FEARLESS FRIDAY WITH NATASHA SINEL: THESE ARE A FEW OF MY MOST FEARFUL THINGS

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I’ll be honest, as I approach the long-anticipated release date of my debut YA novel, THE FIX, I have two major fears:

  1. No one will read my book
  2. Lots of people will read my book

Now that that’s out of the way, I decided to just show you a few things that make my heart beat a bit faster and the hair raise on the back of my neck.

1. A blank word document with cursor blinking (some people love this. Not me. I find it scary.)

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2. Rejection (I’ve learned to get past this fear, because…practice. Writers get rejected on a daily basis. If you want to be a writer, you must know this.)

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3. Stepping on a LEGO (If you haven’t, take my word for it…it smarts.)

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4. A traffic jam when I have to pee

5. Apocalypse survival-type scenario–I have no contact lenses and my glasses are broken beyond repair

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6. And finally, my number one fear…tidal waves (I don’t know why I put a picture here–now I can never look at this post again.)

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Natasha Sinel writes YA fiction from her home on a dirt road in Northern Westchester, NY. She drives her kids around all afternoon, but in her head, she’s still in high school, and hopes no one near her can read minds. Find her on Twitter and on YA Outside The Lines. Natasha’s debut YA novel THE FIX will be out from Sky Pony Press on September 1, 2015.
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YA Q&A with Mackenzi Lee

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Oh, world.  You are in for it.  This interview with Mackenzi Lee, author of THIS MONSTROUS THING, made me snort laugh. I’m so looking forward to reading her debut on September 22. You should be too! Steampunk Frankenstein? Yes, Please!

BW: You wake up one morning and, OMG, you’re a steampunk cyborg. What’s the first thing you do with your new ability?

ML: Wreak vengeance upon my many foes.

JK. Probably figure out how to shower without short circuiting.

BW: See what I meant about the snorting? I personally think vengeance is a great way to start any day, but your parents see things a little differently. They aren’t too happy with your change. What fictional character do you ask to help you get out of the bind, and how do they “fix” you?

ML: Imperator Furiosa, because she knows a thing or two about mechanical limbs. We load up the war rig and go cruising into desert, where she shows me how to best utilize my new cyborg parts and we totally pass the Bechdel test.


BW: 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?


ML: There was no more Diet Coke in the school vending machines—that’s what’s got me spooked.

BW: He/she isn’t convinced you’re telling the truth — after all, it’s a pretty far fetched story. No Diet Coke? What kind of school do you go to!?! He/she suggests going somewhere to talk about it more (and maybe pick up your beverage of choices). Where’s this dream date taking place?

ML: Porter Square Books, which is my favorite local independent bookstore. If you have to have an awkward conversation about your recent cyborgification with your crush, at least do it surrounded by books.

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

ML: THIS MONSTROUS THING is a steampunk Frankenstein reimaginging set in 1818 Switzerland about a boy who brings his brother back from the dead.

BW: And if that wasn’t enough information, here’s the full synopsis:

ThisMonstrousThing hc c. finalJPGIn 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.

His sweetheart, Mary—gone.

His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

Mackenzi Lee finalMore about Mackenzi Lee: Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults.  She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and Star Wars. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three.  She currently lives in Boston, where she works as a bookseller and almost never reanimates corpses. Almost. Find her on twitter @themackenzilee or at http://www.mackenzilee.com.

Becky headshots-Becky headshots-0007Becky Wallace is the author of THE KEEPERS’ CHRONICLES: THE STORYSPINNER, a magical adventure in which a case of mistaken identity exposes a young performer to a danger she could have never imagined and a secret her father died to protect. It will be available from Simon & Schuster in March 2015. When Becky’s not writing, she’s baking cupcakes and teaching her kids ’90s dance moves.

The 15th Happenings: August News

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Launch Days

Don't Vote for Me The Girl at the Center of the World Bleeding Earth The Temple of Doubt From Where I Watch You

4th: DON’T VOTE FOR ME by Krista Van Dolzer
4th: THE GIRL AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD by Austin Aslan
4th: BLEEDING EARTH by Kaitlin Ward
4th: THE TEMPLE OF DOUBT by Anne Boles Levy
4th: FROM WHERE I WATCH YOU Shannon Grogan

 

Not After Everything The Dead House The Creeping

4th: NOT AFTER EVERYTHING by Michelle Levy
6th: THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich
4th: THE CREEPING by Alexandra Sirowy

 
Of Interest
Shannon Grogan talks inspiration and plot at Writer Writer Pants on Fire.

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman answers 4 questions and finishes 4 sentence starters at Watch. Connect. Read.

Angelica R. Jackson released A Compendium of the Faer Folke, an illustrated sampling of the Crow’s Rest world. It’s available on her blog to read and download for free!

Read an except of THE FIX by Natasha Sinel over at Divergent Gryffindor. Head over to Goodreads before the 18th to win your very own copy!

An arc of INHERIT THE STARS is also up for grabs at Forever Young Adult, just leave a comment with your favorite sci-fi technology before Aug 26th.

Win a copy of THE BODY INSTITUTE by Carol Riggs over at Goodreads until Aug 31st.

 
Professional reviews

Ronald L. Smith’s HOODOO was well regarded by Booklist:

Hoodoo’s first-person narrative, which flows beautifully, has an appealing natural cadence, punctuated with the tagline “if you didn’t know” whenever he describes something that might be unfamiliar to the reader. Through his protagonist, Smith demonstrates an eye for detail and a knack for evocative imagery as well as for telling a riveting story with a dollop of southern gothic appeal.

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s BOOK SCAVENGER has had some lovely press lately, including a starred review from Shelf Awareness, an Amazon Best Books of the Year So Far 2015: Ages 9-12, and is a Junior Library Guild selection for Fall 2015.

Several fifteeners share their thoughts and words of wisdom this month on A BOOK AND A CHAT RADIO SHOW.

CLAYTON STONE, AT YOUR SERVICE by Ena Jones has a shiny Booklist review:

Meet Clayton Stone: average seventh-grade student, above-average lacrosse player. Set in the moneyed suburbs of Northern Virginia, this book combines family and school drama with Nancy Drew–style precocious sleuthing.” And “. . . most will recognize his conflicts as he tries to incorporate the responsibilities of his new secret life with his responsibilities to his team and friends. Hand to readers who loved Stuart Gibbs’ Spy School series.

 

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

FEARLESS FRIDAY with Austin Aslan: Fear not your SECOND book launch…

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This past weekend I celebrated the launch of my second novel, The Girl at the Center of the World. It is the sequel to my fall 2014 debut, The Islands at the End of the World. I can’t tell you how much I FEARED–and how long I agonized over–doing a second book launch so soon after the first.

Now, this is a good problem to have as an author, to be sure. But believe it or not, for me at least, it was an issue. The first book launch was fun. It was a celebration of an accomplishment, a life long goal, a really, really difficult goal. Getting a book published deserves a party. It’s like a wedding. Or, what’s the opposite of a retirement party? Anyway, you get the idea: Victory! Let’s celebrate!

My debut book launch last August for THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD. Hey, everybody, look at ME! Yay!

My debut book launch last August for THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD. Hey, everybody, look at ME! Yay!

But I was a debut author, with zero following, except for family and friends. SOOO…guess who I dragged out to my big “Me” celebration? Everyone I knew. So many great folks, God bless them, obliged. They came out. I gave them some free food and drinks to make it worth their while. They went through the dog and pony show with me. I speechified about writing and becoming an author. I read a passage. They bought books and I signed them (weird, btw, but cool). It was a glorious day. A wonderful celebration. A big wet and warm blanket of love. For me. Yay!

Now…fast forward to exactly one year later.

The book monster industrial complex must be fed. Promotion. Publicity. Launch, launch, launch!!!

I’m supposed to do that all over again?

Yikes.

It’s not like I have a huge fan base at this point. ISLANDS has been trucking along, but I could see from a mile away that a sequel launch that didn’t have the feel of crickets chirping was going to require me having to drag all those same people out of the woodwork again. I dreaded the idea of putting everyone I knew back in that situation.

So I didn’t. Not exactly.

Instead, I dragged all of my friends and family out to something completely different.

Here’s what I did, and I think you should keep this trick in the back of your mind should you ever find yourself thrust into a similar situation:

JOINT BOOK LAUNCH!

And…

*wait for it*

…FOR CHARITY!

I partnered with another local Random House author who was fretting about the same situation. Amy K. Nichols’ While You Were Gone was also due for fall lift-off. It was very convenient that our books released on the same day, and that they were both sequels, and both YA science fiction–but I firmly believe that’s not necessary for this to work.

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Our joint event was so incredibly refreshing. We each received double the audience for the amount of work we had to do. We were able to cross-pollinate our fan bases. It was wonderful working with Amy and getting to know her better. We have a real resource in each other moving forward in this crazy industry. We were able to share the stage. It was such a relief to not be the only one up there!

And we partnered with a local literacy charity, Kids Need to Read, to conduct a raffle. The representative was given several minutes to share their charity’s mission with our audience, they were given wonderful press in the newspaper, and we raised some serious funds for them.

Check out the amazing press we got out of this idea. The Arizona Republic put out a full half page SUNDAY article the weekend before our event!

All in all, it was the perfect solution to our fears. I highly recommend doing something similar with your subsequent book launches.

Austin Aslan was inspired to write his young adult sci-fi survival eco-thrillers THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD and THE GIRL AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD while living with his wife and two children on the Big Island of Hawai`i, where he earned a master’s degree in tropical conservation biology. A National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, he can often be found exploring the wilds of northern Arizona in a tent on a punctured air mattress or on Twitter at @laustinspace.

Fearless Friday with Alexandra Sirowy & Shannon Grogan

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August YA Thriller Debuts Shannon Grogan and Alexandra Sirowy teamed up to ask their MC’s a few questions!

Introducing, Kara, the main character of FROM WHERE I WATCH YOU:

Dealing with the aftermath of betrayal, her sister’s death, and the collapse of her family, 16-year-old Kara focuses on her dreams of becoming a professional baker. Winning a national baking contest could help her escape to a prestigious culinary school.

But someone is watching.

Someone hides, follows, and leaves her creepy notes.  If she doesn’t figure out who it is, she could lose everything. Her chance of escape. The boy she’s beginning to love and trust. Even her life.

 

And, Stella, the main character of THE CREEPING:

Stella is the lucky one. When she was six, Stella and her friend Jeanie went into the woods to pick strawberries. Stella came back. Jeanie never did. Eleven years later, Stella is over it, even if whatever happened to Jeanie is still lost in her messed up memory. Stella has a summer full of cove days, best friends, and her gorgeous crush to look forward to, that is, until the fresh corpse of a little girl with eerie similarities to six-year-old Jeanie is found on the anniversary of her disappearance.

What are you most afraid of losing?

Stella: My friends! Especially my three bests, Zoey, Michaela, and Cole. I’d be lost without them.

Kara: I’m most afraid of losing my mom. She’s really all I have left. Even if she is a nut job and she drives me crazy. After everything, I guess I still need her. As long as she doesn’t turn into the mom from “Carrie”.

 

What are you afraid of that you’d never admit to aloud?

Stella: Ouija boards completely eek me out. Totally crazy, I know. I can handle the real stuff that goes bump in the night, but just whisper something like Bloody Mary to me three times in the same zip code as a mirror and I can’t sleep for a week.

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Kara: Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary! No, just kidding, Stella! I’d never admit this to anyone but you, but I’m afraid of pigeon germs. I kinda live in the city and they’re dirty and everywhere and they poop everywhere! I swear there is going to be some kind of pigeon flu outbreak. It’s gross.

Pigeons Pigeons Pigeons!

Pigeons Pigeons Pigeons!

Which scary movie or book would you cast yourself in and why?

Stella: I don’t like all those scary movies that have the girl always shrieking her head off or running the wrong direction or waiting for someone to save her.
I wouldn’t be that type of heroine. Whatever movie or book I’d be in, I’d be the one figuring things out and saving the day.

Kara: Me too, Stella. I think maybe “Silence of the Lambs”. The heroine in that was kick ass smart, in FBI training. Oh, FYI, that one is a book and a movie. Creepy!

Silence of the Lambs

Silence of the Lambs

Would you rather be covered by spiders or snakes?

Stella: Snakes for sure. Anything but spiders.

Kara: Yuck, neither! I think I agree with Stella. Snakes. At least if you stand up they will fall off. Spiders cling! Ick!

What’s your most embarrassing moment ever?

Stella: Ummm, hello? I already get enough sideways glances and stares. Invite more attention or whispers? Not gonna happen.

Kara: Ooh Stella, what secrets are you hiding? Why are people whispering about you? Hmm. Well, I try to keep mostly to myself so as not to bring attention either. But I think my most embarrassing moment was in 9th grade when I dropped an F bomb in Home Ec after I burned my hand pulling cookies out of the oven. That wasn’t really the embarrassing part though, the embarrassing part was Mr. King making me repeat it and spell it on the white board, and then use it in a sentence. And then giving me a detention.

 

Shannon writer photo crop 2Shannon Grogan teaches 2nd grade by day, and writes at Starbucks while her kids are at ballet and baseball. If she can stay off Twitter and stay awake, she writes at night, in a tiny logging town near Seattle, Washington. Her debut, FROM WHERE I WATCH YOU, will be published by Soho Teen, August 2015.
Alexandra Sirowy PhotoAlexandra Sirowy is the author of THE CREEPING, a debut thriller for young adults coming August 18th, 2015 from Simon and Schuster’s Books for Young Readers. To learn more, visit Alexandrasirowy.com or follow her on Twitter.

YA Q&A with Anna-Marie McLemore

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Hey y’all! Welcome to another installment of YA Q&A! I’m so excited to introduce you to the very talented Anna-Marie McLemore. Her debut novel, THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, will be out in one month!  Wahoo and congrats, Anna-Marie!  We’ll get to some more details about the book at the end of the post, but first let’s get to her Q&A!

BW: You wake up one morning and, OMG, you’re a mermaid. What’s the first thing you do with your new ability?

AMM: Make an aquatic friend! I’m thinking a manatee, a sea turtle, or a dolphin.

BW: Your parents aren’t super thrilled with the slightly fishy smell and all your water usage. What fictional character do you ask to help you get out of the bind, and how do they “fix” you?

AMM: Cate, Maura, and Tess from Born Wicked. A little Cahill magic should do the trick!

BW: Three cheers for those three sisters!  They, of course, can help you out! Back to normal, you arrive at school and literally crash into your crush. He asks you why you’re shaken up. What do you tell him?

AMM: I just tell him I spent the morning as a mermaid. He comes from cultures in which far stranger things are bedtime stories.

BW: Still…it’s a pretty tall tale. He isn’t convinced you’re telling the truth. He suggests going somewhere to talk about it more. Where’s this dream date taking place?

AMM: Right by the ocean. I’ll introduce him to my new sea turtle friends.

BW: It might not be true love yet, but there is a Happily Ever After in your near future. As a Fearless Fifteener, your debut is out super soon. Tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.

Romeo and Juliet meets The Night Circus in a tale of rival traveling shows, long-standing feuds, & a romance as unlikely as it is dangerous.

BW: And if that doesn’t have you scrambling for more, here’s the full synopsis:

The weight of feathersFor twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have 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.

AMMMore about Anna-Marie: Anna-Marie McLemore writes from her Mexican-American heritage and the love for stories she learned from her family. Her work has been featured by The Portland Review, Camera Obscura, and the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. Among her favorite things are fall leaves, Irish dancing, and lesser-known fairy tales. Her debut novel, THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS  will be released on September 15 from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press.

Becky headshots-Becky headshots-0007Becky Wallace is the author of THE KEEPERS’ CHRONICLES: THE STORYSPINNER, a magical adventure in which a case of mistaken identity exposes a young performer to a danger she could have never imagined and a secret her father died to protect. It will be available from Simon & Schuster in March 2015. When Becky’s not writing, she’s baking cupcakes and teaching her kids ’90s dance moves.

Release Day: Where I Watch You and Not After Everything in 3 Gifs

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Here it is! Happy release day for From Where I Watch You, summed up in 3 Gifs!

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Stalker

 

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Baking

 

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Kissing

From Where I Watch You is available NOW! Thank you for reading!

IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Soho Teen

Add to your Goodreads!

 

And Happy Book Birthday to Not After Everything!

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About the book: Tyler has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot girlfriend, and a reliable army of friends to party with. Then his mom kills herself. And Tyler lets it all go. Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering (verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t (money). Tyler finds a job that crashes him into Jordyn, his former childhood friend turned angry- loner goth-girl. She brings Tyler an unexpected reprieve from the never-ending pity party his life has become. How could he not fall for her?But with his dad more brutally unpredictable than ever, Tyler knows he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into the chaos. So when violence rocks his world again, will it be Jordyn who shows him the way to a hopeful future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find it in himself?

Not After Everything is available now! Happy reading!

AMAZON | B&N BAM | INDIEBOUNDGOODREADS

 

Shannon writer photo crop 2Shannon Grogan teaches 2nd grade by day, and writes at Starbucks while her kids are at ballet and baseball. If she can stay off Twitter and stay awake, she writes at night, in a tiny logging town near Seattle, Washington. Her debut, FROM WHERE I WATCH YOU, will be published by Soho Teen, August 2015.

Michelle Levy squaredMichelle Levy grew up in Littleton, Colorado, but moved to Los Angeles as soon as she was legally allowed because she hates driving in the snow. When she’s not writing, she’s likely working at her other job as a casting director for film and television or skulking about (and occasionally posting—she’s working on that) on Twitter. Her debut, NOT AFTER EVERYTHING, will be released on August 4, 2015 from Dial.