Thursday, August 31, 2017

0 Linsey Miller, author of MASK OF SHADOWS, on pitch contests being her thing

We've had so many amazing authors provide interviews lately that we're spreading them out to Tuesdays and Thursdays rather than overwhelming our readers with writing wisdom on Saturdays.

We're delighted to have Linsey Miller join us to chat about her debut novel, MASK OF SHADOWS.

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

My time has come. For young adult readers, I would suggest OTHERBOUND by Corinne Duyvis, THE UNINTENTIONAL TIME TRAVELER by Everett Maroon, LIZARD RADIO by Pat Schmatz, WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS by Anna-Marie McLemore, LABYRINTH LOST by Zoraida Córdova, OF FIRE AND STARS by Audrey Coulthurst, IF FOUND RETURN TO ASTROPOP by Lucas Hargis, SHADOW RUN by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller, TIMEKEEPER by Tara Sim, THE READER by Traci Chee, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi, THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US by Emily Skrutskie, PANTOMIME by Laura Lam, TERRIER by Tamora Pierce, THE TIGER’S WATCH by Julia Ember, EMPRESS OF A THOUSAND SKIES by Rhoda Belleza, NO MORE HEROES by Michelle Kan, REBEL SEOUL by Axie Oh, WANT by Cindy Pon, HUNTRESS by Malinda Lo, and GRACELING by Kristin Cashore. Most of those are science fiction and fantasy, and all of them share similarities with MASK OF SHADOWS in some way. Some of them don’t come out for another year, but they are definitely worth the wait.

If you like adult (some of it short) fiction, maybe try Michael Matheson, Scott Lynch, Kameron Hurley, Claudie Arseneault, RoAnna Sylver, Ursula K. Le Guin, N.K. Jemisin, Austin Chant, and Rose Lemberg.

How long did you work on MASK OF SHADOWS?

It started out as a too long, too complicated adult fantasy in my head, and then during the eight-hour drive to my very first YallFest in 2014, I plotted it out and realized it worked much better as a young adult novel. I didn’t start writing it until 3 months later. The first draft took a month, and that was in 2015.

All in all, it spent about two years being revised and edited.

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 wrote two books before MASK OF SHADOWS. Both were YA fantasy, and the first was absolutely dismal, but I was lucky enough to win a full manuscript read from an agent early on during a pitch contest. The agent was then nice enough to include reasons for the rejection, so I spent the next year improving the issues the agent had highlighted before writing my next book.

The second book was much better but I always felt it wasn’t the book. Then, when I was trying to phase it out and wipe the query slate clean for MASK OF SHADOWS, I got a very unexpected (but loved) offer of representation from Rachel Brooks during a pitch contest.

All in all, I wrote two books before MASK OF SHADOWS and those two haven’t been published (though I’d love to revisit them in the future).

Also, apparently pitch contests and I get along swimmingly.

What are you working on now?

My next book! It’s a YA fantasy that’s getting written with a lot of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels playing in the background, and I’ve wanted to write it for a while. But I also write short stories weekly for school, so at any given time, I’m writing a lot of different things.

Lots of murder, magic, and science in all of them, though.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Mask of Shadows
by Linsey Miller
Hardcover
Sourcebooks Fire
Released 8/29/2017

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender-fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class―and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand―the Queen's personal assassins, named after the rings she wears―Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

Purchase Mask of Shadows at Amazon
Purchase Mask of Shadows at IndieBound
View Mask of Shadows on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

bw-photoA wayward biology student from Arkansas, Linsey has previously worked as a crime lab intern, neuroscience lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. Her debut novel MASK OF SHADOWS is the first in a fantasy duology coming in September 2017 from Sourcebooks Fire. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there is coffee.

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Have you had a chance to read MASK OF SHADOWS yet? What sort of success have you had with pitch contests? Do you feel they help you build up your pitch style? Have you figured out your entire story but put off writing it immediately? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

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

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

0 8/30 WoW: Linsey Miller

If you're like us and MASK OF SHADOWS (now available from Sourcebooks Fire) is at the top of your TBR pile, then today we have a treat for you. Linsey Miller is here with a very special guest post on writing while teaching and how having an academic mindset can both help and hurt your writing process. Stay tuned after the guest post for a bit about MASK OF SHADOWS and Linsey Miller.


Writing while Teaching Writing
By Linsey Miller

I didn’t study writing in college. Two poetry courses counted toward my writing requirement, letting me escape undergrad without the usual ENGL 101 class. I could write fantasy without so much as a second thought between organic chemistry and zoology because they were so different. However, when I began teaching English last year, despite all of the orientations and syllabi, I was caught off guard and had no idea how to switch my brain from writing Mask of Shadows to short stories for my graduate classes to academic essay samples.
And believe me when I say Mask of Shadows made a very boring research essay and spectacularly weird grammar quiz.
People talk a lot about voice in writing—the cadence, the word choice, the feel of the narration—but that’s usually only an in-depth discussion with fiction. It’s in the textbooks for composition and English courses, but I wouldn’t say it’s something we keep at the forefront of our minds while grading compare-contrast essays or writing seminar papers for school. However, it became painfully obvious that the voice of my school work was creeping into my drafting after a month or so of 2016. I needed to separate my writing mindsets from each other.
But it’s odd because all of it is writing, and I think that was the problem—all I was doing every day was reading, writing, and thinking about writing. My literature classes were just similar enough to the course I taught and the drafts I wrote that the lines of thought got crossed in my mind. The similarities between my three different writing tasks meant I couldn’t switch so easily between them. I have the same issue with tenses if I’m not paying attention: reading a book in present tense complicates my ability to draft in past tense. So I used the same solution. I set up designated places and times for each sort of work.
I’m very lucky because I have a shared office at school and an office at home. This meant I could do all of my school work at school and all of my writing and publishing work at home. Because the papers I grade are very different in voice from the papers I write for school, I decided that the majority of my teaching work would be done in the morning and my own work as a student would be done in the afternoon. This does mean I spend a lot of time in a windowless office, but it works. In the morning, I’m able to get into the flow of reading students’ papers, and by that afternoon after my graduate courses, I’m back in the mindset of what I need to write. It’s also much easier, mentally, for me to work on my own schoolwork once a stack of grade-less essays isn’t looming over me. The setting of my life helps shape my mental preparedness.
And since I’m not trying to draft chapters while at work, I no longer attempt to grade what I write which is an added bonus because that gets tiring. (A for effort, C- for overuse of “while.”)
This separation also means that I write fiction for my classes while at school. I don’t feel quite the same blur with those drafts as I do with my fantasy works, and since I attend a workshop every week, it’s often easier to get into the mindset of writing short stories. My young adult fantasy drafts I mostly work on at home.
I think this was necessary for Mask of Shadows because of Sal’s particular voice. It’s based off of the southern accents I grew up with in my family and the one I have in my head, and it’s exceptionally regional. There are odd contractions, dropped words, and multiple aspects I’d consider grammatically incorrect as a teacher and student. Whenever I tried to write from Sal’s perspective, I found myself unintentionally removing this dialect from their voice. It was like I treated Sal’s voice as a student’s paper if I didn’t properly separate them in my mind. My academic mindset bled into my writing when I tried to tackle both in the same time period. Spreading out my work kept this from happening.
That said, this isn’t a highly regimented schedule that I stick to exclusively. Things happen, work piles up. I still have sticky notes of plot ideas scattered about my school desk and even though I’m at home right now, I still have to write a short exercise for class to turn in tonight. Class schedules change twice a year for most, so adjustments come with the territory of scheduling days like this. Sometimes you have to break out of whatever rules you set for yourself. It’s not a flaw to adjust your life to fit your needs.
Physically separating my school life from my writing life has helped me mentally stay focused on my various works, but I don’t hold myself strictly to it. This loose schedule works for me right now; however, I know there are tons of different ways to handle writing while teaching (I read so many when I first started last year). I’m sure I’ll have a whole new approach by the time I graduate, but for now, this works.

And I’m ok with anything that gets me to stop grading my Mask of Shadows 2 drafts.


ABOUT MASK OF SHADOWS
Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen's personal assassins named for the rings she wears -- Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal -- their world changes. They know it's a chance for a new life.

Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.


About Linsey Miller
A wayward biology student from Arkansas, Linsey has previously worked as a crime lab intern, neuroscience lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. Her debut novel MASK OF SHADOWS is the first in a fantasy duology coming in September 2017 from Sourcebooks Fire. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there is coffee.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

0 Caragh M. O'Brien, author of THE KEEP OF AGES, on anything that isn’t absolutely necessary having to go

We've had so many amazing authors provide interviews lately that we're spreading them out to Tuesdays and Thursdays rather than overwhelming our readers with writing wisdom on Saturdays. 

THE KEEP OF AGES is the final book in the Vault of Dreamers Trilogy, and we're excited to have Caragh M. O'Brien swing by to tell us more about it.

Caragh, 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?

One of the scenes that was hard for me to write was from the perspective of Thea, a character who is very important in the second book of the trilogy and carries over to the third. She was in a difficult place mentally, and the scene didn’t have much action to give it motion, so it kept circling itself in a frustrating, sad way. I revised the scene dozens of times, switching up the dialogue and characters, shifting it about in the novel, and trimming and expanding it. In the end, I had to cut it entirely. I resisted for a long time because I thought it added an important perspective, but it simply was not living up to the rest of the book. It wasn’t absolutely necessary, and anything that isn’t absolutely necessary has to go.

How long did you work on THE KEEP OF AGES?

My earliest start of this novel is dated June, 2015, and I finished the very last revisions this spring, so altogether, it was nearly two years. That may seem like a long time. During the beginning, however, I was also finishing revisions for the second book in the series, The Rule of Mirrors (which came out in early 2016), and thinking about the two books during this overlap allowed me to make slight changes to Book 2 which helped in Book 3. I sometimes worry that I’m not a fast writer, even though I put in many hours a day. In the end, however, I’m very happy with my books, so for me, the time is well spent.

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

I learned that a writing project that seems impossible will eventually yield and turn into something solid. The funny thing is, it’s hard for me to believe what I’ve learned, even though I’ve written six young adult novels now. When I’m immersed in the slog of an early draft, I truly cannot see my way out of it. So what I really learned is that I know something intellectually (I can write a book), but my heart doubts that fact (I can’t write a book), and both of these positions are true for me.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE KEEP OF AGES?

To be honest, I hope they feel like they’re friends with Rosie, my main character, and I hope they realize how lucky they are to be alive and thinking in their own, unique ways. Writing this novel took me deep into myself, but it took me outward, too, and I feel more connected to all humanity. We, the living, are the lucky ones.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Keep of Ages
by Caragh M. O'Brien
Hardcover
Roaring Brook Press
Released 8/29/2017

In the fast-paced, high-stakes conclusion to Caragh M. O'Brien's Vault of Dreamers trilogy, Rosie travels to a derelict theme park to shut down dream mining once and for all.

Driven by fear when Dean Berg kidnaps her family, Rosie Sinclair strikes out across the country to rescue them. When an elusive trail leads her to Grisly Valley, the contaminated ruin of a horror theme park, Rosie has to consider that Berg may once again be manipulating her every move to make her fearful, priming her for a final, lethal dream mining procedure. As Rosie struggles to outmaneuver Berg, she unearths the ultimate vault of dreamers and the hint of a consciousness more powerful and dangerous than any she's imagined before. Faced with unspeakable suffering and otherworldly beauty, Rosie must discover how to trust her mind, her friends, and reality itself.

Propulsive and deeply speculative, The Keep of Ages concludes the Vault of Dreamers trilogy with stirring possibilities for what it means to be alive.

Purchase The Keep of Ages at Amazon
Purchase The Keep of Ages at IndieBound
View The Keep of Ages on Goodreads

ABOUT THE BOOK


 Caragh M. O’Brien is the author of the BIRTHMARKED trilogy and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS series, both from Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ms. O’Brien was educated at Williams College and earned her MA in the Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University. Her young adult science fiction has been honored by the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, the Amelia Bloomer Award, the Junior Library Guild, and numerous state reading lists. A former high school English teacher, she now writes young adult novels full time from her home in rural Connecticut.

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Have you had a chance to read THE KEEP OF AGES yet? Have you cut a scene you loved because it didn't fit the book? Are you able to see your way out of early drafts? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

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

Monday, August 28, 2017

7 New Releases this week 08/28-09/03 plus 2 Giveaways

Happy Monday! This week we're featuring a few really awesome giveaways including a copy of MASK OF SHADOWS and THE KEEP OF AGES. 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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Mask of Shadows
by Linsey Miller
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Sourcebooks Fire
Released 8/29/2017

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender-fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class―and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand―the Queen's personal assassins, named after the rings she wears―Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Mask of Shadows?

I love the freedom of it. I set out to do several very specific things—write good representation that didn’t overstep, provide an escapist fantasy that was inclusive and realistic while still playing with well-loved tropes, and explore morality and trauma in a way that I had wanted to read when I was a young adult. I didn’t want to hold anything back or gloss over the trauma that comes with writing an assassin. That grief and the ramifications of it were as important to me as the escapist aspects.

And it made Sal my favorite part of MASK OF SHADOWS. I love them and I love writing them. They’re clever and skilled but rash and arrogant. They are not perfect but they are perfectly them, and they’re one of my favorite characters to have ever written. So my favorite, favorite thing is that I got to add a character I love to the world of young adult fantasy, the world that nurtured me when I was a young reader. Being able to give back was very important, and I’m thrilled that I’ve gotten a chance to do that with MASK OF SHADOWS. I’m glad Sal is my debut character, and I hope other people love them, too.


Purchase Mask of Shadows at Amazon
Purchase Mask of Shadows at IndieBound
View Mask of Shadows on Goodreads

* * * *


The Keep of Ages
by Caragh M. O'Brien
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Roaring Brook Press
Released 8/29/2017

In the fast-paced, high-stakes conclusion to Caragh M. O'Brien's Vault of Dreamers trilogy, Rosie travels to a derelict theme park to shut down dream mining once and for all.

Driven by fear when Dean Berg kidnaps her family, Rosie Sinclair strikes out across the country to rescue them. When an elusive trail leads her to Grisly Valley, the contaminated ruin of a horror theme park, Rosie has to consider that Berg may once again be manipulating her every move to make her fearful, priming her for a final, lethal dream mining procedure. As Rosie struggles to outmaneuver Berg, she unearths the ultimate vault of dreamers and the hint of a consciousness more powerful and dangerous than any she's imagined before. Faced with unspeakable suffering and otherworldly beauty, Rosie must discover how to trust her mind, her friends, and reality itself.

Propulsive and deeply speculative, The Keep of Ages concludes the Vault of Dreamers trilogy with stirring possibilities for what it means to be alive.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Keep of Ages?

My favorite thing about THE KEEP OF AGES is the way Rosie, the main character, deals with certain mind-boggling situations. She has a moment when she encounters a new kind of consciousness that startles and thrills me every time I read it, and this is true even though I know it’s coming. This book takes the most compelling ideas from the first two books in the series—the dreamers who are mined against their will, Rosie’s complicated relationships with her friends and her family, the evil of Dean Berg, and questions of consciousness—and ratchets up the stakes enormously. I just love seeing where Rosie goes.

Purchase The Keep of Ages at Amazon
Purchase The Keep of Ages at IndieBound
View The Keep of Ages on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

These giveaway wins include all the other wins from the past two weeks that I missed picking because of my vacation. Thank you all for your understanding! - Shelly

Sasquatch, Love and Other Imaginary Things by Betsy Aldredge and Carrie DuBois-Shaw: Nicole M.
Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle: Megan K.
Crystal Blade by Kathryn Purdie: StacyRenee C.
Ferocious by Paual Stokes: Linda L.
Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens: Natasha D.
Mr. 60% by Clete Barrett Smith: Josh J.
Orphan, Agent, Prima, Pawn by Elizabeth Kiem: Anne C, Joycedale C
The Dire King: A Jackaby Novel by William Ritter: Misty H
The Rattled Bones by S.M. Parker: Danielle H.
After the Game by Abbi Glines: Theresa S.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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Thirteen Rising
by Romina Russell
Hardcover
Razorbill
Released 8/29/2017

Romina Russell’s epic sci-fi fantasy series reaches its breathtaking conclusion with this fourth and final novel.

The master has been unmasked. Rho’s world has been turned upside down. With her loved ones in peril and all the stars set against her, can the young Guardian from House Cancer muster the strength to keep fighting? Or has she finally found her match in a master whose ambition to rule knows no limits?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Thirteen Rising?

I think THIRTEEN RISING was tonally very different from the previous books because by now Rho has endured so much that she’s shifted into a new woman. We’ve seen hints of that woman from time to time in the earlier books, but by now she’s fully embraced her new self, and it’s very shocking to see her shed her old skin—a little sad, a little exciting, and (for me) very fulfilling. I also loved diving into the villain's mind and finally revealing what’s been going on behind-the-scenes. To me, it felt like a very complete book, filled with answers and action and heartbreak. And get ready for the big battle at the end!

Purchase Thirteen Rising at Amazon
Purchase Thirteen Rising at IndieBound
View Thirteen Rising on Goodreads

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Zero Repeat Forever
by G.S. Prendergast
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 8/29/2017

He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Zero Repeat Forever?

My favourite thing about Zero Repeat Forever is Eighth's blend of strength, pathos and humor. I wanted to make a character that was both sad, frightening and impossible not to love. He has a complicated inner world and a superhuman capacity for emotions that made him fun to write.

Purchase Zero Repeat Forever at Amazon
Purchase Zero Repeat Forever at IndieBound
View Zero Repeat Forever on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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All Rights Reserved
by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
Hardcover
Harlequin Teen
Released 8/29/2017

In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.

Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks ("Sorry" is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She's been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can't begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she's unable to afford.

But when Speth's friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family's crippling debt, she can't express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speech, rather than say anything at all, she closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth's unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family, and the entire city around them.

Purchase All Rights Reserved at Amazon
Purchase All Rights Reserved at IndieBound
View All Rights Reserved on Goodreads

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Backfield Boys
by John Feinstein
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 8/29/2017

Sportswriting powerhouse John Feinstein's young adult novel Backfield Boys follows best friends and football stars Jason Roddin and Tom Jefferson, a perfect, though unconventional, pair: Jason, the Jewish kid, is lightning fast and a natural wide-receiver, while African-American Tom has an amazing arm and a quarterback's feel for the game. After summer football camp at an elite sports-focused boarding school, the boys are thrilled to enroll on scholarship for their freshman year--despite their mothers' fears of injury and especially CTE.

On day one, they're stunned when the coaches make Tom a receiver and Jason a quarterback, a complete contradiction to their skill sets and training. They soon suspect this is a racial issue. The boys speak out, risking both their scholarships and their chance to play. But when Jason gets a concussion in the first game of the season, he and Tom must decide how much they're willing to lose in their quest to expose the ugly remnants of a racist past that still linger in contemporary jock culture.

Purchase Backfield Boys at Amazon
Purchase Backfield Boys at IndieBound
View Backfield Boys on Goodreads

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Red Dirt
by Anna Jarzab
Hardcover
Harlequin Teen
Released 8/29/2017

The small town of Lake Bittersweet, Oklahoma, ain't no paradise, but Sammy Lester has lived there her whole life, and she'll most likely be buried there, too. Don't matter that she barely graduated high school, or that money's tight, or that her ex-con father's on the verge of losing custody of her six-year-old half sister Decca. Sammy can't leave Lake Bittersweet. She's got nowhere else to go.

When she meets charming city boy Brayton Foster, things start looking up for once. Then one dark night, her father, Bobby Ray, goes missing, and Sammy knows in her bones who's to blame. Local drug kingpin Redbreast Tuller and his family of criminals have unfinished business with Bobby Ray, and it seems they finally caught up with him. But the sheriff is in the Tullers' back pocket, and nobody in law enforcement cares about finding Sammy's dad.

As she struggles to keep her family--and her new relationship with Brayton--from falling apart, Sammy realizes that if she wants answers, if she wants someone to pay, she'll have to handle it her damn self. Because in a place like Lake Bittersweet, justice ain't something you're given--it's something you take.

Purchase Red Dirt at Amazon
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View Red Dirt on Goodreads

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The Big F
by Maggie Ann Martin
Paperback
Swoon Reads
Released 8/29/2017

Danielle effed up. Big time.

Danielle's plans for the future were pretty easy to figure out... until she failed senior English and her single college application was denied. Suddenly she's in hot water with very few options, because honestly who applies to a safety school when their mom is a semi-famous "college psychic"?!

Determined to get her life back on track, Danielle enrolls in her hometown community college with a plan: pass her English class and get back into Ohio State and her mother's good graces. Romance isn't on her radar... until she reconnects with her childhood crush and golden-boy-next-door, Luke.

Between family drama, first love and finding her own way, Danielle can't help but feel a little overwhelmed. Thankfully she has her friendship with the snarky and frustratingly attractive Porter, her coworker at the campus bookstore, to push her to experience new things and help keep her afloat.

One thing's for sure: This time, failure's not an option.

Purchase The Big F at Amazon
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View The Big F on Goodreads

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The Broken World
by Lindsey Klingele
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 8/29/2017

The adventures of three teen royals and foster girl Liv, which began in The Marked Girl, conclude in this exciting sequel.

In the fantasy world of Caelum, Liv, Cedric, and Kat must attempt to defeat an evil traitor and his army to save their families and the kingdom. But the city they left behind is facing its own problems: back in Los Angeles, the sky is orange, gravity isn’t working right, and earthquakes shake the ground every few hours. Opening the portals has had devastating effects, and Liv’s best friend Shannon and Cedric’s frenemy Merek are the only ones who know what’s going on – and that tracking down the murderous Knights of Valere might be the way to fix everything.

It's a race against time as the crew must find a way to reunite and combine their quests to save both worlds.

Purchase The Broken World at Amazon
Purchase The Broken World at IndieBound
View The Broken World on Goodreads

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The Dazzling Heights
by Katharine McGee
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 8/29/2017

New York, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amidst high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets…

LEDA is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’ll do anything to make sure the truth stays hidden–even if it means trusting her enemy.

WATT just wants to put everything behind him…until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Will he do what it takes to be free of her for good?

When RYLIN wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being there means seeing the boy whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

AVERY is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. She’s desperate to be with him… no matter the cost.

And then there’s CALLIOPE, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York, determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.

But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. And in a world of such dazzling heights, just one wrong step can mean a devastating fall.

Purchase The Dazzling Heights at Amazon
Purchase The Dazzling Heights at IndieBound
View The Dazzling Heights on Goodreads

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer
by Leigh Bardugo
Hardcover
Random House Books for Young Readers
Released 8/29/2017

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

Purchase Wonder Woman: Warbringer at Amazon
Purchase Wonder Woman: Warbringer at IndieBound
View Wonder Woman: Warbringer on Goodreads

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You Don't Know Me but I Know You
by Rebecca Barrow
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 8/29/2017

Rebecca Barrow’s bright, honest debut novel about chance, choice, and unconditional love is a heartfelt testament to creating the future you truly want, one puzzle piece at a time.

There’s a box in the back of Audrey’s closet that she rarely thinks about.

Inside is a letter, seventeen years old, from a mother she’s never met, handed to her by the woman she’s called Mom her whole life. Being adopted, though, is just one piece in the puzzle of Audrey’s life—the picture painstakingly put together by Audrey herself, full of all the people and pursuits that make her who she is.

But when Audrey realizes that she’s pregnant, she feels something—a tightly sealed box in the closet corners of her heart—crack open, spilling her dormant fears and unanswered questions all over the life she loves.

Almost two decades ago, a girl in Audrey’s situation made a choice, one that started Audrey’s entire story. Now Audrey is paralyzed by her own what-ifs and terrified by the distance she feels growing between her and her best friend Rose. Down every possible path is a different unfamiliar version of her life, and as she weighs the options in her mind, she starts to wonder—what does it even mean to be Audrey Spencer?

Purchase You Don't Know Me but I Know You at Amazon
Purchase You Don't Know Me but I Know You at IndieBound
View You Don't Know Me but I Know You on Goodreads



Sunday, August 27, 2017

0 YA Sunday Morning News: This Week for Writers 8/27/17

It’s the last weekend of August, so I hope you’re celebrating the end of summer. Don’t be too sad though, because I have fresh links for you!

Happy reading, see you in September!


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 New Book Deals and Releases:

Saturday, August 26, 2017

0 S. M. Parker, author of THE RATTLED BONES, on finding your writer person

We're delighted to have S. M. Parker with us to chat about her latest novel, THE RATTLED BONES.
Shannon, what was your inspiration for writing THE RATTLED BONES?

I live by the rough coast of the Atlantic and it is an inspiring and often ominous place to reside. The ocean holds treasures and mysteries and secrets and power and I’ve always wanted to tell a story about the lurking deep, as well as the strong women and men who risk their lives to work the seas.

A few years ago, I read a newspaper article about the history of Malaga Island—a small unassuming fishing village off the coast of Maine. The residents were poor and proud and made their meager living from the sea. In 1912, the families were forcibly evicted by Maine’s Governor and institutionalized for being culturally and racially “different” during a time when eugenics was driving scientific research and practices. I discovered that, even today, descendants of Malaga Island residents feel shame for their blood ties to the people of Malaga. It seemed heartbreaking to me, that the victims of cultural erasure should feel shame. Shouldn’t the shame reside with the men who stole humanity from other men (and their children and wives)?

I was suddenly like the ghost in THE RATTLED BONES: I needed to tell this story.

And brave Rilla Brae seemed like the perfect character to pull the past into the present.

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 are some creepy scenes in this novel, the scare-you-out-of-your-skin kind of scenes and I definitely wrestled with a lot of self-doubt while writing them. I thought: who am I to be writing this type of narrative when so many authors before me have done this so well? So, yeah. Self-doubt. I wanted (and needed) the haunting to come alive on the page in ways that were believable and would make gooseflesh rise on a reader’s skin as the story unfolded. The hauntings were the hardest and most satisfying scenes to write. And honestly? I got scared a few times while proofing the book before final publication and I’d written it!! ☺

How long did you work on THE RATTLED BONES?

After selling the book to Simon & Schuster based on the opening chapters, I went to a seaside cottage and wrote THE RATTLED BONES in three weeks. It seems ridiculous, I know. It was. I will fully admit that first draft was a terrible, awful, very bad first draft but it was a first draft. From there, I did two rounds of edits over the next nine or so months to firm up the characters and story threads. But initially, staring out at the unending, thundering ocean while imagining every creek in the old cottage sounded like a voice…well…it inspired me for sure!

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

That I could write and sell a second book! HA! I laugh (now), but the sophomore novel is a very tricky thing for many writers and I was no exception.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE RATTLED BONES?

Mostly I hope it’s an entertaining read. It’s always my goal as a storyteller. But for this book in particular, I tried to steep readers in the reality that women (young or old or ghostly) are strong and resilient story makers. We have a unique and powerful lens through which we view the world and that should always be validated.

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?

It may not seem so AHA! but, yeah. In writing my third book it sort of clicked for me that this was my job now. Wake up every day and go to the chair. Sit down. Write. Write terrible words or words that make you think HUH! this could be something. Whatever it is, just write.

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

I need total silence when I write. No kids, no music, no laundry calling to me. I’m easily distracted so silence is my best friend when drafting.

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

Find your writer person. A person you can trust with all things books and writer’s block and frustration. Hopefully this person will also like chocolate chip cookies if you like chocolate chip cookies. And hopefully this person can make you laugh so hard your face hurts. Read books (a lot of books) and discuss those books with your cookie-eating person and trust that person with your goals and fears. Invite hard criticisms. (Constructive hard criticisms) And when you find this writer person who has your whole heart and this love of cookies and a lust for laughter, you will feel safe enough—worthy enough—to risk putting words on the page.

What are you working on now?

I’m a little superstitious (like THE RATTLED BONES heroine, Rilla Brae! ☺) so I don’t usually don’t talk about books in the works, though I can say it’s a novel!

BUT, I do have a short story in the YA anthology, WELCOME HOME (releasing September 5th) called “Tunneling Through.” The anthology is on love and adoption, two inseparable topics that are very near and dear to my heart.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Rattled Bones
by S.M. Parker
Hardcover
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.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

S.M. ParkerShannon Parker lives on the Atlantic coast in a house full of boys. She’s traveled to over three dozen countries and has a few dozen more to go. She works in education and can usually be found rescuing dogs, chickens, old houses and wooden boats. Shannon has a weakness for chocolate chip cookies and ridiculous laughter—ideally, at the same time. Find her at www.shannonmparker.com

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Have you had a chance to read THE RATTLED BONES yet? Have you written a story inspired by a newspaper article? Have you found your cooking-eating writer person? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

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