Tuesday, September 30, 2014

6 Compulsion for Writing Party and Prize-Fest with Giveaway of EIGHT Amazing YA Books, Necklace, Tote Bag and more . . .

It’s a VERY special month here at Adventures, and we’re beyond thrilled to be able to share it with the writers who’ve been with us since the beginning, and with the new writers and readers who have joined us along the journey. And it really is a journey! Four years ago, I started this blog with a friend as we started to think about getting our books published. In less than a month, on October 28th, COMPULSION will finally emerge into the world as a published really-truly book. There are lots of fun things in store to celebrate the kick off, but wait . . . There’s even MORE to celebrate.

Our very own Lisa Gail Green has a fabulous new agent, and a slew of incredibly awesome new book deals, and our lovely Erin Cashman is brewing some wonderful news as well!

In the next couple of weeks, they are going to tell you their stories, and I’m going to tell you mine. What stories you ask? The stories of how we almost quit writing and ended up turning it around.

Have you ever felt like that? Like you were DONE? You just couldn’t face rejection or take coming “close" any more? Have you thought about giving up?

We all have! I did. Lisa did. Erin did.

But we kept going because we loved to write. You could almost say we had a Compulsion for Writing? :D

We’d love to hear about YOUR Compulsion for Writing. We want you to tell us your stories, and we’re going to host a giveaway and a celebration of persistence.

Here’s how it’s going to work.

1.) You write your story — a paragraph, a page, whatever you want — about how your Compulsion for Writing kept you going at a time when you got discouraged and thought about quitting.

Or

2) You write about how to feed your Compulsion for Writing and keep the joy through the hard times.

3) Post what you've written on your Blog, Pinterest, Tumblr or Facebook Page and share it to the contest event page on Facebook, or write it directly on the Compulsion for Writing Party and Prize-Fest event page.

4) Get everyone you know to “Like" the Compulsion for Writing Page and their favorite posts people have shared there. Here's a nifty banner you can use to help spread the word!



We’ll review the posts with the greatest number of "likes" and Lisa, Erin, and I will each pick winners. We’ll send the winners special gift packs, but we’ll also each provide half-hour long phone calls to discuss your writing in general, your book or WIP, querying, agents, the book business, publishing, promotion and marketing, our books, social media, or whatever else you want to talk about.

And, because sometimes all it takes is a bit of a push, but the people who need the biggest push are often the ones who don’t get it by querying or by entering contests, we’ll have some agent critiques for a few lucky winners, too.

On 10/21/28 at 6:00 PM eastern, we will join everyone for a live Facebook Party where we can all trade stories and answer questions. That’s also when we’ll announce the winners and throw in a few extra and spectacular live giveaways as well! So mark your calendars.

Oh, and for those who are voting on stories? We'll add giveaways as we go along, and we'll announce winners for those on the 22nd, too. The first will be posted on the Facebook page later today. Stop by and check it out. : )

More details are posted on the Facebook page, and stay tuned for our stories and prize packages coming in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, here’s a bit of photo inspiration for what can happen if you don’t give up! : ) Last year, I was down at YALLFEST as a fan with some friends. They had stacks and stacks of Justine Magazines with the coolest Teen Read Week feature showcasing some great YA books. And tomorrow, the Justine Teen Read Week issue hits the stands, and guess what's in it?



OMG, right? Mind-blowing! And Melissa Marr and I will be doing an event together to kick off the Compelling Reads Tour, and I happen to be a super-HUGE fan of hers. It's a total coincidence that she's on the same page in the Justine piece, but it's another example of what can happen that is truly beyond your wildest dreams.

It CAN happen. Great things can happen, so don't be discouraged. You just have to believe! (And be compelled to write!)

And now for the first of the HUGE giveaways! : ) 


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Monday, September 29, 2014

22 Giveaways of BEAUTY OF THE BROKEN and LOVE IS THE DRUG plus New YALit Releases 9/29-10/5

We're back with another roundup of new releases. There are some really exciting books coming out this week, plus we have a couple of fantastic giveaways for you! What are you reading this week?

~ The Ladies of AYAP
Martina, Lisa, Alyssa, Katharyn, Erin, and Jan


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


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Beauty of the Broken
by Tawni Waters
Hardcover Giveaway
Simon Pulse
Released 9/30/2014

In this lyrical, heartwrenching story about a forbidden first love, a teen seeks the courage to care for another girl despite her small town’s bigotry and her father’s violent threats.

Growing up in conservative small-town New Mexico, fifteen-year-old Mara was never given the choice to be different. Her parents—an abusive, close-minded father and a detached alcoholic mother—raised Mara to be like all the other girls in Barnaby: God-fearing, churchgoing, and straight. Mara wants nothing to do with any of it. She feels most at home with her best friend and older brother, Iggy, but Iggy hasn’t been the same since their father beat him and put him in the hospital with a concussion.

As Mara’s mother feeds her denial with bourbon and Iggy struggles with his own demons, Mara finds an escape with her classmate Xylia. A San Francisco transplant, Xylia is everything Mara dreams of being: free-spirited, open, wild. The closer Mara and Xylia become, the more Mara feels for her—even though their growing relationship is very much forbidden in Barnaby. Just as Mara begins to live a life she’s only imagined, the girls’ secret is threatened with exposure and Mara’s world is thrown into chaos.

Mara knows she can't live without Xylia, but can she live with an entire town who believes she is an abomination worse than the gravest sin?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Beauty of the Broken?

I’m deeply in love with the characters, at least the good ones. I resent the bad ones in a wholehearted, obsessive sort of way that may be unhealthy. I hope the characters are as rich and alive for readers as they are for me.

Mara is one of those characters that felt like she “came” to me, rather than like I invented her. I sat down to write one day and did this thing I often do as an exercise, which is to say, “Anyone who wants to talk to me, start talking,” and then write the first words that come into my head. Whether this is an exercise in spirituality, insanity, or the power of suggestion is anyone’s guess. All I know is that it works for me. Words always leap into my head when I prompt myself like this.

That day, I heard, “Momma and Willy Macyntire made Iggy in a barn.” I wrote it down, and more words came. Within a couple of hours, I had this beautiful, broken character and twenty pages that would eventually become the outline for Beauty of the Broken. With this novel, I’ve always felt like the characters were writing the novel, and I was transcribing their story for them. I was as surprised by the events of the book as any reader. I had no idea what was going to happen next.

Early readers of Beauty of the Broken have been furious with me about the death of one of the characters. “You traumatized me,” they say, and I can only say that I traumatized myself too. Every time I read that book, I die a little.

I don’t know. Maybe I just refuse to take responsibility for my actions. I feel this perhaps alarming lack of culpability for the way the book turned out. I think I’ll get a T-shirt that says, “Don’t blame me. I just wrote it.”


Purchase Beauty of the Broken at Amazon
Purchase Beauty of the Broken at IndieBound
View Beauty of the Broken on Goodreads

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Love is the Drug
by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Hardcover Giveaway
Arthur A. Levine Books
Released 9/30/2014

From the author of THE SUMMER PRINCE, a novel that's John Grisham's THE PELICAN BRIEF meets Michael Crichton's THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN set at an elite Washington D.C. prep school.

Emily Bird was raised not to ask questions. She has perfect hair, the perfect boyfriend, and a perfect Ivy-League future. But a chance meeting with Roosevelt David, a homeland security agent, at a party for Washington DC's elite leads to Bird waking up in a hospital, days later, with no memory of the end of the night.

Meanwhile, the world has fallen apart: A deadly flu virus is sweeping the nation, forcing quarantines, curfews, even martial law. And Roosevelt is certain that Bird knows something. Something about the virus--something about her parents' top secret scientific work--something she shouldn't know.

The only one Bird can trust is Coffee, a quiet, outsider genius who deals drugs to their classmates and is a firm believer in conspiracy theories. And he believes in Bird. But as Bird and Coffee dig deeper into what really happened that night, Bird finds that she might know more than she remembers. And what she knows could unleash the biggest government scandal in US history.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Love is the Drug?

There is a scene around two thirds of the way through the book, where the characters end up sharing a Thanksgiving dinner together. Writing this scene was one of the most cathartic, joyous experiences of my writing life. Often, there can be a disconnect between what I experience as I write a scene and the emotions I'm hoping to evoke from the reader (if only because there's a lot of technical stuff that goes into evoking emotion, and so I have to be analytical about it). But this scene just pulled my heart out of my chest and made it dance. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday--one I associate with my happiest memories of my family and of growing up in the Washington, DC metro area. So while none of the book is directly based on my experiences, that scene comes closest. It shows how the act of making food together and dancing to old-school R&B (and arguing over lemon in the sweet potato pie) can make you feel closer to the ones you love

Purchase Love is the Drug at Amazon
Purchase Love is the Drug at IndieBound
View Love is the Drug on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


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Afterworlds
by Scott Westerfield
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 9/23/2014

Winner - Christine Saitz

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.



Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Afterworlds?

Afterworlds is two interleaved books, really. The odd-numbered chapters
tell the story of Darcy Patel, a young writer moving away from home; the
even chapters are the entirety of Darcy's first novel, which she's
rewriting throughout that same year. The most exciting part of writing a
dual novel was linking the two narratives, having things spill over from
Darcy's day-today reality into her fiction. All writers steal from
reality, so what Darcy experiences in her life always bubbles up in her
novel, whether it's a setting, a realization about true love, or just a
new word.
Collectively, the two books are my really long answer to the question that
all writers dread, "Where do you get your ideas?"


Purchase Afterworlds at Amazon
Purchase Afterworlds at IndieBound
View Afterworlds on Goodreads

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In a Handful of Dust
by Mindy McGinnis
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 9/23/2014

Winner - Ashley Colby

The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about In a Handful of Dust?

The best part of writing DUST was revisiting this world ten years later. Lynn is an adult now, Lucy has become a teen. I got the chance to play with who they had become, how they had grown and changed, and what their relationship is like a decade after their lives in NOT A DROP TO DRINK.

Purchase In a Handful of Dust at Amazon
Purchase In a Handful of Dust at IndieBound
View In a Handful of Dust on Goodreads

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Skink - No Surrender
by Carl Hiaasen
Hardcover
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 9/23/2014

Winners - Sierra Davenport, Alicia Ezell,  Emily Miller, Markella Whetzel, Erin Koch

Readers are always thrilled to see a new book from the master of snarky satire, but they will be doubly excited for this book as Carl introduces young readers to Skink—an ex-governor of Florida gone feral, and one of the most iconic characters in Hiaasen's adult novels.

Purchase Skink - No Surrender at Amazon
Purchase Skink - No Surrender at IndieBound
View Skink - No Surrender on Goodreads







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Survival Colony 9
by David Bellin
Hardcover
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released 9/23/2014

Winner - Heather Carpenter

In a future world of dust and ruin, fourteen-year-old Querry Genn struggles to recover the lost memory that might save the human race.

Querry is a member of Survival Colony Nine, one of the small, roving groups of people who outlived the wars and environmental catastrophes that destroyed the old world. The commander of Survival Colony Nine is his father, Laman Genn, who runs the camp with an iron will. He has to--because heat, dust, and starvation aren't the only threats in this ruined world.

There are also the Skaldi.

Monsters with the ability to infect and mimic human hosts, the Skaldi appeared on the planet shortly after the wars of destruction. No one knows where they came from or what they are. But if they're not stopped, it might mean the end of humanity.

Six months ago, Querry had an encounter with the Skaldi--and now he can't remember anything that happened before then. If he can recall his past, he might be able to find the key to defeat the Skaldi.

If he can't, he's their next victim.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Survival Colony 9?

I love the fact that two stories unfold simultaneously in my novel: the big, world-changing story of humanity’s battles against the Skaldi, and the small, intimate story of a teen coming to terms with his past and discovering his place in an extended family. Both of these stories are equally important to the book, and I believe they work together to enrich the reader’s experience: the Skaldi may be demonic, but Querry’s personal demons are just as hard to conquer.

Quick disclaimer before this next paragraph: I am NOT comparing myself to J. R. R. Tolkien! However, The Lord of the Rings was incredibly important to my development as a reader and writer, and one of the things I loved about LOTR when I first read it at age thirteen was how the epic story of the War of the Ring and the small-scale story of Frodo and Sam’s quest so perfectly complemented each other. I’m certain Tolkien’s trilogy influenced my decision to tell a story with a similar, dual focus.


Purchase Survival Colony 9 at Amazon
Purchase Survival Colony 9 at IndieBound
View Survival Colony 9 on Goodreads

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Tabula Rasa
by Kristen Lippert-Martin
Hardcover
EgmontUSA
Released 9/23/2014

Winner - Candice Conner

The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this action-packed debut thriller with a Katniss-esque heroine fighting to regain her memories and stay alive, set against a dystopian hospital background.

Sarah starts a crazy battle for her life within the walls of her hospital-turned-prison when a procedure to eliminate her memory goes awry and she starts to remember snatches of her past. Was she an urban terrorist or vigilante? Has the procedure been her salvation or her destruction?

The answers lie trapped within her mind. To access them, she'll need the help of the teen computer hacker who's trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, and a pill that's blocked by an army of mercenary soldiers poised to eliminate her for good. If only she knew why . . .

"This is a snap-the-whip story, dark and fast. The sparks of humor in the voice won me over. Bottom line: I think the cocktail of suspense and believable smart-assery adds up to an addictive dose of reader appeal." --Blythe Woolston, author of the William C. Morris Award winner The Freak Observer

Releases simultaneously in electronic book format (ISBN: 9781606845196).

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Tabula Rasa?

My favorite thing about Tabula Rasa is Sarah!

As things get worse and worse and worse for her -- not only does she take a physical beating, but an emotional one too -- she manages to find a way to rise to the occasion each time. Sometimes by being clever, sometimes by being vulnerable, and sometimes she does it even when she doesn't know what to do. She just grits her teeth and gets on with it. The girl's a fighter in the best possible way.


Purchase Tabula Rasa at Amazon
Purchase Tabula Rasa at IndieBound
View Tabula Rasa on Goodreads

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Unmade
by Sarah Rees Brennan
Hardcover
Random House Books for Young Readers
Released 9/23/2014

Winner - Sara Bowers

A modern, magical twist on the Gothic romance and girl detective genres, the Lynburn Legacy books will appeal to fans of both Beautiful Creatures and the Mortal Instruments series.

Powerful love comes with a price. Who will be the sacrifice?


Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.

Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.

As coauthor with Cassandra Clare of the bestselling Bane Chronicles, Sarah Rees Brennan has mastered the art of the page-turner. This final book in the Lynburn Legacy is a wild, entertaining ride from beginning to shocking end.

Purchase Unmade at Amazon
Purchase Unmade at IndieBound
View Unmade on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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Unmarked
by Kami Garcia
Hardcover
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released 9/30/2014

The heart-pounding sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Unbreakable, by New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures co-author Kami Garcia.

"A rare sequel that surpasses the original."--Ransom Riggs, New York Times bestselling author of Hollow City


He is here . . . and he could be anyone
.

Kennedy Waters lives in a world where vengeance spirits kill, ghosts keep secrets, and a demon walks among us-a demon she accidentally set free.

Now Kennedy and the other Legion members-Alara, Priest, Lukas, and Jared-have to hunt him down. As they learn more about the history of the Legion and the Illuminati, Kennedy realizes that the greatest mystery of all does not belong to any secret order, but to her own family. With the clock ticking and the life of someone she loves hanging in the balance, Kennedy has to ask the question she fears most: what is it about her past that has left her Unmarked?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Unmarked?

The Legion Series is a mix of different topics I love to write about—a group of very different teens who have to come together to fight the ultimate evil, secret societies, the paranormal, superstitions, and hot identical twin brothers. In Unbreakable, I introduced the world, the characters, and the dynamics between them. Unmarked allowed me to play with them, and push them to their limits. Unmarked revisits some of the elements readers loved most from the first novel—Priest’s gadgets and Alara’s sass—and answers questions about Kennedy’s past. Of course, it also raises new ones about the future of the Legion—and the world. It takes everything to the next level, including the romance.


Purchase Unmarked at Amazon
Purchase Unmarked at IndieBound
View Unmarked on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Belzhar
by Meg Wolitzer
Hardcover
Dutton Juvenile
Released 9/30/2014

If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be  at home in New Jersey with her sweet British  boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching  old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing  him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.

Purchase Belzhar at Amazon
Purchase Belzhar at IndieBound
View Belzhar on Goodreads

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Complete Nothing
by Kieran Scott
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 9/30/2014

True’s matchmaking skills are the stuff of legend! The second novel in Kieran Scott’s delightful teen romance series that TeenVogue.com called “the next Twilight.”

True is not exactly loving New Jersey. Banished from Mount Olympus and tasked with helping couples find love without using her powers, the goddess-formerly-known-as-Cupid is having a tough time. Especially now that True’s immortal love, Orion, has also appeared at her New Jersey high school—but with no memory of their relationship.

To distract herself from seeing Orion flirt with another girl, True focuses her efforts on making a match: Peter and Claudia. Peter is the star quarterback and the most popular guy in school. But he’s insecure about his future, so he preemptively dumps Claudia, his girlfriend. (If she won’t want to be with him later, why stay together now?) Claudia doesn’t take the breakup too well, and she’s ready to show the quarterback of their rival school just how ready she is to get over it.

But True sees something in these two seniors. She believes they should be together—but can she help them find their way back to each other (and get herself closer to home)? Or have things already spun too far out of control?

Purchase Complete Nothing at Amazon
Purchase Complete Nothing at IndieBound
View Complete Nothing on Goodreads

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Dead Zone
by Robinson Wells
Paperback
HarperTeen
Released 9/30/2014

Homeland meets Marie Lu’s Legend in the explosive sequel to Blackout, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Ally Condie called “a thrilling combination of Wells’s trademark twists and terror. Fantastic!”

America is at war—and five teens are caught in the crossfire.

It began with a virus. Then a series of attacks erupted across the nation. Now the true invasion has begun, and a handful of teenagers with impossible powers are America’s only defense.

Robison Wells blew readers away with his first novel, Variant, which Publishers Weekly called “a chilling and masterful debut” in a starred review. In Dead Zone, he delivers his most nail-bitingly tense read yet—and an electrifying conclusion to a two-book series that’s perfect for fans of The Maze Runner and I Am Number Four.

Praise for Blackout

“Wells knows how to snare readers’ attention and hold them spellbound.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“In a world where terrorism is an increasing threat, this fast-paced book brings it home.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This eerie look at an all-too-possible future is tense and gripping.”—Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of the Gone series

Purchase Dead Zone at Amazon
Purchase Dead Zone at IndieBound
View Dead Zone on Goodreads

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Fire Fall
by Bethany Frenette
Hardcover
Disney-Hyperion
Released 9/30/2014

In the exciting conclusion to the Dark Star trilogy, Audrey Whitticomb is faced with a tough decision: save her people from the demons known as Harrowers, or save her best friend from certain death?

Audrey Whitticomb wants to be a Guardian like her superhero mom, Morning Star, and her superhot boyfriend, Leon. But at seventeen, Audrey still hasn't been called--unlike reluctant Tink, who'd rather not deal with all those scaly-skinned, red-eyed demons.

The truth: Audrey can no longer fight her fate. She has a different role to play.

The Beneath is waking. Demons are rising. Friends are falling. And the future is waiting. Will Audrey stop the Harrowing in time to save the Kin? Or will she save her best friend, Gideon, from certain death? Can Audrey find the power and the courage to act before it's too late?

Purchase Fire Fall at Amazon
Purchase Fire Fall at IndieBound
View Fire Fall on Goodreads

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Schizo
by Nic Sheff
Hardcover
Philomel
Released 9/30/2014

The fascinating, shocking, and ultimately quite hopeful story of one teen’s downward spiral into mental illness by the bestselling author of Tweak.

Miles is the ultimate unreliable narrator—a teen recovering from a schizophrenic breakdown who believes he is getting better . . . when in reality he is growing worse.

Driven to the point of obsession to find his missing younger brother, Teddy, and wrapped up in a romance that may or may not be the real thing, Miles is forever chasing shadows. As Miles feels his world closing around him, he struggles to keep it open, but what you think you know about his world is actually a blur of gray, and the sharp focus of reality proves startling.

Written by the New York Times bestselling author of Tweak, Schizo is the fascinating, and ultimately quite hopeful, story of one teen's downward spiral into mental illness as he chases the clues to a missing brother. Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story.

Purchase Schizo at Amazon
Purchase Schizo at IndieBound
View Schizo on Goodreads

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The Only Thing to Fear
by Caroline Tung Richmond
Hardcover
Scholastic Press
Released 9/30/2014

In a stunning reimagining of history, debut author Caroline Tung Richmond weaves an incredible story of secrets and honor in a world where Hitler won World War II.

It's been nearly 80 years since the Allies lost WWII in a crushing defeat against Hitler's genetically engineered super soldiers. America has been carved up by the victors, and 16-year-old Zara lives a life of oppression in the Eastern America Territories. Under the iron rule of the Nazis, the government strives to maintain a master race, controlling everything from jobs to genetics. Despite her mixed heritage and hopeless social standing, Zara dreams of the free America she's only read about in banned books. A revolution is growing, and a rogue rebel group is plotting a deadly coup. Zara might hold the key to taking down the F├╝hrer for good, but it also might be the very thing that destroys her. Because what she has to offer the rebels is something she's spent her entire life hiding, under threat of immediate execution by the Nazis.
In this action-packed, heart-stopping novel of a terrifying reality that could have been, Zara must decide just how far she'll go for freedom.

Purchase The Only Thing to Fear at Amazon
Purchase The Only Thing to Fear at IndieBound
View The Only Thing to Fear on Goodreads

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Winterspell
by Claire Legrand
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 9/30/2014

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

Purchase Winterspell at Amazon
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View Winterspell on Goodreads

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

0 October First Five Pages Workshop Begins 10/4/14 -- Plus We're Adding Agents to the Workshop!

The First Five Pages Workshop for September has ended. Thanks so much to all of our participants for their hard work, to our wonderful guest mentor Melissa Grey, to Becca Puglisi for filling in as a mentor, and of course to all of our fabulous permanent mentors! You can check out the final revisions here: First Five Pages September Workshop

And we have some very exciting news! We’ve revised the format of our First Five Pages Workshops, and we will now be adding an agent to help give the last revisions of the month a final polish. It will be a different agent each month. We are thrilled to announce that Jordy Albert, of The Booker Albert Literary Agency, will be our guest agent for October.  Our guest mentor will be the talented Paula Stokes, author of THE ART OF LAINEY. So get those manuscripts ready – First Five Pages October Workshop opens one week from today, on October 4 at noon! We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. Click here to get the rules! 

3 Joshua David Bellin on LOTR and the journey to his debut.

What is your favorite thing about SURVIVAL COLONY 9?

I love the fact that two stories unfold simultaneously in my novel: the big, world-changing story of humanity’s battles against the Skaldi, and the small, intimate story of a teen coming to terms with his past and discovering his place in an extended family. Both of these stories are equally important to the book, and I believe they work together to enrich the reader’s experience: the Skaldi may be demonic, but Querry’s personal demons are just as hard to conquer.

Quick disclaimer before this next paragraph: I am NOT comparing myself to J. R. R. Tolkien! However, The Lord of the Rings was incredibly important to my development as a reader and writer, and one of the things I loved about LOTR when I first read it at age thirteen was how the epic story of the War of the Ring and the small-scale story of Frodo and Sam’s quest so perfectly complemented each other. I’m certain Tolkien’s trilogy influenced my decision to tell a story with a similar, dual focus.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

My road to publication was forty years in the making, which is probably no longer than many authors’! I started thinking of myself as a writer at around age eight, and I completed my first novel, a fantasy titled To Alter the Past, at age sixteen. A family friend who was in publishing looked at it, and of course I had dreams that he’d offer me a million-dollar contract on the spot, but instead he told me (very nicely) that I needed to work on honing my craft. I wrote two more novels in my teens and early twenties: Summer Shadows, a YA contemporary, and The S.A.M.E. Semester, a very bizarre book about a small college that’s taken over by a group of radical educators. Neither got published. When I returned to writing fiction in my forties, I produced one more unpublished novel before writing Survival Colony 9. These numbers, of course, don’t count the many novel ideas and first chapters I produced but never completed!

What are you working on now?

I’ve finished a second book in the Querry Genn series, titled Scavenger of Souls, and I’ve drafted (but not revised) a final book, titled Skaldi City. Much as I hate to leave Querry’s story behind after working on it for 4-plus years, the next project I have in mind is very different, a YA alt-history about abolitionist John Brown and the events leading up to the Civil War. It’ll take lots of research and travel, and it’ll be based in historical fact. But since it’s alt-history, it’ll still give my imagination room to run wild!

Giveaway ends 9/28/2014 at midnight EST.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Survival Colony 9
by Joshua David Bellin
Hardcover
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released 9/23/2014

In a future world of dust and ruin, fourteen-year-old Querry Genn struggles to recover the lost memory that might save the human race.

Querry is a member of Survival Colony Nine, one of the small, roving groups of people who outlived the wars and environmental catastrophes that destroyed the old world. The commander of Survival Colony Nine is his father, Laman Genn, who runs the camp with an iron will. He has to--because heat, dust, and starvation aren't the only threats in this ruined world.

There are also the Skaldi.

Monsters with the ability to infect and mimic human hosts, the Skaldi appeared on the planet shortly after the wars of destruction. No one knows where they came from or what they are. But if they're not stopped, it might mean the end of humanity.

Six months ago, Querry had an encounter with the Skaldi--and now he can't remember anything that happened before then. If he can recall his past, he might be able to find the key to defeat the Skaldi.

If he can't, he's their next victim.

Purchase Survival Colony 9 at Amazon
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View Survival Colony 9 on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Joshua David Bellin has been writing novels since he was eight years old (though the first few were admittedly very, very short). A Pittsburgh native, Josh graduated from Wesleyan University and went on to earn his PhD. in English at the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught college English, published three nonfiction books (one about monsters!), and taken part in the movement to protect the environment. He lives with his wife and two children in the beautiful Frick Park area of Pittsburgh. SURVIVAL COLONY 9 is Josh’s debut novel.  

Connect with Joshua David Bellin:
www.joshuadavidbellin.com
Twitter: @TheYAGuy
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joshuadavidbellin

1 Scott Westerfeld, author of AFTERWORLDS, on stealing from reality and a secret collaboration.

What is your favorite thing about AFTERWORLDS?


Afterworlds is two interleaved books, really. The odd-numbered chapters
tell the story of Darcy Patel, a young writer moving away from home; the
even chapters are the entirety of Darcy's first novel, which she's
rewriting throughout that same year. The most exciting part of writing a
dual novel was linking the two narratives, having things spill over from
Darcy's day-today reality into her fiction. All writers steal from
reality, so what Darcy experiences in her life always bubbles up in her
novel, whether it's a setting, a realization about true love, or just a
new word.

Collectively, the two books are my really long answer to the question that
all writers dread, "Where do you get your ideas?"

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or
at a coffee shop or the library, etc?


I try to make habit my ally. I write in the same chair at the same time
each day. Maybe some days I'll fail at writing, but I still don't let
myself do anything else in those hours. This tells my brain that it's
Writing Time, which will be rigidly enforced. After many years, this kind
of discipline has made my brain say, "Okay. I can't do anything else. So
I'll write."

The great thing about habits like these is that they create writing
triggers, instead of the procrastination triggers that result when you sit
down at your desk and check twitter, shoot zombies, or crush candy.

You have to find your own rituals, of course. Anything that establishes a
pattern‹setting, music, time of day, lighting, magic rocks, or whatever.
The specifics don't matter. As long as you're consistent and disciplined,
ritual will be your friend.

What are you working on now?


My current project is a secret collaboration. Two other writers and I
have been meeting at a pub once a week to plan the novel, then writing
chapters at home and exchanging them. After a year and a half, we're
almost done with the first draft. I can't tell you about the plot yet,
because the publishing deal is still cooking. But the collaborative
process has been fascinating. Working face to face engages the social part
of your brain, which is a very different from the text-staring-at part of
your brain. It feels like an older kind of storytelling, with lots of
argument and oneupmanship and joking. This book is from six points of
view, so we're each taking two characters. We have ownership over  them,
so there are lots of fights where we take our characters' sides.

I'm also working on an ebook book called How to Write YA, which I hope is
self-explanatory. It's already started appearing on my blog. It came out
of Afterworlds, which naturally has lots of scenes of writers talking
about writing. I wanted to pursue some of those conversations farther, and
give young writers a place to go after they've put themselves in Darcy's
shoes.

Giveaway ends 9/28/2014 at midnight EST.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Afterworlds
by Scott Westerfeld
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 9/23/2014

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

Purchase Afterworlds at Amazon
Purchase Afterworlds at IndieBound
View Afterworlds on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Scott Westerfeld is a New York Times bestselling author of YA. He was born in the Texas and now lives in Sydney and New York City. In 2001, Westerfeld married fellow author Justine Larbalestier.

He is best know for the Uglies and Leviathan series, and his next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014.

His book Evolution's Darling was a New York Times Notable Book, and won a Special Citation for the 2000 Philip K. Dick Award. So Yesterday won a Victorian Premier's Award and both Leviathan and Midnighters 1: The Secret Hour won Aurealis Awards. Peeps and Uglies were both named as Best Books for Young Adults 2006 by the American Library Association.

1 Sandra Waugh, author of LARK RISING, on hawks and quiet heroines

What is your favorite thing about LARK RISING?

Aside from immersing myself in another world, Lark Carew is my favorite part of my story.
I am all for kick-ass, sword wielding heroines, but I wrote LARK RISING in part to celebrate the quiet ones—those whose strengths are not apparent at first look, whose shyness might be dismissed as meaning too meek or weak to make a difference. I am always moved by the silent powers—resolve, the ability to endure, to be resilient. I love that these are Lark’s weapons.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

A hawk lit upon my porch railing one morning.  We watched each other for a time and then he flew off.  I wrote the first pages of LARK based on that moment.  The rest of the story--and series--was formed as I mowed the field behind our house (which borders woods, like Lark’s cottage).  Most of my stories get fleshed out while I push the lawnmower—it’s sort of like a walking meditation.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

From idea to agent, about 2 ½ years.  From agent to submission 9 months, from submission to deal about 6 months, from deal to publication 15 months!  I can’t say it was ‘hard’, but it was a lesson in patience and trust.

I wrote one book prior to LARK RISING—it was with another agent, came very close to being sold, but just didn’t quite make it. I haven’t given up on it yet!

What’s your writing ritual like?  Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc.?

I like mornings best for writing, instrumental music (I scour movie soundtracks) for background, and you can put me anywhere with my laptop—I have a great ability to tune out… or tune in as the case may be!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

It can be a struggle to keep going, keep believing, sometimes, so this helps me: 1) Write from your heart—write what you want to write, and then it is never drudgery 2) Adhere to a firm schedule and deadline. Progress matters—for when every other emotion paralyzes you, you have achievement to hold onto.  Pay no mind to the ‘crappy’ ness of a first draft.  Once words are on the page, you have something to build from!

What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished copy edits to Guardians of Tarnec series Book 2: SILVER EVE, which is releasing 2015.  I’m working on a MG adventure with an author friend and beginning Guardians of Tarnec Book 3

ABOUT THE BOOK


Lark Rising
by Sandra Waugh
Hardcover
Random House Books for Young Readers
Released 9/23/2014

Full of romance and nature magic, this debut fantasy is perfect for fans of Shannon Hale, Juliet Marillier, and Kristin Cashore.

“A beautifully realized world, a unique voice, and a compelling, action-packed story. This is a striking debut novel with a lovely folkloric flavor.” —Juliet Marillier, author of Wildwood Dancing

Lark has foreseen two things—she will fall for a young man with sage green eyes,and he will kill her.

Sixteen-year-old Lark Carew is happiest close to home, tending her garden and gathering herbs for medicines. But when her Sight warns her that monsters called Troths will soon invade her village, Lark is summoned on a journey to seek help from the legendary Riders of Tarnec. Little does she suspect that one of the Riders, Gharain, is the very man who has haunted her visions. Or that the people of Tarnec have called her there for another reason: Lark is the Guardian of Life, the first of four Guardians who must awaken their powers to recover four stolen amulets. Together, the amulets—Life, Death, Dark, and Light—keep the world in Balance. To take back the Life amulet, Lark will have to discover her true inner strength and give in to a love that she swears will be her downfall.

Purchase Lark Rising at Amazon
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View Lark Rising on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Sandra grew up in an old house full of crowded bookshelves, in walking distance of an old library that allowed her to drag home a sack of six books at a time. It goes without saying, then, that she fell in love with the old house in Litchfield County, CT, because of its many bookshelves, and she lives there now with her husband, two sons, and a dog who snores. Loudly.

LARK RISING is her first novel and the first in the GUARDIANS OF TARNEC series. SILVER EVE follows in 2015.

1 Kristen Lippert-Martin, author of TABULA RASA, discusses innocence, identity and writing with a newborn.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I’d say first and foremost, I knew I wanted to try something completely different from what I’d been writing previously. I’d never written a thriller and to be honest, when I started TABULA RASA I wasn’t even sure what genre it was going to be. I knew I wanted to write something with a lot of action and I’d always loved the Bourne Identity  reboot. I thought the premise of the Bourne stories was such a perfect metaphor for adolescence: trying to figure out who you are while people are bearing down on you.

Also I had this question in my mind when I was mulling the story idea over: “Would you be innocent again if you couldn’t remember the wrongs you had done?” That was the starting point and then that question got me thinking about identity, what builds it up and what tears it down. Who would you be if you didn’t know anything about yourself, not even what you looked like? I was intrigued by the duality of this idea of throwing the past away and beginning anew as a blank slate. Is it liberation or loss?

How long did you work on the book?

I started the book in June 2011, about two months after my son was born. (I know, it was insane.) I worked on it as much as a newborn would allow those first few months and then very intensively in January/February 2012. I had this feeling like I HAD to finish this story or I was just going to die. And I suppose that’s about the level of commitment you need to finish when you’re writing a novel and getting ZERO sleep. (My son was a lousy sleeper those first 9-10 months of this life.)

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I’d put my road to publication story in the category of “super hard.” I started out writing adult literary fic after I got my MFA, and after two very long, long novels that got some interest but ultimately went nowhere, I put writing aside. I figured, “Welp, that’s it. Wasn’t meant to be.” It took about five years of no writing for me to start getting the itch to write again. So I guess what I’m saying is, I tried to quit and couldn’t make it stick. But it was also the shift to writing YA that made all the difference. I realized that writing was a whole different ballgame when you actually wrote what you loved to read. So from that point forward, I wrote and heavily revised two YA novels before TABULA RASA. One of them was on sub for about a year but never sold. That was a really dark, discouraging time.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc 

I don’t listen to music when I write. I don’t know how people do that. I “prefer” total quiet and zero distractions, but seeing as I never, ever get what I prefer, I’ve evolved to the point where I can pretty much write anywhere. The back of a runaway horse, the surface of the moon, while juggling flaming chain saws—whatever! People ask me all the time how I can write when I have four kids and the answer is, “I just do whatever I can, whenever I can.”

What are you working on now?

The sequel to TABULA RASA! It just sold a couple weeks back. The title at the moment is INCOGNITA and it’ll be out in Spring 2016—hopefully early spring, but there’s no hard date just yet!

Giveaway ends 9/28/2014 at midnight EST.


ABOUT THE BOOK


Tabula Rasa
by Kristen Lippert-Martin
Hardcover
EgmontUSA
Released 9/23/2014

The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this action-packed debut thriller with a Katniss-esque heroine fighting to regain her memories and stay alive, set against a dystopian hospital background.

Sarah starts a crazy battle for her life within the walls of her hospital-turned-prison when a procedure to eliminate her memory goes awry and she starts to remember snatches of her past. Was she an urban terrorist or vigilante? Has the procedure been her salvation or her destruction?

The answers lie trapped within her mind. To access them, she'll need the help of the teen computer hacker who's trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, and a pill that's blocked by an army of mercenary soldiers poised to eliminate her for good. If only she knew why . . .

"This is a snap-the-whip story, dark and fast. The sparks of humor in the voice won me over. Bottom line: I think the cocktail of suspense and believable smart-assery adds up to an addictive dose of reader appeal." --Blythe Woolston, author of the William C. Morris Award winner The Freak Observer

Releases simultaneously in electronic book format (ISBN: 9781606845196).

Purchase Tabula Rasa at Amazon
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View Tabula Rasa on Goodreads

1 Jeyn Roberts, author of THE BODIES WE WEAR, discusses characters with contradictions

What is your favorite thing about THE BODIES WE WEAR?
Oooo, that’s a tough one. I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite. Not just one! I really like Faye’s personality. Her tough as nails attitude on the outside, and her caring and nurturing feelings on the inside. I also really enjoy her relationship with both Gazer and Beth.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?
After my father died, I was left with a lot of questions. And it seemed that I just couldn’t come up with any answers. At one point, I thought to myself ‘imagine if there was a way to find out?’ The idea kinda formed from there. With Bodies, I was able to explore a lot of different ideas concerning the afterlife and what happens once we die.

How long did you work on the book?
It took me about a year to write. I had to stop in the middle of it to finish Rage Within.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?
I’m most definitely a coffee shop writer. I’m also a late night writer. I like to go out in the evening and work. Sometimes I listen to music, other times I listen to people around me.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Keep writing. Write every day. Be open to criticism. As authors, we get very attached to our stories and often don’t see our simple mistakes. It helps to have other eyes looking over your work. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Believe.

What are you working on now?
I’m just starting edits on a ghost story that is coming out next fall.


ABOUT THE BOOK


The Bodies We Wear
by Jeyn Roberts
Hardcover
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 9/23/2014

A streetwise girl trains to take on a gang of drug dealers and avenge her best friend’s death in this thriller for fans of Scott Westerfeld and Robin Wasserman.

People say when you take Heam, your body momentarily dies and you catch a glimpse of heaven. Faye was only eleven when dealers forced Heam on her and her best friend, Christian. But Faye didn’t glimpse heaven—she saw hell. And Christian died.

Now Faye spends her days hiding her secret from the kids at school, and her nights training to take revenge on the men who destroyed her life and murdered her best friend. But life never goes the way we think it will. When a mysterious young man named Chael appears, Faye's plan suddenly gets a lot more complicated. Chael seems to know everything about her, including her past. But too many secrets start tearing her world apart: trouble at school, with the police, and with the people she thought might be her friends. Even Gazer, her guardian, fears she's become too obsessed with vengeance. Love and death. Will Faye overcome her desires, or will her quest for revenge consume her?

Purchase The Bodies We Wear at Amazon
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View The Bodies We Wear on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Jeyn Roberts (pronounced Jen - the Y is silent)grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and started writing at an early age, having her first story published when she was 16 in a middle-grade anthology called LET ME TELL YOU.

When she was 21, she moved to Vancouver with dreams of being a rock star, graduating from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Writing and Psychology. For the next few years she played in an alternative/punk band called Missing Mile before moving to England where she received her MA from the prestigious Creative Writing graduate course at Bath Spa University. Jeyn is a former singer, songwriter, actress, bicycle courier and tree planter.

An avid traveler, she’s been around the world, most recently, teaching high school in South Korea.

A lover of animals, Jeyn volunteers regularly with helping abandoned and abused animals, especially cats.

1 Mindy McGinnis, author of IN A HANDFUL OF DUST, discusses revisiting a world after a decade.

What is your favorite thing about IN A HANDFUL OF DUST?

The best part of writing DUST was revisiting this world ten years later. Lynn is an adult now, Lucy has become a teen. I got the chance to play with who they had become, how they had grown and changed, and what their relationship is like a decade after their lives in NOT A DROP TO DRINK.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I wanted to see more of the world I built in DRINK, venturing beyond the small area of the pond and Lynn's home. Fast forwarding ten years came from wanting to see what Lucy had become.

How long did you work on the book? 

I wrote it fairly quickly, in about six months.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published? 

I had been writing for ten years before I landed representation with NOT A DROP TO DRINK. Previous to DRINK I had trunked three adult novels and one YA title.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc? 

I like silence, although sometimes I'll put on white noise if there's too much background going on. I write in bed, at night - it's my only free time!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers? 

Be able to take, and process, criticism. If you can't do that you will never improve.

What are you working on now? 

I am editing my 2015 release, which will be coming from Katherine Tegen Books. It is a Gothic historical set in an insane asylum, tentatively titled A MADNESS SO DISCREET.

Giveaway ends 9/28/2014 at midnight EST.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In a Handful of Dust
by Mindy McGinnis
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 9/23/2014

The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.

Purchase In a Handful of Dust at Amazon
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View In a Handful of Dust on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Mindy McGinnis is a YA librarian and author, represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary. Her YA debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, is a survival tale set in a world with limited fresh water. It will be available from Katherine Tegen / Harper Collins, September 24, 2013.

She is an avid blogger, posting six days a week to her personal blog, Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, which features interviews with agents, established authors, and debut authors. Learn how they landed their agents, what the submission process is really like, and how it feels when you see your cover for the first time. She also does query critiques every Saturday on the Saturday Slash for those who are brave enough to volunteer.

She also contributes to the group blogs From the Write Angle, Book Pregnant, Friday the Thirteeners, The Lucky 13s, The League of Extraordinary Writers and is a member of the Class of 2k13.

Friday, September 26, 2014

4 Craft of Writing: Creating a Treatment for Your Book Trailer by Rachel Wilson



Rachel Wilson is the debut author of the YA novel, DON'T TOUCH, the heart wrenching story of a girl suffering a severe anxiety disorder. She has been likened to Laurie Halse Anderson, and in my books, that is some of the highest praise you could achieve as an author. DON'T TOUCH hit shelves on September 2nd.

Creating a Treatment for Your Book Trailer by Rachel Wilson


When my director friend Matt Miller said he wanted to direct a trailer for Don’t Touch, I did cartwheels. When he asked what my dream trailer might look like, I began to twitch and mumble.

Time for a treatment. Planning a book trailer can be daunting. If you’re working with a director or photographer, a treatment will put everyone on the same page. Even if you’re making the trailer all by your lonesome, a clear plan for what you intend to shoot is a must.

A treatment outlines what will be seen on screen—it gives a sense of tone and reads in present tense. Yours may look like a screenplay script, or it may read more like a synopsis of shots. The format is not so important as helping the team envision the final product and creating a guide for shooting.


Here are a few strategies based on what I learned while working on the trailer for Don’t Touch:

Ask what the central message is that you want viewers to take away from your trailer. This will be close to your one-line synopsis and hint at the central conflict of the book. For Don’t Touch, we wanted to make it clear that Caddie has a fear of touching other people’s skin and that this conflicts with her desire to be close to Peter.

Collect key text from the book that you might want to use in your trailer. This might be narration or dialogue; it might be heard during the trailer or spoken as a voice over or in-scene. For us, a couple of lines of narration that captured our central message jumped out almost immediately.

Make a list of images from the book that might work in your trailer. Don’t limit yourself at this point—just brainstorm. And get descriptive. Your character is tumbling downhill—do you picture that as a series of jump cuts or in slow motion? What time of day is it? Do we see this from a distance, or is it more important to see a close-up of the terror in his eyes?

Use cinematic language. Your treatment needn’t be as rigid or specific as a script, but if you have a specific vision for certain moments (slow motion, extreme close-up, quick cuts), including those can help the whole team visualize together.

Is there a controlling image that might serve as an anchor for the rest of your trailer? For us, this was Caddie falling into the swimming pool. There’s no rule that says you need to work in chronological order—one strong image might be all you need, or you might choose, as we did, to use a single image as a frame for the rest, beginning, middle, and end.


Group images by location and prioritize. Each location adds time for travel and setting up equipment, and some will require payment or favors to access. For our one-day shoot, we aimed for no more than three locations. Can you avoid a hard-t0-find setting by using an extreme close-up? Must that shot take place in a classroom, or could it happen in the bedroom you’re already using?

Arrange and rearrange. Play with different combinations of image and text until your treatment has a sense of progression that you like.

Find visual connection between images. This helps pull the viewer through the trailer, creates visual interest, and tells a story on a subconscious level. In our treatment, we set up a parallel between Caddie stepping onto stage for an audition and stepping up to the edge of the pool. For her, there’s an emotional connection between those two acts. Our editor, Travis Hockswender, found other parallels in our footage that we hadn’t planned on. Notice around 0:47 how Caddie’s spin flows into Peter turning to sit down.

Be flexible with your treatment in shooting and editing. That moment at 0:47 wasn’t in our treatment but rather a happy accident. Likewise, the moments of Caddie and Peter mirroring each other’s hands were improvised during our shoot. The treatment is only a guide, so allow for discovery.

Time the treatment. Set a timer and, as best you can, speak or visualize through the shots you have planned. Short is best both for keeping attention and for conserving resources. Think of your trailer as the visual equivalent of a poem—just like every word in a poem counts, every shot in your trailer has to earn its place.

Most importantly, get inspired. A trailer isn’t worth the trouble if you aren’t going to have fun making it, so put on your film-making hat, watch the trailers for books similar to yours, gather inspiring images, and tap into the same creative energy you bring to your writing!

For the curious, here’s a peek at what the first moments of our treatment looked like on paper:

MUSIC
Image: Caddie’s feet, in shoes, stepping to the edge of a pool.
Image: Caddie stepping to the edge of a high school stage.
CU on Caddie’s hand fidgeting, clenching at her side.
CADDIE: I am Caddie Finn.
CU of Caddie blinking in the glare of stage lights. Raises a hand to shield her eyes.

VO: There are so many things in the world that can cause pain…
Image: Overhead of a trust circle—students being passed around the center.
Image: Caddie’s hands and Peter’s almost touching/coming together.
Image: Caddie and Peter’s mouths close up on the verge of a kiss.

VO: And people—people do it best.

Watch The Book Trailer Below!



ABOUT THE BOOK


Don't Touch
by Rachel M. Wilson
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 9/2/2014

Step on a crack, break your mother's back,
Touch another person's skin, and Dad's gone for good . . .

Caddie has a history of magical thinking—of playing games in her head to cope with her surroundings—but it's never been this bad before.

When her parents split up, Don't touch becomes Caddie's mantra. Maybe if she keeps from touching another person's skin, Dad will come home. She knows it doesn't make sense, but her games have never been logical. Soon, despite Alabama's humidity, she's covering every inch of her skin and wearing evening gloves to school.

And that's where things get tricky. Even though Caddie's the new girl, it's hard to pass off her compulsions as artistic quirks. Friends notice things. Her drama class is all about interacting with her scene partners, especially Peter, who's auditioning for the role of Hamlet. Caddie desperately wants to play Ophelia, but if she does, she'll have to touch Peter . . . and kiss him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn't sure she's brave enough to let herself fall.

From rising star Rachel M. Wilson comes a powerful, moving debut novel of the friendship and love that are there for us, if only we'll let them in.

Purchase Don't Touch at Amazon
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Rachel M. Wilson is the author of the contemporary YA, DON'T TOUCH, forthcoming from HarperTeen, Sep. 2, 2014.

She graduated from Northwestern University and holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Rachel grew up in Birmingham, AL, and she currently writes, acts, and teaches in Chicago, IL.


Website | Twitter | Goodreads



Thursday, September 25, 2014

2 A Chat With Kimberly Brower of the Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency

Lisa here to welcome Kimberly Brower from the Rebecca Friedman Agency! But before our chat, please remember to take a look at our top ten entries in the Pitch Plus 5 contest and don't forget to go to the sidebar to vote for your favorite from our original 50 so that the top can win a prize. 




Kimberly fell in love with reading when she picked up her first Babysitter’s Club book at the age of seven and hasn’t been able to get her nose out of a book since. Reading has always been her passion, even while pursuing her business degree at California State University, Northridge and law degree at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. By joining the Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency in 2014, she has been able to merge her legal background with her love of books. Although she loves all things romance, she is also searching for books that are different and will surprise her, with empathetic characters and compelling stories. Kimberly is interested in both commercial and literary fiction, with an emphasis in women’s fiction, contemporary romance, new adult and young adult, as well as certain areas of non-fiction, including business, diet and fitness.



What is it about a manuscript that excites you? 

It's the feelings the story evokes. I need to feel a connection to the characters and the story. I love finding a manuscript that I simply cannot put down. 
What are some of your favorite authors/books and why do you love them? 

I love so many that I think I need to do it in list form:
- The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I read these books when I was in my early 20s, but the world that she created was magical. I became so invested in the story and was so sad to see it end.

- The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Just like the Harry Potter series, I admire an author who creates an entire world in her imagination. What I liked about this series was that although it had romance, there was just so much more to it than that. To me this series was the whole package.

-The Breathing Series by Rebecca Donovan. Reason to Breathe was the first indie book I ever read and I was blown away by the depth and level of emotions the author was able to convey. This will always be one of my favorite series.

-Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. Although this book is classified as YA, I feel like it was written in a way where adults could relate to the characters and the storyline. I am also a sucker for teen romances, so the fact that this book was a romance and was written so well, I became an instant fan.
What are some things you love to see in a query? 

I like seeing a concise summary of the book and the author's bio. I can usually tell just by reading the summary if it is a book I would be interested in reading or an author I'd want to represent. I like queries that are written professionally, but show a bit of the author's personality in it as well. I'm sure authors send a lot of queries out, but it is nice to see that they've done their research and know what I am interested in as well. 
Are you an editorial agent? 

Yes, I'm a very hands-on agent. 
Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, or any other vices? 

Don't judge me, but soda, chocolate and french fries. They are my weakness!
What advice do you have for writers getting ready to query you? 

Just press SEND. Take a risk and believe in yourself. 

What genres are you drawn to most? 

Romance - I am a sucker for all things romance. 
Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability? 

Hmm this is a tricky one. I absolutely need an emotional connection with the characters in order to get invested in a book. That emotional connection is what usually hooks me. And although marketability is extremely important, I think I will have to say that having an emotional connection is more crucial, for me at least.
Why did you become an agent? 

I absolutely adore all things books. I love reading them and talking about them. So when I was given an opportunity to merge my legal background with my love for reading, it became a dream come true. I love the fact that I get to help authors achieve their dreams as well. 

You can find Kimberly on Twitter (@KimberlyBrower) or Goodreads