The 15th Happenings: June News


Launch Days


May 19th: YOU’RE INVITED by Gail Nall and Jen Malone
2nd: THE WITCH HUNTER by Virginia Boecker
2nd: THE EDGE OF FOREVER by Melissa E. Hurst
2nd: BOOK SCAVENGER by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
2nd: SKYSCRAPING Cordelia Jensen


8th: SECRET OF THE SEVENS by Lynn Lindquist
9th: RAISING RUFUS by David Fulk
9th: THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY by Stephanie Oakes
9th: LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE by Gina Ciocca


16th: BETWEEN THE NOTES by Sharon Huss Roat
16th: MOTHMAN’S CURSE by Christine Hayes
16th: THE NIGHT WE SAID YES by Lauren Gibaldi


Of Interest
Cindy L. Rodriguez discusses suicide and aftermath for Mental Health Awareness Month at Disability in Kidlit.

Angelica R. Jackson shares some bumps in her writing journey, talks research and writing, and about the crossover as a visual artist:

Melissa Hurst discusses publication and THE EDGE OF FOREVER at the Sweet Sixteens, and how pre-writing made her a better writing at Unleashing Readers.

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman talks research and her favorite scene over at Littlest Bookshelf.

And! Jennifer’s launch party for BOOK SCAVENGER will be on July 1st at the Tattered Cover Book Store in Littleton, Colorado.

Attention Woodstock, Georgia! Becky Albertalli, Katie M. Stout, Gina Ciocca, and Melissa E. Hurst will be at the FoxTale Book Shoppe on June 30th.
FoxTale Book Shoppe

Hop over to Goodreads for a chance to win CLAYTON STONE, AT YOUR SERVICE by Ena Jones.

Rachel A. Marks’ DARKNESS BRUTAL is #1 on Amazon’s Best Sellers in Teen & Young Adult Fantasy!

Professional reviews

booksUnusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones is making all kinds of lists, including the WNDB Summer Reading Series and Instructor Magazine’s 50 best books for summer. It was also the review of the day on SLJ’s Fuse #8.

Madeline Dyer’s UNTAMED was named among MurderMayhem&More’s Ripping Reads.

Latina magazine featured 7 Summer Beach Reads By Latino Authors, including WHEN REASON BREAKS by Cindy L. Rodriguez, SHUTTER by Courtney Alameda, MORE HAPPY THAN NOT by Adam Silvera, and THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT by Melissa Grey.

Ena Jones’s CLAYTON STONE, AT YOUR SERVICE has a lovely review from Kirkus review:

Clayton’s endearing senses of loyalty to and responsibility for both family and friends is the undercurrent that gives this story depth and sets it apart from the rest.

Kerry O’Malley Cerra won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for JUST A DROP OF WATER!

Melissa Hurst’s THE EDGE OF FOREVER made Paste Magazine’s 13 of the Best New YA Books in June.


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, Jen White


Next up on Fearless Fifteeners’ Wednesday Q&As is MG author, Jen White, whose debut, SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE, is out on June 9th. 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 India Opal Buloni.  Because she would give my ogre a perfect name like Ogre Dixie, feed him a fine meal of Littmus Lozenges, and take him to listen to her father, The Preacher.


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?
I would ride a dragon, because I am still a huge fan of, THE NEVER ENDING STORY, and hope that someday Falkor will come and take me on an adventure.


3. After arriving at work late, your boss asks you what your most embarrassing childhood memory was. You have to tell him. 
My most embarrassing moment? When I was dressed as our high school mascot (a wolf) and tripped and fell down the high school stadium stairs during a football game.


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?
September 15, 1835, to board the HMS Beagle.  I’d assist Charles Darwin and study everything natural on the Galapagos Islands.  All of those animals to get to know. 😊  Yippee!!


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.
How to be brave, even when you don’t think you can.



Jen Book Cover

After their mother’s recent death, twelve-year-old Liberty and her eight-year-old sister, Billie, are sent to live with their father, who they haven’t seen since they were very young. Things are great at first; the girls are so excited to get to know their father – a photographer who, for the summer, is travelling around in an RV. But soon, the pressure of parenthood becomes too much for him, and he abandons the girls at the Jiffy Company Gas Station. Instead of waiting for someone to come to their rescue, Liberty takes matters into her own hands. On the sisters’ journey to get home, they encounter a menacing gas station attendant, a heavily tattooed trucker, a kid obsessed with Star Wars, a woman who lives with many very usual pets, and a host of other characters. When all seems lost, they get some help from an unlikely source, and end up learning that sometimes you have to get a little bit lost to be found.


Jen Author Photos15

Jen White ( holds an M.F.A. in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in San Clemente, California, with her family. When Jen was twelve years old, she and her sister were accidentally left at a gas station in the desert. Her parents returned, but wondering what would have happened if they had not inspired Jen to write Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave. This is her debut novel. twitter: @jenwhite_


A Teen Reader Interviews David Fulk About RAISING RUFUS


Delnaz is a 7th grader at King Philip Middle School in West Hartford, CT. She recently read David Fulk’s RAISING RUFUS and had a few questions for the author.

Displaying RaisingRufus.jpgFirst, here’s the book’s description:

Martin Tinker may be the smartest kid in the sixth grade, but who cares? His classmates just think he’s weird. To the good folks of Menominee Springs, Wis., he’s practically invisible. Even his dad has a hard time relating to his bug-collecting, woods-exploring, maddeningly oddball ways. But when Martin accidentally unearths an ancient, frozen egg in a local quarry, he’s in for whole new dimensions of oddness.

When the egg thaws and hatches, he finds himself surrogate mom to a bright-eyed little lizard with a voracious appetite for meat and a tendency to GROW at an alarming rate. Pretty soon Martin figures it out: What he’s got is a living, breathing, honest-to-carnivorous baby T. rex! Martin bonds with his prehistoric pet, but knows this outlandish creature must be kept a secret.

Teaming up with Audrey Blanchard, another misfit from school, Martin struggles to keep “Rufus” fed, entertained, and hidden from the world. But when Rufus grows to 7 feet tall—and starts getting in touch with his inner primeval predator—the secret is blown, and all of Martin’s worst fears come to pass.

Somehow he will have to find the strength and self-confidence he’s never had to save Rufus (or the town?) from an unthinkable fate—and finally, maybe, win a little acceptance from his peers and his dad.

Delnaz: Where did you get the idea to have a boy find a dinosaur egg?

David: In answer to this question, let’s do a multiple-choice quiz. Choose the correct answer from the following:

A. I got it at Walmart. Book ideas were on sale.

B. I was going to have him find an Easter egg, but a dinosaur egg was much more interesting.

C. I saw a boy walking his T. rex on the street one day, and I thought, hey, I could do a book about that!

D. It was originally going to be a girl finding the egg, but I thought, “Wait, I’m a boy,” so I did it that way.

E. I was basically sitting around trying to think up good story ideas.

If you answered “E,” you are correct! I know it’s kind of boring and disappointing compared to the others, but it’s true.

Delnaz: How long did it take you to complete this book?

David: Well, if you’re counting from the first germ of the idea to the final book―and I know it’s a bit shocking and I know I’m seriously dating myself by saying this―it was over 20 years! But I kind of have an excuse, because it was originally written as a screenplay (I used to be a screenwriter type). I shopped it around Hollywood, and even almost got a movie deal at one point, but not quite. So I decided to try it as a book, and that part of it took “only” about 8 years. But that was because I kept putting it aside, and didn’t get serious about finishing it until the last 3 years or so. So there’s your answer: 20 years, 8 years, and 3 years.

Delnaz: What was the hardest part about writing this book?

David: The hardest part was turning it from a screenplay into a book! In the screenplay, there were all kinds of scenes with just the other characters―Martin’s mom and dad, Ben Fairfield, the sheriff. Which is fine in a movie, but in a book, the rule is you have to tell the whole story from one character’s point of view. So I had to figure out how to do it all through Martin’s eyes. And, in spite of all my teeth-gnashing, I have to admit it works better that way!

Delnaz: What is your favorite scene and why?

David: You might be surprised by this, but it’s a scene that has nothing to do with Rufus. It’s when Audrey follows Martin and they go to his house and they first become friends. For some reason I got a little choked up writing that―probably because there’s just something special about that time when you first realize you like somebody and you can see yourself hanging out together. Especially if, like Martin, you’ve never really had a friend! So there, I said it: I’m a secret softie.

Delnaz: Who in this book do you relate to most?

David: Well, I could say Ben Fairfield, the greedy carnival guy, but then a) you’d probably hate me, and b) I’d be lying. Or I could say Rufus, but then you’d probably think I was slightly soft in the head. So I’ll fess up to what you probably expect: Martin. No, it’s not an autobiography (for one thing, my pet dinosaur was a stegosaurus, not a T. rex), and I didn’t grow up lonely in a small town. But I’ll have to admit a few of his characteristics probably came from yours truly. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which ones.

RAISING RUFUS releases Tuesday, June 9 and is available at:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound


David Fulk is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter/director, and novelist. He grew up near Chicago and has lived in Missouri, Louisiana, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, Belgium, India, and Wisconsin. He currently lives near Boston with his pet T. rex, Rosie.

He can be found here:


Twitter: @davidfulkwrites



A Teen Reader Interviews Gail Nall about Breaking the Ice


Ashley G. is a 7th grader at King Philip Middle School in West Hartford, CT. She recently read Gail Nall’s BREAKING THE ICE and had a few questions for the author.

First, here’s the official description of the book:

20662374Kaitlin has always dreamed of being a champion figure skater, and she’s given up a lot to pursue her passion. But after having a totally uncharacteristic and decidedly NOT figure-skating-approved tantrum after getting her scores at a major competition she’s dropped by her coach and prestigious skating club.When no other club in town will have her, she’s forced to join the ridiculed and rundown Fallton Club, jokingly referred to as the Fall Down Club. At first Kaitlin thinks this is a complete disaster, but after meeting some of the other skaters, including a boy (who happens to have the most perfect hair she’s ever seen) Kaitlin thinks it might actually not be so bad.

But when she’s tasked with learning a whole new program right before Regionals and figures out that almost all the other skaters target Fallton, she thinks joining the Fall Down Club may just be the second biggest mistake she’s ever made.

In this figure skating themed debut, Kaitlin learns that when you fall down, you have to pick yourself up – even if it’s in front of judges and a crowd

Ashley: Are you a figure skater? If not, how do you know so much about the life of a competitive figure skater who is seriously training and trying to get to Nationals and then the Olympics?

Gail: I am! I grew up skating. I still skate for fun now, and I teach learn-to-skate. I loved competing, but I was hardly competitive. Meaning, I was never anywhere near Kaitlin’s level. I was more like Miyu. 🙂  So, I filled in the gaps of my knowledge for this book with a lot of reading and research, IceNetwork-watching, and paying attention when I went to the rink. What I love about skating is that it’s something you can do your whole life, whether you make it to an elite level or not. My favorite jump is the flip, and my favorite spin is a simple, fast scratch spin. And spirals — I love spirals!

Ashley: In the beginning of the book, Kaitlin places 11th out of 13 girls at the Praterville Open Ice Skating Competition. She is extremely disappointed and has a meltdown in front of the judges. She then loses her coach and her club. If you were her coach, Hildy, would you have abandoned Kaitlin? If you were in charge of the decision, would you have kicked Kaitlin out of the Ridgeline Skating Club? Do you think Kaitlin deserved these consequences?

Gail: If I were Hildy, or were in charge of the club, I hope that I would’ve been a little more tolerant. I would’ve much rather talked to a student who acted so uncharacteristically to find out what was going on, and then figured out together how to work through it. Kaitlin definitely deserved some kind of consequences for her actions, but probably not as drastic as what actually happens to her in the book. However … it would’ve been an awfully boring book if all she’d gotten was a lecture and warning to never act like that again. 😉

Ashley: Do you think the mistake ended up changing Kaitlin in a good way?

Gail: Oh, definitely! Not only does she figure out when it’s good to speak up (and when it’s not), but she also learns what a real friend is. One of my favorite things about writing this book was showing how Kaitlin’s experience affected her skating. I won’t give away how that happens, but it was interesting to think about, and fun to convey that change through the skating descriptions in the book. I think it was also important to show how it is possible to get back up and keep going even after it feels as if your life has fallen apart. Through this experience, Kaitlin learns about her own inner strength.

Ashley: At Ridgeline, Kaitlin had top coaches and a great facility, but no real friends. The Fallton (Fall Down) Skating Club had a horrible reputation, but Kaitlin made friends there. If you were/are a skater, which would be more important to you: A good reputation as a skater and getting to skate at a prominent skating club, or having friends to cheer you on and support you? Which do you think is more important to the average skater?

Gail: This is a hard one. I think a lot of skaters would love that elite club with the excellent reputation, but if it came at the cost of never having real friendships, it would be hard to stay there and be happy. I would much rather have friends that I enjoyed seeing every day, whether that’s at an elite club or at some place more like Fallton.

Ashley: What is your favorite scene in the novel and why? Does it present anything that happened in real life?

My absolute favorite scene is the one in which Kaitlin takes an ice dance lesson with Svetlana. That was the most fun to write because of awkwardness with Braedon, and, of course, Svetlana’s Russian accent and coaching style. I pulled the actual dance-related parts of that scene from real-life skating (because, wow, hitting that perfect position in dance can HURT!), but the rest is completely made up. (Thankfully. I’d have died of embarrassment if that scene had ever happened to me in real life!)

I have to mention my second-favorite scene too, which is the one where Kaitlin, Miyu, Addison, and Braedon are having a spin-off and jump-off. I played this same game with skating friends when I was that age, except we used to string together really bizarre, unrelated things — for example, a jump into a sit spin into a lunge into some weird move that someone would make up on the spot, etc. It was always hilarious watching everyone try to get through it all without falling over.

BREAKING THE ICE is out now and available wherever books are sold, including:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Gail NalGail Nalll lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family and more cats than necessary. She spends her early mornings writing, her days practicing law, and her evenings trying to stay up past eight o’clock. She chats about writing and figure skating on her blog Writing and Stuff, and spends too much time on Twitter. Her debut contemporary MG novel, DON’T FALL DOWN, will be out from Aladdin/Simon & Schuster in Spring 2015.