Monday, February 29, 2016

13 FIVE Giveaways plus New YALit Releases 2/29 - 3/6 with Author Interviews

Happy Leap Day! And what should you do with this extra day in your year? What a silly question - read, of course! To help you with your reading mission, we have fourteen fabulous books releasing this week, plus giveaways for five of them. Peruse these wonderful titles, and then make sure you enter the giveaway.

Happy reading,

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

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


Atlantis Quest
by Gloria Craw
Signed Full Series Giveaway
U.S. Only
Entangled: Teen
Released 3/1/2016

After all they'd cost me, I thought I was done with the Truss clan. I was wrong. Nikki Dawning, my mortal enemy, has been kidnapped, and I've been asked to spy on the Truss to find her. The pull between Ian and I has never been stronger, but he can't help me this time. I have to rely on Theron, a bad-tempered cousin I didn't know I had. To make matters worse, the people I trust have been keeping secrets.

I'm starting to feel like a weapon in a war I don't understand. How far am I willing to go to protect the descendants of Atlantis and the common good when I'm not sure what the common good is anymore?

Only one thing is certain. If I'm the next Laurel clan chief, I can't let myself be manipulated…by anyone.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Atlantis Quest?

My favorite thing about Atlantis Quest is how Alison matures over the course of the book. In Atlantis Rising, she is just learning about the descendants of Atlantis and has to depend on the advise of other dewing. In the second book, she's asked to do things she doesn't feel comfortable with. After some struggles, she's stands up for herself and insists she is going to make her own decisions. She also takes some risks with her heart, opening up to the joy and pain of loving someone.

Purchase Atlantis Quest at Amazon
Purchase Atlantis Quest at IndieBound
View Atlantis Quest on Goodreads


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Burning Glass
by Kathryn Purdie
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Katherine Tegen Books
Released 3/1/2016

Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.

Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. One mistake, one small failure, will cost her own life and the lives of the few people left in the world who still trust her.

But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, her feelings easily usurped, and she sometimes can’t decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.

As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.

BURNING GLASS is debut author Kathryn Purdie’s stunning tale of dangerous magic, heart-rending romance, and the hard-won courage it takes to let go.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Burning Glass?

My favorite part was constantly being surprised by how impulsive and flawed Sonya is as a character. She’s an empath, and I wanted to explore how truly feeling what another person feels could cause you to do terrible things or wonderful things, because your own emotions would get so confused in the process. It’s a hard struggle for Sonya to stay anchored to her own identity.

Purchase Burning Glass at Amazon
Purchase Burning Glass at IndieBound
View Burning Glass on Goodreads

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Guile
by Constance Cooper
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Clarion Books
Released 3/1/2016

Yonie Watereye lives in the bayou. The water there is full of guile, a power that changes people and objects. Yonie, 16, makes a living investigating objects affected by guile, but in fact it’s her talking cat, LaRue, who has the power to see guile.

Yonie becomes aware that someone is sending harmful guile-changed objects to certain people, including herself. Her investigation becomes entwined with her hunt for the secrets of her mother’s past and leads her to discover dangers hidden within her own family.

In the suspenseful adventure that follows, Yonie and her furry sidekick face challenges that could end their adventuring forever.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Guile?

I love the conversations between Yonie and her talking cat LaRue. Yonie is sixteen years old, and though she's very capable she's also idealistic and impulsive. LaRue is ten, but obviously much older in cat years—she's more cynical about human nature and is always ready with a sarcastic comment or knowing remark. I really enjoyed writing their dialog, with Yonie enthusing about something and LaRue chipping in with her tart observations. It was also satisfying to me to test their loyalty to each other over the course of the story and have them survive dangers and challenges together.

Purchase Guile at Amazon
Purchase Guile at IndieBound
View Guile on Goodreads

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Holding Court
by K.C. Held
Paperback Giveaway
U.S. Only

Entangled: Teen
Released 3/1/2016

Sixteen-year-old Jules Verity knows exactly what's in store at her new job at castle-turned-dinner-theater Tudor Times. Some extra cash, wearing a fancy-pants dress, and plenty of time to secretly drool over the ever-so-tasty--and completely unavailable--Grayson Chandler. Except that it's not quite what she imagined.

For one, the costume Jules has to wear is awful. Then there's the dead body she finds that just kind of...well, disappears. Oh, and there's the small issue of Jules and her episodes of what her best friend calls "Psychic Tourette's Syndrome"--spontaneous and uncontrollable outbursts of seemingly absurd prophecies.

The only bright side? This whole dead body thing seems to have gotten Grayson's attention. Except that the more Jules investigates, the more she discovers that Grayson's interest might not be as courtly as she thought. In fact, it's starting to look suspicious...

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Holding Court?

My favorite thing about Holding Court is that it’s a collage of things I love in book form: a quirky small town filled with colorful characters, a castle complete with secret passageways and a creepy dungeon, gorgeous costumes and a knight in shining armor, a love interest that makes my heart go pitty-pat, an impossible romance that I can’t help rooting for, an eccentric but endearing relative who lives in a grand old Victorian house, inconceivable references to Inigo Montoya and R.O.U.S., a mystery with a psychic twist, moments that make me laugh out loud, and people I’m not sure I can trust but want to spend time with anyway.

Purchase Holding Court at Amazon
Purchase Holding Court at IndieBound
View Holding Court on Goodreads

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In Real Life
by Jessica Love
Advance Reader Copy Giveaway
U.S. Only

St. Martin's Griffin
Released 3/1/2016

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There's just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she's supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah's romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and meets Nick's girlfriend, whom he failed to mention. And it turns out his relationship status isn't the only thing he's been lying to her about. Hannah knows the real Nick can't be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has one night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about In Real Life?

It's about a subject near and dear to my heart - the real relationships and connections that we can form with people we have never met in person. Most of the important people in my life I have met online, including my husband and my very best friends. I know how genuine the relationships we form with people we've never met before can be, and I wanted to explore that in a book.

My second favorite thing is that it takes place in Las Vegas, because that's my favorite place to visit. I love dressing up, good food, and blackjack, so Vegas is pretty much my ideal setting.


Purchase In Real Life at Amazon
Purchase In Real Life at IndieBound
View In Real Life on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


After the Woods by Kim Savage - Jessica C.
Dreamfever by Kit Alloway - Cheryl M.
The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan - Tammy V.
The Last Place on Earth by Carol Snow - Joycedale C.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


You Were Here
by Cori McCarthy
Hardcover
Sourcebooks Fire
Released 3/1/2016

Grief turned Jaycee into a daredevil, but can she dare to deal with her past?

On the anniversary of her daredevil brother's death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake's favorite hideout—the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of dysfunction, Jaycee discovers a map detailing her brother's exploration and the unfinished dares he left behind.

As a tribute to Jake, Jaycee vows to complete the dares, no matter how terrifying or dangerous. What she doesn't bargain on is her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about You Were Here?

I'm going to break the law and say two things. The first is the art. Artist Sonia Liao did an epically amazing job at not only illustrating my misfit characters but capturing settings that are straight out of my childhood. Which leads me to my other favorite thing! After writing two sci-fi books that took place in futures far away, YOU WERE HERE's urban exploring settings are real places that I love (and a few that I've climbed through illegally!). You can find more information about those locations here: http://www.corimccarthy.com/order-links/you-were-here/urbex-locations/

Purchase You Were Here at Amazon
Purchase You Were Here at IndieBound
View You Were Here on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


A Study in Charlotte
by Brittany Cavallaro
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 3/1/2016

The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.

Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

Equal parts tender, thrilling, and hilarious, A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy brimming with wit and edge-of-the-seat suspense.

Purchase A Study in Charlotte at Amazon
Purchase A Study in Charlotte at IndieBound
View A Study in Charlotte on Goodreads

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Blood Passage
by Heather Demetrios
Hardcover
Balzer + Bray
Released 3/1/2016

A jinni who's lost everything.

A master with nothing to lose.

A revolutionary with everything to gain.

When Nalia arrives in Morocco to fulfil Malek's third and final wish she's not expecting it to be easy. Though Nalia is free from the shackles that once bound her to Malek as his slave, she's in more danger than ever before.

Meanwhile, Malek's past returns with a vengeance as he confronts the darkness within himself, and Raif must decide what's more important: his love for Nalia, or his devotion to the cause of Arjinnan freedom.

Set upon by powerful forces that threaten to break her, Nalia encounters unexpected allies and discovers that her survival depends on the very things she thought made her weak. From the souks of Marrakech to the dunes of the Sahara, The Arabian Nights come to life in this dazzling second installment of the Dark Passage Cycle.

Purchase Blood Passage at Amazon
Purchase Blood Passage at IndieBound
View Blood Passage on Goodreads

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Every Second Counts
by Sophie McKenzie
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 3/1/2016

Charlie and Nat must expose a public official for who he truly is before he is elected prime minister in the riveting and romantic sequel to the explosive thriller, In a Split Second.

Nat and Charlie are on the run and in more danger than ever before. Nowhere is safe and they can’t trust anyone but each other. Roman Riley’s networks could discover them at any time, so Charlie believes their only option is to go undercover in Riley’s team, but Nat doesn’t agree. So Charlie sneaks away to pursue her plan alone. Nat is desperate to find Charlie, but his family is relying on him, and he can’t leave them behind. Even if Nat and Charlie can find each other again, could being together be even more dangerous than being apart?

Purchase Every Second Counts at Amazon
Purchase Every Second Counts at IndieBound
View Every Second Counts on Goodreads

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Into the Dim
by Janet B. Taylor
Hardcover
HMH Books for Young Readers
Released 3/1/2016

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing. Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

Purchase Into the Dim at Amazon
Purchase Into the Dim at IndieBound
View Into the Dim on Goodreads

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Midnight Bites
by Rachel Caine
Paperback
NAL
Released 3/1/2016


New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine presents a collection of stories—including six new tales—featuring the little Texas town that’s overrun by the undead.

WELCOME TO MORGANVILLE.
YOU’LL NEVER WANT TO LEAVE.

 

By day, Morganville, Texas, is just a typical college town. By night, the vampires emerge and take control....

In a town where it’s not safe to be out after dark, student Claire Danvers and her friends have had their fair share of thrills. But Morganville still has a few secrets left to tell.

Now, in this collection, you can venture down the town’s strange streets, revisit all the tales you’ve come to love, and experience six new stories featuring your favorite Morganville residents—both human and vampire...

Purchase Midnight Bites at Amazon
Purchase Midnight Bites at IndieBound
View Midnight Bites on Goodreads

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Seven Black Diamonds
by Melissa Marr
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 3/1/2016

This riveting fantasy marks Melissa Marr’s return to the world of faery courts that made her Wicked Lovely series an international phenomenon.

Lilywhite Abernathy is a criminal—she’s half human, half fae, and since the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humans and faeries. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of the fae courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir due to the actions of reckless humans.

Lily’s father has always shielded her, but when she’s sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, she’s delivered straight into the arms of a fae sleeper cell—the Black Diamonds. The Diamonds are planted in the human world as the sons and daughters of the most influential families and tasked with destroying it from within. Against her will, Lilywhite’s been chosen to join them...and even the romantic attention of the fae rock singer Creed Morrison isn’t enough to keep Lily from wanting to run back to the familiar world she knows.

Melissa Marr returns to faery in a dramatic story of the precarious space between two worlds and the people who must thrive there. The combination of ethereal fae powers, tumultuous romance, and a bloodthirsty faery queen will have longtime fans and new readers at the edge of their seats.

Purchase Seven Black Diamonds at Amazon
Purchase Seven Black Diamonds at IndieBound
View Seven Black Diamonds on Goodreads

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The Girl Who Fell
by S.M. Parker
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 3/1/2016

His obsession.
Her fall.

In this dark kissing book, high school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense relationship—by the new boy in school.

Zephyr is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.

But love has a way of changing things.

Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.

Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…terrifying?

But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.

So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.

If she waits any longer, it may be too late.

Purchase The Girl Who Fell at Amazon
Purchase The Girl Who Fell at IndieBound
View The Girl Who Fell on Goodreads

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The Lifeboat Clique
by Kathy Parks
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 3/1/2016

Some people might say that Denver had a death wish. Why else would she have dared to sneak into a Malibu beach party where she’d be surrounded by enemies, namely including her ex-BFF Abigail?

Oh yeah. Croix. Denver never thought in a million years he’d ask her out, but who was she to question this miracle of fate? Well, that wasn’t the only surprise fate had in store.

During the party a tsunami hit the coast of California, wiping out everything in its path. Denver and a handful of others escaped death by holding onto the roof of the house and were swept out to sea. Of course, one of her fellow castaways was none other than Abigail, who could barely stand the sight of her.

Now that she’s floating in the ocean, stuck on a small boat with the most popular kids in school and waiting to be rescued, Denver wonders what might kill her first: dehydration, sunstroke, or the girl she used to think of as a sister?

A hilariously dark and twisted story that sparkles with a remarkably fresh voice, The Lifeboat Clique is Kathy Park’s irreverent yet insightful novel about how to survive in the most unthinkable circumstances.

Purchase The Lifeboat Clique at Amazon
Purchase The Lifeboat Clique at IndieBound
View The Lifeboat Clique on Goodreads


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Sunday, February 28, 2016

0 Carol Snow, author of THE LAST PLACE ON EARTH, on a novel needing a plot

We're thrilled to have Carol Snow join us to share more about her latest novel THE LAST PLACE ON EARTH.

Carol, what was your inspiration for writing THE LAST PLACE ON EARTH?

I was reading LIFE AFTER DEATH, Damien Echols’s haunting memoir of his time spent on death row after being wrongfully convicted a gruesome triple murder. Early in the book, he describes showing up at his best friend’s house – only to find that the friend and his entire family have disappeared. I used that scenario, in a completely different context, to launch THE LAST PLACE ON EARTH.

0 Tara Sullivan, author of THE BITTER SIDE OF SWEET, on every book being its own unique journey

We're excited to have Tara Sullivan stop by to tell us more about her latest novel THE BITTER SIDE OF SWEET.

Tara, what was your inspiration for writing THE BITTER SIDE OF SWEET?

THE BITTER SIDE OF SWEET is, unfortunately, based on the reality of the way modern-day chocolate is produced. The Ivory Coast is the source of over 40% of the world’s cacao, from which most mainstream chocolate is made. Sadly, it is an industry dependent on the labor of trafficked children who are forced to work against their will and for no pay. The injustice of children in one part of the world being forced to work as modern-day slaves in order to produce a treat for children in another part of the world is what prompted me to write THE BITTER SIDE OF SWEET.

0 Kit Alloway, author of DREAMFEVER, advises to stop obsessing over plotting and just write

DREAMFEVER is the second book in The Dream Walker Trilogy, and we're delighted to have Kit Alloway here to chat about it.

Kit, 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?

The nightmares in which Josh and Feodor interacted were very difficult because I had to write Feodor through Josh’s eyes. Her feelings toward him are complicated—one the one hand, she loathes him for what he did to her and her friends, but she also admires his genius and feels compassion for what he’s been through. That’s a lot to juggle. I am proud of those chapters.

How long did you work on DREAMFEVER?

I worked on Dreamfever for about three years. It wasn’t the easiest book to write.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

1 Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, author of THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES, on trusting others in publishing

We're pleased to have Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock stop by to tell us more about her debut THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES.

Bonnie-Sue, what do you hope readers will take away from THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES?

Originally I thought the book was going to be a collection of linked short stories. My background is writing for radio, so I think my tendency is to write short, powerful sentences that pack a lot of information into a very small space. (think 4 minute radio piece) The title was a spin off the idea that the reader might feel like they had just opened the door of someone else's house and gotten a whiff of what it was like to be that person. I do hope that is still true, in this longer format. I hope it's a glimpse into a life that maybe the reader hadn't experienced before. Or if it resonates, perhaps it mirrors the reader’s world, if they grew up in the place I did. Either way, I hope it's an enjoyable read.

0 Kim Savage, author of AFTER THE WOODS, on literally writing blind

We're thrilled to have Kim Savage join us to share more about her debut novel AFTER THE WOODS.

Kim, 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?

I had an AHA moment recently, but I think it still counts, because writers are always on the road to publication. I was stuck in a doctor’s waiting room with my eyes fully dilated, essentially blind. I had my computer, so I started to write my latest novel, starting with the first line. I couldn’t go back and see anything I had written: I could only plow ahead. There was no possibility of editing myself. I wrote for more than an hour. It was terrifying, then liberating. After I could see, I kept everything (minus the hilarious typos).

It’s not revelatory to suggest muting your internal editor on the first draft. But I’d revised two books, and hadn’t written from-scratch in nearly a year. My paralysis was beginning to scare me. It sounds cornball, but I had to go blind to see.

1 Karen Bao, author of DOVE EXILED, on going outside once in a while

DOVE EXILED is the second book in The Dove Chronicles, and we're delighted to have Karen Bao here to chat about it.

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

My road to publication was rather short, without many detours -- and for that I feel very fortunate. I wrote ~3 books before DOVE ARISING/DOVE EXILED, and never intended on publishing any of them. I'm so grateful to my agent for offering to represent me after reading the DOVE manuscript, even though I obviously had a lot to learn about writing at the professional level. To this day, he and my editors are continuously offering feedback that helps me improve.

0 Victoria Scott, author of TITANS, on being inspired by a commercial

We're excited to have Victoria Scott with us to talk about her latest novel TITANS.

Victoria, what was your inspiration for writing TITANS?

A commercial, actually. It was this one by Acura. I saw it while watching a football game, and nearly flew from the couch to my office to call my agent.

How long did you work on TITANS?

This book took me a little longer than my previous titles. Maybe that's because I had to pause to have a baby halfway through. From first sentence to turning it into my editor, I believe it took six months. Not too bad now that I think about it.

Friday, February 26, 2016

0 When a Standalone Turns into a Series by Lynn Carthage + #Giveaway

Please welcome back author Lynn Carthage today. She's here to celebrate the release earlier this week of Betrayed, book 2 in The Arnaud Legacy series. And speaking of series, she shares some really good insights on how to craft one and how to plant those little surprises along the way. Lynn is also giving away a copy of Betrayed. Check it out below!

Writing Series Fiction: A Craft of Writing Post by Lynn Carthage


It's hard enough to write one novel; another level of trauma gets applied when one tries to write series fiction. Each novel must have its own storyline, but must also dole out bits and scraps about a larger plot that will unfold over the many books of the series.

When I wrote Haunted, I didn't think of it as the beginning of a series. It was based on a nightmare and was a standalone book. My literary agent suggested that I think about it as the first book in a trilogy. I brainstormed and wrote a few paragraphs' worth of plot for what might happen in books two and three. On the basis of those ideas, the book sold as a trilogy: and I was suddenly on the hook to make those loosely-glimpsed plots come alive.

It's been a cool challenge, and one that has forced me to stretch as a writer. Any book I've written previously has arisen out of a need to tell a story which engaged me. This is the first time I've had to write as an "assignment." I've loved the task it's presented and the new way of thinking about story production.

When I wrote out the ideas for the second and third books, I wrote them simply as a continuation of events in the first book. It hadn't yet occurred to me what I mentioned in the introductory paragraph above: that there would need to be a larger story that unfolded over the three books. To use a very famous example of the "larger story": in the Harry Potter series, it's finding out what happened to Harry's parents and how that set Harry up for the battle he faces.

A few years ago, J.K. Rowling famously released her spreadsheet showing how she organized all the plot threads for one of the Harry Potter books (via JKRowling.com)

Luckily, I realized I needed a larger story in time to get a few hints for that storyline into Book One before it went into production.

EMBEDDING HINTS FOR THE LARGER STORY
The ideal situation would be writing all three books first and having the luxury of time to properly sow the seeds. However, I know current wisdom about writing series fiction states that a writer shouldn't invest so much time without knowing yet whether the first will sell; why spend years writing a trilogy if the concept is unsaleable?

It's a tricky issue. You want to write the first book as a standalone, including hints for the rest of the series...but not such overt hints that they would mar the book if it's indeed published as a standalone.

In my case, I was given a year to write each of the subsequent books, a generous and fair schedule from my publisher. I was offered the chance to have the books release in six-month increments but didn't think I could realistically hit the deadlines.

Once I'd signed the contract, I should've rushed to write "quick and dirty" drafts of books two and three to more effectively assess the embedding of the larger story. But real life intrudes: young children, jobs, reading Pride and Prejudice five more times. I was joking above when I said that writing series fiction is traumatic. It shouldn't be if one has decent time management skills. :)

ANOTHER CONCERN
Another issue with series fiction is that readers may not read the books in order. In fact, a statistic I came across once indicated that in fact it's pretty rare for a reader to progress through a series in the order intended. In some cases, this is great: a secret revealed in the first book can get another unveiling in the second for unsuspecting readers.

It does, however, create a problem in terms of not giving away events from preceding books, to preserve suspense for the reader who backtracks to read them. I've done my best to have characters make oblique references to past events rather than spelling them out. This rewards readers who know, and can be glossed over by those who don't.

OPPORTUNITY FOR SHIFTING PERSPECTIVES
A writer friend suggested that since I had three important teen characters in Book 1, maybe I should let each "have" their own book in the trilogy. Thus, Haunted is narrated by Phoebe, an American teen who moves to England; Betrayed is narrated by Miles, her English maybe-boyfriend; and Avenged (which will release in February 2017) is narrated by Eleanor, their friend.

Series fiction permits creative shifting of perspectives: a main character could appear at different ages, could solve a mystery in a different locale, could seek a different object each time. It's a fun experiment to think about how to frame the story in each installation.

I hope readers enjoy Betrayed, which released on Tuesday. It's Book 2 of my Arnaud Manor trilogy. You don't need to have read the first book Haunted to read Betrayed, which is set in Paris and Versailles and involves time travel for those who want to see the guillotine blade descend.

Find me online at www.lynncarthage.com or on Twitter at @LynnCarthage.

About the Book:


http://www.amazon.com/Betrayed-Arnaud-Legacy-Lynn-Carthage-ebook/dp/B00Y6RC02O/
When Phoebe Irving moved from San Francisco to my English country village, we discovered how much we have in common. We also realized that her family's home, the Arnaud Manor, has a twisted history that goes back centuries. Though the bloodthirsty Madame Arnaud is finally gone, a trip to the palace of Versailles in France proves that trouble still haunts us. With our friend Eleanor's help, we're trying to figure out the Arnaud legacy and our role in it . . . and whether the future holds the chance for Phoebe and me to make a real connection.

Boy meets girl. Obstacles arise. Love conquers all. You know the routine. But sometimes those you trust the most wind up betraying you. . . .

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads




About the Author:


Lynn Carthage (photo by Belle Photography)
Lynn Carthage is a novelist living near Sacramento. Under her real name, she was a Bram Stoker Award finalist. Born in Vermont, Lynn has lived in Maine, Ireland, and Arizona. She reads voraciously, loves anything French, gets “itchy feet” to travel on a regular basis, and finds peace in the woods, in meadows, in nature. She has always been fascinated by how history allows us to imagine how people of the past lived and breathed and felt.

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-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers



Thursday, February 25, 2016

5 Red Light/Green Light Contest: Announcing the Top 10!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Below are the top 10 entries in our Red Light/Green Light contest, where writers are vying for the prize of a phone call with fabulous agent Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary.

 
Be sure to check back next Thursday, when we'll post our agent judge's top 5 selected entries!

CONGRATS to all who made it in, and good luck going forward! And for those who didn't make it in, remember that this is all subjective. If you're unsure about your opening, consider entering AYAP's First Five Pages Workshop, which runs monthly, for some extra guidance!

And now, presenting:

THE TOP 10 ENTRIES

Author: D Lollis
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Entry:
"Mom, Brandon is smelling his dirty underwear—again," my older sister Bethany yelled as I crawled on the cold marble tile of the third floor laundry room. She grabbed her black jacket from a hanger, rolled her eyes, and left me to search for kind-of-clean boxers.

Author: Ellie Luken
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Entry: Only fools or the desperate wandered beyond the city walls by themselves. Zarailla had yet to determine which one of those categories the man on the horizon belonged to.

Author: Olivia Hinebaugh
Genre: Young Adult Magical Realism
Entry: There wasn’t a funeral. Not like she deserved at least.

Author: Laurine Bruder
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Entry:
Ivy Greenhill's mind ticked as the prison wagon trundled along the dirt road. The stench of her waste made her gag, and her empty stomach cramped.

Author: Joan Albright
Genre: Young Adult Steampunk
Entry:
Silas clung to his tiny chainskiff, arms wrapped around the rail while it rocked and pitched and finally settled against the chain that held it in the sky. "Would you knock that off?"

Author: PJN
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Entry:
Four years ago no one knew my name. Now they chant it as I scale the stairs leading to the Rumeena.

Author: Lana Pattinson
Genre: Young Adult Historical
Entry:
Ominous clouds hovered over the loch, and Rowan Sinclair was about to lose his chance at freedom. The dense, yeasty aroma of alcohol settled on the sleeping casks like a thick blanket as Rowan crept into the whisky warehouse.

Author: Holly M. Campbell
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Entry:
The man standing in the kitchen had not been dead long. Mary recognized the signs of a newbie.

Author: Cassidy Taylor
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Entry:
Sounds of revelry drift up to Ruby's sitting room, but she wants no part of it. It is a distant cacophony, sounds of another world, another life.

Author: Lizz Huerta
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Entry:
The stink of the Fire Warrior reached Indir before he spoke. She pretended not to know he was standing behind her, breathing through her mouth and concentrating on painting in the lines of the carving on the temple wall.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

3 On Giving Up by Hannah Barnaby

This week, we're welcoming Hannah Barnaby, author of WONDER SHOW and the just-released SOME OF THE PARTS, to the blog. In a world where writers pressure themselves to meet fast-paced writing goals, Hannah's story of success is utterly reassuring. She's here today to speak on the importance of not giving up.

On Giving Up by Hannah Barnaby

Let’s talk about giving up. Well, not exactly giving up. Let’s talk about giving up’s little sister: not starting in the first place.

Elizabeth Gilbert (currently the patron saint and fairy godmother of all us creative types) says that everything that holds us back from creating is based in fear. Procrastination, writer’s block, all of it. Ideally, we find our inner strength and push through that fear and come out on the other side with something we’re proud of. Sometimes this is what happens, and sometimes it’s not.

I don’t like to give up. Which is why I often don’t start things that seem like they’ll be difficult to finish. Like writing a novel.

I put off novel-writing as long as I could. I graduated from college with a BA in English, I finished an MA program and an MFA program without completing a novel-length manuscript. Then I decided to really challenge the universe and I applied for a grant from the Boston Public Library to be their first children’s writer-in-residence. If I won, I would agree to spend twenty hours a week at the library for nine months and hand in a finished first draft of a novel at the end of it.

A finished draft.

But that was fine, because of course I would not win.

But then I did.

I’m happy to tell you that I managed to complete that draft, but there were plenty of times I didn’t think I could. I kept myself going with research, music, chocolate, and dogged refusal to stop. I had no idea what I was doing and the draft I “finished” was full of holes, but I was proud of myself for having written it and I handed it to the nice people at the library and I didn’t touch it again for two years.

When an editor who had been one of the judges on the library committee wrote to ask about the project, I had to admit that it had been a while since I’d looked at the manuscript. But she wanted to read it and I could hardly pass on such an opportunity—so I dusted off the pages and read through them, and I embarked on a full revision. Then a second. Then a third.

Eventually, that story was acquired by another editor altogether and became my first novel, Wonder Show. I was proud of myself—I hadn’t given up!—and then I went another two years without starting my second novel.

I think you can see the pattern here.

Prior to the beginning of every new project, there’s a giant, looming question mark that appears and haunts me for a while. Do I know what I’m doing? If I start this, can I finish it? Knowing that I will be tempted to quit along the way, I make the choice again and again to take the first step, and I trust that my intense dislike of giving up will carry me the distance.

Now, here’s some pragmatic advice for getting started and not giving up.
1.     Make a list of what you need to know about your character, her environment, her family and friends. Use those question marks to your advantage! Let them fuel your curiosity.
2.     Make yourself accountable. To a writing partner, a critique group, a public word count calculator on your website, whatever works. Track your progress and make sure someone else knows that you’re writing.
3.     Avoid the comparison game. Don’t worry about whether someone else is writing a story like yours, or convince yourself that they’re writing it better or faster or with more kissing. Blinders on. Your story is yours and no one else’s.

4.     Reward yourself! Every three chapters, every five thousand words—whatever you decide—treat yourself to something special. (Not chocolate, because be honest: you’ve been eating that the whole time.) Take a moment to be proud of yourself. Then get back to work.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sometimes bad things happen, and we are not the same when they are over.

For months, Tallie McGovern has been coping with the death of her older brother the only way she knows how: by smiling bravely and pretending that she's okay. She’s managed to fool her friends, her parents, and her teachers so far, yet she can’t even say his name out loud: “N—” is as far as she can go. But when Tallie comes across a letter in the mail, it only takes two words to crack the careful façade she’s built around herself:

ORGAN DONOR.

Two words that had apparently been checked off on her brother’s driver’s license; two words that her parents knew about—and never confided to her. All at once, everything Tallie thought she understood about her brother’s death feels like a lie. And although a part of her knows he’s gone forever, another part of her wonders if finding the letter might be a sign. That if she can just track down the people on the other end of those two words, it might somehow bring him back.

Hannah Barnaby’s deeply moving novel asks questions there are no easy answers to as it follows a family struggling to pick up the pieces, and a girl determined to find the brother she wasn’t ready to let go of.

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

About the Author

Hannah Barnaby has worked as a children's book editor, a bookseller at independent children's bookstores, and a teacher of writing for children and young adults. She holds an MA in Children's Literature from Simmons College and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She began writing Wonder Show, her first novel, during her time as the first Children's Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library. Ms. Barnaby lives in Charlottesville, VA.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

4 Plotting 101 — How Decoding Rejection Letters Can Help You Identify Problems with Your Writing Method

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: There’s no single correct way to write. There’s no one plotting method that works for everyone. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you something you don’t need to buy. On the other hand, every book is its own unique puzzle and consciously thinking about the pieces of craft and structure is necessary, not only when you are first starting out as a writer, but also when you are in the intermediate and advanced stages. Thinking about craft during revision is also helpful because it allows you to more easily identify the big picture issues that may be holding your novel back.

That doesn’t mean that you have to use a particular plotting method, or that you have to start out plotting at all. Eventually, you’ll find your own hybrid method that works for you, and there are pros and cons to plotting as well as to pantsing. In fact, I suspect there’s a high correlation between plotting methods and problems that come to light in the query trenches. You may already have encountered some of these, and looking at the responses you've had from agents or editors--or critique partners--can help identify ways in which your planning method--or lack thereof, perhaps--is letting you down.

Monday, February 22, 2016

18 FOUR Giveaways and New Releases 2/22 - 2/28

We hope you're all keeping warm in this last week of February! Ten amazing books release this week, and we have giveaways for four of them -- including one internationally. Take a peek at the offerings below, and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Happy reading,

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



Saturday, February 20, 2016

1 Laura Williams McCaffrey, author of MARKED, on learning to write each specific novel

MARKED is the latest novel by Laura Williams McCaffrey, and we're excited she stopped by to chat about writing.

Laura, what did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

I learned about the power of the double bind as I wrote this novel. A double bind is an incredible tension engine — it keeps us reading. I first realized this when I read Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races. There's much I admire about that story: the characters; the sense of this very mundane, yet very mystical world; the love, irritation, devotion, and betrayal among siblings. Yet I also found myself transfixed by the double bind. I wanted Puck to win the race and I wanted Sean to win the race. Yet if one won, the other couldn't. So I had to keep reading.

I also learned to pick myself back up when I fell. I've always been a rewriter, but I had to do quite a bit more this time around than I have in the past. I joke that Marked is my third and my fourth novel. I've learned I can face a major rewrite down and continue on.

0 Hannah Barnaby, author of SOME OF THE PARTS, on honoring your writing process

We're delighted to have Hannah Barnaby join us to share more about her latest novel SOME OF THE PARTS.

Hannah, what was your inspiration for writing SOME OF THE PARTS?

SOME OF THE PARTS was inspired by my own experience. In 1999, my younger brother Jesse died suddenly and, while the circumstances were quite different than what happens in the book, the emotional process was very much the same. I wanted to write a book that would have helped me back then, a book that said, "Everything you're feeling is what you need to feel. You will get through this. And you will be changed."

0 Caragh M. O'Brien, author of THE RULE OF MIRRORS, on writing for the satisfaction of the art

THE RULE OF MIRRORS is the second book in The Vault of Dreamers trilogy, and we're thrilled to have Caragh M. O'Brien here to tell us more about it.

Caragh, how long did you work on THE RULE OF MIRRORS?

I’m not a particularly fast writer to begin with, but writing The Rule of Mirrors took me even longer than usual. It took between a year and a half and two years altogether. In fact, there was a point in December 2014 when despite constant work, I knew the novel simply was not coming together, and I pleaded with my editor to grant me more time. She spoke to the team at Roaring Brook and moved the release date half a year later, which isn’t something a publisher does lightly. My relief was enormous. The book simply needed more exploration and more drafts. I'm thrilled with the way it finally came together, though, and I know the extra time and effort were well worth it.

Friday, February 19, 2016

0 Joshua David Bellin on Backstory: How much is too much?

We're happy to welcome Joshua David Bellin back to the blog today. Josh is here to share some insight that concerns all writers at the start of every story: how much information to share how soon? Read on to see how Josh (and other writers) approach the backstory question. And be sure to check out his SURVIVAL COLONY 9 at the end of the post!


Backstory Basics: A Craft of Writing Post by Joshua David Bellin



How much is too much?

When it comes to backstory, that’s a question I get asked all the time. Particularly in the first few chapters of a novel, writers wonder how much background information to provide about the story and characters. Too little and readers might get confused. Too much and they might get aggravated. So what’s the right balance?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

12 Red Light/Green Light Contest: Announcing the Top 25!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Below are the top 25 entries in our Red Light/Green Light contest, where writers are vying for the prize of a phone call with fabulous agent Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary.



Be sure to check back next Thursday, when we'll post our agent judge's top 10 selected entries!

CONGRATS to all who made it in, and good luck going forward! And for those who didn't make it in, remember that this is all subjective. If you're unsure about your opening, consider entering AYAP's First Five Pages Workshop, which runs monthly, for some extra guidance!

And now, presenting:

THE TOP 25 ENTRIES
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Terry Bell
Young Adult Fantasy
Pa was taking too long to cut the boys’ throats. Near ten minutes were run out since he’d vanished into the quarantine hut, and Fie had spent the last seven of them glaring at its gilded door and trying not to pick at a stray thread on her ragged black robe.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
D Lollis
Middle Grade Contemporary
"Mom, Brandon is smelling his dirty underwear—again," my older sister Bethany yelled as I crawled on the cold marble tile of the third floor laundry room. She grabbed her black jacket from a hanger, rolled her eyes, and left me to search for kind-of-clean boxers.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
KD Proctor
New Adult Romance
If it’s possible for a tray of pastries to blackmail me, I think I might need to file a restraining order against The Steamy Bean’s cinnamon chip scones. My stomach twists and bubbles, reminding me that eating one of those buttery, rich bad-boys minutes before my Skype interview is a really bad idea.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Kara Reynolds
Young Adult SciFi
The universe should have a rule that bad news can't arrive over breakfast, but it doesn't. So of course, the news of Jay’s murder came while I was eating a bowl of Rice Krispies, looking at my phone, and pretending not to hear my parents' argument.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Ellie Luken
Young Adult Fantasy
Only fools or the desperate wandered beyond the city walls by themselves. Zarailla had yet to determine which one of those categories the man on the horizon belonged to.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Devyn B. Makin
Young Adult Magical Realism
Routine is what predators look for in their prey. This was one of many sayings Jake Dorian heard growing up with his dad.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
VV Sinnott
Young Adult Magical Realism
My parents were whispering in the living room, a sure sign they were talking about something they didn’t want me to hear. If they really wanted to keep their conversation private they should have had it somewhere else.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Michele Blood
Young Adult Contemporary
A bead of sweat nestled itself beneath the bandages pinching Alex's skin. "Get out," she said to the woman sporting a "Child Life Specialist" badge.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Olivia Hinebaugh
Young Adult Magical Realism
There wasn’t a funeral. Not like she deserved at least.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Angela Dahle
Middle Grade Fantasy
There aren't any unlucky numbers, only unlucky people. No arguing there, even if our link to ancient stardust is a fable knocked straight outta the Celestial Sky.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Mare Hagarty
Young Adult Paranormal
The first time I saw her, she was a pink and black blur, all sharp edges and hollows. Most people took the turn that led to White Beach instead of tripping up the rutted path through the woods to Seaview Lawn.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Laurine Bruder
Young Adult Fantasy
Ivy Greenhill's mind ticked as the prison wagon trundled along the dirt road. The stench of her waste made her gag, and her empty stomach cramped.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Gillian Libby
Young Adult Romance
I didn’t know it was possible to screw over your entire family after you’ve been dead for two hundred years, but it turns out you’re never too dead to ruin a legacy. When the long lost and most beloved King Oliver’s remains were found the people of Sonora rejoiced.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Joan Albright
Young Adult Steampunk
Silas clung to his tiny chainskiff, arms wrapped around the rail while it rocked and pitched and finally settled against the chain that held it in the sky. "Would you knock that off?"
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
PJN
Young Adult Fantasy
Four years ago no one knew my name. Now they chant it as I scale the stairs leading to the Rumeena.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Mae Parker
Young Adult Fantasy
Henbane Tower pierced the night like a dagger thrust into the heart of my kingdom. "Be brave, Persephone," I whispered, no stranger to talking to myself.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Holly Pettit
Young Adult Historical
In the dark part of the city – the Soviet sector – a garden party was just breaking up. It was in the Majakowskiring, a posh district where Socialist party officials lived.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Lana Pattinson
Young Adult Historical
Ominous clouds hovered over the loch, and Rowan Sinclair was about to lose his chance at freedom. The dense, yeasty aroma of alcohol settled on the sleeping casks like a thick blanket as Rowan crept into the whisky warehouse.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
TL Sumner
Young Adult Contemporary
I could do anything for fifteen seconds. Ignoring the burning sensation engulfing my thighs and lungs, I pumped my arms and concentrated on staying two steps behind Reed Barkley as we rounded the last turn of the sunbaked track.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Gabi Snyder
Middle Grade Contemporary
After the funeral, I fall asleep and dream of snow. I dream of sledding in darkness across a deep blue lake.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Holly M. Campbell
Young Adult Paranormal
The man standing in the kitchen had not been dead long. Mary recognized the signs of a newbie.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Marva Dasef
Middle Grade Fantasy
A dark figure dropped silently from the window ledge to the alley below. Dressed in a black curiously darker than a coal mine, which, of course, no clothing had a right to be, no casual observer would notice the movement.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Cassidy Taylor
Young Adult Fantasy
Sounds of revelry drift up to Ruby's sitting room, but she wants no part of it. It is a distant cacophony, sounds of another world, another life.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Jenny
Middle Grade Fantasy
Deep in the forest, where the trees grew crooked and the wind whispered tales of woe, there was a tower, and in the tower there lived a girl. The tower was made of rough black stone and even though it stood taller than any tower should, the dark and twisted trees still stretched higher.
Author:
Genre:
Entry:
Lizz Huerta
Young Adult Fantasy
The stink of the Fire Warrior reached Indir before he spoke. She pretended not to know he was standing behind her, breathing through her mouth and concentrating on painting in the lines of the carving on the temple wall.