Monday, July 16, 2018

2 New Releases 07/16 - 07/22 plus Giveaway of PRICE OF DUTY

Happy Monday! While we don't have many giveaways for this week, our giveaway is for PRICE OF DUTY! Don't forget to check out all the books below and enter to win.

Happy Reading,

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


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


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Price of Duty
by Todd Strasser
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon & Schuster Books for Yo
Released 7/17/2018

Jake Liddell is a hero.

At least, that’s what everyone says he is. The military is even awarding him a Silver Star for his heroic achievements—a huge honor for the son of a military family. Now he’s home, recovering from an injury, but it seems the war has followed him back. He needs pills to get any sleep, a young woman is trying to persuade him into speaking out against military recruitment tactics, and his grandfather is already urging him back onto the battlefield. He doesn’t know what to do; nothing makes sense anymore.

There is only one thing that Jake knows for certain: he is no hero.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Price of Duty?

That the book asks important questions about the military and young people that have not been previously addressed in any depth in YA literature. Questions such as: At what age should high school (and in some cases, even middle school) students be encouraged to select a track that will lead to military service? There are more than 3,000 JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps) units in high schools around the country. Are students in 9th and 10th grade mature enough to make decisions that will affect the entire course of their lives? Currently, military recruitment is allowed in many high schools. Should that continue? If the answer is yes, does the military have an obligation to present an honest assessment of the risks and dangers? The issue is not whether we need a military. Sadly, given the world we live in, we must maintain the ability to protect ourselves. To me, the issue is, if young people are going to be enticed into the military with financial bonuses and promises of advancement and heroism, shouldn’t they be made thoroughly aware of the potential dangers?

Purchase Price of Duty at Amazon
Purchase Price of Duty at IndieBound
View Price of Duty on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

The Year of Living Awkwardly: Sophomore Year by Emma Chastain
*We're still working on the winner from last week! Keep an eye out for an update next week.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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When Life Gives You Demons
by Jennifer Honeybourn
Hardcover
Swoon Reads
Released 7/17/2018

Some people have school spirit.

Shelby Black has real ones.

Shelby Black has spent the past six months training to be an exorcist. Her great-uncle Roy―a Catholic priest―has put her through exorcist boot camp hell, hoping to develop her talent, but ohmygod, he still doesn’t trust her to do an exorcism on her own.

High school is hard enough without having to explain that you fight demons for a living, so Shelby keeps her extracurricular activity to herself. The last thing she wants is for her crush, Spencer, to find out what she does in her off time.

But Shelby knows how to keep a secret―even a big one. Like the fact that her mom left under mysterious circumstances and it’s all her fault. Shelby is hellbent on finding her mom, no matter what it costs her―even if what it ends up costing her is her soul AND a relationship with Spencer.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about When Life Gives You Demons?

My favorite thing is probably the relationship between Shelby and Uncle Roy. They get under each other’s skin, but there’s a lot of love there and they really rely on each other. I also had a lot of fun writing Shelby’s exorcism notes. I had fun writing Shelby in general.

Purchase When Life Gives You Demons at Amazon
Purchase When Life Gives You Demons at IndieBound
View When Life Gives You Demons on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Campfire
by Shawn Sarles
Hardcover
jimmy patterson
Released 7/17/2018

While camping in a remote location, Maddie Davenport gathers around the fire with her friends and family to tell scary stories. Caleb, the handsome young guide, shares the local legend of the ferocious Mountain Men who hunt unsuspecting campers and leave their mark by carving grisly antlers into their victims' foreheads.

The next day, the story comes true.

Now Maddie and her family are lost in the deep woods--with no way out--being stalked by their worst nightmares. Because there were other, more horrifying stories told that night--and Maddie's about to find out just how they end...

Purchase Campfire at Amazon
Purchase Campfire at IndieBound
View Campfire on Goodreads

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Girls Can't Hit
by T. S. Easton
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 7/17/2018

Fleur Waters never takes anything seriously--until she shows up at her local boxing club one day to prove a point. She's the only girl there, and the warm-up alone is exhausting . . . but the workout gives her an escape from home and school, and when she lands her first uppercut on a punching bag she feels a rare glow of satisfaction.

So she goes back the next week, determined to improve. Fleur's overprotective mom can't abide the idea of her entering a boxing ring (why won't she join her pilates class instead?). Her friends don't get it either and even her boyfriend, 'Prince' George, seems concerned by her growing muscles and appetite--but it's Fleur's body, Fleur's life. So she digs in her heels in hope that she can overcome the obstacles and strike a blow for equality.

Purchase Girls Can't Hit at Amazon
Purchase Girls Can't Hit at IndieBound
View Girls Can't Hit on Goodreads

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Hullmetal Girls
by Emily Skrutskie
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 7/17/2018

Aisha Un-Haad would do anything for her family. When her brother contracts a plague, she knows her janitor's salary isn't enough to fund his treatment. So she volunteers to become a Scela, a mechanically enhanced soldier sworn to protect and serve the governing body of the Fleet, the collective of starships they call home. If Aisha can survive the harrowing modifications and earn an elite place in the Scela ranks, she may be able to save her brother.

Key Tanaka awakens in a Scela body with only hazy memories of her life before. She knows she's from the privileged end of the Fleet, but she has no recollection of why she chose to give up a life of luxury to become a hulking cyborg soldier. If she can make it through the training, she might have a shot at recovering her missing past.

In a unit of new recruits vying for top placement, Aisha's and Key's paths collide, and the two must learn to work together--a tall order for girls from opposite ends of the Fleet. But a rebellion is stirring, pitting those who yearn for independence from the Fleet against a government struggling to maintain unity.

With violence brewing and dark secrets surfacing, Aisha and Key find themselves questioning their loyalties. They will have to put aside their differences, though, if they want to keep humanity from tearing itself apart.

Purchase Hullmetal Girls at Amazon
Purchase Hullmetal Girls at IndieBound
View Hullmetal Girls on Goodreads

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Like Never and Always
by Ann Aguirre
Hardcover
Tor Teen
Released 7/17/2018

Liv Burnham thinks nobody knows Morgan Frost like she does, but a terrible accident pushes her down the rabbit hole where Morgan's secrets hide and she'll be lucky to make it out alive....

On a hot summer night, Liv, Morgan, Clay and Nathan are on the way home from a party in Clay's convertible. Best friends dating brothers? It doesn't get better than that. But the joyride ends in sudden impact, a screech of brakes, and shattering glass. On that lonely country road, four lives change forever.

Liv wakes in the hospital. At first she's confused when they call her Morgan, but she assumes it's a case of mistaken identity. Yet when the bandages come off, it's not her face inthe mirror anymore. It's Morgan's.

Morgan always seemed to have the perfect life. But as Liv tries to fit herself into Morgan's world, she discovers endlessly disturbing secrets of the criminal and murderous variety and a dark task to finish...if she doesn't lose her mind first.

Forced to confront the disturbing truths that Morgan kept hidden in life, Liv must navigate a world of long-buried murder, a dangerous love affair―and a romance that feels like a betrayal.

Purchase Like Never and Always at Amazon
Purchase Like Never and Always at IndieBound
View Like Never and Always on Goodreads

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Wrong in All the Right Ways
by Tiffany Brownlee
Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 7/17/2018

Emma’s life has always gone according to her very careful plans. But things take a turn toward the unexpected when she falls in love for the first time with the one person in the world who’s off-limits: her new foster brother, the gorgeous and tormented Dylan McAndrews.

Meanwhile, Emma’s AP English class is reading Wuthering Heights, and she’s been assigned to echo Emily Bronte’s style in an epistolary format. With irrepressible feelings and no one to confide in, she’s got a lot to write about. Distraught by the escalating intensity of their mutual attraction, Emma and Dylan try to constrain their romance to the page―for fear of threatening Dylan’s chances at being adopted into a loving home. But the strength of first love is all-consuming, and they soon get enveloped in a passionate, secretive relationship with a very uncertain outcome.

Purchase Wrong in All the Right Ways at Amazon
Purchase Wrong in All the Right Ways at IndieBound
View Wrong in All the Right Ways on Goodreads


Saturday, July 14, 2018

0 Kathy Parks, author of NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY, on the road to publication being full of twists and turns

We're thrilled to have Kathy Parks stop by to tell us more about her latest novel, NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY.

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

The river accident with Adrienne and Dan was difficult just to try to capture the terror and the helplessness of it, moment by moment. The scene where Adrienne’s biological father counsels her on forgiveness is one of my favorite, and that was suggested by my editor.

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


It’s hard to quantify this particular book because it crosses genres, but I believe readers who love a good romance and a good adventure with high suspense would enjoy this novel.

How long did you work on NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY?

Notes from my Captivity had an abbreviated timeline: The research and writing of the initial draft was probably 3-4 months, then the rewrites went on for several months.

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

It left me with a deep appreciation for the beauty and the harsh punishments of Siberia.

What do you hope readers will take away from NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY?


I hope they will take away the fact that we often live in our own bubble of culture, with our own perspective. Then when our perspective is forced by travel or circumstance or accident, we emerge with a deeper understanding of other peoples and a kinder definition of the word “stranger.

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

The road to publication is as full of twists and turns as any international adventure! I have written somewhere around seventeen novels. Notes on My Captivity will be my eighth published novel. The rest are in a land where unsold novels live, perhaps to one day rise again.

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?


That AHA moment came months or a couple of years before, when I did research on the Lykov family in Siberia, a family I used as inspiration for the Osinovs. Anyone who wants to read a fascinating and true tale of survival in Siberia should look up the Lykovs!

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

The best time for me to write is the first thing in the morning. I feel a bit like a surfer and I need to ride that wave. I like listening to storm sounds or rushing water. I try to keep visual distractions to a minimum — decorations, photos, etc. My husband is at work and my cats hate me, which does allow for greater concentration. As for venue— sometimes at my house, sometimes at a coffee shop, sometimes in the driver’s seat of my car. I know, I’m a weirdo.

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


My advice to other writers is to break down the act of writing a novel into small winnable portions and then keep track. As Stephen King advises, even if you write a mere page a day, in less than a year, you’ve got a full novel.

What are you working on now?


I’m actually writing a book about writing a novel, my attempt to demystify the process.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Notes from My Captivity
by Kathy Parks
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 7/10/2018

Adrienne Cahill cares about three things: getting into a great college; becoming a revered journalist like her idol, Sydney Declay; and making her late father proud of her.

So when Adrienne is offered the chance to write an article that will get her into her dream school and debunk her foolish stepfather’s belief that a legendary family of hermits is living in the Siberian wilderness, there’s no question that she’s going to fly across the world.

But the Russian terrain is even less forgiving than Adrienne. And when disaster strikes, none of their extensive preparations seem to matter. Now Adrienne’s being held captive by the family she was convinced didn’t exist, and her best hope for escape is to act like she cares about them, even if it means wooing the youngest son.

Purchase Notes from My Captivity at Amazon
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View Notes from My Captivity on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

As a baby, Kathy Parks was thrown out with the bathwater. This experience shaped her life and art. She is the author of novels including The Lifeboat Clique and Notes from My Captivity, and she also works as an advertising copywriter. She lives with her husband, Michael, in Boulder, Colorado.

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Have you had a chance to read NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY yet? Do you need to ride the wave of writing? Do you break down the act of writing a novel into small winnable portions and then keep track of it? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!


Happy Reading,

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

0 Kerry Winfrey, author of THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT, on avoiding preciousness in her writing routine

We're excited to have Kerry Winfrey with us to chat about her latest novel, THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT.

Kerry, what was your inspiration for writing THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT?

Jolie has an underbite that she gets surgically corrected, and that was a real experience I went through at the end of high school. All of Jolie’s orthodontic trials—the multiple rounds of braces, the palate expander, the constant visits to the orthodontist—are based on my experiences. I was also afraid I was going to die during surgery, and spent a lot of time wondering if I’d really lived my life to the fullest. But unlike Jolie, I didn’t create a list of things I needed to do or try out for the school musical. Basically, Jolie has all the courage that I wish I’d had!

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?

Any kind of fight is always difficult for me to write, because my first instinct is to have my characters get along perfectly and calmly resolve their problems and go back to being friends. Which is…not a very exciting book! So it takes a lot of work and many, many drafts for me to give a fight enough tension and anger. There’s one particular fight between Jolie and her best friend Derek that I really ended up loving. They’re able to get out a lot of their pent-up feelings and admit some harsh truths, which was very cathartic to write.

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

I think that readers who like funny, romantic YA—like Amy Spalding, Maurene Goo, or the queen of YA Meg Cabot—will like THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT. I hope so, anyway.

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

JOLIE taught me that I’m capable of writing a book. You’d think my first book would have taught me that, but I thought maybe it was a fluke. Working on JOLIE was a joy, but I was very busy at the time. My son had just been born, and I drafted the book while he was only a few months old. It was something I genuinely wasn’t sure I could do—I mean, how could I write a book when I was sleeping just a couple of hours every night? But I did it, slowly but surely, and even though my first draft read like garbage, eventually it really did turn into a coherent book.

What do you hope readers will take away from THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT?

At first, I struggled a lot with feeling like I needed some sort of overarching “message” in this book. It’s primarily about Jolie’s self-confidence and how that ties into her appearance, and I kept feeling like I needed to Say Something Important about beauty standards. And that’s hard, because I’m a human being—my beliefs about beauty and appearance and confidence vary from day to day. So instead, I settled on hoping that readers would see that they are the only ones who get to decide how they feel about themselves. There isn’t some objective standard of beauty out there—if you think you’re beautiful, you are. If you don’t care at all about beauty, that’s cool too. Your feelings are your own! You’re allowed to feel them.

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 spent a long time WANTING to write a book before I ever actually wrote one. Despite loving writing my entire life and getting a degree in creative writing, there was something in me that said I could never actually write a book. I think part of it was that, at the time, I didn’t know any writers, and I just didn’t believe that someone from my small town could write a book that would be in bookstores and libraries all over the country. I blogged and wrote about books for years before I got the courage to try writing one of my own. JOLIE is my second published book. Technically I did write one that was never published, but honestly it was very, very bad and I’m glad I never tried to do anything with it. Sometimes you need to write the bad stuff in order to get to the good stuff.

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


I’m a stay-at-home mom to a toddler, so my writing routine is basically NO routine. I only work when he’s sleeping, which means I’m either writing early in the morning or late at night or when he naps. Well, IF he naps, because the thing about toddlers is that they don’t really care whether or not their moms write books. It’s been such a great opportunity for me to avoid preciousness about my writing routine. If I have a deadline, I need to use every spare five minutes I have. I do love to write outside with plenty of beverages surrounding me, but that’s not usually my reality, and that’s okay!

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

I always tell people that they can write a book in the life they’re living now. You don’t have to wait until you quit your job, your kids are grown, etc. Some people think writers need to have all day to sit at a computer and write their stories, but I don’t think that’s the reality for most people. If you don’t have hours of time, that’s fine! I wrote JOLIE in very small pockets of time. It might take you awhile, but you can write a book in 15 minute increments as long as you keep going.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on something that’s pretty different from what I’ve done so far, but it’s still a romcom. I’m not sure I know how to write anything that doesn’t involve a climactic kiss.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It
by Kerry Winfrey
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 7/10/2018

Jolie’s a lot of things, but she knows that pretty isn’t one of them.

She has mandibular prognathism, which is the medical term for underbite. Chewing is a pain, headaches are a common occurrence, and she’s never been kissed. She’s months out from having a procedure to correct her underbite, and she cannot wait to be fixed.

Jolie becomes paralyzed with the fear that she could die under the knife. She and her best friends, Evelyn and Derek, decide to make a “Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It (Which Is Super Unlikely, but Still, It Could Happen)” list. Things like: eat every appetizer on the Applebee’s menu and kiss her crush Noah Reed.

But since when did everything ever go exactly to plan?

Purchase Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It at Amazon
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View Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Kerry Winfrey grew up in Bellville, Ohio, where she spent most of her time reading inappropriate books at the library. Not much has changed. Kerry writes for HelloGiggles and blogs at welcometoladyville.com. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, their son, and their dog, Merlin. You can find her on Twitter @KerryAnn.

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Have you had a chance to read THINGS JOLIE NEEDS TO DO BEFORE SHE BITES IT yet? Did you spend a long time wanting to write a book before finally taking the plunge? Do you write in any small increment you can find? 

Happy Reading,

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

Thursday, July 12, 2018

0 Danielle Banas, author of THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME, on wanting readers to laugh out loud

We're delighted to have Danielle Banas join us to chat about her debut novel, THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME.

Danielle, what was your inspiration for writing THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME?

So many things inspired Supervillain. One of my characters is a total superhero fangirl, and most of her reactions throughout the book are reminiscent of my high school and college years when I fangirled way too hard over Nick Jonas. Seriously. Way too hard. In addition to that, there are multiple musical theater scenes that are heavily inspired by my own experiences participating in my high school’s musical theater program. The fall musical that a few of my characters participate in is a completely fictional show, but it’s actually a mashup of two shows that I did while in school – Once on This Island and Little Shop of Horrors.

But of course this book wouldn’t exist without my deep love of superheroes, namely, Spider-Man. It’s almost sickening how much of a fan I am. If I had gone to high school with Peter Parker, I definitely would have had a huge crush on him, so in a lot of ways writing a book about a bunch of nerdy superheroes was my ultimate form of wish fulfillment.

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

The entire second half of the book was tough to write, unfortunately. When I wrote the first draft, I was mainly doing it for my own enjoyment; I never imagined that the story would eventually be published, so I outlined very little of it. I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted the first half to go, but then I hit the second half and was like, “Oh crap. Now what?” Luckily, sometimes the characters will tell you how they want the story to be written, and I’m really happy with how it all turned out.

As for scenes that I love, any scene where I get to write a snarky one-liner makes me really proud. I’m definitely guilty of laughing at my own jokes from time to time. Oops. Also, all the scenes between my main character, Abby, and her brother, Connor, give me the warm-and-fuzzies. They tease each other mercilessly, but deep down they really do care tremendously for each other. I’m an only child, but if I had a sibling, I’d love to have the relationship that Abby and Connor have.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME?


I just hope they have as much fun reading it as I did while writing it! Laughing out loud (or at least a chuckle or two) while reading is definitely encouraged. That’s always my number one goal when it comes to writing. Life is stressful and sometimes it’s really hard to unwind after a rough day, so if you pick up this book and you smile or laugh or leave the story feeling a bit happier than you did before you started, then I’ve done my job.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Supervillain and Me
by Danielle Banas
Hardcover
Swoon Reads
Released 7/10/2018

Never trust a guy in spandex.

In Abby Hamilton’s world, superheroes do more than just stop crime and save cats stuck in trees―they also drink milk straight from the carton and hog the television remote. Abby’s older brother moonlights as the famous Red Comet, but without powers of her own, following in his footsteps has never crossed her mind.

That is, until the city’s newest vigilante comes bursting into her life.

After saving Abby from an attempted mugging, Morriston’s fledgling supervillain Iron Phantom convinces her that he’s not as evil as everyone says, and that their city is under a vicious new threat. As Abby follows him deeper into their city’s darkest secrets, she comes to learn that heroes can’t always be trusted, and sometimes it’s the good guys who wear black.

Purchase The Supervillain and Me at Amazon
Purchase The Supervillain and Me at IndieBound
View The Supervillain and Me on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danielle Banas, a Pittsburgh native, earned a degree in communication from Robert Morris University. After years spent dreaming up characters instead of paying attention in class, Danielle joined the storytelling platform Wattpad, where her work has received millions of views online. When she isn’t writing, she can be found loudly singing show tunes, spouting off Walt Disney World trivia, and snuggling with her puppy. THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME is her debut novel.

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Have you had a chance to read THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME yet? Do your characters tell you how they want the story to be written? Do you have fun writing that you hope is passed to the readers? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

0 Lindsey Duga, author of KISS OF THE ROYAL, on taking a chance on a weird, out-there idea

We're happy to have Lindsey Duga swing by to tell us more about her debut novel, KISS OF THE ROYAL.

Lindsey, what is your favorite thing about KISS OF THE ROYAL?

This book was so much fun for me to write for a lot of different reasons, but one of the best things about this book was the fun conversations I got to have workshopping it with my critique partner and, eventually, my editor. I still remember the first time I pitched my book to my friend and CP, Melissa, while over the phone. The conversation went a little something like this:

Me: Okay, hear me out--Royals using magic kisses as weapons to defeat monsters.
Melissa: So...they’re like...making out on the battlefield?
Me: More or less.
Melissa: …

It was such a weird, out-there idea that I didn’t blame her one bit for that long pause. I kept thinking, surely, she’s going to shoot this down and call me insane. She only did one of the two. After we established the fact that I was insane, she then started asking me all these questions to which I only had half the answers. Talking through this book about all its worldbuilding, plot twists, and evolving relationships was something that I both needed and absolutely loved.

But, if you’re asking me what’s my favorite part of the book itself...I would have to say I really love the history of the world I created. It was inspired by one of my favorite childhood fairytales, Snow White and Rose Red, and how that history was so intricately woven into the world and ultimately, the plot.

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?

Yes, there is this one scene that was written quite a few times in various versions and it is a scene that is a turning point in both the plot, and Ivy and Zach’s relationship. So much happens in this scene through dialogue and internal conflict that I spent a long time rewriting it and tweaking it to fit with the changes in plot or in their feelings towards one another. Eventually (in one of my very last revisions with my editor) I wrote one dialogue part that sums up Zach’s feelings so perfectly that even I melted while reading over it. His small monologue in that scene makes me really proud to say that I came up with something so (what I hope others would refer to as) swoony.

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

It taught me that I’m kind of a sap when it comes to romance! Ironically, when I started this book I didn’t set out to write a romance novel. It just kind of...came out. I also learned that sometimes the hardest book to revise is the one that makes it. After handing over one of the initial drafts to a very talented CP and receiving a manuscript ripped to shreds, I set it aside for seven months before I was prepared to look at it again. When I finally did tackle it, out came this novel that landed me a book deal. Go figure.

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’ve been writing stories since I was a kid, but it was always just for fun. Just for me really. Then I wrote this one book in college and it wasn’t until I finished it did I think, hey, what if I tried to get this published? I’d always loved writing but I didn’t think about actually pursuing the life of an author until that book. The book, which was a middle grade, received some interest from agents but I was still pretty green. I went through a lot of revisions and a lot of rejections before eventually I shelved it. My second book, also a middle grade, got even closer to snagging an agent, but that too I eventually shelved. Finally my third book, KISS OF THE ROYAL, (which just so happened to be my first YA) grabbed the attention of an editor’s assistant during #PitMad and four months later I had a book deal!

It took five years and three books later to achieve author-status. It may not be as long or as hard as some, but it definitely wasn’t a walk in the park. I learned a lot though, and I’m truly grateful for this debut.

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

My favorite place to write is a local Barnes & Noble cafe. It has these big floor-to-ceiling windows and all this natural light! I honestly can’t write in a room during the day without natural light or a window. It feels like I’m in an office or a cave, and that’s the worst. I also have to write with my headphones in, listening to either one of three kinds of music (a “vibe” Pandora station, a lofi chillhop youtube playlist, or a 1940’s big band Pandora station). First I write for an hour of so, then I order a venti iced green tea soy latte, and that keeps me going for another two and a half hours. I’m so strangely focused during this time that I plan my week around some of these writing sessions. I need them desperately for drafting.

What are you working on now?


When I first started writing I wrote one book at a time, but now I always seem to have several going on at once. They’re all in different stages though, so if I have to wait on someone (like feedback from a CP or if my agent is reviewing it, etc) then I have something else to keep me from going crazy. At the moment, I have one YA Paranormal Romance on submission (think Princess Mononoke meets The Raven Boys set in the Smoky Mountains), a YA Fantasy in revision and a MG Science Fiction in draft mode...so as you can see, I’m all over the place!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Kiss of the Royal
by Lindsey Duga
Paperback
Entangled: Teen
Released 7/3/2018

Princess Ivy has one goal―end the war against the Forces of Darkness.

Ivy’s magic is more powerful than any other Royal’s, but she needs a battle partner who can help her harness it. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword should make them an unstoppable pair―if only they could agree on...well, just about anything.

But Ivy’s magic can only fully unlock with Zach’s help, and he’s not exactly cooperating.

Zach believes Ivy’s magic is dangerous. Ivy believes they’ll never win the war without it. Two warriors, one goal, and the fate of their world on the line. But the more they argue, the more they fall for each other. And only one of them can be right…

Purchase Kiss of the Royal at Amazon
Purchase Kiss of the Royal at IndieBound
View Kiss of the Royal on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.

Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.

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Have you had a chance to read KISS OF THE ROYAL yet? When did you make the switch from loving writing to wanting to get published? Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

0 Erin Beaty, author of THE TRAITOR'S RUIN, on the difficulties of the second book

THE TRAITOR'S RUIN is the second book in the Traitor's Trilogy, and we're excited to have Erin Beaty here to share more about it.

Erin, what was your inspiration for writing THE TRAITOR'S RUIN?

Having experienced both sides of many military issues gave me a lot of material to draw from. I’ve had knowledge that couldn’t be shared and not been allowed know the real story or the details. I’ve been deployed to a combat area, and I’ve been the one left behind. Setting-wise, there’s a lot of influence from the novels I embraced as a teen, notably books by Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley.

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 wasn’t any particularly difficult scene to write. Often the ones I struggle to squeeze one line out at a time (usually dialogue) and I hate once I’ve finished I come back to later and realize are just about perfect. Other times I come back and realize what was wrong and the re-write becomes easy. Still other times what came easily I realize was completely the wrong direction. I feel like Thomas Edison going through 2000 ways not to make a working lightbulb, but it’s not overly discouraging if I can diagnose the problem.

I love the scenes that made me an emotional wreck while writing them. Kissing scenes, too, are fun, though I agonize over them and revise them the most. I have fear of being over-cheesy (a little bit of cheese is okay). In this particular book, while researching injuries and post-traumatic stress, I came across a common issue that I felt had to be addressed, even at the expense of the characters. That was difficult, but it was real. People don’t come through trauma unscathed, and they often emerge with new weaknesses. I felt that was important to show, even briefly. Hopefully I got it right.

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


I get compared a lot to Mary Pearson’s Remnant Chronicles and Marie Rutkoski Winner’s Trilogy, which are huge compliments, though I had read neither series until The Traitor’s Kiss was pretty much finalized. Readers who enjoy fantasy that is a little lighter on magic (or completely without) would probably like my books, while those that need dragons and sorcerers might be disappointed. My stories are also a little old fashioned, in a sense, so people who like the more classic fantasies of the 80s and 90s tend to enjoy my books, which probably explains why I have a fair amount of cross-over appeal to adult readers, too. It’s what they grew up reading. It’s what I grew up reading.

How long did you work on THE TRAITOR'S RUIN?

I started writing bits in the fall of 2014, while querying (the first time) what became The Traitor’s Kiss, but very little of that made it into the final version of RUIN, mostly because the first book changed significantly and I grew a lot as a writer. The bones of the plot were pretty much there, though. Getting Kiss ready for publication was so fully absorbing that I set RUIN aside for nine straight months. I didn’t buckle down and work on it until September of 2016, after I knew it would be a reality, but it was more just being busy that kept me from it than anything else, though maybe there was some fear that I couldn’t repeat my success with the first. It took about 14 months after that. So kind of 3 years, but there were huge gaps in there.

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


I struggled a lot with this book, and pretty much all the authors I know have said the second book is the hardest, so I’m in good company. If it’s a series, it seems most of us start out writing what amounts to fan fiction of the first book. With a deadline, I didn’t have the time to go over and over every scene like before, and I feel like I misunderstood what made the first book work. Once I took a hard look at myself and what truly makes a good story, it became both easier and harder--easier because I knew what I had to do, and harder because I then had to do it. I went into writing the third book much stronger, but I still make mistakes. That’s why we have editors, though, and thank heaven for them.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE TRAITOR'S RUIN?

Sage and Alex’s conflict in this story is much deeper than any simple conversation could have solved, though open communication would certainly have helped. This book is very much about how loving someone makes us vulnerable at the deepest levels and changes our sense of self. But it’s not weakness, and by helping each other deal with that vulnerability, we come out stronger.

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 hate to say I woke up one day and decided to write a book, but that’s kind of what it was. The Traitor’s Kiss was almost exactly three years from start to publication, yet it was far more complicated than that sounds. By the time I started writing it, I’d amassed a large set of helpful skills and knowledge. My engineering degree gave me a sense of cause and effect, as well as analysis. My time in the navy showed me how to be a leader, how to recognize and recover from mistakes, and introduced me to people of very diverse backgrounds and personality, plus I learned all the military structure and tactics and day to day details. When I taught leadership, I went into great depth in the study of personality. As a mother of five, all those skills were put to use in a different environment, and I started a family blog to record goofy things the kids did and said, which improved my storytelling. And all the while I was reading tons and watching world events and solidifying my values and my sense of who I was. I also made up elaborate stories in my head that I never told anyone about. When you consider how much I had in my “writer’s toolbox,” it doesn’t seem quite so amazing that I got an agent and publishing contract on the first try. (It still amazes me, though.)

That doesn’t mean it was all sunshine and rainbows. It was hard work, and I got plenty of rejections and had some very low points.

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?

Honestly, no. Every time I made it to the next step--finishing the manuscript, signing with an agent, selling the first book, selling the second and third books and then writing them--I’ve been surprised and amazed. I know I am actually and factually an author, but I still don’t feel it yet. The idea is gradually creeping into my psyche. I have some expertise now, though not a whole lot, and helping others and telling them what it’s like to be published makes it feel more real. I don’t like the uncertainty of not knowing whether I have the key to writing an(other) novel, but I never want to completely lose that sense of wonder when it’s done, either. Maybe holding on to that sense of wonder throughout the process is the key.

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

I’m still figuring that out. There are so many distractions in with kids and military life (I’ve moved across the country twice just since I started writing, and we’re already looking at our next move). If I’m in a slump, I try to change my environment, usually by going to a coffee shop. With all these kids around it’s not quite that simple to leave the house, so carrying my laptop from my office to the bedroom sometimes has to suffice. I have music I like to listen to in setting the mood, but as often as not I forget and end up writing in silence. One thing I have learned, however, is that I cannot revise or edit if the background music has lyrics. Something about the extra words flying around, maybe. When I have a lot of work to do in a short time, I stock up on Diet Dr Pepper, peanut M&Ms, beef jerky, and chocolate graham crackers and cloister myself, at least as much as I’m able until dinnertime. I make sure to work out at least four days a week, and really only let myself off the hook on the other three when there are more than just deadlines in the way.

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

Take all writing advice with a grain of salt, because not everything will work for you. As for what to write, I say fill your pitcher (brain) with what you love, let it mix, and then pour it back out. It will be unique, I promise, if you have enough unrelated ingredients. My mind is full of engineering and sciences and militaries and history, as well as personality types and relationships and Jane Austen novels, with a dash of sarcastic humor and sword fights. I think all of that shows in my writing. Start by filling your pitcher.

What are you working on now?


Right now I’m revising and polishing the third and final book in the Traitor Series, and I’m so in love with it. Even in its current imperfect form I love it, because I can see how good it can be. Beyond that I have a list of projects and ideas, some of which I’m pretty sure I can sell and some of which I’m not so sure but I love anyway. They range from historical fantasy to retellings to science fiction. While I never intended Traitor to go beyond a trilogy, as I wrap it up, I’ve found I’ve set the stage for a conflict in the future of that world. Maybe I’ll go back and check on it someday.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Traitor's Ruin
by Erin Beaty
Hardcover
Imprint
Released 7/10/2018

A captain with a secret.
A spy with a mission.
A kingdom on the verge of ruin.

After proving her worth as a deft spy and strategic matchmaker, Sage Fowler is now comfortably positioned in high society as the royal tutor. When she learns of a secret mission, she jumps at the chance to serve her kingdom once more―and to be reunited with her fiancĂ©, Captain Alex Quinn.

However, Sage’s headstrong insistence clashes with Alex’s gruff military exterior. And after a skirmish with a bordering kingdom, they're separated when tragedy strikes. Now in enemy territory, Sage desperately scrambles to complete Alex’s reconnaissance mission. Can she save her kingdom once more?

Purchase The Traitor's Ruin at Amazon
Purchase The Traitor's Ruin at IndieBound
View The Traitor's Ruin on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erin Beaty was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, which means she can't drive a tractor, but she won't eat veggies that come from a can. She graduated from the US Naval Academy with a degree in rocket science and somehow always ended up writing her study group's lab reports. After serving in the fleet as a weapons officer and a leadership instructor, she resigned to pursue her side hobby of populating the Church of Rome. It still amazes her when other people want to hear the stories that come out of her head.

She and her husband have five children, two cats, and a vegetable garden and live wherever the navy tells them to go.

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Have you had a chance to read THE TRAITOR'S RUIN yet? What did you have in your "writer's toolbox" before you actually started writing? Are you filling your pitcher with what you love? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Monday, July 9, 2018

4 New Releases this week 07/09 - 07/15 plus Giveaway of THE YEAR OF LIVING AWKWARDLY: SOPHOMORE YEAR

Happy Monday! While we don't have many giveaways for this week, our giveaway is for the awesome THE YEAR OF LIVING AWKWARDLY: SOPHOMORE YEAR! Don't forget to check out all the books below and enter to win.

Happy Reading,

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


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


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The Year of Living Awkwardly: Sophomore Year
by Emma Chastain
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon Pulse
Released 7/10/2018

High school student Chloe Snow chronicles another year in her life while she navigates the highs and lows of family, friendship, school, and love in her diary.

It’s Chloe Snow’s sophomore year of high school, and life has only grown more complicated.

Last year, Chloe was the star of the musical. This year, after an audition so disastrous she runs off the stage in tears, she’s cast as a lowly member of the ensemble. Will she be able to make it through the show knowing everyone’s either pitying her or reveling in her downfall?

Chloe’s best friend, Hannah, is no help: she’s been sucked into the orbit of Lex, the velvet-gloved, iron-fisted ruler of the sophomore class. Chloe’s dad is busy falling in love with Miss Murphy, and Chloe is no longer speaking to her mother, who is sending her increasingly desperate and unhinged emails from Mexico. As her parents’ divorce negotiations unravel, a custody battle looms.

If only Chloe could talk to Grady about it: his parents are divorced, and he’s easy to talk to. Or he was, until he declared his love for Chloe, and she turned him down because despite all her rational brain cells she can’t seem to get over Mac, and then Grady promptly started going out with Lex.

As the performance of the show approaches, Chloe must find a way to navigate all the messy elements of her life and make it through to the end of the year.

Purchase The Year of Living Awkwardly: Sophomore Year at Amazon
Purchase The Year of Living Awkwardly: Sophomore Year at IndieBound
View The Year of Living Awkwardly: Sophomore Year on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine (full set of The Great Library series): Patricia M.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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I'm Not Missing: A Novel
by Carrie Fountain
Hardcover
Flatiron Books
Released 7/10/2018

It’s senior year, and Miranda Black’s best friend, Syd, has run away―suddenly and inexplicably, leaving behind nothing but a pink leopard print cell phone with a text message from the mysterious HIM. Everyone wants to know why Syd left, but the truth is, Miranda has no idea. When Miranda’s mother abandoned her as a child, Miranda had found shelter in her friendship with Syd, who wore her own motherlessness like a badge of honor. Now Miranda’s been left behind again, left to untangle the questions of why Syd left, where she is―and if she’s even a friend worth saving, all while stumbling into first love with the most unlikely boy in school. How do you take on the future when it feels like so much of your past wasn’t even real?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about I'm Not Missing: A Novel?

It's so hard to name my favorite thing about I'M NOT MISSING, in the same way it'd be hard to name my favorite thing about my children. This book feels like a child to me! Because I had so much time with Miranda and Nick and Syd (whose name changed three times over the course of writing, from Sandra to Frankie to Sydney), they don't feel like characters to me. They feel real to me, not like children of mine, but like people I know and love and care about. I guess, in the end, that is my favorite thing about I'M NOT MISSING: that the characters became so real to me. I still think of them, and worry about them, and wish them well.

Purchase I'm Not Missing: A Novel at Amazon
Purchase I'm Not Missing: A Novel at IndieBound
View I'm Not Missing: A Novel on Goodreads

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The Traitor's Ruin
by Erin Beaty
Hardcover
Imprint
Released 7/10/2018

A captain with a secret.
A spy with a mission.
A kingdom on the verge of ruin.

After proving her worth as a deft spy and strategic matchmaker, Sage Fowler is now comfortably positioned in high society as the royal tutor. When she learns of a secret mission, she jumps at the chance to serve her kingdom once more―and to be reunited with her fiancĂ©, Captain Alex Quinn.

However, Sage’s headstrong insistence clashes with Alex’s gruff military exterior. And after a skirmish with a bordering kingdom, they're separated when tragedy strikes. Now in enemy territory, Sage desperately scrambles to complete Alex’s reconnaissance mission. Can she save her kingdom once more?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Traitor's Ruin?

Can I say that it’s done? My favorite thing is actually what I got out of it, what I learned about writing, and that I got to explore some of the deeper psychological conflicts leaders experience, particularly those in the military. Plus the cover is so gorgeous. It was funny when my editor said the cover designer was liking the idea of a chalice, and could I write one into the story, and I already had!

Purchase The Traitor's Ruin at Amazon
Purchase The Traitor's Ruin at IndieBound
View The Traitor's Ruin on Goodreads

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Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It
by Kerry Winfrey
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 7/10/2018

Jolie’s a lot of things, but she knows that pretty isn’t one of them.

She has mandibular prognathism, which is the medical term for underbite. Chewing is a pain, headaches are a common occurrence, and she’s never been kissed. She’s months out from having a procedure to correct her underbite, and she cannot wait to be fixed.

Jolie becomes paralyzed with the fear that she could die under the knife. She and her best friends, Evelyn and Derek, decide to make a “Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It (Which Is Super Unlikely, but Still, It Could Happen)” list. Things like: eat every appetizer on the Applebee’s menu and kiss her crush Noah Reed.

But since when did everything ever go exactly to plan?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It?

My favorite thing about the book is Jolie’s family. I think of this book as a romantic comedy, but the relationships between Jolie, her sister, and her parents are kind of the heart of the book. My first book, LOVE AND OTHER ALIEN EXPERIENCES, was about a family that was a little dysfunctional, and this time I really wanted to explore a family that genuinely loved hanging out together. Jolie’s sister is a beauty queen, her mom is a punk musician turned guidance counselor, and her dad is a sweetly oblivious shop teacher. They’re all very different, but they love to watch TV or have dinner together. The scenes between Jolie and her sister, particularly when Jolie accompanies Abbi to her childbirth classes, were some of my favorite ones to write.

My second favorite thing about JOLIE is that it’s funny. I mean, I hope it’s funny. People have told me it’s funny, and I’ll assume they aren’t lying to me.


Purchase Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It at Amazon
Purchase Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It at IndieBound
View Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Bright We Burn
by Kiersten White
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 7/10/2018

Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it?

Lada's rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won't rest until everyone knows that her country's borders are inviolable. Determined to send a message of defiance, she has the bodies of Mehmed's peace envoy delivered to him, leaving Radu and Mehmed with no choice. If Lada is allowed to continue, only death will prosper. They must go to war against the girl prince.

But Mehmed knows that he loves her. He understands her. She must lose to him so he can keep her safe. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister's indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before--including her relationships--can Lada truly build the country she wants.

Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world.

Purchase Bright We Burn at Amazon
Purchase Bright We Burn at IndieBound
View Bright We Burn on Goodreads

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Camp Valor
by Scott McEwen and Hof Williams
Hardcover
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 7/10/2018

Valor: great courage in the face of danger

When Wyatt gets framed for a friend’s crime, he thinks his life is over. But then a mysterious stranger visits him in jail with an unusual proposal: spend three months in a secret government camp and have a ten-year prison sentence wiped clean.

Wyatt agrees, and finds himself in a world beyond his wildest dreams, with teenagers like him flying drones, defusing bombs, and jumping out of helicopters. This is no ordinary camp. Camp Valor is a secret training ground for teenage government agents, filled with juvenile offenders―badasses who don’t play by the rules―who desperately need a second chance. If they can prove themselves over their three month stay and survive Hell Week, they will enter the ranks of the most esteemed soldiers in the United States military.

But some enemies of the United States have gotten wind of Camp Valor, and they will do everything in their power to find out its secrets. Suddenly Wyatt and his friends have to put their training into practice, and find the bravery to protect their country.

Purchase Camp Valor at Amazon
Purchase Camp Valor at IndieBound
View Camp Valor on Goodreads

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Hocus Pocus and The All-New Sequel
by A. W. Jantha
Hardcover
Freeform
Released 7/10/2018

Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this electrifying two-part young adult novel, released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 film, marks a new era of Hocus Pocus. Fans will be spellbound by a fresh retelling of the original film, followed by the all-new sequel that continues the story with the next generation of Salem teens.
Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.

Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison's seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don't quite go as planned, it's a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches' latest vile scheme.

Purchase Hocus Pocus and The All-New Sequel at Amazon
Purchase Hocus Pocus and The All-New Sequel at IndieBound
View Hocus Pocus and The All-New Sequel on Goodreads

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Legacy
by Jessica Blank
Hardcover
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Released 7/10/2018

Ever since her older brother Andy died, Alison's life has been just as dark as her home in Tacoma, Washington.

Her mom is in perpetual mourning, her father ran out on them, and after hanging out with Andy's hard-partying friends for a year, Alison's reputation is trashed. She planned on taking the path of least resistance during her senior year--hanging out with her punk rocker boyfriend and trying not to flunk out of school--until a massive fight with her mother pushes her over the edge, and she runs away.

At first, joining a group of radical environmentalists who are occupying a Washington State forest is just about having a place to crash. But the ancient woods prove to be as vibrant and welcoming as they are vulnerable, and for the first time, Alison realizes that she might be more powerful than she thought. As tensions in the forest mount and confrontations with authorities get physical, Alison has to decide whether she's willing to put her own life on the line to fight for what she believes in.

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

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Notes from My Captivity
by Kathy Parks
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 7/10/2018

Adrienne Cahill cares about three things: getting into a great college; becoming a revered journalist like her idol, Sydney Declay; and making her late father proud of her.

So when Adrienne is offered the chance to write an article that will get her into her dream school and debunk her foolish stepfather’s belief that a legendary family of hermits is living in the Siberian wilderness, there’s no question that she’s going to fly across the world.

But the Russian terrain is even less forgiving than Adrienne. And when disaster strikes, none of their extensive preparations seem to matter. Now Adrienne’s being held captive by the family she was convinced didn’t exist, and her best hope for escape is to act like she cares about them, even if it means wooing the youngest son.

Purchase Notes from My Captivity at Amazon
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View Notes from My Captivity on Goodreads

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Spill Zone: The Broken Vow
by Scott Westerfeld
Hardcover
First Second
Released 7/10/2018

Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Strange manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone. Addison got close enough to the Spill Zone to touch it, literally. She survived the encounter, but came back changed.

It turns out she's not alone. North Korea has its own Spill Zone, and a young man named Don Jae is the only one who made it out alive. Alive, but changed. Now Addison, Don Jae, and, curiously, a rag doll named Vespertine, share an unholy bond and uncanny powers.

Purchase Spill Zone: The Broken Vow at Amazon
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View Spill Zone: The Broken Vow on Goodreads

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The Brink of Darkness
by Jeff Giles
Hardcover
Bloomsbury YA
Released 7/10/2018

Things have changed for seventeen-year-old Zoe ever since the otherworldly events that brought her together with the mysterious bounty hunter she calls X. In order to save Zoe and her family, X has done the unthinkable--he's given up his freedom and returned to captivity in the Lowlands.

X is determined to break the lords' hold on him once and for all, but being stripped of his power pushes him toward a darkness he's never experienced and a past he's never known. The secrets that surface could be the key to reuniting X and Zoe . . . or they could mean the destruction of everything they have been fighting for.

Purchase The Brink of Darkness at Amazon
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View The Brink of Darkness on Goodreads

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The Supervillain and Me
by Danielle Banas
Hardcover
Swoon Reads
Released 7/10/2018

Never trust a guy in spandex.

In Abby Hamilton’s world, superheroes do more than just stop crime and save cats stuck in trees―they also drink milk straight from the carton and hog the television remote. Abby’s older brother moonlights as the famous Red Comet, but without powers of her own, following in his footsteps has never crossed her mind.

That is, until the city’s newest vigilante comes bursting into her life.

After saving Abby from an attempted mugging, Morriston’s fledgling supervillain Iron Phantom convinces her that he’s not as evil as everyone says, and that their city is under a vicious new threat. As Abby follows him deeper into their city’s darkest secrets, she comes to learn that heroes can’t always be trusted, and sometimes it’s the good guys who wear black.

Purchase The Supervillain and Me at Amazon
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View The Supervillain and Me on Goodreads

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The Unfortunates
by Kim Liggett
Hardcover
Tor Teen
Released 7/10/2018

When seventeen-year-old senator's son Grant Tavish is involved in a fatal accident, all he wants to do is face the consequences of what he's done. But those consequences never come, even if headlines of "affluenza" do. The truth soon becomes clear: due to his father's connections, Grant is going to get away with murder.

As a family tradition approaches, a cave excursion on the Appalachian Trail, Grant seizes the opportunity to take justice into his own hands by staging an accident and never coming back. But before he has a chance to enact his plans, the cave system collapses, trapping him miles beneath the surface with four other teens from much less fortunate circumstances. As they struggle to survive, they share their innermost secrets and fears, and just when it seems they might be on track to finding a way out, they realize...

There's something else down there.

And it's hunting them.

Purchase The Unfortunates at Amazon
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View The Unfortunates on Goodreads


Saturday, July 7, 2018

0 Free 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop is Now Open!

Our July workshop is now open! In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have Laurie Stolarz  as our author mentor and Paula Munier  of Talcott Notch as our agent mentor! (See below for Paula's background and query preferences.)

The workshop is designed to help writers struggling to find the right opening for their novel or for those looking to perfect the all important first five pages before submitting for publication. Why the first five pages? Because if these aren't perfect, no agent, editor, or reader will continue reading to find out how great the rest of your story really is!

Why is the First Five Pages Workshop a GREAT Opportunity?

  • You are mentored by at the guest author as well as least one and usually two traditionally-published published or agented authors from among our permanent mentors for the duration of the workshop. These authors have been through the trenches and know what it takes to get a book deal, solid reviews, and sales.
  • In addition, you receive feedback from the four other workshop participants.
  • Feedback is given not just on your initial submission, but on two subsequent opportunities to revise your manuscript based on the previous feedback so that you know you've got it right!
  • The final revision will also be reviewed by a literary agent, who will also give you feedback on the pitch for your story--the one that may eventually become your query letter or cover copy.
  • The best entry from among the workshop participants will receive a critique of the full first chapter or first ten pages from the mentoring agent, which may, in some cases, lead to requests for additional material.

How It Works:
Please see the complete rules before entering the workshop, but in a nutshell, we'll take the first five Middle Grade or Young Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. (Double check the formatting - each month we have to disqualify entries because of formatting.) Click here to get the rules. We will post when the workshop opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman@MelissWritesNow@charlotteclg ), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to the rotating team of our wonderful permanent author mentors, the final entry for each workshop participant will be critiqued by our agent mentor.

So get those pages ready - we usually fill up fast!

About the Author:

Erin Cashman is AYAP's 1st 5 Pages Workshop coordinator, and a permanent mentor. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, three kids, and an energetic rescue dog. She writes YA fantasy. UNCHARTED is coming September 4, 2018, and her debut, THE EXCEPTIONALS, was named a Bank Street College of Education best book of the year. For up to date information about the workshop, you can follow Erin on twitter here


0 Jus Accardo, author of ALPHA, on there always being something new to learn about writing

ALPHA is the latest novel in the Infinity Division series, and we're thrilled to have Jus Accardo here to share more about it.

Jus, what was your inspiration for writing ALPHA?

Really, one of the biggest inspirations behind the entire series is possibility. I love the idea of multidimension stories. There are infinite possibilities. The same character can be a million different things depending on the world I’m writing about.

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?

I think I’m most proud of the flashback scenes that show the reader how Sera and G came to feel the way they do about each other. When ALPHA opens, their relationship is already established. We know a little bit about them from the previous book in the series, but they have this intense thing between them. How they arrived at where they were needed to be shown.

I’ve never been a huge fan of flashbacks. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to sell it. I’m so thrilled with the way they came out, though. The scenes run from funny to raw to tender to soul crushing, and really made their relationship feel real.

How long did you work on ALPHA?

Probably 8 or 9 months (give or take) including the editing process.

What do you hope readers will take away from ALPHA?

These characters all went through quite a bit of hell and survived. They beat the odds and made it to the other side because they had had each other’s backs. I think everyone can benefit from that level of loyalty and support.

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 think I wrote 5 and officially queried one book before writing, querying and selling my first published book, TOUCH. Really though, that first book I queried (one that should have never been queried because it was nowhere near ready) was the first I’d thought of doing this for a living. I think it was less than a year from the start of querying that first book, to writing and selling my first published book. Everyone’s road to publication is so different. I happened to get lucky. The right person saw my book at the right time. Those first five books will probably never see the light of day. I’ve toyed with the idea of going back, but my schedule never seems to allow it. Someday, maybe!

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 I’m always having AHA moments. There’s always going to be something new to learn. About writing, about the way I approach writing… My view is, the only key to writing a book is getting it out on paper (computer). The editing, the tweaking, craft… The more words you log, the better you get.

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


I generally work from home. I do listen to music while I work. I have playlists for all my books, most of my characters, and even some specific scenes.

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


Don’t give up. Write. Write even if you think it’s crap. Every single word gets you closer to where you want to be.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on something super-secret at the moment. I can’t say much other than I am crazy in love with it—and its unlike anything I’ve ever done.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Alpha
by Jus Accardo
Paperback
Entangled: Teen
Released 7/3/2018

Sera has no memory of her life before. Before captivity, before experiments, before the only lifeline she had was the voice of a boy in the cell next to hers. Before G.

G wishes he could forget everything before Sera brought him back to life. Forget his memories as a ruthless mercenary on an alternate version of Earth. Forget that he was part of an experiment simply known as Alpha.

Now on the run from their captors and in need of an antidote to save his life, G and Sera’s clock is ticking. And they’ll have to gamble everything on the bond they forged in captivity if they want to survive.

Purchase Alpha at Amazon
Purchase Alpha at IndieBound
View Alpha on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jus Accardo spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food.

Jus is the bestselling author of the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing, as well as the Darker Agency series, and the New Adult series, The Eternal Balance. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

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Have you had a chance to read ALPHA yet? How many books have you written that will never see the light of day? Are you able to write even if you think it's crap? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

0 Free 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop Opens Today!

Our July workshop will open for submissions today at noon, EST. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have Laurie Stolarz  as our author mentor and Paula Munier  of Talcott Notch as our agent mentor! (See below for Paula's background and query preferences.)

The workshop is designed to help writers struggling to find the right opening for their novel or for those looking to perfect the all important first five pages before submitting for publication. Why the first five pages? Because if these aren't perfect, no agent, editor, or reader will continue reading to find out how great the rest of your story really is!

Why is the First Five Pages Workshop a GREAT Opportunity?

  • You are mentored by at the guest author as well as least one and usually two traditionally-published published or agented authors from among our permanent mentors for the duration of the workshop. These authors have been through the trenches and know what it takes to get a book deal, solid reviews, and sales.
  • In addition, you receive feedback from the four other workshop participants.
  • Feedback is given not just on your initial submission, but on two subsequent opportunities to revise your manuscript based on the previous feedback so that you know you've got it right!
  • The final revision will also be reviewed by a literary agent, who will also give you feedback on the pitch for your story--the one that may eventually become your query letter or cover copy.
  • The best entry from among the workshop participants will receive a critique of the full first chapter or first ten pages from the mentoring agent, which may, in some cases, lead to requests for additional material.

How It Works:
Please see the complete rules before entering the workshop, but in a nutshell, we'll take the first five Middle Grade or Young Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. (Double check the formatting - each month we have to disqualify entries because of formatting.) Click here to get the rules. We will post when the workshop opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman@MelissWritesNow@charlotteclg ), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to the rotating team of our wonderful permanent author mentors, the final entry for each workshop participant will be critiqued by our agent mentor.

July Guest Literary Agent Mentor: Paula Munier

Paula Munier began her career as a journalist, and along the way added editor, acquisitions specialist, digital content manager, and publishing executive to her repertoire. She is very involved with the mystery community, having served four terms as President of the New England chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Her specialties include mystery/thriller, SF/fantasy, romance, YA, memoir, humor, pop culture, health & wellness, cooking, self-help, pop psych, New Age, inspirational, technology, science, and writing.

Paula can be queried at: pmunier@talcottnotch.net


July Guest Literary Author Mentor: Laurie Stolarz

Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston. She is best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.

She is the author of several popular young adult novels including the Dark House series, the Touch series, BleedProject 17, and Shutter, as well as the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series. She is currently working on Jane Anonymous, her newest thriller, due out in the fall of 2019.

About SHUTTER

Sixteen-year-old Day Connor views life through the lens of her camera, where perspective is everything. But photographs never tell the whole story. After Day crosses paths with Julian, the world she observes and the truths she believes—neatly captured in black and white—begin to blur. While Julian remains on the run, Day digs deeper into his case. But the more facts she uncovers, the longer her list of questions becomes. It’s also getting harder to deny the chemistry she feels with Julian. Day is close to finding the crack in the case that will prove Julian’s innocence. She just needs time to focus before the shutter snaps shut.

Where to Buy:
Barnes & Noble  Amazon IndieBound

Add it on GOODREADS!