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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Micol Ostow, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Children’s Book Trends | September 2014

Winning an iPod touch from author Michael Phillip Cash would be awesome, right? That's why the Darracia Saga giveaway is trending on The Children's Book Review this month—check out the details for your chance to enter.

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2. COVER STORIES: "Amity!"


Hi readergirlz!

I'm super thrilled to be celebrating the release of my 12th (!) original novel, Amity, a haunted house story told in two separate perspectives, ten years apart. Diva Melissa was gracious enough to offer up a Cover Story slot to me, so here we go! 


1.              Did you have an idea in mind for your cover as you were proposing/writing the book? If so, what did it look like?

I think we all always knew Amity was going to have an image of a haunted house on the cover. It’s iconic and classic for a reason, right? We may have tossed around the idea of focusing in on one aspect of a house – a window, a door – or even doing something more modern and all type, but I don’t think any of those concepts were seriously on the table.

2.              Did your publisher ask for your input on the cover design before the art dept started working? If so, what input did you give?

My editor at the time showed me an early mock-up with the image they were planning to use. But at the time, she did make it clear that everyone in-house was very enthusiastic about the image, which, as I know from my own days on the editorial side of the desk, is pretty crucial and not to be ignored.



3.              What did you think the first time you saw the original version of your cover?

I liked the general idea and I really liked that Egmont was truly capturing that straightforward, “HORROR novel,” genre vibe. My main concern was only that the house itself looked nothing like the building that’s described in the book, or the original “Amityville” house. Specifically the half-moon windows are mentioned a whole bunch in the book, and are familiar to anyone who knows anything about the original Amityville crime. But I can appreciate that a strong cover can often outweigh the value of a literal cover. We talked a bit about how the house in the mock-up looked small and not quite menacing enough, and my editor assured me it would be tweaked.

And it was! And it’s amazing and perfect!



As you can see, the final cover is the same original image. But with the color adjusted, a new font, and lots of creepy blood dripped, the terror factor is amped way, way up. I could seriously marry this new final cover, and I’ve been thrilled with readers’ reactions to it! The general consensus seems to be that it’s insanely scary. Which to me translates to: mission accomplished!


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3. Review: Amity

Amity by Micol OstowEgmont USA. Reviewed from ARC; publication date August 2014. My Teaser from April.

The Plot: Two families, years apart, move into the same house.

A house called Amity. A house in the middle of nowhere. A house with secrets, dark and deadly.

The Good: Amity is about a haunted house; a house that is both haunted and that haunts its unfortunate inhabitants. It is told by two seventeen year olds, Connor and Gwen. Both have just moved into a new house. It is the same house, ten years apart. And both see what those around them cannot, or will not: that there is something terribly wrong with the house. Something supernaturally wrong.

As I said in the teaser, this scared the hell out of me. The title, Amity, refers to another story about a haunted house, The Amityville Horror. I read that original book at age thirteen, believing every word. Specific details have changed: the location of the house. The time period. The families. You don't have to read that book to "get" this one. That one book lead to several movies, several versions of the story, but all about a haunted house.

"Here is a house of ruin and rage, of death and deliverance, seated atop countless nameless unspoken souls." Connor's story is the earlier story, when he and his siblings move into the empty house. Connor's family is one that looks so pretty on the outside (mom, dad, twins, little boy), much like the house they move into: "Probably from the outside it looked like we were doing better than we really were. That was Dad's thing -- make sure we looked like we were doing better, doing well." What scared me about Connor's story was not so much his realizations that something was wrong with his house, but that he welcomed that darkness -- that Connor came to Amity with something already missing from his soul.

The present-day Gwen has a different set of problems than Connor, but part of those problems means that when she begins to see that something is wrong at Amity, people don't believe her. For Connor, the reader wonders how far he'll go; for Gwen, it's wondering whether she'll be able to stop history from repeating itself. And if she can, what will the cost be?

I love how the stories went back and forth between Connor and Gwen. I loved the various references to the original story. I loved how isolated and strange Amity was, further isolating Connor and Gwen's families. And I loved as both madness and haunting settled into both timeframes, those times began to merge.



Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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4. Amity, by Micol Ostow | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy Amity, by Micol Ostow. Giveaway begins August 24, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends September 23, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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5. Top Ten Horror Novels

Micol Ostow has written dozens of books for children, tweens, and teens, but Amity is her first foray into horror.

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6. Micol Ostow Blog Tour for Amity -- Interview


As you know, I really liked Amity by Micol Ostow. And by "liked" I mean "had the heck scared out of me."

So when I found out about the Blog Tour for Amity, of course I said I wanted in!


You know what I like about doing author interviews, like this? I get to ask questions! Which means that the things I wonder about, I can get the answers to.

I hope they are things that you also find interesting!

First, here's a short bio of Micol Ostow (from her publisher):

Micol Ostow has written dozens of books for children, tweens, and teens, but Amity is her first foray into horror. I turns out, writing a ghost story is almost more terrifying than reading one. (In a good way.) Her novel family was called a “Favorite Book of 2011” by Liz Burns at School Library Journal, and her illustrated novel, So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), was a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens.

In her spare time, Ostow blogs with the National Book Award-winning literacy initiative readergirlz.com. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, her (utterly fearless) daughter, and a finicky French bulldog named Bridget Jones. Visit her online at www.micolostow.com or follow her on Twitter @micolz.

Liz: I vividly remember the first time I read THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, and the first time I saw the original movie. When were you introduced to the story? The book or one of the movies?

Micol Ostow: Actually, my first introduction to the Amityville legend came via my favorite master of horror, Stephen King. In his early nonfiction treatise on horror, Danse Macabre, he dissected what he felt worked and what didn’t work in the movie, specifically. Ironically, if I recall much of his criticism of the original movie had to do with its focus on the physical manifestations of the house’s evil spirit rather than a build of psychological terror or dread. I didn’t end up seeing the movie until the 2005 remake, which I found really effective. Afterward, when I was kicking around ideas for my follow-up to the novel family, that remake was on tv and sparked something in me. That was when I went back and finally watched the original movie and read the book. So it was a surprisingly long time coming for a horror buff, in addition to my coming at it with a weird amount of preconception and bias given my total ignorance of the original subject matter!

Liz: While AMITY is a scary haunted house story about the supernatural, it's also a scary haunted house story about a very real haunting: the very real family dynamics that trap people, as well as the evil that people can do even without ghosts or hauntings. What type of research did you outside of the AMITY references and homages?

Micol Ostow: The “research” question is always hard to answer because the answer is slightly embarrassing: I’m very drawn to dark stories and I’m fascinated by the question of evil from within versus evil from without, so much of the research I did both for family and Amity was actually just background reading I’d done before I even had the slightest notion to write either book. Putting aside the obvious Amityville source material, though, I’d say the book’s most clear-cut influences to me are The Shining and The Haunting of Hill House.

To me, Connor is basically Jack Torrance – a flawed character who is driven to evil deed via the energy of the house, the way Torrance is driven mad by the Overlook Hotel. And Gwen is a successor to Hill House’s Eleanor, the fragile, overlooked (no pun intended) woman whose history of madness renders her fear unreliable. Both are to some extent tropes of the genre and there are plenty of examples of each throughout pop culture, but those two are my very favorite iconoclasts. I probably reread The Shining in particular at least twice a year. Does that count as research?

Liz: What was the scariest book you read as a teen?

Micol Ostow: The Shining! (That was a gimme.) I wasn’t quite a teen though, and definitely wasn’t supposed to read it. My mother was a Stephen King fanatic and kept those terrifying 1970’s library hardcovers on her nightstand, perhaps unaware of how they were imprinting on me (or maybe that was her plan all along?...) Pet Sematary made an impression, but The Shining was the one I actually snuck out of the children’s room to read in furtive fifteen-minute increments. I think I was maybe twelve? At most.

Liz: What was the scariest movie you watched as a teen?

Micol Ostow: Again, I wasn’t quite a teen – maybe eleven-ish? – but my younger brother had been home sick with something icky and lingering, and as some kind of pity-bribe thing my mother, I guess, allowed him to rent A Nightmare on Elm St. #s 1-5. I stumbled in as they were queuing up the first movie and got sucked in. TERRIFYING. That one and #4 are the two that still get me, every time.

Liz: Thank you so much!

Check out all the stops on the Amity Blog Tour.

Two stops for tomorrow: readergirlz and Little Willow.







Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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7. Team Elizabeth T-Shirt Giveaway!

Our readergirlz NYC Host, Micol Ostow, recently attended an exclusive event for the forthcoming Francine Pascal book Sweet Valley Confidential. In this novel, the famous Wakefield twins are all grown up. What has happened to Jessica and Elizabeth in the ten years since they graduated from Sweet Valley High? You'll have to read the book - which comes out in March 2011 - to find out.

In the meantime, Micol picked up something to tide you over: a Team Elizabeth T-shirt! She has this picture of the Team Jessica shirt. Both shirts have the same colors and fonts.



Want to win a Team Elizabeth T-shirt? Leave a comment at the readergirlz blog and tell us why you're on Team Elizabeth!

Read more about Sweet Valley Confidential at my blog, Bildungsroman.

1 Comments on Team Elizabeth T-Shirt Giveaway!, last added: 6/28/2010
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8. Team Elizabeth T-Shirt Giveaway!

Our rgz NYC Host, Micol Ostow, recently attended an exclusive event for the forthcoming Francine Pascal book Sweet Valley Confidential. In this novel, the famous Wakefield twins are all grown up. What has happened to Jessica and Elizabeth in the ten years since they graduated from Sweet Valley High? You'll have to read the book - which comes out in March 2011 - to find out.

In the meantime, Micol picked up something to tide you over: a Team Elizabeth T-shirt! She has this picture of the Team Jessica shirt. Both shirts have the same colors and fonts.



Want to win a Team Elizabeth T-shirt? Leave a comment below and tell us why you're on Team Elizabeth!

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9. rgz NYC HOST: Calling all Creative readergirlz!

Hi and happy August from your NYC Host, Micol! I’m enjoying some quiet writing time upstate this month, but I wanted to share a few recent events and thoughts.

Everyone knows that readergirlz are some of the brightest, most creative and daring girls around! Have you ever wondered whether your creative passion could someday become a fulfilling career? I never imagined that one day my job would be “teen book author,” but I’m sure glad it is!


One person who never had any doubt about following her dream is jewelry designer Katharine Sise. She launched her own business a few years after college and has written a book about how to pursue a career in a creative industry. Creative Girl: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career comes out on August 24th and is an amazing resource for any girl who is determined to chart a creative course. Check it out!


If you’re in the market for fiction this month, have a look at Finny by debut author Justin Kramon. Finny follows the titular protagonist through a quirk-filled girlhood and adolescence (boarding school! bad influences! boyfriends!) and on through an emotional journey to womanhood. It’s comedy, tragedy, and artful characterization at its best. I had the pleasure of reading with Justin at local NYC indie McNally Jackson, and have been tearing through the book ever since.

And finally, if you’re a fan of realistic, contemporary young adult fiction, keep an ear to the ground for the Contemps! Who are the Contemps? Well, I can’t tell you just yet, but you can follow their tweets for right now, and stay tuned – on August 17th, all will be revealed!

Until then – keep reading!


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10. rgz Newsflash: Welcome Micol Ostow as a rgz diva!

Micol  Ostow

You know her as our rgz NYC HOST, but we are announcing Micol Ostow as our newest rgz diva!

Micol Ostow

Micol has graciously stepped up to be our newest author liaison. It's an important role at rgz which brings all the guests to visit with you. Here's a little more about Micol:

Micol Ostow is half Puerto Rican, half Jewish, half reader, half writer, half chocolate, half peanut butter. When she is under deadline, she is often half asleep.

Micol has written over 40 published works for readers of all ages. Her novel EMILY GOLDBERG LEARNS TO SALSA was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and her latest release, SO PUNK ROCK (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), was chosen as a Sydney Taylor Notable book for teens and an Independent Publishing Award silver medalist.

Micol received her MFA in Writing For Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts in January, 2009, and currently teaches a popular young adult writing workshop through Media Bistro. She lives in NYC with her husband, and a persnickety French Bulldog named Bridget Jones. Her next novel, FAMILY, is a verse novel loosely based on the Manson murders of 1969, and will be published by Egmont USA in May 2011. Micol also blogs with other writers of contemporary young adult fiction over at www.thecontemps.com

Give a warm welcome and thanks to Micol our rgz NYC HOST and diva!

My website

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11. rgz TV: Micol's Trailer for Family!!!

Totally awesome, right? Shout out for Micol!



LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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12. Happy Release Day! FAMILY by Micol Ostow


Hooray! We're celebrating Family's release day with Readergirlz Diva Micol Ostow! Read about some of the books she read while writing her latest novel.

A chilling, lyrical novel of cult love loosely based on the Manson Family murders, Family is an unflinching look at troubled girls, tainted dependencies, and the dangerous ties that bind.

Watch the trailer with us (if you dare) and look for blood-splattered bookshelves this week. Family is here!






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13. iheartdaily recommends!



Just grabbed iheartdaily's newsletter this morning and was delighted to see our own Micol Ostow's Family recommended! Woot!

Be sure to check it out as well as the other two shivery suggestions, Dreamland Social Club, by Tara Altebrando, and Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. Must reads!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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14. 7 Things You Don't Know About Micol Ostow

http://www.micolostow.com/

7 Things You Don't Know about readergirlz diva Micol Ostow
1. I've been an avid horror reader my whole life, but it took 30 books under my belt (including ghostwriting gigs) before I was ready to try a scary story of my own. That book, Amity, releases this August! (Pre-order your copy now!)

2. I have a French Bulldog named Bridget Jones -- after the book, not the movie! You'd be surprised how many people totally forget that the book came first! Grr.

3. I can sing along to all of the songs from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode. By heart. No judgements, thanks.

4. I got my start in kidlit writing as an editor. The very first book I edited on my own was celebrity bio of Jim Carrey.

5. I recently sold a chapter book series called LOUISE TRAPEZE to Random House. The only thing more terrifying than writing horror will be trying to conquer the 5-7 year-old market!

6. The house I live in in Brooklyn is over 100 years old and thus the floors are all slanted. My daughter will grow up with no true concept of physics or gravity.

7. I ran the NYC marathon in 2003 (26.2 miles). These days, a typical run for me is 3 miles or so. And when I'm not running, I am the most sedentary creature around. Just one of the reasons I love reading so much!

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15. Hour 2.5

Hours Spent Reading: 2.5
Books Read: 1
Pages Read: 296
Money Raised: $591
What I'm listening to: I Fall In Love Too Easily

Please remember that I'm reading to raise money for Room to Read, which builds libraries, stocks them with books, and trains people to become their librarians.

Up Over Down Under: Special Double-Length Edition (S.A.S.S.)Up Over Down Under Micol Ostow and Noah Harlan

It wouldn't be a 48 Hour Book Challenge without a Students Across the Seven Seas book! And a super-special to boot!

As a super-special, we get 2 stories. Billie is an Australian studying in DC and interning at the EPA. Eliza is an American studying in Melbourne and doing fieldwork in Melbourne bay. They're living with each other's families.

The chapters tend to alternate between the two girls. Billie's a super-hard core environmentalist (and occasionally annoyingly sanctimonious about it.) Eliza, the daughter of a high ranking politico at the EPA, is used to growing up in the spotlight and is looking to cut loose when she's on the other side of the world. It was a bit painful to watch Eliza make a ton of decisions that even she knew were bad.

BUT! Overall, super fun, even though it's a bit odd to read a SASS book about my own city. The map of the city is comical. Also, I must chafe when Eliza claims the DC doesn't function very will because of it's design-- traffic is confusing? The streets are a grid and go in numeric or alphabetic order! Traffic is confusing if you aren't used to it, yes. I found it very confusing for awhile, but I doubt that a born-and-breed DCer would claim it was confusing...

Also, if they're driving from Dulles to DC, why are they going through Maryland? If you work for EPA, your office would be on the Mall, not the Hill, and the Washington Monument is in the middle of the mall, not the end of it, no building in DC proper has 17 floors, and while Billie's disappointed that she doesn't get to do much as an intern, she's doing MUCH MORE than any real intern, especially a high school one would get to do...

Ok, I stopped cataloging the little details after awhile (never watch a DC-based movie with me. The highway signs are always a mess and I will tell you all about it!!!!)

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

4 Comments on Hour 2.5, last added: 6/7/2010
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16. Hour 13

Hours Spent Reading: 13
Books Read: 4
Pages Read: 1144
Money Raised: $629
What I'm listening to: Another Man's Done Gone

Please remember that I'm reading to raise money for Room to Read, which builds libraries, stocks them with books, and trains people to become their librarians.

So Punk Rock: And Other Ways to Disappoint Your MotherSo Punk Rock: And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother Micol Ostow, art by David Ostow

My second Micol Ostow book of the day, but much different than the other stuff of her's that I've read (which have all been SASS novels.)

Ari Abramson is a junior at a Jewish Day School in New Jersey. In an effort to up his coolness, he starts a band. As the school paper says, The Tribe consists of three Gittleman juniors: founder and self-professed Joe Schmoe Ari Abramson on guitar, quiet dark horse Yossi Gluck on drums-- (seriously-- did any of us see him coming?), and the irrepressible Jonas Fein on base and lead vocals. Rounding out the quartet is backup singer Reena Gluck, whose inimitable vocals have been described as a cross between Amy Winehouse and a sane person. p112

Initially, it's a pretty motely crew, but for some reason, they seriously rock.

Of course, there are tensions as Jonas's ego gets the better of him, Ari still can't catch the eye of hot girl Sari (of course ignoring that Reena is much more awesome and not nearly as annoying.) And Ari's parents are gung-ho about honors classes, the SATs and Ari going to Brandeis (even though it's just the beginning of junior year.)

Friendship, self-exploration, and a book about Jewish kids that doesn't try to explain anything for non-Jews in the text (there is, however, a glossary in the back.) So you get such hilarious exchanges as "Are f^&*ing you serious?" "Serious as Yom Kippur, man" p 37 (And yes, while they swear just as much as you'd expect rocker high school boys to swear, it's all @$#$^^$%#$^@%# out.) Just thinking about that line makes me laugh. Warning world-- I'm going to start using it. The rest of the book is also super-funny.

Parts of the story are told comic-book style, which works well. I wished there was more of it.

A super-awesome book that I loved loved loved loved.

BUT, I was hoping that Ostow was kidding when she referenced a t.A.T.u. cover of How Soon Is Now? Sadly, she wasn't. It really exists. I have a dark, secret, horribly embarassing soft space for t.A.T.u. but... that's just wrong. I've listened to it. It's wrong. I may have downloaded it.

I blame the coffee.

Also, I do love the Murakami references. Because he's awesome.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through

1 Comments on Hour 13, last added: 6/4/2010
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