YA Q&A with Marci Lyn Curtis


In this week’s Q&A YA Wednesday, we’ve got, Marci Lyn Curtis, whose debut THE ONE THING is out Sept. 8, 2015. You can see the book blurb (and super cool cover), along with Marci’s bio at the end of the post—but first, check out her answers to our fearless questions.

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

Pretty sure I’d dig out my wand and eradicate the song “Chandelier” by Sia. Because if I hear it one more time I’ll go out of my nut. 

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?

My neighbor, Mr.—
Wait. I actually don’t know his real name. In the 5 years since he moved across the street from me, I’ve only called him Gru (from Despicable Me). Not to his face, mind you, so he isn’t aware of this nickname. Ahem. Till now, anyway.
*Waves at Gru*
Moving on…
My neighbor—whose true name I do not know—the guy who looks, sounds, and walks exactly like Gru, stuffs me into an anti-Luna chamber and I’m ME once again.

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?

The truth, naturally: that I’ve just cured the world of a raging, infectious case of “Chandelier.” 

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?

The very top of Mauna Kea, on the Big Island of Hawaii, where there are more stars than sky.
Most beautiful place ever. 

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.

The One Thing is the story of a blind juvenile delinquent who discovers the tragic truth about a cherished friend.



Marci Lyn Curtis

Marci Lyn Curtis grew up in Northern California, where she went to college and met an amazing guy in a military uniform. Two college-aged kids and one dachshund later, she lives in Maryland, where she laughs too loudly and eats peanut butter off spoons. Her YA contemporary debut, The One Thing, comes out September 8th, 2015 via Disney-Hyperion. Learn more about her at Marcilyncurtis.com.


TOT final cover (2)

Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie’s whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she’s ever met. Ben’s life isn’t easy, but he doesn’t see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn’t have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she’s currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben’s brother.

But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future…before she loses everything she has grown to love.

Q&A with MG author, Ronald L. Smith


Next up on Fearless Fifteeners’ Wednesday Q&As is MG author, Ronald L. Smith, whose debut, HOODOO, is out in September this year. 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?!


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?

I would choose Lyra Belacqua from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. She has pluck, that girl. Plus, her daemon—the essence of her soul— can take on the shape of any animal.

She could shift into an eagle and scratch the ogre’s eyes out. But then I’d feel sorry for the ogre. And then I guess we’d have tea.


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?
Unicorn. They’re a bit more elegant. Dragons are unbridled machismo. Even female dragons have machismo.


3. After arriving at work late, your boss asks you what your most embarrassing childhood memory was. You have to tell him. 

It is a well-known fact in my family that I don’t remember my childhood. I think I was abducted by aliens and had my memory erased. I think it lies in the trauma of moving every two years growing up in a military family.

But there was that one time when I peed my pants in school, and I had to…


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?
Ancient Egypt. I want to see once and for all how those pyramids were built. Plus, the Egyptians were totally stylish. Bejeweled. Kohl-rimmed eyes. Breezy fashions. All that.


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.
 My name is Hoodoo. The Stranger’s looking for me. He’s a demon. That ain’t right.




Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can’t seem to cast a simple spell.

     When a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger’s black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He’ll just need to learn how to conjure first.

     Set amid the swamps, red soil, and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, Hoodoo is infused with a big dose of creepiness leavened with gentle humor.



Ronald L. Smith is the author of HOODOO (Clarion Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015). He is a recovering advertising writer and now writes fiction full-time. He longs for the days when writers lived in hotels and got dressed up for dinner.


Fearless Fridays: Angelica Jackson Proves She Can Write Songs, But Not Sing Them


When I was a kid, I didn’t talk much. Seriously, at times I could go days and only say a handful of words. But I sang–a lot.

I wore out my Grease soundtrack on the record player, singing all the parts and dancing around. My brother took me to see Bugsy Malone in the movie theater (I know, I’m dating myself) and I learned every song by heart.

In school, choir was one of the few group activities that I enjoyed (the other one was spelling bees, where I discovered my excellent memory overrode my shyness). As I grew up, I kept singing, but never really had an outlet for improving my craft–no one else in my immediate family was terribly musical, so I just sang for the fun of it.

But when I started college, I took a musicianship class and fell in love with the structure and symmetry hidden in musical notation. So I was briefly listed as a music major as I took some classes (and in the process, was diagnosed with a visual learning disability that came to light when I struggled to read sheet music) before I moved on to other studies.

I continued to sing, but not much in public–realizing that I was never going to “make it big” took some of that drive away from me. Not the drive to sing, but the desire to sing as a performance. With the exception of long shifts at the bookstore where I worked, when I’d put on a Billie Holiday CD and sing my heart out while stocking the shelves, my husband and pets were the only ones who heard me sing much.

And it was fine with me, but over the years, I started to get uncomfortable about singing in front of other people. Until, that is, my voice went away–after a surgery that left me with a paralyzed vocal cord, I couldn’t speak above a whisper, let alone sing. And it surprised me how much I missed my voice, both speaking and singing. My speaking voice did come back, but my singing voice is unreliable at best, lol.

Sometimes I’m back in full soprano voice, and other times I sound like a lifelong smoker. But in that uncertainty about how my voice would sound, I discovered a benefit: without the ability to have control over my voice, all the pressure to be perfect went away. I could go back to a childlike enjoyment of singing just for the pleasure, and be just as pleasantly surprised as everyone else when it comes out nice, haha.

I find myself singing more often, even if other people can hear me. Even when I can’t hit those high notes, I don’t fear them the same way and just have a good laugh at it.

So if you laughed at my singing, don’t feel bad–you can see in the video that I’m holding back laughter too! I think I’ll stick to my day job of writing.


In keeping with her scattered Gemini nature, Angelica R. Jackson has far too many interests to list here. She has an obsession with creating more writing nooks in the home she shares with her husband, and two corpulent cats, in California’s Gold Country. Fortunately, the writing nooks serve for reading and cat cuddling too. Her debut novel, CROW’S REST, a darkly funny young adult urban fantasy, is coming from Spencer Hill Press in May 2015.

Introducing Anna-Marie McLemore


¡Encantada! I’m Anna-Marie McLemore, author of THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, a YA magical realism novel coming September 15, 2015 from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press. Here’s a little about the story:

TheWeightofFeatherscoverThe Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS is a story of the tension between two families, the meeting of two different cultures, and the draw between a boy and a girl who’ve been raised not to go near each other. 

For my Fearless Fifteeners introduction, I wanted a share a few things about FEATHERS, and, since it’s a story about performers in traveling shows, a little about my background in the performing arts:

Five things about THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS:

  1. The initial spark for the novel was a story my father told me about a mermaid show, and a day I spent in a national forest wearing a set of wings. You can find a little more about that here.
  1. One family in the story, the Palomas, are Mexican-American, as am I. The other, the Corbeaus, are French and Romani, neither of which I am. I was originally inspired to write about Romani traditions by talking with someone close to me about his family’s history.
  1. I’ve spent much of my life involved in the performing arts. However, both Lace and Cluck work in aspects of their families’ shows that I haven’t often been part of: Lace does make-up not just on herself, but on the other mermaids, and Cluck makes costumes, specifically his family’s wings.
  1. The color of Lace Paloma’s mermaid tail, and the significance of it, draws on quinceañera traditions.
  1. I knew that Cluck Corbeau’s name was Cluck before I knew anything else about him.

Five things about me and the performing arts:

  1. The first time I ever climbed a lighting scaffold, I got stuck up there. Like a cat. If the audiovisual technician hadn’t climbed up and talked me down, I might still be up there.
  1. As a teen, I competed in Irish dance feisanna. My dress was lipstick red, and weighed about ten pounds.
  1. The most nervous I’ve ever been while running the light board was for a Lorca play, because I was in love with the soundboard operator.
  1. I realized I was in love with him when I accidentally said the name of the Scottish play three minutes before curtain. To make sure a disaster didn’t befall the production, I had to run around the outside of the theatre and spit over my shoulder before the stage manager called places.
  1. When, instead of playing a cue of barking dogs, the soundboard operator accidentally played a track of mariachi music, I realized he was in love with me too. A few years later, I married him.

Thank you so much for stopping by to read a little about THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS! And please come say hello—I’d love to hear from you!

Anna-Marie McLemore writes from her Mexican-American heritage and the love for stories she learned from her family. She lives in California’s Central Valley with a boy from the other side of the Rockies. Her debut novel THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, a YA contemporary love story with a magical twist, will be released in 2015 from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press. You can find her on Twitter @laannamarie.

The 15th Happenings: April News


Launch Days


2nd: THE D’EVIL DIARIES by Tatum Flynn
7th: SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli
7th: I AM HER REVENGE by Meredith Moore
7th: NONE OF THE ABOVE by I.W. Gregorio


8th: DATING DOWN by Stefanie Lyons
8th: ZEROBOXER by Fonda Lee
14th: THE WATER AND THE WILD by K.E. Ormsbee
18th: ALICE IN WONDERLAND HIGH by Rachel Shane


21st: BECOMING JINN by Lori Goldstein
28th: AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir
28th: IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT by Jen Brooks
Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s BOOK SCAVENGER will be published in Polish and Chinese, which makes 7 foreign languages total!

Tatum Flynn’s THE D’EVIL DIARIES has gone into a second printing!
LESSON IN FALLING by Diana Gallagher @Icey Books

RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES by Kate McGovern @The Hiding Spot

THE NEXT TOGETHER by Lauren James, with a first chapter sneak peek @Queen of Contemporary

LEAD ME BACK HOME by Brandi Lynch @Branwrites

THE BODY INSTITUTE by Carol Riggs @Artzicarol Ramblings

Angelica R. Jackson shares the first two chapters of CROW’S REST, and released a video teaser:

Of Interest
Cindy L. Rodriquez talks about revision over at Cynsations, Emily Dickinson, Poetry, and her writing journey at Write All the Words, and offers a Q&A on Adventures at Book Junkie—plus a giveaway at Itching for Books!

Fonda Lee discuses envisioning the sport of zeroboxing at Michael Scifan’s site, shares 5 Things I Learning Writing ZEROBOXER at Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds, and her favorite bits of ZEROBOXER at Mary Robinette Kowal’s site.
Professional reviews
Southen Kentucky Book FestGail Nall and K.E. Ormsbee will be at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest on April 17-18, and Gail will be signing books and doing a panel on Saturday, the 18th.

Mary McCoy will be signing at the LA Times Festival of Books on Sunday, April 19th.

Fonda Lee and Susan Adrian will be at the Barnes & Noble Clackamas in Tigard, OR on April 30th.

Jen Brooks’ launch party for IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT will be May 3rd at the Community House of Hamilton and Wenham in Hamilton, MA, and the public is welcome. View more appearances at her site.

Fonda Lee will also be the featured speaker at the SFWA Pacific Northwest Speaker series on May 5th and 7th.

Lori Goldstein, Jen Brooks, and Lee Kelly will be all over MA, NJ, and NH over this month and next during the Freshman Fifteens Spring Break Tour.

Freshman Fifteens Spring Break Tour

On April 4th, Cindy L. Rodriquez did a panel with Elizabeth Wein and Renée Watson for the Books of Wonder Great Teen Reads event.

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s BOOK SCAVENGER has a nice Kirkus review, and a pretty Publisher’s Weekly star:

Full of heart and replete with challenging ciphers for readers to decode, Bertman’s debut is literary cousin to classic puzzlers like The Westing Game, and a story that values books and reading above other pursuits.

Kerry O’Malley Cerra’s JUST A DROP OF WATER made the 2015-2016 state reading list in Maine, and won the bronze medal in 2014 Florida Book Awards!


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

Q&A with MG author, K.E. Ormsbee


Next up on Fearless Fifteeners’ Wednesday Q&As is MG author, K.E. Ormsbee, whose debut, THE WATER AND THE WILD, is out now. 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?!


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?

Luna Lovegood, hands down. That girl knows her magical creatures, and I bet she could even devise a non-violent way of shooing the ogre from my bedroom. She could also probably place some protective charms on my house so an incident like that doesn’t happen again.


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?

This is tricky, because I do have an undying love for unicorns:


But if it’s a matter of getting to work quickly, I’d have to go with dragoooon! Great big dragon wings travel faster than hooves, right? Also, the dragon could warm up my to-go breakfast with her fiery breath.


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 nine, I was leading a pack of kids up a flight of stairs and proceeded to totally wipe out. Since I was in front, everyone saw the humiliation, and nobody could move until I’d recovered. It was not a graceful recovery.


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?

Roanoke Colony, aka The Lost Colony, 1590. I wanna find out the definitive explanation for those mysterious disappearances and the word Croatoan.


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 portal fantasy filled with poetry, magic, adventure, will o’ the wisps, and BIRDS.




For as long as Lottie Fiske can remember, the only people who seem to care about her have been her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter-writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things and people are arriving on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot’s getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless.

And then a door opens in the apple tree.

Follow Lottie down through the apple roots to another world—a world of magic both treacherous and beautiful—in pursuit of the impossible: a cure for the incurable, a use for the useless, and protection against the pain of loss.



  1. E. (aka Kathryn) Ormsbee grew up with a spaceship in her basement and went on many pretend (?) expeditions to the moon. The Water and the Wild is her first novel.


Release Day: ZEROBOXER in Gifs


ZEROBOXER hits shelves today.

Here’s how I’m feeling, having finally reached publication day:







Here’s a description of the book using words:

A Sci-Fi Thrill Ride Set in the Action-Packed Sports Arena of the Future

A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way.

As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices place everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.

Here’s a description of ZEROBOXER using moving pictures. It’s like this:

And this:

With this:

Follow the zero-gravity excitement by checking out the schedule of launch events including readings, blog posts, special content, interviews, and more.

You can get your hands on ZEROBOXER at:

AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieboundPowell’s 

Zeroboxer final cover


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, is now available from Flux. You can find Fonda at www.fondalee.com and on Twitter @fondajlee.