All posts in the ‘YA’ Category


Blog Tour: Ares by George O’Connor

ARES BlogTour

Gods at war! In George O’Connor’s new volume in the Olympians series, Ares, you’ll get a front seat in the Trojan War . . . and get to watch as the gods fight each other!  In this blog tour, you’ll see reviews of the latest volume of the New York Times Best-Selling series.

Monday, January 26
Kid Lit Frenzy

Tuesday, January 27
A Year of Reading

Wednesday, January 28
Great Kid Books

Thursday, January 29
Charlotte’s Library

Friday, January 30
Graphic Novel Resources

Saturday, January 3
Librarian’s Quest

Sunday, February 1
Musings of a Librarian

Monday, February 2
The Graphic Novelologist

Tuesday, February 3
Supernatural Snark

Wednesday, February 4
Panel Patter

Thursday, February 5
Finding Wonderland

Friday, February 6
The Book Rat

Saturday, February 7
Teen Lit Rocks

Sunday, February 8
The Brain Lair

Monday, February 9
Haunting Orchid

Tuesday, February 10
Alice Marvels

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Enter The Winner’s Trilogy Sweepstakes!

Whether you’ve met Kestrel and Arin of Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Trilogy yet or not, you’re going to want to enter our Winner’s Trilogy sweepstakes. We’re giving you the chance to win a signed hardcover of The Winner’s Curse and an advanced copy of The Winner’s Crime. But that’s not all. Remember those beautiful boxes we created for advanced copies of The Winner’s Curse? We have more, and we’re including them as part of the prize! Enter for a chance to win here.


The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski is available on 3/3/15! Pre-order your copy today!

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Save Me Blog Tour: Why I Write for Myself by Jenny Elliott

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The blog tour for Save Me is stopping by MacTeenBooks today, and we have author Jenny Elliott sharing why she writes for herself. Without further ado, here’s Jenny!

“Write for yourself” might sound like risky advice. After all, each of us is only one reader. But I’ve come to believe that writing for oneself is the best bet towards becoming a happily published author. Many people warned me that the controversial topics I tackled in Save Me would prevent my book from being traditionally published. Their arguments had merit. In the end, however, the naysayers were wrong. I’m glad I listened to my intuition, and kept the following five points in mind while writing my first novel.

So, why do I believe that you’d also do well to write for yourself, instead of for a particular audience, agent, publisher, etc.?

  1. Readers will recognize and appreciate your passion for what you’ve written and, conversely, will call you out if passion is lacking.

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Regardless of what genre you’re writing in—romance, horror, mystery, etc.—or which specific subjects within those categories, there will be readers who LOVE what you’re writing about. And true fans of any genre and/or subcategory will smell a fake a mile away, like a shark can smell a drop of blood. They will know if you’re merely pretending to care about something. And they will more than likely bite you for it.

If your greatest potential fans aren’t happy, odds are good that you, as an author, will also end up unhappy. You’ll probably wish you’d just written that novel about fill in the blank that you’d always been passionate about.

  1. A smaller percentage of pleased, loyal readers is better than a large percentage of dissatisfied or apathetic readers.

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Even if a large percentage of the reading masses turn up their noses at your stories, if you’ve written something that moves you, it will no doubt move a good number of others. There really are a lot of people out there who find the same things you do appealing. And those people will be more drawn to stories you write with verve than they would to any story you felt lukewarm about writing. That smaller percentage of “niche” readers will respond to your love for what they also love by buying your novel. And not only will they enjoy your first book, and hopefully sing your praises, but they’re also likely to stick with you for the duration of your writing career.

  1. If your tastes change, you’re more likely to gain a new loyal following by being genuine and writing about what truly moves you.

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At this point, you might be thinking that a loyal following sounds great, but that you could lose those readers if your writing tastes change. If, from the start, you’ve written from a place of passion, though, whatever comes from that true part of you will have great appeal. Your already established loyal following might not share your new taste(s), but they probably like your voice, your characterization, your plotting, and your genuineness. They might very well continue to buy your books for those reasons alone. And even if some readers bail on you, if you’re writing about things that entice you, and will therefore entice others with similar passions, then your odds of gaining a new loyal following are higher.

  1. You won’t be happy writing about and possibly having to defend a genre/subject you really don’t like.

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Especially if you plan/hope to make writing a full time career, you don’t want to be miserable while doing the work, and you probably won’t do a good job of defending anything that ends up being criticized if you don’t care about that thing in the first place. It might seem manageable at first, if you can write stories that sell well. But trends change. If you haven’t developed a loyal following, you won’t necessarily benefit from ready readers if you decide to chase a new trend. And you’ll eventually come to realize that, if you can sell well writing with a lack of passion, you could no doubt sell even better writing about something you care about.

  1. Writing for yourself, about something that really moves you, is your best shot at producing that seemingly elusive breakout novel.

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I believe that writing from a place of passion is the only way you’ll be able to stand strong in defense of your stories, and that it’s also the only way to write what all writers aspire to create—that bold and beautiful breakout novel. I highly recommend Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel, to get a feel for how to approach this goal. The bottom line is, as the adage goes, you can’t please everyone, so I suggest that you please yourself, at least first. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised and will find that by doing so–along with improving your craft, reading widely, and networking extensively—your stories will have a much better chance of rising up through the ranks.


Save Me by Jenny Elliott is available now!

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Quote Roundup: The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark

The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark came out on 1/6/15! Are you planning on picking up a copy? We’re certain the words from the book will convince you to read it.

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Share these quotes on social media with #TheBoyNextDoor, get The Boy Next Door today, and let us know which quotes are your favorite!

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From Skating to Writing, An Author Blog Post by Katie Van Ark

BoyNextDoor-BlogTour

Another title from Swoon Reads, The Boy Next Door, came out earlier this month. The Boy Next Door is about two people who are neighbors, best friends, ice skating partners, and maybe a bit more. We invited the author, Kate Van Ark, to the blog this month to share just how she went from being an ice skater to being a writer. We’re sure her time as a skater helped her write all those amazing routines! Without further ado, here’s Katie:

“Write what you know” might be old writing advice but it’s still good advice. Writing about skating routines in The Boy Next Door was a lot of fun because I’ve had so much fun making up and skating routines myself. Every minute I spent writing about skating was a way to virtually skate myself in my imagination. Additionally, there are a lot of ways that skating and writing are alike:

  • They both take tons of practice. Just like in skating, you have to master the basic elements. And just like in skating, you will be going over your “program” drafts again and again, looking for that one little subtle wrist movement edit that will perfectly set everything off.
  • They both take emotion. In skating or writing, it’s about wearing your heart on your sleeve, about getting your audience to bond with your characters.
  • They’re both better with friends. Training with a club (or a writing critique group) can push you to go farther than you would on your own and also comfort you when you fall because…
  • They both come with criticism. People are going to judge your performance. It’s up to you to choose to use their comments to make your work better. Thankfully there’s no kiss and cry for authors. :-)

The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark is available now! Buy your copy today.

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Fight for Power Blog Tour: Emmy Laybourne Interviews Eric Walters

RuleOfThreeFightPower BlogTour

For our stop on the Fight for Power blog tour, we’re sharing an interview with Emmy Laybourne, author of the acclaimed Monument 14 trilogy and upcoming standalone Sweet, and Eric Walters, author of The Rule of Three series.

EMMY: Eric, what is it about spelling out the end of the world that’s so satisfying?

ERIC: I’ve never really thought much about the world ending until I started writing this book and then it became all-consuming. Perhaps even more so because this book is actually set in my neighborhood, with the boundaries, the streets, stores and rivers all part of my ongoing world.

EMMY: I have to say I was terrifically impressed with the survivalist know-how in the story. How much of the wisdom in The Rule of Three came from your own experience?

ERIC: The nuts and bolts of daily life in this story came from walking around in my daily life. When I was writing scenes that took place at two o’clock in the morning I went out and walked around in the middle of the night. For the bridge scene, I sat beneath that bridge with my computer and wrote. I also read every book I could get on survival and talked to survivalists. My son is an engineer and he helped make sure the technical aspects of the book were true.

EMMY: The relationship between your teenage hero Adam and the retired spy Herb is one that grows from neighborly acquaintance, to mentor/mentored, to darn-near-family. Did you have anyone in your life as knowledgeable and commanding as Herb when you were growing up?

ERIC: I’ve never met anybody exactly like Herb but the man who inspired him was William Stephenson, the Canadian soldier and spymaster, who was in charge of 20,000 spies in World War II. Ian Flemingthe writer of the James Bond novelstrained under him and said that Stephenson was the “real spy” that he learned from. He was licensed to kill, was supposed to be able have piercing eyes that saw right through you, and had a photographic memory. If the scenario in my book really happened I would want him beside me.

EMMY: I’d want Stephenson at my side, too! Turning homeward, is your house prepared for a crisis? Do you have any chlorine tablets socked away for a rainy (muddy, and/or contaminated) day?

ERIC: Adam’s house is my house. We have a pool and lots of chlorine tablets, cases of bottled water and enough food to last at least a month.

EMMY: I’m impressed. OK, last question. Will there be a follow-up to The Rule of Three? And when?!

ERIC: This was written as a trilogy. This is only the start. The second book is all about—okay . . . I can’t really tell you, but it builds off the first and ends with an even bigger bang.

EMMY: Excellent. Thanks for writing a sequel—and thanks for doing this interview!


Fight for Power by Eric Walters is on sale 1/20/15. Pre-order your copy today.

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Cut Me Free Blog Tour: Why Flawed Characters Create Fantastic Stories by J. R. Johansson

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On this stop of the Cut Me Free blog tour, we are so excited to have author J. R. Johansson discussing her love of flawed characters.

Confession: I’m kind of a people watcher. People are so interesting. At my university, I took loads of psychology classes because I’m so fascinated by what makes people tick. I’m a firm believer in the idea that no one is one hundred percent good or bad, we’re all somewhere in between and I love seeing where those gray areas take us.

Most people who follow me online, or have even met me in passing in person, know that I’m kind of a freak about the TV show SUPERNATURAL.

Because…hot guys.

I mean, come on, do I really have to say anything more?

And so I thought, I should do a post combining three different things I love.

LOVE #1 – I’ll talk about why flawed characters are awesome.

LOVE #2 – I’ll include SUPERNATURAL references because…I want to. (+ hello flawed characters)

LOVE #3 – GIFs!

Yes. Excellent plan. Away we go.

And when I say flawed characters, I mean all characters. Every character should have its flaws, but let’s get more specific. I want to focus in on main characters. In SUPERNATURAL, that’s Dean and Sam. They’re beautifully flawed. It’s easy to make your villain flawed, but why do we love the protagonists who are kind of a mess themselves? Would it be better for them to be perfect? No. No, it would not. That would be very boring.

One reason that flawed characters are so appealing is because they are so much more realistic. Real people have flaws. All of us. Yes…even you.

What makes for good reading, good TV shows, movies—good entertainment in general—has a lot to do with our ability to relate and to understand the characters. We want them to try and fail a lot, like we do in real life. I literally have lost count of the amount of times Dean and Sam have saved each others lives/brought each other back from the dead…that’s a whole lot of failure.

But we want the characters to fail, both because they are up against something big and also because their flaws often make them get in their own way. We want them to have room to grow and something we can root for. Know what I mean?

In my own books, I’m all about the flawed main characters. In CUT ME FREE, Charlotte is as cold and distant as they come. She shuts out people deliberately and she definitely has her reasons. She trusts no one and she won’t even let people near enough to touch her. All of this comes from the deep pain she has experienced as an abused child. I dug deep into the psychology of victims and I wanted to really show that being a victim doesn’t make you weak. With Charlotte, her past is her demon, but what she has been able to live through and overcome is also the root of her strength. She is without doubt the strongest character I’ve ever written. I want to be her when/if I ever grow up.


At the same time, Charlotte’s flaws cause her to make mistakes throughout the book. Sometimes the same mistakes again and again. In SUPERNATURAL, Sam and Dean are loyal to a fault. Even when they realize that they might be making the wrong choice. They’ll choose each other over anything else, which while admirable, has also kind of imploded the show’s world a few times. People are stubborn. We don’t like to change and it occasionally takes life smacking us a few times before we see what we’re doing wrong. I try to be true to that, as much as my main characters may not appreciate it.

I’m also a firm believer in surrounding the main character with people who have strengths that will challenge that main character’s specific flaws. In SUPERNATURAL, the Winchester brothers are each others greatest strengths and also their greatest weaknesses. It’s one of the few areas in which they are vulnerable.

In CUT ME FREE, the characters around Charlotte want to support her and help her. One of her biggest flaws is her inability to rely on or trust anyone else. Those around her push her and then when she eventually learns to rely on and trust them…it is so much more rewarding.

Read Cut Me Free and let me know if you agree. Either way, I’ve now given you an entire post of SUPERNATURAL gifs. I know how to start off your weekend right.

You’re welcome.


Cut Me Free by J. R. Johansson comes out on 1/27/15. Pre-order your copy today!

 

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What’s Your “Winner’s Curse?”

WinnersCurse BlogTour

The “Winner’s Curse” is an economics term that means you’ve gotten what you wanted . . . but at too high a price. In honor of Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s Trilogy, bloggers talk about their own personal “Winner’s Curse!”

Monday, January 12
The Hiding Spot

Tuesday, January 13
Curling Up with a Good Book

Wednesday, January 14
Ticket to Anywhere

Thursday, January 15
The Windy Pages

Friday, January 16
Reading with ABC

Saturday, January 17
Carina Books

Sunday, January 18
Bewitched Bookworms

Monday, January 19
Michelle and Leslie’s Book Picks

Tuesday, January 20
Novel Sounds

Wednesday, January 21
Two Chicks on Books

Thursday, January 22
Green Bean Teen Queen

Friday, January 23
Shae Has Left the Room

Saturday, January 24
Andi’s ABCs

Sunday, January 25
The Starry-Eyed Revue

Monday, January 26
Falling for YA

Tuesday, January 27
Rachel Silberman Reads

Wednesday, January 28
The Irish Banana

Thursday, January 29
YA Bibliophile

Friday, January 30
Miss Print

Saturday, January 31
Bookish Antics

Sunday, February 1
Adventures of a Book Junkie

Monday, February 2
The Book Rat

Tuesday, February 3
WhoRu Blog

Wednesday, February 4
Hello Chelly

Thursday, February 5
Alice Marvels

Friday, February 6
On Starships and Dragonwings

Saturday, February 7
The Book Cellar

Sunday, February 8
Mod Podge Books

Monday, February 9
Rainy Day Ramblings

Tuesday, February 10
A Book and a Latte

Wednesday, February 11
Supernatural Snark

Thursday, February 12
Gone with the Words

Friday, February 13
Step Into Fiction

Saturday, February 14
Belle of the Literati

Sunday, February 15
My Bookish Ways

Monday, February 16
Addicted 2 Novels

Tuesday, February 17
Reflections

Wednesday, February 18
The Best Books Ever

Thursday, February 19
Forever YA

Friday, February 20
Winter Haven Books
Saturday, February 2
My Book Muse

Sunday, February 22
No BS Book Reviews

Monday, February 23
Ex Libris
Tuesday, February 24
The Eater of Books

Wednesday, February 25
Fiktshun

Thursday, February 26
yAdult Review

Friday, February 27
Teen Lit Rocks

Saturday, February 28
The Book Addict’s Guide

Sunday, March 1
Alexa Loves Books

Monday, March 2
Great Imaginations

Tuesday, March 3
BookHounds YA

Wednesday, March 4
Bumbles and Fairy Tales

Thursday, March 5
The Brain Lair

Friday, March 6
Icey Books

Saturday, March 7
Bibliophila, Please

Sunday, March 8
Tripping Over Books

Monday, March 9
The Reader Bee

Tuesday, March 10
A Reading Nurse

Wednesday, March 11
Haunting Orchid

Thursday, March 12
Manga Maniac Café

Friday, March 13
Swoony Boys Podcast

Saturday, March 14
Novel Novice

Sunday, March 15
Birth of a New Witch

Monday, March 16
Not Yet Read

Tuesday, March 17
Paperback Princess

Wednesday, March 18
Working for the Mandroid

Thursday, March 19
Papercuts

Friday, March 20
YA Romantics

Saturday, March 2
Esther’s Ever After


The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is available now. Buy your copy today!

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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Blog Tour: Cut Me Free by J. R. Johansson

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Cut Me Free by J. R. Johansson is a fast-paced psychological thriller about a horrifically abused girl who has fled her tormentors only to come face-to-face with more danger. To learn more about Cut Me Free, check out the blog tour, where there will be reviews, giveaways, guest posts, and more!

Friday, January 9
MacTeenBooks

Tuesday, January 13
Curling Up With a Good Book

Wednesday, January 14
YA Interrobang

Thursday, January 15
Dana Square

Friday, January 16
My Book Muse

Monday, January 19
Fandom Monthly Magazine

Wednesday, January 21
Books for YA

Thursday, January 22
ForeverBookish

Friday, January 23
The Life & Times of a Book Addict

Monday, January 26
A Dream Within a Dream

Tuesday, January 27
Fiction Freak


Cut Me Free by J. R. Johansson comes out on 1/27/15. Pre-order your copy today!

 

Cut Me Free

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Blog Tour: The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

GhostsOfHeaven-BlogTour

From 2014 Printz award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick comes a bold, genre-bending epic that chronicles madness, obsession, and creation, from the Paleolithic era through the Witch Hunts and into the space-bound future. To learn more about The Ghosts of Heaven, check out the blog tour, where there will be reviews, giveaways, guest posts, and more!

Monday, January 5
The Midnight Garden

Tuesday, January 6
ExLibris

Wednesday, January 7
Teen Lit Rocks

Thursday, January 8
Fat Girl Reading

Friday, January 9
Step Into Fiction

Monday, January 12
The Book Wars

Tuesday, January 13
Miss Print

Thursday, January 15
Ticket to Anywhere

Friday, January 16
Alice Marvels


The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick is on sale January 6, 2015! Pre-order your copy today.

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Want more?

  • Learn more about Marcus Sedgwick’s books here.
  • Visit Marcus Sedgwick’s website, ‘like’ him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.
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