Monday, August 21, 2017

0 New Releases this week 08/21-08/28 plus 3 Giveaways

Happy Monday! This week we're featuring a few really awesome giveaways including 2 copies of ORPHAN, AGENT, PRIMA, PAWN. Make sure to enter to win below, and check out all the other awesome books being released this week!

Happy Reading,

Shelly, Sam, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Kelly, Laura, Emily, Anisaa, and Lori Ann


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


Orphan, Agent, Prima, Pawn
by Elizabeth Kiem
Signed Hardcover Giveaway (2 Copies)
U.S. Only

Soho Teen
Released 8/22/2017

The year is 1958, and sixteen-year-old Svetlana is stuck in a Moscow orphanage designated for the unwanted children of Stalin’s enemies. Ballet is her obsession and salvation, her only hope at shedding a tainted family past. Sveta’s dream is to make a new life as a dancer.

Her dream comes true: she’s invited to join The Bolshoi Ballet, whose power as a symbol of Soviet prowess is unmatched—except perhaps by the dreaded KGB secret police. Sveta is stunned when officers show up at her door. Inexplicably, they know about a fainting spell she once had: a trance she slipped into. Something like a vision.

Some very powerful people believe Sveta is capable of serving the regime as much more than a dancer. They want to enlist her against the West as a psychic spy. She must explore this other talent if she is to erase the sins of her family, if she is to dance on the world stage for the Motherland—if she is to survive.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Orphan, Agent, Prima, Pawn?

Moscow in its Golden Era!

I am a huge Russophile, which is a tricky thing to admit these days. I mean, holy cow—they hacked our elections! They infiltrated our democratic institutions. They put Trump in the White House!!!

(They did it all without exclamation points.)

But it’s true. I am big Russian history buff, and I have a particular soft spot for those three-quarters of the 20th century during which the Russians were even more brazen about messing with the world order than they are today. Imagine—they tried to create a “Soviet Union” of social equality and economic equity.

(They failed, sadly.)

ORPHAN, AGENT, PRIMA, PAWN takes place in Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union, at a time when that failure was so distant it seemed inconceivable. It was also a time when Russia and the US were locked in a strange tango of competition, diplomacy and accusation (sound familiar?) but danced to the tune of nuclear Armageddon.

Telling the story of Svetlana Dukovskaya, a ballerina conscripted by the secret police in 1960 to serve as a secret agent against the West was a joy, but it was capturing her superpower—the Soviet Union in all its shabby dysfunctions, earnest optimism and improbable espionage operations that I enjoyed the most.


Purchase Orphan, Agent, Prima, Pawn at Amazon
Purchase Orphan, Agent, Prima, Pawn at IndieBound
View Orphan, Agent, Prima, Pawn on Goodreads


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Dress Codes for Small Towns
by Courtney C. Stevens
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

HarperTeen
Released 8/22/2017

As the tomboy daughter of the town’s preacher, Billie McCaffrey has always struggled with fitting the mold of what everyone says she should be. She’d rather wear sweats, build furniture, and get into trouble with her solid group of friends: Woods, Mash, Davey, Fifty, and Janie Lee.

But when Janie Lee confesses to Billie that she’s in love with Woods, Billie’s filled with a nagging sadness as she realizes that she is also in love with Woods…and maybe with Janie Lee, too.

Always considered “one of the guys,” Billie doesn’t want anyone slapping a label on her sexuality before she can understand it herself. So she keeps her conflicting feelings to herself, for fear of ruining the group dynamic. Except it’s not just about keeping the peace, it’s about understanding love on her terms—this thing that has always been defined as a boy and a girl falling in love and living happily ever after. For Billie—a box-defying dynamo—it’s not that simple.

Readers will be drawn to Billie as she comes to terms with the gray areas of love, gender, and friendship, in this John Hughes-esque exploration of sexual fluidity.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Dress Codes for Small Towns?

Billie. The main character. She is a goodhearted hellcat who loves where she's from even when where she's from doesn't love her back.

She is a kid who is thinking, "What if I change the status quo?" rather than, "What if I leave?" I like the way she believes the world has potential.


Purchase Dress Codes for Small Towns at Amazon
Purchase Dress Codes for Small Towns at IndieBound
View Dress Codes for Small Towns on Goodreads


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The Rattled Bones
by S.M. Parker
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon Pulse
Released 8/22/2017

Unearthing years of buried secrets, Rilla Brae is haunted by ghostly visions tied to the tainted history of a mysterious island in this haunting novel from the author of The Girl Who Fell.

Maine-bred, independent Rilla Brae is no stranger to the deep. She knows the rhythms of hard work and harder seas. But when she experiences the sudden death of her father, the veil between the living and the dead blurs and she begins to be haunted by a girl on a nearby, uninhabited island. The girl floats a song over the waves, and it is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Familiar and distant.

Then Rilla meets Sam, a University of Southern Maine archeology student tasked with excavating the very island where the ghostly girl has appeared. Sam sifts the earth looking for the cultural remains of an island people who were forcibly evicted by the state nearly a hundred years ago. Sam tells Rilla the island has a history no locals talk about—if they know about it at all—due to the shame the events brought to the working waterfront community. All Rilla knows for sure is that the island has always been there—an eerie presence anchored in the stormy sea. Now Sam’s work and the ghostly girl’s song lure Rilla to the island’s shores.

As Rilla helps Sam to unearth the island’s many secrets, Rilla’s visions grow—until the two discover a tragedy kept silent for years. And it’s a tragedy that has everything to do with Rilla’s past.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Rattled Bones?

THE RATTLED BONES has a bit of everything: mystery, historical fiction, realistic fiction, romance and, of course, a ghost! Blending these genres into one book was one of the best creative challenges I’ve had as a writer.

It sounds like a mash-up, I know. So I relied on my characters to pull it off!

Rilla, the heroine, is the captain of a lobster boat. She’s badass: fierce and strong and excels in a male-dominated world. Her heart is brave. Then there’s Sam—swoony archeologist Sam—who is good and kind and listens with an open heart. And Grams, of course. Gram is made of pure New England stock and has really solid sensibilities but her capacity for love—love of the earth, her family, community—is at the core of her proud existence.

One of my favorite characters in THE RATTLED BONES is the setting. Located on the salt-licked coast of Maine, the story is steeped in the pull of the tides, the secrets of the deep. Mystery shrouds the setting, and everything Rilla has to discover.

I hope it’s not a spoiler to reveal that there’s a ghost. ☺ She haunts Rilla—and Rilla’s entire matriarchal line—because she will not allow her story to be lost to history. I have such a deep amount of love for this ghost that reaches across time to make her voice heard.

Lastly, there are the people of Malaga Island, the small island battered by the sea, racism and greed nearly a century ago. The story of Malaga Island residents is a true one so my depictions of what happened to their community had to be precise. I hope their story comes across in the pages. I hope this book gives them voice. Because history has tried to silence them.

Lastly, I love how the two contemporary characters—Rilla and Sam—brave the mysteries of the expansive sea (and its shores) to discover more about themselves, each other, and how discrimination should never blur how deeply we are all connected in our humanity.


Purchase The Rattled Bones at Amazon
Purchase The Rattled Bones at IndieBound
View The Rattled Bones on Goodreads


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Mr. 60%
by Clete Barrett Smith
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Crown Books for Young Readers
Released 8/22/2017

Witty, honest, and wholly captivating, Mr. 60% is a perfect read for fans of The Spectacular Now and Where Things Come Back.

Matt Nolan is the high school drug dealer, deadbeat, and soon-to-be dropout according to everyone at his school. His vice principal is counting down the days until Mr. 60% (aka Matt) finally flunks out and is no longer his problem. What no one knows is the only reason Matt sells drugs is to take care of his uncle Jack, who is dying of cancer.

Meet Amanda. The overly cheerful social outcast whose optimism makes Matt want to hurl. Stuck as partners during an after-school club (mandatory for Matt), it’s only a matter of time until Amanda discovers Matt’s secret. But Amanda is used to dealing with heartbreak, and she’s determined to help Matt find a way to give life 100 percent.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Mr. 60%?

My favorite thing about Mr. 60% is that it honors the memory of someone who meant a lot to me. In the book, Uncle Jack is a charismatic mess of a guy who is dying from cancer. This character is based closely on a family member who came to live with my family when he had a terminal case of pancreatic cancer and was given six months to live. Being with him during those final months made a profound impact on me. At the time, I was reading books about the end of life where the dying person imparted all kinds of wise life lessons and there was a clean resolution. I wanted a story that was more messy and closer to the complicated feelings that everyone felt at the time as we were dealing with this situation.

Purchase Mr. 60% at Amazon
Purchase Mr. 60% at IndieBound
View Mr. 60% on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

Giveaway winners will be chosen and announced when our giveaway assistant, Shelly, returns from vacation in a few weeks. Sorry for the inconvenience.

MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


The Arsonist
by Stephanie Oakes
Hardcover
Dial Books
Released 8/22/2017

Code Name Verity meets I Am the Messenger in this riveting YA novel from Morris Award finalist Stephanie Oakes, in which three points of view are woven together in a story that's part Cold War mystery, part contemporary coming-of-age, and completely unputdownable.

Molly Mavity is not a normal teenage girl. For one thing, her father is a convicted murderer, and his execution date is fast approaching. For another, Molly refuses to believe that her mother is dead, and she waits for the day when they'll be reunited . . . despite all evidence that this will never happen.

Pepper Al-Yusef is not your average teenage boy. A Kuwaiti immigrant with epilepsy, serious girl problems, and the most useless seizure dog in existence, he has to write a series of essays over the summer . . . or fail out of school.

And Ava Dreyman--the brave and beautiful East German resistance fighter whose murder at seventeen led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall--is unlike anyone you've met before.

When Molly gets a package leading her to Pepper, they're tasked with solving a decades-old mystery: find out who killed Ava, back in 1989. Using Ava's diary for clues, Molly and Pepper realize there's more to her life--and death--than meets the eye. Someone is lying to them. And someone out there is guiding them along, desperate for answers.

At turns heart-racing, hilarious, and heartbreaking, The Arsonist is an intricate tapestry--of love, loss, and the mysterious connections between us all.

Purchase The Arsonist at Amazon
Purchase The Arsonist at IndieBound
View The Arsonist on Goodreads

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The Dire King: A Jackaby Novel
by William Ritter
Hardcover
Algonquin Young Readers
Released 8/22/2017

The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times best-selling series the Chicago Tribune called “Sherlock Holmes crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer” sends the eccentric detective and his indispensible assistant into the heart of a war between magical worlds.

The fate of the world is in the hands of detective of the supernatural R. F. Jackaby and his intrepid assistant, Abigail Rook. An evil king is turning ancient tensions into modern strife, using a blend of magic and technology to push Earth and the Otherworld into a mortal competition. Jackaby and Abigail are caught in the middle as they continue to solve the daily mysteries of New Fiddleham, New England — like who’s created the rend between the worlds, how to close it, and why zombies are appearing around. At the same time, the romance between Abigail and the shape-shifting police detective Charlie Cane deepens, and Jackaby’s resistance to his feelings for 926 Augur Lane’s ghostly lady, Jenny, begins to give way. Before the four can think about their own futures, they will have to defeat an evil that wants to destroy the future altogether.

The epic conclusion to the New York Times best-selling Jackaby series features sly humor and a quirky cast of unforgettable characters as they face off against their most dangerous, bone-chilling foe ever.

Purchase The Dire King: A Jackaby Novel at Amazon
Purchase The Dire King: A Jackaby Novel at IndieBound
View The Dire King: A Jackaby Novel on Goodreads




Sunday, August 20, 2017

0 YA Sunday Morning News: This Week for Writers 8/20/17

Good morning, writers! It’s Sunday, and that means fresh links…get ‘em while they’re hot!

Writing for Publication—Queries and Submissions:


Writing for Publication—Book Marketing and Social Media:


Author Interviews:

Adventures in YA Publishing Author Interviews:


Literary Agent News and Interviews:

Writing and Pitch Contests:

Writing Craft:


Writing Inspiration:

YA Book to Screen Adaptation News:

Publishing News & Trends:

New YA E-Book Deals:

New YA Book Giveaways:

YA Book Deals and Releases:

Just for Fun:




Saturday, August 19, 2017

0 Irena Brignull, author of THE HAWKWEED LEGACY, on letting the characters be you guides

THE HAWKWEED LEGACY is book two in the Hawkweed Series, and we're thrilled to have Irena Brignull stop by to tell us more about it.

Irena, what was your inspiration for writing the HAWKWEED series?

It was a holiday I took one spring time. My kids and I went to stay with a friend in Italy after my youngest child had been really sick in hospital. The place doesn’t feature in the novel (though there is an Italian family in The Hawkweed Legacy). It was more the rest, the relaxation, the sense of friendship after such a crisis. I woke up one morning and had the idea of two girls switched at birth and the teenagers they’d become. I just knew I had to write it.

What scene in THE HAWKWEED LEGACY 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?

I had to kill off one of my characters and that was really tough. It was someone I’d really loved writing. I could hardly bear to type the words. I think it’s a shocking moment, but the scene I actually love most comes later. It’s set in a zoo and another character is in great peril. The caged animals are calling out to try and warn her. It’s really atmospheric and very tense and emotional. At least I hope it is!

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

Well, the books that influenced me are actually two plays - Macbeth and The Crucible. Years ago, they sparked my interest in witches. Then there’s Jane Eyre, My Brilliant Friend, The Joy Luck Club for female friendship. And Eleanor and Park for my introduction to YA. I hope they’d resonate for the readers of the Hawkweed series too.

How long did you work on THE HAWKWEED LEGACY?


About a year. Six months of which was solid writing, rather than editing.

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

It taught me to let go and trust my instincts more. I had less of a plan with this book, even though it has a pretty ambitious structure. I let the characters be my guides and they took me on some unexpected detours.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE HAWKWEED LEGACY?

I hope it will provoke some thought about friendship, and I hope readers will be moved by the story. Essentially, it’s a book about forgiveness and about finding your clan. I would love to think it offers some comfort to those who are seeking either for themselves.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?
I am so lucky that my road to publication was very straight forward. My first book was published and I got a two book deal so was able to go straight into The Hawkweed Legacy. My struggles really came before that with my screenwriting. That was where I learnt my craft and had to take the knocks of rejection before I got established. Over the years, I’ve pitched for so many movies that I wasn’t hired for and written so many scripts that were never made. But I guess that’s all part of being a writer.

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?

With Legacy, it was realising early on that I could combine a past story with a present day one and how each storyline could comment on and reflect on the other. Generally, getting a hundred or so pages in is a big moment for me. It feels like I actually have a novel on my hands.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?
I wish I had more of a ritual. I write any time, any place. As a mum of three, I just grab any opportunity I can. I take my laptop everywhere, but I work mostly in my little office at home, or in my car while I’m waiting for my kids to do their sports training. I used to try and put on music but as soon as I start writing, I don’t hear much. The world just fades away. A cup of tea to hand is always good though.

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

Finish what you’ve started! This is the hardest part for me. I have lots of ideas and I love writing the first few scenes, but shaping an entire plot and filling all those pages takes real commitment and stamina. It’s so worth it though. Even before I knew I’d be published, it felt like a real achievement.

What are you working on now?

I’m juggling a few things at the moment. I have a picture book coming out next which I’m excited about. I’m working on a tv project from one of my YA ideas. I’m writing a middle grade novel. And I’m about to start on a movie script. I’m now feeling rather stressed having listed them all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Hawkweed Legacy
by Irena Brignull
Hardcover
Weinstein Books
Released 8/15/2017

Poppy is discovering a purpose for her powers in Africa, but she is haunted by a vision of her own death. Taken in by a boy and his great-grandmother, a healer, they vow to keep her safe-even if that ultimately means holding her captive. But Poppy never stops longing for Leo and, when she feels his magic begin to spark, she will do anything to be reunited with him.

Desperate to regain Poppy's trust and bring her home, Charlock embarks on a plan to reunite Leo with his mother. What Charlock doesn't foresee are the string of consequences that she sets into motion that leave Ember all alone and prey to manipulation, the clan open to attack from other witches, Sorrel vulnerable to Raven's ghost, Betony determined to protect her son from his father's fate, and which leave both Leo and Poppy in terrible danger.

Purchase The Hawkweed Legacy at Amazon
Purchase The Hawkweed Legacy at IndieBound
View The Hawkweed Legacy on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’m Irena Brignull, a screenwriter, novelist and mum. I live with my family in London but I was brought up outside the city in the beautiful Chiltern Hills. The other place that has my heart is Greece where many of my relatives are from.

My first novel, The Hawkweed Prophecy, was published in June 2016. The sequel, The Hawkweed Legacy, was published in June 2017.

I write screenplays too. My screenwriting credits include the Oscar nominated movie, The Boxtrolls, starring Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning and Simon Pegg. (I was nominated for Best Screenplay for that one at the Annie Awards in 2014.) My adaptation of The Little Prince, directed by Mark Osborne and starring Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, James Franco and Marion Cotillard, closed the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. I also adapted Skellig for Sky which starred Tim Roth, John Simm and Kelly MacDonald.

Before all this, I was a Script Executive at the BBC and then Head of Development at Dogstar Films where I was the script editor on Shakespeare in Love, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, I Capture the Castle and Bravo Two Zero to name a few.

And before that, I studied English Literature at Oxford University.

I don’t have much spare time but, in it, I like to read books and watch movies. It’s kind of my job, I know. But one day I plan to take up lots more hobbies - horse-riding, tap-dancing, baking, juggling…?

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Have you had a chance to read THE HAWKWEED LEGACY yet? Have you killed off a character you love writing? Is finishing what you started the hardest part for you? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

Friday, August 18, 2017

0 As the World Falls Down by Colleen Houck: Inspirations on World Building

Please welcome New York Times Bestselling Author Colleen Houck to our blog today as she shares some of her inspirations for worldbuilding. And be sure you not only watch the David Bowie clip below that inspired her, but also check out her newest release, Reunited, as well!

From Colleen:

Worldbuilding is my favorite thing about crafting a new story. In my Egyptian series, starting with REWAKENED, I fashioned a world layered on top of our real one. Beginning in New York City, I took my heroine, Lily, on an adventure across the sea to Egypt and then led her deeper and deeper into a fantasy world. First, she traveled through Egyptian tombs and oases, and then I led her to the Netherworld. From there, she journeyed to the depths of the cosmos and the home of the gods, Heliopolis.

Ideas for building a fictional world can come from anywhere. I might see an interesting picture on Pinterest, or hear a lyric in a song. Maybe something in a movie resonates or I overhear a conversation at Costco. I got one of my pickup lines by standing in the checkout and eavesdropping.

One of the unique scenes in REUNITED, is what I call, the Dreamworld. It’s a place where one of my Egyptian princes, Asten, spends most of his time. As one gifted with the power over dreams, Asten is not only able to spy, but to influence dreamers and pass along messages as they sleep.

In my dreamworld, Asten is able to guide Lily, Tia, and Ashleigh through their individual dreams, separating them from one another for a few precious moments, so they get to experience life again as a single being. For the reader, the thoughts and feelings of each girl are vivid and clear. There is a tangible sense of loss as each girl leaves the dreamworld and is reabsorbed into one body—Lily’s.

The entire setting was based on one of my favorite scenes in a beloved classic movie, Labyrinth. In it, the late David Bowie, played goblin king, Jareth. Since I was a teenager at the time the movie came out, I found the whole notion of it incredibly romantic. I wrote the entire story in my mind, believing the goblin king was in love with a girl and kidnapped her brother just to get her to seek him out.

What sparked my imagination the most was the dreamworld Jareth fashioned to trap the young woman. When she bit into a magic peach, he sent bubbles full of daydreams, and when they passed by, she entered one and found herself dancing at a masquerade party seeking a handsome stranger.

I loved everything about it—the puffy white dress (my wedding dress was also ballooning and bedazzled), the makeup (even David Bowie’s), the big hair, the jewelry, the glitter, the ruffled shirts and sequined jackets, and especially the music. It was all very 80’s. Crushing on rock stars way too old for us was just part of growing up in that era, (I still have a thing for Bon Jovi).

If I’d been trapped like the young Jennifer Connelly, I’m pretty sure I would have forgotten all about my crying young step-brother and danced the night away instead. Now, where was I? Ah, yes, worldbuilding. In my dreamworld, each of my girls gets the opportunity to enter a dream through, you guessed it, a bubble. Once there, there are heartfelt declarations, some rather steamy kisses, and each girl gets to decide if she will give up her dreams for the greater good.

If you’d like to know what happens next, you’ll have to pick up the book and read the conclusion to the REAWAKENED series. This scene, my favorite in the series, is dedicated to the late David Bowie. Thanks for the inspiration. =)


ABOUT THE BOOK

Reunited
by Colleen Houck
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 8/8/2017

After surviving her otherworldly adventure, Lily wakes up on her nana’s farm having forgotten everything. Her sun prince, her travels to Egypt, and her journey to the Afterlife are all distant memories.

But Lily is not the girl she once was. Her body is now part human, part lion, and part fairy. And if that isn’t bad enough, she must now harness this power of three and become Wasret: a goddess destined to defeat the evil god Seth once and for all.

With the help of her old friend Dr. Hassan, Lily departs on her final voyage through the cosmos and across the plains of Egypt. On the journey, she will transform into the being she is destined to become.

Reunited is the heart-pounding conclusion to the Reawakened series.

It is time for Lily to find her sunset.

Purchase Reunited at Amazon
Purchase Reunited at IndieBound
View Reunited on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Colleen HouckNew York Times Bestselling Author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, science fiction, and romance. Formerly a student at the University of Arizona, she worked as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter for seventeen years before switching careers to become an author. Colleen lives in Salem, Oregon, with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

0 1st 5 Pages Workshop Opens 9/2- And Mentor News!

The Free 1st 5 Pages Workshop will open again for submissions on Saturday, September 2 at noon EST! In the meantime, we have some exciting mentor news!

Congratulations to Lisa Maxwell, whose fabulous YA historical fantasy, THE LAST MAGICIAN is a NYT bestseller!!! I couldn't turn the pages fast enough!

Congratulations to NYT bestselling author Pintip Dunn, who has been very busy! GIRL ON THE VERGE was released this summer - I adored this heart pounding YA contemporary thriller! The paperback of REMEMBER YESTERDAY releases September 5, and SEIZE TODAY (FORGET TOMORROW #3!) releases October 3rd! Can't wait!

Congratulations to Janet B. TaylorSPARKS OF LIGHT, the historical time travel adventure
was just released and it is every bit as wonderful as INTO THE DIM!

And a few books to put on your TBR list and/or pre-order:

SVEN CARTER AND THE TRASHMOUTH EFFECT by Rob Vlock comes out October 3! I was fortunate enough to have read this hysterical middle grade sci-fi adventure!

REIGN OF THE FALLEN by the amazing Sarah Glenn Marsh (I was lucky enough to read this epic fantasy, and believe me you don't want to miss it!!!)

THUNDERSTRUCK from NYT bestselling author  Brenda Drake (can't wait to get my hands on it!)

MARKED BEAUTY by S.A. Larsen comes out in October! I'm so looking forward to reading this one!

LOCK AND MORI, FINAL FALL, by Heather Petty, releases November 28, and I'm dying to get my hands on it - I love this series!!!

SCARLET MOON by S.D. Grimm comes out October 21! How gorgeous is that cover? Can't wait to read it!

WELCOME HOME, Eric Smith's anthology of adoption themed short stories, with works from many celebrated authors, including Stephanie Scott, releases September 5!

And last but not least, BELL OF ETERNITY by none other than workshop founder, the fabulous Martina Boone! I adored this beautifully written clean romance, as will fans of her wonderful HEIRS OF WATSON LANDING series, as well as fans of Nora Roberts and Susanna Kearsley.

Happy Reading, Writing, and Revising!

Erin


Monday, August 14, 2017

9 New Releases this week 08/14-08/20 plus 2 Giveaways

Happy Monday! This week we're featuring a few really awesome giveaways including two sequels, CRYSTAL BLADE and FEROCIOUS. Make sure to enter to win below and check out all the other awesome books being released this week!

Happy Reading,

Shelly, Sam, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Kelly, Laura, Emily, Anisaa, and Lori Ann



YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


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Crystal Blade
by Kathryn Purdie
Signed ARC Giveaway
U.S. Only

Katherine Tegen Books
Released 8/15/2017

The peace is unsustainable.

Sonya and Anton may have brought about a revolution, but can they protect their homeland—and their love—with so many forces threatening to tear them apart?

The empire has fallen, Valko faces trial, and Sonya is finally free from her fate as Sovereign Auraseer. But Sonya's expanding abilities are just as unstable as the new government of Riaznin—and her relationship with Anton. Not only can she feel the emotions of others but, unlike other Auraseers, she's learned to make others feel her emotions as well. And Sonya isn't immune to dark temptations.

Now, as Sonya fights to contain her own darkness, she senses a new evil lurking in the shadows of the palace. Someone from Sonya's past has returned. And that someone won't be satisfied until Sonya pays for the mistakes she's made.

Purchase Crystal Blade at Amazon
Purchase Crystal Blade at IndieBound
View Crystal Blade on Goodreads



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Ferocious
by Paula Stokes
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Tor Teen
Released 8/15/2017

Paula Stokes returns to the world of Vicarious in this sequel, a high-action psychological thriller with a protagonist out for vengeance.

When Winter Kim finds out that her sister is dead and that she has a brother she never knew about, only two things matter―finding what’s left of her family and killing the man who destroyed her life. Her mission leads her from St. Louis to Los Angeles back to South Korea, where she grew up.

Things get increasingly dangerous once Winter arrives in Seoul. Aided by her friends Jesse and Sebastian, Winter attempts to infiltrate an international corporation to get close to her target, a nefarious businessman named Kyung. But keeping her last remaining loved ones out of the line of fire proves difficult, and when all seems to be lost, Winter must face one last devastating decision: is revenge worth sacrificing everything for? Or can she find a spark of hope in the darkness that threatens to engulf her?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Ferocious?

My favorite things about FEROCIOUS (I'm going to cheat because I can't decide) are the character development and the setting. The book takes place mostly in Seoul, South Korea, from the packed aisles at Namdaemun Market to the "anything goes" nightlife of Itaewon to the corporate skyscrapers of Gangnam-gu to the beaches of Jeju Island. I was lucky enough to live in Seoul for a year and I returned for a visit to do research for this book. If you think the USA is the most technologically advanced country, you should visit Korea or Japan. Seoul is an incredible mix of high-tech, concrete jungles and traditional ceremonies and temples. I know that I probably did not do it justice, but I tried. I love South Korea and I hope that FEROCIOUS conveys my respect for Korean culture, as well as encourages everyone to visit.

On character development. This is the second book in a series. In VICARIOUS, Winter is primarily working through the mystery of who killed her sister, Rose. The answer to that question is more complicated than she could ever imagine, and the fallout from learning the truth leaves her shattered, reeling, and desperate for revenge. At the start of FEROCIOUS she would gladly die as part of this revenge. But throughout the book, she not only discovers there are reasons to keep living, she unlocks pieces of herself, slowly coming to understand who she is and the person she could become someday. Will she make the ultimate sacrifice for vengeance? Or can she find her way through the darkness that threatens to engulf her?


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YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


Giveaway winners will be chosen and announced when our giveaway assistant, Shelly, returns from vacation in a few weeks. Sorry for the inconvenience.

MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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A Map for Wrecked Girls
by Jessica Taylor
Hardcover
Dial Books
Released 8/15/2017

Emma had always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two had always been best friends.

Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in this gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart.

To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this—or anything. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present?

Purchase A Map for Wrecked Girls at Amazon
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View A Map for Wrecked Girls on Goodreads

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How to Disappear
by Sharon Huss Roat
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 8/15/2017

Vicky Decker has perfected the art of hiding in plain sight, quietly navigating the halls of her high school undetected except by her best (and only) friend, Jenna. But when Jenna moves away, Vicky’s isolation becomes unbearable.

So she decides to invent a social life by Photoshopping herself into other people’s pictures, posting them on Instagram under the screen name Vicurious. Instantly, she begins to get followers, so she adds herself to more photos from all over the world with all types of people. And as Vicurious’s online followers multiply, Vicky realizes she can make a whole life for herself without ever leaving her bedroom. But the more followers she finds online, the clearer it becomes that there are a lot of people out there who feel like her— #alone and #ignored in real life.

To help them, and herself, Vicky must find the courage to face her fear of being “seen,” because only then can she stop living vicariously and truly bring the magic of Vicurious to life.

In this beautiful and illuminating narrative, Sharon Huss Roat shines a light on our love of social media and how sometimes being the person you think you want to be isn’t as great as being the person you truly are.

Purchase How to Disappear at Amazon
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View How to Disappear on Goodreads

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The Art of Feeling
by Laura Tims
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 8/15/2017

Perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven’s New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places, this contemporary YA novel explores the friendship between a girl in constant pain and a boy who feels nothing at all.

Since the car accident, Samantha Herring has been in pain, not only from her leg injury, but also from her mother’s death, which has devastated her family. After pushing away her friends, Sam has receded into a fog of depression.

But then Sam meets Eliot, a reckless loner with an attitude and an amazing secret—he can’t feel any pain. At first, Sam is jealous. But then she learns more about his medical condition…and his self-destructive tendencies. In fact, Eliot doesn’t seem to care about anything at all—except maybe Sam. As they grow closer, they begin to confront Sam’s painful memories of the accident—memories that may hold a startling truth about what really happened that day.

Purchase The Art of Feeling at Amazon
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View The Art of Feeling on Goodreads

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Wicked Like a Wildfire
by Lana Popovic
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 8/15/2017

All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.

But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

0 YA Sunday Morning News: This Week for Writers 8/13/17

Hey there, writers! Summer may be winding down as we enter mid-August, but your Sunday Morning YA News is going strong!

Enjoy this week’s links:


Writing for Publication—Queries and Submissions:

Writing for Publication—Book Marketing and Social Media:

Author Interviews:

Adventures in YA Publishing Author Interviews:

Literary Agent News and Interviews:

Writing Craft:

Writing Inspiration:

YA Book to Screen Adaptation News:

Publishing News & Trends:


New YA E-Book Deals:


New YA Book Giveaways:

YA Book Awards and Congratulations:

YA New Book Deals and Releases:

Just for Fun:


Saturday, August 12, 2017

0 Chandler Baker, author of THIS IS NOT THE END, on writing while on maternity leave

We are pleased to be joined by Chandler Baker, who tells us more about her latest novel, THIS IS NOT THE END.

Chandler, 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's a scene in which my main character Lake talks to her quadriplegic brother, Matt, about sex. This is a scene my editor and I kept coming back to because we knew it was important to get right. It's a weird thing for a character to have an in depth conversation about sex with her brother, but it's necessary for these two people and it's heartbreaking while at the same time hopeful. I had to do a lot of homework about quadriplegia and was lucky enough to speak with a man who was paralyzed in his teens who really helped me understand certain aspects better. It's definitely the scene of which I'm most proud. When I got copy edits back, the copy editor had left a special note for my editor and me about the scene. That was so meaningful to me.

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

Readers who love bioethical questions may be especially interested in THIS IS NOT THE END--books like The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson or Unwind by Neal Shusterman.

Readers who love twists--books like We Were Liars by E. Lockhart or Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Readers who love choices combined with life or death stakes--books like If I Stay by Gayle Forman or Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

How long did you work on THIS IS NOT THE END?

I wrote the entire first draft on my 12-week maternity leave. I know that's not the normal way to spend maternity leave and I committed to taking the first four weeks after my daughter's birth off. But I was really inspired during that time. I felt vulnerable in a way I hadn't before and I had quiet time in the middle of the night and during the day. My daughter was my best little writing buddy--at 2 years old, she's not so helpful anymore...

ABOUT THE BOOK

This is Not the End
by Chandler Baker
Hardcover
Disney-Hyperion
Released 8/8/2017

I wonder if for the rest of my life, I’ll be haunted by beautiful days.

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both.

The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice.

Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet.

The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished.

Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong.

Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can't move on?

Purchase This is Not the End at Amazon
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View This is Not the End on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chandler Baker got her start ghostwriting novels for teens and tweens, including installments in a book series that has sold more than 1 million copies. She grew up in Florida, went to college at the University of Pennsylvania and studied law at the University of Texas. She now lives in Austin with her husband. Although she loves spinning tales with a touch of horror, she is a much bigger scaredy-cat than her stories would lead you to believe.

You can find Chandler as the books contributor on the YouTube channel Weird Girls.

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Have you had a chance to read THIS IS NOT THE END yet? Do you have any scenes that require extensive research? Do you have to fit in writing around children? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann

0 Moïra Fowley-Doyle, author of SPELLBOOK OF THE LOST AND FOUND, on the first draft being in rags and tatters

We're delighted to have Moïra Fowley-Doyle with us to chat about her latest novel, SPELLBOOK OF THE LOST AND FOUND.

Moïra, what was your inspiration for writing SPELLBOOK OF THE LOST AND FOUND?

I wanted to write something about the things we lose, the things we find and the things we hold on to, but beyond that, the bulk of it came out as I wrote. I don't tend to plot or plan - I just gather a small collection of thoughts and ideas, snippets and snapshots that I'd like to include, and when I sit down to write I start to connect them. When I wrote the first draft of Spellbook I had poteen and patron saints, wishing trees and summer storms, tattoos and rusty keys and an old spellbook. I had a list of things that you can lose, from hair clips to loved ones. And I had my characters. After that, the story built itself around them.

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?

Some of my favourite scenes in Spellbook are the simplest - the quiet moments we get to spend with Olive's family. I loved writing their warmth and humour - it felt very comfortable because my family has a similar dynamic in many ways. (And we are very fond of dad jokes.) The most difficult scene to write was when the spell is cast. Those chapters were some of the most reworked - they changed pace and they changed focus, they were spaced out and then brought back together. They even changed narrator. There's often something very tricky about the scene at the crux of the action and it took a while for me to get the balance right between showing what each character wanted to find and stood to lose, and with creating momentum and tension. But it's one of my favourites to read back, now.

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

If you like dark and dreamy magic realism, or stories in which fantasy and reality are a little bit tangled, I'll always recommend Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman, the Weetzie Bat books by Francesca Lia Block, Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson, Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson, All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King, White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi, A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and We Were Liars by E. Lockheart.

How long did you work on SPELLBOOK OF THE LOST AND FOUND?

I had to go and look through my drafts to answer this because it felt like forever but I didn't have any idea how long it actually was. Apparently I started writing the first draft in January 2015 and sent it to my editors in October. After four more drafts I submitted the final version (before copyedits) just over a year later, in December 2016. So almost two years from start to finish, and two and a half from first words to publication.

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

It taught me that you don't always fall in love with your book at once. That even with a rough start you can make something beautiful. And it taught me that that something might just end up being your favourite thing you ever wrote.

What do you hope readers will take away from SPELLBOOK OF THE LOST AND FOUND?

I hope it makes them consider what they have lost, what they've found and what they don't want to leave behind. I hope it gives them a sense of the blurriness of their own reality. I hope it gives them strange dreams. I hope it makes them maybe believe a little bit in magic. And I guess that, like every author does, I hope that they love it in the same way that I love my favourite books: with that small blue spark of recognition. With connection. With underlined passages and notes in the margins. With the thought that this book might just have been written specifically for them.

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 don't think I've ever felt for sure that I have the key to writing a novel. Every time I start I go in blind and I never know until it's finished how it's going to end or if I'm going to be able to pull off writing another book. So much of writing is about trusting in the magic. I just know that every time, at some point, something clicks and I think, "Oh yes. I have a good feeling about this one."

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

I work at home when my children are at school. Generally I prefer calm and quiet, especially for the first few drafts, although if I'm finding revisions tricky I'll listen to a playlist I've made of songs that remind me of the mood of the book. (I have them up on my website if you're interested in dreamy indie folk music!)

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

The first draft is just you telling the story to yourself. It can be messy, it can be rubbish, it can be in rags and tatters but once it exists that's enough. Everything else can happen in the edits.

What are you working on now?

I'm at the very early first-draft stage of a book about a teenage girl, a family, a bull, three old witches and the sea, but because these are just the snippets I've started with all I can really tell is that it'll be another magic realism stand-alone set in Ireland. And that it will probably come out tangled. And that it might be just a little bit weird.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Spellbook of the Lost and Found
by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Hardcover
Kathy Dawson Books
Released 8/8/2017

The highly anticipated new book from the acclaimed author of The Accident Season is a gorgeous, twisty story about things gone missing, things returned from the past, and a group of teenagers, connected in ways they could never have imagined.

One stormy Irish summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hairclips and jewelry, but soon it's clear that Rose has lost something much bigger, something she won't talk about, and Olive thinks her best friend is slipping away.

Then seductive diary pages written by a girl named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing estate. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they're holding tight to painful secrets.

When they discover the spellbook, it changes everything. Damp, tattered and ancient, it's full of hand-inked charms to conjure back things that have been lost. And it just might be their chance to find what they each need to set everything back to rights.

Unless it's leading them toward things that were never meant to be found...

Purchase Spellbook of the Lost and Found at Amazon
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo of Moïra Fowley-DoyleMoïra Fowley-Doyle is half-French, half-Irish and lives in Dublin with her husband, their young daughters, and their old cat. Moïra’s French half likes red wine and dark books in which everybody dies. Her Irish half likes tea and happy endings. Moïra started a PhD on vampires in young adult fiction before concentrating on writing young adult fiction with no vampires in it whatsoever. She wrote her first novel at the age of eight, when she was told that if she wrote a story about spiders she wouldn’t be afraid of them anymore. Moïra is still afraid of spiders, but has never stopped writing stories. She is the author of The Accident Season and Spellbook of the Lost and Found.

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Have you had a chance to read SPELLBOOK OF THE LOST AND FOUND yet? Do you fall in love with your book all at once or in stages? Are you able to trust in the writing magic? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann

0 Colleen Houck, author of REUNITED, on letting go of characters you love

REUNITED is the final book in the Reawakened series, and we're excited to have Colleen Houck stop by to share more about it.

Colleen, what was your inspiration for writing REUNITED?

REUNITED was inspired by many of my favorite stories of Egypt. Isis and Osiris play a big role as does Amun-Ra, the sky-chariot, and the snake Apep. I also drew upon African mythology and used the character of Anansi-a trickster god.

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?

Book endings, especially series endings are always the most emotional for me. It's hard to let go of characters you love. One of my favorite scenes is the one where my characters ride into battle on the backs of unicorns. Just the idea is exciting to me.

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

Books I particularly love that I think my readers will enjoy are anything by Cassandra Clare, Leigh Bardugo, and Marissa Meyer.

How long did you work on REUNITED?

I think REUNITED took about seven months from start to finish.

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

REUNITED taught me that even if I don't have something completely fleshed out, I'll get there eventually. I suppose it taught me to trust myself.

What do you hope readers will take away from REUNITED?

A love for Egyptian mythology and a desire to learn more.

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

With REUNITED I had to push for my vision of a trilogy. We waited to see how REAWAKENED would do first. I was always committed, but it was a relief to hear my publisher was equally excited. I have published all the books I've written. The road to traditional publication was relatively short. It never feels short to an author, but it was fast, nonetheless. I self-pubbed my first two books and I will self-pub two more. If a book is something I believe in, I invest in it. Having said that, my preference is always the traditional route when that option is available.

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 think the key was finishing my first book. I took a step back from the project and realized I could do it. I caught the bug and immediately began my next book. More than anything else, an author needs sticktoitiveness.

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

I write from home. No music. I can't think with music and end up singing along instead.

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

The number one piece of advice I like to give is to not give up on your dreams. If you keep working hard at something, you can make it happen.

What are you working on now?

Earlier this year, I finished Tiger's Dream, book five and the final book in the tiger series. It's slated for publication spring 2018. I've also recently finished another book for my publisher which will publish fall 2018. It's a secret project we haven't announced yet but its in editing right now. I've been writing non-stop for over a year so I'm taking a short sabbatical right now before launching immediately into another project.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Reunited
by Colleen Houck
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 8/8/2017

After surviving her otherworldly adventure, Lily wakes up on her nana’s farm having forgotten everything. Her sun prince, her travels to Egypt, and her journey to the Afterlife are all distant memories.

But Lily is not the girl she once was. Her body is now part human, part lion, and part fairy. And if that isn’t bad enough, she must now harness this power of three and become Wasret: a goddess destined to defeat the evil god Seth once and for all.

With the help of her old friend Dr. Hassan, Lily departs on her final voyage through the cosmos and across the plains of Egypt. On the journey, she will transform into the being she is destined to become.

Reunited is the heart-pounding conclusion to the Reawakened series.

It is time for Lily to find her sunset.

Purchase Reunited at Amazon
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Colleen HouckNew York Times Bestselling Author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, science fiction, and romance. Formerly a student at the University of Arizona, she worked as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter for seventeen years before switching careers to become an author. Colleen lives in Salem, Oregon, with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.

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Have you had a chance to read REUNITED yet? Have you considered taking the hybrid route to publishing your books? Do you have 'sticktoitiveness'? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann

0 Betsy Aldredge and Carrie DuBois-Shaw, authors of SASQUATCH, LOVE, AND OTHER IMAGINARY THINGS, on online writing contests

We're thrilled to have Betsy Aldredge and Carrie DuBois-Shaw here to give us the scoop about their debut novel, SASQUATCH, LOVE, AND OTHER IMAGINARY THINGS.

Betsy and Carrie, what was your inspiration for writing SASQUATCH, LOVE, AND OTHER IMAGINARY THINGS?

We were keen to write a YA retelling of a classic, and Pride and Prejudice is one of our favorites. When discussing how we could bring the main conflicts and crisis in Pride and Prejudice into a contemporary setting, we knew we needed to incorporate the element of being publicly embarrassed by your family. How better to be mortified in the modern world than on reality television?

We also wanted to write about something unusual, and even a bit magical or supernatural. But we were personally getting a little tired of reading stories about sparkly vampires and love triangles with werewolves. Then it dawned on us that Bigfoot was one movie monster that is woefully underrepresented in the YA scene.

Combine Bigfoot hunting on reality TV with a goofy family and some love-hate romance and you’ve got yourself a story!

What do you hope readers will take away from SASQUATCH, LOVE, AND OTHER IMAGINARY THINGS?

We hope readers will enjoy the humor and romance, but walk away thinking about some of the underlying themes as well. For example, embrace your geeky selves, because we’re all geeks about something, and all families are weird, and that’s okay, too. Also, Feminism is awesome. Oh, and don’t quit Hebrew school (or whatever religious or cultural studies you partake in), because it makes for great source material later...

In other words, it’s important to be proud of your background while appreciating and learning about other people and their experiences.

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

We wrote one book prior to Sasquatch – a paranormal romance involving witches and ghosts and a spooky ancient house in New England. That book got a few nibbles from agents, but we missed the boat on the paranormal market. However, the process of developing it and shopping it around taught us a ton about writing and the industry in general. Also, we started working on that book in an online writing class via Media Bistro, which was great, not just for learning the ins and outs of writing YA, but also for making friends, critique partners, and contacts.

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

We have a system for writing collaboratively that works really well for us. First, we’ll brainstorm ideas and come up with an idea that we’re both super excited about – if one of us isn’t 100% on board with a concept, we keep looking until we find something better. Then, we’ll create a fairly detailed outline of the story, beginning-middle-end, plus clear descriptions of the main characters and antagonists, along with their personal goals, conflicts, and obstacles.

Next, Betsy will tackle a first draft – she’s a lot better at facing down the blank page with gumption, discipline, and creativity. She’ll then hand the draft over to Carrie who will use way too many post-it notes to storyboard the manuscript on her wall, then rip it apart and piece it back together with an eye toward structure and pacing. Then we’ll pass it back and forth a few more times to flesh out various elements, add layers, tweak the voices, and fix plot holes. When Carrie lived in New York, we’d get together regularly at a restaurant or bar or someone’s house to hash through all this stuff in person, over wine. Now that Carrie’s in San Francisco, we have regular phone dates, which also involve wine, however we still haven’t moved into the 21st Century via Skype or Facetime. We’ll have writing retreats once or twice a year and go somewhere interesting to work together for a few days.

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

Don’t give up! We were surprised by how many people wrote multiple manuscripts before getting an agent or selling a book. Also, online writing contests are a great way to learn and to meet writer friends. Sasquatch was the grand champion of Query Kombat, which was pretty cool. We met some awesome people through the contest in addition to our agent. We’re currently judging this year’s contest and there’s some great talent out there.

What are you working on now?

We’re in the middle of revising a really fun YA horror. We also wouldn’t rule out a companion book to SASQUATCH if the opportunity presents itself. Plus, we want an excuse to go hunting for mythical creatures around the world. The good thing about being a writing team is that we can work on twice as many projects at a time!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things
by Betsy Aldredge and Carrie DuBois-Shaw
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 8/8/2017

Pride and Prejudice meets Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot in this humorous and heartfelt debut about a loving, quirky family on the hunt for the mythical Sasquatch.

Hunting for monsters was never so awkward.

It’s bad enough that Samantha’s parents, charter members of the Northern Ohio Bigfoot Society, have dragged their daughter around forever, hunting for yetis. But now they’re doing it on national TV, and worse, in front of an aristocratic prep-school crew including a boy who disdains Samantha’s family. But when he scorns her humble Ohio roots, she becomes determined to take him down.

As they go to war, their friction and attraction almost distract them from the hint that Sasquatch may actually be out there somewhere…

Purchase Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things at Amazon
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View Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Betsy Aldredge - photo credit: Paige DeMaio
Betsy is a former magazine editor turned communications professional who avoids math at all costs. Therefore, she’s held a series of artsy jobs at Opera News, Museums Magazine, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, where she tried to remember everything she learned in Hebrew school. She now works at Purchase College, SUNY, where she is inspired daily by the cool and creative students and professors. She lives and works in New York.

Carrie DuBois-Shaw - photo credit: Daniel ShawCarrie DuBois-Shaw - photo credit: Daniel ShawCarrie is an arts administrator and has worked for world-renowned organizations such as San Francisco Ballet, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the
 New Victory Theater. She is a passionate advocate for high quality performing arts for children and has written two plays for young audiences, which were produced and performed throughout New York City. She currently lives in San Francisco.

They met at NYU where they lived in a haunted dorm, studied musical theater, and were secretly delighted to be mistaken for English literature majors. Now, they endeavor to write the kinds of funny, swoony, page-turning books that they've both enjoyed reading since they first fell in love with Misters Darcy, Rochester, and Cute-Crush-Who-Never-Called-Us-Back, Esq. (You know who you are.)

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Have you had a chance to read SASQUATCH, LOVE, AND OTHER IMAGINARY THINGS yet? Have you co-written a book? What process did you use? Are you willing to write multiple manuscripts to find the one that sells? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann