Macarons and More in The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

Tags

,

girlatmidnightI am super psyched to be taking part in the blog tour for Melissa Grey’s The Girl at Midnight, for a few reasons:

1) I absolutely loved this book. I know I’m not really a Fantasy person, and when I am it’s just about always High Fantasy, but this was such a massive exception for me. I just adored everything about it, especially the characters, chemistry, and banter.

2) Melissa is my homegirl, yo.

3) By homegirl, I mean “macaron buddy with whom I occasionally do absurdly delicious lunches at places like Ladurée,” so obviously I jumped at the opportunity to feature a post about the foods that appear in The Girl at Midnight, which you can read below!

One of the recurring comments I’ve been hearing from early readers of The Girl at Midnight runs along the lines of “This book made me hungry!” What can I say? I love describing food. Sometimes I get the munchies when I write and it shows. Here are a few of the delicious treats mentioned in the first book of The Girl at Midnight trilogy:

1) Taiwanese pork buns – While shopping for (aka stealing) a birthday present for her adoptive mother, Echo helps herself to one of these soft, savory delights. The great thing about these is that they’re easy to eat when you’re running from the cops. You can find a great recipe to make your own here.

2) Macarons – Not to be confused with its coconutty cousin, the macaroon. Macarons are incredibly light, cheerful little confections that are almost too beautiful to eat. Echo procures a box of these to trade at the market for some much needed supplies. The Avicen with whom she lives operate on a barter economy and a box of these beauties from Ladurée is worth it’s weight in gold.

3) Whoopie pies – The Avicen are known for their sweet tooth and the Ala, Echo’s adoptive mom and a member of the Avicen’s Council, is no exception. She likes keeping cookies in her home and she has a plate on hand when she introduces Echo to the firebird. This is a pretty swell recipe. Play with the fillings for extra fun.

4) Chocolate eclairs, cream puffs, and tea at Maison Bertaux – Everyone has a favorite place they like to go with their besties and Echo is no exception. After a robbery well done, Echo and her best friend Ivy head over to London’s Maison Bertaux (which is a very real place) for their usual celebratory orders: An eclair and peppermint tea for Ivy and and a cream puff and a pot of Earl Grey for Echo.

5) Bacon waffles – What’s better than bacon next to a waffle? Bacon *inside* of a waffle. Echo makes this breakfast of champions for her friends right before they embark on a very important mission. Bacon waffles fortify the soul is not the stomach. Find out how to make your own here.

GIRLMIDNIGHT_5_6

Pub. Date: April 28, 2015

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 368

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, Indiebound, Powell’s, Goodreads

ORDER A SIGNED COPY FROM BOOKS OF WONDER

For readers of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and BoneThe Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants … and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

Praise for THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT:

“Grey’s energetic debut offers a strong protagonist…[and the] well-built world, vivid characters, and perfect blend of action and amour should have readers eagerly seeking the sequel.” — Kirkus Reviews, Starred

 “Sparks fly…This first novel will please fans of Cassandra Clare and Game of Thrones watchers with its remarkable world building; richly developed characters…[and] a breathtaking climax that…cannot come soon enough!””—Booklist starred review

“Inventive, gorgeous, and epic—Grey dazzles in her debut.” — Danielle Paige, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die

“A stunning debut. Equal parts atmosphere and adventure … positively divine.” – Victoria Schwab, author of A Darker Shade of Magic

About Melissa:

Melissa Grey was born and raised in New York City. She wrote her first short story at the age of twelve and hasn’t stopped writing since. After earning a degree in fine arts at Yale University, she traveled the world, then returned to New York City where she currently works as a freelance journalist. To learn more about Melissa, visit melissa-grey.com and follow @meligrey on Twitter.

WebsiteBlog | Twitter  | Instagram | Pinterest |  Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a signed Hardcover of THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT! US Only. Click here to enter!

Cover Reveal: Finding Center by Katherine Locke!

Tags

, , ,

Cover reveals are not something I do often, but oh man, have you read Second Position by Katherine Locke? Guys, this book is so good – it’s the incredibly rare special, lyrical, beautiful, non-trope-y NA that deals with issues and character and love and romance and tension and PASSION in such a unique and different way, and the main characters, Aly and Zed, are such real people, I’m just ecstatic to know there’s more of them coming.

“Where?” you ask. Why, in the sequel to Second Position, of course! It’s called Finding Center, and I’m revealing its beautiful cover riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight….

NOW.

CARINA_0815_9781459290105_Finding-Center

FINDING CENTER
August 17th, 2015

Zed and ballet are my two greatest loves.

But a tragic accident ripped them from Aly’s life six years ago and it took all her strength to get them back. She’s had a long road to recovery and has returned, dancing full-time for The District Ballet Company and carrying Zed’s child. But Aly is slipping. Each day becomes a fight to keep her career from crumbling under the weight of younger talent, the scrutiny of the public eye, and the limitations of her ever-changing body. A fight she fears she’s losing.

I’m scared Aly is broken to her core. 

Zed recognizes signs, but he doesn’t know how to fix her. The accident left him with his own demons, and while he wants nothing more than to take care of Aly, it’s getting harder the further she spirals. When Aly’s life is threatened and Zed’s injuries prevent him from saving her, he’s never felt so useless, so afraid he is no longer capable of being the man Aly and their child needs.

With new life comes new hope. And with their fractured lives already hanging by a thread, Aly and Zed must discover if they have what it takes—both together and apart—to rebuild and carry on.

Book Two of the District Ballet Company

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25265879-finding-center

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Center-District-Ballet-Company-ebook/dp/B00WAQ942C/

How gorgeous is that?? Especially with the other two covers?? HI, BEAUTIFULS.

The District Ballet Company Series
Turning Pointe (District Ballet Company #0.5—free novella)
Second Position (District Ballet Company #1)
Finding Center (District Ballet Company #2)

AuthorPhoto1Katherine Locke lives and writes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction to chai lattes. Her dayjobs always vary, but in the past she’s worked in nuclear weapons abolition activism, lead poisoning prevention and education, and food safety programs at a mushroom farm. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, and when she’s not reading, she’s tweeting about reading and writing. She secretly believes most books are fairytales in disguise. Her debut novel, SECOND POSITION, arrived April 2015 from Carina Press.

You can find her online at @bibliogato on Twitter and KatherineLockeBooks.com

PS: Wanna win an ebook of Second Position? Leave a comment about the cover of Finding Center and I’ll pick a winner to buy a copy!

Top Ten Books I Recently Added to my TBR

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Happy Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of the Broke and the Bookish! Today’s topic is Top Ten Books I Recently Added to My TBR, which seemed easy enough, so, without further ado!

The Pragmatist by Stephanie Kuehn. The deal for this one was just announced last week, and is any explanation really necessary for why I’d add another Steph Kuehn book to my TBR? I should certainly hope not.

A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai. I actually don’t even know if this one is NA or straight-up erotica, but when my friend Sara Taylor Woods responds this strongly and positively to a hot romance, it automatically goes on my list.

Lilies of the Bowery by Lily R. Mason. It was super awesome this week to see my upcoming book, Under the Lights, included in an AfterEllen post on 5 Lesbian/Bi YAs they’re looking forward to. I knew the other three books, but this one was new to me, so on to my TBR it went!

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman. Every now and again I ask on Twitter what ARCs people would punch someone/thing for, and this week, this one got a mention. I’d never heard of it before, but a quick look at the synopsis revealed I need this series opener in my life ASAP.

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone. Yeah, I’m not gonna lie – it’s pretty obvious why I added this one.

A Hidden Affinity by Audrey Coulthurst. A) Audrey is a friend of mine and she is awesome and I’ve heard from every source who’s read this manuscript that the recently sold book is awesome as well, but B) IT IS ABOUT PRINCESSES WHO FALL IN LOVE AND WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE BETTER.

Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen. Jim of YA Yeah Yeah mentioned this one to me, and given I very rarely see YAs about Orthodox Jews, this was an obvious add.

The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt. Yay for another friend with a new book deal whose work I’ve really been looking forward to reading!

The Good Girls by Teresa Mummert. I’ve never read anything by Teresa Mummert before, but I think it was Megan Erickson who RTed one of the teasers for this upcoming f/f NA into my feed, and I was immediately sold. I mean, I was immediately sold at “f/f NA,” but, yeah.

Paperweight by Meg Halston. It’s always important to me to hear about issues covered in YA well by people who’d know, so when a friend who’s battled an eating disorder picked this as a title that covers it well, it instantly jumped on my TBR. Just got an ARC, so I look forward to hopefully reading it soon!

A Giveaway In Honor of the Awesomeness of Girls <3

Tags

, , , , , ,

Here are things you should know about the characters I love to write:

They are flawed, and they are real, and they are strong not because they wield weapons but because they survive and thrive in a world that doesn’t always feel meant for them. They might suck at communicating, or caretaking, or even basic human decency, but hell, so do I. And I want to write characters who feel like me, and I want read characters who feel like me. I want to read characters who screw up, who are sex-positive but make mistakes in that arena too, who value friends but don’t always recognize when those relationships are toxic, who are jealous, who know sometimes they look good, who know sometimes they don’t, who are people people people above all else people.

A few things are happening for me right now in book life:

1. As you may have seen, I sold another book, called Just Visiting, and it’s one I really, really love, and yes, it’s about two girls who are wonderful best friends and also sometimes suck at it. In case you missed the full description, it’s up on Goodreads now. It’s a fun book, but it’s also a little heavier, and a little darker, and a lot less romance-focused (though there is definitely romance), and it’s really not like my other books, and I hope you guys like it.

2. Last Will and Testament is on sale for 99 cents through April 8 (and won’t be again in the foreseeable future), so if you haven’t bought it yet and you’d like to, now’s an excellent time! (And I even have a pretty little graphic made by, duh, Maggie Hall.)

LWaT99cSale(1)Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Smashwords | Kobo

3. Under the Lights is somewhat out in the world! A few trusted bloggers have already received ARCs, and they should be available for wider distribution very, very soon! It’s been really fun sending swag packs all over the world to those of you who’ve preordered, so, reminder that if you preorder, I’ll happily send you one too!

But OK, enough about that! Those are my books, and I’m psyched about them, but I am also verrrrry psyched to talk about some other books I love, and which I’m giving away along with some awesome stuff. CHECK IT OUT, (bearing with my horrible phone photography):

*This particular giveaway is US only because the shipping costs for this would be absolutely horrific. However, if you’re international, you can enter for the bookmarks and the ebook of your choice from any of the titles mentioned below (including The Start of Me and You and Black Iris).

IMG_1967(1) FullSizeRender IMG_2526 IMG_1974

So, what are you looking at?

1. A hardcover of Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass, a contemporary that released last year and which I loved, about both the magic and toxicity of best friend groups in high school and trying to be things we aren’t to please each other, and how we sometimes think we’re breaking molds when we’re actually just fitting ourselves into different ones.

2. A signed ARC of Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu, one of my favorite new contemp authors. This book comes out in May and it is an utterly fantastic homage to New York City and complicated relationships and everything Corey does so freaking well.

3. A signed hardcover of Open Road Summer by Emery Lord, which would look utterly lovely next to a hardcover of her brand spanking new release (March 31), The Start of Me and You, which you should obviously be buying. Reagan may have her issues, but the friendship she has with Dee is nothing short of inspiring, I love how the two of them support each other and help each other grow.

4. A signed paperback of Last Will and Testament, my New Adult novel with a maybe not-so-likable heroine, but one who definitely gets things done and has some fabulous friends, though they may all be works-in-progress.

5. An Unteachable bookmark signed by Leah Raeder, because Maise is one of my all-time favorite NA heroines, who knows what she wants and goes for it, and is sexy as hell and knows it, and above all, makes her own fate.

6. A The Art of Lainey bookmark signed by Paula Stokes, because Lainey is a strong, passionate, real girl who gets felled by the same kind of crap that screws us all, but takes matters into her own hands to take control of her life.

7. A Behind the Scenes bookmark signed by me, because why not.

8. An Unlikable Heroine IRL T-shirt (available in either M or L), which, sorry, this is a terrible picture of, but I forgot to take a decent one before I left for work today, and this is what was on my phone. Anyway, it’s a freaking great shirt, designed by Leah Raeder (author of the aforementioned Unteachable and the upcoming and utterly excellent Black Iris), and very limited numbers exist in this universe!

So. What do you have to do to win this awesomeness? I’m kinda done bothering with Rafflecopter, so I’m just gonna tell you what I want, and when I pick a winner, I’m just going to look for myself to confirm you’ve done at least four of these five things:

1. Sign up for Courtney Summers’ Thunderclap #ToTheGirls

2. Follow at least three of the authors mentioned above (including Courtney Summers) on Twitter and/or Facebook and/or Instagram and/or Tumblr.

3. Leave a review for literally any book authored by a woman on Amazon and/or B&N. Doesn’t have to be one of the ones mentioned above, but it does have to be on one of those two sites, and at least one of the POVs of the book has to be female. (Transgirl POV included, of course, which in my mind goes without saying, but just in case it does need to be said.)

4. Share this giveaway on some social media site. I don’t care which one as long as it links back here!

5. Leave a comment below telling me which of the above you’ve done and a book authored by a woman that you’re looking forward to in 2015.

I’ll announce a winner on April 16, once Passover is done and I can eat doughnuts again. Thank you in advance for being awesome <3

JUST VISITING is Going to Be Ironically Permanent!

Tags

So, you know how I sold three books to Patricia Riley at Spencer Hill Contemporary a couple of years ago, and one of them is out (“And you can buy it!” she said shamelessly), and one of them is coming out in June, (“And you can preorder it!” she said shamelessly), and the third is coming at some point in the future (“And can be added on Goodreads!” she said shamelessly)? And you know how I absolutely love Patricia Riley? And you see that blog post title?

(You have probably now figured out where I’m going with this.)

Just Visiting is going to be published by Spencer Hill Contemporary!

Guys, I am excited about this. I love this book. I don’t even know how to tell you how much. I can only tell you that this book freaking clawed its way out into the world, shredding my heart into a billion pieces in the process. I wrote this book because I felt like I kept seeing YAs about frenemies over and over and over (bear in mind this was 2012-3 and there have been some really fantastic friendships in YA books since then, but at the time, man, I was feeling really low on this front), and I just wanted to write something about two friends who wholly support and love each other, even if their pairing doesn’t make sense, even if they’re as different as people can be, even if they have secrets.

I sat on this book through over a year of hearing “We need books that show sex-positivity and consent and agency and contraception” and thought, “I have one I really, really wish I could show you.”

I sat on this book through over a year of hearing “We need diverse characters who aren’t cookie cutter, who aren’t stereotypes,” and thought, “I have one I really, really wish I could show you.”

I wrote a post called “The First Time I Didn’t Write a Me,” about the experience of finally pushing past my own insecurities and fears of writing diversity as a cis-het white lady to create Victoria, and thought, “I really, really want you to meet her.”

I listened to my CPs and Fabulous Agent Lana Popovic tell me how wonderful it was, to my husband walk in to our apartment the day he started reading and say, “I get it. I know you said that this feels like a different level than Behind the Scenes for you, and I didn’t really know what you meant. Then I started it and I got it immediately.”

A year later, it was really, really hard to think that Just Visiting might actually be…just visiting. But I’d already sold three books to Spencer Hill and I thought “Okay, that’s already a ton with one publisher; I should try something else.” But something else didn’t quite work, and somewhere along the way I gave it to Patricia to read, just for fun.

And because we are extremely professional, as we have proven, five minutes of texting turned “Here’s something for you to read when you’re bored this weekend” into “Lauren* and I both love this and need this and can this be an official sub?”

*Lauren being Associate Editor Lauren Meinhardt, who is utterly fantastic, just FYI.

So, that’s the long-winded story of how I secretly found a new Book of My Heart even after selling the older one, and now both are gonna be published, both by Spencer Hill, both edited by Lauren and Patricia, and basically, I’m just really damn excited about it.

And I’m really, really glad I get to show you. I hope you guys love this book as much as I do, and you’ll find out soon enough, because that November 17, 2015 pub date I’ve been leaving up on Goodreads for My Name is Everett? Has secretly belonged to Just Visiting for a while. (MNIE will still be published, but hopefully in the spring of 2016.)

P.S. Just Visiting also happens to have a beautiful cover already, compliments of none other than Maggie Hall, and I can’t wait to show you that either!

Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of the Broke and the Bookish! I’m not the most consistent poster of these, but I can never resist talking about my TBR. In this case, since my ARC shelf is pretty much full to bursting, I think it’s safe to that’ll be feeding my spring TBR pretty well! Without further ado, here is that TBR!

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – I have heard nothing but great things about this debut, and I’m endlessly amused by the “wedding” invitation I have pinned to the swag board over my desk.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen – I must cop to not having read nearly enough Dessen in my lifetime, but this book is one I’m really, really excited for, and the ARC’s been burning a whole my in my shelf for months. Definitely bringing this one on Passover vacation with me!

Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally – Yeah, I’ll pretty much read anything by Miranda Kenneally sight unseen, so I’m excited to have gotten this ARC! Especially since she and I will be paneling together in August, so if you’re in the DC area and you’re as big a Miranda fan as I am, come say hi on the 6th at One More Page in Arlington ;)

Immaculate by Katelyn Detweiler – That premise, man. How could I not? I’ve been fascinated by immaculate conception fiction ever since I read a James Patterson book with that theme a bajillion years ago, and I’m excited that this will be my first YA of the sort.

Anything Could Happen by Will Walton – LGBTQ YA is seriously on a roll this year, and this one looks completely adorable, plus I have it on good authority it quite nails the coming out experience. I know people are all “Let’s have some LGBTQ YA that isn’t about coming out!” buuuuut considering coming out is still pretty damn relevant, I’m excited to see good new stories in that vein get added to the canon too.

Brookyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff – this one’s not an ARC, but rather a published book I’m afraid Katie Locke will kill me if I don’t read. And speaking of Katie Locke:

Second Position by Katherine Locke – I mean…it’s Katie Locke. So.

Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes – And by similar logic, it’s Paula Stokes, and it’s a psychological thriller. Too much goodness to be ignored.

The Good Girls by Theresa Mummert – Uhhh, yeah, it’s f/f NA, which means it automatically jumps to the top of the queue when it releases on April 6!

Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas – Another one I’ve heard great things about and been looking forward to for a while, and which I hear has excellent dual-POV.

Oh, and two bonus entries, just because bragging is my absolute favorite pastime:

Map of Fates by Maggie Hall and Cam Girl by Leah Raeder. Yeah, those are the books I’m beta-ing this spring. I know, I hate me too.

What’s on your spring TBR?

How to (Effectively) Show Support

Here’s something I’ve noticed a lot – people want to help. People have good intentions. People want to show support. But they don’t really know how. They don’t know why something matters, or how to get mileage out of it.

Here’s what else I’ve noticed a lot – people really love to rage. And that’s important; there are issues that require it. And raging does change things.

BUT.

There is a really big difference between being a person who only rages and a person who both rages and makes a real move for change. And maybe people don’t realize that. Maybe they don’t get how. But I’m tired of seeing raging with no support counterbalance, and I’m tired of people thinking raging is enough without backing it up in a meaningful way. I’m tired of people not realizing how limiting the effects are when all you do is talk about who and what is doing things wrong and not who and what is doing things right.

(That’s how this post came about, by the way. And yeah, I’m very proud of it.)

If you (rightfully) rage about a lack of racial diversity in the industry, talk about racially diverse books that are great. It’s how you get people reading racially diverse books. That’s how you get people buying racially diverse books. It’s how you actually effect change.

If you (rightfully) rage about the amount or quality of QUILTBAG books in the industry, talk about QUILTBAG books that are great. It’s how you get people reading QUILTBAG books. That’s how you get people buying QUILTBAG books. It’s how you actually effect change.

If you (rightfully) rage about poor depictions of mental health in books in the industry, talk about mental health books that are great. It’s how you get people finding the ones they need, and making sure the ones that do it right rise to the top.

(And, regarding the above, if, like me, you are lucky enough to be in a position to recommend such books loudly and widely on a major blog, don’t guess what you think is good – read the damn books and/or listen to what people in those marginalized groups are saying about those books. I never recommend a depiction of a marginalized person without a positive review from someone who shares that marginalization. It’s part of why blogging takes me a crap-ton of time, but as with anything else, if you’re not doing your research, you have no business doing this.)

If you (rightfully) rage about whitewashed covers, talk about non-whitewashed covers you think are great. And BUY NON-WHITEWASHED COVERS. If you don’t have the means to buy them, request them from your library or at least talk about how much you love them publicly. MAKE THOSE COVERS PROMINENT. Yelling without backup is yelling into a void. Does that suck? Yes. Should it really need to be explained why racially accurate and diverse representation on covers is necessary? No. But are you really going to make a difference if you cannot effectively prove that they sell? No. Your rage alone isn’t going to do that.

Another thing you can do, by the way, is support initiatives to increase the amount of diverse stock photography. As someone with a Korean-American lesbian MC in one book and a Filipina-American MC in another, both with covers that used stock photo because neither I nor my publisher was in a position to do a photo shoot, I cannot possibly express how freaking difficult it is to find the kinds of photos that do diverse characters justice. (Seriously, read the story of the creation of my cover of Under the Lights here. It was maddening.) Here’s one I supported on Kickstarter, and if you can’t kick in the money, just sharing it on social media helps. JUST MAKING PEOPLE AWARE THAT A HUGE PART OF THE ISSUE IS STOCK PHOTO SITES BECAUSE MOST COVERS DON’T GET A PHOTO SHOOT HELPS. Because that is something smaller that can change.

If you are (rightfully) upset that you feel like people devalue self-publishing when there are great self-published books out there, TAKE THE TIME TO RECOMMEND THOSE GREAT BOOKS. (And buy them, obviously.)

If you are (rightfully) upset that you feel like people devalue small presses when there are great small press books out there, TAKE THE TIME TO RECOMMEND THOSE GREAT BOOKS. (And buy them, obviously.)

It is important to talk about what the publishing industry does wrong, but it’s also important to talk about what it does right, not because people doing it well deserve a cookie but because examples of what to aim for are key. Visuals of what’s right to people who may not get it are key. Proving that these things can and do sell, and making a difference with numbers, is key. And yeah, you know what? Supporting the people doing it right is important too. It’s a tough-as-hell industry, and “Hey, you did this thing is really well” is a life-changing thing for an author. There is one fan letter and one review I cling to constantly when I’m having doubts about whether I should be doing this at all.

Also, it’s a cool and helpful thing to be vocal about diverse aspects that may not be glaringly obvious from a book’s cover, premise, or blurb. When Tess Sharpe’s fabulous Far From You came out, it wasn’t glaringly obvious that in addition to being a terrific depiction of chronic pain, it was also one of the best depictions of bisexuality in the history of YA, and also among the first YAs to actually use the word bisexual in a character’s self-ID. But fans spread that loud and clear to the people who needed to know it. I’m fascinated by how often I find people who still don’t know that I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson has a major gay romance, or Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld a major lesbian one. And did you know that both the MC and LI of Sarah Ockler’s The Book of Broken Hearts are Latin@? Or that the MC of Dirty Wings by Sarah McCarry is Vietnamese? Or that Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas, Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu, How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr, My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter, and All the Rage by Courtney Summers all have interracial central relationships?

I didn’t, until I read them. But if you didn’t know, now you do.

If this was a little tl;dr for you, here’s a cheat sheet:

1. Recommend the crap out of books doing things right.

2. Buy/library request/galley request obviously diverse covers. (If it helps, I’ve put in green books I read and loved.) Some examples: The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds, Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed, This Side of Home by Renee Watson, Pinned by Sharon G. Flake, Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz, Endangered by Lamar Giles, Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley, Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, About a Girl by Sarah McCarry, Of Metal and Wishes and Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine, Hollywood Witch Hunter by Valerie Tejeda, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler, Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham, The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, Most Likely to Succeed by Jennifer Echols, The Violet Hour by Whitney Miller, Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst, pretty much anything by Coe Booth, and, yeah, my Under the Lights, too.

3. Promote other people’s promotions. Some great things you could share include:

Also, some random ways to be supportive to authors in general you may not realize:

  • Leaving even a one-word review with your Goodreads rating makes a huge difference because it’s clear you’re rating based on having read the book. You might not realize quite how many people don’t.
  • Reviewing on your blog and/or Goodreads is great, but it all gets around to the same people in the YA/NA community. Crossposting that review (again, even just a few words!) to Amazon reaches a far huger audience. It also helps when bloggers take into account how many reviews you have on a published book before deciding to feature you. (Something I only recently learned happens!)
  • Tell them when you love their books! I promise, it is never annoying to send a tweet or an email that says “I loved your book.” They can’t always answer, but they always appreciate it. You have no idea the power it can have to turn an author’s day around, or make them keep going when they’re having a tough time.
  • Request books from the library. Seriously, if you can afford to buy them, this is still a huge help – libraries do buy them. Getting a book into a library system that wasn’t previously carrying it is noooo small thing, I promise.
  • Fan art. Oh my God, I cannot tell you anything that makes an author’s day more than fan art. Seriously.
  • Promote their events! Even if you can’t go, just RTing when author will be in a city in which you have Twitter followers is a great and helpful thing. But major bonus points if you do show up ;)

Sooo, hey, that post turned long. Clearly I have a lot of Thoughts. Shocking, I know. But if you made it this far, thanks for reading, and thank you in advance for supporting the good stuff.

NA Author Leah Raeder Talks Black Iris, Queerness, Neurodiversity, and Unlikable Heroines + a signed ARC Giveaway!

Tags

, ,

Here are some things I love: Great books. Great writing. Psychological thrillers. Dark contemporary. Brutal honesty. Kissing. More-than-kissing. Romances between guys and girls. Romances between girls and girls. Characters who are real and flawed and struggling and maybe a little atypical. Books that make you think. Books that feel necessary. Books that fill a major hole in what already exists for that category.

So, today, I’m featuring a book that is every single one of those things. Black Iris by Leah Raeder is an intense and sexy (and intensely sexy) psychological thriller about a girl named Laney and her dark journey toward both revenge and self-acceptance. Leah has made no secret of the fact that this is a very personal book for her, and I know (and know reviews will show) that others are bound to feel the same way about it. As such, I pried deeply into the unicorn brain behind the book for about as personal an interview as you’ll ever see.

And, bonus: there’s a giveaway attached – someone will win a signed ARC of Black Iris, and I think it’s pretty obvious you alllllll want in on that. See details at the bottom of the post for how to enter, and I’ll pick a winner at noon EST on Friday, March 6!

But first, here’s the official info about the book:

11032-9781476786421It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn’t worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She’s not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it’s time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She’s going to show them all.

Pre-order it here: AmazonBarnes & Noble • Google PlayIndieBoundiTunes Powell’sSimon & Schuster

Sounds pretty freaking great, right? Spoiler alert: it is. Now, please welcome* to the blog author Leah Raeder.

*jk she already pretty much lives here

Let’s just address the obvious major question right off the bat. You’re pretty outspoken about – well, everything, but let’s go with the sad state of f/f lit. Why do you think it’s so lacking, both quantitatively and qualitatively?

God, I could write a book on this subject. I think the main factors in the dearth of f/f books out there are that romance fiction skews heavily heteronormative, and a majority of its readers are straight women who read mainly m/f and, sometimes, m/m. A lot of romance readers consume novels rapidly and seek out certain tropes/kinks (biker gangs, BDSM, 18th Century Scottish rapists, etc.), and so you have a situation analogous to the way men consume porn: select your kink, select your desired role-play, and get off. The audience consumes it fast, so it is mass-produced.

Obviously this raises interesting questions about the ways that romance novel consumption parallels porn consumption and the sorts of standards and expectations that sets up, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

Why does f/f fiction often suck? I think mainly because there’s so little of it. There isn’t a rich canon to draw inspiration from, learn from, aspire to, etc. And often those writing it, while well-meaning, are more interested in moralizing and ticking boxes than in honing their craft to razor sharpness. Maybe it’s the social pressure. Maybe those well-meaning f/f writers think, “There’s so little lesbian fiction out there, I have to speak for all of girl-loving-kind with this.” And the lower demand and smaller audience means there’s less attention falling on it and less criticism and, inevitably, less improvement across the genre. The bigger a genre, the more diamonds you find in the rough, and the higher the standards rise for all work in that genre. Being so tiny, f/f has a paucity of both books and great books, and its lack of great books keeps new readers away. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.

On the more positive side, what f/f would you recommend, whether to first-timers or seasoned readers? Any you particularly wish you’d had around as a kid? And do you think Black Iris will be a gateway book for a lot of readers?

I have no idea what first-time f/f readers should be reading. I knew I liked girls since I was a child, so I don’t know what it’s like to approach that from the outside. As a kid I watched every single episode of Xena: Warrior Princess in the hopes that Xena and Gabrielle would kiss. That’s how desperate I was to see girl-on-girl action. You’re asking the wrong person here.

But a few standout f/f novels I’ve liked are Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body (f/unknown gender), Paula Boock’s Dare Truth or Promise, Amanda Grace’s No One Needs to Know, and Sylvia Brownrigg’s Pages for You. There’s also this weirdo named Dahlia Adler who wrote a pretty damn decent one called Under the Lights.

When I was a kid, I would’ve loved YA/NA by Boock, Grace, Adler, et al. I needed to see portrayals of girls like me, portrayals that weren’t painfully stereotypical and that captured the fluidity of sexuality and attraction. I didn’t relate to characters who were 100% gay and never hooked up with or had wayward thoughts about the opposite sex. It made me feel like a “bad gay” on top of already feeling like a freak for being queer. There are plenty of kids out there who benefit from those portrayals, but there are also lots and lots of kids who fall somewhere between 0 and 6 on the Kinsey scale, and there are far too few books serving them. Bisexuality is arguably more taboo than gayness now, FFS. How the the hell did THAT happen?

And I needed to read books by people whose voices I could trust. For example, the word “dyke” makes me want to curl up and die. “Dyke” was always an epithet to me and I’m still deeply uncomfortable with it, and its usage by older queer women who are comfortable with their sexuality is jarring and unsettling. I’m in my third decade on Earth, and I’m still not at a point in my life where “dyke” doesn’t make my stomach clench and my pulse race in a queasy way. My first thought is always: “Are they talking about me? Please, please don’t let them be talking about me.” Sometimes adult writers forget that what they’ve fought so hard to understand and accept about themselves is something that younger people are still struggling with. That some of us will always struggle with, no matter how old we are.

As for whether Black Iris will be a gateway f/f book…I doubt it. BI is brutal and dark. It’s about bullying, internalized homophobia, self-loathing, and overcoming the self-destructive thinking/behavior society codes into us. It’s intensely personal and my experience as a queer person obviously doesn’t represent every queer person’s experience. But I do think pain and hardship and fear are fairly universal experiences for anyone who’s not straight, and it’s important that we don’t let that get lost in our desperation to show a light at the end of the tunnel. It annoys me when people say, “I want to see more LGBT+ books that aren’t about coming out or queer angst!” Yeah, well, I’d fucking love to see a world where those weren’t issues anymore. But they are, and it’s a PRIVILEGE for some queer folk to not have to constantly worry about those issues. It’s vital that we keep telling stories about the hardship of being queer until shit actually changes. It’s not a zero-sum game. We can have more sunshine-and-rainbow queer books alongside our gritty realism.

It’s obvious there are a lot of ways in which Black Iris is different from your debut, Unteachable. In what ways, though, do you think they’re similar? 

This is tough. There’s a lot of geography porn? Unlikable heroines? Pretentious metaphors about the stars? In all seriousness, it’s the coming-of-age stuff. Laney’s already in college, but like Maise, she’s struggling to carve out a place in the world for herself. And while Maise is torn between two age groups, Laney is torn between two people, and the two different facets of herself that they represent.

Also, Hiyam is in both books.

We’ve had the conversation before about sex in NA (and you’ve had it with Heather of Flyleaf Review in this great interview), and I know we’re both on Team Yes Please. Why do you think people object to it, and why are you in particular pro?

At the risk of pissing off huge swathes of the book community, I think a lot of the moaning about sex in New Adult is sour grapes. It tends to come from authors who don’t write about sex, and from readers who have no interest in ever reading about sex. NA, even the worst of it, sells well because sex sells. YA is far chaster, and so it’s not uncommon for a good YA novel to sell fewer copies than a crappy NA novel. It sucks, but it’s like complaining that people buy porn instead of indie films. They’re not your audience in the first place. They’re not taking sales away from you. IMO, the real issue is that people who don’t want to write about sex want to sell as many books as if they had written about sex. And as for readers who want books about people in their 20s without graphic depictions of sex, there’s an entire section of the bookstore for you called “General Fiction.”

The whole thing recalls the resentment that writers of adult fiction had (and still have) toward YA writers, when YA became ultra-hot and started outselling adult. Ironically, now it’s (largely) YA authors turning their resentment against the new kids in publishing, NA authors. I suppose NA authors will eventually turn on whatever comes next. Dinorotica, probably.

I’m pro-sex-in-NA because sex is part of life, and I live in a society that both fetishizes and represses sexuality. America is absurdly puritanical. We can depict graphic, gruesome murder, but show a nipple on TV (or in public!) and everyone clutches their pearls. Think about that. A nipple is worse than murder. How warped are we?

I’m tired of YA shying away from depicting sex. Especially when it comes to sex that isn’t hetero. That’s not real life. In real life, teenagers have sex. Gasp! If we’d like them to understand what it’s like (and shouldn’t be like, and theoretically can be like), we have to show it. Fading to black doesn’t teach or enrich a reader. It cuts out one of the most normal and vital parts of human experience. Which isn’t to say that every YA novel has to graphically depict sex, but that not enough of them are showing enough, and that’s why there’s a demand for it in NA. (I think NA is also basically the under-40 generation’s take-back of romance, but that’s another tangent…)

“Karma is a bitch, but you can call her Laney.” So sayeth your website about the main character of Black Iris, and…yeah, I’d say Laney qualifies to be an unlikeable heroine IRL. Was she a tough character to write? Or did the fact that you yourself are horrible help a lot?

They say “write what you know” and I know I’m a total bitch, so. (Blogger’s note: truth.)

Laney was a blast to write for about 90% of the book because she’s completely unapologetic. Unapologetic girls enchant me, IRL and in fiction. Women are socialized to be people-pleasers, to efface ourselves, be polite, be nice, smile smile smile. To walk around constantly apologizing and feeling bad that we’re never enough: not thin enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not kinky enough, not happy enough. Writing a character who just says “fuck you” to all of that is incredibly liberating.

Until recently, women in fiction were rarely allowed to get revenge and be violent, ruthless assholes. Gone Girl heralded a sea change, and now we’re seeing tons of female characters with qualities that were typically reserved for males: angry, violent, spiteful, vengeful, methodical, relentless. Bad girls who are actually bad. It’s fucking glorious.

In addition to the hotness of having an Australian accent, Blythe in Black Iris also has some badass tattoos. If you got one in honor of the BI release, what would it be?

Man. YOU ASK THE HARD QUESTIONS, ADLER. I want to say a black iris because that symbolizes everything that is dark and sexy and queer about this book but…I’m also really drawn to the wolf imagery, and the way that Laney’s realization of her own power is symbolized by her identification with creatures who hunt. But wolves are so cliche. And so are flowers. So I’d get a tat of Teresa Palmer because hot Aussie girls are forever.

A lot of the discussion around Black Iris revolves around the hot f/f-ness, but it bears mentioning that it contains multiple characters – including Laney – who are not neuronormative. Can you share a little about that?

Confession time. As well as being queer, I’m bipolar. I have type II bipolar disorder, to be exact. My mental health history reads like a made-for-TV movie: meds, suicide attempts, hospitals. It’s pretty messed-up and sad. Like queerness, mental illness is something I hadn’t fully come to grips with until the past few years. I felt ashamed and, mostly, terrified of being looked down on or treated differently because of it. My books are really just me working through my own issues: Unteachable is about feeling young and old at the same time and figuring out what it means to be an adult; Black Iris is me coming to grips with being queer and bipolar, openly, in front of the whole world. I can’t say too much about this because of spoilers, and also self-consciousness, but yeah. There is a lot of stuff about mental illness in this book. Trigger warnings galore.

You have notoriously terrible taste in music. That’s not a question, but I guess if you wanted to talk about the awfulness you listened to while writing Black Iris, that would be okay.

I have “terrible taste” in music THAT SOMEHOW KEEPS ENDING UP ON YOUR PLAYLISTS. How…queer. (Blogger’s note: …shut up. *kicks dirt*) Also, anyone who calls 80s music “terrible” deserves to be locked in a room for all eternity with nothing to listen to but John Mayer.

Aside from the obligatory 80s stuff (Laney and Armin are both huge 80s nerds), I listened to all sorts of shit while writing BI: Chvrches, The Black Keys, The Naked and Famous, AWOLNATION, etc. My books usually form around the seed of one song, and for Black Iris it was Garbage’s “Vow.” Music is hugely important to my writing process, and I’ve got a playlist page on my site now. Also if you follow me on Twitter you WILL be regularly spammed with music vids (as recommended to me by my personal DJs/saviors, Allen and Cam).

As anyone who follows you on Twitter (or Facebook, or Instagram) knows, you are a mild fan of alcoholic beverages. What’s your writing drink of choice right now?

Lately I’ve been super into Knob Creek maple bourbon. Also your mom. (Blogger’s note: *extends middle finger*)

Most exciting thing and most terrifying thing about publishing Black Iris: GO.

Exciting: It’s a highly anticipated New Adult novel with lots of f/f in it!

Terrifying: It’s a highly anticipated New Adult novel with lots of f/f in it!

Seriously, I’m pretty much at exactly the same stage of horror/giddiness that I was when I first had this bright idea that went, “Hmmm, there aren’t any f/f New Adult novels…I should write one!”

You’re currently writing your third contemporary NA Romance, Cam Girl, about which, frankly, you’ve been pretty stingy when it comes to sharing information. What can you tell us about it, dammit?

According to Atria, it’s “a sexy romantic suspense novel about two best friends who are torn apart by a life-shattering accident…and the secrets left behind.”

Okay, you’ve seen the summary on Goodreads, right? Basically it’s like that, just add a bisexual physically disabled Latina heroine, gender dysphoria, hot redheads, and Cam Gigandet. Also, it takes place in Maine. Maine is pretty.

BTW, if you think Black Iris is gay, just wait till Cam Girl. Yes, there’s f/f in this one, too. Lots more. Also POC, trans, and gay supporting characters. And there will be more queerness, gender fluidity, people of color, disability representation, and general fuck-yous to the romance status quo in this and all of my future books. I’ve been given an incredible opportunity to tell stories about the types of characters you rarely see in NA romance, and I’m seizing it and running as fast and as far as I can.

You get to share one rainbow-themed picture right now. ONE. What is it? 

http://media.tumblr.com/e17edc1fee9e42305338ef5b35fb87bf/tumblr_inline_mjl10sIJgv1qz4rgp.gif

(Blogger’s note: I could not put it in the post itself for fear of losing every single one of my followers and also potentially killing any epileptic who laid eyes on it.)

What has no one asked you about Black Iris yet that you really wish they would?

“Your cover is totally a vagina, right?”

Just kidding, they ask that all the time. And yes, Virginia, it is.

Want to enter to win a signed ARC?

Haha just kidding, that was obviously the world’s most rhetorical question.

I’m not gonna do Rafflecopter because I hate that it doesn’t appear on this page (fun times with WordPress.com) so I’m just gonna tell you here:

  • Follow both Me and Leah on every social media site possible (I highly recommend then muting at least one of us on Twitter)
  • Obviously add Black Iris to your TBR
  • Most importantly (and mandatory) to enter, leave a comment below to tell us what has you the most excited for Black Iris! (And leave some contact method in your comment.)
  • Due to high international postage costs, giveaway is US only, though if you’re international and want to pay the difference in postage, you are more than welcome!

(Bonus points if you tweet us pictures of hot redheads)

Last List Bloghop: the Jaguar Stones series by P&J Voelkel!

Tags

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the Last List Bloghop organized by the fabulous Kat Kennedy of Cuddlebuggery, highlighting the final Egmont titles before the US branch of the publisher closes its doors. I’m honored to have Pamela Voelkel on the blog today, talking about the research that went into their MG series Jaguar Stones, whose fourth book, The Lost City, released on February 10!

jag final layoutWith his parents in jail and his best friend ignoring him, fourteen-year-old Max Murphy was pretty sure things couldn’t get much worse. But that was before a parade of Maya monsters crashed through his house and the Queen of the Bats tried to sink her fangs into his neck…

Meanwhile, down in the Maya underworld, the evil Death Lords have realized they’ll never conquer the mortal world without conquering social media. So with the bad guys on a charm offensive, it’s up to Max and his Maya friend Lola to reveal the terrible truth before it’s too late.

This epic conclusion to the Jaguar Stones series takes Max and Lola on their wildest adventure yet, north from the teeming rainforest to the lost city at the heart of America’s past.

A TRAVELER’S TALES

Pamela Voelkel, co-author of the Jaguar Stones series with her husband Jon,
explains the impact of research on the books – and their lives.

You could say that Jon spent the first sixteen years of his life researching the Jaguar Stones books because he grew up in Latin America and the series was inspired by his wild childhood. But when we started exploring the Maya regions with our own three children, the story took a different turn. Of course, we were awestruck by the achievements of the ancient Maya, but we also became fascinated by the living Maya. The character of Lola, who is torn between respecting tradition and forging her own life, came out of conversations with modern Maya teenagers and their parents. I don’t think they would have talked to us so freely if we hadn’t been travelling with our own kids. There is so much misinformation about the Maya on the internet that we feel like we owe it to them, and to our middle-school readers, to be rigorous about research.For sure, I could never have described life in the rainforest for Book One, MIDDLEWORLD, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. The way different species work together to survive. The way the rainwater filters down through the limestone to a network of underground rivers and lakes. The way the howler monkeys send shivers down your spine with their terrifying growls. We’ve taken many trips to Belize, Guatemala and Mexico and every time we learn something new. I should stress at this point that I’m not an adventurous person. Like Max in the books, my idea of travel is room service and fluffy towels. I get vertigo every time I climb a Maya pyramid. Having fears of deep water, boats, darkness, bats and enclosed spaces, I thought I would die of terror when we canoed an underground river system. The only thing that made me do it was the need to be able to write about it – and the need to pretend to be brave in front of my kids.For Book two, THE END OF THE WORLD CLUB, we flew to Spain to research the true history of the Conquest and ended up in wild and windswept Galicia, the end of the known world to the Romans. Book Three, THE RIVER OF NO RETURN, is mostly set in the cold and watery Maya underworld. To capture its drippy, misty, bone-chilling malevolence, we explored the dank canals and spooky alleyways of Venice, Italy, in winter.

Publication of the first three Jaguar Stones books took us on book tours all over the States. So when we decided to set the fourth book in North America, we were inspired by our book tour travels. The story of the LOST CITY crosses the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans and up the Mississippi to the ruins of Cahokia in southern Illinois. Of course, the best guides to any place are local booksellers and librarians. So when we needed some very specific locations in New Orleans, we turned for help to Judith Lafitte and Tom Lowenburg of Octavia Books, and award-winning school librarian, Elizabeth Kahn. And so it was that a muggy June night saw the five of us scrambling up levees and inspecting old cemeteries in the dark. By 2am, Jon and I wanted to give up and just invent places, but Tom was outraged. “You have to make all the little lies as true as possible,” he said, “so readers can believe the big lie – which is your story.” After reading the first draft of the book, Elizabeth even took it upon herself to find the exact house and oak tree for our spooky inn in the French Quarter.

Travel has always been one of my passions.* But traveling to research the Jaguar Stones books has taken me to places I would never have dreamed of visiting and introduced me to amazing people that I never would have met. It’s not always easy to pluck up the courage to start a conversation with strangers. But I promise you that when people find out you write books, especially children’s books, everyone wants to help.

*Author’s note: As it happens, I’m traveling as I write this post and that particular sentence was tapped out this morning at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, as I happily waited for my flight home to Boston. Now, fourteen hours later, having got only as far as Dublin airport and being stranded here for the night, I’m feeling slightly less enthusiastic. Oh but wait, someone just pointed out that the Guinness bar is still open…

 Jon & family guatemala(1)Jon (with the buzz cut) with his brother and father at the market in Guatemala

Pamela and MariaPamela and a Maya woman who’s become a friend in Zinacantán, Mexico.

LL & Och a Lacandon Maya
Our daughter with a Lacandon Maya boy at Bonampak, Mexico
Plague DoctorA medieval Plague Doctor comes to life in Venice, Italy.

NOLAClimbing levees in the dark in New Orleans with Elizabeth Kahn, Judith Lafitte and Tom Lowenburg

Galicia coast of deathAnother stormy day at Finisterre – literally the end of the world – on the Coast of Death in Galicia, northern Spain

J&P at Calakmul biosphere, Mexico(1)

Jon and Pamela (J&P) Voelkel are the author-illustrators of the Jaguar Stones series; Pamela does most of the writing and Jon does most of the illustrating.
Their books tell the story of a city boy and a jungle girl – a mirror image of
Jon’s wild childhood in Latin America and Pamela’s altogether tamer
upbringing in an English seaside town. The Voelkels met in London, where
they both worked at the same advertising agency, and now live in Vermont.

To research the Jaguar Stones, they and their three adventure-loving children
have explored over forty Maya sites in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico;
canoed down underground rivers; tracked howler monkeys in the jungle; and
learned to make tortillas on an open fire. Jon’s most frightening experience
was being lost in a pitch-black labyrinth under a Maya pyramid. Pamela’s
most frightening experience was being interviewed by Al Roker on Today.

AUTHOR LINKS:

• Twitter: @pvoelkel @jaguarstones

Facebook

• Website: http://www.jaguarstones.com/

**All photos by J&P Voelkel

BtS Sale, Giveaways, Events, and More!

Hey, strangers! I’ve been pretty lousy at this blog lately because as you may have noticed, Barnes & Noble got a brand-new Teen Blog, and I’ve been blogging over there like a mofo. If you haven’t already checked it out and followed on Twitter, please do! It’s a pretty awesome place with great posts and major emphasis placed on diversity and indie titles, so, I’m psyched to be a part of that and get to keep pimping my favorites.

But, since a lot of cool stuff is coming up and I’m terrible at sending newsletters, here’s what’s up!

First, Behind the Scenes is on sale for .99, and it’s finally got its beautiful new e-cover! This is the cheapest it’s ever gonna get, so whether you were thinking about buying it or just wanna be wonderful and supportive in the best way for a dollar, now would be a fabulous time!

BTS_Button1Second, I’m moderating my very first panel this week and it is a seriously great group of authors and books. Like, I have never mentally RSVP’d YES to an event so fast in my life, and to then be asked to moderate was a huge honor, so here’s hoping I won’t screw that up with all my fangirling and drooling.

Third, I’m doing my very first workshop on Sunday, for SCBWI MG/YA Romance Day, and I’m really excited (and nervous, obviously) about it! It’s gonna be a great day, and I hope to see some of you there! (Registration is here.)

Fourth, you can enter to win an ARC of Under the Lights and fifteen other 2015 contemporary YAs by some seriously incredible authors. Check out this post for information; the contest ends on Valentine’s Day!

B9W3A37IQAAwNpEFifth, you can also enter to win an ARC of Under the Lights, as well as four amazing contemporaries by wonderful debuts, in our #YALoveFest giveaway! Check out this post for details.

And finally, 2015 NYC TEEN AUTHOR FESTIVAL. I cannot express to you how excited I am to be taking part in this week-long bookish event this year as an author, after attending the last two years as a major fan. This is the festival where I met and got books signed by Nova Ren Suma, A.S. King, and Julie Murphy. This is the festival where I first heard someone talk about having a different notebook for each manuscript and basically changing the way I write on the go. This is the festival where Alison Cherry convinced me to buy The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar and it promptly went on to become one of my favorite YAs of the year.

Basically, I have a lot of warm feelings about this week.

You can see the lineup for the entire week here, but here’s the info on both the panel I’ll be doing:

FireShot Screen Capture #085 - '2015 NYC Teen Author Festival I NYC Teen Author Festival' - nyctaf_com_2015-scheduleand my signing slot at Books of Wonder, if you don’t yet have a signed copy of Behind the Scenes!

FireShot Screen Capture #086 - '2015 NYC Teen Author Festival I NYC Teen Author Festival' - nyctaf_com_2015-schedule*glances at list of people she’s signing with* *realizes just how much money she’s going to be spending in that half hour alone* *cringes a little*

SO, that’s a whole lot of stuff going on, not to mention lots more coming this summer, and I’m busy writing Right of First Refusal and the still-unnamed book 3 in the Radleigh University series, plus Under the Lights ARCs should be coming this month, so, busy times! I’d love any help spreading the word about any of these things, and I hope to see a bunch of you this week!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,709 other followers