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The Morrow family is taking over the infamous Begonia House December 1st, but here's a glimpse into the mystery...
Release date: DECEMBER 1, 2015 Delacorte Press/ Random House Kids Books MIDDLE GRADE/ ages 10 and up ISBN: 978-0-385-74471-3 Authors: Jessica Haight & Stephanie Robinson Illustrator: Roman Muradov Publicity contact: Samuel Terris email@example.com
The Begonia House
The car made a sharp right turn as it began to ascend the narrow, winding road that led to the Begonia House. Fairday glanced out the window, and other than the rough road that tossed them about, she could see nothing but a tangled mesh of woods that seemed to spread over the entire hill. Margo had fallen asleep, and her parents had stopped talking, so it was quiet in the car as they trundled up and up. Finally, as the road began to level out, they reached the front gate. It was enormous and made of iron. Twisted vines were wrapped around its pointed black bars, making it look like the entrance to some kind of morbid secret garden. Across the top of the gate, in large letters, were these words:
FEAR NOT THE UNEXPECTED
“Weird,” Fairday said. “It should say, ‘Fear not living a thousand miles from civilization.”
“Oh, now, Fairday, no eleven-year-old as clever as you ever died of ennui. That’s another word for boredom,” Mr. Morrow said. He had been an English teacher for years and was constantly throwing out “new and exciting” words to improve Fairday’s vocabulary. “I’m sure you’ll find lots to do here. Incidentally, this house has a pretty interesting history, very mysterious. Right up your alley, with your little club and all- the Detective Mystery Squad, right?”
“That’s right!” Mrs. Morrow piped up, turning to face Fairday. “You can invite Lizzy for a sleepover, and you guys can investigate. I’m sure the library has all sorts of information on the history of the house. It’s very famous in these parts, and I’ve even heard rumors that it’s haunted. Wouldn’t that be interesting?” Her mother winked. “After you girls have conducted a thorough investigation, you can fill me in on all the juicy details. If you find something fascinating, we can display it when we open up the Begonia House Bed-and-Breakfast."
The Begonia House keeps its secrets. Everyone knows that. Everyone, that is, except for clever eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow, whose family has just moved in. Being the Senior Investigator in the Detective Mystery Squad, more commonly known as the DMS, she’s ready to uncover the mysteries hidden within the strange manor. As the investigation gears up and the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, the three young sleuths enter into a world where anything is possible, and the danger is most definitely real. Can they piece together the puzzle before it's too late? Or will whatever's causing trouble find Fairday and her friends first?
Catch the Book Buzz...
"I really enjoyed this book. It was a marvelously done, debut, thriller novel. Ms. Robinson and Ms. Haight are great authors that really pull you into their story. I couldn’t get out until that final sentence. And, by then I wanted more. To say I want a second book is an understatement. The writing style is compelling, and makes me feel as if I was there with Fairday and her friends. I really like the illustrations in the book. They are like the ribbon on a present, or the icing on the cake. I give this book five out of five bookworms!" ~ Erik Weibel/ This Kid Reviews Books
"Mixing realism and fantasy, Haight and Robinson’s debut opens with 11-year-old Fairday’s move from Manhattan to a small town in Connecticut, where her relentlessly cheerful parents plan to turn a dilapidated Victorian into a bed and breakfast. No sooner has the family arrived than eerie sights and sounds begin to haunt Fairday. The house turns out to hold dark secrets that everybody in town suspects but nobody can explain: a perfect mission for Fairday and her best friend Lizzy’s Detective Mystery Squad (DMS)." ~ Publishers Weekly
"Fifth-grader Fairday Morrow's new home lives up to its spooky reputation, but she and her companions in the Detective Mystery Squad find out why. At Begonia House, strains of bagpipe music issue from behind a padlocked door, grains of sand in an hourglass have stopped falling, and a malevolent weeping willow looms in the backyard. A magic mirror shows an invisible door; a wardrobe hides secrets and a portal. Ruby Begonia vanished more than 50 years ago. Is there also a ghost? Fairday has a new, helpful friend in classmate Marcus, and her best friend Lizzy can visit on weekends to help solve the mystery. What more could readers want?" ~ Kirkus Reviews
And there's a giveaway for 1signed hardcover edition of THE SECRET FILES OF FAIRDAY MORROW!
JessicaHaight is a true New Englander, with a deep desire to be near the ocean and a love of the four seasons. She enjoys drawing while standing up and cultivating magic in her garden. She easily floats away in the pages of a good story and is still waiting for her owl from Hogwarts.
StephanieRobinson lives with her husband in a quiet town, though not as quaint as Ashpot. After teaching fifth grade for almost fifteen years, she is now enjoying her role as a school media specialist.
Julie here! I am so excited to share the second part of a guest post from YA fantasy author Kathy MacMillan. Kathy’s debut novel, Sword and Verse, will be published by HarperTeen/HarperCollins in January 2016. Kathy also has lots of experience working with libraries, and she is back to share her insights with us! This is part two of two, so if you missed it, make sure you check out part one of Kathy’s tips for writers who want to work with libraries!
In part one, we looked at book signings and other programs. But how do you pitch your program to a library?
Showcases: Some state and regional library associations run performer showcases, where local authors and performers who wish to present in libraries can share a brief taste of their programs (usually 10-15 minutes). Participating in a showcase is a great way to put your presentation in front of lots of librarian eyeballs (and sometimes school contacts as well). You will likely be presenting alongside magicians, mad scientists, and naturalists with adorable fuzzy creatures, so share the liveliest parts of your presentation!
No showcases in your area? Consider creating your own! Join forces with other authors, illustrators, or children’s performers and propose a free showcase session for your state or regional library conference. This is a win-win: you get to promote yourself, and the conference gets a free program. And of course, don’t forget to hand out bookmarks, postcards, or brochures with your contact and booking information!
What kind of program?: If you can tie your program into library initiatives, you will make it easier for librarians to say yes to booking you. Some major trends:
Early Literacy: This is not early reading – rather, it is the constellation of skills, such as print awareness, vocabulary knowledge, and the ability to apply real-world knowledge to a text, that prepares children for the tasks of reading and writing. Check out the American Library Association’s page on Early Literacy and Libraries for more information: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/literacy/earlyliteracy
A Word about Meeting Rooms: Library meeting rooms are often available for use by community groups. This can cause some confusion when writing organizations want to hold programs at the library. If you approach the library about “using the meeting room” for a program, you will likely be given the standard community group reservation policies, which often include a ban on selling anything during the program. However, if you approach the library requesting that it sponsor or co-sponsor a program, new doors are opened. When the library sponsors a program, book sales are usually allowed and the event will appear in the library’s publicity.
Partnering with Other Community Organizations: Bring extra value to your program by brainstorming ways to connect with schools, community groups, and local businesses. Erin Hagar, author of Julia Child: An Extraordinary Life in Words and Pictures (Duo Press) had a group of middle school students perform a skit about the famous chef at one of her signings. Find local businesses related to your book’s topic and ask them to help get the word out to their customers about your event, through print or social media. If you are traveling some distance for the event, offer a discount if the librarian helps connect you with local schools willing to host a presentation on the same day. Invite the local independent bookseller to sell books at your program. If you’re not sure where to start in contacting these local groups, ask your librarians – providing those resources is their job, after all!
Swag and Selling Books: The number of books you sell can vary wildly from library to library, and you can’t necessarily judge the effectiveness of the program by the number of books sold. Depending on the location, audience, and timing of your program, the audience may not be in the frame of mind to purchase a book. (Case in point: When my nonfiction book, Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together (Huron Street Press) came out, I did a mini-storytime featuring American Sign Language to promote it. In libraries where the program was scheduled in place of the regular weekly storytimes, I sold few books – often the parents would tell me that they hadn’t even brought their wallets, because they were in storytime-attendance mode.)
Make sure you have bookmarks or postcards to hand out to each attendee with information about your book and your website. That way, there is a chance that person may purchase the book later (or at least leave the bookmark on a restroom counter and someone else will see it!)
It’s important to clarify whether books can be sold during the event, and if so, who will be responsible for bringing and selling them. The Friends of the Library may be on hand to sell books, or the library may have a pre-existing relationship with a local independent bookseller.
If the library expects you to handle book sales, bring a friend or family member to handle sales so you can focus on signing, or contact a local bookseller yourself. Don’t forget to account for sales tax, and to report your direct sales as required by your state. The Small Business Association has a handy guide for collecting and reporting sales tax here: https://www.sba.gov/blogs/sales-tax-101-small-business-owners-and-online-retailers
Making the event go smoothly: Communication is key! Confirm the event in writing. If you set up the event with a central coordinator, then call the branch where you will be presenting a day or two before the program and find out who your in-person contact will be. Make sure that person knows when to expect you and has your cell phone number to contact you en route if necessary. This day-before call seems like a small thing, easy to overlook, but it is HUGE for creating rapport with your host and showing your professionalism.
During the event itself, be a good guest. Don’t be a diva, and communicate clearly about what you need for the program to go smoothly. Understand that your host may not be able to stay in the room the entire time because the library is short-staffed, or someone is vomiting in the children’s department, or there is a crisis at the circulation desk. (There’s always an adventure happening in a public library!)
Afterwards, send a thank you note to your host as well as to the contact person. Post pictures from the event on your website and social media and tag the library. (Do not post any photos that show faces of attendees unless you have their written permission!)
Keep a record of the staff you work with at each library, so that, when your next book comes out, you can send a personal note – and perhaps secure another invitation to present!
Other Ways to Connect With Public Libraries
Getting the library to carry your book: Most libraries have centralized Materials Selection specialists who develop the collection based on reviews, the library’s budget, and community needs. Even if your book is published by a major publisher and is reviewed in national journals, it’s a good idea to reach out to your local libraries and let them know that you live in the area.
If your book is published by a smaller press, or if you are self-published, then you may have a tougher time. Libraries rely on review sources such as Booklist, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, and if you don’t have trade reviews to show them, they may not consider purchasing your book. Many libraries have established a process for local authors to submit one or more copies for the materials selectors to review.
Patrons can also request that the library carry certain books, and the more requests the library gets, the more likely it is to purchase the material. Enlist the aid of your supporters to make these requests at their local libraries.
Public libraries can be an author’s best friend! I hope these tips have given you some ideas on how to start connecting with libraries far and near.
Got more tips for working with libraries? Share them in the comments!
KATHY MACMILLAN is a writer, American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, founder of The Sweet Sixteens (www.thesweetsixteens.com) and avowed Hufflepuff. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, is an epic fantasy that explores questions of power and prejudice. Find her at www.kathymacmillan.com and on Twitter at @kathys_quill.
Today I'm happy to share the blurb for Mayan Blood by my fellow Limitless author Theresa McClinton.
Their empires have fallen, but their mythology lives on...
Zanya Coreandero is a seventeen-year-old orphan with only a single friend and no hope for a normal life. Diagnosed with anxiety and night terrors, no one believes her cuts and bruises are a result of an evil entity, and not a brutal case of self-harm.
With the only home she’s ever known being the isolated institution—where breakfast is a handful of medications, the psychiatry sessions are mandatory, and her every move is watched—the only relief is her red-haired roommate named Tara, who’s more like a little sister than her best friend.
Free will is strong, but destiny is stronger.
When Zanya is kidnapped, she meets a group of gifted Mayan descendants, each with a unique ability. Gone from a nameless castaway to the only hope of mankind, Zanya is forced to make a grueling decision: bond with an enchanted stone and save humanity from rising underworld forces, or watch helplessly as Earth falls victim to a familiar dark deity from her dreams. This time, he’s playing for keeps.
A wicked secret hides behind a handsome face...
When Arwan, a dark-eyed time bender, takes interest in Zanya's mission, it's unclear if his intention is to help, or if he's on a hell-bent mission for revenge. Wary of falling for another guy with major secrets and a tainted past, Zanya fights to keep her distance. If only her heart gave her a choice.
Theresa McClinton with Leanne Renee Hieber
"Theresa's books resemble her person: full of rich life and heart, interest and engagement, imagination and importance, shining beautiful light across all genres in which she'll be sure to delight the reader." - Leanna Renee Hieber, award-winning, bestselling Fantasy author
Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up. Add a Comment
Hello from Julie! I am so excited to share a guest post today from Kathy MacMillan, a fellow 2016 debut author, whose YA fantasy novel, Sword and Verse, will be published by HarperTeen/HarperCollins in January 2016. As you’ll learn in her post, Kathy has lots of experience working with libraries, so I was thrilled she was willing to share some of her insights with our readers! This is part one of two, so make sure you come back on November 30 for the rest of Kathy’s tips for writers who want to work with libraries!
I’ve been lucky to experience public libraries from both sides of the reference desk: as a Children’s Services Supervisor at Carroll County (MD) Public Library (where I still work as a substitute), and also for thirteen years as an American Sign Language storyteller performing in libraries up and down the East Coast. As I gear up to promote my YA debut Sword and Verse (HarperTeen, January 19, 2016), I’m putting everything I’ve learned to good use—and thought maybe other authors could benefit from these tips too.
How Public Libraries are Structured
Public libraries come in all different sizes and shapes. Some are part of a state or local government. Some are independent entities. In my home state of Maryland, most public libraries exist within county systems of central headquarters administering multiple branches. In some places, libraries function as individual units, and multiple independent libraries may serve overlapping geographic areas.
The first step in connecting with libraries is to figure out the structure—that will give you an idea about where collection and programming decisions are made. Front-line librarians may need to direct you to higher-ups for decisions about programming and whether the library will carry your book. Some branch managers or department heads may be able to schedule a program for their branches, but you’d need to connect with a systemwide coordinator to get into the other branches. You can find directories online by searching for your state library or state library association. Or just call the library and ask – most librarians will be happy to help!
Book Signings and Other Programs
While your publisher may set up some appearances, most authors cannot count on this. It’s definitely in your best interest to make contact yourself.
To charge or not to charge: It’s up to you whether you are willing to make appearances for free or charge for them, but one thing is certain: public libraries LOVE free programs. They routinely face budget constraints. Consider the type of program you are offering. Will you be doing a promotional reading/Q&A/signing? A lower cost or free program might be appropriate. If you’re offering something more substantial, like a class or workshop, you should absolutely and unapologetically charge for your time.
Library Friends Groups: Many libraries have Friends groups that provide program funding and volunteers to help out at programs. The programs themselves are usually booked by the library staff. If you have a contact in a library Friends group, ask him or her to suggest you as a presenter!
Publicity Lead Time: Libraries generally have a long lead time—much longer than bookstores or schools—for scheduling events. The deadline is usually about 3 months before the event, and some require publicity information for all summer programs to be submitted by December 31 of the previous year. So contact early and think ahead!
Summer Reading Program: Summer reading is HUGE—it’s the busiest time of year, and most libraries do much more programming in the summer than the rest of the year. That’s because most public libraries run reading incentive programs for preschoolers, school age kids, teens, and adults, with prizes ranging from coupons and local business gift certificates to chances to win iPads and Kindles. Librarians spend many spring days in local schools talking up books and the summer reading program. Most libraries also have larger budgets for summer programming. So if you want to pitch a workshop or other paid program, summer is a good bet.
Many libraries throughout the U.S. participate in the Collaborative Summer Reading Program (http://www.cslpreads.org), a consortium of shared thematic summer reading materials for all ages. The themes for the next two years are available on the site.
Upcoming themes are:
2016: wellness, fitness, and sports
2017: architecture, building, construction
If your book ties in to one of these themes, you’re golden! But if it doesn’t, think about how you can make your presentation relate to the theme. For example, could you talk about the architecture of your plot and give your presentation a catchy title to match? I guarantee that will catch the interest of program schedulers. Tying your presentation to the summer reading theme will also allow you to pitch that program to multiple libraries that follow the collaborative theme.
Public libraries can be an author’s best friend! I hope these tips have given you some ideas on how to start connecting with libraries far and near. I’ll be back on PubCrawl on November 30th to share more advice on things like planning a program and getting the library to carry your book.
Got more tips for working with libraries? Share them in the comments!
KATHY MACMILLAN is a writer, American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, founder of The Sweet Sixteens (www.thesweetsixteens.com) and avowed Hufflepuff. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, is an epic fantasy that explores questions of power and prejudice. Find her at www.kathymacmillan.com and on Twitter at @kathys_quill.
Seventeen year old Marianna Bertagnoli is miserable…
Not only did her father abandon her five years ago, now she’s being uprooted and forced to move with her mother and new stepdad to a creepy Victorian house they inherited in the even creepier town of Flocksdale.
Flocksdale has an evil, ugly past—and history has a way of repeating itself…
Marianna notices some strange qualities about her new home, and soon realizes she’s living in none other than the infamous House of Horrors. That’s right, the very house where the demented Garrett family ran a drug ring, leading to the kidnappings and murders of forty young girls.
The dark energy of the town begins to rise again…
Within a week of moving in, Marianna’s mother disappears, one of her small group of new friends is found murdered, and she’s attacked by a man wearing a hideous clown mask. As she searches for answers, Marianna wonders if the malevolence still lingers, somehow alive…and how her stepdad came to own the House of Horrors.
Unsure who to trust, Marianna turns to Wendi Wise, a survivor of the Garretts’ crimes…
Caught up in twisted family ties and surrounded by deceit, Marianna is targeted by a new generation of evil. Doubly imprisoned—in her own body and in the real house of the lost girls—Marianna needs Wendi’s help to unravel the bizarre history of Flocksdale.
But will Marianna survive long enough to bring the evil to light…or will she be trapped in the house of the lost girls forever?
Fuck Flocksdale. Not my words—someone else’s. The flat black spray paint obliterated the real words—Welcome to—on the shiny metal sign greeting us on our way into Flocksdale. Our new town. Not my choice of towns—someone else’s.
In the backseat of my parents’ SUV, I was slumped down in the seat with yellow earbuds shoved as far into the openings of my ears as they would go. The ornery words aroused me from my black mood, and I leaned forward, pressing my face to the glass as we passed.
I tried not to smile. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who hated this town.
“Wow. That’s just great,” my mother said, also noticing the nasty words scrawled on the sign as we passed by. “Who would do something like that?” she asked.
“Oh, honey. You know who. Rotten teenagers,” my stepdad uttered disgustedly, staring back at me in the rearview mirror. I may as well have written the words myself based on his nasty look. It was so obvious that he hated me. Why couldn’t my mother see that? Or maybe she sees it and just doesn’t care, I thought bitterly.
I narrowed my eyes at my stepdad darkly, sliding back down in my seat. I turned up the volume on my iPod, switched the song to Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day. I mouthed words to the song, lonely lyrics about walking alone, as we entered my new town of Flocksdale.
I hated him…not my stepdad, but my real dad. For leaving my mom and I five years ago, and ultimately, bequeathing me to this asshole. Everything between my mom and dad was fine, and then one day it wasn’t. He left a note, saying he was going to live with his new girlfriend.
A note. If I ever got to see him again, I had a few notes of my own to give him.
My mom and George got married only a year ago, but George had been wrecking my life ever since.
Like right now, for instance.
He had accepted a job in Flocksdale, and even though my mom had her own job in Ohio, and I had my school and friends, here we were—starting over. Our lives didn’t matter to him. It was all about him, furthering his career goals. He didn’t care that I had to leave my old school. The school I’d attended my entire life…
Despite the explicit greeting on the way in, the part of town we drove into seemed quiet and quaint. It was nearly ten o’clock at night, but the main street was free of motorists and the sidewalks held no pedestrians. Rows of brick buildings, apparently small businesses, lined the street on both sides, “We’re Closed” signs firmly displayed in their windows.
“Well, this definitely looks like a peaceful town, Georgie,” my mother said, using that stupid pet name I hated for ‘George.’ She patted my stepdad’s arm, her attempt to let him know she was fine with moving here. That she’d forgiven him. Her eyes fluttered back to meet mine, encouraging me to do the same, but I closed them, refusing to cater to Georgie’s sensitivity. Well, I haven’t…I mouthed sulkily.
I was never going to be okay with moving here. Technically, I was almost eighteen and soon to be free to go anywhere I wanted. But even after I finished my senior year of high school, at my new school, there was supposed to be college and all that…
In other words, I was stuck with my mother and surrogate daddy for at least a few more years. And now I was stuck serving out my time in this lame-ass town called Flocksdale.
“Are you sure anyone really lives here?” I asked, yanking my earbuds out. My mother shot me a death glare and my stepdad ignored my comment. He’d grown up here in this dump, and I knew insulting his alma mater would get under his skin.
But getting under his skin was turning out to be one of my favorite pastimes.
I twisted my hair in a tight bun and started packing up my book and iPod into my messenger bag. It was all I’d brought, besides my duffel bag containing a few outfits. Everything else was coming by U-Haul. I didn’t care about my stuff. It was my friends and school I worried about leaving behind.
I was relieved to see lights up ahead, illuminating a McDonald’s and CVS as we entered the heart of town. So, there is civilization here, I thought wearily.
More businesses—a grocery store, diner, coffee shop, and a badass-looking used book store. Then the stores faded away and we entered a cluster of residential houses and neighborhoods. The houses were small and close together, mostly shotguns, but then they got larger and grander as we got further from town.
“We’re getting close. It’s on the river,” George said, his voice taking on an excited, boyish tone. I knew we were getting close to the water because the houses were taking on a strange quality. Some of them were sitting up high on stilts. I’d never seen anything like it.
“I guess they’re worried about floods here,” I remarked softly. I had to admit, the houses looked pretty cool, sitting up high on solid, wooden beams. Like they were too cool to hang out on the ground with the rest of the houses.
“Yeah, sometimes the river gets high around here. But there hasn’t been a major flood in forty years,” my mom said, answering for George.
But then he said, “Nearly thirty houses and businesses were torn down and rebuilt. They built smarter the second time around, preparing for floods. But we won’t have to worry about that…”
Rolling down the window, I leaned my head out, sucking in deep breaths of damp July air. Why did they tear them down? And who were “they”? I wanted to ask, but then I could almost hear…water.
There it was—rolling, murky water with steaming pipes from a nuclear plant on the other side of the river. A huge sea of nothing but water, and more nothingness beyond it. An old, metal walking bridge glittered in the distance. “It’s down here,” George nearly whispered, taking a turn onto Clemmons Street.
There were nearly six houses on both sides of the street, all built on stilts . But at the end was a gigantic Victorian home, its own flood wall behind it, sitting right on the river. It towered in the black night sky, moonlight dancing crazily on the rough waters in the background.
It was beautiful in an eerie sort of way and as we pulled up in front of it, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand upright. Could it be…? The House of Horrors…?
That’s right. I did my research on this place. The town of Flocksdale had a history. A nasty, evil sort of history.
Nearly twenty years ago, a deranged family ran some sort of trafficking/drug ring. The bodies of nearly forty young girls were found buried in the crawlspaces, basements, and backyards of the townspeople involved in the operation. The townspeople of Flocksdale.
All of the perpetrators were either apprehended or dead, but it still gave me the creeps. I’d read everything I could find on the internet about the murders. In some of the write-ups, I’d read about the description of the main house used in the kidnappings and subsequent killings—an old, creepy Victorian. A description that seemed to fit this one. Surely, there were other Victorian homes in this town? Right…?
I’d tried to tell my mom, and even George, about it. But George ignored me, and my mom said, “Every town has history and crime is everywhere, Marianna. George grew up there, so it must be all right.” Yeah…that made me feel a whole hell of a lot better.
George parked the SUV in a concrete driveway out front of the house. I made no attempt to get out. I stared up at this beautiful monster of a house, wondering what was in store for me in this creepy little town with its even creepier history. I shivered involuntarily. Two words came to mind: Fuck Flocksdale.
Besides my family, my greatest love in life is books. Reading them, writing them, holding them, smelling them…well, you get the idea. I've always loved to read and never considered myself a "writer" until a few years ago when I couldn't find a book to read and decided to try writing my own story. I'm the author of Have You Seen This Girl? (Flocksdale Files Book #1), Grayson's Ridge, and This Is Not About Love. I reside in Floyds Knobs, Indiana with my husband, children, and massive collection of books.
When I tested Jennifer Serravallo’s Independent Reading Assessment (Scholastic), I was an immediate believer. Finally, here is a reading assessment that gives rich, clear information about upper grade readers, using an authentic reading… Continue reading →
I just got around to reading Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015) and boy, was it awesome!
This great graphic novel for middle-grade readers follows twelve-year old Astrid, who is inspired to join a summer youth roller derby camp after her mother takes her to a Rose City Rollers derby match. Astrid immediately falls in love with the sport and aspires to be like the rad roller ladies, whose colored hair, witty names, and rainbow socks absolutely scream cool. Unfortunately, Astrid’s best friend Nicole doesn’t seem quite so impressed by the roller derby. Soon after Astrid discovers that her bestie will be spending her summer at ballet camp with one of her not-so-favorite people, Rachel. So begins Astrid’s summer of growth as she learns that sometimes friendships change and that skating is not quite as easy as it looks.
The story felt very authentic to me, capturing the sort of girl drama that can blossom between friends, especially during those difficult and emotional middle-school years. Jamieson herself is a roller girl, skating with the real-life Rose City Rollers under the name “Winne the Pow” (how cute is that?!). Jamieson’s personal experience provides readers with a realistic glimpse into the world of women’s roller derby, while her bright, colorful illustrations bring this world to life. This book just may inspire readers to seek out their local derby team and become roller girls themselves!
Roller Girl is a stand-out graphic novel and an impressive debut from Jamieson. I look forward to seeing what she comes out with next! This title is a perfect book to put in the hands of Raina Telgemeier fans or young tweens who may feel like outsiders looking for their own place to fit-in. I might even use this title for a future tween graphic novel book club meeting, as there is plenty to talk about and relate to for girls and boys alike.
In order for an author to be successful, he or she must have a successful author brand. Your brand is your name. It’s what people connect you with or think about when your name is mentioned. For example, Stephen King = horror, Rick Riordan = young adult myths and legends, JRR Tolkien = epic fantasy, Kelly Armstrong = paranormal romance, and Diana Gabaldon = time travel romance. I could go on, but you get the picture. Each name evokes a genre or a series, and each brand is high concept.
So how do you develop your author brand (name) into a household word that conjures creepy clowns or teen demigods or hobbits or sexy werewolves or time traveling standing stones and kilts? You need to hit your readers in the heart. Create a positive emotional experience so that they’ll become loyal readers and word of mouth heralds for each book you publish.
This strategy is the basis of social media. You connect with others because of what they say, pictures they post, or the experiences they share. Somehow, an emotional cord is struck, and you want to reach out to people and give them your support or a kind word or thank them for making you laugh your ass off for posting a cute dog or kitten video. Emotion connects us all, makes us human. And depending what you share or post, if people like what they read or see or hear, they begin to trust you. If you’re an author who writes books with animals as main characters, you can bet you’ll grab the interest of animal lovers all over the world.
One way to help figure out your ‘brand’ is to create a tagline for yourself, just as you would for a book. I did a lot of soul searching on this and decided that I wanted to conjure feelings of nostalgia with each book I write—give my books that ‘good old days’ spin. Who doesn’t like happy memories of their childhood? So I came up with: Escape to the past and have a blast. Simple and direct. I want my readers to escape from the mundane and be drawn into a familiar world where they’ll have a pleasurable and exciting experience. At least that’s my hope!
When you find out what makes your audience tick, you’ve hit their sweet spot. You give them more of what they want. They need it. They crave it. Write it for them. Make them feel throughyour words. It’s what authors do. It’s what we crave.
So what about you? When it comes to reading, what hits your heart? What do you crave? Would love to hear your comments! Cheers and thank you for reading my blog!
After being rescued from a brutal band of marauders, Ellen Hale rebuilt her life in the fortified neighborhood that became her home. A heartbreaking decision and devastating loss pushed her to become a fierce fighter, because weakness only got you and those you loved killed.
Now her community is facing a deadly threat, and Ellen has another choice to make.
Ellen volunteers as a member of fallback team three, tasked with establishing a temporary refuge for their citizens in the event their community is overrun by the enemy. As the danger intensifies, she and her adopted sister, Melissa, set off with the rest of their team on the road trip from hell.
Their mission is cloaked in secrecy, but suspicions of a traitor arise.
Something is affecting the zombies’ migration patterns, and when blacksmith Tyler Garrett is discovered trapped in a farmhouse, the team refuses to trust him. But Ellen believes his story, and it’s not just because of his rugged, blond good looks and soft-spoken manner—his skills can greatly benefit their team.
As the team struggles to reach the fallback, previously secure locations are overrun, and their chances of success seem remote. With the likelihood of a traitor nearly certain, and the lives of everyone she loves at risk, Ellen must figure out who to trust before the traitor—or the zombies—destroy them all.
Is there a spy among the fallback team,
or is there another threat lurking in the Kentucky hills?
Lori spent her early years reading books in a tree in northern West Virginia. The 1980s and 90s found her and her husband moving around the Midwest, mainly because it was easier to move than clean the apartment. After seventeen frigid years in Minnesota, she fled to coastal North Carolina in 2013. She will never leave, and if you try to make her, she will hurt you.
She has worked in public libraries, written advertising copy for wastewater treatment equipment, and managed a holistic veterinary clinic. Her current day job, conducted from her World Headquarters and Petting Zoo (her couch) is as the Managing Editor for Limitless Publishing, as well as editing for a select group of indie authors.
Her dogs are a big part of her life, and she has served or held offices in Golden Retriever and Great Pyrenees rescues, a humane society, a county kennel club, and her own chapter of Therapy Dogs International.
She has been a columnist and feature writer for auto racing and pet publications, and won the Dog Writers Association of America’s Maxwell Award for a series of humor essays.
Parents of a grown son, Lori and her husband were high school sweethearts, and he manages to love her in spite of herself. Some of his duties include making sure she always has fresh coffee and safe tires, trying to teach her to use coupons, and convincing the state police to spring her from house arrest in her hotel room in time for a very important concert. That last one only happened once—so far—but she still really, really appreciates it.
Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.
Here's what's on my mind today:
Leap News I've signed another author to Leap Books Seek. I'm so excited about this book and can't wait to share the news. I'm just waiting on the Publisher's Weekly announcement. :)
Editing This week I'll be editing the new book I acquired.
Drafting I'm a little jealous of all the people writing away for NaNoWriMo, so I may attempt to get some words in on my adult thriller this week. I had to put it aside to edit for clients. And yes, you read that correctly. I'm writing an adult thriller.
Review Opportunity I'm looking for a few more readers to review Our Little Secret. If you're willing to read the book and review it on Amazon, let me know in the comments, or email me at khashway(at)hotmail(dot)com and I'll send you a review copy.
Huge Multi-Author YA Giveaway I'm teaming up with a bunch of amazing YA authors to bring you a huge giveaway. There are tons of prizes and tons of chances to win! Here's what's up for grab:
2 $40 gift cards
eBook of PERFECT FOR YOU by Ashelyn Drake
eBook of FINE ART OF PRETENDING by Rachel Harris
eBook of SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE by Elana Johnson
eBook of ELAVATED by Elana Johnson
eBook of PLAYING WITH FIRE by Sherry Ficklin
One of the GUARDIANS OF GALAXY books by Ednah Walters
RITE OF REJECTION by Sarah Negovetich
4 copies of THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY by Lauren Morrill
eBook set of THE DARK BETRAYAL Trilogy by Nichole Chase
eBook of TOUCHING SMOKE by Airicka Phoenix
The giveaway is international and will run from November 9th through November 15th. Enter on my Ashelyn FB page or on the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
A few years ago, we had the pleasure of hosting a wonderful world building Q&A with Julie Czerneda around her then-new release, A Turn of Light. Now she’s back, but instead of us asking her the questions, she turned the spotlight onto the unsung heroes of the literary world: beta readers. In honour of the latest installment of her Clan Chronicles sci-fi series, This Gulf of Time and Stars, we have the privilege to share with you not just a giveaway, but an interview between an author and her trusted second (and third) pair of eyes.
So without further ado, welcome Julie!
Science fiction folks know. What they like and don’t like. Most particularly, they know what they love. All about what they love. I’ve been to conventions. Trust me. You can count me among them for I’m just as cautious about a “new” take on a beloved film or tv series. Hopeful, yes, because I want more. But cautious.
Because, seriously. What if They mess it up?
There’s no mysterious and plural They involved in my books. There’s just me. My publisher, quite rightly, expects me to know what I’m doing. My readers do too. So when I returned to write more about Morgan and Sira, I understood the stakes. I had to get it right. Me. All by myself.
Unless…I had help. What if I could find another set of expert eyeballs? Someone who’d recently reread the first six books of the series. Someone who cared about details. Someone who loved the story enough to tell me if I messed up their hopes for it.
Impossible, I thought, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Having received permission from my publisher to grant access to the unpublished manuscript, I set up a webpage with quiz questions drawn from the series, and launched a Betareader Competition. (You can try it yourself, with answers!)
EGAD! People leapt to participate. It was amazing. I took the top ten respondents and grilled them with a second, tougher quiz. At the end, I’d found my readers. I’m delighted to introduce Carla Mamone and Lyndsay Stuart, winners of a tough job and official betareaders of the first draft of This Gulf of Time and Stars.
Carla Mamone is a newlywed from Ontario, Canada, who loves to relax with a good book, her cat in her lap, and a hot cup of tea. She loves puzzles, the colour pink, and all things furry and cute. Carla earned a Bachelor of Arts in music, studying voice, composition, and music theory. She is currently working as a secretary for her family’s appraisal company, but hopes to soon join the publishing profession editing science fiction and fantasy novels.
Lyndsay Stuart got her start proofreading while working on internal communications for a big player in the Canadian automotive industry. She has worked as a mosquito identifier, is the kind of person who has a favourite lichen (Xanthoria fallax), earned a Tae Kwon Do black belt in Korea and can kick serious butt as a swordsman. She has a husband whom she saved from a bear and two little children who she thinks are the sweetest little monsters that ever were even though they’ve covered the whole house with chocolate finger prints.
Julie: Ladies, whatever made you do all this?
Carla: When I heard about the betareader competition, I thought it sounded really fun and interesting. I’m a very meticulous person, so I knew I could (hopefully) do a good job. Plus, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to work with one of my favourite authors.
Lyndsay: I was spending a lot of time stuck in a chair with a new baby and needed to set my mind to some work or go crazy. It was a chance to use my powers for good. Besides, how could I live with myself if I let the chance go by without even testing myself on the quiz?
Who am I kidding? While all that is true, the draw was the chance to read the book early! I’m terribly impatient and all the work was worth it!
Julie: I have to admit, it was wonderful knowing you were both so excited to do this. But it was work. What did you find the hardest part?
Carla: Not being able to tell anyone about the story. I love talking about the books that I am reading, so it was really hard not to talk about such an exciting story. My husband would ask me what was so funny or why I was crying and I couldn’t tell him about any of it. That was definitely the hardest part.
Lyndsay: The characters and the story aren’t mine so who am I to say when they aren’t right?! It was a bit tough to look at things a little more critically than usual – especially when the story was so interesting & exciting that the last thing I wanted to do was flip back and double check things! In a few places I had to highlight the text and admit that I didn’t understand the reasons underlying particular tensions or a character’s reaction to ::cough, cough:: circumstances.
Julie: Carla, you went above and beyond. I do believe I would have trusted your husband. But thank you for being so good about the non-disclosure thing. (Sorry about the tears, but it did help to know where the story had impact.) Lyndsay, when you showed me what you didn’t get, that was great. Very often I’d been obtuse, or found a different way to tweak. Now, I’ll feel less guilt once you’ve told us what was the most fun.
Carla: Not having to wait until November to see what happens next to Sira and Morgan. I also really enjoyed working with you and Lyn. You’re both so kind, I couldn’t ask for better people to work with.
Lyndsay: I bounce-floated around the house for a month, the surprises in the story are so good! Julie doesn’t just dish out surprises, she’s given us clues about the next book too! I have my guesses and can’t wait until you guys read the book. There is much to discuss.
Julie: Back at you, Carla. And the wait’s over now! One thing I’d asked, and you provided, were any bits you especially enjoyed. Thank you both for those.
The crucial factor, for me, in choosing a betareader wasn’t only expertise, for many people had that, but how well—and quickly–you could communicate my mistakes to me. Time was of the essence, as I had only the gap between my submitting first draft and the final galleys in which to make corrections. You were both amazing, but be honest, how hard was it to squeeze this into your lives?
Carla: The timing actually worked out perfectly. I was in the middle of planning my wedding and was getting pretty stressed and overwhelmed. Betareading gave me an excuse to take a break from wedding planning for a few weeks. So, after I was finished, I was excited to get back to planning and didn’t feel as overwhelmed.
Lyndsay: When this competition began I had a 2 month old baby and a 2 year old toddler, all my reading, studying and annotation couldn’t happen until nap time and I knew Julie was depending on me. Eek! I learned that diapers and reading tablets do not mix with pleasing results.
Thankfully it seems that my real world job experience reviewing written material paid off and for once I got to offer helpful suggestions on something I love. Is this what we call a Unicorn? It’s at least Cinderella getting to go to the ball.
Julie: Congratulations again, Carla! And how lovely being a reader was something good at the time. Whew! Lyndsay, as a person who started full time writing with a 6 month old and a 2 and a bit, I tip my hat. It’s hard enough to get to the bathroom, let alone think. Bravo, both.
Both, you see, because I decided to have two betareaders. (As well as a trusty standby third in case.) Why? Firstly, so you could, if you wanted, talk about me behind my back. The main reason, however, was because I saw from your quiz answers regarding the sample scene that you each identified different problems to bring to my attention. I’m not sure you knew that, but I knew I should have you both. How did you choose what to point out to me?
Carla: I tried to find anything that didn’t match the characters’ personalities or descriptions from the previous novels. I didn’t include anything that was specific only to Gulf, unless I felt that it was necessary.
Lyndsay: Hmm, how to answer without spoilers? For example, there was a section where the timeline had a tiny hiccup. A discrepancy of +/- a few hours doesn’t usually jog a reader out of the story, but in this book I had to point it out. It mattered because the characters can’t go out in the dark so the timing issue created an impossible situation.
Julie: Humbled, I was. Grateful, most of all. Thank you, Carla and Lyndsay, from the bottom of my heart. Gulf wouldn’t be the book it is without you, and you gave me the confidence to send it forth knowing those who’ve loved the series will continue to do so. It’s only fair to let you two have the last word!
Carla: I just want to thank you, Julie, for your wonderful books and for letting me be a part of this one. I had a great time!
Lyndsay: To Julie & DAW, I’m very glad to have gotten this opportunity and thankful to all who helped make it happen.
To you, Readers, I must say that at the end of Rift in the Sky Julie promised all of us we “ain’t seen nothing yet.” Julie knows exactly who and what we love and she’s filled this book up with all of it. Wondering what’s next to come is killing me! Until then it’ll be a big treat to read the final, polished version of This Gulf of Time and Stars.
Julie: Thanks again! A last, last word. (I get to do that.) Invaluable as my betareaders’ expert eyes proved–followed by those of my alert editor, copyeditor, and proof readers–please remember the responsibility for consistency and continuity in the Clan Chronicles is mine alone.
As it should be. Enjoy this new installment!
And now, the giveaway! Enter to win a free copy of This Gulf of Time and Stars, open to participants in the US and Canada. If audio books are more your thing, we’re giving away one of those, too! Listen now to a sample from the audiobook of This Gulf of Time and Stars narrated by Allyson Johnson, courtesy of audible.com
The Clan Chronicles is set in a far future with interstellar travel where the Trade Pact encourages peaceful commerce among a multitude of alien and Human worlds. The alien Clan, humanoid in appearance, have been living in secrecy and wealth on Human worlds, relying on their innate ability to move through the M’hir and bypass normal space. The Clan bred to increase that power, only to learn its terrible price: females who can’t help but kill prospective mates. Sira di Sarc is the first female of her kind facing that reality. With the help of a Human starship captain, Jason Morgan, Sira must find a morally acceptable solution before it’s too late. But with the Clan exposed, her time is running out. The Stratification trilogy follows Sira’s ancestor, Aryl Sarc, and shows how their power first came to be as well as how the Clan came to live in the Trade Pact. The Trade Pact trilogy is the story of Sira and Morgan, and the trouble facing the Clan. Reunification will conclude the series and answer, at last, #whoaretheclan.
Since 1997, Canadian author/editor Julie E. Czerneda has shared her love and curiosity about living things through her science fiction, writing about shapechanging semi-immortals, terraformed worlds, salmon researchers, and the perils of power. Her fourteenth novel from DAW Books was her debut fantasy, A Turn of Light, winner of the 2014 Aurora Award for Best English Novel, and now Book One of her Night`s Edge series. Her most recent publications: a special omnibus edition of her acclaimed near-future SF Species Imperative, as well as Book Two of Night`s Edge, A Play of Shadow, a finalist for this year’s Aurora. Julie’s presently back in science fiction, writing the finale to her Clan Chronicles series. Book #1 of Reunification, This Gulf of Time and Stars, will be released by DAW November 2015. For more about her work, visit www.czerneda.com or visit her on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.
Synopsis: A year ago, eighteen year-old Milayna fought Azazel, Hell’s angel, for her soul. She thought she’d seen the last of him, but he’s back, and he’s brought his friends with him. The Four Brothers want Milayna’s life, and they have wicked powers to use to take it.
While Milayna struggles against the Four Brothers, she also has to fight Azazel for her younger brother’s soul. Ben is at a crucial point in his life—a time when he is weakest to Azazel and his powers. Milayna has to shield her brother from Azazel until Ben reaches the age of accountability and enters a period of safety from Azazel and his soul-sucking demons.
As if having four demon brothers out to end her life and Hell’s angel out to steal her brother’s soul wasn’t enough, Milayna is still reeling from the disappearance of Chay. Can she find him in time to save their relationship? Or will the constant struggle with Hell and all its evil send her seeking comfort in the arms of Xavier?
Xavier floored the engine and took off in the direction of mile marker 122.
“There it is.” I pointed at the bridge I saw in my vision. A knife sank into my side, and I stifled a scream. I squeezed my side with one hand and massaged my pounding head with the other.
Broken windows… mangled steel… smashed cars. I look down. Not a knife. A piece of metal protrudes from my side. Blood. Lots of blood. Screaming.
I smell… sulfur. Rotting flesh… charred meat. Hell.
“You didn’t say anything about a bridge,” Drew said.
“I saw one. It’s just before it.” I nodded toward the window. “See?
There’s the mile marker. This is definitely the place,” I gasp around the pain.
“What do we do now?” Muriel asked quietly.
“Xavier, turn the SUV sideways and start driving back and forth in front of the cars to make them back up. The farther back they get from the mile marker, the better.” My breathing was labored and my voice barely a whisper.
“And if some don’t move?”
“I don’t know.” I met his gaze. “We tried. That’s all we can do.”
Xavier turned on the shoulder and drove across the lanes of the highway, earning a lot of honks and quite a few fingers along the way. When he reached the median, he’d back up until he reached the other side.
Then he’d throw it in drive and start again. It worked. Some cars started backing up, away from the lunatic driver. Others held their ground. Too bad they wouldn’t be able to hold it much longer. I could already hear the pavement cracking. Xavier had time for one, maybe two passes. That was it. Whoever was left had to fend for themselves.
A large crack sounded, and I looked at Xavier. It was time to get out of there. He threw the SUV in reverse and flew across the highway until he reached the shoulder. Swinging around, going toward traffic, he drove on the shoulder away from the impending sinkhole.
“How’s the vision?” Xavier asked, looking over at me.
“It’s still there, but not as bad.” The pain in my head had lessened.
The sharp icepick had been replaced with a rubber mallet, and the piece of scrap metal in my side had disappeared.
His eyes darted in front of him for a second before his gaze fell back on me. “I thought when the situation was corrected, the vision would go away?”
“Well? How come it hasn’t?” Drew leaned forward, sticking his head in the space between the two front seats.
“People are still going to die. I didn’t fulfill everything I was supposed to. And Jord is still out there somewhere. Until he’s caught and killed, along with the other three Brothers, I don’t think my visions will go away completely.”
“So… you… you’ll see those people—”
“Die?” I interrupted Drew. “No. I don’t see it. I just kinda know. It sounds awful, but I’ve gotten used to it.”
I don’t see it—I feel it. Too much. Stuff I don’t want to feel. And I’m lying. I haven’t gotten used to it. I won’t ever get used to it.
“That’s not horrible, Milayna. That’s just your coping mechanism kicking in. You have to have one or you’d go insane from the things you’ve seen and gone through in the last year,” Xavier said softly.
“Who said I haven’t gone insane already?” I said with a chuckle.
“That’s true, Xavier. Some of us are taking bets on when her first nervous breakdown will be. Want to wager?” Muriel chewed on the end of the straw in her Coke and grinned.
“No!” He sounded indignant.
“Don’t worry; she’s only joking,” I said and rolled my eyes at Muriel.
Xavier was an angel. He’d only lived on earth a few months. He hadn’t gotten used to how humans joked and teased yet, which made him the perfect person to play tricks on. It could be hilarious.
I jumped when a sharp stab bit into the side of my neck. Warmth spread across my skin. I felt my neck, but I knew nothing was there. Just a sensation of the vision. Another pain radiated up my leg. My leg vibrated with it. The warmth in my neck disappeared, leaving it cold. The person was gone.
Grab your copy of book 1, Milayna, for FREE on Amazon!
About the Author:
Michelle is the bestselling author of the young adult novel “PODs.” She was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, but now lives in a sleepy suburb outside Houston with her extremely supportive husband, three school-aged children, a 125 pound “lap dog,” and a very snooty cat.
Red Bull or Monster Khaos are her coffee of choice, and she can’t write without peanut butter M&Ms and a hoodie. A hopeful romantic; she loves a swoon-worthy ending that will give her butterflies for days. She writes across genres in the young adult and new adult age groups. She loves to hear from her readers.
Michelle signed her new young adult contemporary novel— Unspeakable, with Clean Teen Publishing in 2014.
Crow Made a Friend Series: I Like to Read® Written and Illustrated by Margaret Peot Holiday House 9/15/2015 978-0-8234-3297-4 24 pages Ages 4—8 “Crow was alone. He had a plan. He tried and tried and tried to make a friend. If you like to read, you will like this book.” [back …
In August 2014, I found a website called bookbub.com, while searching for a biography of Henry Ford for the kindle. The autobiography that I have found was excellent and I recommend people to read this, if you are interested in the mind of the innovator and industrialist. I found on a site that linked to […]
In the school market, the content of the books we sell is paramount- especially in Young Adult Fiction, where the topics don’t always fall in line with the values of the particular community. For this reason, many of our school boards have a review process in place to evaluate the suitability of materials being considered for purchase in a school.
Recently, a reviewer lodged a complaint about one of the submitted books because the story is loosely based on a political scandal that took place in our city, and the resemblance of the main character to the political person involved offended the reader to the point that it’s been deemed unsuitable for purchase by any school in that board. The author has previously published middle-grade novels, and is a journalist/editor as well, but isn’t what we’d call a recognizable name, or someone who will likely be reviewed by professional journals. What especially bothered me about this (other than feeling like the positive messages in the book were overlooked) is that I suspect that had the author been one of those big names, I don’t think that it would have been as offensive to the reader.
Whether you are a bookseller/educator/librarian or reader, there are certain authors whose books we purchase sight unseen. A new book by Mr/Ms Superstar is a no brainer, and we seldom stop to ask what it’s about. One such superstar author has frequently taken on headline-making subjects, and the books are generally well-executed. The author is frequently applauded for having a finger on the pulse, and appears on multiple awards lists on an almost annual basis. Whether or not this superstar author would ever write about this particular subject is besides the point, but this got me thinking about whether or not these authors are a bit like the Emperor from the popular Andersen fairy tale.
In the fairy tale, two weavers promise the Emperor a suit of clothes that will be invisible to anyone who is unfit for their position, stupid or incompetent. When the Emperor parades around naked in front of his subjects, everybody is afraid to tell him that there is new suit, and instead praise the non-existent suit of clothes. All except for the one child who has the courage to call him out.
Publishing is a business, and just like any business, it has to make money. If a publisher is fortunate enough to have a John Green or a James Patterson in their stable, of course they want to ensure that the author is well-treated and happy, (again, just like any business does with their clients) but perhaps it’s gone too far to the point of publishers, reviewers & readers alike being held hostage by these emperor status authors, making them unwilling or unable to criticize something for fear of seeming stupid or incompetent or of being criticized by the author’s fans on Social Media- especially when the same book by a lesser known or less popular author would be torn to shreds.
I’m not suggesting that all of these authors are like the emperor and not deserving of their superstar status, but my question is whether or not we allow them more slack because of that reputation, and if in doing so, we’re doing the author, the book, and the readers a great injustice.
Stephanie Hartwell is a journalist chasing the story of her career...
When superstar hockey player and notorious bad boy Aleksandr Volynsky is traded to the Seattle Earthquakes in a blockbuster deal, Stephanie demands the opportunity to prove herself by scoring an exclusive interview with a man with no love for the media...the same man she once thought, as a naive teenager, she'd someday marry.
An Olympian and Stanley Cup Champion, Aleksandr has achieved every goal he's ever set...
Now expected to carry a failing team on his shoulders, Aleksandr's troubles deepen when he encounters Stephanie after a season-opening loss. His lifestyle of drinking and random hookups has been a futile attempt to forget the beautiful tomboy who stole his heart nine years ago. And worse, fame and fortune have made it impossible for him to trust anyone--especially Stephanie, who is engaged to another man.
Romance rekindles, but tragedy reveals Aleksandr's dark side...
Being with Aleksandr in the first place jeopardizes Stephanie's journalistic integrity and threatens her career, and when he spirals out of control, it reawakens fears from her own history, making her unable to commit to a future with him.
When Aleksandr discovers the truth behind his self-destructive behavior, will his newfound self-awareness be enough to convince Stephanie to give him one last chance...
Jennifer Loring's short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, webzines, and anthologies. In 2013, she won Crystal Lake Publishing's inaugural Tales from the Lake writing competition; in 2014, DarkFuse published her novella Conduits, and in May 2015, Omnium Gatherum released her debut novel, Those of My Kind. She recently signed a deal for a contemporary romance trilogy with Limitless Publishing; the first book, Firebird, is due out on October 20, 2015. Jennifer lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, their turtle, and two basset hounds. She is currently at work on the second book in the Firebird Trilogy as well as a paranormal romance.
Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.
Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.
Here's what's on my mind today:
MG Alien Twitter Pitches Okay, MG authors, Leap Books Seek and I are looking for your Twitter pitch for middle grade alien books. Tweet me @kellyhashway with your MG alien pitch. If I'm interested, I'll reply with where to send sample pages. I'll be taking pitches today through Friday.
Drafting I'm attempting to draft a book between edits—well, I should say around edits because I'm still editing. Last Friday, I managed to get in 10,000 words and it felt amazing!
Branding? You know that draft I just mentioned? Well, it's an adult thriller. Apparently, I'm refusing to let Kelly Hashway be branded as a YA paranormal author. I can't help but write the stories that come to me, no matter what they are.
Reading I spend a lot of time reading. Between the books I edit for clients and the submissions for Seek, I read constantly. Of course that means I don't get to read a lot of new releases though. I'm going to attempt to change that. Wish me luck—and a few extra hours in my day.
YA Fest I attended YA Fest on Saturday and got to spend some time with readers and fellow authors. I had a great time. Here are some pictures from the event.
My table. (I signed the Touch of Death trilogy, The Monster Within duology, and Our Little Secret.)
From the author of the award winning Unspeakable, and the best selling PODs, comes the highly anticipated sequel to PODs. A world where death stalks the unsuspecting, and this time even the PODs might not save them.
A virus nearly wiped out humankind...
Months have passed since a human infection has been reported. Survivors of the deadly pandemic have finally started to build a life in a world left devastated by plague.
Ironically, for nineteen-year-old Eva, life made more sense when she battled the deadly Infected than it does in the serenity of her new home in Rosewood. Separated from fiancé and former POD-mate, David, after an impossible ultimatum, Eva finds her life a little lonely and a lot confusing.
But as troubled as Eva’s life is, it's about to take a turn for the worse as untold dangers watch and wait for the right moment to attack…
The virus refuses to die quietly.
(click on image for link)
About the Author
I can’t write without a hoodie. Yeah, I live it Texas. We all have our quirks.
I majored in accounting in college. I was required to declare a major, but I had no clue what I wanted to do, so I picked accounting because it was the first thing listed in the booklet the counselor gave me. Surprisingly, I graduated with a 4.0 GPA. Go figure.
Forget coffee. Hand over the Red Bull or Monster Khaos and no one gets hurt. Seriously, just set it down and step away. I will turn into a normal human after I guzzle my can of caffeine.
I hate to cook, but love to watch cooking shows on television.
I paint my nails weird colors just to see my husband roll his eyes and make my 9 year-old twin girls giggle. Oh, and mortify my 13 year-old son.
I’m a hopeful romantic and love swoon-worthy endings that keep the butterflies going for days, but I don’t believe a HEA always ends with the boy getting the girl. Sometimes a HEA is an ending we don’t see coming, but is still best for the characters.
I write across genres in the young adult and new adult age groups while eating way too many peanut butter M&Ms (but we’ll keep that second part just between us).
I was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, but now live in a suburb of Houston, TX with my very supportive family, a 125lb rescue “puppy” and a 12lb attack cat, also a rescue animal.
And last, (but certainly not least), I love my family with everything in me. Everything I am, is theirs. There are no words in any language known to man to describe my love for them. They are my center.
I’d love to hear from you. So drop me an email! Let’s chat. You tell me what you like in books, what you’d like to see happen in the writing community, what type of books you like to see more of…less of—I want to hear it all! So tell me, please. Because the one thing I wish I could put on my list, but I still haven’t figured out how to do, is mind-reading. But don’t tell my kids. I still have them fooled. :)
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My comments on white people writing People of Colour in these twoposts has created a wee bit of consternation. This post is to clarify my position.
First of all: I am not the boss of who writes what.1 This is what I have decided for myself after much trial and error and listening and thinking and like that. Do what works for you.
I have decided to stick to white povs when I write a book from a single point of view. This does not mean will I no longer write PoC characters. There are people of different races and ethnicities in all my books. I have never written an all-white book. I doubt I ever will.
I didn’t make this decision because I was called out for writing PoC. Before Razorhurst all my main characters were PoC. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.2
The decision has more to do with the way the debate about diversity in Young Adult literature plays out. Almost every time the overwhelming whiteness of YA is discussed a well-meaning white authors says, “I shall fix this. My next book will have a PoC protagonist!”
I cringe. All too often the white folks saying that don’t know many people who aren’t white. They rarely socialise with them. There’s a reason for that. As many as 75% of white people in the USA have entirely white social networks. I’m sure the numbers are similar in Australia.
That’s why I now largely recommend that white people with little experience of PoC don’t write from the point of view of PoC characters. Research will only take you so far.
Writing about PoC when none of your friends are PoC is not the same as writing about an historical period you weren’t alive for. If you perpetuate stereotypes you hurt living people. When you don’t know any PoC, even with the best research in the world, you’ll get things wrong. Stereotypes are harmful. Especially when you don’t realise you have written a stereotype.
Who are you going to get to read and critique your work if everyone in your social circle is white? Are you going to ask someone you don’t know very well? It’s a huge thing asking someone to critique your work. It takes a lot of work and if they don’t know you well how do they know that you’ll be receptive to them pointing out racism in your work?
Representation is improving but it’s mostly whites doing the representing, which is part of the problem. We need more writers and editors and publicists and publishers and booksellers of colour. We need publishing to be more representative of the countries we live in. Right now US publishing is 89% white. Australian publishing is at least that white.
We white writers could do more to increase diversity in our industry by drawing attention to the work of writers of colour. By mentoring, introducing them to our agents, by blurbing their books, by making space for them at conventions and conferences, by listening. Check out Diversity in YA. Malinda Lo and Cindy Pon and the others involved with that organisation have lost of concrete ideas of how we can make YA more diverse and inclusive.
The other reason I’ve shifted to predominately white points of view is in response to all the critics who’ve pointed out for many, many years that too many white writers think they can only tackle race through the pov of a person of colour. The implication is that race is something white people don’t have. We just are. We’re colourless neutrals.
No, we’re not.
Expectations about our race—our whiteness—shapes our lives as much as our gender or our sexuality or our class. Yet all too many whites are unaware of it.
I wanted to write about how whiteness obscures our understandings of how we are who we are and of how the world operates. For the next few books, including Razorhurst, I’ve been pushing myself to examine whiteness in my fiction.
A recent book that does this well is All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. The character written by Kiely has to confront the ways in which his whiteness makes him complicit in the racist violence inflicted on Jason Reynolds’ character and what he can do about it.
Overt racist violence is not at the centre of Razorhurst or My Sister Rosa3 or of the book I’m currently writing. I’m looking at the less overt ways in which whiteness shapes lives.
I fully expect many of the people who read these books won’t notice. That’s okay. Many readers didn’t notice that everyone in How To Ditch Your Fairy is a person of colour. Books do many different things. No one reader is going to notice them all and many readers are going to see things the writer didn’t intend. It’s how it goes.
In all my books I try to tell a story that engrosses readers and lets them forget the real world for a few hours. That my books do that for even a handful of readers is glorious.
TL;DR: I’m writing predominately white pov characters because of reasons listed above. You do as works best for you.
Not going to lie I kind of which I was. I’d also like to dictate Australia’s foreign policy, response to climate change, and treatment of refugees. Also fashion.
Demi Redding has used her powers to vanquish demons for years, but when one shows up next door she will be forced to set both her experience and instincts aside to battle a war that has nothing to do with magic, and everything to do with matters of the heart.
As a Keeper of the Innocents, Demi’s load as a guardian reduces with only one charge to take on at a time. However, when her new foe proves to be a force she can neither see nor find, she has no choice but to doubt the so-called good intentions of the stranger one door down.
Rhyzel Connor is not your average neighbor by any means. The red specks of color in his green eyes alone sets him apart and his demonic heritage makes him an easy target. Because of who he is he can’t afford a mistake that will result in his demise, but the fact that he knows way too much about Demi quickly raises the suspicion veil over him.
There is a mission he must complete, and secrets he must fight hard to keep, but the biggest hardship he must face will be forfeiting his life in order to save Demi’s.
Demi is a witch on a mission.
Rhyzel is a half demon on the run.
When their worlds collide, Demi must come to terms with the fact that he might not be as dangerous as she thought. Or as innocent as she wants him to be.
Everything happened so fast I couldn’t even react. Stunned, I just stood there for a moment trying to size up my attacker. Before I even glanced up to look at his face I could tell something was off with him, but because of my nervousness, it was hard to tell for sure. He’d come out of nowhere, and if he intended to kill me, I was easy prey.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” a deeply masculine voice growled at me. Fortunately, that same voice helped break me out of my stupor.
I was prepared to see some form of evil glaring down at me, but what I found when I glanced up was definitely not what I was expecting. The handsome stranger staring at me was hot. Not just your average Joe kind of hot. No. This was like the kind of hot that makes a girl want to sin in ways she’d never done before.
His pale skin, tousled, bronze colored hair, and full lips were striking to look at, but his eyes left me completely speechless.
Perfectly round green eyes stared back at me and though they were gorgeous all on their own, it was the few specks of red in his irises that I found beautiful and so unusual. I was left with my mouth hanging open. I’d never seen eyes that color before and no matter how many times my brain yelled at me to look away, I just couldn’t. I was drawn to him. To his unique eyes. To the mystery that shrouded him.
“Are you deaf?” the tone of his voice rose a little more.
“No…no. I-I…was just—” My speech was impaired by his handsomeness and I felt stupid. It wasn’t like he was the first cute guy I’d ever seen. As a matter of fact, I’d broken up with my boyfriend two months ago and he’d been the cutest guy I’d ever seen. Now that this stranger was standing in front of me, I wasn’t so sure anymore.
About the author:
Kristy Centeno is the author of the Secrets of the Moon saga and Keeper Witches series.
She has always had a passion for books and after years of being an avid reader, she decided to transform her desire to write into a reality and thus, her first novel was born. When she’s not busy taking care of her five children or holding down the fort, she finds time to sit and do what she loves the most: writing.
~~~~ * ~~~~ Book one is available for free at Amazon ~~~~ * ~~~~
Bryn McCaskey is young, naïve, and can talk to ghosts…
Like her mother and grandmother, Bryn comes from a breed of witches called The Keepers of the Lost Souls. Their main purpose is to guard those spirits who are permanently or temporarily grounded in the world of the living. Handling supernatural creatures is something which comes naturally to Bryn, however, dealing with people is a whole different story.
As her 18th birthday approaches it's time for her to take on her first assignment. Bryn is forced to confront her inability to communicate with others in an effort to save the one soul that can mean the difference between life and death for mankind.
Johnny Shaw is a lost soul with a personal vendetta against witches...
A vendetta he has carried on even after death. As much as he hate's them he must join forces with a keeper witch, in order to stop a century old threat. When fate brings them together, not only will they be forced to learn how to work as a team, but they will have to depend on each other to stop an evil witch carrying a six hundred year grudge!
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Or, more formally, “A Comprehensive List of U.S. College- and University-Sponsored or -Hosted Children’s and Young Adult Literature Conferences, Festivals, and Symposia.” (All of them that I could find, anyway). A few years ago, I was looking for such a list, wondered why I couldn’t find one, and decided to just go ahead and make […]
Last year, I wrote a post about books for kids that have creep appeal but aren’t downright terrifying. I’ll make my shameful confession again:
I’m a wuss. And because of that, Halloween isn’t really my jam. I hate being scared!! I DO, however, enjoy some good creepiness or eeriness, and some good suspense. So here are some more titles (all of these are out in 2015) for you to share with your patrons. Good luck with your Halloween/Fall Festival/Harvest programs, librarians! Happy October!
Pram can see ghosts. She’s always been able to. And it’s never mattered much that she doesn’t have many friends that are actually alive, but then her aunts put her in school and she makes a friend who has lost a parent and is looking for answers. This adventure takes them from spiritualists to haunted houses and they definitely land in more trouble than they bargained for.
Lauren Oliver’s latest is about several children with extraordinary abilities growing up in an oddities museum. But when an antiquity–yes, the shrunken head–is stolen, the kids embark on an adventure to get it back, but they encounter several murders and shady truths from their past. Super fun and creepy, this one will delight your kids.
Thomas Marsden is a grave-robber. It’s a bad business, but it becomes even worse when he opens up an unmarked grave one night and finds a boy that is the spitting image of Thomas himself. What’s going on? And what do spiritualism, death, and the faery folk have to do with Thomas?
The Jumbies is a little bit on the scarier side, but it’s also just excellent. Rooted in Caribbean folklore, this book is the tale of Corrine, who definitely isn’t afraid of jumbies. They aren’t real, they’re just stories parents make up to scare kids. But then strange things start to happen at night, and a beautiful and bewitching woman shows up on the island. Can Corrine and her friends save the island?
Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a library consultant at the Mississippi Library Commission.
I was out having a great time with Jeanette Winterson last night. Ok, maybe not with her personally, but I was in the audience and had a great seat and she even looked directly at me once! Bookman came too and has never read any of her books. He didn’t even know what she looked like and when she walked out on stage he cracked me up when he leaned over and said, She has Margaret Atwood hair! Winterson’s hair is not gray like Atwood’s but both have the same kind of curls and wear their hair about the same length with a similar style. I love their hair and I sometimes wish my loose, corkscrew tending curls were more like theirs. But I digress!
Winterson was at the University of Minnesota to deliver the autumn Esther Freier Endowed Lecture in Literature. Freier was first a student and then a professor at the U but not in the literature department. Nope, she was a chemist. But she loved the arts and was well aware that funding was hard to come by so when she died she left an endowment to the literature department that allows them to have two lectures a year and make it open to the public. How awesome is that?
Winterson’s lecture was titled “Reading as an Act of Rebellion.” If you have read anything she has written you will know she is funny and smart. In person she is that too but add personable and engaging and you will understand why at the end Bookman and I both wanted to yell, please keep talking because an hour is not long enough!
She ranged far and wide from the historical to the personal. She declared reading an extreme sport because one pits oneself with and against the best in literature.
The act of reading has through much of history been rebellious. Who was and was not allowed to read was controlled. Women weren’t allowed to do it and slaves certainly weren’t allowed. The more people read, the more they could think for themselves and those in power did not want to give up their power. When a person reads, and reads widely and diversely, it makes them one of the most threatening things in the world. Books can change the way we think and feel. Books show us multiple points of view. And while someone can see you reading and what you are reading, they cannot know what is going on in your head while you are reading. This makes you and reading dangerous.
Just like we talk about valuing biodiversity in nature, we should value biodiversity in reading. And we need to not just give it lip service and say “yay for diverse books!” We have to read those books too. Books are not meant to comfort, though they can do that. Books should expand the world for us and yes, even make us feel uncomfortable. A book that makes you feel uncomfortable is giving you an opportunity to think and experience and learn something.
Truth and fact are not the same thing, Winterson remarked. Simplification is a lie. We have language to help us make sense of complexity. Reading is great training in both diversity and complexity. The more reading you do, the more language you have and language is power. Just ask Malala Yousafza, Salman Rushdie, and those who work at Charlie Hebdo.
For the most part, Winterson said, we don’t have to ban or burn books in the west these days because people are just too busy to read them. There is no reason to get worked up over what people are reading when no one is reading to begin with. Winterson is also not a fan of ebooks because if you can’t see the books, if they’re virtual, how do you know they exist? Give her the solid book on the bookshelf. That way nothing is hidden. Amazon can’t erase it from all the Kindles. Can you imagine, she asked, if Amazon came to your door and took your copy of 1984 instead of making it magically disappear from your ereader?
Creativity and imagination is the birthright of everybody. We don’t have to apologize for art and culture nor do we have to explain. The mind is not a luxury.
Such a fantastic lecture! I am so grateful I got to go. I left feeling buoyant and excited, ever so proud to be a reader and determined to be as rebellious as I possibly can.