown

Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Biggest Flirts?

A couple of years ago, I vacationed in Puerto Rico with my husband. We ate at a wonderful restaurant in Old San Juan, where we were waited on by the cutest, most vivacious waitress with her auburn hair in two long braids. She bounded up to the table, rattled off the night's specials, and asked for our drink orders in perfect Spanish. (At least, I thought it was perfect Spanish. My own Spanish is spotty at best. I was very proud that I was able to order lunch the next day at an all-Spanish-speaking Pollo Tropical fast-food restaurant. But she sounded perfect to me!) My husband is Southeast Asian, and I think she must have taken him for Latino at first in the dim light. We looked up at her in shock, both of us thinking, "We were told most folks serving tourists in Old San Juan speak English, but now we're in trouble!" She read our expressions, turned on a dime, and repeated everything she'd just said (I guess) in perfect English with no accent whatsoever, like an American newscaster, and with the brightest smile.

I based the main character, Tia, on this girl. I thought it would be so fun to spend a book with her. I loved the idea of a tall, auburn-haired beauty so proficient that she never even thinks about her own proficiency, and so carefree that it's her very happy-go-lucky attitude that eventually becomes her downfall.

Purchase Biggest Flirts at Amazon
Purchase Biggest Flirts at IndieBound
View Biggest Flirts on Goodreads

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Inifinite Sky
by C.J Flood
Antheum Books For Young Reader
Released 5/20/2014

Winner - Kate Ivan

A truly beautiful book about the summer that changed one girl's life, as her mum leaves home, travellers set up camp in the family's field, her older brother goes off the rails, and she falls in love for the very first time. Opening with a funeral, Iris is mourning the boy in the casket - but who is it? Sam, her tearaway brother, or Trick, her tentative boyfriend? Over one long hot summer, we find out just how their three lives were turned upside-down.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Inifinite Sky?

My favourite thing about Infinite Sky is the setting. I stole lots of details from my home town in the British countryside, and Silverweed Farm where Iris and her family live, and where the Dancy family set up camp, is an almost identical replica of my childhood home.

The story takes place during a summer holiday in which there is a heat wave, and so it is a very summery book is full of blue sky days and pink sky nights. There are lots of scenes with Iris and Trick sitting out in the fields sharing secrets and telling stories into the extra long evenings.

Purchase Inifinite Sky at Amazon
Purchase Inifinite Sky at IndieBound
View Inifinite Sky on Goodreads

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Now and Forever
by Susane Colasanti
Viking Juvenile
Released 5/20/2014

Winner - Sally Zhang

What if your boyfriend was the world's biggest rockstar?

Sterling is crazy in love with Ethan. Not only is he the sweetest boy she's ever met, but he's an incredibly talented guitarist, singer, and songwriter. And since forever, he's believed he has what it takes to be a star.

When Ethan becomes an overnight sensation, he's thrown head-first into the glam world of celebrity-and so is Sterling. Before she knows it, she's attending red-carpet premieres, getting free designer clothes, and flying around the country to attend Ethan's monumental sold-out concerts.

It's a dream come true...but whose dream is Sterling living? And what do you do when "forever" comes to an end?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Now and Forever?

My favorite thing about NOW AND FOREVER is that I was able to bring my biggest teen fantasy to life. Back in junior high and high school, I obsessed over my fave musicians something fierce. I imagined what it would be like to be the girlfriend of the world's biggest rock star. Would it be all glamorous and passionate? Or would insane fame inevitably shatter our bond? Would I be jealous of his millions of fangirls? Or would I know in my heart that nothing could ever tear us apart? Exploring these questions made the writing process super fun. Writing NOW AND FOREVER was my opportunity to take a loving relationship and follow it during the evolution of a rock star blowing up.

Another thing I loved was bringing back a character from my third book, WAITING FOR YOU. Sterling was the best friend of the main character, Marisa. Now it's two years later and a lot has changed since we last saw her. Connecting my books with common characters, places, and quirky details is always fun times. I hope my readers enjoy discovering these connections as much as I enjoy including them!

Purchase Now and Forever at Amazon
Purchase Now and Forever at IndieBound
View Now and Forever on Goodreads

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The Art of Lainey
by Paula Stokes
Harper Teen
Released 5/20/2014

Winner - Lisa Trinh

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is used to getting what she wants, and when her boyfriend Jason breaks up with her for no reason, what she wants is to win him back before the start of their senior year. Lainey and her friend Bianca check the interwebz for tips and tricks, but the online dating advice is all pretty lame.

Then the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. Didn't someone once say that love is a battlefield? Jason isn't going to stand a chance once Lainey and Bee go all Zhou Dynasty on him...

Old school strategy and subterfuge meet modern-day dramarama in the story of a girl who sets out to win at all costs and ends up discovering what's really worth fighting for.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Art of Lainey?

I am going to say Lainey's character growth throughout the book. I prefer to write (and read) about flawed characters, so Lainey starts out as a mix of endearing (she's funny, loyal, etc.) and exasperating. She's living her "dream high-school experience" as a soccer star and popular girl with an awesome boyfriend when he suddenly dumps her for no reason. Her world kind of falls apart until she resolves to win him back any way she can, which ends up involving strategies from The Art of War. Sure, it's not very enlightened to want a guy back who blew you off in spectacular fashion, but I've been there, multiple times, as have most of my friends. It felt real to me, as did Lainey's tendencies to be a little shallow and melodramatic.

Lainey doesn't become a whole new person by the end of the book, because that would've felt forced, but she does go from being someone you might want to bop on the head to being someone you honestly cheer for. She loses a lot of her superficial tendencies and deepens her endearing traits as she learns things over the course of the summer. Alongside a truly epic best friend and potential new love interest, Lainey figures out what really matters, and to me the metamorphosis is both believable and inspiring.

Purchase The Art of Lainey at Amazon
Purchase The Art of Lainey at IndieBound
View The Art of Lainey on Goodreads


* * * *

by Alex London
Released 5/29/2014

The pulse-pounding sequel to Proxy! Inspired by The Whipping Boy and Feed, this adrenaline-fueled thriller will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.

In the new world led by the Rebooters, former Proxy Syd is the figurehead of the Revolution, beloved by some and hated by others. Liam, a seventeen-year-old Rebooter, is Syd’s bodyguard and must protect him with his life. But armed Machinists aren’t the only danger.

People are falling ill—their veins show through their skin, they find it hard to speak, and sores erupt all over their bodies. Guardians, the violent enforcers of the old system, are hit first, and the government does nothing to help. The old elites fall next, and in the face of an indifferent government, Syd decides it’s up to him to find a cure . . . and what he discovers leaves him stunned.

This heart-stopping thriller is packed with action, adventure, and heroics. Guardian will leave you breathless until the final page.

A fast-paced, thrill-ride of novel full of non-stop action, heart-hammering suspense and true friendship—just as moving as it is exhilarating. Fans of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series, James Dashner's Maze Runner, Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking series, and Marie Lu's Legend trilogy will be swept away by this story.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Guardian?

When I finished PROXY, I found myself missing the world and the characters a great deal. It was wonderful to have the chance to return to some of them in this story, to explore the aftermath of the choices they made, and to see how far I could push them in a totally new direction. I love who each of them becomes over the course of this adventure, and my favorite thing is, perhaps, the new characters I created, Cousin and Liam. Cousin, I loved writing, because he is truly a terrifying figure, an agent of chaos and destruction. He's inspired by a Faustian devil--the spirit that negates--and by one of my favorite all time characters from literature, The Judge in Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. There is something terrible about a violent figure who seems to believe in nothing. And then there is Liam, a violent figure who believes in so much it hurts him. He's sensitive and kind and thrust into a situation he cannot control, physically and emotionally. I put him through the wringer, but in the end, I fell madly in love with him and I hope readers will too.

Purchase Guardian at Amazon
Purchase Guardian at IndieBound
View Guardian on Goodreads


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Allies & Assassins
by Justin Somper
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released 5/27/2014

Prince Anders, the ruler of Archenfield, has been murdered, leaving his younger brother, Jared, to ascend the throne. Sixteen-year-old Jared feels unprepared to rule the kingdom and its powerful and dangerous court, yet he knows he can rely on the twelve officers of the court to advise him. He also knows he can just as easily be at their mercy-especially when it appears that one of them may be responsible for his brother's death. Unable to trust anyone, Jared takes it upon himself to hunt down his brother's killer-but the killer may be hunting him, as well. Murder, betrayal, and intrigue abound in Justin Somper's thrilling YA series debut. Exploring the political machinations of the medieval court and the lives that hang in the balance, Allies & Assassins is a gripping tale of a teen torn between duty and revenge.

Purchase Allies & Assassins at Amazon
Purchase Allies & Assassins at IndieBound
View Allies & Assassins on Goodreads

* * * *

Bad Luck Girl
by Sarah Zettel
Random House Books for Young Readers
Released 5/27/2014

Fans of Libba Bray's The Diviners will love the blend of fantasy and twentieth-century history in this stylish series.

After rescuing her parents from the Seelie king at Hearst Castle, Callie is caught up in the war between the fairies of the Midnight Throne and the Sunlit Kingdoms. By accident, she discovers that fairies aren't the only magical creatures in the world. There's also Halfers, misfits that are half fairy and half . . . other—half paper, half steel girder, half electric spark. As the war heats up, Callie's world falls apart. And even though she's the child of prophecy, she doubts she can save the Halfers, her people, her family, and Jack, let alone herself. Bad Luck Girl, they call Callie, and she's starting to believe them.

Purchase Bad Luck Girl at Amazon
Purchase Bad Luck Girl at IndieBound
View Bad Luck Girl on Goodreads

* * * *

City of Heavenly Fire
by Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released 5/27/2014

Shadowhunters and demons square off for the final showdown in the spellbinding, seductive conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian—but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance…

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments series?

Purchase City of Heavenly Fire at Amazon
Purchase City of Heavenly Fire at IndieBound
View City of Heavenly Fire on Goodreads

* * * *

Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii
by Vicky Alvear Sheter
Arthur A. Levine Books
Released 5/27/2014

When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?

TAG is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master's injured gladiators. But his warrior's heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.

LUCIA is the daughter of Tag's owner, doomed by her father's greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she's been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air. . . .

When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them -- to Lucia's father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?

Purchase Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii at Amazon
Purchase Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii at IndieBound
View Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii on Goodreads

* * * *

Girls Like Us
by Gail Giles
Released 5/27/2014

With gentle humor and unflinching realism, Gail Giles tells the gritty, ultimately hopeful story of two special ed teenagers entering the adult world.

We understand stuff. We just learn it slow. And most of what we understand is that people what ain’t Speddies think we too stupid to get out our own way. And that makes me mad.

Quincy and Biddy are both graduates of their high school’s special ed program, but they couldn’t be more different: suspicious Quincy faces the world with her fists up, while gentle Biddy is frightened to step outside her front door. When they’re thrown together as roommates in their first "real world" apartment, it initially seems to be an uneasy fit. But as Biddy’s past resurfaces and Quincy faces a harrowing experience that no one should have to go through alone, the two of them realize that they might have more in common than they thought — and more important, that they might be able to help each other move forward.

Hard-hitting and compassionate, Girls Like Us is a story about growing up in a world that can be cruel, and finding the strength — and the support — to carry on.

Purchase Girls Like Us at Amazon
Purchase Girls Like Us at IndieBound
View Girls Like Us on Goodreads

* * * *

Guy in Real Life
by Steve Brezenoff
Balzer + Bray
Released 5/27/2014

Lesh and Svetlana, two teens from St. Paul, Minnesota, are adrift in a sea of social coterie, desperate for something to change. When they crash into one another in a drunken bicycle accident at two am, they don’t yet know how close they are to finding it. For now, Svetlana is simply looking for a fifth member to legitimize the Central High School Gaming Club, and Lesh is looking to escape his being grounded for said drunkenness by entering, reluctantly, the world of online role playing games.

Lesh’s gaming life takes an interesting turn as, unable to figure out how to speak to Svetlana, he “becomes” her in-game. When real life and in-game life inevitably become entwined, Lesh and Svetlana both start to realize that the lines they draw to keep their lives in order are not so easy to maintain. Especially when you no longer understand why you drew them in the first place.

Purchase Guy in Real Life at Amazon
Purchase Guy in Real Life at IndieBound
View Guy in Real Life on Goodreads

* * * *

by Sasha Dawn
Released 5/27/2014

Lisa McMann's Dead to You meets Kate Ellison's The Butterfly Clues in a psychological thriller full of romance, intrigue, and mystery.

One year ago, Callie was found in an abandoned apartment, scrawling words on the wall: "I KILLED HIM. His blood is on my hands. His heart is in my soul. I KILLED HIM." But she remembers nothing of that night or of the previous thirty-six hours. All she knows is that her father, the reverend at the Church of the Holy Promise, is missing, as is Hannah, a young girl from the parish. Their disappearances have to be connected and Callie knows that her father was not a righteous man.

Since that fateful night, she's been plagued by graphomania -- an unending and debilitating compulsion to write. The words that flow from Callie's mind and through her pen don't seem to make sense -- until now.

As the anniversary of Hannah's vanishing approaches, more words and memories bubble to the surface and a new guy in school might be the key to Callie putting together the puzzle. But digging up the secrets she's buried for so long might be her biggest mistake.

Purchase Oblivion at Amazon
Purchase Oblivion at IndieBound
View Oblivion on Goodreads

* * * *

One Man Guy
by Michael Barakiva
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 5/27/2014

Funny and heartfelt, One Man Guy brings to mind the raucous family humor and gentle romance of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, as told with David Sedaris–style wit

Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.

Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again.

Purchase One Man Guy at Amazon
Purchase One Man Guy at IndieBound
View One Man Guy on Goodreads

* * * *

While We Run
by Karen Healey
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released 5/27/2014

Abdi Taalib thought he was moving to Australia for a music scholarship. But after meeting the beautiful and brazen Tegan Oglietti, his world was turned upside down. Tegan's no ordinary girl - she died in 2027, only to be frozen and brought back to life in Abdi's time, 100 years later.

Now, all they want is for things to return to normal (or as normal as they can be), but the government has other ideas. Especially since the two just spilled the secrets behind Australia's cryonics project to the world. On the run, Abdi and Tegan have no idea who they can trust, and when they uncover startling new details about Project Ark, they realise thousands of lives may be in their hands.

A suspenseful, page-turning sequel to When We Wake that will keep readers on the edge of their seats and make them call into question their own ideas about morality - and mortality, too.

Purchase While We Run at Amazon
Purchase While We Run at IndieBound
View While We Run on Goodreads

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

2 Adventures in PubSmart (part six) by Kate Tilton

Today is the last article in the PubSmart series! It has been a long journey. I am so pleased I have been able to share all these tips and insights with you from some of the greatest minds in publishing today. Below you’ll find a few short notes on a popular topic, but don’t let the length scare you these insights have massive effects if used correctly.

If you are new to this PubSmart series please take a minute to check out the first parts of the series; IBPA’s Mini Publishing University, Social Savvy & Media Mastery, What Does It Mean to Publish? by Jane Friedman and Insights from Bestselling Author Hugh Howey and Authorpreneurship: From Cost-Planning to Funding to Reinvestment. Each session has valuable insight for authors of all stages in the publishing journey.


Cultivating Influencers: Reviewers and Book Clubs
Speakers: Eric Liebetrau (Kirkus), Kiffer Brown (Chanticleer Book Reviews & Media), Lynn Bettencourt (Book Club), Shari Stauch (Where Writers Win), Tarah Theoret (NetGalley)

  • There are many professional outlets available to authors such as NetGalley, Kirkus, Winner Circle (from Where Writers Win), and Chanticleer Book Reviews & Media.
  • Authors can also look for reader reviews on sites such as Goodreads and BooksILove (a new app for Apple).
  • You can find live book clubs on sites like
  • You can find virtual book clubs on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.
  • Skype is a powerful tool authors can use to attend book clubs that are reading their books that may be a bit too far to travel to in person.
  • Authors should put in their press release that they are willing to attend book clubs.

I hope you have enjoyed this inside look into the first PubSmart conference. You can find out more about the conference on Videos of the sessions are available for purchase for those who are interested. If there is one thing I have taken away from this conference, it is the word “research”. As professionals we must do our research before we do anything else, whether it is writing, marketing, or publishing. We are blessed to be part of an industry full of people who are giving and willing to help each other on this shared journey. If you have any questions about this article, publishing, or social media please leave a comment below or connect with me on my website, I look forward to going on this adventure with you!

About the Speakers:

Eric Liebetrau is the managing editor and nonfiction editor of Kirkus Reviews, the premier destination for pre-publication book reviews.

Kiffer Brown is the founder of Chanticleer Book Reviews & Media, today’s best books with editorial reviews and international writing competitions.

Lynn Bettencourt participates in multiple book clubs, including a club she runs located in Savannah that includes more than 300 members.

Shari Stauch is the creator of Where Writers Win, the team’s newest collaboration is The Winner Circle, vetted book review directories, book clubs and other cultivated resources for emerging authors.

Tarah Theoret is the Reader Concierge at NetGalley, a service to promote publishers’ (of all sizes) titles to professional readers of influence.

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.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

26 Craft of Writing: Crash Course in The Basics of Writing by Kimberley Griffiths Little + A GIVEAWAY!

Kimberley Griffiths Little is definitely best known for her middle grade novels, of which she has written seven. She makes her Young Adult debut this September with FORBIDDEn and I personally cannot wait to get my hands on this beautiful book. Her advice is brilliant and I have a personal favourite part (that i'm sure you all will know as soon as you come to it) but read on to find out!

Crash Course from a Middle Grade Novelist by Kimberley Griffiths Little

I've been reading and writing middle-grade novels for years and years. My seventh middle-grade book, The Time of the Fireflies, will be published by Scholastic August 1, and I’m breathing a sigh of relief that terrific reviews are beginning to trickle in from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and School Library Journal. I’ve always adored middle-grade books. The years between 7-12 have often been called The Magical Years of Reading; kid characters and kid readers in the middle of childhood and making that transition from elementary school into their teen years . . . which leads us straight into Young Adult novels. And I love Young Adult novels! I actually read more YA titles these days than MG.

Young Adult novels are very different beasts. Despite having similar characteristics (a young main character, great plots, exciting adventures) YA definitely ramps things up. And—in the last 10 years, more adults are reading YA than ever before because it’s just so good. Spectacular writing combined with delicious and compelling plots and characters.

When planning your Young Adult novel – no matter the genre – here are a few things to think about:

Age of Characters: Of course, your YA novel is generally going to have a Main Character between 14-18 years of age. Readers who are 12-14 years of age want to read about characters who are older than they are. Today, the majority of characters are in the 16-18 age range. Some YA novels are listed as 12 years and up, while others are 14 years and up. The age range is a publisher/marketing decision, not something you, as the writer, need to worry about, but if you explore more adult themes as well as explicit sexual relations and, perhaps, include language such as the "F" word, your book will more likely be listed as 14 and up. If in doubt about how the age group you are writing about talks, go stalk your local high school, Community center or even Mall to see what the "cool" things to say are now.

Themes & Issues: In YA, you can write about anything these days. No subject is taboo. Sexuality, Incest, Rape, Death, Suicide, Murder, Drugs, Runaways, Illegitimacy, Poverty, etc. Write about something that is important to you. Don’t be afraid or censor yourself. Write the story you are drawn to and compelled to write.

***A short time-out for some YA Publishing History Perspective: Over the past decade, the esteemed author Richard Peck has become better known for his MG Newbery winning books, but the first dozen books he published were Young Adult novels—the first in 1985. Remembering the Good Times is about the friendship of two boys and a girl who have been childhood friends. In high school, one of the boys commits suicide. The other two friends are left devastated and wondering how they never saw the signs and the guilt they feel wondering what they could have done to prevent their friend’s death. Richard Peck was also one of the first writers to publish YA novels about rape and teen pregnancy in the late 1980s. Are You in the House Alone? Don’t Look and it Won’t Hurt, respectively. So for those new to the YA literature scene, John Green did not create the serious literary problem novel for young adults. He's just continuing a long tradition started by brilliant writers back in the 1970s and 1980s.

Relationships: In your YA novel, there must be peer friendships that are important and impact your main characters. Often witty friends and classmates or neighbors will bring in compelling subplots, which intersect with the main plot of your novel. Also, parents often come and go, leave the country for jobs, get divorced, remarry, abandon their children, etc., but the break-down of those familial relationships with its accompanying angst and craziness can often be a major plot or subplot of your story.

School/College: High School is usually a strong aspect of the YA novel and teachers and classmates can bring important elements as well as provide interesting characters and conflict. If not public high school, then private schools, boarding schools, homeschools. Even in fantasy or sci fi novels, the characters usually go to a futuristic type of schooling. Bringing your high school alive can be a challenge to build, but a lot of fun and intriguing angles to your story. Like adding vampires to the high school. It worked for Bella but not so much for other High School Vampire stories.

Setting: Settings need to be well developed and the MC needs to interact in meaningful ways with the setting. Make your setting specific and interesting, not a bland backdrop of Anywhere, Any City, USA. I personally love using setting to bring out characteristics or hobbies or the culture of my MC as well as develop the plot and conflict.

Love Interest: There must be a love interest in a Young Adult novel. Think of this word: longing. There might be multiple love interests. Think Team Edward or Jacob. Team Gale or Peeta. Although I caution about using the traditional love triangle. Readers appear to be rebelling against love triangles and want a fresh take on the romance aspect of YA novels. Maybe a love square - or try an octagon.

Kissing: There must be kissing! There can often be sex, but the parameters and boundaries will depend on the type of book you’re writing as well as how far you personally want to go with your characters. But I find that a more literary, serious novel, whether it’s contemporary or historical or fantasy, will have more sexual scenes. But be careful when pushing the sexual acene envelope. If your scenes are TOO graphic then you start venturing more into the New Adult book genre, which may be too mature for 12-16 year olds. More "she was thrilled by his touch" rather than "he grabbed her *Beep* with his hand."

Voice: Today, most YA novels are written in First Person Point of View. If you’re writing in Third Person, be careful that you go Deep Point of View so that your reader feels like they are right in the head/mind/thoughts of your protagonist. Readers of any age want to feel like they’re right inside the story living it for themselves. You want the reader to feel like they are the Good or Bad angel sitting on the MC's shoulder.

Language/Tone/Mood: The language in your YA novel can change depending on the type of story. If you’re writing a thriller or mystery, the pacing and language will be faster, perhaps more spare; there might be more dialogue and not as much description, narration, or inner thoughts. Check out Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon, Starter or Enders by Lissa Price, or Killer Instinct by S. E. Green. If you’re writing a more literary novel the use of language and tone and mood will change drastically. Samples: Novels by Maggie Steifvater like The Scorpio Races or Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor.

Did I mention kissing??? And HEAT? And longing. Yeah, those elements make your novel a Young Adult – and keep your reader turning the pages. Will Peeta ever get Katniss to love him? Will Edward finally give in and eat Bella if she kisses him? etc. (Admit it, by book 4 you were kinda hoping she would get eaten ;) )

I’ve been working on my upcoming novel, Forbidden (Harpercollins, November 2014) for many years in between the middle-grade novels. It’s taken a lot of practice to get the voice, tone, language, and relationships right (and now Harpercollins is marketing the novel as a cross-over because of the sophisticated themes and plot).

I often feared that MG was my "true" voice. But just like becoming a good writer in any genre, I kept practicing and revising endlessly. All the hard work finally paid off when my agent sold the entire trilogy to a major publisher—just when I thought the project would never sell and I might have to shelve it forever.

Don’t give up. Study the best YA novels out there. Practice your craft. Believe in your story. Love your story. Immerse yourself. Or if you're desperate go watch some of those sappy romance movies and just imagine it with teenagers, in high school. And add zombies for good measure. Who can resist zombies?

Now Kimberley has VERY graciously offered up an amazing giveaway and we are SO excited to share it with you today! Enter below for a chance to win an ARC of FORBIDDEN!

About The Author

When she was a kid Kimberley Griffiths Little read a book a day, scribbled stories, and dreamed about having her very own book on the library shelf. She adores the mysterious swamps of Louisiana, Paris, England, Scotland, Jordan, and anything old and musty with a secret story to tell.

Kimberley was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area, but now lives in an adobe house on the banks of the Rio Grande in New Mexico with her husband and three sons. She’s fairly certain that after drinking so much Land of Enchantment water, some of that ancient magic got into her blood and now spurts out her pencil—um, ergonomic keyboard.

Kimberley is the author of seven award-winning middle-grade novels, the last four titles with Scholastic, which sell hundreds of thousands in the Book Fairs.

Her Young Adult debut trilogy, FORBIDDEN, an exotic thriller in the ancient mysterious lands of Mesopotamia with roots in belly dance and goddess temples, has been 10 years in the making. It launches in November with Harpercollins. 

She makes way too many cookies when writing or revising—and the best book trailers filmed on location with voiceovers and original music. For reals. Check them out here: Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Youtube.

About The Book

A sweeping, epic saga of romance and hardship, set against the dramatic backdrop of ancient Mesopotamia—perfect for fans of Cleopatra's Moon or the adult bestseller The Red Tent.

In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

Thursday, May 22, 2014

0 Adventures in PubSmart (part five) by Kate Tilton

My favorite session of the PubSmart conference, Authorpreneurship, covered how to get money for publishing, where you should spend it, and why you (the author) should value yourself and what you do. This panel flowed in an all-in-one package that I summed up for you below. No matter where you are in your publishing journey this session will help you.

If you are new to this PubSmart series please take a minute to check out the first parts of the series; IBPA’s Mini Publishing University, Social Savvy & Media Mastery, What Does It Mean to Publish? by Jane Friedman and Insights from Bestselling Author Hugh Howey. You’ll be glad you did!


Authorpreneurship: From Cost-Planning to Funding to Reinvestment
Speakers: Amanda Barbara (PubSlush), C. Hope Clark (Funds for Writers), Miral Sattar (BiblioCrunch), Orna Ross (ALLi), Kathy Meis (Bublish, moderator)

How to fund your book, where to spend the funds, and why you should value yourself and your work.

  • Crowdfunding is the process of funding a project/venture by raising small amounts of money from many sources.
  • Using a crowdfunding platform designed for books only like PubSlush allows you to gain marketing analytics for future marketing efforts.
  • 7 tips for crowdfunding success: pre-campaign research, know your audience, target, don’t be timid, be personal and make it easy, update your supporters, and offer enticing rewards.
  • Don’t send your crowdfunding campaign to your email list when it is sitting at zero; first ask a few people you know will contribute and then reach out to your list.
  • It is feast or famine in this business; do not discount your other options such as article writing. More people will see your one article in a week than your book in a year. Prove you are a writer in any way you can before you become an author.
  • Reach out to your art and humanities council.
  • Don’t turn down opportunities like contests; in fact, don’t discount any opportunities that come your way.
  • Miral Sattar shared her numbers on the costs of self-publishing. You can view the whole list here.
  • We are in the collaboration business.
  • The reader is king, queen, prince, and princess. You must know your readers and know yourself.
  • Invest for success. If it is not important to you, then why do it? Value what you do.
  • Copyright your work; it costs $35.
  • Step out and reevaluate what you are doing.

If you’d like to experience more of PubSmart you can now purchase videos of ALL the events on the PubSmart website. I would love to hear from you about this article! If you have any questions about this article, publishing, or social media just leave a comment below or connect with me on my website,

About the Speakers:

Amanda Barbara is the vice president of PubSlush, a global crowdfunding platform for books.

C. Hope Clark is the editor of and an author.

Miral Sattar is the founder and CEO of BiblioCrunch, an award-winning literary services marketplace.

Orna Ross is the founder and director of The Alliance of Independent Authors.

Kathy Meis is the founder and president of Bublish, the social book discovery and commerce platform.

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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.

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