in all blogs
Viewing Blog: Kristi Helvig YA Author, Most Recent at Top
Results 1 - 25 of 532
Statistics for Kristi Helvig YA Author
Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 2
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.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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!
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?
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.
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.
It must be cover reveal season, because today is the cover reveal for my friend and fellow psychologist, A.G. Henley. First of all, if you haven’t yet read the first book (The Scourge), please do so immediately. I promise that you’ll want to jump right into the sequel, The Defiance, to see what happens to Fennel and Peree.
First, here is the cover for THE DEFIANCE:
Cover design by Robin Ludwig Design Inc., http://www.gobookcoverdesign.com/.
THE DEFIANCE (Brilliant Darkness, #2)
Suspicion Trust. Fear Compassion. Hate Love.
Fennel and Peree learned the truth: the Scourge, and their world, is not what it seems. Now they need to convince their people that everything they believe is a lie.
An impossible task, especially when someone seems resolved to try anything—even arson and butchery—to destroy Fenn and Peree’s new bond and crush the frail truce between the Groundlings and the Lofties.
Unable to tell friend from foe and with the Scourge pushing both groups to the breaking point, Fenn must again decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to ensure the people of the forest’s future.
Only this time, the price of peace may be too high to bear.
Publication Date: July 29th, 2013
A.G. Henley is the author of the BRILLIANT DARKNESS series. Her first book, 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. Learn more at aghenley.com
Website | Facebook | Goodreads
I’m so excited to help out with the cover reveal for my fellow YA Valentine, Jen McConnel. I love me some witches, and started drooling when I heard about Jen’s book. First, here is the awesome cover for Daughter of Chaos:
Witches must choose the path they will follow, and Darlena Agara is no exception. She’s been putting it off long enough, and in her case, ignoring it has not made it go away. In a moment of frustration, Darlena chooses to follow Red Magic, figuring she had outsmarted the powers that be, since there’s no such thing as Red Magic. But alas, Darlena’s wrong (again) and she becomes a newly declared Red Witch.
Her friends are shocked and her parents horrified by the choice Darlena has made. As a Red Witch, she now governs one third of the world’s chaos. She is the walking personification of pandemonium, turmoil, and bedlam, just as the patrons of Red Magic would have it to be.
But Darlena believes there must be more to Red Magic than chaos and destruction, and she sets out on a journey to achieve balance. Only doing so puts her at odds with the dark goddess Hecate, who simply will not allow Darlena to quit. She encourages Darlena to embrace who and what she is and to leave good magic to the good witches. If only Darlena could, life would be simple, and she would not be the Daughter of Chaos.
DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is the first in a YA paranormal trilogy.
Jen is doing a giveaway in celebration. You can win Embrace by Jessica Shirvington and Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).
She is also a former reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.
A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.
For the first time, my kiddos are both in school and I have oodles of time during the day to write. I'm not even a full-time writer yet as I work two days a week in my private practice, but that leaves THREE whole days of interrupted free time. Therein lies the problem. I wrote three novels in the past two years, and did it in the one to two hours of time I had in the evening after the kids went to bed. Those one to two hours involved nothing but fast, hard writing--because it was all the time I had to do it. I envisioned that once the kids were in school, I'd be able to multiply that output by ten, and could crank out a book every two months. The kids have been in school a grand total of 5 weeks now, which means I should have another book almost finished, right?
Not quite. First, I discovered the joy of grocery shopping without little ones underfoot. If you haven't tried it, it's an amazing experience. Next, I thought I'd conquer my possessed laundry basket which never empties no matter how many loads I do. I've seen the bottom of my laundry basket several times in the past few weeks, a sight I haven't seen in years. My to-do list has been tackled, my dogs have have enjoyed walks with me in the morning after I take the kids to school, and I've caught up with friends for lunches and brunches and other food-related outings. The most productive writing time for me in the past few weeks...has been in the one to two hours after the kids go to bed at night.
What the hell? I mean, I'm still writing but not nearly the amount I thought I'd be. Part of it is probably the habit of night writing, and part of it is probably the fact that I have quiet time in the house by myself for the first time in over eight years. Part of me worries that even if I were a full-time writer, I wouldn't be writing more than I am right now--Stephen King would mock my current habits (if you haven't read On Writing, you should). I'm hoping the novelty of being home wears off quickly, and I just ordered a day planner and am going to set myself up on a much stricter writing schedule (NOTE: the day planner itself looks so fun and amazing that I'm sure I'll do an entire post on it once it arrives.)
Anyone else struggle with this issue? Any additional tips you'd like to share? Pretty please. Or just let me know if you're in the area and want to go to brunch. ;)
In case you missed my squeals of joy yesterday, this is the official news about my debut YA book deal from Publisher's Marketplace:
September 25, 2012
Kristi Helvig's sci-fi series BURN OUT, after the sun has burned away the atmosphere, Tora Reynolds
survives, protected by lethal bio-energy guns that bounty hunters and governments are desperate
for, to Greg Ferguson at Egmont, in a pre-empt, for publication in fall 2014, by Jessica Regel at Jean
V. Naggar Literary Agency (world).
I am beyond to excited to be joining Egmont, and am super grateful to my rock star agent for believing in this book! The deluge of awesome emails, tweets, and FB messages yesterday was amazing, and I feel lucky to know so many wonderful people. Wow, I use a lot of adjectives when I'm excited.
Also, don't forget to enter the 1000 Twitter Follower Giveaway to win books and all kinds of critiques (including the Wednesday Query Critique)!
If so, then get your loglines and manuscripts polished for Miss Snark's First Victim 3rd Annual Baker's Dozen Agent Auction. Agents will bid against each other to compete on your manuscript. Check out all the details over on Authoress' blog, but you need to have a completed manuscript to enter. She is accepting submissions for both young adult/middle grade and adult fiction (all genres except erotica). Best of luck to all who enter!
The Benefits of Having a Great Agent
I'm sure you've all heard the warning that a bad agent is worse than no agent at all. I've read horror stories (and even heard in person from a best-selling author) about what happens when an agent goes bad and they have to start over and find a new agent. I've also read a lot online saying you don't even need an agent these days, especially if you plan to self-publish. I respectfully disagree. In fact, I went to a talk by a best-selling self-published author, and guess what she had? A top agent from a great literary agency. Another top-earning self-publisher just blogged about recently obtaining an agent for her books. Why? I'll discuss that in a minute. Overall, I agree that having no agent is better than having a bad agent...but having a rock star agent is golden. I know a little bit about this because I have a rock star agent *waves at Jessica* from a great literary agency. So here is how a fabulous agent can benefit both traditional and self-published authors:
1) Editorial relationships. A great agent has a wealth of publishing knowledge and solid relationships with editors, so they know who is be looking for a specific project. For instance, they know if an editor has been dying for a book about killer space monkeys, or conversely, if an editor will stab themselves if they see one more monkey story. Though I try to stay abreast of publishing industry news, I don't have the years of relationships with publishers that my agent does, and I'm so glad she knew exactly where to send my book (which sadly, does not involve killer space monkeys). Some self-publishers are pursuing the hybrid model, which involves having some books published traditionally while they self-publish others, and for any author who wants a traditional publishing deal, a reputable agent has access to publishing houses that don't allow non-agented submissions.
2) They know books. This might sound obvious, but it's true. Agents read a ton of queries (after doing my "query critiques for all" giveaway earlier this year, I have even more respect for the massive amount of work they do). They also read a lot of manuscripts and you know, actual books. The bottom line is that agents know books. They know what makes for a great story and can easily spot what works and what doesn't. Every suggestion my agent made for revising my book was spot-on. Her knowledge made my book better, and I'm not saying that just because the book sold to a great publisher...I'm truly satisfied that I created the best book I could.
3) Contract negotiations. Can you say "reversion of rights?" Yes, technically you don't "need" an agent to sign a publishing contract, but have you read one lately? I got a headache after seeing one paragraph. An agent knows their way around the technical language of the contract, and knows where to push for change (e.g. more money, reversion clauses, etc.) They will also likely be more successful in having those changes accepted than if the author negotiated themselves, because part of being a good agent involves killer negotiating skills. Could someone do this themselves if they spent enough time on it? Yes, but personally, I'd rather focus on writing. I have enough trouble negotiating bed time with my kiddos, and am happy to leave legal negotiations in my agent's capable hands.
I'm also including foreign rights in this category, and it's a big reason why some self-published authors either already have or desire an agent, even if they don't want a traditional publishing deal. I can't imagine the time and energy involved in navigating foreign rights contracts, nor do I want to. The agented self-published author I heard speak said that the foreign rights sales alone was the impetus for her to get an agent.
4) Trust. This one is more intangible but just as important (to me, anyway). The author-agent relationship is a business partnership, and if you don't have trust in your business partner, then you're screwed (and yes, that trust goes both ways). For the writer, it's important to feel like you have someone watching out for your best interests. Yes, an agent only makes money if your book sells, but I believe that most agents go into the business for the same reason that writers do--we are all passionate about books. Most agents only take on a book because they love it. They wouldn't devote hours of their time to something they didn't believe in. When you trust that your agent is competent and skilled, it frees you to focus on other things--you know, like writing (well, and marketing, but that's a whole other post).
What have I missed? Any other opinions out there from the agented or unagented?
I’m beyond excited to announce that BURN OUT has a cover! A huge thanks to my fellow YA Valentine, Lynne Matson, for doing my formal cover reveal over at the YA Valentines. They are an amazing group of writer peeps, and there are links to more of them in that post. Also, check out the awesome Kelsey Ketch from Ketch’s Book Nook and my fab critique partner, author Valerie Kemp, who helped to spread the cover love. I LOVE (yes, in all caps) this cover, because my cover designer, A. Castanheira, at EgmontUSA is uber talented and awesome. In celebration, I’m doing a giveaway. First, here is the cover that perfectly captures my main character Tora, and her world:
I seriously stared at this for like an hour, because 1) did I mention I love it? 2) it reminds me of Star Trek which I also love and 3) I finally feel like my book is A REAL THING. Also, I have a real publication date: April 8, 2014! That’s less than a year away which is mere minutes in the publishing world.
To celebrate my cover happiness, I’m doing a giveaway. The winner will win the YA Book of their Choice PLUS a copy of DEFY THE DARK (a short story anthology by amazing YA authors, including Myra McEntire, Carrie Ryan, Saundra Mitchell, and the aforementioned Valerie Kemp). The contest runs through Tuesday July 9 and is open to US residents (sorry, but I’m doing another giveaway soon that will be global).
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Last but not least, I’m so excited to announce that my book is available for pre-order on Amazon. I’m giving something special to every single person who pre-orders, so let me know at kristi (at) kristihelvig (dot) com.
I’m so excited for today! It’s the release day for DEFY THE DARK, a collection of stories by awesome writers including Carrie Ryan, Malinda Lo, Rachel Hawkins, and one of my critique partners, the fabulous Valerie Kemp. I’ve read Valerie’s story, STILLWATER, and it’s incredible…I can’t wait to read the whole book.Valerie is doing a giveaway of Defy the Dark and discusses what inspired her story. Hurry, because you only have until Friday the 21st to enter!
From Goodreads: It features 16 stories by critically-acclaimed and bestselling YA authors as they explore things that can only happen in the dark.
You can order the book here. Also, if you don’t win Valerie’s giveaway, you have another chance to win next week. I’m giving this book away too, because I have something big to share with everyone…so check back for details next Tuesday the 25th!
View Next 25 Posts
One of my fellow 2014 Valentines, Sara Larson, is revealing her awesome book cover for DEFY (Scholastic). The official release date is….January 1, 2014. Happy New Year to Sara! I’m so excited for her and so in love with this gorgeous cover:
The fiercest member of a prince’s elite guard is actually a girl disguised as a boy, who gets embroiled in a deadly game of thrones while keeping her secret, and realizes she has far deeper feelings for the prince than she thought.
I can’t wait to get my hands on this one, and in celebration of her cover reveal, Sara is giving away two books to a lucky winner! Enter below for your chance to win…good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway