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Hi all…happy belated 2015! I’ll be doing a 2014 summary post shortly and realize I’m a little late with it, but if you follow me on Twitter, you know my website was recently hacked and it took some serious doing to get it back. Make sure to sign up (on the righthand side of the blog) for my newsletter if you haven’t already, because in a few weeks I’m giving away an advanced copy of my sequel to BURN OUT courtesy of my publisher!
I thought I’d start off the year with an interview from a funny and fabulous author–David Kazzie. If you don’t know David, he is the creator of the hilarious So You Want to Write a Novel video (and others) which can be seen here. He also writes novels—his newest, which looks amazing, is called THE IMMUNE.
Here is a blurb:
This is the way the world ends.
On a warm summer night at Yankee Stadium, a terrifying plot to bring humanity to the brink of extinction is set into motion.
And as the deadly Medusa virus sweeps the globe unchecked, three people – an obstetrician dealing with the death of an expectant mother, a football star past his prime, and a soldier harboring a terrible secret about her own future – struggle to save what they hold most dear in a world crumbling around them.
Amazingly cool concept, right? I had some questions for David and he was kind enough to answer my questions, so enjoy the interview and then go check out his book!
1. The concept of The Immune is fascinating, especially given the recent panic about ebola. Where did you get the idea for the story?
I’ve loved stories about the apocalypse for as long as I can remember, and I had always wanted to write my own. I wanted to make it as realistic as possible, and I always thought that a pandemic was the most likely suspect if something like that were to ever happen. And I think deep down, we’ve all wondered if we would have what it takes to survive in a world like that.
As a fellow-sci fi writer and nerd, I’m so excited to have Joshua David Bellin on the blog today to discuss his new sci-fi release, SURVIVAL COLONY 9. First, here’s the cover of his fab book:
And here’s what Survival Colony 9 entails:
In a future world of dust and ruin, fourteen-year-old Querry Genn struggles to recover the lost memory that might save the human race.
Querry is a member of Survival Colony Nine, one of the small, roving groups of people who outlived the wars and environmental catastrophes that destroyed the old world. The commander of Survival Colony Nine is his father, Laman Genn, who runs the camp with an iron will. He has to–because heat, dust, and starvation aren’t the only threats in this ruined world.
There are also the Skaldi.
Monsters with the ability to infect and mimic human hosts, the Skaldi appeared on the planet shortly after the wars of destruction. No one knows where they came from or what they are. But if they’re not stopped, it might mean the end of humanity.
Six months ago, Querry had an encounter with the Skaldi–and now he can’t remember anything that happened before then. If he can recall his past, he might be able to find the key to defeat the Skaldi.
If he can’t, he’s their next victim.
It sounds amazing, right? Joshua was kind enough to answer some questions for me about his release, so the following is all you wanted to know about Joshua (just kidding, but it is five things that I wanted to know about him)
Your story involves a chilling description of a post-apocalpytic world. Where did you get your inspiration for Survival Colony 9?
Everyone thinks I’m making this up, but the basic outlines of my world came to me in a dream. Desert landscape, small groups of camouflaged people (the survival colonies) moving across the waste, and a mysterious, terrifying threat constantly in the background. (That turned into the Skaldi.) Generally speaking, my dream-ideas are like everyone else’s: they seem great for about five seconds after I wake up, but then I realize it wouldn’t actually make such a good story to have giant rabbits nibbling popcorn on Venus. But in this case, the dream-work paid off!
I don’t think you’re making that up because my book came to me in a dream too! That’s so cool when it happens like that. So, as a fellow sci-fi author and fan, I loved the show Firefly and wondered whether there are any similarities between the Skaldi in your world and the Reavers in Firefly (which terrified me by the way)?
Okay, this is kind of embarrassing, but I’ve never watched Firefly—which is even more bizarre since Joss Whedon was in my graduating class at Wesleyan. But what I’d say about this, based on a quick Googling, is that the Skaldi are as terrifying as the Reavers but even more inhuman. Cannibalistic races are one of the oldest fears of Western civilization: just look at Homer’s Polyphemus, or at the reports of cannibalistic tribes in Columbus’s letters. The Skaldi play off that fear, in that they consume human bodies and then mimic them. But whether they were themselves human at one point, as the Reavers seem to be, is something I’m not going to reveal!
I just geeked out a little (okay, a lot) about you going to school with Joss Whedon. Also, you need to watch Firefly ASAP! For the aspiring writers out there, can you tell us a little about your path to publication? (e.g. getting an agent, finding a publisher, etc.)
Depending on how you look at it, I’ve been on the path since age eight, when I attempted to write my first novel. So that’s roughly forty years. I mention this because the myth of instant success can kill writers, leading them to give up if their dreams don’t come true overnight. In my case, if I’d given up at any point during the forty years it took me to develop my craft, I wouldn’t be here.
In a narrower sense, my path to publication was fairly routine: I finished Survival Colony 9 at the tail end of 2011, signed with one agent but had to part ways with her (long story), then revised the book again and found my current agent in late 2012. From there, it was roughly three months until acceptance. That makes it sound easy, but believe me: even in that narrower timeframe, there were plenty of rejections and moments of crisis. If there’s anything to learn from my experience, it’s this: bumps in the road are not a negative reflection on the quality of your manuscript. They’re just a natural part of the process.
I completely agree and feel like the bumps in the road have made me both a stronger writer and person in general. So moving on to your writing process—do you have a set writing schedule or routine? Any favorite snacks or beverages that are a must-have while you’re writing?
I used to try to write every day, until I realized that I was driving myself to distraction for no good reason. Some writers can write every day; I can’t. So these days, I write when I can—mostly summers when I’m not teaching—and I focus on the positive (hey! I’m writing!) instead of the negative (ugh! I’m not writing every day).
So far as routine, I’m the kind of writer who needs a distraction-free environment. No TV or play list or open browser or anything. No kids (I have two of them). Maybe a ginger ale or some pretzels to snack on, but nothing elaborate. Pretty boring in its way. But writing is so individualized, I think everyone has to find what works best for them and go for it.
Agreed and I’ve written posts about why I think it’s fine not to write every day (and can even benefit a writer). Most writers are obsessive readers, so what are a few of your all-time favorite authors or books (any genre)?
I’m a total reading chameleon, which comes from having well-stocked bookshelves growing up and earning a Ph.D. in English in my twenties. So here are a few of my favorites:
Epic fantasy: The Lord of the Rings
Classic sci-fi: The War of the Worlds
Speculative YA: The Hunger Games
Realistic YA: The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened
Middle Grade: Blubber
Baseball: The Celebrant
Modernist: To the Lighthouse
And so on. Anyone interested in my favorite book by an antebellum Native American author? Because I could tell you. (Okay, it’s A Son of the Forest by William Apess. I couldn’t resist.)
Great picks, and how cool that you’re a fellow Ph.D. too! BONUS fun sci-fi question: What is your all time favorite sci-fi movie? And why?
I’m going to cheat and list two. One is Star Wars, largely because I’m a complete dork but also because it came out when I was twelve and changed my life. (Mostly by turning me into a complete dork.) The second is Alien, because it has such an inspired monster and it’s such a perfect blend of sci-fi, horror, and social/political commentary. The emergence scene is still unsurpassed in the history of sci-fi cinema, in my humble opinion.
Oh, I love both of those movies! Thanks so much for joining us today, Joshua, and congrats on your book release! Find out more about Joshua below, including where to grab his book today:
Joshua David Bellin has been writing novels since he was eight years old (though the first few were admittedly very short). He taught college for twenty years, wrote a bunch of books for college students, then decided to return to writing fiction. Survival Colony 9 is his first novel, but the sequel’s already in the works! Josh is represented by the fabulous Liza Fleissig of Liza Royce Agency.
Josh loves to read (mostly YA fantasy and science fiction), watch movies (again, mostly fantasy and sci-fi), and spend time in Nature (mostly catching frogs and toads). He is the self-proclaimed world’s worst singer, but plays a pretty mean air guitar.
Oh, yeah, and he likes monsters. Really scary monsters.
Survival Colony 9: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18457362-survival-colony-nine
Hi all–I’m so excited to help announce the release of Margo Kelly’s WHO R U REALLY? I love to hear about “path to publication” stories and Margo was kind enough to share her experience with us today. After you read about her inspiring journey, don’t forget to enter the Goodreads contest below…and then go check out Margo’s book!
Margo Kelly’s Path to Publication
In January, 2009, I decided I wanted to change careers and pursue a long forgotten dream of becoming a published author. Sound familiar? I purchased Janet Evanovich’s HOW I WRITE and Writer’s Digest’s GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS, and I began my research into the industry.
Six months later, I finished my first manuscript, MANIFESTED, and I started sending out query letters. The rejections flooded in. I had tough skin. I knew rejections were part of the process, but one of the form letters pushed me over the edge. I struck a match and sent the rejection up in flames. (Yes, that was back in the days of snail mail.) Then I took a deep breath and went back to querying.
I also started writing my next manuscript. I read more books on the craft of writing, subscribed to magazines and journals that would help me better my skills, wrote flash fiction to tighten my story telling, and connected with two great critique partners that I met through online communities.
A year later, in August, 2010, I had finished my second manuscript, THE EDUCATION OF THIA, and began to send out query letters. The requests for partials and fulls came in right away! I was so excited! But then rejections followed. I paid attention to the agents’ feedback, because I wanted to improve the story and make it saleable, but it was tricky, because while one said, “The main character is too naive” another said, “The main character sounds too adult.” I revised none-the-less.
With a bright and shiny polished version of the story, I headed off to my first writer’s conference. I met up with my critique partner, Melissa, and we had an absolute blast. Plus, two agents at the conference requested my full manuscript, and I just knew one of these fabulous agents was going to offer me a contract. Yes-sir-ee!! I went home too excited to work on any writing. I was waiting to hear from the agents.
More than a month later, I sent very polite follow-up emails to the two agents from the conference. Both responded, explaining how busy they were (of course, I understood, I wanted them to take care of their current clients first, that made sense). But I was demoralized. I couldn’t seem to start a new manuscript. So I pulled out MANIFESTED and dusted it off. I figured I could work on rewriting it and improving it until I found my writing mojo again.
Three months later, one of the conference agents emailed to tell me she’d decided to shelve my manuscript, unread. She was no longer looking for new clients. By the summer of 2011, the second conference agent emailed and apologized for the delay in reading my manuscript. She said the writing was great, but it didn’t excite her enough to offer me representation.
My tough skin had been broken, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue down this publishing path. Then I was diagnosed with a rare 12mm lesion in the middle of my brain. After a lot of time and money, the specialists decided there was nothing they could do about it. I had to reevaluate my life, my priorities, and my goals. What if my time was limited here on earth? How would I want to spend it? Through self-evaluation, I realized writing was still important to me, and as a result I refocused my efforts with great fervor.
On November 11, 2011, I sent out eleven queries for BUT HE LOVES ME (formerly known as The Education of Thia). A dream agent from my dream agency requested a partial the same day (it was a Friday). Monday, she requested the full. Wednesday, she requested a phone call. Thursday, we discussed ideas for revisions. I loved all of her suggestions, and my mojo exploded! She said if I could accomplish these revisions, she’d offer me formal representation. I wanted it! I got to work, and I was on fire! I sent her the revised manuscript about a week and a half later (I know, it sounds like I rushed it, but I’m telling you: I was ON FIRE!!). She read it right away and requested more revisions. I got right back to work. I was still excited about the process, and I was thrilled to think that someone had caught the “vision” of my story. While I was busy working on more revisions, she surprised me and mailed me a contract! YES! Not to mention, in the time I was working with her on revisions, other agents had requested partials and fulls. Out of respect, I contacted them to let them know I’d received an offer. One of the agents told me I’d be nuts to not accept the offer from this great agency.
On December 12, 2011, I signed with Brianne Johnson of Writers House. I’ve been smiling ever since, because I have the best agent from the best agency.
From there, we finalized revisions and made another title change before sending the manuscript out on submission. It took a while to sell, partly because the main character’s age put the story on the fence between middle-grade and young adult. However, Jacquelyn Mitchard of Merit Press (an imprint of F+W Media) saw the “merit” in the story and made an offer. With another title change and more revisions, the book, WHO R U REALLY?, will finally be published on September 18, 2014.
Now I’m polishing my next manuscript, and I’ve already started writing another. The publishing process certainly requires persistence and patience, but the future is so exciting.
Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, she is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her first novel. Margo welcomes the opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.
Follow her online:
September 26, 2014 – 5pm – Book Signing at Hastings in Meridian, Idaho
September 27, 2014 – 4pm – Book Signing at Hastings on Overland in Boise, Idaho
October 3, 2014 – 7pm – Book Launch Party at Hyde Park Books in Boise, Idaho
October 11, 2014 – 4pm – Book Signing at Barnes & Noble in Boise, Idaho
Who R U Really?
When Thea discovers a new role-playing game online, she breaks her parents’ rules to play. And in the world of the game, Thea falls for an older boy named Kit whose smarts and savvy can’t defeat his near-suicidal despair. Soon, he’s texting her, asking her to meet him, and talking in vague ways about how they can be together forever. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit’s allure, and hurtles toward the very fate her parents feared most. Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea’s life spins out of control.
“Kelly has painted a realistic picture of how a smart girl can get caught up in something dangerous online. … Guaranteed to give readers goosebumps.” — School Library Journal. (http://www.bookverdict.com)
“Thea’s mistakes, while frustrating to encounter, are frighteningly plausible, and the relationships among characters are well–fleshed out, especially between mother and daughter. Kelly’s first novel is a suspenseful page-turner.” — Kirkus Reviews (www.kirkusreviews.com)
Who R U Really? will be published in hardcover and e-book versions by Merit Press (F+W Media) on September 18, 2014.
Win a copy of Who R U Really? on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/103716-who-r-u-really
Barnes & Noble
Son of Set (Descendants of Isis #2)
By Kelsey Ketch
Release Date: May 2nd, 2014
Upper Young Adult Fantasy
Summary from Goodreads:
“. . . the Sons would never just let him go—alive.”
Seth O’Keefe has broken the laws of his god. He never thought he would sacrifice his own future to protect a Daughter of Isis. But when the Sons of Set discovered Natti is the Secret Keeper, he had no choice. Now, Seth and Natti are on the run from his father, who wants nothing more than to see Seth dead. With no allies, Seth turns to the Daughters of Isis for help, hoping they would protect Natti. But when they meet the Daughters, he discovers a secret that puts both their lives in more danger. Low on options, Seth sees only one possibility for survival. He must help Natti solve an ancient puzzle and find the secret name of Ra.
Natara “Natti” Stone is having a hard time swallowing the truth. She can’t believe what she has learned in the past twenty-four hours: Seth is a Son of Set blessed with charm; she is a Daughter of Isis blessed with a sliver of Ma ‘at; the locket her grandmother gave her holds an ancient Egyptian secret linking to Osiris and Isis. That along with being tortured and brutalized by the Sons of Set, she can hardly hold herself together. Thank God for Seth’s touch! That warm, tingling sensation that drowns it all out. Yet her heart struggles to stay focused. She must quickly embrace her destiny before the secret name of Ra falls into the wrong hands.
*Note: Content for Upper YA*
(Linked to Goodreads)
***Daughter of Isis is Free for Today Only at:***
***Some Praise for Daughter of Isis***
“Daughter of Isis is an addicting and enthralling read brimming with Egyptian mythology. Readers will be pulled into the story after simply reading a page!” —Emily, Reader Rising
“I always enjoy a good book about Mythology and Daughter of Isis brings a thrilling modern day spin to one of the tales. Kelsey Ketch wove the story perfectly and sucked me right into her magnificent world.” —Naomi, Nomi’s Paranormal Palace
***Excerpt From Son of Set***
***Warning: Excerpt May Contain Spoilers***
Seth wrung a blood-soaked hand towel until the fabric pinched the flesh of his aching palms. Droplets of Natti’s diluted blood trickled into the running water. When the cotton began to dry, he drowned it again and wrung it out even tighter. Yet, no matter how sore his hands were, the haunting bloodstains on the towel wouldn’t wash away. Exhausted and frustrated, he tossed the towel into the basin. He slammed the faucet off, leaned over the counter, and stared at his reflection. Dark circles and black kohl accented his turquoise eyes. Large, swollen bruises coated his lightly tanned skin, each screaming with the slightest movement. Dry blood encrusted his wrists. His back ached and his knees were coated with grime. Even so, his injuries carried little pain compared to the memories he was still trying to process: his own father, Sean, drawing Seth’s Glock 38 on him at the hospital; being chained down in Set’s Temple and listening to Natti’s screams while his father dosed her with synthetic scorpion venom; watching Sean enslave her essence; seeing the ceremonial dagger poised over her breast. Seth shoved his fingers through his copper hair, trying to force the images out of his mind.
A soft moan, a harsh groan, and then a scream echoed from the next room. Seth’s overwhelmed system surged with adrenaline. He raced into the bedroom of the hotel room. Natti had her back pressed against the pillows and headboard as she manically swiped at the old, floral bedcover. She abruptly withdrew her hand with another scream and began to cower, her knees brought up to her chest.
“I don’t know,” she bellowed. “I don’t know.”
“Natti?” Seth rushed to her side. He stared at the bedcover, trying to determine who or what she was shouting at.
Natti turned her glassy eyes to him with a gasp. She scrambled sideways, and Seth had to catch her before she fell over the edge of the king-sized bed. Her panicky screams transformed into desperate cries for help. Afraid someone would hear her, Seth quickly covered her mouth. She struggled against him for a brief moment before she finally went limp in his arms. Her silver-violet eyes were filled with fear.
“Shh,” Seth cooed, trying to keep his own heart from leaping out of his chest. He stared into the eyes that had bewitched him on the first day they met. When she looked back at him, it was like she was gazing at a stranger. He swallowed a lump that formed in his throat and slowly raised his fingers from her lips.
“I don’t know,” she whimpered. “I don’t know. I swear, I don’t know.”
“Natti, it’s me,” Seth whispered, mentally begging the gods to help her. “It’s Seth. We met at school in mid-September. I rescued you at the festival. I helped you escape from the temple. Don’t you remember?”
Her body tensed under his hold, and her gaze went wild while she scanned the room. “Oh God, please. . . . I don’t know.”
She wasn’t paying any attention to him. Her eyes were beginning to dilate, and her body vibrated with fear. Seth finally called on his blessing from Set, his magical charm, to try to calm her, but her mind was too wired and her veins throbbed under his touch. She suddenly screeched and thrashed violently in his arms.
“No. No, stop. I don’t know.” Her anxiety was building. Grabbing hold of her flying fists, Seth pinned her down on the bed. Her back arched and her legs kicked while she attempted to wrench herself from his grasp.
“Natti, stop,” he ordered. “Stop!”
Daughter of Isis Journal and Natti Swag Pack (INT) -> a Rafflecopter giveaway
For more information, please visit her site at kelseyketch.com.
My baby, er book, is out in the world today! Huge thanks to Jen McConell at the YA Valentines for her lovely launch post about BURN OUT. If you’d like to grab a copy of BURN OUT (you do, you really, really do), then go here. I’m giving away free, signed bookmarks to everyone who orders this week, so shoot me an email by the weekend if you want one. If you’re in the area, stop by Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch tonight for cupcakes, gift card giveaway, and fun people. I’m not saying I’m fun, but luckily, I know a lot of fun people.
Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the BLUE TEAM–but there is also a red team if you want a chance for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the blue team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 6th at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Today, I am so excited to be hosting author P.J. Hoover for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing kung fu, solving Rubik’s cubes, and watching Star Trek. Her first novel for teens, Solstice (Tor Teen, June 2013), takes place in a global warming future and explores the parallel world of mythology beside our own. Her middle grade novel, Tut (Tor Children’s, 2014), tells the story of a young immortal King Tut, who’s been stuck in middle school for over 3,000 years and must defeat an ancient enemy with the help of a dorky kid from school, a mysterious Egyptian princess, and a one-eyed cat. P. J. is also a member of THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS & SCOUNDRELS. For more information about P. J. (Tricia) Hoover, please visit her website www.pjhoover.com.
Find out more about P.J. on her website or buy the book here.
Piper’s world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.
Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.
For her exclusive content, P.J. shared her top four dystopian inspirations for Solstice.
My Top Four Dystopian Inspirations for Solstice:
1) Summer 2011 in Austin
The summer of 2011 in Austin was like no other. It didn’t rain for the entire summer and was over one hundred degrees most of the days. It got to the point where you had to just accept the heat and let it bake into your body to not go crazy. This is how Piper is with the heat. She loves it and lets it become a part of her. And this is the image I wanted to get across in Solstice.
0 Comments on Welcome to the Spring 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt as of 1/1/1900
The amazing ladies, Jaime and Rachel, over at Rockstar Book Tours are hosting a blog tour for the launch of BURN OUT. They also designed this amazing launch banner for the tour!
Check out the dates and blogs here, or check below, and enter to win for a prize pack that includes a signed hardcover of BURN OUT!
3/31/2014- Library of a Book Witch- Interview
4/1/2014- Shortie Says- Review
4/1/2014- Literary Meanderings- Guest Post
4/2/2014- Ketch’s Book Nook- Review
4/3/2014- A Book and a Latte- Interview
4/4/2014- Such a Novel Idea- Review
4/4/2014- Fantasy Book Addict- Guest Post
4/7/2014- Reading with ABC- Review
4/7/2014- Refracted Light Reviews- Interview
4/8/2014- Imagine a World- Review
4/8/2014- Ticket to Anywhere- Guest Post
4/9/2014- The Demon Librarian- Review
4/10/2014- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
4/11/2014- Working for the Mandroid- Review
4/11/2014- Parajunkee’s View- Interview
I’m happy to help the amazingly sweet Dorothy Dreyer in her cover reveal for MY TETHERED SOUL (from the My Sister’s Reaper series). Check out the cover and synopsis below, then add this immediately to your Goodreads list!
It’s been months since Zadie faced her sister’s Reaper, months during which she’s been under her mentor’s magical protection. But now that she’s turning seventeen, that protection is about to run out.
When dark forces lure Zadie to wander at night, she’s manipulated into committing unspeakable acts. With her friends and family at risk, Zadie must try to use her powers to break free from the Reaper’s grasp, or surrender to the Reaper’s Rite, which can only lead to death.
Dorothy Dreyer has always believed in magic. Born in Angeles City, Philippines, to a Filipino mother and American Father, Dorothy grew up a military brat, living in Massachusetts, South Dakota, Guam, New Jersey, and New York. She now lives in Frankfurt, Germany, with her husband, two teens, and two Siberian huskies. Dorothy not only writes books with some element of magic in them, but has a fondness for reading those kinds of books as well. She also enjoys movies, chocolate, take-out, and spending time with family and friends. She’s known to make a pretty sweet cupcake when she has the time. She also tends to sing sometimes, so keep her away from your Karaoke bars.
My Tethered Soul on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20703626-my-tethered-soul
Dorothy’s Website: http://dorothydreyer.com
Dorothy’s Twitter: http://twitter.com
Dorothy’s Facebook Fanpage: http://facebook.com/AuthorDorothyDreyer
I’m so excited to help with the cover reveal for Kelsey Ketch’s Son of Set, the sequel to her Daughter of Isis debut. I loved the first book and thought it was a fun, engaging read so I can’t wait for this next installment!
Summary from Goodreads:
“. . . the Sons would
never just let him go—alive.”
Seth O’Keefe has broken the laws of his god. He never thought he would
sacrifice his own future to protect a Daughter of Isis. But when the Sons of
Set discovered Natti is the Secret Keeper, he had no choice. Now, Seth and
Natti are on the run from his father, who wants nothing more than to see Seth
dead. With no allies, Seth turns to the Daughters of Isis for help, hoping they
would protect Natti. But when they meet the Daughters, he discovers a secret
that puts both their lives in more danger. Low on options, Seth sees only one
possibility for survival. He must help Natti solve an ancient puzzle and find
the secret name of Ra.
Natara “Natti” Stone is having a hard time swallowing the truth. She can’t
believe what she has learned in the past twenty-four hours: Seth is a Son of
Set blessed with charm; she is a Daughter of Isis blessed with a sliver of Ma
‘at; the locket her grandmother gave her holds an ancient Egyptian secret
linking to Osiris and Isis. That along with being tortured and brutalized by
the Sons of Set, she can hardly hold herself together. Thank God for Seth’s
touch! That warm, tingling sensation that drowns it all out. Yet her heart
struggles to stay focused. She must quickly embrace her destiny before the
secret name of Ra falls into the wrong hands.
*Note: Content for Upper YA*
(cover linked from Goodreads)
During her high school years, Kelsey Ketch could always be found tucked away in a little corner of the hall or classroom, writing her fantasy worlds and creating illustrations and maps. Today is no different, except now she’s writing in the break room at her office building or at the tables of the Barnes and Noble Café in Cary, North Carolina. She is also an avid reader, a part-time book blogger at Ketch’s Book Nook, and lives with her two orange tabbies and awesome and humorous flat-mate.Daughter of Isis is her debut novel.
For more information, please visit her site at kelseyketch.com.
Two prize packs, each
containing a silver ankh pendant with seven knot anklet, Son of Set e-reader
bling, 3 bookmarks, 2 temporary tattoos, 2 character collectable
cards, and 2 wristbands (INT).
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Cover Reveal Organized by:
Welcome to the Pot of Gold Giveaway
Three winners will receive
AMAZON GIFT CARDS!
But in addition….
One Very Lucky Leprechaun
will receive a
KINDLE FIRE HD
with great YA & NA books!
Click on the covers to get to know the authors
that are participating in the giveaway
and learn more about their books!
The Rafflecopter is a wee long, but worth it!
May the Luck of the Irish be with you!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
big thank you goes out to all the authors and bloggers who helped make
this event possible! The authors at Darkly Delicious YA couldn’t have
pulled this off without our amazing co-host, Book Nerd Tours, and
everyone’s wonderful support.
“LUCK MAITH” to you all!
I’ll admit it. Kirkus scares me. Even though I’ve gotten amazing emails from people who read ARCs of my book and went out of their way to tell me how much they loved it, I was so nervous about what was coming my way from Kirkus. Knowing that they are notoriously tough, I’d prepared myself for the worst. And then I saw the review. I’m still pinching myself over their assessment of BURN OUT. Every author gets some bad reviews—it’s just part of the game—but to start out with a review like this on my debut novel feels pretty amazing. I think there are so many ups and downs to being a debut author, and it’s important to celebrate the good rather than focus on the negative. Today, I’m celebrating the good. And congrats to Shelly Hammond who won the BURN OUT “I Heart Swag Giveaway” prize pack! Don’t forget there’s still time to win the last ARC of BURN OUT on Goodreads!
I’m so happy to help out my fellow Darkly Delicious YA author, Cherie Colyer, present her cover reveal for CHALLENGING DESTINY, coming Spring 2014 from Wild Rose Press:
About Challenging Destiny:
Being Chosen is a terrible thing when there’s no one you can trust.
Logan Ragsdale and his younger sister, Ariana, have been marked, chosen to be unwilling participants in a war between angels and demons. Logan can sense something’s not quite right. Like an unexpected chill on a summer’s day, he can feel the unseen closing in. He’s had these feelings before and, each time, someone close to him died. He’s afraid this time it might just be Ariana. Logan’s fears are soon confirmed when he discovers their new friends aren’t human, but rather representatives from Heaven and Hell sent to Earth to ensure he and Ariana accept their roles in an ancient prophecy. Demons want Logan to open the gates of Hell. Ariana has the power to stop them, but if she chooses to side with Heaven to spare the lives of thousands of innocent people, she’ll damn her brother for eternity. Together, they must derail the biblical event if they hope to save themselves and the future of mankind…but what price are they willing to pay to keep the other safe?
More news on this exciting new title coming soon!
About the author:
Cherie Colyer is the author of YA paranormal thriller/romance, EMBRACE and HOLD TIGHT from Omnific Publishing. Her latest novel, CHALLENGING DESTINY will be available this spring from The Wild Rose Press, Black Rose Imprint. Check out her website and blog for news on her books and bonus material. Follow Cherie on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and/or Goodreads to get the latest updates on her books.
The first and only Goodreads giveaway of BURN OUT is going on now! Head over for your chance to win it. I took my first ever selfie for the Readergirlz site with my ARC and it will probably be the last-lol-but here you go:
Also, there’s still time to enter all the awesome giveaways in the I *Heart* Swag Giveaway Hop. I’m giving away a survival swag pack from my MC, Tora. Happy Friday and I’ll post my launch news next week!
I’m so happy to be part of the I *Heart* Swag Giveaway Hop hosted by the awesome Kelsey Ketch over at Ketch’s Book Nook. I’m giving away a swag pack for my debut sci-fi BURN OUT that releases on April 8th, 2014 from Egmont USA.
Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth’s final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns “red giant,” but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.
To celebrate, I’m giving away a BURN OUT swag pack including signed bookmarks, a sun necklace, and other goodies that would help you survive in Tora’s world.
Here are the Rules:
- You must be 13 years or older to participate. This giveaway is open to US/Canada only.
- Use the Rafflecopter below to enter.
- The I <3 Swag Giveaway will close at 12:01 AM, February 23th
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck! Also, make sure to add BURN OUT on Goodreads because I’m giving away an ARC over there within the next week! Then CONTINUE THE HOP! Don’t forget to check out the other awesome authors participating in the giveaway and enter to win more great swag!
I’m beyond thrilled that my first ARC is out there for someone to win! The fabulous Lisa Yu from Badass Bookies has chosen me as a 2014 Debutante, along with 11 other wonderful debut authors. Head over to her blog for a chance to win it. While you’re there, check out the dress I chose for my debutante debut, read my insider scoop on BURN OUT, and learn completely random facts about me (e.g. my first career aspiration that had NOTHING to do with writing). I’m hard at work on the sequel now, so I’ll post more things about the book world as soon as I finish. In the meantime, go win this:
I’m so excited to have my fellow agent-sister Realm Lovejoy on the blog today to discuss her new sci-fi book, CLAN. Realm was kind enough to answer some questions about her book and is giving away copies of CLAN to some lucky readers, so make sure to enter the contest below.
Clans are Unity.
No variation. No deviation.
On Clades, to be a Clan is to be an exact copy.
A perfect society cloning themselves to survive,
even as the zombielike Frags threaten to overrun them
on an unforgiving planet.
Clan 1672 (privately known as Twain)
was never supposed to survive the Incubation Tank.
But he did. Illegally.
He is different from the other Clans.
A secret that could destroy him.
Realm: “Today I am revealing another illustration of one of the Fives Values of Clan: Organization. The Clans are organized by their numbers (in order of “birth”) and are on a strict schedule to do everything at the same time: eat, sleep, shower, learn, etc. The antagonist Brisbane is particularly strict about having everything organized–he cannot allow the idea of someone breaking the rules.”
The premise for CLAN is very intriguing. Where did you get the inspiration for the story?
Back when I first started working in the video game industry, I was also interested in making a low budget CG film. I brainstormed that it’d be pretty low budget if I just used one character and duplicated him over and over–like clones. I started thinking about how life would be like if my world was only filled with copies of myself. Would I get along with my clones? Would I hate them? Like them? Would there still be war? Would there be upper and lower class? Discrimination? One thought lead to another and pretty soon, I started writing a book to figure it all out.
The book takes place on Clades, a different planet. How did you go about creating an entirely different world than the one we know here on Earth?
One of the reasons why I chose to create a new planet was because I wanted the clones to be isolated from Earth so that they can have their own unique world. My main goal was to have a setting where the leader can create a society where he can raise his own clones to believe they are not individuals, but mere copies that shouldn’t have personalities, dreams, or desires. The leader is from Earth, however, so there are traces of Earth culture that are hidden that keeps the world grounded for the readers.
The book involves everyone being an exact copy, except for one clone known as Twain. Was characterization more of a challenge since everyone was supposed to be similar?
I developed the characters the way I normally would by fleshing out their experiences and personalities. Visually though, it was a bit of a challenge. The important characters have to look a little different from one another. For example, we see a lot of cartoons with characters that look the same except they wear different colors and everyone still has their favorite character because the personality is different. The clones in Clan can’t wear different colors except for the leader because of their cultural rules. I made Twain have different eyes and hair so that the audience can immediately pick him out of the crowd. The other two main characters, Buster and Chad, wear their facial expression a distinct way–Buster is always smirking or smiling and always looks lively and open, while Chad is always frowning or very serious and closed.
What type of research is involved in a sci-fi book like this one?
I researched a lot about cloning which was very fascinating. I didn’t get to use a lot of the scientific details in the book because it slows down the pacing. I also learned a lot about the misconceptions people have about cloning. I didn’t know that so many people believe that clones are exact duplicates–but exact duplicates are scientifically impossible. CLAN isn’t about sameness, but about difference.
Is there a follow-up to this book? (Or what are you working on next if that doesn’t apply)
CLAN is a standalone novel. My next book is a part of a series and I will be announcing it very soon. Hint: it’s a YA urban fantasy!
Thank you so much for having me on your Tumblr today, Kristi! I’m excited for your book BURN OUT!
Next up on the Clan Intro Tour–Gretchen McNeil on 12/03!
About the Author:
Realm Lovejoy is an American writer and an artist. She grew up in both Washington State and the Japanese Alps of Nagano, Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle and works as an artist in the video game industry. CLAN is her first book.
Enter the giveaway! (Shipping is for US only.)
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Debut Novel: CLAN — Available Now!
Hi all–I’m so excited to help spread the news about Cheryl Rainfield’s new book, STAINED! Cheryl is an amazing person and the fantastic author of SCARS and HUNTED. (I wish SCARS had been published back when I worked with teen girls because many of them engaged in self-harming behavior and would have benefited greatly from her book). In celebration of STAINED’s release, Cheryl is giving away a GRAND PRIZE of an eBook Reader as well as other goodies (details below). Here is the chilling cover for STAINED:
Description from Goodreads: An intensely powerful account of a teen, bullied for her port-wine stain, who must summon her personal strength to survive abduction and horrific abuse at the hands of a deranged killer.
Sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for “normal.” Born with a port wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It’s that-or succumb to a killer.
Cheryl was kind enough to answer some questions of mine for her readers.
1) Where did you get the idea for STAINED?
From my own life. I drew on my trauma experience–and the healing–to write STAINED. Because I’m a ritual abuse survivor–my parents were part of cults–and I went through such extreme abuse and torture, I have so much that affected me, so much I need to talk about. I choose a few experiences for each book so that I don’t overwhelm readers.
For STAINED, I focused especially on being held captive, the effects of trauma and rape, and body image. Like Sarah in STAINED, I know what it’s like to be held captive, to be withheld food and water, to be repeatedly raped, and to have my life be threatened. Like Sarah, I was bullied, found it easier to protect others than myself, loved comics and writing, and struggled with body image and self esteem. And like Sarah, I had to save myself–over and over again–until I got safe.
I also put a lot of my emotional strength into Sarah–my dogged perseverance to survive, my ability to keep my soul intact even when my abusers tried to twist and destroy it, my fighting back psychologically, especially, and sometimes physically, and finding creative ways to cope and survive. It’s so important to me to write strong-girl characters–there’s so much sexism in our society–and it’s also important to me to write LGBT characters into each story, even if they’re not the main character. I also always try to show some healing in my characters. I think healing, and facing painful issues, helps make our world a kinder place.
2) I can’t even imagine what you’ve been through. You’re an incredibly strong person to endure such trauma and then use that experience to help others. What’s the most rewarding part for you about sharing your story with readers?
It’s incredibly rewarding and healing to receive letters from readers telling me that because of my books they felt less alone, got help, felt understood, or kept from killing themselves. I get reader letters every week, and even though I can’t always respond to them all I treasure them. I care so much about making a positive, healing difference in the world–especially with my experience and perspective from abuse and trauma–so it’s a huge, wonderful thing for me.
Another really rewarding thing is that by having my books published and having people respond so positively, having so many people read my books, I feel heard. I actually have a voice now! My abusers used to tell me that they would kill me if I talked–and I saw them murder and knew they could do it, so I used to be too afraid to even talk. I’d talk too fast or so quietly that people couldn’t hear me, and I wouldn’t say much. Writing (and art) was my safe way to speak–but that didn’t always mean being heard. I have a voice now through my books where I can help others, and it’s such a healing and wonderful thing.
3) You are so inspiring and it must be amazing to get letters from the many people you’ve helped. (NOTE: Check out Cheryl’s blog for links and resources about a variety of issues pertaining to young women.) To switch gears from readers to writers, what advice do you have for aspiring writers out there?
Write what you need to write. Write what you care about deeply; I think that makes a more powerful book. Study writing technique and editing through books, conferences, classes, articles, etc., and join a good critique group (online or in person). Your writing will get so much better, faster, if you do. You can see some of the books on writing technique that I recommend here: http://astore.amazon.com/rainfield-writing-books-20
I’ve read hundreds of books on writing technique and it’s helped my writing a lot–and I always try to learn more. It helps to learn technique and read advice, but make sure you stick to what makes sense for you; not everything will be right for you. Read a LOT. That will also help you write better. Get feedback on your work and polish it before you send it out; try to make sure it’s the best you can make it. Make sure you research publishers and agents before you submit to them, so that you know they publish your kind of work before you send it out–you’ll get less rejections that way. And if you really want to be published, don’t give up. Keep sending your work out. It took me more than ten years and hundreds of rejections to get Scars published, but I finally did. You can’t get published if you don’t keep sending it out.
4) Great tips! I love the “read a lot” advice, and think that reading is just as important as writing. Speaking of writing, what are you working on next?
I’m working on two different realistic YA suspense novels (again drawing on my trauma experience), and I also have the sequel to Hunted sitting there for me to finish up, and another YA paranormal.
5) What’s something fun about you that most people don’t know (it doesn’t have to be book related)?
I love superhero stuff-I have a LOT of Wonder Woman and Superman stuff in my place; I even have a Wonder Woman outfit for my little dog Petal (grinning). That’s where the superhero thread came from in STAINED. And I (ahem) also love Super Grover from Sesame Street. I always loved Grover’s kindness and gentleness and his insecurity, and his desire to help others (even if he didn’t always get it right); I related to all of that. I also love fairies and dragons, unicorns and pegasuses. Fantastic creatures like that gave me hope and helped me dream as a kid.
Thanks so much for the interview, Cheryl! Don’t forget to enter HERE by Oct. 31st for a chance to win an eBook Reader as well as other goodies!!! Leave a comment below for a chance to win an eBook of SCARS!
Or you can buy here: Buy this book: Amazon | B&N
About the author:
I love to read. Books nurture me, helped me survive the abuse I endured as a child and teen. I also love to write. I write fantasy books and edgy, realistic fiction for teens.
My fantasy books often hold hope that I need, and feel others might need, too, while my realistic fiction is gritty, intense, and emotional. All of my books have fragments of the abuse I experienced. I write about some of the harsh things teens go through…things that I think shouldn’t be hidden. But I also write about healing, hope, and love, and finding courage and strength. [Source: Author's website]
Next up in the STAINED book tour:
Be sure to check out YA Bliss tomorrow, Oct. 15th, for a $15 gift card giveaway and review of STAINED.
Then, on Oct. 16th, Shooting Stars Magazine is giving away an eBook.
Hi all–I’m so excited to be part of the blog tour for M.D. Water’s ARCHETYPE, organized by Charissa Weaks. I read the ARC a few weeks ago and was blown away by the book! It’s one of those books that you can’t put down until you know how it ends. Misty is also a super cool person so you should follow her on Twitter (link below). Here’s the cover and summary:
Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.
Suppressing those dreams during her daylight hours, Emma lets Declan mold her into a happily married woman, and begins to fall in love with him. But the day Noah stands before her, the line between her reality and dreams shatters.
In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which…
The summary is awesome, but I promise the book is even better! The release date is Feb. 6, 2014 but you can pre-order at any of the following places:
About the Author:
M.D. Waters lives in Maryland with her husband and two boys. She is a closet Housewives watcher, a wannabe goth-surfer with a side of nunchuck skills, and writes in her pj’s. Oh, and she tweets too much.
Find out more about Misty at her links below:
Author Ash Krafton
will continue the ARCHETYPE tour next week so check it out!
I have a few fun things to share today. My fellow YA Valentines and I have shared our most embarrassing 1st day of school stories over on our Valentine blog. Hint: Mine involves Sun-In. One brave Valentine even shared photo evidence.
Also, the awesome writer and book blogger, Kelsey Ketch, featured me in an interview on her blog today. Check it out to see my deep thoughts and life philosophies. Just kidding. You can check out whether I prefer ice cream or dessert though. Have a great weekend!
I’m excited to help YA BOUND reveal the cover for DAUGHTER OF ISIS by Kelsey Ketch! Check out the cover and book summary below, and then keep reading for an excerpt from the book. Also, you still have six days left to enter last week’s giveaway, so don’t miss your chance to win a Kindle copy of THE DEFIANCE by A.G. Henley. And now, I give you the cover for DAUGHTER OF ISIS:
Daughter of Isis (Descendants of Isis, #1)
by Kelsey Ketch
Release Date: 10/26/13
Cover Designed by: Steven Novak
Summary from Goodreads:
“Her mouth parted slightly, waiting for Seth to breathe life into her own body, just like in the story. She wanted him to awaken her senses.”
Their worlds collide in California’s high desert.
The last thing Natara “Natti” Stone wants to do is to start anew at Setemple High School. She wished she had never left London. Yet the brutal murder of her maternal grandmother has made her life very complicated. The only clue related to her murder is an ancient, encrypted necklace Natti discovered after her grandmother’s death. And if trying to adjust to American life is not enough, Natti is being stalked by a mysterious, charming high school senior, Seth O’Keefe, who is annoyingly persistent in his attempts at seduction.
Seth O’Keefe is secretly a member of the Sons of Set, an order that worships the Egyptian god of chaos. Seth’s blessing from Set, his “charm,” never failed, except with one person: Natti Stone. Her ability to elude him infatuates and infuriates him, and he becomes obsessed with the chase. But the closer he gets to her, the more his emotions take a dangerous turn, and he risks breaking one of the most valued covenants of his order. The punishment for which is a fate worse than death.
The adventure this unlikely couple becomes engulfed in could cost them their lives and their souls.
*Note: Content for Upper YA*
There was a crash and a loud gasping moan. She turned to the door next to her and stepped into the room. Her eyes widened as two entangled bodies jumped in the dark; the light shining from the hall streamed over the couple. She recognized the tall, copper haired upperclassman from the parking lot; the boy who had sent her the enchanting smile. Now he was completely shirtless, his fly clearly unzipped, and a brunette held tight in his arms. The girl glared at Natti. She struggled a little against the boy’s grasp, trying to cover herself with her bra.
Natti blinked in complete shock. “Okay.” She finally glanced at the empty room. “This is obviously not American Literature.”
“No duh!” the brunette snapped.
The young man smiled and turned to the girl in his arms. The brunette’s cold demeanor melted away once her eyes met his. He stroked her cheek, sending visible shivers through her body. Natti rolled her eyes, ready to gag.
“Now, now, Charlotte.” The honey-sweet voice made Natti freeze when she was just turning to leave. It gave her a dizzy feeling; a fog creeping at the back of her mind. “We shouldn’t be rude to our guest.” The boy’s eyes traveled Natti’s curves again. His grin widened. “Perhaps she’d like to join us. Maybe we can all get to know each other a little better.”
He motioned Natti to come inside. She unconsciously took a step forward; a strange force compelled her to join them. Her hands were reaching to pull her shirt off. It was as if she was no longer in control.
What the hell . . . ? Natti shook her head, finding the strength to resist through a familiar heavy sensation that rested against her chest. It was one she often got when someone lied to her. She was born with it. A gift, her grandmother called it, which could tell her when something wasn’t right. And as much as her body suddenly wanted to be next to the boy, feeling the skin of his lean, muscular chest, her gift was telling her something was off. His intentions were not pure.
She lowered her hands to her side, taking a step back into the hall. “Sorry.” She shook her head. “I don’t do threesomes.”
About the Author
During her high school years, Kelsey Ketch could always be found tucked away in a little corner of the hall or classroom, writing her fantasy worlds and creating illustrations and maps. Today is no different, except now she’s writing in the break room at her office building or at the tables of the Barnes and Noble Café in Cary, North Carolina. She is also an avid reader, a part-time book blogger at Ketch’s Book Nook, and lives with her two orange tabbies and awesome and humorous flat-mate. Daughter of Isis is her debut novel.
For more information, please visit her site at kelseyketch.com.
Cover Reveal Organized by:
Hi everyone–I’m excited to host my friend A.G. Henley on the blog today to help her celebrate the release of The Defiance! Following the interview and book description, A.G. is giving away a Kindle copy of The Defiance to one lucky blog reader. Enter via Rafflecopter below. NOTE: If you haven’t started this series yet, I highly recommend you start with The Scourge before devouring The Defiance.1) What is The Scourge about? Did you have any interesting moments while researching the book?In The Scourge, Sightless Fennel must face terrifying, flesh-eating creatures called the Scourge, in order to gather water for her people, the Groundlings, as they hide from the creatures in caves near their forest homes. Fenn’s Sightlessness is supposed to mysteriously protect her, but she hasn’t been tested. Until now.I did learn some interesting things while researching The Scourge. I can’t tell you the most interesting thing I learned, because it is a big spoiler. It had to do with how the Scourge became the way they are . . . But, I recently had the opportunity to do some hands-on research into archery (Peree, Fenn’s Lofty Keeper and the male protagonist of the series, is an archer.) My fingers are still red and a little sore from releasing the arrows!
2) As I read The Scourge, I thought it was refreshing for Fennel, the heroine, to have a physical disability. Where did the idea to make her Sightless come from?
I can’t remember exactly when the idea came to me, although it was before I started writing the manuscript. I thought it would be cool to feature a protagonist with a disability. I’d read widely in the YA genre and couldn’t think of many books that had a disabled main character. As for making her blind, I was influenced by Ivy in the film The Village. I love the way Ivy and her family and friends seem to accept her blindness as just a part of who she is. It is a challenge to be sure, but it doesn’t define her. The film often gets a bad rap, in my opinion. I loved it—especially the setting and atmosphere.
3) I know this may be a tough one, but which character is your favorite?
Oh, that’s not too hard. I love Fennel. She’s who I wish I could be: strong, brave, intelligent, responsible, concerned about others, family and community oriented, non-judgmental. And yet still fully human, I think, with as many insecurities and small concerns as any seventeen-year-old.
I also had a blast developing Moray’s character in The Defiance. He’s an antihero—deliciously self-centered and arrogant—while still adhering to his own code of ethics and values. They just aren’t the values most other people share (thankfully.)
4) The character names are unique and refreshing, how did you come up with them?
I wanted the character names to reflect something about the groups they came from. In my series, there are two main groups of people—the Groundlings, who live on the ground, and the Lofties, who live in the tops of the trees. They are locked in an uneasy, sometimes violent, symbiotic relationship. The male Groundlings have animal names (Bear, Eland), the female Groundlings have plant names (Aloe, Rose), the male Lofties have bird names (Peregrine, Petrel) . . . and then I ran out of steam for naming the female Lofties. I eventually decided they would be named for something in their environment (Moonbeam, Dusk). The Groundlings make fun of the female Lofty names, which was really me making fun of myself for not being able to think of anything better!
It occurred to me much later that by giving the characters these types of names, I also gave readers a sense of what the characters either look or act like. It’s a little heavy handed, but I think it’s also helpful when you write in first-person from the perspective of a blind main character who can’t describe the way other characters look.
5) If you were a character in the series, would you choose to live on the ground or high up in the trees?
I think I’d choose to live in the trees, where I could have a view and catch the breezes. But mostly I would want to have the choice, unlike the characters in my books.
6) The Defiance—the second installment in the Brilliant Darkness series—released on July 29th. Did you plan the novel before writing The Scourge, or did you wait to see how the first installment faired?
I published The Scourge last year without being at all sure I would write another book of any kind. It took me months to decide to write a sequel. I am a pantser (meaning I don’t outline or plot books before I write them) so I had only a vague idea of where I would take the plot of a sequel. I actually had a much better idea about what a third book would include. But usually when I let my mind wander the ideas start to flow, and that’s what happened with The Defiance.
7) Speaking of The Defiance, what can fans of The Scourge expect in this second installment?
Fennel and Peree are determined to be together in the protected village of Koolkuna, and Fenn feels strongly that it’s their responsibility to bring their people, the Groundlings and Lofties, back with them. When she receives a frightening message—a pair of dead, bloody animals gutted and nailed to the wall above her bed—she realizes that not everybody is willing to go along with her plan.
8) Tell me three things that you loved about writing The Scourge and The Defiance.
Allowing my imagination to run wild
Spending time with my book children, especially Fennel and Peree
Learning about the craft of writing fiction and the business of publishing
9) Post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction are popular sub-genres in the literature world right now. Why do you think people enjoy them so much?
I think it’s intriguing to read about and imagine how you would react if you were put in these kinds of dire situations. Would I make the same decisions the heroine does? Would I feel the same way she does? Or would I decide to do something wildly different? Reading gives us a safe (and fun) way to explore those decisions.
10) Finally, what’s on your summer reading list?
Ooh, good question. I agree with the scores of other people who have said writers should spend almost as much time reading as they do writing. I love reading, so it’s been a treat to turn a hobby into something I have to do for “work” ; )
I recently devoured the first two books and the novella in Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series. SO good. I also read and loved Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories series. I have an affinity for historical fiction already, but write in the style of Jane Austen and throw in some magic, and I’m utterly hooked. Now I’m starting on indie author Chelsea Fine’s The Archers of Avalon series. Her books won a bunch of awards at the utopYA convention where I was a panelist in June. I try to read a mix of both traditionally published and indie-published authors. I also mix in a few classics. I re-read Oliver Twist and The Great Gatsby in the last few months.
The Defiance by A.G. Henley
(Brilliant Darkness #2)
Publication date: July 29th 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Read The Defiance (Brilliant Darkness, #2), the highly anticipated sequel to The Scourge (Brilliant Darkness, #1), a 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist!
Suspicion Trust. Fear Compassion. Hate Love.
It hasn’t been long since Fennel, a Sightless Groundling, and Peree, her Lofty Keeper, fell in love and learned the truth: the Scourge, and their world, are not what they seem.
Fenn and Peree are determined to guide their people to the protected village of Koolkuna, but first they must convince them that everything they believe is a lie. An impossible task, especially when someone seems hell-bent on trying anything—even animal sacrifice and arson—to destroy the couple’s new bond and crush the frail truce between the Groundlings and the Lofties. Not everyone wants to uproot their lives in the forest, and those who stay behind will be left terribly vulnerable.
Fenn and Peree’s resolve to be together, and the constant threat of the Scourge’s return, push both groups to the breaking point. Unable to tell friend from foe, Fenn must again decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to ensure the future of the people of the forest.
Only this time, the price of peace may be too high to bear.
Praise for The Defiance:
“Fans of The Scourge, you will not be disappointed with this sequel. The Defiance was thrilling, romantic, and full of surprises. Loved this book!”
– Imagine a World, blog review”I had very high hopes for this follow-up novel, and Henley DEFINITELY delivers in her sophomore release!”
– Booking It With Hayley G, blog review”I absolutely LOVED The Defiance! No, I
more than loved it! It was breathtaking, intense, romantic,
suspenseful . . . the list could go on and on!”
– ARC review
A.G. Henley is the author of the BRILLIANT DARKNESS series. The first novel in the series, THE SCOURGE, was a finalist for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award.A.G. is also a clinical psychologist, which means people either tell her their life stories on airplanes, or avoid her at parties when they’ve had too much to drink. Neither of which she minds. When she’s not writing fiction or shrinking heads, she can be found herding her children and their scruffy dog, Guapo, to various activities while trying to remember whatever she’s inevitably forgotten to tell her husband. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
Enter below for a chance to win a Kindle copy of THE DEFIANCE–good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks to everyone who entered my cover reveal book giveaway! Rafflecopter selected the winner last night, and the winner of the YA Book of Choice and DEFY THE DARK is…….(pretend that’s a drum roll): Alyssa Susanna Sooklal. Congrats, Alyssa! I’ll email you to find out your book pick. If you didn’t win, I’m going to do a huge, mega contest very, very soon, so check back for the deets.
First of all, if you haven’t yet seen the movie, get going. This is a movie that has to be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated. Though I’m an admitted sci-fi nerd, even people who don’t usually like sci-fi have said they loved it too. The writers of the Into Darkness screenplay (Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof, based on the series by Gene Roddenberry and directed by J.J. Abrams) can also teach you a thing or two about writing in general. Here are some things I took away, without giving any spoilers:
1) The bad guys don’t know they’re the bad guys. At least at first. Remember the old cartoons where the evil villain twirled his mustache while tying a damsel to the railroad tracks for the sheer glee of it. Star Trek does bad guys so much better than that. The “bad guys” are complex characters with reasons and motivations behind their actions, which makes them much more interesting. I thought the reveal of Khan in Into Darkness was brilliant. Even in the first 2009 movie, the Romulans had their justifications for being total asshats.
2) You can always be meaner to your main character (MC). I like to pride myself on being mean to my MC’s. I wonder what would be the worst thing that could happen to them and try to create it. What Star Trek: Into Darkness does to Captain Kirk, as well as the rest of the crew, makes it look like I sent my MC on a Disney Cruise with unlimited free ice cream. When the climax of the movie came, the thought that went through my head was “He is so f#*ked.” Anyway, that’s what I want readers to think while reading my book.
3) Lack of time increases tension. If Chekov or Scotty had days to fix the warp core or McCoy had hours to defuse the bomb, the tension wouldn’t have been nearly as high. The whole movie felt like a giant race against time, which kept me on the edge of my seat. Even if your chosen genre isn’t sci-fi, you’ll usually find some sort of time element working against the main character (e.g. cancer in The Fault in Our Stars, war in The Book Thief). Use time to raise the stakes in your novel.
Anyone else see the awesome that is this movie? Any tips you’d add? Any opinions on the best ever Captain Kirk? (cough*Chris Pine*cough) Also, this is the LAST day to enter my big cover reveal GIVEAWAY and win the YA book of your choice PLUS Defy the Dark.
If you saw my Facebook post, you know we’ve had a really hard week in our household. One of our two canine “children” died, leaving the human children, the other dog, my hubby, and myself devastated. This is Gennie:
When we rescued her through Colorado Beagle Rescue, she was 2-years-old, emaciated and timid. We nursed her back to health and had 11 more amazing years with her. Out of our dogs, Gennie was my “velcro” dog. She followed me upstairs if I went to get laundry, downstairs if I went to get a glass of water, and everywhere else in between. She also loved to nap with me on the rare days I got a few minutes to rest in the afternoon. Her favorite spot though, was next to me on the couch while I wrote. Whether during the day while the kids were in school, or at night after they went to bed, this is where you’d find Gennie:
I joked once in an interview that though I dreamed of writing in a fancy home office/library, I’d probably still just sit on my couch with my pups. I wrote several novels with Gennie by my side, and the loss of her stings as I write this post with only empty space next to me. This was my first loss of a dog, and it’s been beyond heartbreaking. I’ve so appreciated all the supportive hugs (both virtual and real), emails, cards, texts, and gifts. The stories that people have shared with me about their own losses have helped my own healing process, and my heart goes out to those who have lost a beloved animal member of their family. As a very wise friend told me, the sadness won’t ever go away but the pain will lessen with time. She thinks the time will even come when I’ll want to open my heart to another dog in need. Right now, I’m focusing on loving up our other pup who is missing her “sister,” as well as answering tons of questions about death by my kiddos. I’ll get back to posting writing-related things next week when some of the sadness has dissipated. Thanks for understanding.
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Whew! I just finished a whirlwind three days at the RMFC Conference. It was fun, inspiring, and exhausting. This was my first time attending the conference but I’m already planning to go back next year. Workshops were geared from the beginning writer all the way to the multi-published author. They ranged from topics such as novel structure and plotting, to making your own book trailer. Denver uber-agent Kristin Nelson gave an interesting presentation on the hybrid author (those who combine traditional and self-publishing) using her client Hugh Howey of WOOL fame as an example.
I met so many interesting people and had a blast. I have to say that it was nice to kick back and enjoy the conference without worrying about having to pitch agents or editors, but my friends had good experiences with their pitches.
Here is a picture of our group at the Saturday Night Banquet (NOTE: We’re not this blurry in real life):
If you’re looking for a solid conference to attend, I highly recommend this one. I also recommend not staying up past midnight if you want to get up for an 8am session but that’s another post (I blame my roommate). Any other conferences out there that people love?