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.

Release Day: ZEROBOXER in Gifs

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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.

Release Day: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND … in 3 Gifs!

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I can’t believe it’s today!

I started writing THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND in 2012, sold it in 2013, and now—February 17, 2015—it is officially on the shelves. While I continue to remind myself to breathe, why don’t you gather around the fire with me?

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND is about two journeys. There’s a physical one, when Hallelujah “Hallie” Calhoun, her former friend Jonah, and new girl Rachel get lost in the Smoky Mountains and have to find their way back to civilization. But there’s also Hallie’s emotional journey—arguably the tougher of the two—wherein she has to figure out how to bounce back and redefine herself after an incident with the preacher’s son turned her into a social outcast. I hope the book will take you on a journey as well, whether you’re an avid hiker/climber/camper/nature lover…

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…or you’re allergic to the Great Outdoors.

I’m doing a mini-blog-tour this week to celebrate the book’s release, and you can learn more about that HERE. In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND!

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Ever since the night of the incident with Luke Willis, the preacher’s son, sophomore Hallelujah Calhoun has been silent. When the rumors swirled around school, she was silent. When her parents grounded her, she was silent. When her friends abandoned her…silent.

Now, six months later, on a youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains, Hallie still can’t find a voice to answer the taunting. Shame and embarrassment haunt her, while Luke keeps coming up with new ways to humiliate her. Not even meeting Rachel, an outgoing newcomer who isn’t aware of her past, can pull Hallie out of her shell. Being on the defensive for so long has left her raw, and she doesn’t know who to trust.

On a group hike, the incessant bullying pushes Hallie to her limit. When Hallie, Rachel, and Hallie’s former friend Jonah get separated from the rest of the group, the situation quickly turns dire. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to band together.

With past betrayals and harrowing obstacles in their way, Hallie fears they’ll never reach safety. Could speaking up about the night that changed everything close the distance between being lost and found? Or has she traveled too far to come back?

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND

Kathryn Holmes grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was an avid reader and an aspiring writer from an early age. She now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and piles upon piles of books. A graduate of The New School’s MFA in Creative Writing program, Kathryn works as a freelance dance journalist, among other writing gigs. Her debut YA novel, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND, comes out February 17, 2015 from HarperTeen. You can find Kathryn online at www.kathrynholmes.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Kathryn_Holmes.

Q&A with YA Author Lee Kelly

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In this week’s Q&A YA Wednesday, we’ve got, Lee Kelly, whose CITY OF SAVAGES is out February, 2015. You can see the blurb and Lee’s bio at the end of the post—but first, check out her clever answers to our quirky questions.

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

I find that I’m a superhero with (a long coveted ability) to teleport. Before the rest of the family wakes up, I teleport myself to this little chocolate croissant stand in Paris that my husband and I were in love with, pick up some pastries, teleport to New York for our favorite cappuccinos from Joe, and I’m back to set the table in minutes.

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 not sure what my parents are so upset about, seeing as I’ll be able to spend more quality time with them with less of a commute, but I respect their feelings and dial up my sole option in this situation: the Star Trek team.  We debate the pros and cons of using a transporter versus good old-fashioned superhero abilities, and I decide to retain my power in secret.  No way I am giving this up (pizza in Italy, hot chocolate in Switzerland… am I talking about food too much?)

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?

Perhaps it’s kind of creepy that both me and my husband are both still walking around high school searching for each other, but I ignore this nagging thought and tell Jeff how I’ve discovered a potential key to all of our time management problems and needless to say, he’s thoroughly intrigued.

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?

I manage to teleport me AND him to this little church-converted-into-restaurant in Florence, Italy called La Giostra.  After a lovely dinner, we teleport to Big Sur and watch the sunset over the cliffs.

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.

Two sisters and their mother attempt to escape a war-torn Manhattan, after the discovery of certain secrets throws their whole world into question.

 

CITY OF SAVAGES

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After the Red Allies turn New York City into a POW camp, two sisters must decipher the past in order to protect the future in this action-packed thriller with a dual narrative.It’s been nearly two decades since the Red Allies first attacked New York, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp, ruled by Rolladin and her brutal, impulsive warlords. For Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s younger sister, Phee, the POW camp is a dangerous playground of possibility, and the only home she’d ever want.When Sky and Phee discover their mom’s hidden journal from the war’s outbreak, they both realize there’s more to Manhattan—and their mother—than either of them had ever imagined. And after a group of strangers arrives at the annual POW census, the girls begin to uncover the island’s long-kept secrets. The strangers hail from England, a country supposedly destroyed by the Red Allies, and Rolladin’s lies about Manhattan’s captivity begin to unravel.Hungry for the truth, the sisters set a series of events in motion that end in the death of one of Rolladin’s guards. Now they’re outlaws, forced to join the strange Englishmen on an escape mission through Manhattan. Their flight takes them into subways haunted by cannibals, into the arms of a sadistic cult in the city’s Meatpacking District and, through the pages of their mom’s old journal, into the island’s dark and shocking past.

Lee Kelly has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper. An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced law in Los Angeles and New York. She lives with her husband and son in Millburn, New Jersey, though after a decade in Manhattan, she can’t help but still call herself a New Yorker. CITY OF SAVAGES is her first novel.

INTRODUCING NATASHA SINEL

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Here’s how to become a published author in five steps. (Notice I didn’t say five easy steps. Nor did I say they’d all be forward-moving steps.)

1. Live Your Childhood Inside Books

I was a reader. When I finished one book, I’d start the next. Books dictated the ups and downs of my moods (This probably confused the hell out of my parents—well, what is she crying about now?) I wrote stories too. People would say, “She’ll be a writer someday.” But people aren’t books, so I didn’t listen.

2. Go to Business School by Default

Having grown up in Washington, D.C., I assumed I’d be a lawyer, a lobbyist, or a politician. But…eh. A doctor was out of the question—I was one of those faint-at-the-sight-of-blood types. So, I went to business school. Maybe I’d be some sort of business-type person.

3. Do Something That Makes You Feel Horrible About Yourself

During business school, I miserably failed my internship at one of the big investment banks. (Why did I even try it? Because someone—I won’t mention names, but it starts with a D and ends with a D—always told me I could do anything I set my mind to. Investment banking, however? Not in my “anything” category.) Turns out, I wasn’t interested in any of the MBA-type jobs at banks, consulting firms, and product marketing companies. I had no job-worthy interests, period. Then, after listening to me whine long enough, my dad asked one simple question:

“When you pick up the New York Times, which section do you read first?”

The Book Review, duh. Also TV and movies. So something clicked there, and I set my mind to a more appropriate “anything.” After a grueling independent job search, I landed a job at Showtime Networks. I was on the business side, but I was working in TV. I loved watching TV! One of my interests plus job equals happy/successful.

4. Spend $$ on Gas and Parking

Many years later, I put work on hold to start a family. I had an idea for a story, so I signed up for a YA novel workshop. Driving an hour to SoHo every week would give me a kick in the pants to write, and that would make me feel creative, productive, and good. What I hadn’t expected was for my instructor (fabulous author/yoga instructor Kristen Kemp) to say, “Girl, you can write. There is no reason why you can’t get published, if that’s what you want to do.”*

Whoa. That was an option? Sure, I’d fantasized about being an author. Who doesn’t? But, that was just fantasy, right? But something clicked, and I set my mind to another “anything”—being a writer.

5. Fail and Fail and Fail Some More

After ten years, two and a half manuscripts, and numerous heartbreaking but necessary failures, the fantasy is a reality. And it feels like the right “anything.”

*My fellow Fearless Fifteener, Sona Charaipotra (PRETTY LITTLE THINGS) was in that class with me, and I’m so glad to reconnect with her here during our debut year!

Here’s a description of my debut YA contemporary THE FIX, which comes out this September:

One conversation is all it takes to break a world wide open.

Seventeen-year-old Macy Lyons has been through something no one should ever have to experience. And she’s dealt with it entirely alone.

On the outside, she’s got it pretty good. Her family’s well-off, she’s dating the cute boy next door, she has plenty of friends, and although she long ago wrote her mother off as a superficial gym rat, she’s thankful to have allies in her loving, laid-back dad and her younger brother.

But a conversation with a boy at a party one night shakes Macy out of the carefully maintained complacency that has defined her life so far. The boy is Sebastian Ruiz, a recovering addict who recognizes that Macy is hardened by dark secrets. And as Macy falls for Sebastian, she realizes that, while revealing her secret could ruin her seemingly perfect family, keeping silent might just destroy her.

The Fix follows two good-hearted teenagers coming to terms with the cards they were dealt. It’s also about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets and the hope and fear that comes with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean.

“First shot out of the gate, Sinel bravely addresses tough topics, demonstrating that the weight of secrets can pull us under—and their release can save us from drowning.” —Holly Schindler, critically acclaimed author of A Blue So Dark and Feral

“A bewitching, beautiful, and brave debut. Readers will marvel at Macy’s resilience. Natasha Sinel’s writing devastates and uplifts, by turns. An important story of one girl’s journey to rewrite the blueprint of her own life by facing the truth inside herself.” —Carrie Mesrobian, award-winning author of Sex & Violence and Perfectly Good White Boy

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 in September 2015.

ALL FOUR KIDS: An Interview with R.C. Lewis, Author of STITCHING SNOW

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Today we’ve got the delightful R.C. Lewis here on the Fifteeners blog talking about her debut YA Sci-fi STITCHING SNOW. It’s a gritty retelling of Snow White (in space!) with one of my favorite heroines ever. (And just look at the gorgeous cover!)

Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | !ndigo | Powell’s | Book Depository


MK. I adore the idea of a bad-ass cage-fighting princess! What sparked the idea for STITCHING SNOW?

RC. This is the one story idea of mine where I know the exact spark! I was driving home from work and heard a line in a Florence + The Machine song (“Blinding”) about Snow White stitching up a circuit board. That was the spark, and the whole story grew from there.

MK. Not only does STITCHING SNOW feature a badass main character, but you also crafted a wonderful cast of supporting characters, including my personal favorite, Dimwit, one of the seven drones. If this were a reality show, what would the drones say about life with Essie in their one-on-one camera moments?

RC. Here’s a transcript of what a few of them would say in their confessionals.

Ticktock: Essie’s performance of critical maintenance tasks falls within acceptable parameters ninety-one-point-four percent of the time.

Dimwit: Essie Cusser fix Cusser.

Cusser: $#@!*, Dimwit.

MK. Do you have a favorite scene you can tell us a little about?

RC. There’s a scene near the end where Essie has to make a split-second decision, not knowing what the outcome will be, what price will be paid. Her fear and pain and desperation in that moment became “real” to me very quickly.

MK. STITCHING SNOW is a reimagining of the fairy tale Snow White – did you encounter any particular challenges taking a classic character into space? Any tips for those who might be considering penning their own retelling?

RC. The main things I had to decide were which elements to incorporate literally, which to twist figuratively, and which to leave out altogether. A core idea of the original fairy tale is that Snow is very passive, naïve character, and that’s one thing I did NOT want. After that decision, it was a matter of, “How can I make this still Snow White, but my take on it?”

MK. Lastly, as this community is fearless, we’d like to know something you are afraid of and something you are not afraid of.

RC. I’m afraid of speaking in front of a bunch of adults. I’m not afraid of being in front of a crowd of teenagers. Go figure.

Thank you so much for stopping by, RC!


ABOUT RC LEWIS

R.C. Lewis teaches math to teenagers—sometimes in sign language, sometimes not—so whether she’s a science geek or a bookworm depends on when you look. That may explain why her characters don’t like to be pigeonholed. Coincidentally, R.C. enjoys reading about quantum physics and the identity issues of photons. Her debut novel Stitching Snow is a sci-fi retelling of Snow White, releasing October 14, 2014 from Hyperion.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Goodreads

 

MarcyKate Connolly is an author and nonpofit administrator who lives in New England with her husband and pugs and writes weird little books. She’s also a coffee addict and voracious reader. She blogs about all those things and more at MarcyKate.com, and can often be found on Twitter. Her debut upper middle grade fantasy novel, MONSTROUS, will be out from HarperCollins Children’s Books on 2/10/2015.

Introducing: Katie M. Stout

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Hello, lovelies!

I’m the author of Hello, I Love Youmy contemporary YA debut with Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s, about Korean pop music, first love, and family.

I’ve been writing books since high school but never thought I’d get  published one day, so this has been a surreal experience to say the least! I actually entered the YA world as a book blogger, where I was quickly hooked on the romance, excitement, and creativity that young adult books offer. Sometimes, I miss receiving ARCs in the mail, but I’m happy to be on this side of the publishing industry. 🙂

I’m a Southern girl from Atlanta, raised on corn bread, grits, and sweet tea. But last year, I traded all that for Yorkshire pudding, Earl Grey, and custard cream biscuits (yum!) when I moved to England. I work for a Christian charity called Operation Mobilisation, and my job gives me the opportunity to visit a lot of amazing places, which only feeds my addiction to travel.

My writing is heavily influenced by the places I go, and Hello, I Love You was actually inspired by one of my visits to Asia, where I got completely hooked on Korean dramas and pop music. Many months (and hours marathoning dramas) later, I had a book that merged my love for all things YA with my new Korean pop culture obsession.

I can’t wait to share my book with everyone! I don’t have an official summary to share, but here’s what my announcement in Publisher’s Marketplace looked like:

Katie M. Stout’s HELLO, I LOVE YOU, a teenage girl from a famous country music family, after a rough year at home, attends a boarding school in Korea only to get swept up in the K-pop fandom when she falls for a teen idol, to Kat Brzozowski at Thomas Dunne Books.

I never did shake my love of chatting books after I quit book blogging, so you can still find me on Twitter fangirling about my favorite reads. I also frequently haunt Tumblr, where I flail over things like “Sherlock,” the KPOP band CN Blue, and my only *slightly* creepy obsession with Korean actor Kim Woo Bin. Let’s be friends!

Katie M. Stout is from Atlanta, Georgia, but now lives in the north of England, where she works in social media for an international charity that sends her to fun countries like Spain, South Africa, and Singapore. When she’s not writing, you can find her drinking an unhealthy amount of Starbucks and working on her goal to fill up every page of her passport. Her debut novel, HELLO, I LOVE YOU releases in 2015 with St. Martin’s Press. Visit her on Twitter to chat books, KPOP, and all things “Sherlock.”