Books

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
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iBooks

Ready to continue the hunt?

I finally made it to the Tucson Festival of Books! And it was awesome.

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For years I’ve heard my friends rave about the Tucson Festival of Books, but always had something else booked (ha) for the weekend.

Until this year. I finally made it. And all I can say is, wow.

Much like San Diego Comic-con, my friends had warned me how big an event it was; but until I got there and saw it with my own eyes, I really had no idea.

It was huge.

And they brought in a whole bunch of incredible authors to talk about books, writing, publishing, promoting…all kinds of good stuff.

While there I met a ton of awesome authors. Chuck Wendig. Anne Perry. Cornelia Funke. Lois Lowry. Nicole McInnes. Page Morgan. Matt de la Peña. Suzanne Young. Sam Sykes. Kevin Hearne. Kristen Lamb.

I also got to meet fellow Class of 2k14 member Christine Kohler. How cool is that?!

Don’t even ask how much money I spent on books.

One of my favorite moments was getting to hear  Rebecca Eaton talk about producing Masterpiece. Let me start by saying: Rebecca Eaton is a class act. So knowledgeable, well-spoken and gracious. The audience was full of Downtown Abbey fans. When she mentioned Sherlock, I was the only one who clapped. Okay, it was actually more of a squeal. *cringe* I couldn’t help it–it’s like a reflex. The audience laughed when I squealed, and then laughed again when Rebecca pointed at me and said, “Oh! A Cumberbunny!” She then told everyone what Benedict Cumberbatch fans call themselves (if you don’t know, google it) which, of course, led to more laughter.

Still, I think I did the Cumber Collective proud when, during the Q&A portion, I thanked her for bringing Sherlock to the US and for shortening the time between the UK and US airing dates. I then asked her if she could talk about how that timing works and if she had any information about Sherlock season 4.

She said there’s a lot of thought and planning behind when the seasons air. If they go with a September air date in the US, they get trounced by the network shows starting up at the same time. This is why there’s been that long delay in the past: they were trying to find the right spot for Sherlock (and Downton) to get good attention here in the states. She said she thinks they’ve found the sweet spot with the January airings, with Sherlock following Downton. She agreed it is frustrating and that she’s aware of the piracy problems, adding that piracy always gives lousy quality. Finally, she said she’d love to tell me when series 4 would start but that she doesn’t know yet. It will depend on Benedict’s schedule, as well as Steven Moffat’s.

At the end I shook her hand and thanked her. It was one of the best sessions I went to during the festival. Her book, Making Masterpiece, looks really interesting.

Here are some pics from the festival. If you ever have the chance to attend, go! It is an incredible event. Best of all, it’s free.

The Next Big Thing

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the-next-big-thingI was invited to join a blog hop! Ready for some fun?

Here’s how it works: I answer some questions about my current project, and then pass the baton on to five talented writers whose work I want to highlight. Then they’ll do a similar post and highlight five writers they admire, and so on and so forth. Pretty cool, right?

Before we get any further, I need to tell you about my writer-friend Dex Raven, who invited me along on this blog hop journey. He’s not only an incredibly talented writer, he’s also a cool guy. Here’s a little more about him:

Dex Raven writes primarily dark fantasy and horror, when his muse, Violet, cooperates. When she doesn’t, he still attempts to write with varying results. He has a thing for classic monster legends, Egyptian and Nordic mythology, coffee, sarcasm and words that end in “esque”. He is currently working on two books: a fiction/non-fiction mash-up and his first novel. You can find his fiction as well as his thoughts on the writing process here.

Blog (fiction & writing) – ravenspeak.wordpress.com
Blog (life & ramblings) – livelikeagrownup.wordpress.com
Facebook – facebook.com/dexravenpage
Twitter – twitter.com/dexraven


Now, according to the blog hop format, I tell you a bit about myself and what I’m working on.

What is the working title of your next book?

Another Here, Another Now

(It’s not the working title, it’s the officially official title title.)

Where did the idea for your book come from?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…it started as a short story with a completely different central idea. That story sucked, but I liked the characters so much I wrote them into a new story with a different plot and it took off from there.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult Science Fiction/Thriller

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

What a fun question!! Here’s what I came up with for the major players in AHAN:

  • Eevee: Isabelle Fuhrman (perfect mix of brains and beauty)
  • Danny: This one’s too hard! I’d say Josh Hutcherson, but he’ll always be known as Peeta. How about we use a TARDIS to go get slightly younger versions of either Zac Efron or Jared Leto? (long hair included, please)
  • Warren: Tom Holland (put a pair of goggles on him and he’s good to go)
  • Mac: Simon Pegg or John Simm (über smart, slightly dangerous)
  • Judy: Sadie Frost (beautiful, driven, looks like she’s weathered some disappointments in life)
  • Sid: Bruce Greenwood (or someone equally as strict and foreboding)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

This is what we used for the announcement in Publisher’s Weekly:

Katherine Harrison at Knopf has acquired a YA thriller by Amy NicholsAnother Here, Another Now, told from the alternating perspectives of street-smart graffiti artist Danny, who is thrown into a parallel world, and brainiac Eevee, the girl he kissed once in his world and falls for in this one. Quinlan Lee of Adams Literary did the two-book deal for North American rights.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My book will be published by Knopf Books for Young Readers in Fall of 2014!

I am represented by the amazing Quinlan Lee of Adams Literary.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft took about eight months. It’s been through numerous revisions and drafts since. If you held the first draft and the current one side by side, they wouldn’t look at all related. Like, not even distant cousins, thrice removed.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hmmm… Maybe The Time Traveler’s Wife? My editor, Katherine Harrison, said it kind of reminded her of Every Day by David Levithan.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write about two people who fall in love fast, but then the whole universe (literally) works against them, trying to force them apart. I also wanted to explore the idea that in a multiverse there could be numerous iterations of ourselves that may or may not be anything like us, and then ask the question: can we  ever really know who we are?

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

You mean, aside from a story that will grip you by the heart and not let go?  Well, there’s an intense scene involving scissors, an EMP detonation, and a twist toward the end that I don’t think anyone will see coming.

Also, ANOTHER HERE, ANOTHER NOW is the first of two books that will mirror each other in a truly unique way. I think readers will find the two-book combo un-put-down-able.


OK. Now I get to tell you about some amazing authors you need to know about, if you don’t already!

Kimberly Sabatini

Kimberly Sabatini is a former Special Education Teacher who is now a stay-at-home mom and a part-time dance instructor for three and four year olds. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and three boys. Kimberly writes Young Adult fiction and is represented by Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary Agency. TOUCHING THE SURFACE is her debut novel. (Simon Pulse – Simon & Schuster, October 30, 2012)

Blog | Twitter

Jodi Moore

Jodi Moore is author of the award winning WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN (Flashlight Press, 2011) and GOOD NEWS NELSON (Story Pie Press, 2012). She writes both picture books and young adult novels, hoping to challenge, nourish and inspire her readers by opening up new worlds and encouraging unique ways of thinking. Jodi is the proud and (admittedly) neurotic mother of two incredibly talented young adults and never ceases to be amazed at how far the umbilical cord will stretch. She lives in Boalsburg with her best friend/husband, Larry, two doves and an ever-changing bunch of characters in her head. You can find her at: www.writerjodimoore.com

Blog | Twitter

Amy Sundberg

Amy Sundberg is a SF/F and YA writer. Her short fiction has appeared in Redstone Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, and Buzzy Magazine, among others. She lives in California, and when not writing, she’s either buried in a good book, singing musical theater songs, or trying to add more pins to locations visited on her world map. She is an avid blogger at practicalfreespirit.com and can be found on Twitter as @amysundberg.

S. C. Green

A full-time worker, full-time father and full-time husband with dreams of becoming a full-time author without coming off as being full of it. Currently he is in the midst of revising his first novel in hopes of shopping for an agent this fall. From week-to-week he shares his experiences in writing at The Parking Lot Confessional for all to gape at, point and giggle, or hopefully, commiserate. For all other random ramblings and musing, you can find him sullying the web atThe Shadowed Quill.

Blog  |  Twitter

Amy McLane

As Amy Beth Forbes, her work has appeared in divers locations, such as Flytrap, Kiss Machine, Realms of Fantasy, andLCRW. Her short story A is For Apple was reprinted in The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, a collection available at your finer booktuaries nationwide. She is currently slaving away at a multi-book epic fantasy, and often forgets to post at personal blog Smoldering Ink. Elusive and quixotic, she likes pie, but wouldn’t say no to cake.

Blog | Twitter

Touching the Surface: A book with heart

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One of the things I love most about being a writer is meeting other writers, because sometimes when I meet other writers, I’m actually making a new friend.

A few years ago during a whirlwind trip to New York, I met Kimberly J. Sabatini. Kim has a heart big enough to hug the whole world. We became fast friends, laughing together and sharing our stories while searching out geocaches in a frozen city at midnight.

Kim is one of those friends you can just pick up with right where you left off, regardless of how much time has gone by since you last met. She’s one of those friends who’ll drop everything to help someone in need and who offers her shoulder when you need a good cry.

One of the fun things about having a blog is helping spread the word when a friend accomplishes something great. So, here I am today helping spread the word about Kim. Today is the book birthday for her debut YA novel, TOUCHING THE SURFACE.

From Amazon:

Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.

When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

TOUCHING THE SURFACE is a rich, thought-provoking read, crafted by a very talented author. And I’m not just saying that because she’s a friend. Kim has written her heart in the pages of this book.

Also, there’s a pretty sweet contest over at the Class of 2k12 to celebrate the book launch you should check out.

Congratulations, Kim, on the release of TOUCHING THE SURFACE! I’m certain this is just the first of many books to come. Wishing you much success, my friend.

Should Children’s Books Have A Rating System?

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Last weekend’s Wall Street Journal article, Darkness Too Visible, sparked a discussion with a friend of mine. She’s a writer, too. Our discussion ended with us contemplating whether or not children’s books — or any book, really — would benefit from a rating system, such as the one used for movies, television, or video games.

My initial reaction to this idea was no, of course books don’t need a rating system.

Then, while at a store looking at Wii games for my children, I found myself choosing between games…based on the rating system…and it got me thinking.

As a mother and a writer of children’s stories, I find it difficult to take an unbiased stance on this topic. I love books. I read a lot of books. I read wide and deep and am not easily offended by “dark” subjects in books. I read books with my kids. I make informed choices of which books they would enjoy and which books would scare the snot out of them. (Here’s a post I wrote at The Parking Lot Confessional on this topic: What I learned from reading Harry Potter with my daughter.)

But this isn’t possible for all parents. Times are hard and some parents are maxed out. Others don’t recognize the importance of reading to and with their kids. Still others don’t realize there’s a wealth of resources online and at libraries to help them make informed decisions about the books their kids read.

Not being informed, I think, leads to situations like the one mentioned in the WSJ article: a mom walking into a store completely clueless which books would be a good fit for her daughter.

Kind of like me, with the Wii games.

I’m not convinced ratings are the way to go. Or that any changes need to be made, other than readers making informed choices. But the idea has me wondering what others out there think.

So I ask you:

  • Would a rating system be helpful for books?
  • What effect would a rating system have on books and publishing?
  • Are books different from other forms of media that do have a rating system?

NOTE: I am not advocating banning books. I am absolutely 100% against banning books. Let me state that again: I AM ABSOLUTELY 100% AGAINST BANNING BOOKS. You don’t want to read a book, don’t read it. Banning is never the answer.