Monday, September 13, 2010

In Stores This Week (with Interviews & Giveaways)

Prepare yourself for a fabulous week in new YA releases! We've got plenty in store for you today, thanks to a little help from So read on below and be sure and scroll all the way down to enter for a chance to win some of these wonderful new books.

This week's interviews

Dark Water by Laura McNeal
  • From Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Pearl DeWitt and her mother live in Fallbrook, California, where it’s sunny 340 days of the year, and where her uncle owns a grove of 900 avocado trees. Uncle Hoyt hires migrant workers regularly, but Pearl doesn’t pay much attention to them . . . until Amiel. From the moment she sees him, Pearl is drawn to this boy who keeps to himself, fears being caught by la migra, and is mysteriously unable to talk. And after coming across Amiel’s makeshift hut near Agua Prieta Creek, Pearl falls into a precarious friendship—and a forbidden romance. Then the wildfires strike. Fallbrook—the town of marigolds and palms, blood oranges and sweet limes—is threatened by the Agua Prieta fire, and a mandatory evacuation order is issued. But Pearl knows that Amiel is in the direct path of the fire, with no one to warn him, no way to get out. Slipping away from safety and her family, Pearl moves toward the dark creek, where the smoke has become air, the air smoke. Laura McNeal has crafted a beautiful and haunting novel full of peril, desperation, and love.
How long did you work on this book?
I began writing it in October of 2007, right after the wildfire that inspired the story. I finished the draft I submitted to Knopf in the spring of 2009.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
It depends on what you call the starting point. Dark Water fulfilled part of a two-book contract with Knopf, so I didn't go through a grueling submissions process this time. But to get to this place--having an agent, having a contract, submitting a novel that was accepted--took more than 20 years. I took fiction-writing classes in college, began submitting stories (and receiving rejections) my senior year, was accepted to the Syracuse University fiction-writing program (and rejected from others) when I was 21, and spent two years studying and writing to earn an MA. Since then I have worked as a teacher and a journalist, and I learned to write novels by collaborating on them with my husband Tom. Our first four titles--Crooked, Zipped, Crushed, and The Decoding of Lana Morris--were written together.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
When you're discouraged, read novels that make you feel the whole world has been illuminated.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The pure joy of receiving a letter from a reader. Publication is like writing the whole novel and rolling it up inside a bottle and setting it gently, despairingly, hopefully into the sea. Hearing from a reader is like the bottle making it to Australia and winding up in the hands of a stranger who was waiting for just that message.

King of Ithaka by Tracy Barrett
  • From Goodreads: Telemachos has a comfortable life on his small island of Ithaka, where his mother Penelopeia keeps the peace even though the land has been without its king, his father Odysseus, since the Trojan War began many years ago. But now the people are demanding a new king, unless Telemachos can find Odysseus and bring him home. With only a mysterious prophecy to guide him, Telemachos sets off over sea and desert in search of the father he has never known.
How long did you work on this book?
I started work on King of Ithaka shortly after I saw that Margaret Atwood, one of my favorite authors, had published a book called The Penelopiad, about what the wife of Odysseus was doing while he was away fighting the Trojan War and then getting lost on the way home. I had a fleeting thought, "I wonder what Telemachus [Odysseus' son] was up to all that time?" I mulled over that idea for a while, re-read the Odyssey, and started work maybe six months later. I see that The Pelenopiad came out in 2006, and my book has been basically done for about a year and a half (long production process), so that makes two years of active writing.

I also have a day job, and at the same time I was writing books in a middle-grade series, so I don't know how long it would have taken if I had been doing nothing but writing King of Ithaka.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections? 
I started by writing nonfiction, which has a different process from getting fiction published, so by the time I was writing fiction I already had a bit of a track record. My first novel, Anna of Byzantium, was accepted by the second editor I sent it to, so I thought I had it made. Then my second novel, Cold in Summer, was rejected 24 times before it found a home! It's been in print continuously since 2003 and has won lots of nice awards, so I don't think it was the quality of the book that was the problem (at least I hope not), but the difficulty of finding an editor who loved it.

Since then, I've had some rejections and some acceptances, and in two cases, editors have actively sought me out to write for them.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Find your own path. Some people do their best writing after making an outline; others feel confined by an outline. Some scribble out a draft without revising and then fix it up once it's all out; others revise as they go. You'll hear people advise you to write every day. I don't. I can't, what with my other obligations. I've had two books published this year and two more coming out next year, so I don't think not writing every day has held me back!

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I didn't know there was such a wonderful community of writers out there. Some of my closest friends are people I've met through the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and on-line through other groups. Writers are incredibly generous people, and will give other writers an introduction to their agent, help them write a query letter, give words of consolation when things are going badly, read your work and offer advice. We are one anothers' best boosters, in practical ways as well as emotional support. Writing doesn't have to be a solitary activity unless you choose to make it so.

Beat the Band by Don Calame
  • From Goodreads: It’s the beginning of the school year, and the tenth-grade Health class has to work in twos on semester-long projects. Matt and Sean get paired up (the jerks), but Coop is matched with the infamous “Hot Dog” Helen for a presentation on safe sex. Everybody’s laughing, except for Coop, who’s convinced that the only way to escape this popularity death sentence is to win “The Battle of the Bands” with their group Arnold Murphy’s Bologna Dare. There’s just one problem: none of the guys actually plays an instrument. Will Coop regain his “cool” before it’s too late? Or will the forced one-on-one time with Helen teach him a lesson about social status he never saw coming?
How long did you work on this book?
From start to finish—meaning from initial idea to accepted final manuscript— BEAT THE BAND took around a year and a half to write. The first draft took the longest. Around eight months. And each subsequent rewrite based on my editor’s notes took around three to four months with some final polishing done over a couple of months period toward the end.

This book was a bit more challenging for me to write than my first novel, SWIM THE FLY. In part because it was a companion novel told from one of the other character’s point’s of view. I had to shift gears to get into this other character’s head but still stay in the same world I’d created for the first book. So it was a bit of a mental juggling act.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
For my first novel, SWIM THE FLY, I was incredibly lucky because I wrote the book over a six month period and then met an editor from Candlewick Press at a writer’s conference soon after I’d finished it. I pitched her the book and she agreed to read it and then made an offer.

It doesn’t usually happen this way. I’ve been a professional screenwriter for over fifteen years and it took me much longer to get my first script sold than it did my first book. I had many, many screenplays rejected before one got picked up and even then the movie was never made. I’ve had many screenplays rejected since then as well.

As far as this current book, BEAT THE BAND, I wrote some sample chapters and a brief outline for Candlewick before they agreed to publish it. Seeing as it was a quasi-sequel they were already familiar with my writing and the characters and the story world.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
First off I’d say write what interests you most. Whatever that is. Comedy, Horror, Romance, Fantasy. Whatever. But don’t try to figure out what’s going to sell. If you are passionate about what you’re writing chances are that will translate into the story and the reader will feel engaged. If you just try to rifle off something that you think might be popular but don’t have the passion for it, that will come across as well.

Also, I’d say be disciplined. Set yourself a goal. I try to write three pages a day (though it doesn’t always happen). But the book or story is not going to write itself. You need to make sure you’re putting your time in that chair with fingers on keyboard (or on pen, if that’s how you like to write) Just talking about writing is not going to get the words on the page.

It’s work. Hard work. But not impossible. Two or three pages a day add up quickly. Even one page a day will get you a three hundred page book in under a year. Which is much faster than writing no pages a day.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How it doesn’t ever get easier. How all the insecurities and worries and hair pulling and angst doesn’t go away. In fact, it might even get worse.

At the end of the day, whether you’re published or hoping to be published some day, it’s always just you and the page every day. Trying to work out the puzzle of your story. Where it’s going to go next. Who this character is. Why they are acting that way. All the questions swirling through your head. Am I any good at this? Will anyone ever read this? Is it funny? Is it scary? How the heck am I ever going to get this book finished?

It never changes. But even after all of the struggle, it’s still completely worth it.

The Dark Deeps: The Hunchback Assignments 2 by Arthur Slade
  • From Goodreads: A fantastic Steampunk adventure in the deeps. Transforming his appearance and stealing secret documents from the French is all in a day’s work for fourteen-year-old Modo, a British secret agent. But his latest mission—to uncover the underwater mystery of something called the Ictíneo—seems impossible. There are rumors of a sea monster and a fish as big as a ship. French spies are after it, and Mr. Socrates, Modo’s master, wants to find it first. Modo and his fellow secret agent, Octavia, begin their mission in New York City, then take a steamship across the North Atlantic. During the voyage, Modo uncovers an astounding secret.

How long did you work on this book?
It was about a year to write the book from start to finish. Since its the second book in a series, I was doing quite a bit of travelling to promote the first one, so it becomes hard to remember exactly how much time I spent writing.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I had a very long journey to publication, I think. My first six novels were never published (and really should never be published!). I had rejection slips from nearly every fantasy and horror publisher in North America. I used to write letters on the back of my rejection slips, just so my friends could check out my rejection letters. Writing those novels was really what taught me how to write a novel properly. My 7th novel was accepted and published after nearly 10 years of rejection slips. The Dark Deeps will be my 16th novel to be published. I did, along the way, publish maybe 20 short stories and articles, but novels have always been my dream.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Don't give up. Really, it is a long haul and there's lots of competition, but you won't know whether you will "make it" or not unless you try. I always had another project on the go, in case a book was rejected.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How much paperwork and organizing there is to do and online promotion. I always believed I'd be writing the whole day then reading, but promotion and tours and school visits all take time to set up.

The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkel
  • From Goodreads: Young Tabby Aykroyd has been brought to the dusty mansion of Seldom House to be nursemaid to a foundling boy. He is a savage little creature, but the Yorkshire moors harbor far worse, as Tabby soon discovers. The ghost of the last maid will not leave Tabby in peace, yet this spirit is only one of many. Why do scores of dead maids and masters haunt Seldom House with a jealous devotion that extends beyond the grave? As Tabby struggles to escape the evil forces rising out of the land, she watches her young charge choose a different path. He is determined to keep Seldom House as his own. Though Tabby tries to befriend the uncouth urchin, her kindness cannot alter his fate. Long before he reaches the old farmhouse of Wuthering Heights, the boy who will become Heathcliff has doomed himself and any who try to befriend him.
How long did you work on this book?
I wrote The House of Dead Maids four years ago, in 2006, having started the research phase the year before. (What I remember about this book is that the research took longer than the actual writing; the research took up quite a bit of 2005.) In August of 2006, I finished the manuscript, and my agent sold it to Atheneum, but my editor and I there were already working on The Sky Inside and The Walls Have Eyes, so this one just sat for a while.

In August of 2008, my editor and I finished the line edit of The Walls Have Eyes, leaving us free to work on this book at last. But I was alarmed at the changes taking place at Atheneum, so I asked my agent to get me out of there. She took me back to Reka Simonsen at Holt, with whom I had worked on my first four novels. Holt bought the manuscript from Atheneum, and we finished the line edit last summer.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
Long or short? Hard to say. In the spring of 2001, I wrote my first fiction manuscript, The Hollow Kingdom, just for fun and for my own family. It took me about four months. I polished it for a month or two and then decided I should send it out just to see what might happen to it. (I didn’t have particularly high hopes.) I was overseas, in Germany, and my local library didn’t have any guides to publication, so I asked my mother to photocopy the agent pages out of the latest Writer’s Market and send them to me.

In the meantime, I spent several evenings poking around the web. I looked up YA novels I respected, noted their publishers, and then checked those publishers’ websites for submission guidelines. Almost all of them required submissions to come from an agent, but Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, which had published Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series, accepted unagented submissions. In September of 2001, I sent them the manuscript, and six weeks later, in November, Reka Simonsen contacted me about it.

In finding Reka, I tripped over the pot of gold. We have a fantastic editorial relationship. We just clicked! That wasn’t the end, however. It almost never is. Like most acquiring editors, Reka didn’t have the power to sign up her own manuscripts; they had to go to her publisher and to the head of marketing. And Reka’s publisher doesn’t care for fantasy. So Reka had me do three revisions to the manuscript—almost a year of work, all told—before she took the risk of bringing The Hollow Kingdom to acquisition. Fortunately, the publisher and marketing director both loved it, and they signed it in October of 2002 for publication in fall of 2003.

That makes my path to publication seem bullet-train quick, but the real answer is not so simple. The truth is that I spent decades of my life trying to avoid writing. I loved reading, writing, and “daydreaming” so I took a number of literature courses in college. But I didn’t see those as leading to a practical career path, so I applied to get my M.L.S. in librarianship. Then, during master’s-level work, I loved YA (teen) literature so much that I did all the coursework to become a YA librarian. But at the last minute, I switched my focus to library technical services in order to keep my overactive imagination under control. The entire time I was a university librarian, I wrote only the scholarly articles that would advance my career. I felt that to give in to my storytelling—my “daydreaming—would mean neglecting my family.

So, while I spent a lifetime doing all the right things to prepare myself for a novel-writing career, I refused to give myself credit for being good enough to deserve a shot at it. I don’t think I ever would have sat down to write a novel if my husband hadn’t asked me point blank for one.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
I think the most important thing is to do what I did completely by accident: keep the writing and the publishing sides of the equation separate as much as possible.

I wouldn’t have written The Hollow Kingdom the way I did if I’d expected to send it out for publication. I couldn’t have imagined trying to persuade total strangers to take a look at a book about goblins. In fact, I was just playing around when I wrote it, but it’s that very thing about my first book that made it fun and fresh and appealing. That’s why it wound up winning honors and an award.

This is the writers’ version of the age-old actors’ problem: the most important thing in acting is to be natural, but acting natural is the hardest thing to do. It’s hard to write “natural” too, but everything depends on it. We authors have to please ourselves first and last. We can’t worry about whether the market wants our book.

This is particularly true concerning market trends. By the time bookstore browsers can identify a market trend, the books that will cash in on that same trend have already reached the line-edit stage. Those follow-on books were signed up in some cases years before. So you can’t pick a market trend and decide you’re going to follow it. Your book will disappear into a stack of look-alike manuscripts. The agent or editor who glances at it will wish it were something new instead of the same old thing. And you will have forced yourself to ignore what was closest to your heart for the sake of following a trend.

Writing is hard enough, all by itself. You can’t write with the world looking over your shoulder. Someone—guaranteed—will hate your book. The more copies you sell, the more haters your book will have. And, as your manuscripts start to sell, you can’t write new ones if you keep asking yourself, “Is this chapter really worth X many thousands of dollars?” You’ll break your confidence. Instead, you have to have that inner core where you’re at peace with your work, where you’re your own biggest fan. You have to be able to read your work and say, “I love this! I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
When I became an author, I didn’t think of it that way. I was just writing, I wasn’t “being” anything. As a former librarian, I knew people would judge my books, but I didn’t know they would judge me too. So the first few times it happened, it really startled me. It never occurred to me! Not at all.

When I used to tell people I was a librarian, people had a good idea what that meant. But when I say I’m an author, people don’t know what to think about it. Do I mean that I write for fun and that I’m claiming the title “author” for myself? Then I must be a snob—a delusional snob. But if I add that I’m published—and what does “published” really mean, anyway?—then I look more pretentious than ever.

So, when I say I write books, I often see funny looks slide across the faces of the people standing nearby: crafty, indulgent looks, like the ones we give children when they say they’re going to be astronauts or the ones we give our elderly relatives when we tell them they haven’t changed a bit. In short, I see people preparing to humor me. It’s nice of them, but it can be a little unpleasant.

Oddly enough, this relatively good-humored reaction can turn to hostility if it comes out that I’m successful at what I do. People have gone out of their way to tell me that they never read a book because they don’t see the use of it, or that they never bother with fiction because non-fiction is what really matters. Others say, “I thought about writing a book for a while, but I have too much to do,” as if the only difference between the two of us is the fact that I have too much time on my hands.

Of course, such reactions aren’t universal. Some people think it’s very cool. But I never know ahead of time what the reaction will be. This led me to say for years—even after I was making a reasonable yearly income from my books—that I was a housewife. It was just easier. But now I force myself to own up to my identity. It’s nothing to be ashamed of!

Clare's currently doing a blog tour! You can check out her stops here.

Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
  • By Goodreads: Hunter, Autumn, and Summer—three of Kristina Snow’s five children—live in different homes, with different guardians and different last names. They share only a predisposition for addiction and a host of troubled feelings toward the mother who barely knows them, a mother who has been riding with the monster, crank, for twenty years. Hunter is nineteen, angry, getting by in college with a job at a radio station, a girlfriend he loves in the only way he knows how, and the occasional party. He's struggling to understand why his mother left him, when he unexpectedly meets his rapist father, and things get even more complicated. Autumn lives with her single aunt and alcoholic grandfather. When her aunt gets married, and the only family she’s ever known crumbles, Autumn’s compulsive habits lead her to drink. And the consequences of her decisions suggest that there’s more of Kristina in her than she’d like to believe. Summer doesn’t know about Hunter, Autumn, or their two youngest brothers, Donald and David. To her, family is only abuse at the hands of her father’s girlfriends and a slew of foster parents. Doubt and loneliness overwhelm her, and she, too, teeters on the edge of her mother’s notorious legacy. As each searches for real love and true family, they find themselves pulled toward the one person who links them together—Kristina, Bree, mother, addict. But it is in each other, and in themselves, that they find the trust, the courage, the hope to break the cycle.
How long did you work on this book?
I wrote Fallout in around eight months. Everything I write now is under contract, so I don't work on spec at all. I also have a heavy travel schedule, so although I'm currently writing/publishing one YA per year, I don't have twelve months' writing time.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I was a freelance writer first, then moved from there to children's nonfiction, which is a really hungry market. Not many rejections. While eeking out a living that way, I was always writing poetry and short stories (a few publications), and trying my hand at picture books, chapter books, etc. A personal story inspired my first YA verse novel, Crank, which I sold, unagented, with only seventy-five pages completed. The entire process was around ten years.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
To experiment with your writing. I didn't know I was supposed to write YA (let alone verse novels) until I tried one. I actually thought I'd be the next Stephen King!

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How much work it is! Especially on the promotion part. Yikes! I never sleep more than six hours because my brain keeps waking me up, telling me I've got work to do. And I do.

The Kid Table by Andrea Seigel
  • From Goodreads: It's there at every family event. A little smaller, collapsible, and decked out with paper napkins because you can't be trusted with the good ones. But you're stuck there. At the Kid Table. Because to them- to the adults- you're still a kid. Ingrid Bell and her five teenage cousins are in exactly this situation. Never mind the fact that high school is almost over. They're still eating mac and cheese with a toddler. But what happens when the rules change? When Brianne, the oldest cousin, lands a seat at the Adult Table, the others are in shock. What does it take to graduate from the Kid Table? Over the course of five family events, Ingrid and her cousins attempt to finish childhood and send the infamous table into retirement. But as Ingrid turns on the charm in order to manipulate her situation, the family starts questioning her motives. And when her first love comes in the form of first betrayal (he's Brianne's boyfriend), Ingrid is forced to consider how she fits into this family and what it means to grow up.
How long did you work on this book?
I worked on it in a few pieces, so: about a month to write the first 50 pages to sell it on; about five months to write the rest of it after it sold; about a month's time total going back and forth with notes from my editor before it was in its final state.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
For my first book? I was lucky; it was pretty short. I think I remember my first agent selling it about a month after she took me on. For this book, it also sold pretty quickly at auction, but Doug (my agent) ended up having to sell it twice. By the time I'd finished the book, the original editor who bought Kid Table had been laid off because of the economy, so the book re-sold to my current editor. I wish I knew how many rejections, but Doug seems to hide those from me. Unless someone says something nice in the rejection. Then sometimes he'll forward me the compliment.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Don't listen to other writers; it's like listening to someone else telling you what to do with your hair. Also, get a dog.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The email requests I get from ninth graders who chose my first novel for their book report asking me to summarize the plot for them because they don't 'have time' to read it before the due date.

The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
  • From Goodreads: Finally, Levi Katznelson’s older brother, Boaz, has returned. Boaz was a high school star who had it all and gave it up to serve in a war Levi can’t understand. Things have been on hold since Boaz left. With the help of his two best friends Levi has fumbled his way through high school, weary of his role as little brother to the hero. But when Boaz walks through the front door after his tour of duty is over, Levi knows there’s something wrong. Boaz is home, safe. But Levi knows that his brother is not the same. Maybe things will never return to normal. Then Boaz leaves again, and this time Levi follows him, determined to understand who his brother was, who he has become, and how to bring him home again. Award-winning author Dana Reinhardt introduces readers to Levi, who has never known what he believes, and whose journey reveals truths only a brother knows.

How long did you work on this book?
My new release, The Things a Brother Knows, took me longer to write than any other book I’ve written. I used to think that there was a cumulative effect—that each book I write will take longer than the one I’d written before—but that has since been proved wrong. I’ve written another book coming out in 2011 called The Summer I Learned to Fly and it took half as much time to write as The Things a Brother Knows. So, I guess there’s no logic. No magic formula. Each book is its own universe with its own set of rules.

What took so long for me with The Things a Brother Knows was the rewriting of it. I wrote a first draft in about 8 months, which is pretty average for me, but then I took another year and a half to rewrite it. I’d made many mistakes in the first draft, more than usual, and it was a tremendous amount of work eking out the story I wanted to tell. Really it felt more like beating or pounding out the story.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I wrote my first book, A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life in the summer of 2004 and it came out in February of 2006. At the time this seemed like an eternity, but now I know how long it takes to turn a manuscript into a book with a pretty cover and pages without spelling or grammatical errors!

As far as selling the manuscript, I had a true fairytale experience, which is an anomaly in this business. I sat down and wrote that book in about 3 months, sent it to an agent on a Friday. He sent it to publishers Monday morning and within a few days I had four offers on it. That doesn’t mean it was a better book than a book that received four rejections before getting published. It meant I was tremendously lucky.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Read. Read as much as you can. Read to know what you want to do as a writer and also what you don’t. And then write. As much as you can. Write as if nobody but you is ever going to read your manuscript. Don’t try to put in through anyone else’s lens.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How little it’s changed my life.

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
  • From Goodreads: Avery Hood is reeling from the loss of her parents--and the fact that she can't remember what happened to them even though she was there. She's struggling to adjust to life without them, and to living with her grandmother, when she meets Ben, who isn't like any guy she's ever met before. It turns out there's a reason why, and Ben's secret may hold the key to Avery finding out what happened to her parents... But what if that secret changes everything she knows about--and feels for--Ben?
How long did you work on this book?
About ten months, from start to finish--I was very lucky to have Bloomsbury be excited enough about the book that the publication schedule went faster than I'm told it normally goes!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Read! I'm always shocked when I talk to people who write and they tell me they don't read. How can you not read?

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How much fun it is!

Additional Releases

Hush by Eishes Chayil
  • From Goodreads: Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, the rules of life are very clear, determined by an ancient script written thousands of years before down to the last detail—and abuse has never been a part of it. But when thirteen-year-old Gittel learns of the abuse her best friend has suffered at the hands of her own family member, the adults in her community try to persuade Gittel, and themselves, that nothing happened. Forced to remain silent, Gittel begins to question everything she was raised to believe. A richly detailed and nuanced book, one of both humor and depth, understanding and horror, this story explains a complex world that remains an echo of its past, and illuminates the conflict between yesterday's traditions and today's reality.

Wired (Skinned, Book 3) by Robin Wasserman
  • From Amazon: One year ago, Lia Kahn died. A few days later, she woke up. She had a new body: Mechanical, unfeeling, inhuman. She had a new family: Mechs like her, who didn’t judge her for what she could no longer be. She had a new life, one that would last forever. At least, it was supposed to. But now everything Lia thought she knew has turned out to be a lie; everyone she thought she loved has been stolen away. And someone is trying to get rid of the mechs, once and for all. Lia will risk everything to save herself and the people she can’t live without. But not before facing one final truth: She can’t save everyone.

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
  • From Goodreads: Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance—even her closest friends—and it seems her senior year will be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him. What she doesn't know is that Luc works in Acquisitions—for Hell—and she possesses a unique skill set that has the King of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he’s as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn’t get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul. But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay…for all of them.

We've been blessed with generous authors once again. Not only did we have many wonderful interviews this week, we have six giveaways! Many, many thanks to Laura McNeal, Tracy Barrett, Don Calame, Dana Reinhardt, Andrea Seigel, and Ivy Devlin for providing copies of their books for prizes. To enter, leave a comment on this post and fill out the form below. The contest is open to U.S. residents and closes at midnight EST on Friday, September 17th!

Happy Reading!

Martina & Marissa


  1. Great interviews. It's inspiring to see everyone's path to publication and how different it is for everyone.

  2. I love the interviews with each author. What a great list! Just when I was afraid I would run out of things to read!

  3. Wow, so many interviews and so much great information. You seemed to constantly outdo yourselves.

  4. I have to laugh at Ellen Hopkin's comment about experimenting. She told me at the LA SCBWI conference to rewrite my novel to present tense. I tried it and loved it. Okay, I don't see myself experimenting with verse, tho. I suck at poetry. I'm looking forward to read Fallout.

    Dark Water also sounds really good. *rushes off to see therapist for book buying addiction*

  5. Cool! The interviews are really fun; thanks for taking the time to do them. (Though I find it funny how each author defines "how long did it take to write the book" differently, I wish it were a little clearer what they meant sometimes!)

  6. Great interviews and great way to inspire this morning! Thank you!

  7. Nice line-up! I want to read 'em all. LOL I love some of the covers (I know--that wasn't the point of the features or interviews!) Congratz everyone on writing some very cool-sounding books,and getting published.

  8. I'm looking forward to reading several titles on this list. And if I were to judge a book by the cover (which I do), I have to say there are quite a few good ones in there. :)

  9. What a great list of books! Excited for the chance to win :)

  10. WOW! These books sound amazing, and I love reading the author's stories. Thanks, ladies.

  11. I love these posts... I discover so many new books I want to read!

  12. Thanks for the interviews! Also, great contest. :D

  13. You guys have been busy! Wow! I hadn't even heard of some of these books and authors. Thanks for all the great interviews and info.

  14. Thanks for this post. I like Andrea Siegel's advice to other writers. Great stuff!


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