Tuesday, March 31, 2015

13 Preview: The Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt and a COMPULSION for Reading Giveaway

Hey, guys!

Are you ready for some fun? I'm participating in the Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt from noon PACIFIC time on April 2nd to noon PACIFIC time on April 5th. 

The hunt is HUGE this year, so there will be eight different teams. I'm going to be on #TeamBlue, but you can play every team for more chances to win! 

If you've never played before, it's like a giant blog hop, introducing you to new YA authors and books at every stop. There are tons of prizes including a grand prize for each team. If you win one of the grand prizes you will get a book from each author on that team! For more information and to make sure you get hunt updates, sign up for news on the #YASH website. 

Not only will I be hiding an exclusive never-before-revealed sneak peek of COMPULSION, but I will also be giving away a signed hardcover and an ARC of PERSUASION, book two in the series for part of the Blue Team prize. 

Starting today, here on Adventures, I'll also be giving away a Tiffany-style "key" necklace like Barrie wears, an "I have a compulsion for reading" tote bag, and ten "I have a compulsion for reading" bumper stickers. You don't want to miss out on this fabulous and fun event, but play fast because the hunt is only live for three short days!

Ready? Here are the teams! (Hint: If you click on the image you can get a close up)

Blue Team 1 Pink TeamTeam Gold (2)Team Purple 1Team GreenTeam Red 1Team Teal (2)
Team Orange


I hope you are all as excited as I am!
THE HUNT BEGINS 4/2/15!

Today's Bonus Giveaway




a Rafflecopter giveaway

SOUND OFF! 

What book first started your compulsion for reading?

Monday, March 30, 2015

7 Win WHAT WAITS IN THE WOODS by Kieran Scott Plus New YA Releases 3/30 - 4/5 with Author Interviews

This week we're giving away WHAT WAITS IN THE WOODS by Kieran Scott. And there are so many other great books releasing this week. Which ones are destined for the top of your 'to be read' pile? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Martina, Jan, Shelly, Susan, Lisa, and Erin


YA BOOK GIVEAWAY THIS WEEK


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What Waits in the Woods
by Kieran Scott
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Point
Released 3/31/2015

Seeing things. You were just seeing things.

For city girl Callie Velasquez, nothing sounds more terrifying than a night out in the wilderness. But, wanting to bond with her popular new friends, Lissa and Penelope, she agrees to join them on a camping trip. At least Callie's sweet new boyfriend, Jeremy, will be coming too.

But nothing goes as planned. The group loses half their food supply. Then they lose their way. And with strange sounds all around her--the snap of a twig, a sinister laugh--Callie wonders if she's losing her mind.

Tensions swirl among the group, with dark secrets suddenly revealed. And then, things take a fatal turn: Callie stumbles upon a cold dead body in the woods.

Is the murderer close by, watching them? Callie has to figure out where she can turn and who she can trust, before her own life is at stake.

Kieran Scott weaves a thrilling mystery that explores love, loyalty--and the dangerous decisions we make in order to survive.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about What Waits in the Woods?

I'd have to say the cliffhangers. WHAT WAITS IN THE WOODS is a thriller/mystery, which means there are plenty of opportunities to totally freak out readers. It's always more satisfying to drop a bomb at the end of a chapter that makes people keep reading! There's nothing I love more than a good cliffhanger at the end of a book or a TV show, so to be able to write one for almost every chapter was so much fun. I hope the readers enjoy it!

Purchase What Waits in the Woods at Amazon
Purchase What Waits in the Woods at IndieBound
View What Waits in the Woods on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


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Boarding School Girls
by Helen Eve
Hardcover
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 3/24/2015

Winner - Susan Terendy

Siena, older sister to Stella, battles to fulfill her mother's vicarious ambitions and to retain her place at Temperley High's social epicentre.

Worshipped, envied, desired, and feared by all, Siena Hamilton reigns over Temperley High, the embodiment of the Hamilton legacy. She and the Starlets may still be healing from the unfortunate and horrible events of that night, at the end of last year, but nothing can shake her place as the head of Temperley’s elite any longer. The Starlets are nothing if not adept at dealing with traitors, and Siena is her mother's daughter: she knows how to be perfect, and she will not disappoint. There is only one person who could possibly get in her way…

Romy, former Starlet, is back—back from a mutually-agreed-upon term away, in France—and no one is happy about it, least of all herself. She's changed now, though. She's trying harder to be normal, to dress appropriately, to blend in, to keep her head down and keep the secret of what really happened that night safe and hidden. But when your former best friends are untouchable, and you've betrayed them, you don't just get to come back—even if you're beginning to think they might not have been your friends in the first place.

In this prequel to Helen Eve's first novel Stella, revenge runs deep, old wounds break open, and the past can never, never be outrun.

Purchase Boarding School Girls at Amazon
Purchase Boarding School Girls at IndieBound
View Boarding School Girls on Goodreads

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Guardians
by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 3/24/2015

Winner - Carl Scott

This heart-pounding final book in the Wasteland trilogy is filled with dramatic twists and turns!

No one dares leave the District—the towering structure of glass and steel that is their protection against the unruly bands of Outsiders that roam Mundreel and the deadly rain that carries the disease that kills all over the age of nineteen.

This skyscraper stands amid the urban devastation, the city rumored to have once been called “Montreal.” Esther and her allies have created a haven on the rooftop, a garden that flourishes, and a home for her new baby, hidden from all but the very few who know her secret.

But as Gideon’s power grows and factions form, an unlikely leader learns to control every action of the District’s people. As the ultimate darkness is born from greed, Esther must find a way to save the citizens from themselves.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Guardians?

Susan: I have to say, while we’ve had a bunch of pretty nasty villains in the first two books, I really love the bad guys in GUARDIANS. Gideon and Saith are different from each other in many ways: he’s a cool and logical teenaged boy and she’s an emotionally manipulative little girl. In fact, he doesn’t even take her seriously at first. But both of them are ruthless and actually pretty brilliant, despite their differences; and even though they don’t really like each other, they recognize that together, they can be an unstoppable team, exploiting the fears and weaknesses of others. They’re even capable of sizing up Esther and nearly bringing her to her knees… but not quite!

Laurence: Of course, I agree about the villains, because their parts are juicy and entertaining. At the same time, I like that we were able to show Esther “doing good” while still keeping her a flawed and recognizable human being, as she has been all along. To show someone trying to help others and not be an ideal or a cliché is a challenge. I’m glad that we gave equal weight to the light and dark parts of the story, and that we kept the light parts from getting too sappy and the dark from getting too ugly. It’s a balance, as it is in life.


Purchase Guardians at Amazon
Purchase Guardians at IndieBound
View Guardians on Goodreads

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Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You
by Todd Hasak-Lowy
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 3/24/2015

Winner - Rosi Hollinbeck

A heartfelt, humorous story of a teen boy’s impulsive road trip after the shock of his lifetime—told entirely in lists!

Darren hasn't had an easy year.

There was his parents’ divorce, which just so happened to come at the same time his older brother Nate left for college and his longtime best friend moved away. And of course there’s the whole not having a girlfriend thing.

Then one Thursday morning Darren's dad shows up at his house at 6 a.m. with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world inside out. In full freakout mode, Darren, in a totally un-Darren move, ditches school to go visit Nate. Barely twenty-four hours at Nate’s school makes everything much better or much worse—Darren has no idea. It might somehow be both. All he knows for sure is that in addition to trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere but then totally disappeared.

Told entirely in lists, Todd Hasak-Lowy's debut YA novel perfectly captures why having anything to do with anyone, including yourself, is:

1. painful
2. unavoidable
3. ridiculously complicated
4. possibly, hopefully the right thing after all.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You?

So this is an unusual book, in that the entire thing is written in lists. Which is how I wrote it from the beginning. And that was a lot of fun for me, especially early on. In many ways it was my main focus during the first draft (Okay that list is done, what list should be next?). I wanted to know--after stumbling upon the technique: Is it possible to write an entire novel in lists?

Well, the answered turned out to be "yes." What was less obvious was the answer to a more crucial question: Is it possible to write a good novel in lists? Or to be more specific: Is it possible to write this kind of unconventional novel and still tell an engaging story populated by characters that feel real? It took a while (about seven substantive drafts) until I got to the point where I could answer that second question in the affirmative. And so that's my favorite thing about this book, it tells a story in a highly unusual way, but not at the expense of the story itself. Just the opposite, in fact, as I like to think many readers will find that the reading experience changes their ideas about the possibilities of otherwise "realistic" YA fiction.


Purchase Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You at Amazon
Purchase Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You at IndieBound
View Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You on Goodreads

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The Tightrope Walkers
by David Almond
Hardcover
Candlewick
Released 3/24/2015

Winner - Gloria Chao

International award winner David Almond draws on memories of his early years in Tyneside, England, for a moving coming-of-age novel, masterfully told.

A gentle visionary coming of age in the shadow of the shipyards of northern England, Dominic Hall is torn between extremes. On the one hand, he craves the freedom he feels when he steals away with the eccentric girl artist next door, Holly Stroud—his first and abiding love—to balance above the earth on a makeshift tightrope. With Holly, Dom dreams of a life different in every way from his shipbuilder dad’s, a life fashioned of words and images and story. On the other hand, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the brutal charms of Vincent McAlinden, a complex bully who awakens something wild and reckless and killing in Dom. In a raw and beautifully crafted bildungsroman, David Almond reveals the rich inner world of a boy teetering on the edge of manhood, a boy so curious and open to impulse that we fear for him and question his balance—and ultimately exult in his triumphs.

Purchase The Tightrope Walkers at Amazon
Purchase The Tightrope Walkers at IndieBound
View The Tightrope Walkers on Goodreads

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Things I'll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves
by Ann Angel
Hardcover
Candlewick
Released 3/24/2015

Winner - Kristen Noel

Fifteen top young-adult authors let us in on provocative secrets in a fascinating collection that will have readers talking.

A baby no one knows about. A dangerous hidden identity. Off-limits hookups. A parent whose problems your friends won’t understand. Everyone keeps secrets—from themselves, from their families, from their friends—and secrets have a habit of shaping the lives around them. Acclaimed author Ann Angel brings together some of today’s most gifted YA authors to explore, in a variety of genres, the nature of secrets: Do they make you stronger or weaker? Do they alter your world when revealed? Do they divide your life into what you'll tell and what you won't? The one thing these diverse stories share is a glimpse into the secret self we all keep hidden.

With stories by:
Ann Angel
Kerry Cohen
Louise Hawes
Varian Johnson
Erica L. Kaufman
Ron Koertge
E. M. Kokie
Chris Lynch
Kekla Magoon
Zoë Marriott
Katy Moran
J. L. Powers
Mary Ann Rodman
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Ellen Wittlinger

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Things I'll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves?

My favorite thing about the book is the diversity of the stories and the way they demonstrate that some secrets define a character, and some determine who the characters believes they are or who they will become. But I also am so totally in love with the art on this book's cover that the first time I saw it, my reaction was to get totally teary.

Purchase Things I'll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves at Amazon
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View Things I'll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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Solitaire
by Alice Oseman
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 3/31/2015

In Solitaire, Alice Oseman has brought to life a vivid, clever, and heartfelt portrayal of what it's like to be a teenager today. This stunning debut novel—which the Times (London) called "The Catcher in the Rye for the digital age"—is perfect for fans of Melina Marchetta, Stephen Chbosky, and Rainbow Rowell.

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year—before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of exams and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people—I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that's all over now.

Now there's Solitaire. And Michael Holden. I don't know what Solitaire is trying to do, and I don't care about Michael Holden. I really don't.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Solitaire?

My favourite thing about Solitaire is the characters! I love them all. They're all my children. Is that weird? I don't care.

Purchase Solitaire at Amazon
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View Solitaire on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Black Dove, White Raven
by Elizabeth Wein
Hardcover
Disney-Hyperion
Released 3/31/2015

A new historical thriller masterpiece from New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Elizabeth Wein

Emilia and Teo's lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo's mother died immediately, but Em's survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother's wishes-in a place where he won't be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat.

Seeking a home where her children won't be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall or their salvation?

In the tradition of her award-winning and bestselling Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein brings us another thrilling and deeply affecting novel that explores the bonds of friendship, the resilience of young pilots, and the strength of the human spirit.

Purchase Black Dove, White Raven at Amazon
Purchase Black Dove, White Raven at IndieBound
View Black Dove, White Raven on Goodreads

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Etherworld
by Claudia Gabel, Cheryl Klam
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 3/31/2015

In this sequel to Elusion, three teens fight a virtual reality program that threatens to destroy their minds. Dangerous secrets and lies add up to a thrilling futuristic fantasy with an Inception-inspired twist.


Elusion was hailed as an exciting leap in technology—until users began to disappear amid rumors of addiction. Regan’s search for the truth led her and her new love interest, Josh, to Etherworld. Etherworld is a dimension hidden deep beyond Elusion's firewall, where players can hide, and ultimately fight back. Regan's father and others are here working to destroy Etherworld, but the longer they stay the less likely they'll be able to return to the real world alive.

Escape means attacking Elusion from within the program. It's dangerous and it’s a puzzle. And even if they manage it, how will they be able to stop Orexis from distributing Elusion to the masses when the people who run it are corrupt?

Purchase Etherworld at Amazon
Purchase Etherworld at IndieBound
View Etherworld on Goodreads

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Instinct
by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Hardcover
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 3/31/2015

Zombies, demons, vampires, shapeshifters--another day in the life of Nick Gautier--and those are just his friends. But now that he's accepted the demon that lives inside him, he must learn to control it and temper the very emotions that threaten the lives of everyone he cares for. Something that's hard to do while trying to stay off the menus of those who want his head on a platter. And no one wants him more than the dark gods who created his race. Now that they know where he is, they will stop at nothing to reclaim him. And without knowing it, Nick has just embraced the one person he should never have trusted. The one person who will hand him over to his enemies to get back the life they lost.

Nick has finally accepted his fate, now he must learn to defy his destiny, and the dark, deadly forces that will stop at nothing to destroy everyone he loves so that they can again return to the world of man and own it, in the next Chronicles of Nick novel, Instinct, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Purchase Instinct at Amazon
Purchase Instinct at IndieBound
View Instinct on Goodreads

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King
by Ellen Oh
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 3/31/2015

Girl warrior, demon slayer, Tiger spirit of the Yellow Eyes—Kira is ready for her final quest. In this thrilling finale to the Prophecy trilogy, fans will get even more of the fierce Kira and her quest to save her kingdom!

All eyes are on her. Kira, once an outcast in her home village of Hansong, is now the only one with the power to save her kingdom. She must save her cousin, the boy fated to be the future king, uncover the third lost treasure, and face innumerable enemies in order to fulfill the famed prophecy.

Kira braves a sea of tigers and battles armies of demons as she musters her inner strength and learns to trust herself, the romantic feelings for Jaewon that are growing within her, and the destiny that must be hers.

Purchase King at Amazon
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View King on Goodreads

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Playing a Part
by Daria Wilke
Hardcover
Arthur A. Levine Books; Tra edition
Released 3/31/2015

In June 2013, the Russian government passed laws prohibiting "gay propaganda," threatening jail time and fines to offenders. That same month, in spite of these harsh laws, a Russian publisher released Playing a Part, a young adult novel with openly gay characters. It was a brave, bold act, and now this groundbreaking story has been translated for American readers.

In Playing a Part, Grisha adores everything about the Moscow puppet theater where his parents work, and spends as much time there as he can. But life outside the theater is not so wonderful. The boys in Grisha's class bully him mercilessly, and his own grandfather says hateful things about how he's not "masculine" enough. Life goes from bad to worse when Grisha learns that Sam, his favorite actor and mentor, is moving: He's leaving the country to escape the extreme homophobia he faces in Russia.

How Grisha overcomes these trials and writes himself a new role in his own story is heartfelt, courageous, and hopeful.

Purchase Playing a Part at Amazon
Purchase Playing a Part at IndieBound
View Playing a Part on Goodreads

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The Cemetery Boys
by Heather Brewer
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 3/31/2015

Part Hitchcock, part Hinton, this first-ever stand-alone novel from Heather Brewer, New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, uses classic horror elements to tell a darkly funny coming-of-age story about the dangerous power of belief and the cost of blind loyalty.

When Stephen's dad says they're moving, Stephen knows it's pointless to argue. They're broke from paying Mom's hospital bills, and now the only option left is to live with Stephen's grandmother in Spencer, a backward small town that's like something out of The Twilight Zone. Population: 814.

Stephen's summer starts looking up when he meets punk girl Cara and her charismatic twin brother, Devon. With Cara, he feels safe and understood—and yeah, okay, she's totally hot. In Devon and his group, he sees a chance at making real friends. Only, as the summer presses on, and harmless nights hanging out in the cemetery take a darker turn, Stephen starts to suspect that Devon is less a friend than a leader. And he might be leading them to a very sinister end. . . .

Purchase The Cemetery Boys at Amazon
Purchase The Cemetery Boys at IndieBound
View The Cemetery Boys on Goodreads

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The Kidney Hypothetical: Or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days
by Lisa Yee
Hardcover
Arthur A. Levine Books
Released 3/31/2015

Lisa Yee gives us her most fascinating flawed genius since Millicent Min.

Higgs Boson Bing has seven days left before his perfect high school career is completed. Then it's on to Harvard to fulfill the fantasy portrait of success that he and his parents have cultivated for the past four years. Four years of academic achievement. Four years of debate championships. Two years of dating the most popular girl in school. It was, literally, everything his parents could have wanted. Everything they wanted for Higgs's older brother Jeffrey, in fact.

But something's not right. And when Higgs's girlfriend presents him with a seemingly innocent hypothetical question about whether or not he'd give her a kidney . . . the exposed fault lines reach straight down to the foundations of his life. . . .

Purchase The Kidney Hypothetical: Or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days at Amazon
Purchase The Kidney Hypothetical: Or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days at IndieBound
View The Kidney Hypothetical: Or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days on Goodreads

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The Start of Me and You
by Emery Lord
Hardcover
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Released 3/31/2015

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it's never too late for second chances.

It's been a year since it happened--when Paige Hancock's first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her--the perfect way to convince everyone she's back to normal. Next: Join a club--simple, it's high school after all. But when Ryan's sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Purchase The Start of Me and You at Amazon
Purchase The Start of Me and You at IndieBound
View The Start of Me and You on Goodreads

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The Wicked Will Rise
by Danielle Paige
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 3/31/2015

In this dark, high-octane sequel to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die, Amy Gumm must do everything in her power to kill Dorothy and free Oz.

To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage, and then Dorothy must die....

But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy’s only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she’s only just scratched the surface of Oz’s past—and that Kansas, the home she couldn't wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust—and who is really Wicked?

Purchase The Wicked Will Rise at Amazon
Purchase The Wicked Will Rise at IndieBound
View The Wicked Will Rise on Goodreads

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The World Within: A Novel of Emily Brontë
by Jane Eagland
Hardcover
Arthur A. Levine Books
Released 3/31/2015

The most mysterious Bronte sister steps into the light in this must-read novel for fans of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.

Emily Bronte loves her sisters, responsible Charlotte and quiet Anne, and her brother, tempestuous Branwell. She loves the moors that stretch all around the little village of Haworth, and wandering over them in the worst of weather. And she loves most of all the writing that brings all these things together, as she and her siblings create vast kingdoms and vivid adventures that take them deep into their imaginations.

But change is coming to Haworth, as their father falls ill and the girls must learn how to support themselves. How can Emily preserve both what she loves, and herself, and find her way into the future?

From the award-winning author of Wildthorn, the story of a young writer finding her voice, and a window into the mind of the beloved but mysterious Emily Bronte.

Purchase The World Within: A Novel of Emily Brontë at Amazon
Purchase The World Within: A Novel of Emily Brontë at IndieBound
View The World Within: A Novel of Emily Brontë on Goodreads

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Twist
by Karen Akins
Hardcover
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 3/31/2015

The unbelievably thrilling sequel to the time-travel YA novel Loop.

Bree Bennis finally has it all—a non-comatose mother, an uber-hot (albeit anachronistic) boyfriend named Finn, and a newfound mission to protect the timeline from those who would skew it for their own gain. But when she leans over one day to smooch said boyfriend, her lips meet those of her arch-nemesis Wyck instead. The timeline has been altered, and Bree is caught in the crosshairs. But when she goes back to repair the damage, she is stopped by none other than her Future Self, who delivers an urgent message: Someone is kidnapping Shifters from the distant past. It’s up to Bree to stop them. But first, she has to figure out who…and why.

To follow the trail of chronocrumbs, Bree reluctantly accepts her new undercover gig as Wyck’s girlfriend. Everything goes spiffy until Finn shows up in the 23rd century on the eager arm of a gorgeous fellow Shifter. Blark. Even as Bree struggles with jealousy, she battles the nagging dread that Finn might be better off with someone less chronologically complicated. Her worst fear is confirmed when Finn becomes the kidnapper’s next victim. As Bree zeroes in on the culprit, they unravel her life one timeline-change at a time. She realizes that she alone has the power to save herself and everyone she loves. But to do that, she may lose Finn forever.

Purchase Twist at Amazon
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View Twist on Goodreads


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Sunday, March 29, 2015

1 Tommy Wallach, author of WE ALL LOOKED UP, on being utterly captivated by an idea

We're thrilled to have Tommy Wallach stop by to tell us more about his debut novel WE ALL LOOKED UP.

Tommy, how long did you work on WE ALL LOOKED UP?

The first draft of WALU came together surprisingly quickly. I was living in a small town in Spain after getting kicked out of England (long story), and I was in the middle of trying to write another book (for adults, actually). I had the idea for WALU, and it utterly captivated me. I sat down just to write down the vague outline of it, so I could work on it when I was finished with the other book, and it totally took over my life. I think I had a finished draft in 3 or 4 months. Then, once the book was picked up by an agent, I worked another 3 months, replacing the faulty second half. At that point, the book went out to publishers. After S&S bought it, they had a lot of thoughts, and I ended up replacing the second half all over again, which probably took another 3-4 months. Then you're looking at another 6 weeks of work doing a few rounds of copy edits over the course of about a year.

What do you hope readers will take away from WE ALL LOOKED UP?

At the risk of sound grandiose, what I hope readers take away from WALU is what people take away from all great books, whatever shelf they're on in the library: a shared experience that deepens their understanding of themselves, the people around them, and their place and role in the universe. Also, a powerful urge to buy me a cupcake.

What are you working on now?

My next book is scheduled to come out about a year after We All Looked Up, though it isn't in any way a sequel. It's called Thanks for the Trouble, and it's a love story that takes place over a single weekend. The protagonist doesn't speak (and I swear I didn't even know about Laurie Halse Anderson's book when I came up with my concept!), and his love interest is two hundred and fifty years old, but she looks like a teenager. It takes a lot from "Let the Right One In," only without vampires. I don't do vampires.

ABOUT THE BOOK

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Released 3/24/2015

Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel. They always say that high school is the best time of your life.

Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle—and her reputation—and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career—the future can wait.

Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors—along with the rest of the planet—wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present.

Purchase We All Looked Up at Amazon Purchase We All Looked Up at IndieBound
View We All Looked Up on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tommy WallachTommy Wallach is a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and novelist. His fiction and nonfiction works have appeared in McSweeney’s, Tin House, Wired, Salon, and other magazines. As a musician, he has put out an EP with Decca Records and performed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. We All Looked Up is his debut novel. Read, hear, and stalk him at TommyWallach.com.







Note from the formatter: Hello lovely blog readers, I hope you enjoyed this interview! I had the awesome pleasure to read We All Looked Up before it hits the shelves and let me tell you, it's amazing! Keep an eye out for this upcoming release!
-Shelly


Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Martina, Jan, Shelly, Susan, Lisa, and Erin

1 Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan, authors of GUARDIANS, on writing as a team

We're excited to have both Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan join us to share more about writing GUARDIANS, the final novel in their Wasteland trilogy.

Since you wrote this trilogy together, what’s your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

Laurence: Because Susan and I wrote this as a team, it’s different from when each of us writes something alone. We outline together, then divvy up sections for each to write separately, then switch and re-write each other’s stuff. By the end, we go over the whole thing together, word for word. At the start of the series, it was tough, with some screaming and crying (mostly by me), but by the end, we had it down. I think the fact that we’re still together as a couple is our greatest achievement. But I digress. We each work at home in different apartments, even though we’re married. I find listening to music while doing anything slows me down, even if it’s something as boring as cleaning the apartment.

Susan: My writing ritual isn’t romantic at all. I mean, like, at all. When I was first starting out, I didn’t have a desk and used to balance my keyboard across my underwear drawer. Now that I have a desk, though, I never use it. I usually end up reclining on my bed, surrounded by squalor, laundry, and cats, and occasionally stopping to make myself coffee or oatmeal or to blow cat fur off my keyboard. I’m the same as Laurence with music—I can’t listen to anything. Although I spend literally hours at my computer every day, I spend way too much time noodling around Facebook, various websites, and email. When I feel absolutely blocked and cranky and full of self-pity, I go down to the little gym in my building and jump rope. Then it’s back to my laptop and cats.

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

Laurence: Again, the road that Susan and I have taken as a team is different from the ones we’ve taken as individuals. This series came together fast, since interest in dystopian fiction was high when we sold it. But the graphic novels we published before this—City of Spies and Brain Camp—started out as screenplays and took five years to come out as books. In my own work, I’ve churned out plays, novels and short stories, and had published or produced about 30% of them. It’s an ongoing struggle for survival in the dystopian wasteland of entertainment, too.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud?

Susan: There’s one scene that wasn’t so much hard to write as in words-not-coming as it was painful, and that’s the scene in which Eli commits a terrible act of violence. Laurence and I always liked Eli: he’s not a bad person, but a weak one. He’s also one of Esther’s oldest friends and of course, has always been in love with her. Despite her fondness for him, however, Esther chooses first Caleb, and then Aras to be her partner… and the repeated rejection turns Eli bitter. He begins to hero-worship the tough and cool Gideon, who sees in him a willing henchman. It becomes easy for Eli to convince himself that all he has to do is do what Gideon wants, and he’ll be happy. But the crime he commits is ugly and sordid, not heroic at all; and Eli finds he is psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually damned as a result.

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

Susan: The single most important thing is to read a lot, including genres you wouldn’t think you’d like. Browse through books online and in bookstores, read readers’ comments, then plunge up and sample as much as you can. Also, get into the habit of writing. Clearing away a single hour first thing every morning or late at night is a huge first step; even if you don’t write anything, making yourself sit there with paper and pen or your computer gets you started. Then find sympathetic friends, give each other support, don’t be too hard on yourself… and then get back to it every day.

Laurence: I’d never be presumptuous enough to give advice to anyone. But I always tell myself: write something everyday; set reasonable goals, so you feel you’ve achieved something and you’ll be encouraged to continue; and be honest with yourself about what’s good/sucks in your work. There’s also an old expression: never eat at a place called Mom’s, never play cards with a man named Doc, and never go out with someone whose troubles are worse than yours.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Guardians
by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 3/24/2015

This heart-pounding final book in the Wasteland trilogy is filled with dramatic twists and turns!

No one dares leave the District—the towering structure of glass and steel that is their protection against the unruly bands of Outsiders that roam Mundreel and the deadly rain that carries the disease that kills all over the age of nineteen.

This skyscraper stands amid the urban devastation, the city rumored to have once been called “Montreal.” Esther and her allies have created a haven on the rooftop, a garden that flourishes, and a home for her new baby, hidden from all but the very few who know her secret.

But as Gideon’s power grows and factions form, an unlikely leader learns to control every action of the District’s people. As the ultimate darkness is born from greed, Esther must find a way to save the citizens from themselves.

Purchase Guardians at Amazon
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View Guardians on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHORS


Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan cowrote the graphic novels City of Spies and Brain Camp.

Susan is also a five-time Emmy nominee for her work in children's television and a Writers Guild Award winner for best documentary. She wrote the stage adaptation of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, teaches writing at Goddard College, and is a blogger for the Huffington Post. When she was growing up, her family moved a lot, and the combination of being a) shy, b) the constant new kid, and c) the only Asian meant she was often picked on. In Guardians, she explores her thoughts and feelings about not just bullies but how others deal with them . . . and learn to stand up for themselves.


Laurence has also written the novels The Cutting Room, The Shooting Script, and the Edgar Award-winning Mrs. White and a short-story collection, The Family Unit and Other Fantasies. He received two Drama Desk nominations for the book and lyrics to Bed and Sofa, a musical produced by New York's Vineyard Theatre. Laurence was the baby in his family, the youngest of four brothers; even his twin brother was two minutes older. He learned that having little expected of you can be a source of power. So does Esther in Guardians: she has to finally accept being a leader of people before it's too late. She is sixteen, after all.

0 Ann Angel, editor of THINGS I'LL NEVER SAY: STORIES ABOUT OUR SECRET SELVES, on how secrets affect lives

THINGS I'LL NEVER SAY: STORIES ABOUT OUR SECRET SELVES is a collection of short stories written by fifteen talented YA authors, and we're delighted to have the editor Ann Angel here to tell us more about it.

Ann, what was your inspiration for putting together THINGS I'LL NEVER SAY: STORIES ABOUT OUR SECRET SELVES?

I've been volunteering to teach writing to heal and writing as testimony for Untold Stories, a free, two-day writing workshop held each autumn at Mount Mary University, for survivors or domestic violence and trafficking. In working with survivors, I became aware of how these men and women come into the initial healing workshops with such deep secrets that they're practically voiceless. As they move into Untold Stories to write their stories as testimony, they're so empowered by the stories. In seeing these dramatic changes, I wanted to create an anthology for teens that helped them to look at the role secrets play in the lives of fictional characters and also recognize how secrets might affect their own lives.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

This is a collection of short stories from a variety of writers so the stories are diverse and depict such a wide range of events on the theme of secrets.  I loved each story for different reasons. For my own story, "We Were Together," I loved the struggle of writing about a teen boy who loves girls way too much, a boy who's loveable even if he's being a jerk. The toughest and best scene to write was when he has a moment where he can make a decision to own up to his responsibility to the girls in his life or begin to slide down that slippery slope of becoming a predator.

What do you hope readers will take away from THINGS I'LL NEVER SAY: STORIES ABOUT OUR SECRET SELVES?

I hope readers become more aware of their own secrets and I hope they determine when the weight of a secret might mean it's time to let it go, that it's time to speak up for their own lives and selves.

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 have a computer full of novels in various stages of development. More than a few have been ready to go out into the world but I haven't had time to do anything about them because of my teaching schedule and the biographies I write as well as the anthologies I've worked on.

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

This is so, so, so cliché, but I'm going to say it anyway: Read constantly, read everything you can, and write everyday even if some days you're just writing a grocery list. You can only be a writer if you write, you can only be a solid or good writer if you read.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a contemporary realistic YA novel that reflects the myth of Pan and Echo -- hhmm. Do you think the idea that secrets keep victims voiceless played into the idea that a teen might wake up one day and discover she can only mirror what she hears?

ABOUT THE BOOK

Things I'll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves
by Ann Angel
Hardcover
Candlewick
Released 3/24/2015

Fifteen top young-adult authors let us in on provocative secrets in a fascinating collection that will have readers talking.

A baby no one knows about. A dangerous hidden identity. Off-limits hookups. A parent whose problems your friends won’t understand. Everyone keeps secrets—from themselves, from their families, from their friends—and secrets have a habit of shaping the lives around them. Acclaimed author Ann Angel brings together some of today’s most gifted YA authors to explore, in a variety of genres, the nature of secrets: Do they make you stronger or weaker? Do they alter your world when revealed? Do they divide your life into what you'll tell and what you won't? The one thing these diverse stories share is a glimpse into the secret self we all keep hidden.

With stories by:
Ann Angel
Kerry Cohen
Louise Hawes
Varian Johnson
Erica l. kaufman
Ron Koertge
E. M. Kokie
Chris Lynch
Kekla Magoon
Zoë Marriott
Katy Moran
J. L. Powers
Mary Ann Rodman
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Ellen Wittlinger

Purchase Things I'll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves at Amazon
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View Things I'll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ann AngelAnn Angel considers it her good fortune that she discovered the music of Janis Joplin as a bookish teen who would rather paint or write bad poetry. That fan-crush led to writing the biography, Janis Joplin, Rise Up Singing (Abrams 2010), winner of the American Library Associations' 2010 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award. The book also made Booklist's 2011 Top Ten Biographies for Youth and the 2011 Top Ten Arts Books list. It is a 2011 CCBC Choice Book and received an SCBWI Crystal Kite Award and more. Angel is also a writer of young adult fiction and nonfiction with critically acclaimed books that include Such A Pretty Face: Short Stories about Beauty (Abrams, 2007), Robert Cormier: Writer of the Chocolate War (Enslow, 2007). A biography of Amy Tan, Weaver of Asian American Tales was released by Enslow in 2009, and a student's guide to Sandra Cisneros in 2010. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies including, Flash Forward Youth: 65 Short-Short Stories (Persea Book, 2011). Coming in September 2013, Adopted Like Me, My Book of Adoption Heroes (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, UK). Works in progress include young adult novels, a book on trafficking in the United States and more short stories.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

2 Paula Stokes, author of LIARS, INC., on channeling your negative emotions

We're excited to have Paula Stokes stop by to talk about her latest novel LIARS, INC.

Paula, how long did you work on LIARS, INC.?

I got the idea for the manuscript in mid-2010, but let things marinate while I wrote Venom and The Art of Lainey. I started writing Liars, Inc. in fall of 2011 and finished in early 2012. Depending on how many other jobs I'm working, it usually takes me two to four months to draft a book and another two to four months to revise it.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

People who enjoy male POV books like Anna Dressed in Blood, the Curse Workers trilogy, or the I Hunt Killers series will probably like spending a few hours in Max's head. He is very much a "guy's guy," like Cas or Cassel, minus their powers. If you read a lot of murder mysteries and liked stuff like Gone Girl, TEN, or Dangerous Boys, I think you'll enjoy the whodunit aspect of the book. [Spoiler: it was ME! :D]

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

This is the best question ever because LIARS taught me some hard lessons about how I need to write.

Lesson #1: Use time wisely.
I waited about nine months for an edit letter, which is pretty standard for me, but during that time I worked on other projects and didn't give LIARS much thought. When my letter arrived, I had just moved to Portland and was orienting full-time at a new job. I was so bogged down with errands and extra training that I ended up working 80+ hours a week between my day job and revising for a full month. Add to that I decided to completely rewrite the ending, and the resulting manuscript was kind of a wreck. My lovely editor gave me three weeks for copy-edits but instead of spending all of that time fixing the problems I had introduced into the story, I spent half of it writing a proposal for another project. Bad Paula! Consequently, my ARC wasn't as tight as I wanted and I inconvenienced everyone by requesting over a hundred changes to it after typesetting.

I've waited about the same amount of time for my VICARIOUS letter, but this time I have re-read the MS several times, written a self edit letter highlighting changes I want to make, organized all my notes in a special folder, and created a detailed outline for the second book in the duology so I can make sure everything I need for book #2 is included in book #1--preferably before we go to copy-edits.

Lesson #2: Read aloud to fix prose and read silently to fix plot issues.
I spent most of my copy-edit time reading aloud to catch repeated words or awkward passages and missed some basic plot and continuity issues that I feel like I would have caught if I'd been reading silently. Next time I will be sure to review both silently and aloud at the copy-edits and first-pass pages (final revision) stages.


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 have two drawer novels, one of which will stay forever buried and one of which I'm going to retool into an adult novel. My publication path was unusual because my first books were work-for-hire, but since then I've gone from a paperback to a hardcover to dual publishers and next I hope to branch out into multiple age groups. It's been a lot of work, but my path feels like a "work your way up" progression, which is ideal for my personality.

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

So many things. It's okay to feel sad and stressed and frustrated and bitter with envy. All of these feelings are human and uncontrollable. It's what you do with your negative emotions that matters. Try to channel them to work harder. Always strive to be better. Realize that you will be judged, sometimes harshly, sometimes unfairly. But never give your negative reviews more credence or weight than your positive ones--to do that is like saying your fans don't matter, and in the end they're the ones who decide if you get to stay in this business. Don't quit. Or if you do quit, make that choice because it's what's right for you, not anyone else. Read. Read more. Take a break. Finally, never forget why you started writing in the first place.

What are you working on now?

I'm finishing up an NA book that I'm hoping to sell later this year. Then I have two sets of edits to do for my 2016 books (VICARIOUS and BAD LUCK CHARM) and two more manuscripts to draft for my 2017 books. Basically it's going to be a busy year, but when you're a writer that's always a good thing :)

ABOUT THE BOOK

Liars, Inc.
by Paula Stokes
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 3/24/2015

For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV's How to Get Away with Murder.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called "Captivating to the very end," Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

Purchase Liars, Inc. at Amazon
Purchase Liars, Inc. at IndieBound
View Liars, Inc. on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paula Stokes writes stories about flawed characters with good hearts who sometimes make bad decisions. She’s the author of THE ART OF LAINEY, INFINITE REPEAT, LIARS INC., and several other forthcoming YA novels. When she's not writing, she's kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. Paula loves interacting with readers. Find her online at authorpaulastokes.com or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.

0 Todd Hasak-Lowy, author of ME BEING ME IS EXACTLY AS INSANE AS YOU BEING YOU, on reading more than you write

We're thrilled to have Todd Hasak-Lowy join us to talk about his novel with the insanely long title ME BEING ME IS EXACTLY AS INSANE AS YOU BEING YOU.

Todd, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

Part of this novel involves an odd love story between Darren (the protagonist) and a girl named Zoey, who is mysterious and quiet.  Early on I thought of Zoey as a girl Darren is attracted to mostly as an idea, or at most as a girl he likes for reasons that are utterly unclear to him.  That kind of attraction felt real to me, but my editor (the awesome Liesa Abrams) convinced me that certain "real" things don't always translate so well on the page.  So I had to make his attraction (and their bond) a little more palpable.  But Zoey just wasn't going to contribute much in terms of direct conversation in order to make this happen.

So I came up with the idea (and like most good ideas, I don't know where it came from) to have her draw a very elaborate, very beautiful design on his forearm during a long bus ride they take together. This drawing appears in a long list titled "7 Instances of Physical Contact Involving Darren and Zoey That Take Place between Battle Creek and Ann Arbor," and I like to believe that this list/scene allows the reader to experience them sharing something non-verbal that nevertheless draws them together.
I'm not sure I'm most proud of this scene, but I'm grateful for it and the way it opened up other related possibilities later in the story (about the meaning of what she draws, about Zoey as an artist in general, etc.).

How long did you work on ME BEING ME IS EXACTLY AS INSANE AS YOU BEING YOU?

I wrote the first draft of this novel in 51 days.  I know because I always email myself whatever I'm writing at the end of each day in order to have a back-up.  The last significant changes to the manuscript were made over two years later.  I worked on other stuff in between, but overall it took way longer than I first expected.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

When I was younger, I always got super attached to first drafts of anything good.  I liked to believe that even if it had some flaws that these flaws were more than outweighed by the raw energy in the draft--and that the uniqueness of the draft might be lost if you tried to fix it. But this book taught me that with hard work and guidance and patience that it's possible to improve a manuscript with sapping it of its vitality.

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 was fortunate in that I wrote this with a publisher and editor in mind.  Indeed, Liesa more or less ordered that I write a YA novel (this was after she acquired a middle grade novel, then read my earlier work for regular adult readers, and told me I should write for YA).  So I knew this would have a home if it was any good.  But, as mentioned above, it took some time to make it good.

I published three books of fiction before this one.  Depending on how you count, I've written at least two book-length works that haven't yet been published.  One of them will hopefully find a home soon.  As for the rest, it is very much for the best that they remain buried on my hard drive.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

The AHA! moment was right at the beginning.  I started writing in list form simply because I was impatient and wanted to get a bunch of raw material for the story on the page before I forgot any of it. And very early on (the first or second day of writing) I realized: whoa, this is kind of cool, and super fun.

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

When I'm writing (which is more often than not, though sometimes other things get in the way), I write in the morning.  I always listen to music, and finding the right music for a given project is absolutely crucial.  I used to work in cafes, but now I prefer to work at home.

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

If you want to be a writer, there are two very basic things you must do.  Read and write.  And probably in that order.  The ratio of input (reading) to output (writing) should be--especially early on--something like 100:1.  Also, if you're going to write, write.  Talking about writing and agonizing about writing and telling people you're a writer, none of that's writing.  Writing is writing.

What are you working on now?

I'm in the middle of a YA love story.  I'm at that point in the project where a small and awful part of me wishes my two main characters could materialize into this world so I could run them over with my car (or, actually, a car much larger than my own).  It's part of the process, at least that's what I like to tell myself.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You
by Todd Hasak-Lowy
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 3/24/2015

A heartfelt, humorous story of a teen boy’s impulsive road trip after the shock of his lifetime—told entirely in lists!

Darren hasn't had an easy year.

There was his parents’ divorce, which just so happened to come at the same time his older brother Nate left for college and his longtime best friend moved away. And of course there’s the whole not having a girlfriend thing.

Then one Thursday morning Darren's dad shows up at his house at 6 a.m. with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world inside out. In full freakout mode, Darren, in a totally un-Darren move, ditches school to go visit Nate. Barely twenty-four hours at Nate’s school makes everything much better or much worse—Darren has no idea. It might somehow be both. All he knows for sure is that in addition to trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere but then totally disappeared.

Told entirely in lists, Todd Hasak-Lowy's debut YA novel perfectly captures why having anything to do with anyone, including yourself, is:

1. painful
2. unavoidable
3. ridiculously complicated
4. possibly, hopefully the right thing after all.

Purchase Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You at Amazon
Purchase Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You at IndieBound
View Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd Hasak-Lowy has published several books for adults. 33 Minutes was his first book for young readers and he made his YA debut with Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Evanston, Illinois.


0 Lydia Kang, author of CATALYST, on having the strength to fight for what's most important to you

We're delighted to have Lydia Kang join us to talk about CATALYST, her sequel to CONTROL.

Lydia, what did CATALYST teach you about writing or about yourself?

Well, I've never written a book series before, and I was really intimidated by writing a sequel and making sure I carried all the plot and character arcs to a satisfying conclusion, without letting go of the rising tension and energy of the story. I'm really proud of what I've accomplished, knowing that I was petrified of the process the whole time!

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 started seriously writing fiction in 2009. I wrote two and a half novels before I wrote CONTROL and CATALYST. Those early novels needed a lot of work, and I probably rewrote that second book three times before I shelved it. So all in all, it was a relatively quick road to publication, but I'd been dedicating my time to my first (and still current) career--practicing medicine. So I went through college, med school, residency, and a lot of years of doctoring before I took the plunge and started writing fiction. From that perspective--the journey has been really long!

What do you hope readers will take away from CATALYST?

I hope readers will feel that being a woman and a science geek are not mutually exclusive. That women don't need to dumb themselves down to be beautiful. And that no matter how imperfect you think you are--physically, especially--you still have the strength to fight for what's most important to you.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Catalyst
by Lydia Kang
Hardcover
Kathy Dawson Books
Released 3/24/2015

For fans of Uglies and The Maze Runner comes a complex, thrill-filled love story that will make you question exactly what it means to be human

In the past year Zel lost her father, the boy she loves, her safety, and any future she might have imagined for herself. Now she, her sister, and the band of genetic outcasts they've come to call their family are forced on the run when their safe house is attacked by men with neural guns. But on the way to a rumored haven in Chicago, Zel hears something--a whisper from Cy, the boy who traded himself for her sister's safety. And when she veers off plan in order to search for him, what she finds is not what she expected. There's more to their genetic mutations than they ever imagined...aspects that make them wonder if they might be accepted by the outside world after all.

Purchase Catalyst at Amazon
Purchase Catalyst at IndieBound
View Catalyst on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Friday, March 27, 2015

0 Free First Five Pages Workshop Opens on April 4!

The First Five Pages March Workshop has come to an end.  This talented group worked so hard on their revisions, and it showed! And they provided great feedback and support to each other, as well. A big thanks to our guest mentor, Patricia Dunn and our guest agent mentor Kimberly Brower, who both gave great comments and suggestions, and of course to all of our fabulous permanent mentors!  

Our April workshop will open for entries at noon, EST, on Saturday April 4, 2015. 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. I will post when it opens and closes right here, and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hasthag #1st5pages.

In addition to our talented permanent mentors, we have the wonderful Becca Puglisi as our guest mentor.  Becca has helped countless writers with her books, website and workshops. I always have her books with me when I write and revise, they are so helpful! And we have my agent, the lovely Amaryah Orenstein of GO Literary, as our guest agent mentor. Amaryah is an editorial agent with great insight and suggestions. So get those pages ready!

April Guest Mentor - Becca Puglisi
Becca Puglisi is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others. This is one of her reasons for writing The Emotion ThesaurusThe Positive Trait Thesaurus, and The Negative Trait Thesaurus. Her website, Writers Helping Writers, is a hub for all things description, offering tons of free resources to aid writers in their literary efforts. A member of SCBWI, she leads workshops at regional conferences and teaches webinars online.

April Guest Agent Mentor - Amaryah Orenstein
Amaryah Orenstein is the founder of GO Literary.  Amaryah has always loved to read and provide editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She is particularly drawn to narrative non-fiction and memoir but enjoys any book that connects the reader to its characters and evokes thought and feeling. Amaryah began her career at the Laura Gross Literary Agency in 2009 and, prior to that, she worked as an Editorial Assistant at various academic research foundations.


0 Author Andrea Hannah Answers Questions on Ask a Pub Pro

Welcome to our monthly Ask a Pub Pro feature where a publishing professional answers readers and writers' questions regarding the stories they love or their work in progress. This month, Andrea Hannah, the critically acclaimed author of Of Scars and Stardust joins us to answer questions on insta-love, incorporating unusual elements, and writing high action.

We'd love to have you send in your questions for next month's column. Please send questions to AYAPLit AT gmail.com and put "Ask a Pub Pro Question" in the subject line. If your question is chosen, you'll get to include a link to your social media and a one to two sentence (think Tweet size) blurb of your WIP.

Come on! Get those questions in!

Author Andrea Hannah Answers Questions on "Ask a Pub Pro"


1) I've known a couple of writer friends who have designed unusual elements into their stories, elements they thought helped make the story fresh and unique. But then reviewers would complain that these elements were weird or poorly researched because they didn't understand it. Is it better to avoid any element that's not commonly known so that you don't throw the reader off? Or is this just a problem with some reviewers and not the general reading public? (asked by Sara from TX)

Andrea responds: You can’t write to avoid criticism. Trying to dodge critique will drive you bonkers and cause you to lose an important piece of yourself within your story. Also, where would we be without Harry Potter’s Polyjuice potion, or the Hunger Games’ tracker jackers? Fresh, unique elements are both fun and necessary in story-telling, and world-building would be a lot less fun without them.





That being said, everything in your story needs to have a purpose, one that can’t possibly be replaced by another element. Example: We need that Polyjuice potion in HP, because without it we lose the scene where Harry and Ron sneak into the Slytherin common room, which is critical to the overall narrative. We need those lethal tracker jackers in HG, because they are the catalyst that allow Katniss to get some leverage by grabbing the bow and arrow, and demonstrates Rue’s loyalty to her.


When you’re developing your unique elements, make sure to clearly establish the function and rules of those elements (Ex: we knew right off the bat that the Polyjuice potion had an expiration time) and that it’s clear within the narrative why those elements were essential to those characters, and that their choice to use or destroy them is in line with their character. And above all else, stay true to who your character is, the world they inhabit, and who you are as a writer.

2) I've heard writers say that in high intensity/high action scenes that you decrease the level of detail. I've also heard the opposite, that you should show more detail as if things are happening in slow motion. What do you think? (asked by Anonymous)
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Andrea responds: I think it’s a combination of both. Firstly, if you’re writing from a first person POV, that means you’re writing every scene as if we’re experiencing in real time, with your character. If your character is in the midst of kicking some butt, they probably aren’t stopping to notice the color of the sky or the flecks in their attacker’s eyes. It’s called mimic writing, and it’s where you mimic the actions of the writing through the length of your prose. High action usually means short, clipped sentences. Think of how you’d talk if you were out of breath.

But what really brings an action scene to life is the specific details you do choose to incorporate, not the amount. Choose your details carefully to convey as much about the scene as you can in a powerful way. The spots of blood dotting his chin. The crumpled patch of grass where his sword fell. Really be there, and observe the details in your scene. Then bring us with you!


3) I've heard a lot of people complaining about the insta-love in a lot of young adult books. Yet readers seems to really want the romance to heat up quickly. How do you incorporate the romance without making it insta-love? (asked by Renee in NC)

Andrea responds: I don’t think insta-love is the problem, especially since we’re writing about and for teens, and sometimes, this is how they fall in love (and adults, too)! I think readers are generally sick of feeling that insta-love is used as a plot device instead of an actual experience the character is going through. Look, people fall in love in all sorts of ways in all sorts of timeframes, and all are plausible. When you’re writing your characters, just make sure you know who they are, if it would make sense for them to have that kind of reaction to another human being, and stay true to that. Your readers will be able to feel the genuineness of your characters, and they’ll appreciate your writing for it.


About the Author:


Andrea Hannah lives in the Midwest, where there are plenty of dark nights and creepy cornfields as fodder for her next thriller. Her critically-acclaimed debut novel, Of Scars and Stardust, was published by Flux in October 2014. She graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in special education. When she’s not teaching or writing, she spends her time chasing her sweet children and ornery pug, running, and dreaming up her next adventure. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @andeehannah, and at www.andreahannah.com

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About the Book:


www.amazon.com/Of-Scars-Stardust-Andrea-Hannah/dp/0738740829/
After the attack that leaves her little sister, Ella, close to death in a snowy cornfield, Claire Graham is sent to live with her aunt in Manhattan to cope. But the guilt of letting Ella walk home alone that night still torments Claire, and she senses the violence that preyed on her sister hiding around every corner. Her shrink calls it a phobia. Claire calls it the truth.

When Ella vanishes two years later, Claire has no choice but to return to Amble, Ohio, and face her shattered family. Her one comfort is Ella’s diary, left in a place where only Claire could find it. Drawing on a series of cryptic entries, Claire tries to uncover the truth behind Ella’s attack and disappearance. But she soon realizes that not all lost things are meant to be found.


Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads



-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers