JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans. Join now (it's free).
Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: young adult, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,057
How to use this Page
You are viewing the most recent posts tagged with the words: young adult in the JacketFlap blog reader. What is a tag? Think of a tag as a keyword or category label. Tags can both help you find posts on JacketFlap.com as well as provide an easy way for you to "remember" and classify posts for later recall. Try adding a tag yourself by clicking "Add a tag" below a post's header. Scroll down through the list of Recent Posts in the left column and click on a post title that sounds interesting. You can view all posts from a specific blog by clicking the Blog name in the right column, or you can click a 'More Posts from this Blog' link in any individual post.
Happy Halloween, guys and ghouls! Welcome to the Monster Madness Blog Hop hosted by Vicki Leigh and me. Since Vicki and I both released monster books this year (The Monster Within and Catch Me When I Fall), we thought it would be fun to have a blog hop dedicated to the monsters we love so much. So have some candy corn and enjoy this post as Vicki and I interview each other.
Okay, Vicki, time to fess up. What monster scares you the most?
I’m pretty hard to scare, to be honest. But there is one monster who gives me the creeps: Freddy Krueger. In a way, he was kind of the inspiration behind the Nightmares in my series, because the thought of someone being able to kill you in your dreams terrifies me. I’ve never actually seen the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, but, man, that dude creeps me out.
I love Freddy! My sister loved the Nightmare on Elm Street movies so I saw them much younger than I should have. ;)
How about you, Kelly? You have to be afraid of someone or something, too!
Growing up, I was terrified of the monster under the bed. I even wrote a short story about it called “The Monster of All Monsters.” Anyway, if I had to get up in the middle of the night for water or to use the bathroom, I’d stand on my bed and try to jump to the doorway. Thankfully, I’ve gotten over that fear. Now the thing that freaks me out is ghosts. I tried to write a book about a haunting once, and the research totally scared me away from the idea.
Oh, man. I love ghosts. Like, I legitimately want to spend the night in a true haunted house. I think it’d be awesome. (Yet, a fictional guy creeps me out. I’m weird; I know. J)
All right, Vicki, you have to create a NEW monster. What does it look like, and what kind of terrifying things can it do?
Hmm…I think a monster who takes the shape of whatever form you find most attractive would be pretty terrifying—especially when he/she sucks out your soul during a smexy scene and leaves you a comatose patient for the rest of your life. That may have been done before. I don’t know. But I’ve heard freaky stories about what it feels like to be in a coma. I never want that experience. Or being found comatose on my bed in my birthday suit.
All right. So, my monster sucked. You create one, Kelly. I’m positive you can do better!
I’m feeling the pressure now. I’m sort of stealing from Harry Potter here, but I think a monster that can transform into whatever it is a person fears the most would be just awful because no one would be safe from it. No wait! Better yet, the monster becomes ALL of your fears rolled into one! So if you are afraid of snakes, ghosts, and realistic looking dolls with eyelids that open and close (not that I’m being that specific because those are my top three fears or anything), the monster would turn into a doll possessed by a ghost who can charm poisonous snakes to attack on command. *shivers*
Back to you, Vicki. We’ve all been inside haunted houses or mazes at Halloween time, right? What monster got the best of you inside one of those?
I actually have a good story for this, because I really am super hard to scare. I’ve been in haunted houses and mazes, and usually when things jump out at me, I giggle. So, last year, I went to a haunted cornfield with a few friends. We walked through a LOT of really tall corn, and a trailer that was pitch black. None of the actors really got me, even when I had to feel the walls because it was so dark I couldn’t see. And then we exited the cornfield, and I was like, “well, that was fun,” thinking it was over.
Then, out of nowhere, came a dude with a chainsaw. Good lord; I jumped out of my skin! I screamed and then tipped my head back and guffawed. That dude got me. It was the chainsaw noise that did it, and his perfect position: I thought the maze was over.
How about you, Kelly? Do you have a good haunted house story?
Ooh, sneaky little chainsaw-wielding devil! ;)
Okay, well I have to say I startle easily, not scare easily. I went through a haunted dormin college. I give the people who ran it credit because it was pretty good. There was a funeral in one room, and we all thought the dead body was going to get up. It was really a distraction for something that snuck up on us. Still, I wasn’t scared. Nor was I scared when they turned out all the lights and we had to find out way out in complete darkness. Then at the end, there was a guy in a gorilla suit. That made me laugh, but it also distracted me from the hands reaching out from under the stairs I was climbing. I admit I jumped when I looked down and saw what I’m assuming was a zombie gripping my leg.
Time to change gears. What monster is your all-time favorite, Vicki?
Am I okay to say Cookie Monster? J For real, though, my favorite is probably Dracula.
How about you? You have to have a favorite!
I think I’m going to have to go with a zombie. Something about a reanimated corpse is both disgusting and terrifying, considering it wants to eat your brains. Got to love that! ;) Now it's your turn! Choose 3 questions below to answer either in the comments or on your own blog.
1. What monster terrifies you the most? 2. Do you have a good haunted house story? 3. What's your favorite monster? 4. Is there a monster book that terrified you as a child? 5. Have any book recommendations for stories that include monsters? 6. Finally, create your own monster! What does it look like, and what scary things can it do?
Then tag FIVE of your friends to share in the Monster Madness!
.27 is a number Ruby hates. It's a number that marks the percentage of the population that has survived. It's a number that means she's one of the "lucky" few still standing. And it's a number that says her father is probably dead. Against all odds, Ruby has survived the catastrophic onset of the killer rain. Two weeks after the radio started broadcasting the warning, "It's in the rain. It's fatal and there's no cure," the drinkable water is running out. Ruby's left with two options: persevere on her own, or embark on a treacherous journey across the country to find her father-if he's even still alive.
"It's in the rain...and just one drop will kill you."
15 year-old Ruby Morris is obnoxious. In fact, she's possibly if not definitely the most annoying narrator of any YA book I've ever encountered. And just about all reader reviews of the book agree with this assessment. She's an image and status obsessed snobby teenage brat, at times more concerned with putting on a sparkly top and makeup than smartly surviving the apocalyptic killer rain that has wiped out all but .27% of the world's population. You often find yourself thinking "UGH, what is wrong with you, Ruby? How can you still be THIS annoying? How could YOU of all people have survived when so many more likeable, clever, responsible people were dead within the first few days?" These questions are surprisingly, fascinatingly, the very reason why I enjoyed this book.
Let's face it: the world is full of annoying, frustrating people. People with different priorities and values and personalities than yourself. Ultimately harmless people that you just don't, well...like. And in the event of an apocalypse, these people don't just magically go away. Killer rain doesn't kill with discrimination. Many of the survivors of this story just got lucky. Ruby is a fault-filled person just like you or I (albeit far more immature), and catastrophe doesn't automatically change people into deeper people. At least not immediately, and not always in obvious ways...
Even if Ruby is as shallow as a puddle of the alien killer rain from which she's running...she's still human. And like it or not, being human means that we are (as a species) a mix of good and bad, complex and simple, deep thinkers and painfully, mind-numbingly shallow idiots. We don't get to pick from only our best qualities to define what being human means. We can't control the behaviors and decisions of others. We can't force them to abandon who they are, who they've been, to suddenly become our version of a "better", more-likeable person.
Accepting that others are others, that they think and act differently and that this is OK---is a worthwhile (although sometimes very challenging) exercise in becoming better people ourselves. Ruby doesn't deserve to die just because I don't like her. And she doesn't deserve NOT to be the main character of a book just because I wouldn't want to be her friend in real life. Because in real life, there are countless Rubys in the world. Imperfect, immature, infuriating kids naively stumbling through the world---just trying to live to see another day. We may want Ruby to grow up (fast!) and prove her worth to us as a narrator we can be proud of, but really, she doesn't owe us a darn thing. She is who she is. Peoples is peoples.
In the end, it's not the differences that matter but the ways in which even VERY different people are the same. "Please don't leave me." Throughout the story, Ruby finds herself thinking these words. Silently imploring whoever happens to be around her to hang around a little longer. These tiny glimmers of desperation, of fear and desire not to be alone, let us see through to her deeper humanity. This is the Ruby that I understand and that I pity. No one wants to be alone. Ruby has lost just about everyone she knows and cares for. She's completely on her own. She's going through hell and yet she keeps going. Who am I to deny her the things that make her happy? The little things that add a bit of sparkle to an otherwise gray, dead (and deadly) world---even if her happiness does come in the form of an impractical, shimmering sequined top?
I hope to see more of Ruby. I hope that her story doesn't end here. I hope there is a sequel and I hope to get the chance to see her evolve into better version of herself.
I have to hope, because even in the face of unlikely odds, to hope is to be human. Well, it's part of it, anyway.
A Note on the Book's Design: I quite like what Sourcebooks Fire has done with the book jacket and cover. Yellowish green acid-rain like droplets seem to have burned holes into the cover, revealing two key words in the raindrop shaped text block on the hard cover: "drop" and "scream" are very clearly highlighted by the cutouts which ominously sets the stage for the events that unfold. An effective cover, I love that it doesn't resort to the hideous trend in YA covers of overly Photoshopped imagery. I like that it's purely graphic. Simple, clean, and intriguing. No people. Only drops of killer rain, daring you to touch it with your bare hands.
I am so incredibly excited that the final installment in Alex Bracken’s Darkest Mind series releases today. These books are special and dark and moving in a way I (Sooz) can’t even begin to describe.
Commence the gushing.
And the freaking out because I’ve been waiting a YEAR for this last book! And finally–finally–it’s here!
That’s right: In the Afterlight hits stores TODAY. And oh my gosh, if you haven’t seen the trailer for it, then prepare for CHILLS.
Wow, right? If you haven’t read the series yet (and you SHOULD), then you can learn a bit more about it below.
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader.
But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.
Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children”s League call Ruby ‘Leader’, but she knows what she really is: a monster.
When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children”s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America”s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn”t recognize her. As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves.
But what if winning the war means losing herself?
Ruby can’t look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.
They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the “rehabilitation camps” housing thousands of other Psi kids.
Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.
To celebrate the release of In the Afterlight (and the completion of a whole series! GO ALEX!), we’re giving away a copy of the book. You can choose from any book in the series, actually, and we’ll pick a winner in a week! (This giveaway is open internationally!)
Alex lives in New York City where she writes like a fiend and lives in a charming apartment overflowing with books. She is the New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Minds and Never Fade. You can visit her online at her website, Tumblr, or Twitter.
Robin Talley hijacked the virtual dashboard this morning to chat about her research for Lies We Tell Ourselves.
Top 5 most surprising facts I learned while conducting research for Lies We Tell Ourselves:
I had to do a lot of research to write Lies We Tell Ourselves.
Since the story follows the relationship between a black girl and a white girl during the Virginia school integration crisis in 1959, I read memoirs, oral histories, and news articles about the desegregation process, trying to learn everything I could about what life was like for the students on the front lines of the battle.
But I also needed to know more run-of-the-mill facts about life for high school students in the late 1950s. So I spent a lot of time pouring over vintage yearbooks and reading up on day-to-day life at the time.
Here are a few eyebrow-raising tidbits about life in the 1950s:
1. You didn’t wash your hair every day.
Today’s routine of showering and shampooing daily would’ve sounded crazy in 1959. How often teenage girls actually washed their hair varied, but this vintage hair-care video suggests washing “with a mild soap” every two weeks:
By the way, in 1959, you basically had one hairstyle option if you were a teenage girl. Long hair and straight hair were both unthinkable. Your hair didn’t fall past your chin, and it was curly, and that was that. If your hair wasn’t naturally curly, you got a perm or you set it up in rollers every night. Presumably using the time you saved by only washing it every two weeks.
2. School dress codes were no joke.
No one ever wore jeans to school. Boys would wear khakis with belts and solid-colored Oxford shirts with socks to match. Girls, meanwhile, would never think of wearing pants to school at all. Everyone wore loafers, saddle shoes, or flats, since high heels were forbidden, except for dances. Skirts were long ? well below the knee ? and tights hadn’t been invented yet, so to stay warm in the winter, you either wore knee socks or you just shivered. This yearbook photo shows girls wearing thick coats over bare legs ? and somehow smiling in spite of it.
3. Relationships were no joke, either.
The rules for dating and romance were formal for high school students in the fifties. Boys asked girls on dates ? never the other way around, except for Sadie Hawkins dances ? and, after a sufficient number of outings to movies or football games, a boy might ask a girl to go steady. To do this, he’d give her something of his to wear ? an identity bracelet, a class ring, a football pin, a letter sweater ? and whatever it was, she’d wear that thing every day of her life until they broke up. Going-steady couples walked down the school hallways together with the boys carrying the girls’ books. My mother told me about a trend she remembered where girls would wear blouses that had loops of fabric at the back of the collar. She remembered one going-steady couple at her school who walked down the hall together with the boy’s finger looped through the fabric at the back of her blouse collar. It sounds like nothing short of a leash.
4. Double standards for girls were the norm.
As I mentioned up in #3, the decision of who dated whom and who went steady with whom was almost entirely up to boys ? they were the only ones who could suggest a date or a relationship. After that, though, it was up to girls to keep the boys in check. It was considered normal for boys to want to hook up, but girls were supposed to stop them, or else. Even if you were going steady, girls were still supposed to rein their boyfriends in when they got “carried away.” A girl who kissed on a first date was “easy.” So was a girl who wore a skirt that was deemed too tight. My aunt told me about one classmate she remembered who was known for routinely too far with boys ? meaning she and the boys she dated would engage in extended kissing sessions. The other girls at their school referred to this girl in whispered voices as a “make out.”
5. Air raid drills were part of life.
The 1950s were near the height of the Cold War. During classes, it was routine for a practice air-raid siren to go off. Students were expected to duck down under their desks or go out into the hallway and kneel against the wall with their arms over their heads. These tactics wouldn’t have helped in the slightest if there had been an actual nuclear attack, of course ? nuclear weapons do far too much damage for it to make a difference what position you’re in ? but they did a great job of freaking out the students who went through the drills, and of reminding them of the Communist threat that loomed over everyone’s heads.
About the book:
In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.
Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.
Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept “separate but equal.”
Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.
Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence 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:
Monster Madness Blog Hop Join Vicki Leigh and I on Halloween for the Monster Madness Blog Hop. We'll be talking about what monsters scare us and you can join in. There's a giveaway too. Sign up here.
The Monster Within Book Tour My book tour for The Monster Within is in full swing. I've had book signings the past two weekends and have two more this Saturday and another planned for the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I'm having a blast! I'll be at the Family Reading Festival in Pottsville, PA from 10am-1pm and then I'm heading to Moravian Book Shop from 5pm-7pm. If you are in either area, stop by and see me!
Drafting Again I have a rare moment between editing jobs, so I'm fast drafting again! This is the fourth book I'm drafting this year, and since three books was my goal, I'm happy.
The Walking Dead Twitter Party I'm hosting a Twitter Viewing Party during this weekends episode of The Walking Dead. Why? I love the show and my Touch of Death series was pitched as The Walking Dead meets Shatter Me, so yeah, I kind of love zombies. And maybe Daryl, too. ;) Join me! I'm giving away lots of prizes, including signed books and SWAG!
The Darkness Within Cover Reveal So there was a glitch with my cover reveal for The Darkness Within and the bloggers never got the info. But I'm so in love with this cover. Check it out.
After dying of cancer at seventeen and being brought back to life by an evil witch who turned her into a monster, Samantha Thompson thinks she's finally gotten past all the tragedy in her life. Now she's part of a coven of good witches who are helping her and her boyfriend, Ethan Anderson, learn to use the powers they received from other witches. Aside from the fact that Sam and Ethan are still in hiding from their old lives--the ones they had before Sam was brought back to life--things couldn't be better. Sam and Ethan are inseparable. What could go wrong?
Ethan's magic came from a witch who'd turned as evil as possible, and though his coven thought he'd be fine, the more he uses his magic, the stranger he starts acting. The magic inside him is changing who he is. One minute he's Sam's sweet, perfect Ethan and the next, he's a complete stranger. Even with all her witchy power, Sam is helpless against the magic corrupting Ethan. Can Sam find out what's wrong with him before she loses him to dark magic forever?
I have enjoyed everything that I’ve read by Cat Patrick, so I was super excited to see that she has a new book coming out. I wanted to share with all of you because I think her writing is awesome…and well, there’s a giveaway you can enter! So have at it! Read about Court and then enter away!
Author: Cat Patrick
Date of Publication: October 23rd 2014
About Court: For more than 400 years, a secret monarchy has survived and thrived within the borders of the US, hiding in plain sight as the state known as Wyoming. But when the king is shot and his seventeen-year-old son, Haakon McHale, is told he will take the throne, becoming the eleventh ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, the community that’s survived for centuries is pushed to the limit. Told through four perspectives, Court transplants us to a world that looks like ours, but isn’t. Gwendolyn Rose, daughter of the Duke of Coal, is grudgingly betrothed to Haakon — and just wants a way out. Alexander Oxendine, son of the Duke of Wind and Haakon’s lifelong best friend, already grapples with external struggles when he’s assigned to guard Haakon after the king dies. And commoner Mary Doyle finds whispers in the woods that may solve — or destroy — everything, depending on your bloodline.
Money. Love. Power. Community. What’s your motivation?
After writing The Originals, I wanted to write something from multiple character perspectives. Around that time, I was thinking of my home state of Wyoming. A friend had recently driven through, and I thought about how people who aren’t from there don’t really know that much about Wyoming—it could be its own world, hiding secrets. It could be its own kingdom.
-Out of all the 4 perspectives, which is the hardest to write?
Surprisingly, the boys’ voices came easiest. (And there used to be two more!) As for one POV being more difficult than the others, I think the real challenge was developing each voice individually with only a heaping handful of chapters per character.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Any craft grows with practice, and I hope that I’ve become a more controlled writer as I’ve published more books. I’m definitely more of a risk-taker than I was in the beginning, as well.
What 5 things would you like readers to know about you?
That I’m the greatest mommy in the world. (Say my children.) I love, and am inspired by, wind. I can kill it at Dance Central on Xbox. I share a birthday with one of my siblings. I once met Muhammad Ali.
Before he was the enemy, James Haakon McHale III was just a seventeen-year-old in what most people knew as the state of Wyoming, wishing he was somewhere other than the predawn forest with a rifle in his grip.
“It’s colder than moonlight on a tombstone,” Haakon muttered, blowing on his fist. His thick-soled boots swish-thumped on the hard earth as he skillfully avoided twigs, rocks, and low branches.
Alexander Oxendine—youngest son of the Duke of Wind, wide receiver, video game button masher, and Haakon’s best friend—laughed into his collar. It could’ve been mistaken for a cough.
“It’s colder than a whore’s heart,” Alexander said, his tone cautiously low. They were the youngest members of the hunting party, and were only allowed to take part because of their rank. Haakon could think of a thousand superior privileges.
He glanced around to make sure none of the other men were paying attention—especially his father. Smirking, he said, “Colder than a polar bear’s balls.”
The pair stifled laughter.
“Than a witch’s—”
“Colder than a dead woman’s touch,” Alexander said.
Haakon checked again, dialed down his voice even more, and said, “It’s colder than Gwendolyn Rose’s kiss.”
It was Haakon’s father: dictator, fun-spoiler, and—regrettably for his son—the tenth ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, also known as the Realm, the monarchy hiding in plain sight in the depths of the Democracy known as the United States of America.
Every schoolchild knew the story. In 1670, after Joseph Dyer’s wife died in the Great Plague in London, he brought his five daughters to what would become the United States one hundred years later, seeking a better life. But it soon became apparent that his family would never thrive under strict Puritan rule in New England–which banned higher education for girls and taught submissiveness above all else, and which centered around extreme religious beliefs that were counter to Dyer’s own.
A friend, John Seymour, who was—controversially—married to a Native woman, suggested that they set out together in search of a new home deep within America’s treacherous unknown. Seymour’s wife had been attacked; her family persecuted. Seymour believed that rather than fighting the Natives, they should live in harmony with them.
Dyer, Seymour, and several other men and their families snuck away. After a long and dangerous journey, together they created their version of paradise: a kingdom that blended the best of England with Native cultures. Dyer was thought of as the Father of the Realm, and Seymour’s Native wife, who ensured their survival through tribal relations, the Mother.
Rather than cause a revolution, the founders decided to keep the kingdom secret. Inside the borders of what they’d eventually stake claim as Wyoming, they’d follow their own rules. Outsiders wouldn’t know they were different because they wouldn’t understand.
Outsiders weren’t to be trusted.
Dyer’s youngest daughter, captivated by the ancient Greek she wouldn’t have been allowed to learn in Puritan society, named the new kingdom Eurus, meaning <em>east wind</em>. She pronounced it “air-us.”
“But the winds here blow from the west,” Haakon had asked his father once—before Dad was King James. That was when it was okay to ask questions. When curiosity wasn’t an imposition.
“That’s right, Haakon,” his father had replied, straw between his teeth. They’d gone on a walk together. The sun was setting on an easy day. His dad had pointed toward the eastern horizon. “The wind here does primarily blow from the west, but our founders blew in from the east. That day, the wind changed directions.”
Haakon frowned away the memory of days never to return, and refocused on the trees. He walked as soundlessly as he could in his camo fleece jacket and vintage Levi’s, his rifle nestled in the crook of his left arm, a round in the chamber. He was on the left edge of the group, three rows behind his father. Evenly spaced gaps between them, the men were like migrating geese, locked in formation.
Geese hunting deer.
“Were you drinking last night?” Haakon’s father had demanded on the way to the meeting point that morning. “Is that why you’re so tired?”
“I’m tired because it’s so early that the birds aren’t even awake yet.”
“Good. Because you know what the consequences will be if you start drinking again.” They’d shared the backseat of the armored SUV; Haakon had done his best to preoccupy himself with his cell phone.
“Yes, sir, I know.”
“You need to turn that thing off before we arrive. And when’s your next haircut? You look slovenly.”
Will you just get off my back. Haakon had thought at the top of his lungs. What he’d said, though, was simply, “Yes, sir.”
There, in the forest, Haakon toyed with the idea of raising his gun and shooting King James square in the back of the head. Right there under his hat, just above the rise of his custom down hunting vest. He could do it. Even with the others present, he knew there’d be no trial, no trip to Corby. But offing his father wouldn’t solve anything. In fact, it would make life a lot worse. Because with his father gone, Haakon would be in charge.
Haakon would become the King of Eurus.
The thought made him want to puke.
About Cat Patrick:
Cat Patrick is an author of books for teens. Her debut novel, FORGOTTEN (available now), is about a girl who can remember the future instead of the past, and was praised by NYT bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher, as a “mindbending,” one-sitting read. The book is being translated into 21 languages and Paramount bought the movie rights, with True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld attached to star as the main character, London Lane.
Patrick’s second (unrelated) novel, REVIVED, is about a girl who’s part of a secret government program to test a drug that brings people back from the dead. REVIVED will be available in the US May 2012, and in the UK and Australia Summer 2012.
Patrick lives near Seattle with her husband and twin 3-year-olds, and is afraid of zombies, planes, and zombies on planes.
Please give a warm welcome to Karen Akins this morning! She’s here to chat about her new release, LOOP.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today to celebrate the release of LOOP!
One of the things about writing any story is that as the creator, you know so much more about your characters than ends up on the page. It’s fun to be able to share some of these “extras” with readers.
Without further ado, I give you…
The Top 5 Things Bree Never Leaves Home Without:
1. Her QuantCom. This handy little device is kind of like a temporal GPS, telling her where and when she is while she’s time traveling. At one point, Finn refers to it as “her security blanket,” and it kind of is. When I was thinking through what it would be like to be a time traveler, the Com was one of the first devices I thought up because it would help you feel a little more in control of your surroundings.
2. Comfy, non-descript clothing. Another detail that I thought through. I’m not sure that time travelers would really worry all that much about perfectly matching the styles of any era as long as they don’t stick out like a sore thumb.
3. Her heart-shaped locket. Bree’s mother is in a coma (which may be a bit more than it seems…dunh dunh dunhhhhhh), and one object that helps Bree feel closer to her mom is the photo locket that her mom gave her when she was younger. One thing I love about the cover of LOOP is that the space between them forms a heart, sort of an homage to the locket.
4. Hair clip. Bree’s pretty non-fussy, so it would be pretty utilitarian with maybe a little bit of sparkle that her best friend Mimi insisted on attaching to it.
5. Lip gloss. Navigating the space-time continuum can be pretty chapping on the lips, y’all. One detail about Bree’s lip gloss that I had to cut out was that it changes shades to perfectly complement the wearer’s skin tone.
Bonus: One thing she would be SO tempted to sneak back with her? Girl Scout Thin Mints.
Thanks again for having me! I hope everyone enjoys LOOP. <3
At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.
After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.
Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.
But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.
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:
Curse of the Granville Fortune Releases Tomorrow! I can't believe tomorrow is the big day! My middle grade fantasy will be available 10/21.
Out of the Ashes on Goodreads You can now add Out of the Ashes, book two in the Birth of the Phoenix Series, on Goodreads.
#IntotheFireChallenge Halloween will be here before you know it, so get your review of Into the Fire up on Amazon to be entered for a chance to become a phoenix in the third book in the Birth of the Phoenix Series. You could also win signed copies of all three books in the series.
Beth Fred's Writing Class My friend Beth Fred is teaching another class through Colorado Romance Writer. It's called The Art of Blurb Writing. Sign up here.
Witches Three Tour I signed at Books-A-Million in Exton, PA last Saturday along with Jennifer Murgia and Molly Cochran. Jen and I will be signing at BAM in the Stroud Mall in Stroudsburg, PA this Saturday from 1-3pm. Come see us if you're in the area.
Last week I featured Soul Journey, and this week I have the sequel, Soul Redemption.
Just when Annisa and her friends were starting to think maybe the Counsel would leave them alone, two new students arrive at school. In any other town, new students wouldn’t be a sign that something big was about to happen to Annisa, Chase, Landon, and Penelope; but this wasn’t a normal town and they weren’t normal teenagers. They had come into their powers and defeated the most feared assassin in their world, so the appearance of new witches in their small town could only mean one thing.....the Counsel was ready to make another attempt to destroy them. After watching the new students alienate them from everyone they know, including their parents, Annisa and her friends break through the spell and things start to calm down for them. It’s not until an old enemy returns with news that will shock them that they realize everything is not as it seems. Now they have to decide whether or not to trust an old enemy claiming to help them, or try and fight against the Counsel’s most trusted Advisors on their own. The choice the group makes will change their lives forever.
EXCERPT FROM SOUL REDEMPTION:
It started happening slowly at first. It took a few days for me to figure out what was going on. All of a sudden a few of my friends wouldn’t even look at me anymore and they refused to talk to me, so I had no idea what happened to make them treat me like this. I'd known these people my whole life so it really didn’t make sense to me that they were withdrawing from me completely. Landon was noticing the same thing. Penelope and Chase had moved so many times growing up that they really didn’t notice. They didn’t know anyone around here well enough for it to really change for them.
Landon and I were watching as the people that we'd grown up with slowly turned their backs on us. The more that the new kids showed they had no interest in us, the more others were starting to act the same. I was getting very suspicious of the new kids and what they were doing to the rest of the school.I had no proof and really no idea what they were doing, so I couldn’t do anything but watch as this all happened.
After about a week, Chase noticed that we weren’t stopped so much in the hall by people that wanted to talk to me. The girls on the cheerleading squad were no longer trying to give me their ideas for a new routine, and were just going through the routine without engaging either me or Penelope.After practice he had a strange look on his face and I knew he was starting to put it all together too.
That night we met with our parents in the secure room in my basement.This was the only place that we could go and know for sure that the Counsel was not listening in on us. We had spelled the room to not let anyone hear anything from the outside and only us that created the spell are able to enter the room.
Since Chase was noticing what was going on I felt it was safe to bring it up to the others, “I haven’t said anything because I couldn’t prove what I was suspecting, and I wasn’t sure if I was overreacting. Today, I noticed that Chase was starting to see it too.I don’t know how they are doing it, but the new kids are alienating us from everyone at school.Somehow the people that Landon and I have known our whole lives will not talk to us or even look at us unless it is completely necessary. They avoid us as much as they can. Even the cheerleading squad won’t really talk to me.”
Landon had been nodding the whole time I was talking letting me know that he had noticed all of this too, “The football team will still follow my instructions and play the strategies that I tell them to, but that's it. They won’t talk to me, they won’t make suggestions, and off the field they won’t really talk to me unless they have to.”
My mom and Landon’s mom exchanged a worried look and then my mom said, “There really is no way for us to know at this point; if this is just from them starting rumors that you just haven’t heard yet, if there is a spell that they cast, or if it is simply a phase the kids at school are going through.You have to remember that not everything that happens in the world has to do with magick. Sometimes it is just jealous teenagers. It is probably just the other kids trying to make sure that you don’t try and make a move on the new kids. With the way that the situation evolved when Chase and Penelope first moved here, and nobody knowing the real story so nobody understands what happened.I think you are just overreacting to normal teenage behavior.”
Chase was the one to voice the concerns that I was feeling, “If you really think that, then why did you both look worried before you started that little speech?”
My mom did not like the way that he said that but she answered him anyway, after she gave him a stern look to make sure he knew that she was not going to let him get away with talking to her like that again, “The worried look was because we are afraid that you are all so focused on the Counsel and what they are doing, that you are going to see something sinister in every action that anyone takes. We don’t want you to become so paranoid that you accidentally harm an Innocent.You have to remember that most of the town is not from our world and have no idea magick even exists. High school is never easy, and nobody ever said that it was fair or that teenagers were always rational.”
I let out a frustrated sigh, “It’s different than the normal teenage drama.We had to deal with that when Chase and Penelope first got here, and this is not the same.”
Landon’s mom gave me a sympathetic look,“Honey, I know that you are used to being liked by everyone and that you have never had to deal with the other side of the table when it comes to popularity, but you have to understand that sometimes these things just happen with no involvement from magick.”
Seeing that we were just going to keep talking in circles about this subject, because neither side was willing to concede, Penelope changed the subject, “Okay, we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this for now.I am more concerned with how it feels when we are around them.I can sense them and their magick, but it’s not the same as with other witches.”
In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.
Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost-family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.
Then a girl in a neighboring chamber...
[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Series: Dance of ShadowsHardcover: 384 pagesPublisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; First Edition edition (February 12, 2013)Language: English
Vanessa knew that dance was in her blood, but she had no idea the world of elite ballet was center stage for the darkest of secrets—until her sister mysteriously disappeared from the world-renowned New York Ballet Academy.
Three years later, Vanessa follows in Margaret's footsteps, lands the role most girls at NYBA would kill for . . . and gets...
[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
There are so many books published this season that quickly made it on my To-Be-Read list and I’ve had the opportunity to read a couple of them already. Most of the authors represented here have written books focused on relationships—friendships, romantic, and familial—and how they develop or change as the characters do.
Please welcome Denise Jaden to the virtual offices this morning!
5 Things Jamie Won’t Leave Home Without
A Guest Post by Denise Jaden
Foreign Exchange is the story of a teenage girl—Jamie—who sneaks away from her class trip in Europe to rescue her best friend.
Here are the five things Jamie would not leave home without:
A picture of her little brother Eddy. Eddy is severely disabled, and Jamie is almost a full time caretaker for Eddy. She loves him with all her heart, and although she loves the break when she leaves for Europe, she misses Eddy like crazy.
Her phone. Because of her responsible side, Jamie will always keep her cell phone on hand. She’s not a big texter and doesn’t spend much time Googling around the Internet, but she will be available if her mom ever needs to get a hold of her.
A picture of her best friend, Tristan. While Jamie hates having her picture taken, Tristan is an aspiring fashion model and loves it. Tristan is forever giving Jamie pictures from her recent photo shoots, so Jamie almost always has a few on hand.
Tissues. Again, because of her baby brother, Jamie always comes prepared with plenty of tissues, because she never knows when he might drool all over something. Or drool all over her.
Her passport. Jamie dreams of seeing the world, and has been learning languages since she was six. Even though she doesn’t foresee a lot of travel opportunities ahead in her life, she will definitely be prepared in case something comes up!
Denise Jaden’s novels Losing Faith and Never Enough have been shortlisted or received awards through the Romance Writers of America, Inspy, and SCBWI. Her newest release, Foreign Exchange will be an Editor’s Pick with Evernight Teen (Oct. 2014). Her non-fiction book, Fast Fiction includes tips on constructing a story plan that works, as well as daily inspiration to keep writers writing. When not writing, she dances with her Polynesian dance troupe and homeschools her ten-year-old son (who is also a fast-drafter of fiction). Find out more at DeniseJaden.com or on Twitter @denisejaden.
Evernight Teen Contemporary/Mystery
Jamie Monroe has always played it safe. That is, until her live-for-the-moment best friend, Tristan, jets off to Italy on a student exchange program. Left alone with her part-time mother and her disabled brother, Jamie discovers that she is quite capable of taking her own risks, starting with her best friend’s hotter-than-hot older brother, Sawyer. Sawyer and Tristan have been neighbors for years, but as Jamie grows closer to the family she thought she knew, she discovers some pretty big secrets.
As she sinks deeper into their web of pretense, she suspects that her best friend may not be on a safe exchange program at all. Jamie sets off to Europe on a class trip with plans to meet up with Tristan, but when Tristan stops all communication, suddenly no one seems trustworthy, least of all the one person she was starting to trust—Sawyer.
Hi,” I say when I find Sawyer at his locker. My face is beaming like someone plugged me into a wall socket.
“Jamie.” He smiles back, but his eyes are rimmed with red like he’s really tired. “Have you heard from my sister again?”
Not exactly the topic of conversation I’d hoped for. I nod. “I got another email. She got to Milan fine and is settling in.”
Sawyer pulls out his phone. He looks at me, then at his phone, then back at me again.
“She’s…everything’s okay with the exchange program?” he asks. His words are tentative.
“Tristan’s fine, Sawyer. She says the schoolwork is going to be harder than expected because of not speaking Italian, but otherwise she’s great. She loves Europe.” He looks at his phone again. I put my hand out. “Here, you want me to show you the email?”
He hands me his phone. It takes me a minute to figure out how to log in through his browser, but I hope I can put his mind at rest. My email is coming up on the screen when the first bell rings. I have English first class and my teacher’s a real stickler about tardiness. I glance down the hall toward my locker.
“You go,” Sawyer says, his palm open for his phone. “I’ll look it over and see you in class later. Okay?”
“I—” I’m not sure what to say. Tristan’s been talking about finding my dad in her emails. It’s our big secret and she’d been adamant about not sharing it with anybody. But I think I can trust Sawyer. And, after all, it is my secret to keep. If I’m making a mistake it’ll only hurt me. “Okay,” I say, finally, passing his phone back to him. Our fingers brush against each other, but we don’t have time to let them linger.
By the time I get to English, I’m thinking of another problem. Tristan hadn’t wanted me to tell anyone about her modeling over there. I’ll have to tell Sawyer not to mention it.
When I dash into class later, Sawyer’s already seated in his usual seat with his head down. He’s flipping through something on his phone, and again I think about signing him into my email earlier. Instead of feeling nervous, after having some time to think about it, trusting him makes me feel closer to him. Like we share our private emails with each other all the time.
“Hey.” I sit down beside him.
He finishes typing something, and then shoves his phone away before Mr. Echols catches sight of it. “Hey,” he says finally, smiling over at me. He still looks really tired.
“Everything okay?” I ask.
He blinks a few times, looking down, and I wonder if he isn’t okay. Is something really wrong? “Do you…” he trails off and seems to rethink what he’s saying. “Do you think with the program… do you think everything’s okay about that? I don’t know what’s going on, but maybe…I mean, I think maybe Tristan’s over there trying to model.”
I swallow hard. This is the moment of truth, where I have to decide how much I can trust him.
But his pause is barely long enough for me to open my mouth. “I need to get on that class trip, Jamie. I need to stop my sister from doing anything stupid.”
A host of emotions rush through me. Fear, anger, betrayal.
“Wait, what?” I ask him. “You’re going to try to get on the class trip so you can interfere with Tristan’s dream?” Tristan’s told me how jealous he can be. How he’s done this before.
Sawyer looks over at me with wide eyes, like he can’t believe I’m calling him out on it.
Mr. Echols interrupts us, starting class, but I’m too upset to pay attention to a single word he’s saying.
Sawyer passes me a note halfway through class.
I’m seriously worried about my sister, Jamie. I have to tell you more about the program. Just hear me out. Please?
I keep my eyes from Sawyer for the rest of class. I’m sure he knows I’m angry, but he doesn’t try to talk to me again, at least for now. I’m even angry at myself for getting so caught up in my feelings for him and not noticing all the things that Tristan’s warned me about.
“Foreign Exchange is a fresh contemporary YA that will keep readers compulsively turning pages until the very end. Combining international intrigue with a steamy forbidden romance
makes for a can’t miss read.”
- Eileen Cook Author of Year of Mistaken Discoveries.
“Great contemporary/mystery combo!”
Shanyn Day, Book Blogger, Chickloveslit.com
“A pitch perfect voice and delicious chemistry between the characters kept me turning those pages!”
Tara Kelly, author of Amplified and Encore
Foreign Exchange is heart pounding and suspenseful…the teenage dream of escaping the boredom of suburbia by travelling Europe and spending quality time with a hot guy shifts into a dangerous nightmare.
D.R. Graham, author of Rank and the Noir et Bleu MC series.
Author Denise Jaden
Denise Jaden’s novels have been shortlisted or received awards through the Romance Writers of America, Inspy, and SCBWI. The first draft of her debut novel, Losing Faith (Simon & Schuster), was written in 21 days during NaNoWriMo 2007 and she loves talking with writers and students alike about her Just-Get-To-The-End fast-drafting process. Jaden’s other young adult novels include Never Enough (Simon & Schuster) and Foreign Exchange (Evernight Teen, 2014).
Her first non-fiction book for writers, Writing with a Heavy Heart: Using Grief and Loss to Stretch Your Fiction, includes a variety of clear guidance and practical exercises to help writers get to the heart of their stories. Her second non-fiction book, Fast Fiction (New World Library) includes tips on constructing a story plan that works, as well as daily inspiration to keep writers writing, regardless of when the mood strikes.
Find out more about Denise and her books at www.DeniseJaden.com or on Twitter @denisejaden.
Praise for Denise Jaden’s Wriing:
“In her sophomore novel, Jaden (Losing Faith) offers an intimate and enlightened rendering of anorexia and bulimia…Loann’s fight against forces that might be beyond her control is both harrowing and inspiring. While Jaden does not provide simple answers for the problems presented, she dramatically illustrates the importance of speaking out and reaching out.” - Publishers Weekly
“A poignant, important book, Never Enough tackles self-esteem and body image issues while always remaining true to its three-dimensional characters. Denise Jaden has created a cliché-free zone filled with hurt, heart, and personal strength. Jaden’s tender sympathy for her characters and dedication to honest storytelling shine through every page.” —C.K. Kelly Martin, author of I Know It’s Over
“This thoughtful first novel explores early grief and shows how it can tear at the structure of a family that cannot mourn together…. [R]eaders are taken on a ride through a secret world of religious zeal gone haywire….With pitch-perfect portrayals of high school social life and a nuanced view into a variety of Christian experiences of faith, this first novel gives readers much to think about.” -School Library Journal
“Losing Faith is a remarkable first novel.” -CM Magazine
Writing Great Books for Young Adults Released – October 7, 2014 By Regina L. Brooks ISBN: 9781402293528 Trade Paperback/$14.99 Praise for Writing Great Books for Young Adults “Written from the perspective of an industry insider, the … Continue reading →
I'm so pleased to kick off the Afterparty Blog Tour! We've got a ton of
great blogs featuring this edgy YA novel by Ann Redisch Stampler. There
will be guest posts, deleted scenes, interviews, reviews, and a huge
giveaway! Make sure you hit all the stops along the way for more chances to
Today, I’m delighted to have Meagan Spooner back on the blog. The final book in her Skylark trilogy, Lark Ascending, just released last week, and if you haven’t yet read these books, then now’s the time!
For one, the books are EXCELLENT (and if you’re a fan of my Something Strange & Deadly, then you’ll definitely love Skylark).
For three, just read this summary and tell me you’re not intrigued:
Now, let’s get down to the interview!
1. Alrighty, Meg. Biggest author inspirations/influences. Go!
Way too many to count! I’m one of those who firmly believe everything you read (or watch or listen to or see or eat…) goes into the imagination compost and shows up in your work when you least expect it. But some big ones include: Diana Wynne Jones, Garth Nix, Robin McKinley, Neil Gaiman, Peter Beagle, Philip Pullman, Tanith Lee, Tamora Pierce, Patricia C. Wrede, and pretty much every myth or fairy tale I’ve ever heard.
2. You have basically listed all of the authors on MY list as well. Plotter or pantser or…plantser?
Definitely a pantser. When I first started writing Skylark, the first book in this trilogy, I had absolutely no idea where it was headed. There were a few twists and themes I knew I wanted to hit, but part of the joy of writing for me is the act of discovery. Often the ideas that come to me as I write, whether totally out of the blue or as a response or solution to some problem that pops up, are my best ones. Of the three, Lark Ascending is probably the most “planned” of the three, simply because most of the ideas in it came to me while writing Skylark and Shadowlark. I had all these awesome, epic scenes that I knew I wanted to hit in this third book. It was tons of fun.
3. I feel you on the “art of discovery” bit. So now that you’ve finished, how does it feel wrapping up an entire trilogy?
AMAZING. I think it’s no secret that writers often have a love-hate relationship with their books, particularly with their series books, and I’m definitely one of those. Like any long-term relationship, being with someone–or some story–for that many years means you know it inside and out. Its good, its bad, and everything in between. But despite every time I wanted to throw the story–and my computer along with it–out the window, seeing all three books lined up and knowing that I finished telling Lark’s story in a way that feels complete and satisfying—and TRUE—to me… that’s an amazing feeling.
4. Wow. I’m even more excited to read now. Okay, here’s a fan question: in the Skylark trilogy, which character do YOU identify most with?
Definitely Lark herself. Skylark was the first novel I ever wrote, and for me, at least, that meant that of all my characters, my main character was the one most drawn from my own thoughts and personality and experiences. Lark is an odd combination of things I wish I was, things I’m afraid I am, and things I one day hope to be. She’ll probably always be the character most like–and most unlike–me in all my books.
5. That’s TOTALLY how I feel about me with Eleanor! She’s both part of me and who I wish I could be. So cool. Now, final question: If Lark Ascending were a literary cocktail, what ingredients would it need?
Equal parts fantasy and dystopian with a shot of steampunk and a sprinkle of moral grey area. Garnish with a rebel uprising, and serve on the rocks.
HA! Love the “garnish” bit. Nice touch.
Okay, dear readers. To celebrate having Meg stop by, we’re doing a giveaway (international!)! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below, help us spread the word about Meg’s amazing series, and we’ll choose a winner next week.
Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and she currently lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina. In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads. Learn more about her at her website.
It has been many lifetimes since the cycle began. The cycle that still haunts Annisa Lawson. A spell cast in desperation to help, which only caused heartache. Now, Annisa has found her way out of the varying repeats of her past; only to bring more danger to herself, and those around her. Now she must learn to survive with the help of her friends: Chase, Penelope, and Landon have all gone through each life cycle with Annisa. Sometimes helping, sometimes hindering. Now that Annisa has broken the cycle of their collective punishment, she finds that she needs her friends more than ever to keep their enemies, known, and unknown, at bay. As the group of friends learn of
their souls' journeys through their many life cycles, they must also learn to control the magick they have discovered within themselves and each other, in order to defeat the most feared assassin in their world.
EXCERPT FROM SOUL JOURNEY:
“Annisa everyone in this room, including you, is a witch.” Mom paused to let that sink in, but before I could say anything she continued; “I know that this is hard for you to believe. Most witches wake up on their sixteenth birthday and their power starts to show itself and the memories start to slowly come back. By their eighteenth birthday most witches have all of their memories from every life that they have lived. Everything that you think you know about witches is wrong. Magick is not in the blood, it is not passed down through the family; magick is in the soul. Every witch’s soul goes through a cycle. You live a life and then you transition to The Clouds to rest before you come back to earth for another life cycle. The Clouds is kind of like heaven is for mortals. It's the same concept except we don’t go to The Clouds and stay there, we get to come back. No mortal can go to The Clouds and no witch can go to heaven. Our physical body is made the same way as a mortal’s with one exception. Only one child can be born to each witch couple in any given lifetime.”
At this time I'm sure my face was showing my line of thought as I immediately looked at Chase and Penelope, but my mom held up her hand to stop me from saying anything.
“Let me finish, then you can ask all the questions that you want and we will answer them all.” I nodded to let her know that I understood and I was ready for her to continue.
“I'm sure that you've noticed a few things that I've said don't seem to be the case. But notice that I have said most witches. You, Landon, Chase and Penelope are all exceptions to the rules. There is a reason for that, but it's one that I can't reveal to you yet. It will be revealed in time, but there are a few things that need to transpire first. The events that have to take place have already been set in motion and it won’t be much longer before we are able to reveal all. Penelope is the only one of you four that knows the entire situation but the consequences of her telling you early are more than any of you are willing to pay as has been proven in prior lifetimes.”
I looked over at Penelope and saw the pain in her eyes that she was not able to divulge this important information and the toll it was taking on her. I decided at that point that I wouldn't even ask her about it and just let her decide when it was the right time to tell me. She was obviously having a hard time with her roll in all of this and I didn’t want to make it any harder on her. I managed a small smile for her to let her know that I didn't blame her for not being able to tell me. She looked very relieved that I wasn't looking at her with anger.
Mom waited for this all to sink in and then continued. “You've always felt alone and like you didn't quite fit in because you sensed that you were different. You were drawn to Landon because you sensed he was also a witch along with other reasons that will be revealed later. The four of you have had your lives intertwined since the beginning of time. This lifetime is the first time that it looks like everything will work out the way it was meant to in the beginning. I know that Penelope has been giving you advice and trying to guide you to do what needs to be done. Listen to her advice and your own instincts. There are forces that are working against you and who don’t want this to ever be resolved. Quite frankly, we're all ready for it to come to an end and for the four of you to finally find the happiness that you deserve. Please don’t ask about the forces, I cannot tell you about them, it's too dangerous to speak of out in the open. Just remember that every witch has a soul mate who is also a witch and it's up to you to find yours.”
“I'm sure that you caught the beginning where I said most witches wake up on their sixteenth birthday and their power starts to show itself. Penelope has had her power and her memory since birth. Landon and Chase received some of their power, but not even half of it on their sixteenth birthday. You will not receive any of yours until after the events that have been put in action take place. If you make the same mistakes as before you will get your memories and a portion of your power and Landon and Chase will never get their full powers, but will get their memories. If you make the right choices and the issues are finally resolved you will all receive your full power as well as your memories. There is a reason that the three of you won’t get your memories until after it's too late to use them for your choices. This situation is a punishment and until you all learn and make the right choices it will continue to play out the same in each lifetime. You have to come to the right choices all on your own to show that you have grown as witches and can handle the responsibility.”
I asked my mom, “Is that everything?”
“Everything that I'm able to tell you at this time, there is more but that will all have to wait. I'm sure you have a ton of questions. Please ask us anything you want.”“Just give me a couple of minutes to process all of this.” She nodded to let me know that she understood and would wait as long as I needed her to. I looked around at each face sitting there. The adults were all looking at me with sympathy and understanding. Penelope was guarded and apprehensive about my reaction. Landon and Chase were giving each other glares, but as they turned to face me I saw anger and resentment in Landon’s eyes and hope and longing in Chase’s eyes.
“So you're telling me that everyone in this room has known that I'm a witch and I'm just now finding out? Every single one of you has been hiding the truth about me, and all of you?” I asked calmly. I wasn’t angry about it but I wanted to hear the reasoning behind not telling me sooner.
Sound good? You can grab it on Kindle for only $3.99.
Want your YA, NA, or MB 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:
#IntotheFireChallenge Extended! I've decided to extend the #IntotheFireChallenge until Halloweeen. That means you have until midnight on Halloween to post a review of Into the Fire on Amazon for a chance to become a Phoenix in the third and final book. Get your review up!
Monster Madness Blog Hop Vicki Leigh and I are hosting a fun Monster blog hop on Halloween. We'll be talking about our favorite monsters, and of course there will be a giveaway. Want to join the fun? Sign up below and we'll send you all you need for your Halloween post, plus some fun questions for you to answer on your blog.
Signing The Monster Within at Books-A-Million in Exton, PA on Saturday. As part of the Three Witches Tour, I'll be signing The Monster Within with Jennifer Murgia and Molly Cochran from 1-3pm.
Vitamins and Death Cover Reveal Check out the cover of Medeia Sharif's upcoming YA, Vitamins and Death. This book will release December 10th through Prizm Books.
Deidra Battle wants nothing more than to be invisible. After her mother, a public school teacher, engages in an embarrassing teacher-student affair at Lincoln High, they relocate to a different neighborhood and school. Being her mother’s briefcase, Deidra joins her mother at her new workplace, Hodge High.
Since her mother has reverted to her maiden name and changed her appearance, Deidra thinks no one will figure out they’re the Battles from recent news and that they’re safe. Neither of them is. Hodge brings a fresh set of bullies who discover details about the scandal that changed her life.
Feeling trapped at home with an emotionally abusive, pill-addicted mother and at school with hostile classmates who attempt to assault and blackmail her, Deidra yearns for freedom, even if she has to act out of character and hurt others in the process. Freedom comes at a price.
The Walking Dead Who watched the season premier last night? Oh, and my PA made this for me and I love it. Touch of Death was pitched as The Walking Dead meets Shatter Me.
In the immortal words of Charlotte in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”
I was privileged to have Deborah Halverson edit my Harcourt picture book, Searching for Oliver K. Woodman. When we met at a retreat, it was instant friendship, and anytime we talk, it feels like we’ve been friends forever. That’s why I am so excited about this new book. Well, I’m excited because it’s Deborah’s book, but also because it’s the first book I’ve seen to explain the latest fiction genre, New Adult. In Deborah’s capable hands, the topic comes alive and I’ve already got tons of ideas for stories. Here, she answers a basic question; but if you want more, you’ve got to buy her book!
YA writers often ask me to explain the difference between Young Adult fiction and New Adult fiction when the story’s main character is 18 or 19 years old. Some of those writers are curious about this new fiction category that brushes up against their own, but others are trying to noodle out whether that upper YA story they’re working on is really NA. “Tell me what NA is, Deborah, and then I’ll know what I’ve got.” Happy to help! Here are three ways to determine if you’re writing a story about a young adult or a new adult.
How does your character process the world and her place in it? Teens are typically starting to look outward as they try to find their places in the world and realize that their actions have consequences in the grander scheme of life, and they yearn to live unfettered by the rules, structure, and identities that have defined their lives until now. New adults finally get to live that free life they dreamed of—for better or worse. They move forward with the self-exploration they began in their adolescence, going big on personal exploration and experimentation and expanding their worldview. They get to build identities that reflect who they’ve become rather than who they grew up with, and they get to try things out before settling into a final Life Plan. All of this can be overwhelming even when it goes well—after all, even good change is stressful, and “change” is new adulthood in a nutshell. For some, though, the instability is a total freak-out. The clash of ideal vs. reality can shock their system. They’re gaining experience and wisdom hand over fist, but yikes. Luckily, new adults tend to brim with personal optimism, and their explorations and experimentations—both dangerous and beneficial—are endearingly earnest.
If this sounds like your protagonist and her circle of friends, you might have an NA on your hands. You can use this knowledge to give your story a solidly NA sensibility by exposing your character’s inexperience in her decision-making, by imbuing the narrative with a sense of defiance, by conveying stress, by conveying self-focus (not selfishness), by lacing the exposition with personal optimism, and by showing the character’s awareness of her growing maturity. YA characters who are overly analytical about themselves and others risk sounding too mature, but NA character journeys ooze with self-assessment no matter the individual details of their journeys.
Assess Your Circumstances
In fiction, the plot exists to push the protagonist through some kind of personal growth. Thus, our character’s mind-set and the plot are interdependent. Whether your character is a young adult or new adult, the circumstances of your story—the events, problems, places, and roles—should sync with that character. New adults tackle their problems with their new adult filters in place, whether the story is a contemporary one set in college, or a historical one, or a fantastical one. Self-actualization is an essential growth process whether you’re at a college kegger or battling evil overlords.
Once you’ve pinpointed whether your protagonist’s mindset feels YA or NA, consider if your plot events and the circumstances of your protagonist’s life jive with her concerns, fears, coping skills, maturity, and wisdom level. NA story lines tend to remove structure and accountability, tweak the characters’ stress levels by playing musical careers and homes, make money an issue, force the characters to establish new social circles at play and at work, show characters exhibiting ambivalence to adult responsibilities, show characters divorcing from teenhood, show characters striving to “move on from trauma” rather than to “survive trauma”, deny the characters the “ideal” NA life of carefree self-indulgence, put characters in situations that clash their high expectations for independent life against a harsh reality, and show the process of evaluation, of trial-and-error, of weighing exploration and experimentation against consequences, at least by the end of the story.
Deal with the “Sexed-Up YA” Thing
Romance is part of almost any older YA story, and certainly all NA. As it should be—romance is one of the three main areas of identity exploration after puberty, along with career and worldview (think politics, faith, and personal well-being and outlook). The difference is that teens are very solidly in the “what is love, what does it feel like?” realm, whereas new adults are generally working on who they want to be in a relationship, what they want from their partner, what they want from the relationship in general. That doesn’t mean they’re actively searching for Mr./Mrs. Right—there’s plenty of time for that!—but it does mean they want a satisfying, meaningful relationship. Where is your character on that romance spectrum?
Of course, romance isn’t really what people focus on when comparing YA and NA relationships, is it? Nope: it’s sex. So let’s talk about sex. In its early days, NA was accused of being “sexed-up YA”, but after reviewing numbers 1 and 2 above, you’ll see that the differences between YA and NA are more substantial than simply how explicitly you describe two bodies connecting sans clothing. Ask yourself your goal with the romance, and what level of sexual detail is necessary for that goal. Then consider your audience: NA readers are mostly adults of the same 20- to 44-year-old “crossover reader” demographic that shot YA into the publishing stratosphere. (A Digital Book World study reported 2013’s dominant YA crossover readership as being 20- to 29-year-olds; compare that to the 18- to 25-year-old age range of new adulthood). Those grownups can handle—and often flat-out want—explicit sex scenes. Some teens will read NA, but mostly they’re not into that mind-set yet so the stories don’t resonate with them, making them plenty happy to stick with the many great YA stories out there that reflect their current time in life.
Perhaps you determine that your character’s mind-set and story circumstances are solidly YA but you want/need to include some sex scenes in your story because the theme or plot of the story calls for it. In that case, maybe you have a solid YA that requires a “Mature YA” categorization to let readers know that there’s sexual content between those covers. Those scenes will be tamer than the full-on explicitness of NA—your are writing/positioning this story primarily for and about young readers after all, and there are gatekeepers involved—but the sexual content is there and readers are warned. Weigh your goals with your romance, your story’s scene needs, and your audience’s expectations and sensibilities as you make the NA/YA determination on this aspect of your WIP.
So there you have it. Three ways to know if that story you’re writing is Young Adult fiction or New Adult fiction. Good luck with your WIP, and with all your publishing endeavors.
Deborah Halverson is a veteran editor and the award-winning author of Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies. Her latest book, Writing New Adult Fiction, teaches techniques and strategies for crafting the new adult mindset and experience into riveting NA fiction. Deborah was an editor at Harcourt Children’s Books for ten years and is now a freelance editor, the founder of the popular writers’ advice website DearEditor.com, and the author of numerous books for young readers, including the teen novels Honk If You Hate Me and Big Mouth with Delacorte/Random House. For more about Deborah, visit DeborahHalverson.com or DearEditor.com.