CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

UNDER LOCK AND KEY through May 20th
THE BLACK WITCH through May 20th

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Alyssa Jennette on 5/24/2017
Bibi Lewis on 6/12/2017
Kelly Van Sant on 6/21/2017

SUMMER GIVEAWAY HOP


Today I’m thrilled to be part of the Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by BookHounds and I Am A Reader Not a Writer. A special thanks to Mary at BookHounds for organizing these Giveaway Hops.

I always love these Giveaway Hops because they’re a fantastic way to share some of the hot new books that have been released or are coming out. Many of them are books I’m dying to read. Hope you enjoy the choices this month. Click on the title to read a description of the book from Goodreads.

 


 


 


 
ALL OUR YESTERDAYS Pre-order
THE BITTER KINGDOM Pre-order
CROWN OF MIDNIGHT Pre-order
PHOENIX
INSOMNIA
SHADOWLARK Pre-order
SIEGE AND STORM
TAKEN
THE 5TH WAVE
THE CHAOS OF STARS Pre0order
THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US
THE ELITE 

To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on August 7th. Please let me know what book you’d like and if you would like an e-book or print copy of your book. Please leave your e-mail address if it’s not on your blogger profile. I’ll announce the winner on August 12th.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome as long as you live where The Book Depository ships for free.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Next Monday I’ll be interviewing debut author Cristin Terrell and giving away an ARC of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS. It’s a time travel/dystopian story that I loved. I can’t wait to share it with you.

The following Monday I’m interviewing Ellen Boorman and giving away a copy of TEXTING THE UNIVERSE, a middle grade paranormal story told from a boy’s POV. This is Ellen’s third book so I know she’ll have a lot of great advice to share with us.

The following Monday I’ll be interviewing a teen on how she finds out about books for my ASK THE EXPERT series and giving away a copy of ICONS by Margaret Stohl.

And Monday, August 26th, I’m interviewing C.J. Redwine and giving away an ARC of DECEPTION, a fantastic sequel to DEFIANCE, her dystopian/fantasy series.

So I hope some of these books will interest you and that you’ll stop by and enter the contests.
And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!

And here's all the other blogs participating in this hop:



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LISA AMOWITZ INTERVIEW AND BREAKING GLASS GIVEAWAY




Today I’m excited to have debut author Lisa Amowitz here to share about her book, BREAKING GLASS. It’s a mystery filled with compelling characters. From reading the reviews, I can’t wait to read it. Lisa’s also a very talented cover designer, including the gorgeous cover of DJINN: THE BINDING STONE for Lisa Gail Green. We’ll talk about that a bit too.

Here’s a description from Goodreads:

On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, he's not sure whether they're real or if he's losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or become the next victim himself.

Hi Lisa. Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a writer and illustrator.

I was always a dreamer who thought about things a little too much for my own good. Art had been my identity my main mode of self-expression until design kind of took over from there. Though I’d dabbled with it, the writing part came way later after reading the first three books of Harry Potter. I decided I was finally going to write a book that I could illustrate. Except, that the writing edged out the illustration and over my life. The book I wrote was terrible (though some friends of mine would beg to differ and are currently trying to convince me to resurrect it!) but it was too late. I discovered that the type of book I liked to write did not require the type of illustration I wanted to do. My styles did not fit together. I am no picture book writer. Years later I turned my visual expression to designing book covers, so finally my writing and my art work nicely together!

2. A lot of writers, including me, were inspired to start writing after reading the Harry Potter series. How did you come up with the idea for your story?

I wish I could remember exactly—but I know it started as one of those story seeds you ot down somewhere and file away. I had written a paragraph about a convalescing boy who conjures up the ghost of the girl he is obsessed with. I wanted a kind of Hitchcock-Rear Window kind of vibe. I called it SPECTACULAR. That idea sat around for years until Jeremy started whispering in my ear.

3. Interesting how an idea from years ago could turn into a book. It reminds us all that we should save all our ideas. Jeremy suffers from alcoholism, but you had no personal experiences with this in your family. What research did you do into alcoholism so that you could portray Jeremy realistically? 

Funny, a few people have told me that—and that is really flattering. I’m happy to say I have not experienced it in my family life, but I have known people here and there with this issue. I did a lot of reading and such, talked to some psychologist friends, but also thought about my own compulsive habits! I am quite a compulsive person—when I should go to bed I either write or go on Twitter. I actually hid my writing from other people for years, so weirdly, I channeled that strange secrecy into Jeremy and how me might construct a persona to hide his addiction.

4. Ha! I must be compulsive too because I can’t go to bed without reading for a bit. I read that you created the town in BREAKING GLASS as a fictionalized version of Croton-on-Hudson in New York. What made you choose this as a setting? 

Croton chose me! I have good friends who live there and we also stayed nearby a few summers. With the
story percolating in my head, I just kept seeing Jeremy trying to drive on those creepy twisting roads on a rainy night. He seemed to belong in that town, which is semi-rural, but also populated by a lot of very interesting intellectual and artistic people. It also has an actual Gorge and views of the Hudson River. I love that town and the people in it! Luckily, no one I’ve met there is as nasty as Patrick Morgan, the bad guy in BREAKING GLASS. Oh—and plus, my friends’s son was a theater lighting guy, so we went to a lot of plays where he worked the lights! But the boy is totally not the inspiration for Jeremy—I can assure you.

5. That must have made it a bit easier that you knew your setting so well. Reviews of your book rave about your compelling characters. What’s your character creation process like and what tips do you have for the rest of us? 

Aww—I’m blushing. I’ve also read that some people detest them! I tend to start out on Scrivner where I create a character profile with personality traits, physical appearance, back story and little personal oddities. A lot of this stuff changes and morphs as I write, but I am very interested in character so I give it a lot of thought and attention. I like to make sure even the most minor character has a story arc that relates to the main narrative. I guess characters are what I love the most about writing, right after spooky settings.

6. I’ve never tried Scrivner, though I’ve heard it’s good for character development. You’re also a book cover designer and designed your own awesome cover. Tell us what went into creating your cover and what you consider in designing a cover in general.

Thank you! First let me say that designing my own cover was the scariest thing I ever had to do. It was so difficult to figure out how to portray something I was that close to. I was lucky that Spencer Hill Press gave me the incredible opportunity to do this, and that Kate Kaynak was so patient with me! I must have driven her nuts. I think I sent her about 35 mockups. Luckily for both of us, designing other people’s covers is much easier and more fun.

I’ve also discovered that not reading the entire book helps me get to the true essence of it. I designed the cover for the forthcoming SHP title, EXTRACTED, by Sherry Ficklin and Tyler Jolley last summer before having read it. I was thrilled with the outcome and so were they. I just read this amazing book this summer and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it suited the book. I’d even imagined the cover model for the main character, Lex. And the funniest thing ever is that Sherry found our cover model in Poland, a beautiful guy named Lucasz Omniotek. He is a model there and is thinking about doing his own EXTRACTED inspired photo shoot for his blog. In a nutshell, working directly with authors, which is the amazing thing SHP lets me do, is like an amazing dream come true. I get so invested in them and their books! And luckily for me Spencer Hill Press authors are the nicest people in the world.

7. So interesting that you don’t read the entire book before creating the cover. I can imagine that it’d be even more challenging to design your own cover. What’s been your experience working with Spencer Hill Press, your publisher? 

Spencer Hill Press is like a family. I’ve gotten friendly with my fellow authors and the line of communication between my editor and the head of the company, Kate Kaynak is comfortable and easy. I also work closely with Kate and the authors on cover design, so it’s a very interesting perspective to be both an author and a sort of consultant for hire. I have a lot of hopes for the company’s future and am very invested in their continuing success. I also have two more books coming out with them and love the fact that they are so enthusiastic and supportive of my writing. They are entering my covers and books an a number of contests which really makes me feel appreciated!

8. That’s great that they’re so easy to work with. I read that you went to BEA (Book Expo America). Tell us about that and how it helped you promote your book. 

You really do your research, Natalie! I’m impressed. BEA is amazing on so many levels. Spencer Hill Press set up incredible successful signings for us where our arcs vanished in what felt like minutes. We had lines waiting to see us! It’s also a networking bonanza. I met a few agents, and many wonderful bloggers including Emily Trunko and Lisa Dess, who read my book, loved it, and are now card-carrying members of Team Breaking Glass. You can pick up tons of arcs and meet authors you admire. I also got to bond my fellow SHP authors better, met some other cover designers, got to hang with my editor, etc. It’s like a three-day sugar rush high. It’s incredible.

9. That’s cool that you had lines of people waiting for the signings. How was your blog tour set up and the blogs to visit picked? What advice do you have for the rest of us from your experience? 

Blog tours are a lot of work. If your company is willing to do it for you, let them, if not hire a reputable blog tour operator to do it for you. My publisher helped me set up my tour, but I ended up adding a number of stops to it by approaching people who had reviewed it and reaching out to other bloggers I knew. Next time, I will probably try to do less of it on my own. My tour is probably the longest blog tour in the history of blogging and the bloggers I’ve recruited have been amazing supporters. I’ve picked up a few friends along the way who are now really invested in my book and even gave them a name: Team Breaking Glass. Getting to know great bloggers is such a vital part of getting your book out there. If a blogger loves your book, you will never find a more passionate advocate, except maybe your own editor.
In addition to my blog tour, I hired YA bound to do a book blast for me. They signed up 107 additional bloggers to get my book out there. I highly recommend signing up for one with either them, or other websites that offer that service (like this one?). It’s two weeks later and people are still visiting those blogs and entering my giveaway contest.

10. Wow! You’ve done a lot to spread the word about your book. I think hiring someone to set up the tour and to do a book blast later are great ideas. What are you working on now? 

In a couple of weeks my editor is going to be sending me edits for my next book with Spencer Hill Press. VISION due out in May 2014, is about a boy whose blinding migraines present him with psychic clues to the crimes of a serial killer. My WIP is a non-paranormal YA murder mystery. I’m also working on a number of cover designs, including Darby Karchut’s sequel to Finn Finnegan; Gideon’s Sword, which has its cover reveal this week.

Thanks for sharing your advice, Lisa. You can find Lisa at:



Here's the giveaway details. Sorry for any confusion to those who stopped by earlier.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Here’s what’s coming up:

Tomorrow I’m participating in the Summer Hop Giveaway. I have lots of great book choices I can’t wait to share with you.

Next Monday I’ll be interviewing debut author Cristin Terrell and giving away an ARC of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS. It’s a time travel/dystopian story that I loved. I can’t wait to share it with you.

The following Monday I’m interviewing Ellen Boorman and giving away a copy of TEXTING THE UNIVERSE, a middle grade paranormal story told from a boy’s POV. This is Ellen’s third book so I know she’ll have a lot of great advice to share with us.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

CORINA VACCO INTERVIEW AND MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday! Swim season for the summer is over. Yay! Anna Li did great at championships--2nd in 50 backstroke and 8th in the 50 freestyle and 200 freestyle races. Anna Li and I are looking forward to a slower 2 weeks before high school pre-season starts. I've been really enjoying having more time in the morning. Hoping I'm going to feel like it's a bit more of a lazy summer. July definitely was too busy.

First I have two winners to announce.

The winner of 45 POUNDS is Jemi Fraser!

The winner of THE CIRCLE is Danielle H!

Congrats! E-mail me your addresses so I can send you your books. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m excited to have debut author Corina Vacco here to share about her YA book, MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN, which was released on June 11, 2013. I really enjoyed that the story was told from the point of view of Jason and focused on his and his two best friends, Charlie and Cornpup. It was interesting contemplating living in a town like Corina created, full of landfills and other toxic wastes, especially given all our environmental concerns these days.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Rocked by his father's recent death and his mother's sudden compulsion to overeat, Jason lashes out by breaking into the abandoned mills and factories that plague his run-down town. Always by his side are his two best friends, Charlie, a fearless thrill junkie, and Cornpup, a geek inventor whose back is covered with cysts. The boys rage against the noxious pollution that suffocates their town and despise those responsible for it; at the same time, they embrace the danger of their industrial wasteland and boast about living on the edge.

Then on a night the boys vandalize one of the mills, Jason makes a costly mistake--and unwittingly becomes a catalyst for change. In a town like his, change should be a good thing. There's only one problem: change is what Jason fears most of all.

Hi Corina. Thanks so much for joining us.

Thank you for featuring me on your site!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became an author.

When I was a little girl growing up in the Chicago area, my grandma walked me to the library every day and we checked out as many picture books as we could fit into her crazy-looking metal push cart. Once we got home, she would read to me for hours—I was allowed to luxuriate in the joy of books without the confines of time, and I fell in love with words. When I was old enough to read to myself, I stumbled upon THE OUTSIDERS and I was bowled over. It was unlike anything I’d ever read. I loved the edginess and the voice, and from then on, I only wanted to read books that might be categorized as dangerous. In 4th grade, I started reading a copy of IT by Stephen King, only to have it confiscated by my teacher, who said it was written by the devil. I couldn’t believe someone had the audacity to take a book out of my hands when I was in the middle of reading it (how rude!), but that experience certainly made me want to read even more.

I’ve always been a writer. At age 7, I wrote my first novel in pencil, with many misspelled words and some dreadful watercolor illustrations. I loved transferring a story from my mind onto a page—it was intoxicating! Many years later, when the Coast Guard transferred my husband and me from the turquoise waters and sun-kissed beaches of Miami to the cold, polluted city of Buffalo off the shores of Lake Erie, I found the inspiration for MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN. I knew then that the manuscripts I’d been tinkering with over the years were just writing exercises and I’d finally stumbled upon the dangerous story I was meant to tell.

2. I loved to read as a kid too. Wish I’d been a writer as a kid too. How did you come up with the idea for your story?

I was inspired by a teenage boy who raged against pollution and changed the energy of an entire
community. Not long after my husband and I arrived in Buffalo, NY, I realized we were living approximately 12 miles away from one of the most dangerous landfills in the United States. It contained poisonous chemicals dumped by local industry, and it also contained uranium waste left over from the Manhattan Project. This landfill wasn’t out in the middle of nowhere; it was situated in a residential neighborhood, right next to elementary school. To make matters worse, it was leaking! Radiation had been detected in a nearby creek. The people who lived in the area had received official letters telling them not to eat vegetables. I clipped a newspaper article in which a woman claimed her son’s shoe had melted after he stepped in a green puddle near the landfill’s base.

I was really frightened. And I had so many questions. It just so happened there was a special town meeting scheduled to discuss the status of the landfill, particularly whether or not it would be cleaned up. I decided I’d go, just to listen. The meeting was quite sad. Blue-collar, ordinary people up against a panel of industry “scientists” and some chemical company executives who kept insisting the landfill was perfectly safe. I almost went home because I couldn’t bear to listen. Then a boy…I’m guessing he was about seventeen…stepped up to the microphone and raged against the pollution and those responsible. He energized the entire auditorium, and he refused to be silenced. I thought….I have to write about this. The town, the people, all of it.

Weeks later, I was walking my dog in the Buffalo art district when Jason, my main character, first appeared in my head. He had a story to tell, and he was rattling cages, and so I started asking him questions: How does it feel to live near one of the most dangerous landfills in the world? Why do you and your friends swim in the creek when you know it’s contaminated? Are you furious about what happened to your father? And he said, “Of course I’m furious. I’m gonna get revenge.”

3. That’s terrible the landfill is in a residential area. And I have family who lives in Buffalo. Yikes! One of the things you did really well was to create and describe this totally toxic town where the landfill, the creek, and the whole town was basically toxic. It amazed me how Jason, Charlie, and Cornpup saw this as everyday life and had no problem swimming in the completely gross creek they loved. What research did you do into landfills and chemical waste in creating your setting?

Oooh, this is a great question. I did extensive research before I sat down to write. I interviewed steelworkers who worked with uranium during the Manhattan Project. I joined the local fight against a contaminated landfill and attended some incredible town meetings. I collected a box full of articles about various toxic towns scattered all across America. I studied layouts of factories and toured the once-abandoned, toxic neighborhood known as Love Canal. I photographed a radioactive creek. And I may or may not have climbed a fence and trespassed through the terribly polluted industrial yards…I’m going to plead the Fifth on that one. But what interested me most were the stories I gathered from people who’d grown up in the area and who remembered playing on the landfill as children. The toxic town was their home, all of their best memories took place there, and they weren’t repulsed or clambering to flee the area. They wanted the landfill cleaned up so they could stay. I was really moved by how they could love and hate the landfill. Attachment to home—no matter how imperfect home may be—is a deeply human sentiment, and when I fully understood those complexities, I was able to really breathe life into my book.

4. Wow! You did a lot of research. That’s pretty scary that people used to play at the landfill. So many YA books focus on girls as the main character. You chose Jason as your main character and it focused on him and his best friends Charlie and Cornpup. You really portrayed them all realistically and they sounded so much like guys would in the way they interacted. Did you have any challenges getting into the male POV? What made you chose to focus on these characters vs. Jason as the main character and a strong supporting character who was a girl?

I had no trouble at all getting into the male POV, which is surprising now that I look back. I never really planned for Jason. His voice just ambushed me, and it was a distinct, powerful voice that could not be ignored. I’m quite certain he wouldn’t have allowed me to add any feminine touches to this particular story. He needed this one unhinged, dangerous summer to belong to him and his buddies. MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN is the vein of Stephen King’s short story The Body (later adapted into the film STAND BY ME) in the sense that I wanted this to be the boys’ last summer together before life pulls them in different directions, and girls really enter the scene, etc. With that said, I do think Valerie, Jason's love interest, is one of my favorite characters because I know she'll be by his side once the explosive summer is over, and he's going to really need her. She brings him joy and hope and stability.

5. To be eligible for the Delacorte Prize, authors must be unagented. You’ve been navigating the publishing world alone thus far. What has that been like? Tell us a little about your road to publication.

I was fortunate to have had lots of help along the way: a fabulous critique group; lots of advice from my mentor; plus feedback from a very special agent who didn’t offer representation, but who did give me guidance that proved priceless as I revised. I worked for a long time on revisions. When I saw the Delacorte contest posted in an SCBWI bulletin, I decided to mail my manuscript off, but I never dreamed I’d actually win. Many months later, I was in the process of moving from Florida to California when my (soon-to-be) editor left a message on my cell. I was totally confused. I’d forgotten about all about the contest, and she didn’t say why she was calling. When I tried to call her back, I landed in her voicemail. We played phone tag for two whole days before we finally connected, and that’s when she told me Delacorte was going to publish my book. I don’t remember a word of what she said after that. The call shocked me senseless!

6. So awesome you got a book contract from entering the contest. I’ve read a lot of advice that it’s a good idea to take advantage of any niches your book might fit into in marketing your book. Have you found any ways to capitalize on the environmental issues of your story in marketing your book? What?

I’m still looking into this and learning as I go. There are a number of environmental groups out there, but many of them exclusively review nonfiction. I was just invited to speak about pollution in Iowa City at the Green Party National Meeting in July, so I’m really excited about that! If I could go back in time, I’d have started compiling some of niche lists and making some of these connections a year ago at least. But it’s never too late!

7. Do you have any advice on building your writer platform during the year leading up to your debut book’s publication for the rest of us?

Yes! Start building your platform now, before the contract, even before the book is finished. I started later than I should have, and there were days when I felt like I was drowning. It takes time to build your website, your Amazon page, your Goodreads community, your Twitter folowing, a blog following, etc. And time is a gift you must give yourself, the more time the better. I was on vacation 3,000 miles away from home when my publisher asked me to provide a list of possible reviewers by the end of the week. I saw her email on my phone and scrambled to compile the list, all the while thinking, I wish I had more time to think about this. Why on earth didn’t I start compiling this list the day I signed the contract? There are so many things you’ll want to work on in the two or three months leading up to publication—designing your bookmarks, setting up blog tours, rehearsing your book launch speech, etc.—so make sure you knock out whatever you can now. You’ll thank yourself later!

8. That’s great advice to start even before you sign a book contract and to start compiling a list of possible book reviewers. What are you working on now?

A young adult novel about a lonely fashionista, her possibly evil father, a mysterious island, a dark and seedy boardwalk, and a steamy-hot surfer with a scorpion board. Stay tuned!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Corina. You can find Corina at



Corina and her publisher Delacorte have generously offered an ARC of MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on August 10th. I’ll announce the winner on August 12th.

If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.


If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Wednesday, I’m interviewing debut author Lisa Amowitz and giving away an ARC of BREAKING GLASS, a mystery about a guy who is receiving messages from the dead. It got great reviews on Goodreads so I’m excited to share it with you. And Lisa is also a talented cover designer who designed Lisa Gail Green’s gorgeous cover for DJINN: THE BINDING STONE. We’ll be talking about cover designs as well.

On Thursday, I’m participating in the Summer Hop Giveaway. I have lots of great book choices I hope you'll like.

Next Monday I’ll be interviewing debut author Cristin Terrell and giving away an ARC of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS. It’s a time travel/dystopian story that I loved. I can’t wait to share it with you.

The following Monday I’m interviewing Ellen Boorman and giving away a copy of TEXTING THE UNIVERSE, a middle grade paranormal story told from a boy’s POV. This is Ellen’s third book so I know she’ll have a lot of great advice to share with us.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


Agent Spotlight: Lana Popovic

This week's Agent Spotlight features Lana Popovic of the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary & Entertainment Agency.

Status: Open to submissions.

393844_843027968034_1302055030_nAbout: “Lana holds a B.A. with honors from Yale University, a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, and an M.A. with highest honors from the Emerson College Publishing and Writing program. She joined Zachary Shuster Harmsworth in 2012, after working at the Perseus Book Group foreign rights department and the Kneerim & Williams Literary Agency.

“At ZSH, Lana works closely with authors on a wide range of both fiction and nonfiction projects, and is committed to providing extensive editorial guidance. She is particularly interested in edgy YA, from gritty coming-of-age novels to contemporary fantasy and supernatural romance. She is also keen to represent thoughtful chick lit, literary thrillers, and well-crafted projects in the fantasy and mystery genres. In terms of nonfiction, Lana is looking for fresh perspectives on popular culture and science from bloggers, academics, and journalists.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“The agents at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth are respected across the industry for our eye for talent, our strong editorial skills, our negotiating ability, the success of our books and our strong relationships with clients, publishers, film and television producers and other media firms.

“In addition to placing projects with all the major publishers in the United States—Random House, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Books, HarperCollins, Little, Brown, Hachette, Macmillan—we sell our authors' works directly in the United Kingdom and, through a network of first-rate sub-agents, in territories throughout the World.

“A full-service entertainment agency, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth, has built a sterling reputation in the film and television industries. Each year, we place projects with large film studios such as Warner Bros., Universal, and Fox, major television networks such as CBS, ABC, and NBC and cable networks such as FX, Lifetime, and HBO.

“We are also skilled at placing our clients' work in magazines and selling audio and internet rights to books.” (Link

Web Presence:

Zachary Shuster Harmsworth website.

Twitter @LanaPopovicZSH.

QueryTracker.

What She's Looking For:

Genres / Specialties:

Young adult, middle grade, chick lit, thrillers, fantasy, mystery, select non-fiction (Link).

From her Bio (as above):

“She is particularly interested in edgy YA, from gritty coming-of-age novels to contemporary fantasy and supernatural romance. She is also keen to represent thoughtful chick lit, literary thrillers, and well-crafted projects in the fantasy and mystery genres. In terms of nonfiction, Lana is looking for fresh perspectives on popular culture and science from bloggers, academics, and journalists.” (Link)

From an Interview (07/2013):

“I would really like to see more contemporary, realistic YA—partly because the market is currently saturated with fantasy and paranormal romance and editors are really shying away from those titles, but mostly because I love real and compelling stories. YA dark mysteries and thrillers are especially close to my heart; I love Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers and Game, because while serial killers terrify me (sweet baby Jesus, so much), I’ll also read about them all day. I would also love to see what the brilliant Georgia McBride calls “’saucy’ NA, something in the vein of Rebecca Donovan. And really well-written contemporary romance would be welcome too. On the other hand, I’m all set with protagonists with names like Illuminata Jones—Lu for short. I already know what that story’s going to be.” (Link)

Via Twitter (6-7/2013):

“Here's to something in the vein of Jacqueline Carey's #KushielsDart series in my inbox. And NA romance, please. #MSWL” (Link)

“I love YA and MG mysteries something fierce, and not just because they're all trendy right now. Sweet YA romance is fun, too #MSWL” (Link)

“Great query day! In the event that the universe would like to keep catering to my whims, I'd love a dark YA mystery or some saucy NA.” (Link)

“If someone could write me a YA or MG mystery solved by the ‘descendants’ of Holmes and Moriarty, I think I would genuinely be happy forever.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Picture books, screenplays; otherwise unknown.

Editorial Agent?

“I am definitely an editorial agent. I typically go through at least one or two revisions with clients before submission.” (via e-mail 7/2013)

Clients:

There is a list of agency clients on the website. Ms. Popovic’s clients include:

Dahlia Adler, Sarah Bryant, Carolyn Hennesy, Andrew Kozma, Will Ludwigsen, Kim McLarin, Tom Morris, Carla Sosenko, Leah Thomas, among others.

Query Methods:

E-mail: No.

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: Yes.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Send a query letter addressed to Ms. Popovic through the online form on the agency website.

Query Tips (via Twitter):

“We don't accept unsolicited submissions, but all of us accept queries through the contact form on our website.” (Link)

“The 1,000 character max doesn’t seem to apply to our contact form despite the language on the website. I’ve had plenty of much, much longer queries through our contact form, and I prefer more fleshed-out queries to bare-bones ones.” (via e-mail 7/2013).

“Please don't query me twice, even with a new and improved query. I will a) recognize it and be a teensy bit peeved or b)request your ms based on query redux and discover it still isn't what I'm looking for. Sad feelings all around.” (Link, Link)

“Based on recent questions: I don't always confirm receipt bc I am flooded w mss and forget :( But I have your work, promise! #querytip” (Link).

Response Times:

Stats on the web suggest Ms. Popovic usually responds to queries within days to a couple months, when she does respond, and within one to two months to requested materials. 

What's the Buzz?

Lana Popovic joined Zachary Shuster Harmsworth in 2012 and is actively building her list. She also manages the agency’s foreign rights.

I recommend following her on Twitter @LanaPopovicZSH where she tweets about what she’s looking for, offers query tips, and participates in PitchMAD.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Agent Interview: Lana Popovic at Rachel Russel’s blog (07/2013).

Around the Web:

Zachary Shuster Harmsworth at P&E.

Zachary Shuster Harmsworth thread at AbsoluteWrite.

An Interview with Andrew Kozma (A QueryTracker Success Story) (07/2013).

Ms. Popovic contributed to the Appazoogle blog, currently on hiatus. You can view her posts here.

Contact:

Please see the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth website for additional contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last Updated: 7/25/13.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 7/25/13.

***

Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com

Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's/teen fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.

SHIP OUT OF LUCK GIVEAWAY

Today I’m excited to offer a giveaway of SHIP OUT OF LUCK by Neal Shusterman, which was released June 13, 2013. When I heard Neal Shsterman wrote it, I immediately thought of your middle grade kids. My daughter and her friends loved Neal Shusterman’s EVERLOST and other books in that series. That’s how I learned of Neal as an author.

People reviewing SHIP OUT OF LUCK on Goodreads really liked it and said it was funny. I’m hoping you or one of your middle grade kids would like it.

Here’s a description from Goodreads:

In honor of Old Man Crawley’s eightieth birthday, the Bonano family has been invited to celebrate with a weeklong cruise to the Caribbean aboard the world’s largest, grandest ship. But whether on land or at sea, Antsy can’t manage to stay out of trouble: He quickly finds himself the accomplice of stowaway and thief Tilde, whose self-made mission it is to smuggle onto the ship and across the U.S. border illegal immigrants from her native Mexico. When Antsy steps in to take the fall for Tilde, he becomes the focus of a major international incident and the poster child for questionable decisions.

Equal parts clever and riotous, Ship Out of Luck brings back the beloved cast of characters from Neal Shusterman’s acclaimed The Schwa Was Here and Antsy Does Time.

I have one copy of SHIP OUT OF LUCK for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on August 10th. I’ll announce the winner on August 12th.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. This is for U.S. residents only so please let me know in the comments if you’re not from the U.S.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Next Monday, I have an interview with debut author Corina Vacco and an ARC giveaway of MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN, a YA story about living in a small town that’s a toxic waste grounds. I found it fascinating contemplating what it would be like living somewhere like that where swimming in a really toxic stream is no big deal and I enjoyed that the story was told from a male POV.

Next Wednesday, I’m interviewing debut author Lisa Amowitz and giving away an ARC of BREAKING GLASS, a mystery about a guy who is receiving messages from the dead. It got great reviews on Goodreads so I’m excited to share it with you. And Lisa is also a talented cover designer who designed Lisa Gail Green’s gorgeous cover for DJINN: THE BINDING STONE. We’ll be talking about cover designs as well.

The following Monday I’ll be interviewing debut author Cristin Terrell and giving away an ARC of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS. It’s a time travel/dystopian story that I loved. I can’t wait to share it with you.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!

THE 5TH WAVE GIVEAWAY AND ASK THE EXPERT INTERVIEW

Hi Everyone! Hope you're having a great summer. Today's Anna Li's summer swimming championship meet. So that's where I am for most of the day. I may not get to quite as many blogs today or will stop by later today. Hope you understand.

We're looking forward to a 2 1/2 week break in being so busy before the pre-season for the high school swim season starts and the two practices a day most days. I'm looking forward to not driving her around so much. It really takes a big chunk of my morning before I go to work.

First I'll announce the winner of PARCHED.

The winner is Brenda

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m excited to interview Gina, the thirteen-year-old daughter of Dianne Salerni who’s going into 8th grade in the fall. She’s a voracious reader and sometimes shares her awesome reviews on Dianne’s blog. Dianne is a middle grade and YA author and her most recent book is THE CAGED GRAVES, I’m so looking forward to learning where Dianne’s daughter finds out about books.

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your school, and what you like to read.

My name is Gina Salerni, I just turned 13 last month, and I like to read. I go to middle school. My school is full of identical looking gray hallways with the occasional “stop bullying” poster. It’s very exciting. I like to read fantasy, realistic fiction, mystery, and some nonfiction. My favorite nonfiction books are the Worst Case Scenario books.

2. One of my favorite genres is fantasy too. How do you find out about the books you read? What about new books coming out?

Well, most recently, I had several books forced upon me by my summer reading packet. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was one that I enjoyed a lot though. (Although most of my grade says, “What? Three whole books over the summer? That’s ridiculous!”) I also find them online, or in the bookstore, and my mom recommends some too. Amazon tells me when new books in a series that I’m reading come out. And sometimes I will hear about them from my mom and her author friends.

3. I’ve heard really good things about Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but haven’t read it yet. That’s awesome that your mom recommends books to you. Hopefully you have some to share with her too. That’s what my daughter and I do.

What are you reading now? What books are you waiting to be released?

Right now I am reading Story’s End by Melissa Burt. It’s the second book in a really good series. I’d recommend it to anyone. I am also reading the Phantom of the Opera which I got for free on my kindle.

I’m not currently waiting for anything to be released, but a book I had been waiting for was just released recently. It was Fyre, by Angie Sage. It’s over 600 pages, but I read it in three days. It was very good.

4. I read Story’s End not too long ago. And I love Angie Sage’s series and am jealous you’ve already finished FRYE. I reserved it at the library in an audio book and it just came in. I can’t wait to read it as soon as I finish SERAPHINA. Does the fact that your mom is an author influence what you read? How?

Sometimes my mom will recommend a book to me from one of her fellow authors, and I often review them on her blog. In fact, she recommended Storybound, the first book for Story’s End.

5. I really liked Storybound too. And I love when you review books on her blog. Do you buy most of your book or get them at the library? How often do go to a bookstore?

I usually buy my books on my kindle and read them there. However, whenever my mom has a book event at a bookstore, I always pick a book (or ten) out.

6. Ha! Can I go to her book events and get her to buy me some books too? Do you read any teen book blogs, author blogs, or author or publisher websites? Become a fan of an author on Facebook? Why?

I only read my mom’s and a few of a couple authors I find interesting, and I don’t want or have a Facebook account.

7. I’m not surprised that you don’t read more of them. Most kids I interview don’t read blogs or visit author websites. Has your teacher or mom recommended any blogs or websites to your class or to you?

No.

8. Are there things your favorite authors could do that would make you more likely to visit their website, their blog, or become a fan on Facebook?

If they update regularly and give you a chance to be active and participate in the blog. There was one blog by an author I liked where I commented a couple times, but he didn’t update it in over two years and I stopped going.

9. That’s great advice to keep the blog (or website) current and to have ways for kids to participate in them. Have any authors visited your school? Who? Is there anything you’d recommend that an author do to make their presentation more interesting to you and other kids at your school?

Recently I had Brandon Mull visit my school. I thought it was interesting because he visited over the span of three days. On the first day, there was a drawing of anyone who wanted to eat lunch with him. (And it wasn’t cafeteria food!!!!) I didn’t get picked for that, but I think that would have been cool. On the second day, there was a drawing for a writer’s workshop, which I did get picked for. We made short stories, and he talked about characters and other plot related things. On the third day the whole school went to a presentation of his where he showed us about his books, and had a little story writing game. I thought this was a good author visit.

That’s so awesome he was there for three days. I went to one of his book signings in Ann Arbor where I live. I was the only adult there without a kid and I was impressed by how many fans he has.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Gina.

Today I’m also giving away an ARC of THE 5TH WAVE. Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

I read this on my vacation and was so glad I brought it with me. It’s a fantastic sci-fi/dystopian novel. I loved that it was told from not only Cassie’s POV, but also her brother’s and Ben’s POV. It really gave a better feel for what’s happening in the world because Ben and Cassie’s brother are in such a different place than her.

Cassie is a fantastic character. She was an ordinary girl with ordinary high school concerns before the beings come to Earth and start destroying our world. But she becomes amazingly resourceful and brave from experiencing and surviving these brutal waves and losing everything. And I loved that she didn’t give up when she thought she might be the human on Earth until she meets Evan Walker, a mysterious guy who helps her on her quest to save her brother.

This is a very fast-moving, action packed story. And because it’s also told from the POV of two guys, I think it’s one that would appeal to guys as well as girls.

A special thanks to Penguin for providing an ARC for a giveaway because they also gave me one for another giveaway a little while ago. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment about my interview by midnight on August 3rd. I’ll announce the winner on August tth.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Wednesday, I’m giving away a copy of SHIP OUT OF LUCK by Neal Shusterman. It’s an adventure story about Antsy, a middle grader, who goes on a cruise with his family to relax. Only it doesn’t work out that way. It’s gotten great reviews that also say it’s funny. I’m hoping you or one of your middle graders would enjoy this. I know my daughter and her friends all loved Neal Shusterman’s books when she was in middle school. That’s how I learned about him.

Next Monday, I have an interview with debut author Corina Vacco and an ARC giveaway of MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN, a YA story about living in a small town that’s a toxic waste grounds. I found it fascinating contemplating what it would be like living somewhere like that where swimming in a really toxic stream is no big deal and I enjoyed that the story was told from a male POV.

Next Wednesday, I’m interviewing debut author Lisa Amowitz and giving away an ARC of BREAKING GLASS, a mystery about a guy who is receiving messages from the dead. It got great reviews on Goodreads so I’m excited to share it with you. And Lisa is also a talented cover designer who designed Lisa Gail Green’s gorgeous cover for DJINN: THE BINDING STONE. We’ll be talking about cover designs as well.

Next Thursday I'm doing a Summer Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great choices to pick from.

The following Monday I'm interviewing Cristin Terrell and giving away an ARC of her YA book, ALL OUR YESTERDAYS. This is a fantastic dystopian/time travel story that I loved. I can't wait to share it with you.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


Tip Tuesday #169 AND GIVEAWAY OF THE CIRCLE

Tip Tuesday features writers' tips on craft, research, querying, blogging, marketing, inspiration, and more. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Hi Everyone! Natalie here today. Today I have a fantastic tip by middle grade author Cindy Cipriano on character development. Her new middle grade fantasy, THE CIRCLE, was released June 1st. Details of the giveaway will be at the end of the post.

So here’s Cindy.

Love Your Characters

Ah, your characters. You know, those folks you create to tell your story? No matter their disposition, good, bad, or just plain mean, you’ve gotta love ‘em. If not, who will?

I spend a great deal of time when it comes to character development. I want my characters to move beyond the written page and into the lives of my readers. I want my readers to love my characters, to worry about them, and cheer them on.

Character development is more than giving your characters interesting lives, friendships, and hair/eye color. When introducing your character, be slow to reveal details. This gives your readers time to get to know them. It’s really pretty simple, I mean in real life you wouldn’t say, “Hi this is my friend Dessie. She’s 35 and a mess. She’s lost every job she’s ever held, and no man is good enough for her. Even her cats run away.” This detailed, but rushed introduction may leave your reader feeling frustrated with Dessie, when what you were hoping for was a little compassion.

Revealing Dessie’s “issues” in a gradual manner allows your reader to connect to her, sympathize with her, dislike the boyfriends she’s rejected, and maybe understand she’s more of a dog person. Your readers will grow to like Dessie and hope she will thrive in all of those challenging situations you’ve got in store for her.

Maintain reader interest in your characters by making them dynamic. Let your readers see them at their most vulnerable, when they experience self-doubt, as well as when they succeed. This allows your readers to invest in your character’s future. I love hearing from readers who are very much worried about characters in my stories. “What will happen to them?” “Are they all right?” This engagement with my readers tells me I’ve done my part with character development.

I’ve even included “deleted scenes” on my website so readers can learn even more about my characters. Please visit www.TheSidheSeries.com to see what I mean. And, if you’ve read The Circle, I hope you will let me know how I’ve done using one of the forms on the same site.

Happy Writing!
Cindy Cipriano

Bio:
Cindy Cipriano lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and 27 pets. Okay, maybe not 27. More like three dogs, one cat, and many, many, fish. Cindy enjoys spending time with her family, writing, and the avoidance of cooking.

Cindy is a 2012 recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund PRISM award, and was named Outstanding Science Teacher in 2009 by the NC Science Teachers Association.

The Circle is Cindy’s first novel, and the first book in the Sidhe Series. Two of her short stories, "What Lance Saw," and "Miller's Island," were published in the children's anthology, Doorway to Adventure (September, 2010).

Here’s a description of THE CIRCLE from Goodreads:

Calum Ranson is sure of three things: his cousin Finley is alive, Calum will find him, and no one knows Calum and his family are Sidhe. No one until Laurel shows up at his mother’s bookstore wearing a dark clan’s mark.

When Calum learns the details surrounding the disappearance of Laurel’s brother, he suspects the evil Hobayeth clan. Calum and Laurel work together in the Realm of Man and the Otherworld to rescue her brother – revealing a connection between Calum and Laurel that may cost Finley his life.

Cindy has generously offered a copy of THE CIRCLE for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on July 27th. I’ll announce the winner on July 29th.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. This is for US/Canada residents only.

Hope to see you next Monday when I interview author Dianne Salerni’s daughter for my ASK THE EXPERT series and give away an ARC of THE 5TH WAVE, an awesome sci-fi/dystopian novel.


K.A. BARSON INTERVIEW AND 45 POUNDS GIVEAWAY

Hi Everyone! Hope you're having a great summer. Mine is filled with driving my daughter around and going to swim meets, but it's been fun. And I've been reading some great books.

First, here's the winner of the Freedom to Read Blog Hop.

The winner is Kristina Vallaste who chose INSOMNIA.

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m excited to have debut author Kelly (K.A.) Barson here to share about her contemporary story, 45 POUNDS, that was released on July 11, 2013. Kelly is a Michigan SCBWI member like me and I'm excited to help celebrate her debut. I really connected with Ann, the main character who needs to lose 45 pounds before her aunt’s wedding from the first chapter. I was overweight as a kid, though not as much as Ann, and could empathize with a lot of Ann’s feelings. And Kelly did a fantastic job bringing all the characters in this story to life very vividly. I felt like I really got to know them all. This was a really fast read for me and I read half of it while waiting for my case to be called in Court and at lunch one day. It reminded me how much I enjoy contemporary stories and that I need to read them more often.

Here’s a description from Goodreads:

Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

Hi Kelly. Happy Debut! Thanks so much for joining us.

Thanks, Natalie! It’s great to be here.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I was an early reader and always loved stories. I don’t remember ever not writing, but I didn’t know how to go from hobbyist to professional until a friend, Vicky Lorencen, introduced me to SCBWI and Highlights Foundation workshops. They led me down the path to publication—from magazine articles, through several not-quite-there manuscripts, to Vermont College of Fine Arts, and around the submission process.

2. I know Vicky too. It’s awesome that you’re friends with her and that she got you on your path to publication. Ann is such a likeable, sympathetic character. And I loved that she wasn’t the commonly portrayed hot, thin beauty. Share a bit about how you developed her as a character and any challenges you faced.

In my reading, I’d never encountered a character that battled weight the same way I did. I wanted to write about a girl who knew how to diet, but didn’t know how to combat emotional eating. I also wanted to have a girl that didn’t fit in her family or her clothes or her world. However, I also wanted her “fitting in,” or lack thereof, to be more in her own mind than her family or classmates really not accepting her.

3. I think one of the reasons I could so relate to Ann is that you focused on the emotional struggle. And I think a lot of teenage girls will be able to relate to her as well. Did you plot this out or were you a panster? What did you learn from that process?


I’ve revised this book so many times that I’m not really sure. I’m sure I started as a pantster. I used to just start writing to see where it took me. That was fun, but more often than not, I wrote myself into a corner. By the final version of 45 POUNDS and for anything newer, I plot out the big plot points using a loose version of the snowflake method. (http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/) Then I “pants” my way from point to point, always with the ending in mind. Just knowing the high points and not the details allows me more latitude for humor and character development, things I can’t plan ahead.4. Thanks for the link. I definitely just do a loose version of the snowflake method too. What advice do you have for the rest of us who want to write a contemporary novel? What are some of the pitfalls to avoid?

The best advice is to read—not only contemporary, but everything. Pay attention to what makes those books good, or not-so-good. One pitfall is to try to write a blockbuster or to write to trends. Instead, write the story of your heart.

5. That’s great advice to write what your heart is into. Your agent is Sara Crowe. Share about how she became your agent and your road to publication.

It was pretty simple, really. I did my homework and made a list of top agents I thought would be a good fit. (Your website is one the very best for doing this.) Then I queried her. She requested the full and offered representation a few weeks later. She submitted, followed up, and made the sale.

6. You make it sound so easy! I’m glad Literary Rambles helped in the querying process. Awesome that Sara became your agent a few weeks after requesting a full manuscript. What’s surprised you about the year leading up to your book’s publication?

I knew there’d be a lot of waiting, but I was surprised how many little celebrations there were along the way. Making deadlines, the cover reveal, blurbs, ARCs, reviews, receiving the first hardcover, and notes from readers are all perfect excuses for constant celebratory toasts.

7. That’s a great idea to celebrate those little milestones and if some of the celebrations are public, you can use them to create excitement for your book release. What are some of the essential things you recommend an author do after they sign a contract for their book to be published to develop their writer platform?

First, if not already done, a website and/or blog, a Facebook author page, and a Twitter feed are musts. (If you’re dead set against social media, at least create a website.) Readers, bloggers, and others will want to keep up on what’s going on with you and your books. It’s also easier and more succinct to put a web address on bookmarks, postcards, and other swag than info that may need to be updated. I also highly recommend that debut authors find promo groups. Not only do they help navigate the craziness of the year(s) leading up to release, but they also connect you with other author friends who are in the same place you are.

8. I’ve heard a lot of authors recommend joining a debut promo group. I’d definitely want to do that. I read that you’re going to the American Library  Association (ALA) conference in Chicago. How did that come about? What’s your advice for finding out about these opportunities and arranging to attend them?

The Class of 2k13, one of the promo groups I’m part of, set that up. Again, never underestimate the awesomeness of groups working together for a common goal. It’s hard to do it on your own and still write. But when we divide up the work and brainstorm ideas together, we’re actually more successful.

9. Cool that your debut group helped arrange for you to go to ALA. ALA seems like a great way to connect with librarians, which is such an important way to spread the word about your book. What are you working on now?

I’m working on my next book, which is also with Viking. It’s about a high school cosmetology student who thinks she has her life planned out and under control. When everything falls apart, she has to learn to let go, listen, and appreciate her real friends. Watch my website, Twitter feed, or Facebook author page for title, cover, and release updates.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Kelly. You can find Kelly at www.kabarson.com (website), www.facebook.com/kabarson.author (Facebook), @kabarson (Twitter), http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5555591.K_A_Barson (Goodreads).
Thank you, Natalie, not only for this interview, but for all that you and Casey do for writers.

You’re welcome, Kelly. So glad you appreciate it.

Kelly and her publisher, Viking, have generously offered an ARC of 45 POUNDS for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on July 27th. I’ll announce the winner on July 29th.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Tomorrow I have a fantastic Tuesday tip on characters by Cindy Cipriano and an ARC giveaway of her middle grade fantasy, THE CIRCLE.



Next Monday, I have an ASK THE EXPERT interview with Dianne Salerni’s daughter and an ARC giveaway of THE 5TH WAVE. This is an amazing dystopian/sci-fi story with never a dull moment. I can’t wait to share this fantastic book and interview with you. I couldn't believe how much Diane's daughter and I have in common reading-wise.
 
On Wednesday, I’m giving away a copy of SHIP OUT OF LUCK by Neal Shusterman. It’s an adventure story about Antsy, a middle grader, who goes on a cruise with his family to relax. Only it doesn’t work out that way. It’s gotten great reviews that also say it’s funny. I’m hoping you or one of your middle graders would enjoy this. I know my daughter and her friends all loved Neal Shusterman’s books when she was in middle school. That’s how I learned about him.


The following Monday, I have an interview with debut author Corina Vacco and an ARC giveaway of MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN, a YA story about living in a small town that’s a toxic waste grounds. I found it fascinating contemplating what it would be like living somewhere like that where swimming in a really toxic stream is no big deal and I enjoyed that the story was told from a male POV.

Wednesday that week I’m interviewing debut author Lisa Amowitz and giving away an ARC of BREAKING GLASS, a mystery about a guy who is receiving messages from the dead. It got great reviews on Goodreads so I’m excited to share it with you. And Lisa is also a talented cover designer who designed Lisa Gail Green’s gorgeous cover for DJINN: THE BINDING STONE. We’ll be talking about cover designs as well.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you tomorrow!