Monday, August 31, 2015

22 SIX New Release Giveaways, plus author interviews and what's new this week of 8/31

There are a whopping twenty-two new YA books releasing this week, and we have giveaways for six of them! Take a read over the week's offerings, and let us know what you're looking forward to reading in the comments!

Happy reading,
Lindsey, Martina, Sam, Jocelyn, Erin, Lisa, Shelly, Susan, Elizabeth, Kristin, Jen, Sandra and Anisaa

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK

Paper Hearts
by Meg Wiviott
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
International

Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released 9/1/2015

Amid the brutality of Auschwitz during the Holocaust, a forbidden gift helps two teenage girls find hope, friendship, and the will to live in this novel in verse that’s based on a true story.

An act of defiance.
A statement of hope.
A crime punishable by death.

Making a birthday card in Auschwitz was all of those things. But that is what Zlatka did, in 1944, for her best friend, Fania. She stole and bartered for paper and scissors, secretly creating an origami heart. Then she passed it to every girl at the work tables to sign with their hopes and wishes for happiness, for love, and most of all—for freedom.

Fania knew what that heart meant, for herself and all the other girls. And she kept it hidden, through the bitter days in the camp and through the death marches. She kept it always.

This novel is based on the true story of Fania and Zlatka, the story of the bond that helped them both to hope for the best in the face of the worst.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Paper Hearts?

My most favorite thing about PAPER HEARTS is that it is true.

Purchase Paper Hearts at Amazon
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The Body Institute
by Carol Riggs
Signed Paperback Giveaway
U.S. Only

Entangled: Teen
Released 9/1/2015

Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute.

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl's body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body--leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches...

For one, Morgan won't remember what happens in her "Loaner" body. Once she's done, she won't recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she's been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it's all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start...

Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan's mind. She's feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti-Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she'll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul...

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Body Institute?

I’m extremely fascinated by thoughts of “What would it be like, being someone else?” I mean LITERALLY, walking in their shoes. Would I act more like them if I lived their lives, saw the things they did, and experienced their struggles? Often we make assumptions about other people, and it’s intriguing to wonder if those assumptions would change, given the opportunity to become another person and live inside his or her skin. My main character, Morgan Dey, has exactly that opportunity. Her “brainmap” is downloaded into another teen in order to help that girl lose weight. What she discovers is the story of THE BODY INSTITUTE.

Purchase The Body Institute at Amazon
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Truest
by Jackie Lea Sommers
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Katherine Tegen Books
Released 9/1/2015

Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck's small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He's curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening--and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister--and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.

Truest is a stunning, addictive debut. Romantic, fun, tender, and satisfying, it asks as many questions as it answers.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Truest?

From beginning to end, my favorite thing about my novel has been Silas Hart—the goofy, curious, maddening young writer who moves into town and shakes up the narrator’s life. In fact, the entire story was built around him. In early 2012, I had this flash of insight that I was going about the whole writing thing wrong—so I set aside the two novels I’d been working on and started a new one by first creating a character whom I absolutely adored. That character was Silas, and that book is TRUEST. He’s the boy I wish I could have met when I was seventeen: brilliant, deep, romantic, and a total dork.

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The Shadow Behind the Stars
by Rebecca Hahn
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Released 9/1/2015

A girl’s dark destiny could cause the unraveling of the world in this spellbinding novel from the author of A Creature of Moonlight, which Kirkus Reviews called “cumulatively stunning” in a starred review.

Heed this warning, mortal: stay far away from the three sister Fates. For if they come to love you, they might bring about the end of the world…

Chloe is the youngest. Hers are the fingers that choose the wool, that shape the thread, that begin it. The sun smiles upon her. Men love her without knowing who she is. She has lived forever and will live forever more. She and her sisters have been on their isolated Greek island for centuries, longer than any mortal can remember. They spin, measure, and slice the countless golden threads of human life. They are the three Fates, and they have stayed separate for good reason: it is dangerous for them to become involved with the humans whose lives they shape.

So when a beautiful girl named Aglaia shows up on their doorstep, Chloe tries to make sure her sisters don’t become attached. But in seeking to protect them, Chloe discovers the dark power of Aglaia’s destiny. As her path unwinds, the three Fates find themselves pulled inextricably along—toward mortal pain, and mortal love, and a fate that could unravel the world.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Shadow Behind the Stars?

This is a difficult question! I feel as though I am much too close to the story to be able to pick one thing that I like better than all the other things. But since I have to choose . . . I’ll take the opportunity to discuss the main character’s (Chloe’s) relationship with the sun. In Greek mythology, the sun is a human-shaped god named Helios. THE SHADOW BEHIND THE STARS is inspired by Greek myths, but Chloe’s sun never descends to earth in human form or is even described explicitly as human-shaped. Nevertheless, he is personified in Chloe’s narration. She holds conversations with him and considers him a friend. For example, at the end of Part One, she says, “The sun reached down pale tendrils, gleaming at the ends of my hair, pulling me toward him, murmuring my name.”

I like their relationship because it shows the connection between the gods and nature: the sun in this story is absolutely a ball of fire in the sky, and he is also absolutely thinking and alive. Chloe and her sisters are the three Greek Fates, and the threads they spin form all human lives. So they are intimately connected with the mortal world and natural laws as well. Chloe loves nature, not only the sun but also the sea and the wind. Sometimes nature is beautiful and kind: warm breezes, gentle waves. But sometimes it is harsh, just as human fates can be harsh. A big question in the book is how far Chloe and her sisters can get around the laws of nature. The sun may be immortal, but he still must set every evening. There are rules to the universe that not even gods can bend.


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Violent Ends
by Shaun David Hutchinson, Neal Shusterman, Brendan Shusterman, Beth Revis, Cynthia Leitich Smith
Hardcover Giveaway
Simon Pulse
Released 9/1/2015

In a one-of-a-kind collaboration, seventeen of the most recognizable YA writers—including Shaun David Hutchinson, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, and Beth Revis—come together to share the viewpoints of a group of students affected by a school shooting.

It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto school grounds, enter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others.

But this isn't a story about the shooting itself. This isn't about recounting that one unforgettable day.

This is about Kirby and how one boy—who had friends, enjoyed reading, played saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before—became a monster capable of entering his school with a loaded gun and firing on his classmates.

Each chapter is told from a different victim's viewpoint, giving insight into who Kirby was and who he'd become. Some are sweet, some are dark; some are seemingly unrelated, about fights or first kisses or late-night parties.

This is a book of perspectives—with one character and one event drawing them all together—from the minds of some of YA's most recognizable names.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Violent Ends?

From Shaun Hutchinson: My favorite thing about VIOLENT ENDS is that it offers no easy answers.

The Secret Service compiled a report after the shootings at Columbine in an attempt to create a profile of the type of person most likely to become a school shooter. According to the report (The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications For the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States, which you can and should read at: http://www.secretservice.gov/ntac/ssi_final_report.pdf) "There is no accurate or useful 'profile' of students who engaged in targeted school violence."

That was the thing that struck me the most while researching school shootings. When a violent attack happens, survivors, the media, amateur arm-chair psychoanalysts attempt to figure out why. Inevitably they find something they can blame—goth music or violent video games or mental illness or lax gun control laws—and they become so myopically focused on that one thing they lose sight of the bigger picture.

Instead of trying to offer explanations for what Kirby did by telling stories about a school shooter, VIOLENT ENDS offers a multifaceted picture of a real person. Because I strongly believe that if we want to stop school violence before it happens, we need to stop trying to profile children and viewing them as potential shooters, and start seeing them as real and whole people. And it's my sincere hope VIOLENT ENDS does that.


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Anne & Henry
by Dawn Ius
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon Pulse
Released 9/1/2015

In this wonderfully creative retelling of the infamous—and torrid—love affair between Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, history collides with the present when a sizzling romance ignites in a modern-day high school.

Henry Tudor’s life has been mapped out since the day he was born: student body president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s. But ever since the death of his brother, the pressure for Henry to be perfect has doubled. And now he’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who isn’t Tudor-approved.

Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life.

Wild, brash, and outspoken, Anne is everything Henry isn’t allowed to be—or want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, but his desire for Anne consumes him.

Henry is willing to do anything to be with her, but once they’re together, will their romance destroy them both?

Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, Anne & Henry beautifully reimagines the intensity, love, and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time.

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YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

Another Day by David Levithan - D S.
Code of Honor by Alan Gratz - Gloria C.
Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano - Kelly N.
Stranded by Melinda Braun - Rosie G.
Thirteen Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt - Annette
Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines - Maggie H.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

Cut Both Ways
by Carrie Mesrobian
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 9/1/2015

Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.

Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?

Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.

Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Cut Both Ways?

My favorite thing about this book is the favorite thing about my other books, which is kind of a secret I guess: my favorite characters are not my boy narrators, but the female characters in each: Baker Trieste, in Sex & Violence; Neecie Albertson, in Perfectly Good White Boy; and Brandy Corvallis, in Cut Both Ways. I love Brandy because she is a girl who has survived bad things and has family that has come to save her from them in an unconventional way, but a loving one. She is also a girl that is watching from the periphery and is discovering she can be put in the center, instead of always looking from the edge with her camera as a cover. I love that she explores her relationship with Will in ways that involve risk, both physical and emotional. I love the way her bedroom looks. I love her hobbies, I love her clothes, I love her fondness for spending her babysitting paycheck at Target. I love how she is open about her feelings despite being hurt so badly by her mother and grandmother. I love the person she is becoming, which is something I love about my female teenaged students I teach as well. I love their vulnerability, their efforts, their mistakes, their worries, their obsessive interests. I'm proud of them, for moving bravely and continuously in this world that often hurts them, and it makes me so happy to write the beginning phase of the journey for a girl Brandy Corvallis.

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Everything, Everything
by Nicola Yoon
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 9/1/2015

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Everything, Everything?

Hmmm, that’s a really difficult question to answer! My favorite thing about it may be that it’s being published!

But seriously, it’s very hard to choose. For both sentimental and artistic reasons, I really love the illustrations that my husband did. When I was writing it, I did my own very terrible version of each drawing to give my husband an idea of what I was looking for. To his credit, he never laughed at how completely awful my drawings were. He took my stick figures and turned each one into something beautiful. We also had a really wonderful time collaborating on it — so much so that we’re planning to do more projects together in the future!


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Vengeance Road
by Erin Bowman
Hardcover
HMH Books for Young Readers
Released 9/1/2015

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate.     

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Vengeance Road?

The genre! I know this is a broad answer, but I've wanted to write a YA western for ages and just never had the right story kernel. Kate (Vengeance Road's main character) finally appeared for me in 2013 and I got straight to work!

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Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle
by Katie Coyle
Hardcover
HMH Books for Young Readers
Released 9/1/2015

“GET ANGRY. We should all be so pissed at the Church of America that we’re willing to break our hands in the metaphorical punching of its metaphorical face.” —Harpreet Janda, fugitive

The predicted Rapture by Pastor Frick’s Church of America has come and gone, and three thousand Believers are now missing or dead. Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple and her best friend, Harpreet, are revolutionaries, determined to expose the Church’s diabolical power grab . . . and to locate Viv’s missing heartthrob, Peter Ivey. This fast-paced, entertaining sequel to Vivian Apple at the End of the World challenges readers to consider how to live with integrity in a disintegrating world.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle?

When I started writing about her, I didn’t consider Vivian Apple’s story to be a particularly political one. I thought it was a pretty simple coming-of-age narrative about a girl learning to define herself in opposition to her parents, whom she deeply loves. But once I began building the world of the story of VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD (which continues and concludes now in VIVIAN APPLE NEEDS A MIRACLE), I realized there was so much I wanted to say about the world in which I live—specifically, the intersection of religion, politics, media, and capitalism. These are, obviously, Big Ideas and I would be the last person to label myself a nuanced political philosopher. But my favorite thing about VIVIAN APPLE NEEDS A MIRACLE is I feel satisfied that I managed to articulate my concerns and fears about this intersection, hopefully in a way that resonates with readers. Every day, I see stories in the news that remind me of Vivian’s world (most recently and alarmingly, when ten presidential candidates were asked in an official debate whether God had spoken to them and what He’d said), and I’m proud and a little uncomfortable that VIVIAN APPLE NEEDS A MIRACLE is as relevant as it is.

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MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK

A Whole New World
by Liz Braswell
Hardcover
Disney Press
Released 9/1/2015

What if Aladdin had never found the lamp? This first book in the A Twisted Tale line will explore a dark and daring version of Disney's Aladdin.

When Jafar steals the Genie's lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

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Catacomb
by Madeleine Roux
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 9/1/2015

Sometimes the past is better off buried.

Senior year is finally over. After all they’ve been through, Dan, Abby, and Jordan are excited to take one last road trip together, and they’re just not going to think about what will happen when the summer ends. But on their way to visit Jordan’s uncle in New Orleans, the three friends notice that they are apparently being followed. And Dan starts receiving phone messages from someone he didn’t expect to hear from again—someone who died last Halloween.

As the strange occurrences escalate, Dan is forced to accept that everything that has happened to him in the past year may not be a coincidence, but fate—a fate that ties Dan to a group called the Bone Artists, who have a sinister connection with a notorious killer from the past. Now Dan’s only hope is that he will make it out of his senior trip alive.

In this finale to the New York Times bestselling Asylum series, found photographs help tell the story of three teens who exist on the line between past and present, genius and insanity.

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Firewalker
by Josephine Angelini
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 9/1/2015

Worlds divide, magic slays, and love lies in the second book of Josephine Angelini’s The Worldwalker Trilogy.

"You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified."

Lily is back in her own universe, and she's ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.

Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves.

Picking up right where Trial By Fire left off, Firewalker is another sexy, fast-paced, heartbreaking thrill ride from internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini!

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Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between
by Jennifer Smith
Hardcover
Poppy
Released 9/1/2015

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.

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Hunter
by Mercedes Lackey
Hardcover
Disney-Hyperion
Released 9/1/2015

Centuries ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were slashed open, allowing hideous fantastical monsters to wreak havoc and destroy entire cities in their wake. Now, people must live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the evil creatures constantly trying to break in. Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks.

Joyeaux Charmand is a mountain girl from a close-knit village who comes to the big city to join the Hunters. Joy thinks she is only there to perform her civic duty and protect the capitol Cits, or civilians, but as cameras follow her every move, she soon learns that the more successful she is in her hunts, the more famous she becomes.

With millions of fans watching her on reality TV, Joy begins to realize that Apex is not all it seems. She is forced to question everything she grew up believing about the legendary Hunters and the very world she lives in. Soon she finds that her fame may be part of a deep conspiracy that threatens to upend the protective structure built to keep dark magic out. The monsters are getting in and it is up to Joy to find out why.

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Infinite in Between
by Carolyn Mackler
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 9/1/2015

Printz Honor author Carolyn Mackler returns with this striking new novel that chronicles the lives of five teenagers through the thrills, heartbreaks, and joys of their four years in high school.

Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….

Zoe feels like she will live forever in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.

Echoing aspects of John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, Carolyn Mackler skillfully brings the stories of these five disparate teens together to create a distinct and cohesive whole—a novel about how we can all affect one another’s lives in the most unexpected and amazing ways.

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Queen of Shadows
by Sarah J Maas
Hardcover
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Released 9/1/2015

Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

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The Dogs
by Allan Stratton
Hardcover
Sourcebooks Fire
Released 9/1/2015

Cameron and his mom have been on the run for five years. His father is hunting them. At least, that’s what Cameron’s been told.

When they settle in an isolated farmhouse, Cameron starts to see and hear things that aren’t possible. Soon he’s questioning everything he thought he knew and even his sanity.

What's hiding in the night? Buried in the past? Cameron must uncover the dark secrets before they tear him apart.

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The Fate of Ten
by Pittacus Lore
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 9/1/2015

The sixth book in the thrilling, action-packed, New York Times bestselling I Am Number Four series! For years the Garde have fought the Mogadorians in secret. Now all of that has changed. The invasion has begun. If the Garde can't find a way to stop the Mogs, humanity will suffer the same fate as the Lorien: annihilation.

There is still hope. When the Elders sent the Garde to Earth, they had a plan—one which the Garde are finally starting to understand. In the climax of The Revenge of Seven, a group of the Garde traveled to an ancient pyramid in Mexico known to their people as the Sanctuary. There they awoke a power that had been hidden within our planet for generations. Now this power can save the world . . . or destroy it. It will all depend on who wields it.

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The Foxglove Killings
by Tara Kelly
Hardcover
Entangled: Teen
Released 9/1/2015

Gramps always said that when the crickets were quiet, something bad was coming. And the crickets have been as silent as the dead. It started with the murdered deer in the playground with the unmistakable purple of a foxglove in its mouth. But in the dying boondock town of Emerald Cove, life goes on.

I work at Gramps's diner, and the cakes — the entitled rich kids who vacation here — make our lives hell. My best friend, Alex Pace, is the one person who gets me. Only Alex has changed. He's almost like a stranger now. I can't figure it out...or why I'm having distinctly more-than-friend feelings for him. Ones I shouldn't be having.

Then one of the cakes disappears.

When she turns up murdered, a foxglove in her mouth, a rumor goes around that Alex was the last person seen with her — and everyone but me believes it. Well, everyone except my worst enemy, Jenika Shaw. When Alex goes missing, it's up to us to prove his innocence and uncover the true killer. But the truth will shatter everything I've ever known about myself — and Alex.

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The Trouble in Me
by Jack Gantos
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 9/1/2015

A sharp-edged misadventure for teens from the Newbery Medalist—the perfect bridge between the Norvelt novels and his Printz Honor–winning YA memoir, Hole in My Life.

This fierce black comedy from the master of turning his own true story into semi-fictional gold charts the summer at age fourteen that his alter-ego's life starts to go off the rails. In his family's new rental home on a down-at-the heels street in sun-beaten Miami—with dog-eating alligators in the canal out back, a dangerously attractive girl across the road, and the unhinged Pagoda family next door—teen Jack is adrift, losing a sense of who he is and what he's all about. Which is why he ends up trying to morph himself into someone he's not, that someone being sixteen-year-old Gary Pagoda, a.k.a. Scary Gary, just back from juvie for car theft. Following Gary's lead that first time is just the start of Jack's series of bad decisions. It goes shockingly, hilariously downhill from there.

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View The Trouble in Me on Goodreads

* * * *

Whippoorwill
by Joseph Monninger
Hardcover
HMH Books for Young Readers
Released 9/1/2015

Sixteen-year-old Clair Taylor has neighbors who are what locals call whippoorwills, the kind of people who fill their yards with rusty junk. Clair tries to ignore her surroundings, choosing instead to dream of a future beyond her rural New Hampshire town. But when a black dog named Wally is chained up to a pole next door, Clair can’t look the other way. Clair decides to save Wally, and the immediate connection she has with the lovable dog catches her off-guard, but even more surprising is her bond with eighteen-year-old Danny Stewart, the boy next door.

Purchase Whippoorwill at Amazon
Purchase Whippoorwill at IndieBound
View Whippoorwill on Goodreads

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

1 Betsy Cornwell, author of MECHANICA, on finding the everyday grit to keep on working

We're excited to have Betsy Cornwell here to tell us more about her latest novel MECHANICA.


Betsy, what book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

I grew up loving Cinderella retellings like Gail Carson Levine's ELLA ENCHANTED and Margaret Peterson Haddix's JUST ELLA, and some of my favorite reviews of MECHANICA have compared it with those books. Since Mechanica is a character-driven story that's told from the perspective of one lonely, intelligent girl, I'd like to think that its readers would also be drawn to my favorite novel, I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, and other open-ended character studies of brilliant teenage girls.

1 Jane Casey, author of HIDE AND SEEK, on knowing when a book is wrong

HIDE AND SEEK is the third book in the Jess Tennant Mysteries series, and we're thrilled to have Jane Casey here to share more about it.

Jane, what was your inspiration for writing HIDE AND SEEK?

Hide and Seek is the third book in the Jess Tennant crime series and I wanted to write about mother-daughter relationships because Jess and her mother are extremely close. Jess seems like the responsible one a lot of the time, and she has to deal with the fall-out from her mother’s decisions, but there’s a huge amount of love between the two of them. There’s another mother and daughter in Hide and Seek who have a very different dynamic, one that is quite dangerous and unstable. I’m also fascinated by those people who live by exploiting others. I think there’s some truly evil behaviour in this book!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

1 Free 1st 5 Pages Workshop opens in 1 week!

Our September workshop will open for entries on Saturday September 5, 2015, at noon, EST. 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 on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to our permanent mentors, we have author JJ Howard and agent Danielle Burby!

And we have a new format! The workshop runs three weeks, but the third week will now include a pitch. And Danielle will select one participant as the “workshop winner”- and the prize is that she will review and comment on the first chapter of the manuscript! So get those pages ready!

September Guest Mentor – JJ Howard

If you’re looking for J. J. Howard, you’ll probably find her in Central Florida, but she wishes you’d find her in New York City. NYC, along with books, TV, music, coffee, and her mini-dachshund Willow are on top of her list of favorite things. By day she teaches English and Humanities at a small private high school, and by night she writes, edits, or Netflixes.

Howard’s debut YA, That Time I Joined the Circus, tells the story of Lexi, who accidentally joins the circus (and falls in love) while searching for her missing mother. Her second YA, Tracers, follows Cam, a NYC bike messenger who meets a beautiful stranger named Nikki who pulls him into the world of parkour. Her debut Middle grade, Sit, Stay, Love is coming from Scholastic this January.

TRACERS


Cam is a New York City bike messenger with no family and some dangerous debts. While on his route one day, he runs into a beautiful stranger named Nikki—but she quickly disappears. When he sees her again around town, he realizes that she lives within the intense world of parkour: an underground group of teens who have turned New York City into their own personal playground—running, jumping, seemingly flying through the city like an urban obstacle course.

Cam becomes fascinated with Nikki and falls in with the group, who offer him the chance to make some extra money. But Nikki is dating their brazen leader, and when the stakes become life-or-death, Cam is torn between following his heart and sacrificing everything to pay off his debts.

In the vein of great box-office blockbusters, the high-stakes romance here sizzles within this page-turning thriller that will leave readers feeling like they are flying through the streets of New York.

Purchase it at your local bookstore, or online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

September Guest Agent – Danielle Burby

Danielle graduated from Hamilton College with honors and a double major in Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Before finding her home at HSG, she interned at Writers House, Clarion Books, Faye Bender Literary Agency, Dunow Carlson and Lerner, John Wiley and Sons, and SquareOne Publishers (along with stints as a waitress and a farmers’ market vendor).

Her passion lies in YA, Women’s Fiction, and mysteries. She gravitates toward stories with a strong voice and particularly enjoys complex female characters, narratives that explore social issues, and coming-of-age stories. Genres that appeal to her include contemporary YA, medieval fantasy, historical fiction, cozy mysteries, and upmarket Women’s Fiction. She finds it hard to resist gorgeous writing and is a sucker for romantic plotlines that are an element of the narrative, but don’t dominate it. You can follow her on twitter at @danielleburby.

1 Melinda Braun, author of STRANDED, on continuing to try and improve

We're delighted to have Melinda Braun join us to chat about her debut novel STRANDED.

Melinda, what was your inspiration for writing STRANDED?

My inspiration for Stranded came from a few different things:
I grew up in Wisconsin but now have lived in Minnesota for more than half my life, and one thing Minnesotans really love to do in the summer is "go up north" and "go to the cabin". I've been up in the north woods area several times, but had never done serious camping. I had heard about a Boy Scout troop who got lost out on a lake in the BWCA, but they were rescued very quickly. I also heard a few other stories (short news articles) about other campers having to be rescued for various reasons. The BWCA has also had several large forest fires over the years, and I decided to take all that information and roll it up into a camping trip that goes horribly wrong for a small group of teenagers.

1 Alan Gratz, author of CODE OF HONOR, on dangling your main characters into the fire

CODE OF HONOR is the latest novel by Alan Gratz, and we're excited to have him here to share more about it.

Alan, what was your inspiration for writing CODE OF HONOR?

The idea for CODE OF HONOR was originally, "How do I write a YA version of the TV show Homeland?" The book is very different than the show Homeland, of course, but that's where it began. How could I write a thriller about Middle Eastern terrorists in America that kept you guessing all the way to the end?

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

I learned that I love writing thrillers! This won't be the last one I write, for sure. I also began to understand how thrillers work--whether they're novels, TV shows, or movies. It's all about dangling your main characters into the fire and then yanking them out again at the last second. (While always turning up the heat each time, of course!)

0 Leo Hunt, author of THIRTEEN DAYS OF MIDNIGHT, on pretending to adapt a draft into a film script

We're thrilled to have Leo Hunt stop by to tell us more about his debut novel THIRTEEN DAYS OF MIDNIGHT.

Leo, what was your inspiration for writing THIRTEEN DAYS OF MIDNIGHT?

Various sources. When I was a teenager I was very taken with 20th Century horror like Stephen King, HP Lovecraft, that sort of thing. I adore horror as a genre, especially occult horror, so I wanted to write a story that would have some of that atmosphere and imagery: moonlit rituals, stone circles, forbidden books that contain knowledge man was not meant to have, etc. I was also interested in YA at the time as a way of exploring the way family relationships change as you grow older, how you deal with the realisation that your parents are fallible human beings (or maybe even evil), so the idea of a father who had made a Faustian deal which ended up having an impact on his son was immediately interesting to me. I was working on this thing at the time about a failed stage magician who had a ghost butler, and that sad washed-up magician character ended up becoming Luke’s father Horatio in the final novel. The story was the focal point of a few different things I’d been thinking about for a while.
 

Friday, August 28, 2015

0 Free 1st 5 Pages Workshop Opens Saturday, September 5!

I was sad to see the 1st 5 Pages August Workshop come to an end – we had such a great group of talented and supportive writers! A big thanks to our guest mentors, the amazing Lori Goldstein was our author mentor (and workshop alum!), and our agent mentor was the fabulous Caitie Flum of Liza Dawson Associates. They both provided terrific comments and suggestions. And as always, thank you to all of our fabulous permanent mentors!

Our September workshop will open for entries on Saturday September 5, 2015, at noon, EST. 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 on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to our permanent mentors, we have author JJ Howard and agent Danielle Burby!

And we have a new format! The workshop is three weeks, but the third week will now include a pitch. And Danielle will select one participant as the “workshop winner”- and the prize is that she will review and comment on the first chapter of the manuscript! So get those pages ready!

September Guest Mentor – JJ Howard

If you’re looking for J. J. Howard, you’ll probably find her in Central Florida, but she wishes you’d find her in New York City. NYC, along with books, TV, music, coffee, and her mini-dachshund Willow are on top of her list of favorite things. By day she teaches English and Humanities at a small private high school, and by night she writes, edits, or Netflixes.

Howard’s debut YA, That Time I Joined the Circus, tells the story of Lexi, who accidentally joins the circus (and falls in love) while searching for her missing mother. Her second YA, Tracers, follows Cam, a NYC bike messenger who meets a beautiful stranger named Nikki who pulls him into the world of parkour. Her debut Middle grade, Sit, Stay, Love is coming from Scholastic this January.

TRACERS


Cam is a New York City bike messenger with no family and some dangerous debts. While on his route one day, he runs into a beautiful stranger named Nikki—but she quickly disappears. When he sees her again around town, he realizes that she lives within the intense world of parkour: an underground group of teens who have turned New York City into their own personal playground—running, jumping, seemingly flying through the city like an urban obstacle course.

Cam becomes fascinated with Nikki and falls in with the group, who offer him the chance to make some extra money. But Nikki is dating their brazen leader, and when the stakes become life-or-death, Cam is torn between following his heart and sacrificing everything to pay off his debts.

In the vein of great box-office blockbusters, the high-stakes romance here sizzles within this page-turning thriller that will leave readers feeling like they are flying through the streets of New York.

Purchase it at your local bookstore, or online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

September Guest Agent – Danielle Burby

Danielle graduated from Hamilton College with honors and a double major in Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Before finding her home at HSG, she interned at Writers House, Clarion Books, Faye Bender Literary Agency, Dunow Carlson and Lerner, John Wiley and Sons, and SquareOne Publishers (along with stints as a waitress and a farmers’ market vendor).

Her passion lies in YA, Women’s Fiction, and mysteries. She gravitates toward stories with a strong voice and particularly enjoys complex female characters, narratives that explore social issues, and coming-of-age stories. Genres that appeal to her include contemporary YA, medieval fantasy, historical fiction, cozy mysteries, and upmarket Women’s Fiction. She finds it hard to resist gorgeous writing and is a sucker for romantic plotlines that are an element of the narrative, but don’t dominate it. You can follow her on twitter at @danielleburby.

0 Ask a Pub Pro: Author Bethany Hagen on Series, Deep POV, & Book Trailers

We are thrilled to welcome author Bethany Hagen to the blog this month as our columnist for Ask a Pub Pro! Bethany is the author of the Landry Park "Downton Abbey dystopian" series with her newest book, Jublilee Manor, just released. She's here to answer your reader questions on how to work necessary backstory into a series, deciding whether to use deep POV in a large-scale book, mistakes in queries, whether book trailers are worth it, and do we really need to know what your characters are wearing? Be sure to check out Jublilee Manor below!

If you have a question you'd like to have answered by an upcoming publishing professional, send it to AYAPLit AT gmail.com and put Ask a Pub Pro Question in the subject line.

Also, our First Five Pages Workshop opens next Saturday, September 5. Be sure to check it out here!

Ask a Pub Pro: Author Bethany Hagen on Series, Deep POV, Book Trailers, and What Your Character is Wearing


1) In writing a series, what's the best method for working in the necessary information from a prior book into the next one?


Did you ever watch Lost? Lost was one of those shows (and Game of Thrones is currently another) that have those "Previously on" bits at the beginning. And of course, you always know what the show is going to be about based off the clips they show...like, "Oh, they showed Hurley winning the lottery, so it must be another Hurley episode." What I like about the "Previously on" bits is that they only reveal relevant information--and information that maybe wouldn't be apparent throughout the course of the show. For example, they didn't need to show us clips of Jack and Kate kissing for us to know that they have A Thing. While watching the episode, it would be pretty obvious that there's some serious romantic tension. Instead, they only remind us of the previous plot beats that would be essential to our understanding the plot developments of the current episode without being totally confused.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

0 Revealing the Red Light Green Light Top 10!

Our Red Light Green Light competition has been going on for weeks now, and it's finally come time to announce our winners! After voting closed on Monday night, we tallied the votes from our judges and you, our fabulous community, and pulled out our Top 10. The entries below had the highest score overall, and will all receive a critique from a published (or soon to be published) author, or an agent.


Check back next week to see each finalist's pitch and the first 100 words of their manuscript! And check back the week after that to find out who our overall winner and two runners up were! The runners up will be receiving critiques from some of the industry's most sought after agents, and our overall winner will receive a partial request from the amazing Ammi-Joan Paquette.

Congratulations to our finalists (in alphabetical order) below! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

1 DEFEATING THE TIME MONSTER By Wendy Higgins, Author of The Sweet Evil Series

We're excited to welcome to the blog today USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author Wendy Higgins. Sweet Temptation, the companion volume to her acclaimed Sweet Evil series releases next week and has been called sensual and swoon-worthy. (It's Kaidan's story, so be prepared for LOTS of wonderful swoon!) Also keep an eye out for her upcoming fantasy duology The Great Hunt.

Between short turn-around deadlines and young children, she knows a thing or two about managing writing time. Read on to find out how she carves it out of her busy days.



WRITING OBSTACLES – DEFEATING THE TIME MONSTER

by Wendy Higgins 


My primary obstacle is, and always has been, time.

I began my first book, Sweet Evil, when my son was nine-months-old (still waking during the nights) and my daughter was three and a half years old. In case you’ve never had a baby or toddler, let me just tell you straight up—those suckers keep you busy nonstop. And when you have a husband who works 12-hour shifts and is too exhausted to help you clean most days, it feels like you’re on your own. The house and errands and children and other responsibilities don’t leave much wiggle room for mommy to enjoy me-time. Writing was a long lost dream that I never thought I’d pick up again. There was simply no time.

Being busy is an obstacle for all writers, not just moms. Maybe you’re a student with tons of homework and after school activities. Or maybe you work a full time job and sit in traffic every morning and evening. Making time to write can seem overwhelmingly impossible. Here’s the thing nobody wants to hear…sometimes the only way to make time for writing is to give something up, something you enjoy but is not absolutely necessary. When my story idea hit me in full force the summer of 2009, that’s exactly what I had to do. Guess what I gave up? Television. I know, that’s a biggie. I was spending approximately 3 hours every night after the kids went to bed sprawled out like a zombie watching reality cooking shows with my husband. It was glorious. But my desire to write that story was even stronger than my desire to veg.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

47 Four MILLION Page Views at Adventures in YA Publishing Giveaway

It's snuck up on us. Four million. That's a heck of a number, right? It seems like just yesterday when Marissa Graff and I heard an agent say that writers had to blog and said to each other, "What do we blog about?"

It's been a long journey since then. This blog has gained some incredible new team members, and we've lost a few who've gone on to attend to other things in their lives. We've seen followers and contest participants become New York Times bestsellers, get six-figure book deals, get quietly satisfying or vindicating book deals, or go on to publish indy with great success. At Adventures, we feel like we get to participate a little bit in each of those victories--because they ARE victories.

This business is both wonderful and daunting. Heartwarming and heartbreaking. I don't know anything that's like it. We pour our souls into a book for months or years, and then, more often than not, we throw all those emotions, characters, and entire worlds in a dark drawer of our hearts and computer hard drives. Actors don't pour years into a play or even a film without getting paid. Musicians very rarely work on the same song for years.

But actors and musicians don't work in isolation. They get guidance, coaching, mentoring, feedback, and support. And that's what we try to do here at Adventures. That's the vision. To bring in all the different aspects of building a long-term successful career writing YA fiction, including:

  • Giveaways, covers, and descriptions of all the books that teens are loving as they release -- i.e., market research. : ) 
  • Interviews with the authors of those books about what they love in those books.
  • Advice from those authors about their journey to publication and the most valuable advice that they've received in their careers.
  • Actionable tips from those authors about specific aspects of what made the difference in moving them from aspiring author to publication.
  • Detailed and meaty craft-related writing advice.
  • Ask the Pub Pro features where you can get real, detailed information to your specific questions.
  • Information and wish-lists from agents and editors about what they're looking for.
  • Contests to help tune your ear (and prose) to what's working and exciting to readers and publishing professionals
  • The 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop to hone your opening and/or critiquing skills over three drafts with three professional mentors and an agent, including a brand-new pitch feature.
Whew. That's a lot.

And it doesn't happen all by itself.

So would y'all please, PLEASE, give a big hand to the people who work the magic behind the curtain?!

You all (hopefully) already know Lisa Gail Green, Susan Sipal, Erin Cashman, Jocelyn Rish, and Shelly Zevlever, who have expanded the team in the past couple of years. Recently, we've added new members Kristin Sandoval, Sam Taylor, Lindsey Hodder, Sandra Held, and Anisaa Denise. Several of these amazing people do double duty with our sister site, YASeriesInsiders.com, which is a group site run by a combination of authors, bloggers, and readers who celebrate the love of reading through young adult series books and an intersection of different fandoms.

Please stop by our About Us page to learn more about all these amazing people. It's also been sad to say farewell to the people who haven't been able to maintain the time commitment for AYAP with everything else they've got going on. 

Running a blog like this is a professional endeavor. It truly is. It's a way to affirm not just our love of young adult books and beautiful writing, but also our respect for the time of the professionals involved and our commitment to the business of publishing. We learn a lot by doing this, and we make great friends and contacts along the way. It's a support system, a joy, and a responsibility.

That said, we have opening for more contributors. If you're interested, please reach out to us at ayaplit (at) gmail dot com.


Your Turn

Please tell us what features you love best at Adventures and how long you've been coming to this blog! Leave a comment below!

Giveaway Time

Happy reading and writing, everyone! Thank YOU for supporting AYAP all these years!

Hugs and more hugs,

Martina

Monday, August 24, 2015

23 SIX New Release Giveaways, plus author interviews and what's new this week of 8/24

As summer comes to an end, the publishing world is beginning it's last hurrah. We have six books to give away today, perfect for reading in this last month of summer. Our Red Light Green Light contest is also coming to a close: check back on Wednesday to see who your top 10 finalists are!

Happy reading,
Lindsey, Martina, Sam, Jocelyn, Erin, Lisa, Shelly, Susan, Elizabeth, Kristin, Jen, Sandra and Anisaa

Sunday, August 23, 2015

0 Linas Alsenas, author of BEYOND CLUELESS, on the importance of a writing group

We're thrilled to have Linas Alsenas join us to share more about his debut YA novel BEYOND CLUELESS.

Linas, 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?

There is a scene in which Marty has a fight with her parents, when they want to start setting up rules for how she is to behave with her friends – curfew, phone use, etc. I wasn’t expecting that scene at all; it just came to me as I was writing. This was not long after I married my husband, and my mother, who had always seemed very supportive of our relationship for many years, refused to attend our wedding because “Catholics don’t do that”. I was hurt and deeply offended, and I cut off my relationship with my parents – I haven’t spoken to them since. So, when I wrote the scene, I wondered how much of it was my subconscious working out my feelings of resentment. The first scene I wrote was much more intense than the final version, with more anger and swearing, and, at first, I felt it was important that there would be no resolution scene with the parents, to show that teens do get emotionally estranged from their parents and that’s OK. But that dynamic became too much of a distraction, too big a boulder in the middle of the plot; it started distorting all the other scenes with its gravitational pull. I worked with my editor to downplay the conflict and create some hint of resolution by the end. Knowing that my parents would probably read the book some day made me self-conscious, thinking they would believe I was writing about our own relationship – which, of course, I both was and wasn’t doing. I really had to work to let go of those thoughts and write the scene that best served the book. Books are very personal to authors, but not always in the ways people might expect.

How long did you work on BEYOND CLUELESS?

More than ten years! I wrote the first chapter when I was working as an Assistant Editor at Abrams in New York, which would have been about 2002, 2003. Susan Van Metre, now Publisher at Abrams, was super encouraging about it, so I proceeded to … er, let it languish in a drawer for years. (Sigh.) I'm the worst. Writing is hard work for me, so it’s not the first thing I turn to when I have some free time! I returned to the text only when I formed a writing group with expat friends in Stockholm, Sweden. It gave me the ongoing motivation and encouragement I needed to keep going. I still rely on a “write club” in London to get my writing done.

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

It showed me that I could actually write a novel, and – astonishingly – one that other people might actually enjoy reading. It taught me that starting a book is easy and exciting, but finishing a book is an incredibly hard slog. That I should avoid writing anything with song lyrics that require reprint permission.

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

Join or form a writing group. Every writer needs to find a process that works for them, but for me, having a writing group with deadlines and valuable feedback was critical to my actually completing the book. In fact, the book is dedicated to Bert Menninga, my very good friend in Stockholm who I met with for years to go over our respective writing. He has patiently read drafts of this novel more times than any person deserves. Apologies, too, on that count to my incredibly supportive editor at Abrams, Howard Reeves.

What are you working on now?

I am about halfway through writing another YA novel, this time about a modern princess, and I’m just in the starting phases of a middle-grade book involving a children’s revolution. But if you ask me next month, I may have moved on to other ideas!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Beyond Clueless by Linas Alsenas
Hardcover
Amulet Books
Released 8/18/2015

Marty Sullivan’s life ends, basically, when her parents enroll her in a private high school. A private, Catholic, girls-only high school. Meanwhile, at their local public school, her best friend, Jimmy, comes out of the closet and finds himself a boyfriend and a new group of friends. Marty feels left out and alone, until she gets a part in the school musical, Into the Woods, and Jimmy and his new crew are in it, too! Things start looking even better when Marty falls for foxy fellow cast member Felix Peroni. And Felix seems to like her back. But the drama is just beginning. Can Marty and Jimmy keep up their friendship? And is Marty’s new beau everything he appears to be? Or is Marty too clueless to figure it all out before it’s too late?

Purchase Beyond Clueless at Amazon
Purchase Beyond Clueless at IndieBound
View Beyond Clueless on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linas Alsenas has written a number of books, including Gay America: Struggle for Equality and several picture books, which he also illustrated. Raised in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, Linas lived in New York City and Stockholm, Sweden, before settling in London. He spends his weekdays working as a children’s books editor at Walker Books, and he and his husband spend their weekends exploring the city and the English countryside. Oh—and also writing! Er, I mean, Linas writes, not the husband. Whose name is Jan. He puts up with a lot. Anyway.


Have you had a chance to read BEYOND CLUELESS yet? Do you find your personal life creeping into your writing? Are you part of a writing group?

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Erin, Lisa, Susan, Jen, Sam, Lindsey, Sandra, Kristin, and Anisaa

Saturday, August 22, 2015

1 Alexandra Sirowy, author of THE CREEPING, on writing what captivates you

THE CREEPING is the debut novel from Alexandra Sirowy, and we're excited to have her stop by to chat about writing.

Alexandra, 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 not one for ritual of place. I wrote my first novel, THE CREEPING, sitting in bed, on the couch, at the dining room table, and in the yard staring up at the trees. I began my second novel while staying along the Puget Sound (where A CROOKED LIKENESS takes place) and the remainder in my home office in Northern California. As long as I'm writing somewhere that I can read aloud, I can make it work. I was a theater kid and a fortunate and lasting side effect of this is that I read aloud and with the cadence of the speaker, as though performing, whenever I'm writing. I say this is fortunate because it's be a vital part of my process writing realistic dialogue and teasing out the motivations of characters. If I can embody them in a fleeting moment by getting into character, I can see what they want or need more clearly.

What is particularly vital about my writing schedule is that it's regular and disciplined. I get up early and "go" to work. Some days I read an hour here and there to refresh myself, others it doesn't occur to me to take a breather. I believe in writing my way through any blockage or issues.

I also have habits while I'm in the thick of a novel. When I'm really engaged in the process I go running in the early evening. There's something about being out at dusk and out of breath that knocks thoughts around in my head. I often solve problems this way. Depending on the mood of the pages I'm working on, I listen to music - often the same song or several on repeat.

0 Kate Elliott, author of COURT OF FIVES, on staying true to your vision

We're delighted to have Kate Elliott join us to share more about her latest novel COURT OF FIVES.

Kate, what was your inspiration for writing COURT OF FIVES?

1) I wanted to write a story about a girl who is a serious athlete without the story being solely about the game.

2) My spouse is an archaeologist who is currently co-directing a project excavating an important archaeological site in the Delta region of Egypt. This city, called Timai, flourished during the Greco-Roman era (approximately 300 B.C. to 400 A.D.), when first Macedonians and then Romans ruled Egypt. I felt like the dynamic of a foreign ruling class having power over a large indigenous population creates a lot of opportunity for plot conflict, especially for a character caught between the two groups because she has a parent from each.

3) I put these inspirations together with my love for fantasy to create Court of Fives.

1 Tom Leveen, author of SHACKLED, on the similarity of novels and planets

We're thrilled to have Tom Leveen stop by to tell us more about his latest novel SHACKLED.

Tom, what was your inspiration for writing SHACKLED?

For me, writing a novel is very much like how a planet forms. A little piece of this and a little piece of that start becoming attracted to each other, and when they collide, their gravity attracts other little bits and pieces, and suddenly there's just one big mass. SHACKLED came from many pieces, including frighteningly true stories about people kept locked away in basement dungeons. Those stories collided with my experiences with panic, which then collided with scraps of a story about a haunted dollhouse...yeah. My stories rarely come from one place!

Friday, August 21, 2015

4 Essentials of a Pitch by Ava Jae

I am personally very pleased to welcome Ava Jae back to the blog today. When I first started on Twitter years ago, Ava was one of my earliest friends. She did an awesome guest post on Harry Potter for a mutual friend's blog, and through that I discovered Ava's own blog, Writability. Like many others, I was instantly drawn into her warmth and keen insight into writing and publishing.

Since then, Ava has been a writing dynamo. Her blog has become a popular hub online for writers and readers, she signed with a fabulous agent, her debut book releases next year (see below!), and she's now an assistant editor at Entangled Publishing.  Ava's putting all that wonderful experience into the post she shares with us today on how to craft a good pitch. Welcome Ava!

Essentials of a Pitch, A Craft of Writing Post by Ava Jae


When you’re a writer, pitching your book is a scary, but inevitable part of the process. But trying to condense your book from tens of thousands of words (or more!) to a couple paragraphs, or even a sentence can be pretty daunting at first.

Once you get the hang of it, though, I think it slowly becomes less painful. Sometimes.

Through online critiques, critiques I’ve given away or traded, my own writing, and my assistant editing work with Entangled, I’ve seen many a pitch, and I’ve found that oftentimes, writers are missing the essential elements that should be in one. What essential elements, you ask? Well…

Thursday, August 20, 2015

2 Editor Jen Ryan of Ellysian Press Publishing on Research, Harry Potter, and Reading

Even though she didn’t know it, Jen Ryan has been editing since she was a young girl. Much to the chagrin of her teachers, she’d often point out errors in her textbooks. Combining that sharp eye for detail with her love of books and the skills she learned through her formal education, Jen took it to the next level. She has established herself as an exacting editor, with a growing reputation for excellence.
Jen teaches English composition and writing at her local college. She also owns and runs her own editing company, in addition to being one of two partners in Ellysian Press.
Jen lives in the high desert of Southern Nevada with her husband, three children and assorted animals. She loves transforming fruit and vegetables into healthy (and sometimes decadent) jams, jellies and preserves. Her pumpkin butter is to die for.

You can find her editing website here: http://imaginethatediting.com/.
The Ellysian Press website is: http://www.ellysianpress.com/.
You can also follow Jen on social media:
Jen on Facebook
Jen on Twitter



1. How did you decide to become an editor?
I have always been an avid reader, and would naturally edit as I read (even text books in high school, my teachers hated it when I pointed out errors). So, when a friend, an author and fellow instructor at the college I teach at, asked me to Beta-Read for her, I accepted. She came back to me after and said something along the lines of "Jen, that's not Beta-Reading, that's editing." I laughed and told her I couldn't do the job half-way, it just wasn't in me. I then edited her next novel, and the next, and pretty soon decided to start editing for others. As time went on, I learned even more and eventually decided to open my own free-lance editing company. Now I also am partner in Ellysian Press (Maer, my author friend, just happens to be my brilliant partner), and I get to edit for some amazing, talented authors. I love every minute of it!
2. What are some of your favorite YA/children’s books?
While at EP we don't publish children's books, we do publish YA. As for personal taste, however, I read everything, and love many children's and middle grade books/series. My favorite is the Harry Potter series. I promise that's not just an easy out, it truly is my favorite book series (maybe in any age group). 
3. What is more important: character, plot, or world? 
This is a really tough question, a good one, but a tough one. I imagine every person who answers it has a different response, and I think that is the point. This will be different for every person -- author, editor and reader alike. Personally, I think they are all very important. What point is there in creating a wondrous world, if it is populated by uninteresting characters? I do believe that the main importance will depend on each author, and each book. Different genres and stories will need different things. So for one story character may be MOST important, while for another it may be plot or world. It will depend on the point of each particular story.
4. What’s your favorite part of being an editor?
That's easy, reading! Really, I truly enjoy getting to be a part of the process. I love books, I love authors, I love stories, and I love getting to help authors make their stories the best they can be. 
5. What would you like aspiring writers to know about the publication process?
The best advice I can give to aspiring authors is to do their research. Before you submit to an editor or a publishing company, make sure you have researched your market. Make sure you have learned how to write a proper query letter. Make sure you know what you want (do you want to self-publish, do you want to go with a small press, a large one?) Research and know so that you are prepared and so that you don't get hurt along the way.