“Tense and Exciting”: Kirkus reviews WHILE YOU WERE GONE

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On sale August 4.
Pre-order your copy today!

The first professional review of WHILE YOU WERE GONE is out, and…

It’s good! 

*big relieved-author exhale*

Kirkus calls the novel “tense and exciting throughout”, and says it’s “lots of fun on multiple levels”.

But what really made me happy about this review was what they had to say about the characters.

“Danny and Eevee have off-the-charts chemistry.”

“The nonromantic storylines—Eevee’s competition for a shot at a foreign art school placement and Danny’s quick immersion in his parallel self’s light rebellion via graffiti—allow the characters to develop outside of their romance.”

Huzzah! Strong characters, just like in NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE.

This totally made my day. Heck, this made my weekend.

To read the full review (Caution: Spoilers!), visit WHILE YOU WERE GONE | Kirkus.

WHILE YOU WERE GONE hits shelves August 4. 

Pre-order your copy from Amazon, or select the bookseller of your choice.

 

Guest Post Cover Reveal + Giveaway: THE YEAR OF LIGHTNING by Ryan Dalton

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Hey everyone! Today I’m giving blog real estate to my fellow Parking Lot Confessional member, Ryan Dalton. His debut novel, The Year of Lightning, will be published on December 8th by Jolly Fish Press, and today he’s revealing his cover to the world. He’s also doing a fun giveaway, so read on. Here’s Ryan!


Hey, book fans! Don’t you hate it when you move to a new town and discover it’s being destroyed by freak lightning storms? Let me tell you, that makes for a tough year.

You’ll find that, and much more, in my debut YA novel THE YEAR OF LIGHTNING. I am completely in love with this cover and so excited to share it with you. After you drink in its awesomeness, keep scrolling down for a brief synopsis, plus a giveaway contest that you can participate in right here in the comments.

So, without further ado, here it is! Enjoy :)

Cover - TYoL

The house has no doors. It’s been abandoned for decades. Yet one night, Malcolm sees a face in the window. Fifteen-year-old twins, Malcolm and Valentine Gilbert, never imagined an old house across the street could be so much trouble. A secret machine inside has woken up, and its power is growing.

Meanwhile, lightning storms are breaking out all over town. They’re getting worse every week and seem to enjoy striking kids who just want to pass science class and mind their own business. Lightning, however, is rarely cooperative—and when Malcolm and Valentine discover a connection between the house and the storms, their situation goes from mysterious to crazy stupid dangerous. As they hunt a powerful enemy, they’ll realize that lightning is only the beginning. Their town’s very existence hangs in the balance, and the only clues are written in the sky.

One huge way you can support authors is by pre-ordering their books. So if THE YEAR OF LIGHTNING sounds like fun to you, here is a link to the Amazon pre-order page.

Now, onto the giveaway contest!

How would you fight a lightning storm? In one paragraph, tell us exactly how you’d do it, and don’t hold back! Get as crazy/silly/stupid/super-tough as you want. The sky is literally the limit. We’ll pick a winner from each participating blog, and I will send each winner a package containing an awesome secret clue to the central mystery in THE YEAR OF LIGHTNING.

Thanks so much for stopping by to see the cover!

Ryan Dalton

HeadshotRYAN DALTON either wears a cape and fights crime abroad, or he writes about it from his red captain’s chair at home. Perhaps he’s a superhero that’s trained with the world’s finest heroes, or he’s a lifelong geek who sings well and makes a decent dish of spaghetti. It’s also plausible that he’s been plotting to take over the world since he was ten, or that he’s since been writing novels to stir the heart and spark the imagination. Either way he lives in an invisible spaceship that’s currently hovering above Phoenix, Arizona. Want to talk to Ryan? Follow the social media links or email him at RyanDaltonWrites.@gmail.com.

 

The Schrödinger Sessions: Science for Science Fiction

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We officially hit our first 100° day here in the desert this weekend, so you know what that means.

Summer.

electronThis morning I was updating my events calendar, and it struck me how cool this summer is going to be. For the last…I don’t even remember how many years…I’ve been jetting off to Los Angeles at the end of July for the SCBWI conference (which is completely awesome). But this year, I’m doing something a little different. I’ll be heading east instead of west, and attending The Schrodinger Sessions at the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland!

That’s right. I’m getting a crash course in quantum physics for science fiction authors. How crazy is that?! Apparently they received 100 or so applications, and chose 15. Mine was one of them. I can’t wait. I have no idea what to expect, but I just know it’s going to be awesome. I’ll be blogging and tweeting and status updating during the workshop, so stay turned.

Here are some links if you want to follow me on the interwebs:

Twitter: @amyknichols
Facebook: Amy K. Nichols
Tumblr: Amy K. Nichols
Instagram: authoramyknichols

Oh, and May the 4th be with you, always.

Time to Break the Rules: A theme song for WHILE YOU WERE GONE

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So, I get in my car yesterday to pick up the kiddos from school and a song I’ve never heard before comes on the radio. It starts off with acoustic guitar and then some really cool chord progressions. I’m intrigued. I turn it up. Then the lyrics start, and I realize I’m listening to the perfect theme song for WHILE YOU WERE GONE.

The song is “Renegades” by X Ambassadors. Have a listen:

“It’s our time to make a move
It’s our time to make amends
It’s our time to break the rules
Let’s begin…”

819VTwVeSVL._SL1500_Yeah, that’s pretty much Danny and Eevee in WHILE YOU WERE GONE. In the parallel world, society is at a breaking point, and Danny and Eevee find themselves in a position to potentially push it over the edge. But at what cost?

The really mind bendy part about the song thing is that almost the exact same thing happened just before the first book, NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE, hit the shelves. I love when that happens.

If you’re interested in finding out what Danny and Eevee get up to in WHILE YOU WERE GONE, pre-order your copy today!

IndieBound
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

And if you haven’t read NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE, the book that started it all,  you can purchase a copy at any of these booksellers.


In other news, I wanted to let you know that in the coming days I’m going to be moving my blog to function as part of my actual website (amyknichols.com).  For too long they’ve been separate entities, and I think it’s time they play together. The transition should be seamless (fingers crossed). If you noticed a sudden change in format and appearance, you’ll know why. If you follow or subscribe to this blog, you should have no problems continuing to do so at its new location. Just a heads up.

As always, thanks for reading and coming along with me on this journey.

Welcome to the Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt!

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Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt

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Welcome to Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt! My name is Amy Nichols and I’m your host this leg of the hunt.

AmyNichols_square_smA little about me:

– I’m the author of YA science fiction novels NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE (Knopf 2014) and WHILE YOU WERE GONE, which hits shelves on August 4.
– This year I got a ukulele for my birthday. Today I learned how to play “Creep” by Radiohead.
– I study karate.
– Benedict Cumberbatch likes my handbag.

Somewhere on this hunt, I’ve hidden a bonus scene from NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE from Warren’s POV and I can’t wait for you to read it! But before you go looking for it, you have to read on so you can check out the amazing author I’m hosting!

First, though, a little about the YA Scavenger Hunt:

On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each participating YA author, you also get a secret number. Add up the numbers, and  enter it for a chance to win a major prize–one lucky winner will receive at least one signed book from each author on my team in the hunt! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon PST on Sunday, April 5th!

red teamYou can start right here or you can also go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage to find out all about the hunt. I am a part of the TEAM RED–but there seven other teams out there and if you do those hunts, too, you’ll have a chance to win seven different sets of signed books! If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Check out all the amazing authors on Team Red:

Team Red (Click to enlarge)
(Click to enlarge)

How to complete the hunt

Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on Team Red, and then add them up. (Don’t worry, you can use a calculator!)

Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by APRIL 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

And now…the fun part!
I am so excited to be hosting…

Sarah Negovetich

Sarah Negovetich headshot
About Sarah:

Sarah Negovetich knows you don’t know how to pronounce her name and she’s okay with that.

Her first love is Young Adult novels, because at seventeen the world is your oyster. Only oysters are slimy and more than a little salty; it’s accurate if not exactly motivation. We should come up with a better cliche.

Sarah divides her time between writing YA books that her husband won’t read and working with amazing authors as an agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency. Her life’s goal is to be only a mildly embarrassing mom when her kids hit their teens. Find out more about Sarah at www.sarahnegovetich.com.

The book Sarah is showcasing on the Spring 2015 Hunt is…

RITE OF REJECTION

Rite of RejectionAbout the book:

Straight-laced, sixteen-year-old Rebecca can’t wait for her Acceptance. A fancy ball, eligible bachelors, and her debut as an official member of society. Instead, the Machine rejects Rebecca. Labeled as a future criminal, she’s shipped off to a life sentence in a lawless penal colony.

A life behind barbed wire fences with the world’s most dangerous people terrifies Rebecca. She reluctantly joins a band of misfit teens in a risky escape plan, complete with an accidental fiancé she’s almost certain she can learn to love.

But freedom comes with a price. To escape a doomed future and prove her innocence, Rebecca must embrace the criminal within.


And now…a bonus scene from RITE OF REJECTION!

This scene takes place during Rebecca’s first morning in the PIT. Daniel has rescued her from a precarious situation and the rest of the group is not happy that he brought her back to their home. Told from Daniel’s POV, we get a look at what happens once Rebecca is made to leave.

“It means we need a test.” Molly is dead serious staring Rebecca down.

“A test.” I rub my hands over my face. What is Molly thinking? This girl just got here and she couldn’t even make it through breakfast without getting herself tangled up in a dangerous situation. There’s no way she’s capable of completing some harebrained scheme Molly and Elizabeth cook up.

“Yes, a test.” Elizabeth is so excited she completely misses the look I shoot her. “It’s perfect. If Becca can prove she’s trustworthy and won’t be a thorn in my side, then I’ll think about letting her join our little party.”

“What kind of test?” Eric asks, without missing a beat. He may have signed her dance card, but I’m not a fan of how he’s standing so close to Rebecca.

Elizabeth has all but tuned the rest of us out now. She’s almost impossible to reason with when she gets like this. I know she’s just trying to protect us, but from what? Rebecca is about as innocent as they come. I mean, Cardinal on a cracker, yesterday she was convinced she was some kind of criminal monster just because the Machine told her so.

“I’ll need a few days to work out the details. Until then she can lay low, somewhere else.”

“Why can’t she—?”

Son of a…Eric is definitely ticking me off now. I clench my fists and resist the urge to knock him on his smug rear end. Who put him in charge of Rebecca’s well-being?

“No. Elizabeth’s right.” Molly’s voice calms the room. “She can’t stay here until we’re certain. She’ll be fine on her own for a few days.”

I don’t buy that for a second, but I’ve never been able to argue with Molly. “Come on, Rebecca.” I don’t waste a minute looping my arm through hers and walking her toward the door. “I’ll walk you back to your bunkhouse.” And try to convince you to stay safe inside until your test is ready.

“No, I’ll take her. Becca and I have some catching up to do.” Eric takes her arm and leads her out the door before I can say a word.

“Her name is Rebecca,” I mumble at the door, though Eric can’t hear me.

“Uh oh, looks like someone has himself a little crush.”

I turn on Elizabeth and work my face into a blank stare. “Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Right.” She drags the word out into at least four syllables and shoots Molly a look that says exactly how much she believes me. “And what was all that gentleman business there by the door?”

“Nothing.” Nothing I want to talk about.

“That’s funny,” Molly says with a lilt to her voice making it clear she thinks the situation is hilarious. “I don’t recall you ever offering an arm to me or Elizabeth for a walk home.”

“That’s because I like my limbs firmly attached to my body.”

The girls shoot each other another look.

“Look, you’ve seen her. Rebecca is helpless out there.” I wave my hands at the door as if she’s right there. “If she’s going to be a part of our escape plan, we need to teach her how it works in the PIT.”

They exchange glances again and I can feel the warmth spreading up my neck and ears. “Eric’s been here all of five minutes and is just as naïve as she is. The two of them alone together are practically begging to get into trouble.”

“Daniel, if you care that much about her, why don’t you just go out there and make sure they’re safe.” Molly doesn’t even look up from the dress she’s sewing, but I don’t need to see her face to picture the I-told-you-so smile covering it.

“I…that’s not…”

“Oh give it up, Daniel.” Elizabeth throws her pencil and I just barely dodge before it hits me in the forehead. “It’s pretty obvious you’ve got a little puppy dog thing going for sweet, little Becca. I couldn’t care less, though Eric may have other ideas. Just don’t forget the game plan. We’re trying to get out of here, not play house with the new Rejects. Okay?”

“It’s not me you should be talking to.” I jerk a thumb over my shoulder to the door. “Talk to Eric who seems to think Rebecca is his consolation prize for failing Acceptance. I know what’s at stake and I’ve got way too much to deal with without adding in some puppy dog thing.”

“Alright.” Elizabeth throws her hands up in surrender, though we both know I’m full of crap. She always could read me better than anyone. “Let’s figure out this test to see if Blondie even gets to stick around.”

She launches into a rundown of ideas, but I can’t concentrate on any of them. My brain keeps wandering out to Rebecca…and Eric. The way he stood so close to her and touched her without asking, as if she was already his wife. Practically engaged! As if agreeing to dance with him gives him some sort of claim over her. I’d give up my daily slice of bread for the chance to wipe that simpering grin off his face.

But he’s Elizabeth’s brother, and even though she hates that he’s here, she’s been almost chipper since he arrived.

The door swings open and bangs against the wall, shaking the bunkhouse and showering us in a fine layer of dust. “I’m back.”

I do my best to ignore Eric’s entrance, but he’s not the kind to be ignored. “Isn’t Becca just the best? I know you have your doubts, E, but I know we can trust her. This is all going to work out perfect.”

I agree that we can trust her. Rebecca is innocent and kind to a fault. The exact opposite of the type of person who belongs in the PIT. It’s Eric I don’t trust. He can make all the school-boy claims he wants, but I’m going to make it my personal mission to make sure Rebecca survives until I can get us all out of here. Because even more than love, we all deserve our freedom.


Oh man, that was good! I could read that, like, 12 (that’s right, TWELVE) more times! Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Let Sarah know in the comments below.

Purchase your copy of RITE OF REJECTION today:

Amazon
B&N
Kobo
iBooks

Ready to continue the hunt?