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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"Novel Ideas" by Patty Blount and a $50 Amazon GC Giveaway



Today we're joining with Barclay, Sourcebooks and Patty Blount to talk about her new novel THE WAY IT HURTS. Patty has graciously shared with us how she gets some of her ideas for writing, and make sure you scroll to the bottom for an excerpt of TWiH and a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Novel Ideas
by Patty Blount

The first question authors like me are usually asked is where do our ideas come from. Many authors will tell you they’re surrounded by ideas, that they have more ideas than they can ever possibly write.

It doesn’t work like that for me.

For me, ideas strike sporadically. Sure, ideas are all around us, but a compelling story has to be more than just the idea. You need spark or interest – both artistically, as the author, and professionally, as the consumer of the eventual product the idea must become. “I’ll write a small town romance.” That’s been done a thousand times – what makes this one spark?” Well, I don’t know.

Then it’s not a fully formed idea yet.

I work on my ideas, watering them, putting them in sunlight, until they take root. Take Some Boys, for example. This is a book about rape. It was inspired by the Stuebenville, Ohio rape case, which so completely angered me, I decided I wanted to write a book that did the same thing – made people so mad, they are compelled to want change.

I let the idea steep for a while. I’d read Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK and knew this book would be different. For one thing, it would have dual points of view. Hers and whose? I wasn’t about to make a rapist the hero of a novel. So that’s when the idea of making his best friend the hero took root. The more I thought about it, the more this idea appealed to me. It would be a real he said/she said story and I’d get to show the best friend’s struggle to choose a side as it unfolded. A serendipitous side effect to thinking about ideas like this is they have the time to build momentum and excitement. I couldn’t wait to start writing it.

My latest work in progress, still untitled, didn’t start out in my brain, it started in my editor’s. I’d wanted to write a sequel to Some Boys, but she saw instead, a companion story, one that still tackles rape and rape culture but from a different perspective. Jokingly, I made an off-hand remark about nothing upsetting me as much as Stuebenville did and she asked, “What about the Brock Turner case?”

Bells and whistles went off.

Oh yeah, that did make me angry. So angry, I contacted representatives and wrote letters and contributed money to RAINN.

We have the beginnings of an idea. Let’s start adding water and sunlight and see what takes root. We talked about the dual point of view technique. I love writing it and my readers seem to enjoy reading it. But who would the male POV be? When my editor suggested a sibling rather than a romantic interest, more bells and whistles rang for me.

That’s unique. It lets me, as a romance author, explore a different sort of love. The sibling relationship can be rocky, loving, erratic, and even resentful. (I should know; I have a sister.)

Okay, so we have a hero and heroine, and only the barest sketch of a plot. It needs more. I spent months letting it steep and marinate and when I reached the point when I couldn’t wait to write, I knew I had it – a fully-formed idea.

This is the part of writing that nobody gets to see. It’s also why I get my dander up when people say they won’t spend X on a book – weeks if not months of effort go into developing these ideas so your reading experience is fulfilling. We don’t just pull ideas off a roll, like paper towels, and deserve to be paid for those efforts.

The idea for my latest novel, THE WAY IT HURTS, (August 1, 2017) came from one of these slow-to-form ideas. I was at a book event in New York City a few years ago. The event chairperson hired a DJ to entertain us and this man made a huge impression on me. He had presence and swagger and just oozed confidence.

I started imagining him as a teen. Had he always been so confident? If so, how did he get that way? Instead of a DJ, I saw him as a lead singer in a rock band.

But there was no story here. All I had was a great character. So I put “Elijah” aside for a while.

In my real life, I wear many hats. Mom, wife, full-time corporate employee. Sometimes, real life likes to color outside the carefully drawn lines we have for all those roles and they get mixed together. It was during an online discussion about call-out culture that had gotten rather heated and personal that a root shot off from “Elijah”. If you’re active on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you’ve probably seen these exchanges.

Somebody – usually someone famous – says something bone-headed. And then a few thousand people that person has never met lose their collective sh*t over that comment and call out the person who said it.

War is waged, only instead of bullets and bombs, it’s with tweets, comments, and memes.

It ends in one of three ways – 1) the person being said Bone-head apologizes for the earlier bad form, 2) the person deletes his or her accounts, or 3) some completely new third party does something even more bone-headed, giving the internet a new target to strike.

I began imagining this happening to Elijah. I’d already decided he had a rock band and was Mr. Smooth and Cool. After this real-life debate about the merits of calling out people online, I decided this has to happen to him.

But it still wasn’t enough to make this idea fully-formed. I had to give Elijah more. Ironically, it was every time I thought about “more” that the answer finally came. Elijah’s this hot teen guy with a band. He plays guitar, he sings, he’s got girls literally throwing themselves at him. What “more” can I do?

I can make it real.

I can give Elijah something he’s never had before… someone who sees right through him and isn’t impressed by the swagger and the attitude and the band.

Those bells and whistles suddenly turned into sirens and I knew it was time to start writing.

While it’s true that idea seedlings are all us, it takes a lot of effort for writers to coax those little seeds into a crop of tough plants worthy of hours of your reading time.



Title: The Way It Hurts
Author: Patty Blount
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 352 pages
Format: Paperback and Digital
Print ISBN: 978-1-492632-788
Digital ASIN: B06XR172ZD
There may be two sides to every story, but sometimes there's only one way to set things right...

Music is Elijah's life. His band plays loud and hard, and he'll do anything to get them a big break. He needs that success to help take care of his sister, who has special needs. So he'd rather be practicing when his friends drag him to a musical in the next town...until the lead starts to sing.

Kristen dreams of a career on stage like her grandmother's. She knows she needs an edge to get into a competitive theater program--and being the star in her high school musical isn't going to cut it. The applause and the attention only encourage her to work harder.

Elijah can't take his eyes off of Kristen's performance, and snaps a photo of her in costume that he posts online with a comment that everybody misunderstands. It goes viral. Suddenly, Elijah and Kristen are in a new spotlight as the online backlash spins out of control. And the consequences are bigger than they both could have ever imagined because these threats don't stay online...they follow them into real life.

In Patty Blount's THE WAY IT HURTS, two teens’ quest for fame goes terribly wrong when a single tweet goes viral and the online backlash follows them into real life. Fans of Gayle Forman's If I Stay will like how main characters Elijah and Kristen bond over their music in this edgy, real world contemporary young adult read that examines the impact social media has on the lives of today's youth.

Patty Blount is offering one (1) lucky winner a $50 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Add to your “Want to Read” shelf:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes


Advanced Praise for The Way It Hurts:

"Blount writes authentically; both protagonists’ voices are distinct. The author explores the rapidly consuming world of social media and how it affects relationships online and in real life. A relevant read and must-have for all YA collections." – School Library Journal

"THE WAY IT HURTS draws our attention to the joy, heartache and confusing contradictions that arise as we try to find our place in the real world and the virtual one." – Kimberly Sabatini

“Elijah and Kristen’s personal evolutions through the novel, along with their chemistry, feel as authentic as the conflicts they face. A genuine plot filled with steady tension that will keep readers hooked.” – RT Book Reviews

“This book sensitively covers topics such as sexism, handicapping conditions, communication, and ageism. Agency is also shown when Kristen says she wants to pursue studying in a conservatory rather than continue in the band and the three young men acknowledge her wish. Talking about what bothers us rather than trying to guess another person’s feelings is demonstrated through the actions of the characters. The characters’ issues are eventually resolved through hard work and understanding, making this an interesting and informative read." – School Library Connection

Excerpt:

Elijah took my hands. “Okay, look. Maybe you’re right. Maybe these people are taking this whole battle thing way too seriously. If you’re scared, then we’ll stop. No more posts except for appearance information.”

“So no more battle of the sexes, no more make Kris scream?”

He held up his hand. “Swear to God.”

“Okay.” I sighed in relief. “You’d really do that?”

He leaned closer and repeated the vow. “I promise, Kris.”

And just like that, I forgot why I was mad at him. I couldn’t talk, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t even blink because I was afraid he’d let go. This was the part of him I adored. I clung to him for a long moment, and when his gaze drifted to my mouth, I wondered if—hoped—prayed—he’d finally kiss me.

And then, Etta’s voice suddenly spoke inside my head. “Well, my God, darling, it’s the twenty-first century. What on earth are you waiting for? You can kiss him.”

I could. Yes. Yes, I could just lift my head and lean in and kiss Elijah Hamilton like it was a normal, ordinary occurrence.

Right. Like kissing Elijah Hamilton would ever be ordinary?

I’d watched him kiss that girl at the mall and was sure I’d memorized all the steps in his routine. He’d move in, grip my face between his hands, run his thumb along my jaw, and finally, glide his arm down around my body, pulling me against his own, all the while, peeking through his lashes to see if I enjoyed it.

I wasn’t sure when I decided—even what made me decide. I just touched my lips to his and waited.

It took a second or two. But then there was a sudden, tiny squeak from him, and I felt the pulse in his wrist leap under my fingertips.

And then, his hands were in my hair, angling my head just the way he liked it, his tongue brushing against mine, so soft it might have been my imagination...except imaginary kisses were never so intense. He kissed me like I was a song he wrote, lips wrapped around every word until it hummed with hidden meaning and promise, and his hands held me the way they held his guitar—like the music would stop if he let me go.
Copyright © The Way It Hurts by Patty Blount 2017


About Patty Blount:

Native New Yorker Patty Blount is the award-winning author of several critically acclaimed internet issues novels for teens as well as a few adult contemporary romances. She is inspired to write by such greats as Judy Blume, JK Rowling, and Gayle Forman. In fact, Judy Blume is the reason Patty elected to write under her real name…so she’d appear on shelves next to her idol. Patty adores writing; she’s written everything from technical manuals to song lyrics (see THE WAY IT HURTS, coming August 2017). Patty wants you to know she loves chocolate…really, really loves chocolate.

When not crushing on actors Gilles Marini or Sam Heughan, Patty can be found sitting in traffic somewhere on the Long Island Expressway, listening to audio books or talking wildly to herself about plots and characters. Prone to falling madly in love with fictional characters, Patty suffers frequent broken hearts when they all invariably prefer the heroine to her… go figure. When she’s not writing, Patty loves to watch bad sci-fi movies and live tweet the hilarity, and scour Pinterest for ideas on awesome bookcases. Patty lives on Long Island with her family in a house that, sadly, lacks bookcases.

Connect with Patty:  Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  BookBub





Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Giveaway // SERAFINA AND THE SPLINTERED HEART by Robert Beatty

I’m hosting a giveaway in partnership with Disney-Hyperion!

The Serafina Series

Set in the magical Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Robert Beatty’s #1 New York Times best-selling series stars the fierce, resilient character of Serafina, a wild girl longing for kinship and struggling to understand her place in the world. This timeless story of finding one’s true family and best self chronicles an epic battle between good and evil and rewrites the rules of who can be a hero.
  • Book 1: Serafina and the Black Cloak
  • Book 2: Serafina and the Twisted Staff
  • Book 3: Serafina and the Splintered Heart
About the New Book

Serafina and the Splintered Heart (Serafina #3)
By Robert Beatty
In Stores July 3, 2017
Middle-Grade

The storms are coming....

Something has happened to Serafina. She has awoken into a darkness she does not understand, scarred from a terrible battle, only to find that life at Biltmore Estate has changed in unimaginable ways. Old friends do unthinkable things and enemies seem all around.

A mysterious threat moves towards Biltmore, a force without a name, bringing with it violent storms and flooding that stands to uproot everything in its path. Serafina must uncover the truth about what has happened to her and find a way to harness her strange new powers before it's too late.

With only days to achieve the impossible, Serafina fights to reclaim herself as the Guardian of Biltmore, friend of Braeden, daughter of her Pa, and heroine of the Blue Ridge Mountains and all the folk and creatures that call it home.

In the epic third installment of Robert Beatty’s #1 bestselling series, Serafina takes her rightful place among literary champions as she battles fiercely to defend all she loves and become everything that she is meant to be.

Serafina and the Splintered Heart!


One (1) winner receives:
  • Serafina and the Splintered Heart;
  • Custom Serafina and the Splintered Heart earrings!
Open to US addresses only.

*Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion.

#SerafinaBooks

About the Author

Robert Beatty lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife and three daughters. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives he was one of the pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the CTO and chairman of Narrative magazine. Visit him online atwww.robert-beatty.com.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Revisiting THE GOLDEN COMPASS by Philip Pullman and Some Exciting News!

HIS DARK MATERIALS
(The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass)

by Philip Pullman
Publisher: Yearling; 1st edition (May 22, 2001)
Goodreads 

Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal--including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.
Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want.
But what Lyra doesn't know is that to help on of them will be to betray the other...
A masterwork of storytelling and suspense, Philip Pullman's award-winning The Golden Compass is the first in the His Dark Materials series, which continues with The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.
This fall Philip Pullman will be releasing a new book in the HIS DARK MATERIALS world called THE BOOK OF DUST. To get ready for this exciting new adventure, Random House Children's sent us a copy of THE GOLDEN COMPASS for us to revisit and fall in love with all over again.


If you haven't read this series, it's just one of those stories that you HAVE to read. It will find its way into your heart alongside books like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. I'll also add the if you're a fan of audiobooks, this is one of the best audiobook productions I've ever heard, and I listen to a LOT.

The imaginative setting and the complex storyline in HIS DARK MATERIALS are absolutely fascinating, yet somehow seem almost real. I cannot tell you how badly I want to have my own daemon!! Lyra is an absolute joy to read about, and such a fierce and determined heroine, even if she is a bit of a liar (a bit?). And Lyra's world, where armored bears roam the North and people's souls take the shape of animals that exist outside their bodies, is such a wonderful and magical place to imagine. Pullman has a way of making it all seem possible. 

Lyra's journey is one of discovery. Discovery of the world(s) around her, the people she encounters, and mostly of herself. With loyal friendships, heartbreaking betrayal, epic journeys, multiple-worlds, talking bears, and lies, lies, and more lies, this series is one you will want to cherish forever. 

If you haven't read this series, now is the time!

More on THE BOOK OF DUST (from Amazon)

The Book of Dust will be a work in three parts, like His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass).
The cover of this first story will remain under wraps until a later date, but it can be revealed that the book is set ten years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-loved character Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon.

Philip Pullman offers these tantalizing details: “I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College, and in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra’s life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her twenty years later. As for the third and final part, my lips are sealed.

“So, second: is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? It’s neither. In fact, The Book of Dust is . . . an ‘equel.' It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognize, and characters they’ve met before. Also, of course, there are some characters who are new to us, including an ordinary boy (a boy we have glimpsed in an earlier part of Lyra’s story, if we were paying attention) who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.

“Third: why return to Lyra’s world? Dust. Questions about that mysterious and troubling substance were already causing strife ten years before His Dark Materials, and at the center of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organization, which wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free. The idea of Dust suffused His Dark Materials. Little by little through that story the idea of what Dust was became clearer and clearer, but I always wanted to return to it and discover more.”



Thursday, May 11, 2017

UMBERLAND by Wendy Spinale // Even better than book one!

Review by Krista


UMBERLAND
by Wendy Spinale

Age Range: 12 - 17 years
Grade Level: 7 and up
Series: Everland (Book 2)
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (May 9, 2017)

Goodreads | Amazon
What began with a reimagining of Peter Pan and Wendy now twists into a stunning version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass!

Gwen, Pete, and the others have escaped from Everland. But the safe haven they hoped to find at Alnwick Castle doesn't exist. With the Queen of England on her deathbed, Duchess Alyssa has stepped in to lead, but things have gotten worse as the cure Doc created for the Horologia virus has mutated, accelerating the disease. The only possible solution he can think of is to go back to the virus's origin: an extinct poisonous apple.
Legend has it a tree bearing the apple might be found at the center of a deadly labyrinth hidden deep within Germany. A place that no one in their right mind enters. Leaving Pete in charge of the survivors, Alyssa sets out with only her sword, her wits, and the help of Maddox Hadder, a wild boy who oversees the castle gardens. To get to the center of the maze, she'll be forced to battle monsters more terrifying than her darkest nightmares.
But can anyone truly survive the madness of the maze? And what if there's no apple to be found there?
The first book in the series (Everland) is a re-imagining of Peter Pan and it is a dark tale of the land being bomb with poisoned gas and a group of lost boys that gather to help each other, fight against Hook and hopefully find a cure. The story is told from Gwen's perspective, a girl believed to be immune and she may lead to the cure.

Umberland takes a shift on how the story continues, I found the changes to not only be unexpected but I found myself enjoying it more than the first book. It's told from several perspectives beginning just months after the first book ends. Peter, Jack and Duchess Alyssa are all on their own quests. Elisa and Jack are off to find the cure and Peter stays behind to help against the expected attach from the evil Princess Cat. This book can be read without having read the first book as it will fill you in on what previously happened.

The first half of the story takes place in the Castle as they discover new things about the virus and plot to find it's beginnings to lead them to the cure. The second half is the dangerous trek into the Labyrinth and Dark Forest. The Princess fights along side the mad Maddox fighting through poisoned gassy air, attacking eels and others that lurk within the forest to find the center, the place that hold the cure. While Hook and Jack are on the same mission, in a race to see who gets there first, and return in time to save their people. Hook and Jack fight for their mother the evil Blood Red Queen while Alyssa and Maddox fight for the countrymen, the sick and dying left back home.

Through the multiple perspectives and the thrilling settings this book is a constant movement of fast paced events with several surprises and twists. I enjoyed not knowing where the story was going to take me and the dark, grim tale of good vs evil.

 

Monday, May 1, 2017

THE TRIALS OF APOLLO: The Dark Prophecy // Giveaway Prize Pack

*Today we have partnered with Disney Hyperion to bring you this awesome giveaway prize pack!

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, Book 2)
By Rick Riordan
Published by Disney-Hyperion
In stores May 2nd, 2017
Buy the Book
Zeus has punished his son Apollo—god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more—by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo/Lester do anything about them without his powers?

After experiencing a series of dangerous—and frankly, humiliating—trials at Camp Half-Blood, Lester must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Somewhere in the American Midwest, he and his companions must find the most dangerous Oracle from ancient times: a haunted cave that may hold answers for Apollo in his quest to become a god again—if it doesn't kill him or drive him insane first. Standing in Apollo's way is the second member of the evil Triumvirate, a Roman emperor whose love of bloodshed and spectacle makes even Nero look tame. To survive the encounter, Apollo will need the help of son of Hephaestus Leo Valdez, the now-mortal sorceress Calypso, the bronze dragon Festus, and other unexpected allies—some familiar, some new—from the world of demigods. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride….
Official Links + Social Media


In honor of the title, THE DARK PROPHECY, Reagan will now make a prophecy of her own...

OMG GUYYYYSSSSS
I
can't
breathe
*dies*
*comes back to life because I still need to read this book*
*attempts to compose self*
*fails miserably*
*gives up*
okay okay okay okay okay.
So this is amazing amirite? I cried when the Heroes of Olympus ended because- Percy Jackson is my favorite son. BUT THEN HE CAME BACK *pterodactyl screech* MY LIFE JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER BECAUSE LEO IS BACK AND HE IS MY SECOND FAVORITE SON!
Okay okay okay
Also I have all of these theories clamoring around in my mind, that I can't choose a favorite. Actually, that's not true, I can.

HERE IT IS:

Okay I want us all to look back to the last book in the Heroes of Olympus series (that's Blood of Olympus for you noobs). Let's remember when it was Reyna's POV. Remember when she told the readers about her first encounter with the goddess Aphrodite and she said "You will not find love where you wish or where you hope. No demigod shall heal your heart." THE KEY WORD BEING DEMIGOD!! WHAT IF -and I could be wrong here, BUT WHAT IF- APOLLO COULD HEAL HER HEART OMG CAUSE HES NOT A DEMIGOD
OKAY OKAY OKAY
okay
okay
*trying to calm self*
okay
alright
I'm done.

Time to go wait in a dark cave with my Percy Jackson books and wait for this one to come out.



God of Poetry Prize Pack


One (1) winner receives:
  • Copy of The Dark Prophecy
  • The Trials of Apollo pen and pocket journal
*Giveaway open to US addresses only.
*Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion


***Apollo is the god of many things! To celebrate the release of The Dark Prophecy, three different prize packs will be offered in giveaways across the web inspired by Apollo’s godliness-- God of Music, God of Poetry, and God of the Sun. Collect them all!

Rick Riordan, dubbed “storyteller of the gods” by Publishers Weekly, is the author of five #1 New York Times best-selling middle grade series with millions of copies sold throughout the world: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, and the Trials of Apollo, based on Greek and Roman mythology; the Kane Chronicles, based on Ancient Egyptian mythology; and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, based on Norse mythology. Rick collaborated with illustrator John Rocco on two #1 New York Times best-selling collections of Greek myths for the whole family: Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes. Rick lives in Boston, Massachusetts with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @camphalfblood.