Fearless Fridays: Fonda Lee Describes the Publishing Experience Using Horror Movie Gifs

Standard

I confess: I am a wuss when it comes to scary movies. I am 100% down with thrilling, suspenseful, or violent. Bring all that. But when it comes to full on scary—you know, the kind of movies with blurry poster images of screaming faces and tag lines like “Evil Awaits”—I am a sad coward.

I attribute this to the fact that I suspend disbelief way too easily. This is a helpful trait when it comes to being a speculative fiction reader and writer, but if you tell me that Candyman will appear if you say his name five times in the mirror, or that I’ll die in seven days if I watch this creepy video—well, damn I kinda believe you and now I’m not leaving the spot under this table.

Since this is Fearless Friday, I thought it would be appropriate for me to use one of my fears—scary movies—to describe something else that, despite all its genuinely wonderful parts, certainly inspires its fair share of terror—the publishing process.

So it kind of works like this.

You’re a writer with a book on submission and the rejections are coming fast and furious.

Hooray! An editor takes the bait!

You get your first editorial letter and it’s like:

During the revision process:

Soon you’ve read and revised your book so many times you can’t even stand to look at it anymore:

At times the process seems endless.

But then your ARCs are out, and you imagine reviewers are thinking:

Sometimes bad reviews happen and it’s like:

Meanwhile, you’re trying to sell your next book:

And trying not to obsessively check Goodreads or Amazon Sales Rankings:

Yet, miraculously, your book does make it out into the world, and you want to write another and do it all over again!

Come back next Friday to see what scares my fellow Flux author Stefanie Lyons. In the meantime, help alleviate MY fear of premature career death by checking out the schedule of online and live launch events for ZEROBOXER and grabbing a copy of the book when it hits shelves on April 8!

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Indiebound – Powell’s

FJLee HeadshotFonda Lee is an author and recovering corporate strategist who was born and raised in Calgary, Canada (land of hockey, rodeo, and oil reserves) and now lives with her family in Portland, Oregon (land of rain, hipsters, and Powell’s books). When she is not writing she can be found training in kung fu or searching out tasty breakfasts. Her debut upper YA science fiction novel, ZEROBOXER, will be published by Flux on April 8. You can find Fonda at www.fondalee.com and on Twitter @fondajlee.

A Teen Reader Interviews Krista Van Dolzer About The Sound of Life and Everything

Standard

Lauren M. is a 7th grader at King Philip Middle School in West Hartford, CT. She recently read an ARC of Krista Van Dolzer’s THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING and had a few questions for the author.

22521936First, here’s the official description of the book from Goodreads:

Twelve-year-old Ella Mae Higbee is a sensible girl. She eats her vegetables and wants to be just like Sergeant Friday, her favorite character on Dragnet. So when her auntie Mildred starts spouting nonsense about a scientist who can bring her cousin back to life from blood on his dog tags, Ella Mae is skeptical—until he steps out of a bio-pod right before her eyes.

But the boy is not her cousin—he’s Japanese. And in California in the wake of World War II, the Japanese are still feared and despised. When her aunt refuses to take responsibility, Ella Mae and her Mama take him home instead. Determined to do what’s right by her new friend, Ella Mae teaches Takuma English and defends him from the reverend’s talk of H-E-double-toothpicks. But when his memories start to resurface, Ella Mae learns some shocking truths about her own family and more importantly, what it means to love.

Lauren: Did the Clausens receive their son’s body? If so, why did they use the blood on the dog tags to attempt to bring Robby back if they had a whole person to work with?

Krista: This is a fantastic question, and if I’m being totally honest, I’ve never really thought about it. Many families never saw their loved ones again, but I do think Uncle George and Auntie Mildred would have gotten Robby’s body back. (I’ve seen pictures of the bodies of the Allied soldiers who died on Iwo Jima, and it looked like they were planning to ship them home.) I guess they used the dog tags because they were more accessible. Auntie Mildred wouldn’t have been able to keep what she was doing a secret if she’d exhumed her son’s body.

Lauren: How did you get your ideas for this book?

Krista: The first line came to me as I was falling asleep one night. The voice in my head intrigued me–though I didn’t know it yet, Ella Mae came to life at that moment–and I wondered what story she would tell. I started writing it down and didn’t stop for another 50,000 words. 🙂

Lauren: Why did you have Mildred Clausen change her mind about Takuma?

Krista: It was important to me to show that people can change their minds, that they can become better. Because Auntie Mildred was so dead-set against Takuma when he first came back to life, she was the perfect character to show this transformation.

Lauren: Did you have a hard time writing the book emotionally as you wrote how people reacted to Takuma’s ethnicity?

Krista: It did make me wince, especially as I tried to decide how and when to use the racial slur that appears in the book. But the whole point was to show how terribly some people treated Takuma so that readers could see how they grew and changed over time.

On a more personal note, my grandpa was Filipino, so I know that he experienced some of the same prejudices that Takuma faced. (The Philippines was one of our allies during the war, but when he immigrated to the United States, he found that the color of his skin still unsettled some people.) Despite the way he was treated, my grandpa never grew bitter, so I tried to draw on his example.

Lauren: How did Daniel die?

Krista: Daniel died in the Battle of the Bulge in January of 1945. The battle was fought in the Ardennes, a heavily forested region in northern France, and it was the last major German offensive on the Western Front. Daniel was part of the infantry, so he would have been exchanging rifle fire with his German counterparts. He died of a gunshot wound.

Lauren: What is your favorite scene in the book and why?

Krista: I have several favorite scenes, but the one that immediately jumps to mind is the scene in which Ella Mae, her mama, and Takuma go shopping at a department store in Los Angeles on a Sunday. When their small-town reverend won’t allow Takuma to set foot in his chapel, Ella Mae and her mama storm off in a huff and go shopping instead, but they’re horribly self-conscious. I know exactly how they would have felt, since I believe in keeping the Sabbath day holy, too, so that scene was an easy one to write.

THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING releases May 5 and is available for preorder.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Krista squaredKrista Van Dolzer is a stay-at-home mom by day and a children’s author by naptime. She holds degrees in Mathematics Education and Economics from Brigham Young University and lives with her husband and three kids in Mesquite, Nevada. She is the author of the forthcoming THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, May 2015) and the forthcoming DUEL/DUET (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Fall 2015).

Fearless Fridays: I.W. Gregorio Talks About Her Fear of Getting it Wrong

Standard

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m was an overachiever growing up. And like any good little overachiever, I was an absolute perfectionist when it came to getting things right. This is how much I hated it when I got things wrong: I remember once getting into an argument with a teacher about a vocabulary word test.

I repeat. I once argued with a teacher about a vocab test.

nerd animated GIF

via giphy.com

 

Thankfully when I got to college, I became less of a dweeb I began to realize that it was okay if I didn’t get things right all the time. In fact, it became a bit of a badge of courage to get things wrong–it meant that I was challenging myself and pushing myself to take courses that were a little bit out of my comfort range.

That being said, I still hated getting it wrong. For a variety of reasons that I’ll need therapy for the rest of my life, I’ve always felt mistakes very viscerally, as if each misstep is another a character flaw. My favorite thing to say when I’ve screwed up is “I’m a terrible person.” Because a part of me kind of still believes it.

But what does this have to do with my debut year? How can you possibly “get it wrong” with your book, you ask? Is it not a work of fiction? If you made it up out of thin air, how could it be anything but perfect?

Oh, let me count the ways.

If there’s anything We Need Diverse Books has taught me, it’s that representation matters. Invisibility = silencing. But you can argue that bad representation is worse than no representation, given the negative impact of stereotypes.

Labels–and words–can harm. When I was writing None of the Above, I struggled with how to best show my readers what it means to be intersex. I mean, most people don’t even know what the word means (quick and dirty: intersex refers to a spectrum of naturally occurring variations of internal and/or external sex anatomy). The problem is, when you say that, people just look at you funny. And then their faces light up and they say, “Oh, you mean like a hermaphrodite?”
And I want to go like this:
facepalm animated GIF

from giphy.com

Because noooooooooooo – the H-word is totally outdated, refers to a mythological entity that doesn’t exist in nature, and is considered offensive to the intersex community.

And yet. At the same time, it’s often tempting to use the H-word as a point of entry when people are giving you a blank stare–indeed at least one intersex activist I know has used the word in exactly that way, when demonstrating how she would explain intersex to, say, a taxi driver.
So I used the H-word in my book. And am I terrified that some people will think I was wrong to do so?
0uDftR8

from reactiongifs.com

I know that my story is not the only intersex story, but I still hate to think that intersex youths will think its wrong.
And there you have it: my biggest fear this debut year.  
 
SONY DSCI. W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. After getting her MD, she did her residency at Stanford, where she met the intersex patient who inspired her novel, NONE OF THE ABOVE (Balzer & Bray / HarperCollins, Fall of 2015). She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children, and is a recovering ice hockey player. For more, visit iwgregorio.com or Tweet her at @IWGregorio.

Q&A with MG author, Erin Entrada Kelly

Standard

Next up on Fearless Fifteeners’ Wednesday Q&As is MG author, Erin Entrada Kelly, whose debut, BLACKBIRD FLY, is out on March 24th. We’ve got a bio and book blurb at the end of the post but right now we’re skipping straight to ogres. Fearless or what?!

ogre

1. You wake up to find a massive ogre in your bedroom. If you had to choose one MG character to fight him off who would you choose and why?
Wataru Mitani from Brave Story. Wataru is quiet and unassuming and he always has good intentions. But he’s also brave and fights for what he believes in. That’s the best kind of hero, in my opinion.

 

2. Having defeated the ogre, you find that your car doesn’t start. Bummer. Would you rather ride a dragon or a unicorn to work? Why?
The unicorn. It’d be a smoother ride, don’t you think? Dragons are too spikey and fiery.

 

3. After arriving at work late, your boss asks you what your most embarrassing childhood memory was. You have to tell him. 
When I was in sixth grade, my math teacher caught me passing a note to a boy. I can’t remember the boy’s name, but I remember what the note said: “Are you going with anyone? My friend Tonya thinks you’re cute.” The teacher confiscated the note and read it in front of the class. In hindsight, it may have been more embarrassing for Tonya and the Boy. But it was embarrassing for me, too.

 

4. You’re pretty fed up now so when a time machine appears offering to take you to any historical event, you agree. Where do you go and why?
I love history! So my head spins thinking of all the possibilities—the moment Joan of Arc met the Dauphin, the Chicago’s World Fair of 1893, the crowning of Queen Elizabeth I, Shakespeare at the Globe, Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, the eruption of Vesuvius, the landing of Magellan in the Philippines. But after thinking about it—probably too much—I’m not sure I would want to witness any of these events first-hand. One of the things I love about history is its mystery. (Hey, that rhymed.)

 

5. There is light at the end of the tunnel. As a Fearless Fifteener, your debut is out this year. Tell us about your book in 15 words or less.
A novel for all the outsiders, outcasts, and dreamers.

 

BLACKBIRD FLY

Blackbird Fly

Apple Yengko knows what it’s like to be different. She has a weird Filipino nickname, she’s the only Asian at her school, and she’s obsessed with the Beatles instead of boys. But her life doesn’t truly fall apart until she finds out she’s listed on the Dog Log—the list of the ugliest girls in school—and her friends abandon her. Suddenly she’s a social pariah. The boys bark at her in the halls and the girls turn the other way. Apple dreams of escape and resents everything about her culture, including her mother. Gradually, Apple learns that music can save your soul,  new friendships can come from unexpected places, and mothers are full of surprises.

AUTHOR BIO

Erin Kelly

Erin Entrada Kelly was raised in south Louisiana, but now lives in the Philadelphia area. She’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Philippines Free Press Literary Award for Short Fiction. She grew up listening to her father play the Beatles—specifically, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. www.erinentradakelly.com | @erinkellytweets

 

The 15th Happenings: March News

Standard

Launch Days

Mosquitoland The Storyspinner Dead to Me Little Miss Evil DR. CRITCHLORE'S SCHOOL FOR MINIONS

3rd: MOSQUITOLAND by David Arnold
3rd: THE STORYSPINNER by Becky Wallace
3rd: DEAD TO ME by Mary McCoy
10th: LITTLE MISS EVIL by Kristy Shen & Bryce Leung
17th: DR. CRITCHLORE’S SCHOOL FOR MINIONS by Sheila Grau

Duplicity The Wrong Side of Right Under a Painted Sky That Makes You Blackbird Fly

17th: DUPLICITY by N.K. Traver
17th: THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT by Jenn Marie Thorne
17th: UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee
17th: EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU by Moriah McStay
24th: BLACKBIRD FLY by Erin Entrada Kelly

 

covers
THE UNQUIET by Mikaela Everett @Frenzy HCC Book Love

THE NEXT TOGETHER by Lauren James @Queen of Contemporary

THIS MONSTROUS THING by Mackenzi Lee @Epic Reads

Mackenzi also made an illustrated synopsis for THIS MONSTROUS THING!

Fonda Lee asks about fighting in zero gravity in her book trailer for ZEROBOXER!

 

Of Interest
Free books! Sharon Huss Roat is holding a Goodreads giveaway through April 6th for BETWEEN THE NOTES.

Tatum Flynn is offering a shot at her THE D’EVIL DIARIES via Goodreads giveaway now through March 18th.

Cindy L. Rodriquez shares her creative space at Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s blog.

Tatum Flynn talks about process, illustration, and marketing at Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire.

 

Professional reviews
Books of Wonder
On April 5th, Cindy L. Rodriquez will be on the Great Teen Reads panel at Books of Wonder.

On June 20th, Books of Wonder in New York City will host a group of Fearless Fifteeners at a Teen Authors Spotlight:

Stop by and meet debut authors HOLLY BODGER (5 to 1), SONA CHARAIPORTA & DHONIELLE CLAYTON (Tiny Pretty Things), I.W. GREGORIO (None Of The Above), LAUREN GIBALDI (The Night We Said Yes), CORDELIA JENSEN (Skyscraping), SHARON HUSS ROAT (Between the Notes), and RACHEL SHANE (Alice in Wonderland High) as they share their first novels with Books of Wonder! Your teen readers won’t want to miss this fantastic, talent-packed event with these 8 wonderful up-and-coming authors!

Several Fifteeners will also be at the NYC Teen Author Festival this weekend, March 15-23.

 

tessaelwoodTessa Elwood designs sites & haunts various highways in her four-wheeled baby. Her YA, INHERIT THE STARS, arrives 12/2015 from Running Press.

YA Q&A with Ilene Gregorio

Standard

In this week’s Q&A YA Wednesday, we’ve got, Ilene Gregorio, whose debut NONE OF THE ABOVE is out April 7, 2015. You can see the book blurb, along with Ilene’s bio at the end of the post—but first, you’ll want to see how she answers these quirky questions.

1. You wake up one morning and, OMG, you’re A TELEPATH! What’s the first thing you do with your new ability?

Try to convince the US government to pass laws on gun control, clean air and true universal health care.


2. Turns out your parents aren’t happy with your change.
What fictional character do you ask to help you get out of the bind, and how do they “fix” you?

I’m assuming that my political shenanigans have gotten me in trouble with anti-mind control activists, so I’ll go to Professor X who will use his weapons-grade telepathy to get them off my back (and block my powers).


3. 
Back to normal, you arrive at school and literally crash into your crush. He/she asks you why you’re shaken up. What do you tell him/her?

That I narrowly missed death by a baking accident.


4. 
He/she isn’t convinced you’re telling the truth—after all, it’s a pretty far fetched story. He/she suggests going somewhere to talk about it more. Where’s this dream date taking place?

In the cafe of a local indie bookstore.


5. 
It might not be true love yet, but there is a Happily Ever After in your near future. As a Fearless Fifteener, your book is out this year. Tell us about it in 140 characters or less.

Kristin discovers after Homecoming that she was born intersex, and has to survive the fallout when her best friend leaks the secret. 

 

ABOUT IRENE GREGORIO

headshotIWG

I. W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. After getting her MD, she did her residency at Stanford, where she met the intersex patient who inspired her debut novel, NONE OF THE ABOVE (Balzer & Bray / HarperCollins, April 7, 2015.)

She is a founding member of We Need Diverse BooksTM and serves as its VP of Development. A recovering ice hockey player, she lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. Find her online at http://www.iwgregorio.com, and on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram at @iwgregorio.

NONE OF THE ABOVE

NoneoftheAbove_Cover

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s world completely unravels. With everything she thought she knew thrown into question, can she come to terms with her new self?

Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, NONE OF THE ABOVE is a thought­provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

LUCKY FOUR LEAF CLOVER GIVEAWAY! EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU, DUPLICITY, THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT, and UNDER A PAINTED SKY

Standard

Four of the Fearless books will be debuting next week on St. Patrick’s Day! To celebrate, Moriah McStay, N.K. Traver, Jenn Marie Thorne, and Stacey Lee have teamed up to give away an awesome package of all four books. But wait, there’s more!

For Stacey Lee’s historical fiction debut, UNDER A PAINTED SKY, Moriah’s giving away this watercolor, which reminds me not only of the horses in the story, but the lovely sunset on the cover!
22501055il_300x300.666457774_oerb
For N.K.’s cyberthriller, DUPLICITY, Stacey is giving away a leather cuff, something the main character Brandon might wear.
19237391493535390_o
For Jenn’s contemporary, THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT, N.K.’s giving away a silver elephant necklace and earrings, as the main character’s father is the Republican nominee for President.
17235448
And for Moriah’s contemporary, EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU, Jenn’s giving away a Moleskine notebook annotated with song lyrics written by one version of the novel’s protagonist, Fiona.

 

To enter our LUCKY FOUR LEAF CLOVER GIVEAWAY, click the link (or Emma) below!  Contest ends March 16, 2015, 3 pm ET.


>> ENTER THE LUCKY FOUR LEAF CLOVER GIVEAWAY (US residents only – sorry!) <<

stacey-lee-smallStacey Lee is a fourth generation Chinese-American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She believes she still has a bit of cowboy dust in her soul. A native of southern California, she gave up her job as a lawyer to finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day and it was easier than moving to Spain. UNDER A PAINTED SKY is her first novel, coming Winter 2015 from G.P. Putnam’s Sons. To learn more, visit www.staceyhlee.com or follow her on Twitter.
Moriah McStay grew up in Memphis, TN, where she acquired a come-and-go drawl and a lifelong love of cowboy boots and fried pickles. She attended Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. Two graduate degrees and seven jobs later, she finally figured out what she wants to be when she grows up. EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU is her first novel, and she’s probably at home right now working on another one.
NK TraverAs a freshman at the University of Colorado, N.K. Traver decided to pursue Information Technology because classmates said “no one could make a living” with an English degree. It wasn’t too many years later she realized it didn’t matter what the job paid—nothing would ever be as fulfilling as writing. Her debut, DUPLICITY, a YA cyberthriller pitched as BREAKING BAD meets THE MATRIX, will release from Macmillan/Thomas Dunne Books March 17, 2015.
Jenn Marie ThorneJenn Marie Thorne writes YA fiction from her home in beautiful Gulfport, Florida, alongside her dashing husband, her two adventurous sons, and her trusty hound Molly. An erstwhile drama major, Jenn still enjoys making a fool of herself on at least a weekly basis. Her debut novel, THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT, is coming Spring 2015 from Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin).