Monday, September 30, 2013

An Interview with Melissa de La Cruz

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Fear. Sometimes rage. I find that to truly focus I need to feel panic, and then suddenly everything in my manuscript becomes clear. I work best under duress, which is something my editors have learned and they're quite good at instilling fear in me. J I appreciate that! I also work well with many distractions, I think it's because I had a day job for nine years and had to write my books in the middle of doing my real work.

Describe your book in 5 words

Post-apocalyptic. Zombie. Dragon. Pirate. Fantasy.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

The first, definitely.

Best writing tip you ever received?

To introduce the love interest in the first 30 pages, not that specifically but learning that there was CRAFTING involved in writing a novel, not just voice.

What one young adult novel you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?

Harry Potter. Because! I don't think I have to explain.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

1. I was a child model.
2. My favorite One Direction guy was Harry, but now it is Louis.
3. I have a Maltese named Mimi. She is not named for Mimi Force, our kid named her.
4. I learned to drive at 34.
5. I like savory treats better than sweet.

Where's your favorite place to write?

In a cubicle, surrounded by softly ringing phones and people murmuring. Sadly this is no longer possible for me.

What are you working on now?

My new series THE RING AND THE CROWN coming next spring from Disney-Hyperion.

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

YA Fantasy and Paranormal. My favorite genre to read is "literary" fiction, but I would have to say I really enjoy bestsellers just as much, I like popular fiction, no matter what genre, I like to read what a lot of people are reading and take the pulse of the culture. But for my own taste, I love smart angry women writers like Lionel Shriver and Kate Christensen.  Also cookbook memoirs.

At what point in the development of an idea do you know that it will become a full-length novel?

When we've sold it!

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Veronica Rossi: The Interview

Author Interview Questions Veronica Rossi

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
Yeah, those. And all the ones in between!
Best writing tip you ever received?
            $5. Just kidding. Um… tip… I think it’s probably to allow yourself to suck when writing early drafts. It takes away a lot of the fear of generating good material. It’s not easy to be creative when you’re judging your work.  
Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
1.       In the past year, I discovered a deep love of Brussel sprouts
2.       I talk to myself. Heck. Sometimes I argue with myself.
3.       I’m arguing with myself about including that last point at this very moment.
4.       My favorite animals are elephants.
5.       Dresses with pockets make me happy.
Where's your favorite place to write?
            I usually work in my home office, but I love working in hotel rooms. No distractions!
What are you working on now?
            Something I’m very excited about! Can’t divulge any details yet, but it’s an idea I’ve been mulling over for years.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Interview: Ransom Riggs

Author Interview Questions Ransom Riggs

What one thing do you need to have when you write?
Silence. My noise-cancelling headphones have become almost essential.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
The first. I rewrite and rewrite it a million times. The last comes easy.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
I’m six foot four. I lived on a working farm until I was five. I used to know how to cook Indian food but now I’ve forgotten. I love documentaries. One day I will conquer the moon.

What are you working on now?
A novel for Little, Brown the plot of which is SECRET! (Sort of, for now. But I’m really excited about it.)

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?
Oh, definitely YA to write in. I read everything, lots of YA, lots of adult, nonfiction of all sorts. I even read poetry when I’m feeling ambitious. I think it’s crucial to have lots of different influences. If you only read in the genre you write in, your writing will sound like everything else that’s already out there.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Rainbow Rowell: The Interview

Author Interview Questions Rainbow Rowell

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Lip balm.

Describe your book in 5 words.

            Earnest, snowy, swoony, minty, bookish.
What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

            THE FIRST! The whole first page is a nightmare. I want people to just skip it. And I always end up rewriting it.

Best writing tip you ever received?

            “Just finish your book.”

What one young adult novel do you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?

            Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt. I think it would have made me feel less alone.

Where's your favorite place to write?

            At coffeeshops. In giant overstuffed chairs.

What are you working on now?

            I’m revising my adult novel, Landline, which comes out in spring 2014, and playing with a romantic/political/tragicomic fantasy.

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

            I write mostly contemporary. I read mostly fantasy.

At what point in the development of an idea do you know that it will become a full-length novel?

            All of my ideas are full-length novels. I have a hard time narrowing my scope.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Sean Williams: The Interview

Interview: Sean Williams

What one thing do you need to have when you write?
The right music. And chocolate as a reward when I finish.

Describe your book in 5 words
Jump meets Uglies. But different.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
The first line is often the hardest to write, but I like a good challenge. The line I like writing the least is the last because it means I have a whole load of rewriting ahead of me.

Best writing tip you ever received?
Give up. If you can do that, you’ll be happier and probably better off as a result. If you can’t, then you know writing is exactly the right thing for you!

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
1) I live in Adelaide, South Australia, a place that’s home to about a million other people but somehow feels like a small town, which is why I love it.
2) I still think music from the 1980s is cool.
3) My stepson has situs invertus, which means his heart is on the wrong side of his body. That’s not really about me, but it is pretty random.
4) I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who.
5) I’m minding a pair of green tree frogs, Skipper and Jumpy, for a young friend while she’s overseas with her family. You can see pictures of them on my Facebook page:

Where's your favorite place to write?
In my study, a lovely upstairs nook containing all my favorite book-related things, but I’ve trained myself to write anywhere as long as I have my headphones and some music. I quite like writing in hotels, probably because someone else does all the household chores.

What are you working on now?
Crashland, the sequel to Twinmaker.

Check out more awesomeness at: and twitter @yallfest.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Girl Next Door Blog Tour and Giveaway

The Girl Next Door Tour
eBook Publication Date: May 24, 2013
Two teens are forced to make some very grown-up decisions when one of them is diagnosed with terminal cancer, twisting them into an unpredictable nightmare. Best friends since toddlerhood, Samantha and Jesse grapple with the realization that they are actually in love. What now? Beautifully written while handling a very heavy topic, Castrovilla addresses the universal question: In a world where the worst can strike at any time, how can we ever feel safe?
The Girl Next DoorGoodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

Selene Castrovilla is an award-winning teen and children’s author who believes that through all trends, humanity remains at the core of literature. She is the author of Saved By the Music and The Girl Next Door, teen novels originally published by WestSide Books and now available digitally through ASD Publishing. Her third children’s book with Calkins Creek Books, Revolutionary Friends, was released in April. She is also a contributing author to UncommonYA.  Selene holds an MFA in creative writing from New School University and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons. Visit her website for book excerpts and more information!
Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads


Selene is pleased to team with the Anthony V. Mannino Foundation helping young adults in their fight against cancer. She will donate $1 for each book ordered during THE GIRL NEXT DOOR's Blog Tour!

Selene will send a free autographed copy of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR to anyone who donates $25 or more to the foundation (click here to donate!). For your purchase to count and/or to show proof of donation, just send a screenshot or receipt of your order or donation, along with your shipping address if necessary, through "Drop me a line" in the "Latest News" section of her website,

The AVM Foundation Mission:
The Mission of The Anthony V. Mannino Foundation is to financially assist young adults in the age group of 18-26 while they are undergoing their cancer treatment.  We also want to help development support programs to aid this unique age group, with their special needs, as they battle cancer. 

We found that Anthony's age group of 18 plus, doesn't have the emotional or financial support that other age groups do. We are also aware of the unique situations that this age group faces and want to help those adolescents and their families. 


Grand prize is a  Kindle Fire + THE GIRL NEXT DOOR ebook (US only), and 10 second prize winners will receive an ebook copy of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (International). 


This book may appeal to readers of mature teen fiction who like books centered on love and loss. Fans of Lurlene McDaniel will find an instant affinity for a girl who is losing the best friend of her life to cancer. In the depth of despair, love blooms, sometimes with thorns. **There are mature situations. The voice of the book captured me at the onset and the emotions evoked are strong. I am actually late in writing this review because I had to mull the book over in my mind before posting it. 

Stories of kids with cancer rip my heart to shreds. Dealing with illness when it comes to someone you love will rip your heart out and stomp it flat. That is kind of the case here. The book does circle around in places, but then again, so does illness. Faith, acceptance, fear, loss... Just when you think you are going one place, often something else happens. Dealing with death and the messiness of life are things to help us all put our own lives in perspective. There are a ton of internal conflicts going on but the spice adds texture to the story and breathes even more life into it. It made me cry. More than once too. These characters get under your skin.

This is a beautiful book and a heart wrenching story.



September 9th
Katie's Books (Interview & Review)
A Book and a Latte (Excerpt)

September 10th
Books Over Boys (Feature) 

September 11th
Dear Teen Me (Feature)

September 12th
Books, Authors, Blogs (Guest Post )

September 13th
alwaysjoart (Review)

September 16th
Writer's Alley (Interview)

September 17th 

September 18th
YA Reads (Interview) 

September 19th

September 20th
Mythical Books (Review)

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Monday, September 16, 2013

CJ Lyons: The Interview

CJ Lyons:

Describe your book in 5 words:

CJ: Girl dying of broken heart (literally)

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

CJ: The first. I’ll often return to it over and over again until I’ve sliced and diced and fine-honed it to that perfect combination of intrigue, visceral reaction, and emotional connection with the reader.

What one young adult novel do you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?

CJ: Code Name Verity because it is so emotionally honest and inspiring, empowering, not to mention gut-wrenching. Really brings the era to life as well as the sacrifices made in the name of freedom.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

CJ: When I was a kid I worked summer stock theatre and was actually a theatre major undergrad before switching to pre-med. I’ve had two hard landings in helicopters while working as a flight doc. I survived rampaging Cape Horn Buffalo and a pack of wild baboons, not to mention a leopard (he’s already eaten) while hiking in Hells Gate Park in Kenya. I’m a Capricorn. I diagnosed my niece with the heart condition that’s at the center of my YA thriller, BROKEN.

What are you working on now?

CJ: DAMAGED, my next YA thriller, due out in 2014. It deals with the really tough topic of abuse and coercion and is the most difficult book I’ve ever tackled—there have been times while writing when I was literally in tears as I typed.

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

CJ: I created my own genre of Thrillers with Heart—I love writing fast paced stories with raising stakes but centered on the emotional heart of an evolving relationship. As for reading, I read almost every genre but especially love YA, magical realism, and thrillers. As long as a story grabs me by the throat and won’t let me go because I’m too worried about what the characters are going through, I’ll read it and love it.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dark Shadows: Wolf Moon Rising

The first all-new Dark Shadows novel in years, written by Lara Parker, one of the stars of the cult classic TV show!

When a portrait is lost that has maintained Quentin Collins’s youthful appearance for over a century—and has also kept his werewolf curse at bay—Quentin begins to dread the full moon.

Meanwhile, David, the sixteen-year-old heir to the Collins fortune, has fallen in love with Jacqueline, a young girl living at the Old House who is the reincarnation of Angelique. David and Jacqueline are swept back in time to the prohibition era of the Twenties, where David uncovers the dark secrets of the Collins family history.

Most threatening of all, Dr. Nathanial Blair, an expert in the paranormal, has come to Collinwood because he suspects they are harboring a vampire. Fortunately, Barnabas Collins has returned to his coffin after a disastrous flirtation with life as a human. Nevertheless, what Blair discovers places the entire Collins family in jeopardy.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Gift Card Giveaway!

eGift Card design preview
Kindle Tree

We all love a good giveaway, right? Absolutely! So when I was contacted by the wonderful folks over at
who offered to sponsor a $50 Amazon gift card giveaway, I jumped right in. Who doesn't need a few more books in their digital library, right? is my giveaway question. It is two fold.

1. What books would you buy if you are the winner of the $50 gift card?

2. If you could have any appliance for your kitchen what would it be and why?

Me...I am totally waiting to read the wonderful and exciting new release from Veronica Roth coming up soon. :)

Product Details

I also want...

Product Details

and a million other books...

For my kitchen, I think I would totally love a new dishwasher as mine had died and I have taken it's place. lol. A nice Bosch with a black facade and a silent wash cycle would make my day! 

Make sure you check out the awesome kitchen coolness at There are lots of giveaways and you can even make your own video to become a product tester. Hmmm. I am so thinking about it. So come on guys...send me your wish lists and let's start dreaming of books and awesome kitchen appliances...I wonder if they have anything that makes a good pizza dough...hmmm.

This giveaway is open to all residents of Canada, the US and the UK. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An Interview With Lauren Oliver

An Interview with Lauren Oliver...

Thanks Lauren for being on the blog today!

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
Honestly, neither. It’s just every single line in between that feels impossible.

Best writing tip you ever received?
Aim for truth and beauty will follow.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
I have fourteen tattoos. I can fall asleep any time, any place. I have a phobia of worms. I hate fruit. I wrote my first novel largely on my Blackberry.

Where's your favorite place to write?
In my sunroom in upstate New York.

What are you working on now?
Two different middle grade books and an untitled young adult novel that my agent described as “the most disturbing thing he’s ever read.” Oops!

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?
I love realistic books that include just a hint of fantasy.

Thanks to YALLFEST for coordinating the interview. For more about this awesome site: and and twitter @yallfest.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Beside Your Heart Blurb Blitz Tour

Mary Whitney


"It's an emotional story that will take the reader back to those feelings that made the late teen years such a powerful time."

Late one night Nicki Johnson plays with emotional fire and Googles her high school love, only to find his name splashed across the British gossip columns. Back in his native England, Adam Kincaid is successful and dating a woman from an aristocratic family like his own. With a career in politics, Nicki’s no slouch, but she knows Adam is living a world away from her life.

Yet there was a time he was no farther than the next locker. Nicki will never forget their year together in high school—the year of her sister’s death, the year her mother checked out. Adam helped Nicki through suffocating grief, and she led him through a coming of age. Was it just high school, or was it something more?

Excerpt # 2

“No British literature. Isn’t this supposed to be an English class?” Adam asked.

“Uh.” My ancestors would’ve been proud of the jolt of American patriotism that hit me.  “There was a revolution two hundred years ago. We write our own books now.”

He leaned back in his seat with a smile. “I think I heard about that.”

“We still share the same language.”

“Sometimes I’m not too sure.”

“I bet not.” I could imagine what he thought of a Texas accent.

 He picked up the list of books again. “What about Catcher in the Rye?”

“I read it a long time ago when I was, like, eleven. I laughed a little as I remembered how I’d first come to read it.

“Is there something funny about that?

“Yeah. My father had suggested I read it then. The book is the classic coming-of-age story. Clearly, he wasn’t really thinking about whether or not it was appropriate for an eleven-year-old.”

“Really? Why?”

“Well, for one thing, the main character is a guy who swears a lot.”

“I suppose I swear a lot.” He cracked a sly smile. “At least compared to you Yankees.”

“Yankees? You’re in the South.” I laughed.

“What else is inappropriate about the book? Now I’m interested. It can’t only be a few swear words.”

“No, it’s not just that. It’s…” I hesitated for a moment as I realized I was about to bring up the topic of sex with Adam Kincaid. What the hell, I thought. I should be matter-of-fact about it. He had a girlfriend and would never want anything with me. I could hide I thought he was hot, so I shrugged. “Holden, the main character…he’s a little sexually frustrated.”

His eyes twinkled, and it felt as if my words hung in the air. I wanted to squirm in my seat. ‘Sexually frustrated’—like me checking out Adam Kincaid.

His proper upbringing showed again as he sidestepped the issue, yet he smirked. “That sounds like an adventurous book to be on an American high school syllabus.”

“Like I said—it’s considered an American classic.” I laughed. “I guess some things are sacred.”

“But of course.” The gleam appeared in his eye again, and he turned toward me in his seat. “Teenage sexual frustration is sort of a rite of passage, if you will.”

There went the good-English-boy manners out the window. His tone, the look in his eye, his body language—was he flirting with or taunting me? I decided the former was impossible, and if the latter, I wasn’t going to back down. With two parents who were lawyers, debate was a family routine.

“A rite of passage? More like a biological fact, isn’t it?” I asked, casually clicking my pen. I raised a brow. “Especially for guys.”

“You’re right about that,” he said with a grin.


Even before she graduated from law school, Mary knew she wasn’t cut out to be a real lawyer. Drawn to politics, she’s spent her career as an organizer, lobbyist, and nonprofit executive. Nothing piques her interest more than a good political scandal or romance, and when she stumbled upon writing, she put the two together. A born Midwesterner, naturalized Texan, and transient resident of Washington, D.C., Mary now lives in Northern California with her two daughters and real lawyer husband.

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