CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

A DASH OF DRAGONS through July 22nd
ALMOST PARADISE through July 29th

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Molly O'Neal Agent Spotlight Interview on 10/23/17

GUEST POSTING TODAY AT THE WRITING NUT

Hi All! I just found out that my interview for The Writing Nut's Wednesday's Writer's Workspace is being posted today. I share about my writing workspace and writing routine. You can find the post HERE.

Hope you'll stop by and say hi!

PANIC/ELUSION/HALF BAD/THE SHADOW THRONE GIVEAWAY & ASK THE EXPERT INTERVIEW

Happy Monday Everyone! Hope you’re having a fantastic start to your week. I just started to clean my way too messy basement this weekend. And I found a coffee carafe I've been looking for the last ten years. I was so excited! And at least part of the basement looks much better. I still have the hard room to tackle, but I'll break it up into sections. It's hard when you live with pack rats, but I'm proud of my husband for letting some things go to charity.

So I have two winners to announce.

The winner of ALL THAT GLOWS is Kim Van Sickler!

And the winner of BUTTERMAN (TIME) TRAVEL, INC. is Joni!

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 Gao, a new college student who’s an aspiring author and who blogs at Modern World

Hi Gina. Thanks so much for joining us.

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

I’m Gina, and I am currently an aspiring author who is studying pre-med in college. My blog is about my experiences, both past and present. The posts on my blog are usually reflective stories of my past. I like to write about experiences that reflect the world through my eyes. I enjoy reading books like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, basically any book that can take me to another world for a couple of hours.

2. I love books that take me to a different world too. I know you’re an aspiring author too. Tell us a little bit about what you’re working on.

Right now I am working on a series of short stories. The posts on my blog are mostly short snippets of a longer story. I'm still looking for a publisher and agent that can help me through this process of getting my stories to print.

3. I’ve never tried writing short stories. How did you find out about the books you read while in high school? Has that changed at all since starting college?

Most of the books that I read in high school were introduced by friends. They'd say something like, "Oh, this book is amazing, you should read it." Otherwise, it's classics that are required by class. These books always surprise me because I don't expect to enjoy them, but I do anyway. An example would be Jane Eyre. If not for required readings for class, I would not have picked it up.

Now that I'm in college, my reading process is different from high school. Now, I usually just browse through the classics section of the library and check out those that might interest me. Now I'm reading Anna Kerenina.

4. Awesome how you’ve found out about books from friends. How has writing changed what you read, if at all? What books are you waiting to be released?

Well, writing has really opened my eyes to the various bloggers that post their work, however short, online. Although most of these writers don't write professionally, I realized that these writings were to be admired. I've been reading blog posts ever since then.

The one book that has caught my attention so far is Ruins (Partials series #3). I've read the two previous books, and they have caught my attention. I got Partials as an advanced readers copy, and I was surprised that I liked it so much, so I've kept on reading.

5. I haven’t read that series but I’ve heard great things about it. Do you buy most of your book or get them at the library? How often do you go to a bookstore?

Well, if I've never read a certain book before, I would check it out at the library and read it. If I really enjoy the book that I've just read, then I'll go ahead and buy it from the bookstore or Amazon. I go to the bookstore (Barnes & Noble) every weekend, mostly because of the books and how I can study there.

6. That’s so cool you go to the library every week. Do you read any teen book blogs, author blogs, or author or publisher websites? Become a fan of an author on Facebook? Why? Has this changed at all since you started writing and now that you’re in college?

Well, I regularly check up on teembookguru.com and harpercollins.com. I have not yet found an author that I had not previously met on Blogger as of yet. I am looking forward to changing this fact now that I'm in college and get much more active in the local writing community.

7. When you were in high school, did your teachers recommended any blogs or websites to your class or to you?

Unfortunately, none of my teachers in high school recommended any blogs or websites to visit.

8. Too bad. 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?

Well, I'm already a really big fan of J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins, and I have visited both of their sites and Facebook pages. One think that I would like to see from J.K. Rowling is a continuation of the Harry Potter books, even though that is just wishful thinking. Suzanne Collins is an extremely talented writer in my opinion, and I can't wait to see what she has to offer in the future.

9. I love both those authors too. Have any authors visited your high 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?

There hasn't been an author that has ever come to my school, but Sherman Alexie has made an appearance at the public library. I'm a particular fan of his work, and a way that authors can appeal to the teenage audience is to somehow make them care more about literature. There's always going to be a group of teenagers (such as myself) that will support local authors, but it would be nice if authors such as J.K. Rowling made these activities more acceptable to mainstream culture.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Gina.

Today I’m sharing and giving away a few of the ARCs I’ve been reading that I don’t have author interviews scheduled for. Click on the title for a blurb from Goodreads.

ELUSION by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

Thanks to Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss for this ARC. This is an e-book giveaway.

This is a dystopian story where the world of Elusion is so appealing to everyone because of the lack of nature in their own world. I loved that the setting is Detroit because I live about forty minutes away and go there regularly for court. I really enjoyed discovering the secrets behind Elusion with Ryan and I got a much different sense of Elusion from her experiences there. This was a pretty good page turner with twists that left me trying to figure out things until the end.

PANIC by Lauren Oliver

Thanks to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for this ARC. This is an
e-book giveaway.

This is a fantastic contemporary which shows that Lauren Oliver, one of my favorite authors, can write in many different genres and for many age groups. Panic is a terrifying game these teens in a small boring town play in the summer. The mom in me wanted to shake Heather and Dodge on occasion when they continued on with it. Both have interesting pasts which help explain why they feel the need to play this game. It was a real fast read for me.

HALF BAD by Sally Green

Thanks to Viking Juvenile for this ARC. This is a print book e-book for US and Canada and an e-book for International giveaway.

This got a lot of buzz at Bologna last year and has already sold in 42 countries. It’s an urban fantasy set in England and a bit in Ireland, a setting I really like. I enjoyed that this was told from fifteen-year-old Nathan’s POV. He’s fairly isolated because he doesn’t want to draw the attention of the White Witches who monitor and punish the Black Witches. It was interesting watching him journey out on his own as he tried to find out what kind of witch he really is, learn more about his family, and find the person who will give him three wishes on his sixteenth birthday so he doesn’t die. The plot kept moving and I found it to be another pretty fast read.

THE SHADOW THRONE by Jennifer Nielsen

Thanks to Scholastic and NetGalley for this ARC. This is an e-book giveaway, but I’d get you any e-book in this series.

This is the third book in one of my favorite series. Jaron is fully in his role as King and his country faces war. But he’s also torn because Imogen has been kidnapped by his enemies who he must try to rescue. I loved watching him as he journeyed to save both his country and try to save her. The problems keep on mounting and my heart was broken at points. It was a totally satisfying conclusion to the series for me. I can’t wait to see what Jennifer Nielsen writes next.

So to enter the giveaway, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment telling me which book you’d want through March 8th. Please also leave a comment for Gina. I’ll announce the winner on March 10th. 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.
 
Here’s what’s coming up:

On Monday I’m interviewing Natalie Lloyd and giving away an ARC of A SNICKER OF MAGIC, a contemporary magical realism MG story I loved. The characters are so well developed and the setting is a vivid, small town set in Tennessee. This is one of my favorite reads of 2014.

On Wednesday I’m interviewing follower Kelly Polak and giving away ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK, her new MG contemporary story that sounds really good. And I'm participating in Sheri Larsen's IT'S ALL ABOUT GRATITUDE Blog Hop.

Friday next week I’ll be participating in the Lucky is Reading Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of new YA releases to choose from.

The following Monday I’m interviewing debut author Christina Farley and giving away a copy of GILDED, her fantastic YA contemporary fantasy set in Korea. You really felt like you were there and I really loved this page-turner.

The Monday after that I’m interviewing debut author Kristi Helvig and giving away an ARC of BURN OUT, her YA sci-fi story. It’s a great story set on Earth about Tora, who may be the only person on Earth, who really needs to leave and has to decide if she can trust the people who come knocking on her door.

And don’t forget Casey’s Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!

Agent Spotlight: Victoria Wells Arms

This week's Agent Spotlight features Victoria Wells Arms of Wells Arms Literary.

Status: Open to submissions.

wells_arms_victoriawellsarmsAbout: “After twenty years on the editorial and publisher side of the business, in houses big, small, and in-between, Victoria has jumped the fence and is thrilled to open the doors of her New York City-based agency, Wells Arms Literary.

“Victoria’s career began at Dial Books for Young Readers, where she worked with Phyllis Fogelman and such esteemed author/illustrators as Jerry Pinkney, Richard Peck, Jean Van Leeuwen, and Nikki Grimes. Later Victoria moved to Putnam, working with Nancy Paulsen and such authors and illustrators as Joan Bauer, Jan Brett, Tomie dePaola, Brian Karas, Suzy Kline, Mark Kurlansky, Steven Schindler, Gary Soto, and many more.

“When one day she spotted a little piece in Publishers Weekly advertising for an editorial director at Bloomsbury she applied and soon was setting up Bloomsbury USA’s new children’s division. Bloomsbury USA Children’s started with three people (and a dog), but grew quickly, soon hitting the bestseller lists, acquiring major awards, and adding on another publishing house (Walker Books). The authors and illustrators she published there include favorites and bestsellers E D Baker, Paulette Bogan, Herbie Brennan, Trish Doller, Susan Middleton Elya, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Mary Hoffman, Kirsten Miller, Dale Peck, Le Uyen Pham, Celia Rees, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Dan Santat, Michael Slack, Alexander McCall Smith, Susan Vaught, Renee Watson, and many others.

“Now as the founding agent at Wells Arms Literary, Victoria is creating a list of wonderful writers and artists to present to the publishing industry.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Wells Arms Literary website.

Facebook.

Twitter @VWArms.

What She's Looking For:

Genres / Specialties:

“We focus on books for readers of all ages, and we particularly love board books, picture books, readers, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult fiction, both authors and illustrators.” (Link)

From an Interview (02/2014):

“We tend to ask for things that seem unique or interesting in some new way, and of course, for authors who can pull off some genuinely good writing.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

“We do not represent to the textbook, magazine, adult romance or fine art markets.” (Link

“We see a lot of things with weird death and freaky, gratuitously gruesome after-death scenarios that we try to avoid. I don’t have much interest in self-help (such as potty training type books), or books that feel worthy or overly moralistic.” (Link)

Editorial Agent?

Yes.

Clients:

There is a page of clients on the agency website.

Ms. Wells Arms’ clients include: Salomon Altschuler, E. D. Baker, Paulette Bogan, Trinity Doyle, Susan Elya, Rebecca Grabill, Katherine Hannigan, Jamie Harper, Anik McGrory, Jamie Michalak, and Sandra Nickel.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (preferred).

Snail-Mail: Yes (by request).

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Send a query with the word “query” in the subject line.

See the Wells Arms Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.  

Response Times:

The agency’s noted response time is one month (link). Stats on the web are limited but appear consistent with this timeframe.

What's the Buzz?

Victoria Wells Arms founded Wells Arms Literary in 2013 after twenty years on the editorial / publishing side of the industry. Her first deal, a picture book to Greenwillow, was reported in December.

I recommend following her on Facebook and Twitter @VWArms for the latest.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Agent Interview: Victoria Wells Arms at Writers’ Rumpus (02/2014).

Interview with Victoria Wells Arms, Editorial Director at Robin Friedman’s site (2004).

Around the Web:

Check out the “What We’re Reading” page on the website for recent reads.

Wells Arms Literary thread at AbsoluteWrite (2013 – present).

Client Trinity Doyle’s Agent Story – Part 1, Part 2 – at her blog (01/2014).

Wells Arms Leaving Bloomsbury Kids to Start Agency at PW (06/2013).

Contact:

Please see the Wells Arms Literary website for additional contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last Updated: 2/20/14.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 2/24/14.

***

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. The information found herein is subject to change.

GAYLE ROSENGREN AND WHAT THE MOON SAID GIVEWAY

Today I’m excited to have debut author Gayle Rosengren here to share about her MG historical novel WHAT THE MOON SAID that releases tomorrow. This sounds like a fantastic story about Esther who must move from Chicago to a farm in Wisconsin when her father loses his job. The book has already been selected by Junior Library Guild.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Thanks to her superstitious mother, Esther knows some tricks for avoiding bad luck: toss salt over your left shoulder, never button your shirt crooked, and avoid black cats. But even luck can't keep her family safe from the Great Depression. When Pa loses his job, Esther's family leaves their comfy Chicago life behind for a ramshackle farm in Wisconsin.

Living on a farm comes with lots of hard work, but that means there are plenty of opportunities for Esther to show her mother how helpful she can be and maybe get the hug she yearns for. She loves all of the farm animals (except the mean geese) and even better makes a fast friend in lively Bethany. But then Ma sees a sign that Esther just knows is wrong. If believing a superstition makes you miserable, how can that be good luck?

Debut author Gayle Rosengren brings the past to life in this extraordinary, hopeful story.

Hi Gayle. Thanks so much for joining us.

I'm delighted to be here, Natalie! Thanks for inviting me.

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

I grew up in Chicago and I always loved three things: books, horses, and dogs. For a long time I wasn't able to have a dog, and I never did get a horse (sigh) but thanks to school and public libraries I always had access to books.. Authors, I came to believe, were remarkable people with the magical ability to create stories that while I was reading them--and sometimes long after--took me out of my everyday world and whisked me away into one that sometimes seemed more real than the one I left behind! Along with this growing admiration for authors came the realization that someday I wanted to write books that would make that kind of impact on other readers. I wasn't sure how one actually became a writer, but I kept reading and I started writing little stories of my own as I made my way through grade school and high school. It was like a dream-come-true when I discovered that my college offered creative writing classes and fiction workshops, and I took them all. Classes can teach a writer a lot, but I think most writers would agree that in the end their writing improves most by reading the work of authors they admire and, like anything else, with practice. So I read and I wrote, and in time I published short stories in magazines for children, and eventually I wrote WHAT THE MOON SAID.

2. So awesome you’ve written all your life. Where did you get the idea for your story?

I was always puzzled by the difference between my mother and my grandmother. My mom was super affectionate while my grandmother, though kind, was not given to hugs or kisses and statements like "I love you". I concluded that my mother gave my brothers and me the kind of loving gestures that she had wished for when she was growing up but hadn't received from my undemonstrative grandmother, and I felt sorry for the little girl who had been my mother. Later, my mom told me that when she was expecting her first child, my grandmother told her that she should never let her children know how much she loved them. I'm not sure what my grandmother's reasoning was, but the fact that she did love her children but refused to show it, was the initial seed for WHAT THE MOON SAID. My grandmother's many superstitions and the Esther who I imagined had yearned for proof that she was loved combined to "grow" the seed of this idea into a full-fledged novel.

3. Cool how your mother’s relationship with your grandmother was the spark for this story. What historical research did you have to do to get depression era life in both Chicago and Wisconsin right? What tips do you have for those of us wanting to write historical fiction?

I began by reading books about the Depression for an overall sense of the time and for the major events
that were happening just before and during the year of the story--1930. And I read books about Rin Tin Tin and about superstitions and about life on a Wisconsin farm. I asked my mom quite a few questions, but sometimes her memory wasn't as clear as I would have liked, so I ended up double checking any "facts" she gave me. Despite all this research, when I began to actually write the story, I bumped up against question after question about tiny but important details--about electricity and telephones and radios and stoves and books and the size of the average farm and what crops were planted and when in Southern Wisconsin, what girls wore to school, how much a stamp cost, and on and on. That's when I went to the internet. With enough determination, I'm convinced you can find just about anything on the internet. I was amazed when I even found a site that featured actual footage of the Rin Tin Tin film Esther watches in chapter one of the book! (I put a link to it on my website.) My best tip to someone writing historical fiction is this: Never ever assume; always verify what you think is correct to make sure that it is.

4. Sounds like you did lots of research. And great advice to check your facts. What was a challenge you faced craft-wise in writing WHAT THE MOON SAID and how did you overcome it? 

Initially, there wasn't enough tension in the manuscript. My editor loved the character of Esther, and the time period and the overall storyline, but she said it was too "quiet". She pointed out, however, that by increasing the presence and significance of the superstitions I could change that. The superstitions were there, but I hadn't made the most of them. Once she pointed this out to me, I did one more pass at the manuscript with greater emphasis on the superstitious elements and guess what? I got a contract!

5. Yes, the superstitions make me really curious about your story. Share about Esther, your main character. Did she come to you as a character or did you struggle more to get to know her as you wrote her story? 

I originally envisioned Esther as my mother at age ten, but of course I didn't know her then, so I began with a character who embodied my adult mother's major character traits--intelligence, a lively sense of humor, a loving heart and, occasionally, stubbornness.  As I began to write about her, though, I found some of myself slipping in--my love of horses, and my love of imagining things, for example. But over the course of the book, Esther evolved even further, and she became what I can only describe as "herself", because just as we all are shaped by our experiences, the character of Esther was ultimately shaped by her experiences within the story.

6. I’ve read that you sold your book without an agent. Tell us about your road to publication.

I participated in a small writing retreat for children's novels and the mentor for this retreat was Susan Kochan, an editor at Putnam Young Readers. She fell in love with Esther and ultimately offered me a contract for the novel. Call it fate or luck or destiny. All I know is I met the right editor at the right time with the right manuscript--which is the magic formula for publication--and I will be forever grateful that I attended that retreat!

7. What an amazing publication story. And it’s one we’d all love to have. I know you’re a part of ONEFOUR KIDLIT, a 2014 group of debut authors. How did you find out about this group and how has it helped you as you navigate through your debut as an author?

It's a little scary to realize in hind sight that finding OneFourKidLit was a happy accident. I had no idea there was a support group for new children's authors! I stumbled on it when I was researching debut children's books. It has since proven to be an invaluable source of information about every aspect of the publishing experience. It's an awesome support group, too, if disappointments or problems happen along the way. I've been fortunate. I haven't had any bad experiences, but some writers have had their publishing dates pushed out another year, or they've gotten covers they really hate, or they've received a hurtful review. Fellow members are swift to share information, suggestions, or soothing words--whatever is needed. The months before publication are a very happy-yet-stressful time for most debut authors and it's a brand new experience for all of us. Knowing you're not alone is a tremendous comfort and I have been repeatedly impressed by the incredible kindness and generosity of spirit that has unfailingly been demonstrated by the members of this group. I strongly advise every debut children's author to join KidLit just as soon as they have a publication year. It costs nothing but small amounts of time, but it gives back immeasurable rewards in terms of knowledge, support and friendship.

8. That’s great how supportive the group is and I definitely would want to join a group if I ever debut. Spreading the word about middle grade books through blogs can be more challenging than for YA novels. What blogs are you using to help shout out about your book and how did you find them? Do you have any advice for other MG authors looking to go on a blog tour?

You're right about there being far fewer blogs focused on middle grade books than YA, but once you begin looking for them, you can find some great ones. To begin with if you do join a group like OneFourKidLit, sometimes bloggers approach the group with offers of interviews. And often there are people in the group who have blogs and will offer a review or an opportunity for you to blog on their site. In the case of OneFourKidLit, the next year's group (2015's) will review the 2014's groups titles and interview the authors around their debut date. (One more advantage to being a part of this group.) And of course there is SCBWI (Society for Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators). My Wisconsin group is amazingly supportive and members are sometimes bloggers as well. Now that my pub date is rapidly approaching, I've been approached by bloggers who have come upon my title somewhere--on Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, or in a review in PW, Booklist or Kirkus. Most blog interviews or reviews don't fall into one's lap this way, though. They're the result of some diligent online searching. I found a site that lists links to book blogs for various children's age groups, but I discovered that many of the links led to blogs that were no longer active.

HOWEVER, if you look around long and hard enough and keep your ears open to other writers, you can find some good ones. Here are some of the ones that I've discovered. Thanks to them my book will be featured online beginning the day before its publication and sporadically though the entire month following:

Cynsations; Middle Shelf; Whimsically Yours; Middle Grade Minded; Middle Grade March, From the Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Writers; Letter to Teen Me; as well as these sites that are primarily YA but provide quality reviews of select MG novels: WhoRuBlog, Novel Novice, YA Reads, and Kidliterati, as well as this lovely site, of course!

9. Thanks for sharing all the sites. I know some of them, but will check out the rest. And I find a lot of the authors I interview through debut groups like OneFourKidLit. What are you working on now? 

I'm working on edits for my next book with Putnam, tentatively titled Joanna's Cold War. It's another middle grade historical fiction, but this story is set in Chicago, in 1962, during the week of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It's slated for publication in the summer of 2015.

Your new book sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing all your advice, Gayle. 

It's been my great pleasure, Natalie. I hope my experiences prove helpful to your readers. Thanks so much for inviting me!

You can find Gayle at her author website : http://www.gaylerosengren.com/ on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gayle-Rosengren-Author/312876032187451 and on Twitter: @GayleRosengren 

Gayle has generously officer an ARC of WHAT THE MOON SAID 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 through March 1st. I’ll announce the winner on March 3rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments. This is for US/Canada only.

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.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find all the participating blogs HERE .

Here’s what’s coming up:

Next Monday, I’m interviewing a college student who blogs and is an aspiring writer and giving away a copy of PANIC by Lauren Oliver, ELUSION by , or HALF BAD by Sally Green, and and THE SHADOW THRONE, the final book in THE FALSE PRINCE series by Jennifer Nielsen that I love.

The following Monday I’m interviewing Natalie Lloyd and giving away an ARC of A SNICKER OF MAGIC, a contemporary magical realism MG story I loved. The characters are so well developed and the setting is a vivid, small town set in Tennessee. This is one of my favorite reads of 2014.

And Wednesday that week I’m interviewing follower Kelly Polak and giving away ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK, her new MG contemporary story.

Friday that week I’ll be participating in the Lucky is Reading Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of new YA releases to choose from.

And don’t forget Casey’s Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!



TERRY JOHNSON INTERVIEW AND ICE DOGS GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Hope you're having a great day.

FOLLOWER NEWS

Medeia Shariff just sold her third YA book to be published this year. She sold THE WINTER I LOST ALL MY PRETTY HAIR to Evernight Teen. Here's a blurb:

Tabby Karim has plans that include nabbing a role in the school play, making Michael hers, and keeping bigoted Heather at bay; but when a teacher’s lie and her father’s hastiness rob her of her beautiful hair, her dreams are dashed. She spearheads Operation Revenge, which proves satisfying until Tabby’s problems deepen.

Tyrean Martinson just published LIGHT REFLECTIONS, a collage of everyday poetry. Go HERE for more details.

The winner of my Favorites Giveaway Hop is Aimee Nelson who chose INTO THE STILL BLUE.

The winner of THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY is Crystal Collier!

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 so thrilled to have Terry Johnson here to share about her new book ICE DOGS that released February 4, 2014. I have a really soft spot for Terry because she was the first debut author I interviewed when I began blogging here about three years ago and her debut book, DOGLSED DREAMS was released. ICE DOGS is a fantastic story about 14-year-old outdoor girl Vicky rescuing Chris, who just moved there from the city, and getting lost in the wilderness. I read this in those cold, snowy days in the beginning of January and really appreciated being indoors. But I loved reading about the adventure of being totally in nature away from civilization that Terry so vividly paints for us. And the relationship that develops between Vicky and Chris is so sweet and natural.

Here’s a description from Goodreads:

Victoria Secord, a 14-year-old Alaskan dogsled racer, loses her way on a routine outing with her dogs. With food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival, and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods, is entirely up to her.

Author Terry Lynn Johnson is a musher herself and her crackling writing puts readers at the reins as Victoria and Chris experience setbacks, mistakes, and small triumphs in their wilderness adventure.

Hi Terry. Welcome back!

1. For those who don’t know you, tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a writer.

I work as a Conservation Officer in northern Ontario. Before that I worked as a backcountry park ranger in a wilderness park for twelve years and ran my team of eighteen sled dogs in the winter. I spend a lot of time outdoors! I started writing nonfiction articles for outdoor magazines before I wrote my first mg fiction, Dogsled Dreams in 2009. I’ve been writing fiction for young readers ever since.

2. And I know you tap into all your experiences in the outdoors in writing your stories. Of all Vicky’s dogs, Bean was my favorite. Did you have a dog like him? And I loved how the dogs have their own personalities. Share what personal experiences you drew on in developing them as characters and in showing Vicky’s relationship with them.

I love Bean too! Yes, he’s a lot like my old leader, Apollo. In real life – I got turned around one day in a
whiteout while running my dogs near Thunder Bay, Ontario. At a fork in the trail I thought we should go right, but Apollo looked back at me and clearly said, “DUDE! Are you sure you don’t mean left?” I took his word for it and we made it home. Ice Dogs is the story of “what if I didn’t have a really smart lead dog?”

For the rest of the dogs in the story, I borrowed different personality quirks from the dogs I’ve known over the years. In the story, Dorset loves her straw. In real life, one of my dogs had a party in her doghouse every time it was Fresh Straw Day, tossing straw in the air and rolling in it, grunting with pleasure.
It was important to me to show the close relationship between a musher and her dogs in the story, so I’m thrilled with this question. Thank you!

3. You did a really good job of showing the sweet relationship Vicky has with her dogs. Vicky’s dad had a huge influence on her. And you did a great job weaving what happened to him into the story vs. just telling us at beginning of the story. It is a great example of showing vs. telling. Do you have any tips on weaving things like that into our stories?

I never feel qualified to give writing tips because each book I write differently and I’m always amazed I finished it. But one thing I do each time is try to keep questions in the readers mind. Adding answers slowly throughout the story is one way of rewarding a reader.

4. That’s a great tip. I loved the natural development of Vicky’s and Chris’ relationship through their ordeal of being lost. Share a bit how you developed their relationship and any challenges you faced in writing it.

That was the fun part to write because their characters played against each other so well. Vicky was a little rougher in my first draft, and that was a challenge to try and address my crit partner’s concerns but still keep her true nature. But the biggest challenge came at the end of the story. What kind of relationship do they have? What do they each get out of it? What happens next? These are the questions I struggled to get right.

5. It seems like quite a while since I first heard that you sold ICE DOGS. What’s been the timeline since the sale of the book? 

It sold in fall 2011, and it was slated for release fall 2013. Normally it’s about two years from contract to release. The publisher has Ice Dogs in their fall 2013 catalogue. It was explained to me that it’s still considered a fall release, but just at the end of their season.

6. Yes, I guess it’s a typical publication schedule. It just feels long when you’re waiting to read a book. Vicky is 14. It’s an age we don’t see that often in books maybe because it’s hard to classify as MG or YA. But I think it’s a major year for kids that there should be stories about. Are you and your publisher marketing this as a MG or YA book and why?

You ask the most thoughtful questions that get straight to the core of things! I agree, that seems to be a tough age for the industry to know what to do with. Vicky’s age changed a few times in the revision process with my agent and then with my editor just for that reason. I seem to write along that tricky line between the two. The publisher decided it was upper MG, and to be honest, I didn’t hear why exactly. I do think my writing style has something to do with it. I think not just the age, but the tone of the story dictates the category.

7. I never thought about the tone also guiding the age range a book is marketed to, but that makes sense. How are you spreading the word about ICE DOGS? Has your approach to marketing changed at all since your debut and if so, how?

I hired Blue Slip Media and they’ve been fantastic. Since I work full time, I didn’t have much time to spend on researching where to promote. They work with my publicist at HMH who has also been super supportive. They’re a great team for the book. The only thing I did that I also did for my first book was contact dogsled race organizers and offer a copy of the book to the race. That’s a niche market that I know.

8. I think it’s a great idea to hire a company or book blog reviewer to set up a blog schedule. What are you working on now?

I’ve just started a fun MG tentatively called Sled Dog School which follows three friends on their adventures.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Terry. You can find Terry at:

Website: www.terrylynnjohnson.com
Blog: http://terrylynnjohnson.blogspot.com
Twitter: @terrylynnj

Terry has generously offered a signed copy of ICE DOGS 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 through March 1st. I’ll announce the winner on March 3rd. 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. This is for US/Canada only.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find all the participating blogs HERE.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Wednesday I’m interviewing debut author Gayle Rosengren and giving away a copy of her middle grade historical novel WHAT THE MOON SAID. It’s about a girl moving from Chicago to farmland Wisconsin during the Great Depression.

Next Monday, I’m interviewing a college student who blogs and is an aspiring writer and giving away a copy of PANIC, a YA contemporary, ELUSION, a YA dystopian, or HALF BAD, a YA Urban fantasy, and THE SHADOW THRONE, the final book in THE FALSE PRINCE series by Jennifer Nielsen that I love.

The following Monday I’m interviewing Natalie Lloyd and giving away an ARC of A SNICKER OF MAGIC, a contemporary magical realism MG story I loved. The characters are so well developed and the setting is a vivid, small town set in Tennessee. This is one of my favorite reads of 2014.



And Wednesday that week I’m interviewing follower Kelly Polak and giving away ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK, her new MG contemporary story.

Friday that week I’ll be participating in the Lucky is Reading Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of new YA releases to choose from.


And don’t forget Casey’s Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!

PK HREZO INTERVIEW AND BUTTERMAN (TIME) TRAVEL, INC.


Welcome to my tour stop for Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc by PK Hrezo. This is a New Adult Time Travel Adventure Romance and the tour runs Feb. 10-21 with reviews, author interviews and a few guest posts and top tens.  It also includes a great giveaway.  Be sure to stop by the tour page for all the additional information and list of tour stops.



Today I’m thrilled to be a part of follower and debut author’s Pk Hrezo’s blog tour for her debut time travel story, BUTTERMAN (TIME) TRAVEL, INC. that released on November 14, 2013.  I jumped at the chance to be a part of the blog tour when I found out that one of my favorite book review bloggers, Candace at Candace’s Book Blog, was organizing the blog tour. And she did a fantastic review of Pk’s book here that made me really want to read this book.

First of all, I’ve always loved the cover and wanted to read the book from the cover alone. And I was super excited to read this because it’s a time travel story and it’s new adult. It’s the first new adult story I’ve read that’s not contemporary romance. I loved that Pk started the story in the future and where she chose to go back in time. I won’t spoil it for you by telling you where it was, but it’s fantastic. And there’s a contemporary feel to this story that I really enjoyed.

I could totally relate to Bianca, probably because she’s a lot like me—a rule follower, organized, and focused on her goal. And it was great seeing how she and Tristan, her time travel passenger and a maybe has been pop star, grow through the story. Wish I could grow like she does. The romance was sweet, but doesn’t overpower the story.

The plot really moves forward and is filled with twists and revelations, especially through the last one-third of the story. How the time travel feeds into the plot and Bianca’s and her family’s future is pretty amazing. And this book will really appeal to music lovers.

Here's a blurb about PK's book and some info on her:


Book Title: Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc

Author: PK Hrezo

Genre: NA Time Travel Adventure Romance
Recommended Age: 16 and up

Length: 267

Release date: November, 2013

Description:

It’s the year 2069 and
even though eighteen-year-old Bianca Butterman is heir to the family biz, she may never see the day her time-craft license becomes official.


When a government agent starts nosing around the operation, ButtermanTravel, Inc. gets stuck with a full audit—part of a government take-over
scheme to shut down all private time travel agencies. Enter former boy band superstar, Tristan Helms, desperate to retrieve a lost item from his past and willing to pay triple fare for a time-trip to get there, and Bianca has to find a way to complete the job and return home before the government gets wind and shuts down the family biz for good.

Welcome to Butterman Travel, Incorporated; a full service agency designed to meet all your exclusive time travel needs. We’re a family owned and operated business with one hundred years of experience. A place where you can rest assured, safety and reliability always come first.

Anxious to attend some special event from the past? Or for a glimpse of what the future holds?

You’ve come to the right place. We’re a fully accredited operation, offering an array of services; including, but not limited to: customized travel plans, professionally piloted operations, and personal trip guides. *Terms and conditions do apply

Use our Web conferencing to contact our frontline reservation specialist, Bianca Butterman, who will
handle all your inquiries in a professional and efficient manner, offering a tentative itinerary and free fare quote, so you can make the most of your time trip.

We look forward to serving you at Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands.




About the Author:


PK Hrezo is a native Floridian whose life could easily be a Jimmy Buffet song. She shares her home with her firefighter husband and their two children. When not creating characters and their worlds, PK can be found at her other job of rearranging passenger’s itineraries for a major international airline. The only hobbies she loves more than traveling, are reading, writing, and music, and when the four are combined she exists in total bliss.



She blogs regularly at PK HREZO: Fearless Fiction http://pk-hrezo.blogspot.com/


Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog

Hi PK! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

I’m a born and bred Florida beach bum, married to a firefighter, have two kids and one big dog. I’ve worked for an international airline for over sixteen years, and although I only really started writing novels seriously over the last five years, I’ve been a writer my entire life. Short stories, journals, you name it! Writing has always been a passion, and I guess I knew it when I realized I was narrating my walks home from the bus stop in elementary school.

2. I can see how your story is perfect for you since you work in the airline industry. Where did you get the idea for this story?

To date, I’ve written six or seven novels, most of them collecting dust. One with my agent. I was right in the middle of drafting a new sci-fi story when the idea for Butterman hit me. I’d been wanting to try a time travel story for awhile, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Once the concept popped in my head for a time travel agency, there was no looking back. I’ve been in the travel industry for a long time, so tweaking what I already know to apply to time travel, was obvious and fun.

3. I loved that you wrote about a time travel agency. That's so unique. You wrote this as a new adult story rather than a YA one. Why and what do you think makes it work better as a new adult story?

When I started writing it, Bianca was seventeen and homeschooled, but part way through it, I realized I was forcing her to be less mature than she wanted be. Eighteen suited her much better, and she was ready to be taking the plunge with the start of a new career. With her new role as time-craft pilot, she needed to be a legal adult, so it worked for the story in many ways. I love the fact she’s still a teenager and learning how to make her way in the real world as an adult. This was my favorite time of life personally, so getting to write it for someone else was so much fun. It was more liberating for me as a writer, knowing Bianca was a legal adult while facing certain situations.

4. That's interesting. I'll have to think about switching to a NA character if my characters ever sound too old to be a teen. I could tell that you really thought out the science of time travel and all its rules. Share a bit about how you created it and any resources you drew on.

I wanted to make sure I was doing the sci-fi genre its due justice. I spent a month researching time travel—everything from devouring the internet to watching documentaries. And of course any book or film I could get my hands on that dealt with it. Eventually, I managed to craft my own time travel science—or the Butterman time travel science, I should say. Since time travel is still fiction, I filled in gaps with my imagination and developed a commercialized industry from drawing on my own in-depth experience with air travel. The story started out as a parody because I didn’t want it to be too science-y, but I realized early on that Bianca wanted to be taken seriously.

5. Well, you did a fantastic job with it. As I’ve already said, I saw a bit of myself in Bianca. How much of you is in her and what challenges did you face in creating her?

Funny enough, I relate more to Tristan, her passenger, than I do with Bianca. But that’s why I enjoyed writing their interaction so much. Bianca is someone I’d want as my time trip pilot, and someone I’d get a kick out of hanging with. There were challenges, because I’d realize I was writing her making a choice I would make, and I’d have to stop and think, “Wait a minute—Bianca would not take a chance like this.”
I wanted her to have a weak side though, since she’s such a strong character, and I wanted her to make mistakes because she’s eighteen, and we make mistakes at that age. A lot of them. So while it was challenging making sure I let her lead the story and not me, I had to keep my author hat on and throw obstacles her way with her age factor in mind. That being said, yes, there’s still a bit of me in Bianca, in that, we both know how to get a job done.

6. So funny how we identify with different characters. I read that you’re a plotter and use the Plot Whisperer formula for plotting your stories. Share a bit about it and how you plotted out this story.

All hail the great and wise Plot Whisperer, Martha Alderson!  Seriously, I can’t recommend her methods enough. There’s a lot out there, and maybe hers just hit me at the right time while on my writerly path, but it was an eye opener. I’ve been studying craft for the last five years, and once I discovered the Plot Whisperer videos on YouTube (free btw) I spent two hours watching all of them and taking notes. I outlined a story based on her guidelines, and that story ended up getting me my agent. I used the same guidelines for Butterman. I’m a heavy plotter. I do detailed character sketches before writing, as I’ve found it helps shape my story while I’m drafting. I then create a detailed chapter outline, knowing how I want the story to end, and what types of crises need to happen in between to bring my main character to her knees. Knowing these things upfront gives me a road map to stay on while drafting. Usually, things change from that initial outline, but that’s okay. I like surprises.


7. One of these days I'll have to check out her YouTube videos. How did Jordy Albert become your agent and what has been your agent’s role in the BUTTERMAN’S (TIME) TRAVEL since it was self-published?

Jordy requested pages of my YA sci-fi, The Desiree, through a blog contest called Gearing Up To Get an Agent. She had the full within a few days after and signed me on after an in depth revise & resubmit.
I knew after I’d written BT that I wanted to SP it. I told Jordy upfront that this was my goal. She’s been very supportive from the get-go. She read the story, gave me some feedback (she’s very editorial, which I love) and said if I wanted her to sub it, we could talk about it. I knew this story could be tricky because it teeters on being upper YA, which is more suitable for sci-fi, and although it’s NA, there’s not a huge market for non-contemporary yet. I also knew it could be tricky to find an editor who didn’t want to cut the more realistic scenes. I really wanted to stay true to the story. With the pub industry in the state it is, I think authors and agents alike have to be innovative and ahead of the game, so having both traditional and indie options is in every writers best interest IMO. I went with my gut on this one, and Jordy’s been very supportive.

8. Awesome how supportive Jordy's been. I know you have a family and have a day job as well as write and blog. How do you juggle it all and what tips do you have for the rest of us?

Lots and lots of caffeine! It’s all about prioritizing—but I know that sounds easy and painless, which it’s totally not, so I’ll be honest and say it’s hard, and there are days I’m overwhelmed, but I make sacrifices to get things done, and sometimes my house isn’t cleaned, or the groceries aren’t bought, but lucky for me I have an amazing husband who helps keep it all together. I gave up TV a few years ago, and only watch movies now and then. I write while kids are in school, and work my regular job at night. There are days I don’t get to write or read, and I hate that, but I also accept the fact I can’t do it all, and do what I can, when I can. And pull my hair out in between.

9. I work too and have a family so I know what you mean about not watching that many movies or TV shows. What are you working on now?

Book 2 in the Butterman series, Induction Day. I’m hoping to have it out by middle to late summer. I’ve also got a life story to write for a local victim of a brutal attack, so I’ll be very busy for 2014, but I’m lucky and blessed to be able to do what I love.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, PK. So there are two giveaways. The first one is a blog tour one. Fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter. 


Giveaway:
T-shirt from outofprintclothing.com (US)
$10 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Bettie Bookpage Pixie ornament (US)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

And I'm giving away an e-book of BUTTERMAN (TIME) TRAVEL, INC. 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 through February 22nd. I’ll announce the winner on February 24th. 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 Monday I’m interviewing Terry Johnson and giving away a copy of ICE DOGS, her upper MG adventure story about a girl and her sled dogs and a guy she helps getting lost in the wilderness. I read it in early January and loved it.

And Wednesday next week I’m interviewing debut author Gayle Rosengren and giving away a copy of her middle grade historical novel WHAT THE MOON SAID. It’s about a girl moving from Chicago to farmland Wisconsin during the Great Depression.



The following Monday, I’m interviewing a college student who blogs and is an aspiring writer and giving away a copy of PANIC, a YA contemporary, ELUSION, a YA dystopian, or HALF BAD, a YA Urban fantasy, three books I recently read and enjoyed.

The following Monday I’m interviewing Natalie Lloyd and giving away an ARC of A SNICKER OF MAGIC, a contemporary magical realism MG story I loved. The characters are so well developed and the setting is a vivid, small town set in Tennessee. This is one of my favorite reads of 2014.
 

And don’t forget Casey’s Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!