Author Interview | Jessica Spotswood ft. Wild Swans + Giveaway!


“One of my favorite quotes from the book is: If you’re not any good, what’s the point? Milbourn girls don’t do mediocre. Because that’s messed-up thinking, but it’s also so relatable, I think.” shares Author Jessica Spotswood as she shares some personal experiences that inspired some scenes of her new book, Wild Swans. Read along and find out more!


Tell us something about your recently published book, Wild Swans!
Wild Swans is a contemporary YA novel about a complicated family, fierce female friendships, and first love, set on the Chesapeake Bay. Ivy Milbourn has been raised by her granddad after her mom walked out when Ivy was two. Now, the summer before Ivy’s senior year, her mom is coming back home with the two half-sisters Ivy’s never met.
How different is this book from your previous works?
It’s a contemporary book with no magical elements, whereas my anthologies are historical fiction and fantasy and my trilogy, The Cahill Witch Chronicles, was historical fantasy. But I think readers will find similar elements. There’s still a mix of sibling rivalry and love, a diverse cast of fiercely loyal girl friends, and a bookish boy (this time he’s a biracial poet with tattooos of poems). My new heroine, Ivy, is like the CWC’s Cate in that she’s struggling against high expectations and often doubts her abilities – but the stakes aren’t whether Ivy will be hung for witchery, it’s whether she’ll succumb to the mental illness and addictions that her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother struggled with.
How did you come up with the book’s title? Is there a meaning behind it?
The title is based on the poem “Wild Swans” by Edna St Vincent Millay. To me, the poem really fits Ivy’s mom, Erica, who is desperate to escape this small town, her father, and the family legacy that she finds suffocating.
Are there certain personal experiences you’ve drawn from that inspired some parts of the book?
Absolutely. I’ve written very openly about feeling like my trilogy didn’t live up to the publisher’s high sales expectations and how that made me feel like a failure for a while. I absolutely used that experience to write Ivy. Because the women in her family have all been incredibly talented artists, and because her granddad pushes her to discover her own extraordinary talent, Ivy feels like she’s not enough. One of my favorite quotes from the book is: If you’re not any good, what’s the point? Milbourn girls don’t do mediocre. Because that’s messed-up thinking, but it’s also so relatable, I think. For instance, it’s so easy in the publishing industry to compare your career to other writers’ and feel inadequate if you’re not a bestseller, with a movie deal, with a book tour, etc. But, like Ivy, I’ve learned to try to focus on what I want for myself and not let others’ expectations be the measure of my self-worth.
Which character from Wild Swans do you particularly see yourself in? Why?
Ivy! She’s such a perfectionist and desperate to please, and that’s something I struggle with, too. I think a lot of girls do, because we get a lot of pressure from society to be nice and put other people first. We’re taught that putting ourselves and our own needs first is selfish, but that’s so untrue! Over the course of the book, Ivy starts to stand up for herself more, starting with telling her best guy friend (who has a crush on her) that she can kiss whoever she wants and he doesn’t get a say in that, to eventually standing up to her mom and her granddad.
How did you celebrate Wild Swans‘ pub day?
It happened to be my birthday as well as my book birthday, so I spent a lot of time online thanking everyone for their good wishes! Then I went out to dinner with my best friend and my husband, and had a cocktail and some really great Brussels sprouts. (I am super into Brussels sprouts lately!)

jsJessica Spotswood is the author of the contemporary novel WILD SWANS and the historical fantasy trilogy The Cahill Witch Chronicles. She’s also the editor of the feminist historical anthology A TYRANNY OF PETTICOATS. Jess grew up in a tiny, one-stoplight town in Pennsylvania, where she could be found swimming, playing clarinet, memorizing lines for the school play, or—most often—with her nose in a book. Now she lives in Washington, DC, where she can be found working as a children’s library associate for the DC Public Library, seeing theatre with her playwright husband, or—most often—with her nose in a book. Some things never change.
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27015393The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives—and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?

But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past….

Cut Both Ways

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Author Interview | D. K. Stone ft. Edge of Wild + Excerpt


Author Danika Stone talks Edge of Wild, her first mystery-thriller book + an excerpt reading by Ms. Danika herself!


You’ve published quite a few titles from the past years, how different is Edge of Wild from your previously published works?
I consider my work as falling into two categories: contemporary fiction and young adult fiction. There are a few differences between the two (audience, degree of complexity, etc.) but beyond that, most stories still come down to spinning a good yarn. I hope I do that!
Edge of Wild is unique because it’s the first book I’ve written in the mystery-thriller genre. The level of tension you must build in a story like that is special. The plot must unravel at exactly the right pace to keep readers guessing as they turn the page. I’m really excited to share this story!
Have you always been interested in mystery and thriller stories both as a reader and a writer?
I read everything! But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that Stephen King’s books have kept me up many a night! I love the puzzle aspect to a mystery, and there’s something very primal about a story that won’t let you stop reading. Hopefully Edge of Wild does both.
What’s the most difficult part to write in Edge of Wild?
I’m admittedly much better at writing first drafts than at editing. (And that’s why it’s so good I’ve worked with excellent editors!) Edge of Wild required a very careful approach to laying out the pieces and including enough characters that the reader didn’t know right away who the killer was. For me, this complex planning was the biggest difference between writing a mystery and other genres.
What then did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Characters always come first for me, and I definitely fell in love with Louise and Rich right away. Their relationship is the beating heart of the book. When I wrote their slow-burn romance, I would find myself grinning at my computer screen. The connection was definitely my favorite aspect of writing!
Describe each of the characters (Rich & Louise) in 3 words.
Rich: Driven, Struggling, Leader
Louise: Centered, Attuned, Negotiator
Lastly, what shall the readers expect in Edge of Wild?
Edge of Wild takes readers on a journey into a little border town where not everything is what it seems. You should expect a bevy of memorable characters, a complex mystery, and a romance that’ll burn up the page! It’s a quick-paced, smart read.
Happy reading!


Edge of Wild
by D. K. Stone


Jeff was packing to leave when he heard the noise outside the window. It was a low keening sound, the sort of moan that would have sent a city slicker like him running a year ago. But not now. No, tonight, he picked up the wooden bat next to the door and walked out onto the porch.
Jeff’s time in the mountains had changed him. He was far more confident in who he was nowadays; the solitude of Waterton had done that. Other changes were less certain. He was preparing to throw away a career at Coldcreek Enterprises, for one thing. And last spring, he would have had misgivings about walking out into the darkness after hearing… something.
Tonight he did it without a second thought.
He stood, staring out into the sooty black. Waiting. The sound didn’t return, but his mind was abuzz with it. Jeff replayed it over and over, subtly adding to it, filtering it, until he was certain Tucker’s whine was somewhere in the remembered sound. Jeff had bought the cougar hound pup from a local rancher last spring, when the problems had begun. “Cougars can be trouble ’round these parts,” a Park warden had warned when the bloody kill had appeared on this very porch. A dog seemed like the best way to deal with it. Jeff hadn’t expected to love the long-eared mutt so much.
The dog had disappeared a week ago.
In the darkness, far beyond the porch’s golden light, a branch broke.
“Tucker?” Jeff called, his hand tightening on the bat. “That you, boy?”
He whistled, but there was no response. Jeff turned in a slow circle, taking in the protective perimeter of porch light and the door to the house, still ajar, and the warm light of the kitchen. Uncurtained windows framed the room beyond. Jeff frowned. A year in the mountains had made him indifferent to privacy.
Another branch broke, this time a little further out, nearer to the garage.
Jeff stepped down to the yard, heart pounding. Coming here had been a lifetime opportunity: project manager for the building of the Whitewater Lodge, the biggest hotel complex the hamlet had ever seen. Jeff wished he’d known how difficult that goal would be to accomplish.
The issues had started immediately, weather putting the project weeks behind schedule. The construction crew had been outsourced from Calgary, but the men hadn’t been prepared for building in extreme mountain conditions. “No one builds in the winter,” the townsfolk smirked. Pipes burst. Workers quit. Still Jeff pushed forward.
And then the other things began.
In the darkness, something moved. Whatever it was had circled round the far side of the garage, keeping to the shadows. The presence was uneasy and so was he. Rolling sweaty fingers over the bat’s grip, Jeff moved in.
This time he would know.
Jeff’s lifetime opportunity had turned into a nightmare. Even after the snowy weather had cleared, the troubles continued. Everything that could go wrong with the unfinished hotel, had. He had opened one wing of the lodge despite misgivings.
It was a disaster.
Balancing that small section of rooms while finishing the remaining two wings was impossible. He’d borrowed money to finish, but the loan wasn’t nearly enough. The rest of the town ran as if it was still 1950. The townsfolk didn’t like him. Didn’t want him here. Warden Grant McNealy had blamed a cougar for the dead animal on his porch. But there’d been the trouble with broken cabin windows. “The wind.” And then the break-ins at the Whitewater Lodge. “Seasonal workers.” All of it conveniently discredited, but Jeff didn’t believe that anymore. Not after Tucker had disappeared off the chain in the yard last week. He knew the reason now.
Someone wanted him out.
Jeff made almost a complete circuit of the yard, pushing further into the darkness, but the bushes were silent. He whistled once more, knowing there’d be no answer, and then stopped, taut with frustration. With a sigh, he turned back around and froze.
A shadowy figure stood on the porch.
Jeff took a shaky breath, lifting the end of the bat and widening his stance. With the light behind, he couldn’t see who it was.
“What do you want?” he called.
The figure on the porch smiled, teeth white against the shadows.
“Just to talk…”

As a bonus, here’s a clip of Ms. Danika reading the prologue from her book launch!


danikaDanika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, she now writes novels for both adults (Edge of Wild, The Intaglio Series, and Ctrl Z) and teens (All the Feels). When not writing, Ms. Stone can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online.

She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency. |
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27851112Transplanted from New York City to the tiny mountain town of Waterton, Alberta with the task of saving a floundering new hotel, Rich Evans is desperate to return to the city as soon as he can. The locals seem unusually hostile towards his efforts, or maybe even menacing, and was that a cougar on his door-step last night? As Rich begins to wonder whether his predecessor disappeared of his own accord, he finds himself strongly drawn to Louise Newman, the garage mechanic who is fixing his suddenly unreliable BMW, and the only person in Waterton who doesn’t seem desperate to run him out of town. As Rich works on the hotel, the town is torn apart by a series of gruesome, unsolved murders. With Louise as his only ally in a town that seems set against him, Rich can’t help but wonder: will he be the next victim?

Are You Still There

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Author Interview | Melissa Schorr ft. Identity Crisis

25877205Author Melissa Schorr talks about cyberbullying, body image, catfishing and what inspired her to write Identity Crisis. Read on this interview and know why you should read her book!


What is Identity Crisis about and what shall your readers expect to read?
Identity Crisis is a story about cyberbullying, where a high school girl finds out her new online boyfriend is actually a catfishing scheme thought up by her worst enemies. The story is told from two perspectives — from Annalise, the girl who finds herself the victim of the scam, and from Noelle, the girl who is doing the catfishing. It’s also about so much more: friendship, slut-shaming, fandom, body image.
What inspired you to write a novel about catfishing?
I’d heard so many stories in the news about people being victims of catfishing scams — like the Notre Dame football player Manti T’eo, and the tragic case of Megan Meier. And there was also the MTV show Catfish. I wanted to understand why someone would fall for such a scam, but also, what would motivate someone to do that to someone else.
Aside from catfishing, the book also deals with the issue of body image and inner beauty. What’s your advice to young readers who are struggling from the same issue?
That at every age, you will look back at yourself and think you were absolutely beautiful back then and you were insane to be stressing about those little imperfections. And that someday, you will find someone who thinks you are crazy beautiful, inside and out — even when you wake up in the morning with bedhead and no makeup!
Are you more likely to be Annalise or Noelle?
Definitely like Noelle, in terms of her fear of public speaking! So of course, that makes giving presentations as an author a bit challenging. But also like Annalise, self-conscious about her body type. (Only, in high school, I didn’t have her problem, I had the opposite, if you know what I mean!) So I guess I’m a bit of both girls.
How different is Identity Crisis compared to your other works?
My first book, Goy Crazy, about a Jewish girl who falls for a Catholic boy, was very autobiographical, while this book is entirely fictional. But both are lighter takes on issues that matter to me — interfaith dating and cyberbullying.
Please share to us your favorite quote from Identity Crisis.
“It seems everyone has something they are covering up—an aging face or a crumbling career,a secret crush or a true identity. We’re all just a bunch of glamour shots and Facebook brags and auto-tunes. What feels real can turn out to be fake, but also, what feels fake can sometimes turn into something real. All that flashy gadgetry—our handles and avatars and screen names— can let us scrape away the surface and connect somewhere true, somewhere deep inside.”

abouttheauthormelissaMelissa Schorr is the YA author of GOY CRAZY (Hyperion 2006) and IDENTITY CRISIS (forthcoming, Merit Press 2016), and a contributor to the YA anthology DEAR BULLY. She is currently a contributing writer/editor to the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. Her freelance work has appeared in numerous publications, including GQ, People, Self, San Francisco magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.
Melissa currently lives in Boston with her husband, her daughters, and her dog, Bailey.
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25877205When curvaceous Annalise Bradley’s scandalous freshman year hookup sparks the anger of her female classmates, three of them decide to get her back by “catfishing” her, creating a fake online profile of the perfect boy to toy with her affections. Against her better nature, introverted Noelle Spiers, goes along with her friends’ plan, hoping to distract Annalise from dreamy Cooper Franklin, her lifelong crush who has fallen for Annalise instead. As Annalise discovers she is being played and seeks revenge, Noelle increasingly regrets her role in the cruel hoax and tries to salvage their relationship. Told in alternating perspectives, IDENTITY CRISIS covers romance, betrayal, and timeless friendship in the age of modern technology.

Identity Crisis

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Author Interview | Jenn Bennett ft. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart + Giveaway


Let’s start on November with an Interview with Author Jenn Bennet for her upcoming book, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart!


Tell us about your book, The Anatomical Shape of A Heart, in one sentence.
Two wildly different artistic teens meet on a night bus in San Francisco, change each others’ lives, and fall in love.
Aside from the plot, I’m also very curious about the book’s title. How did you come up with it? (Both US: TASOAH and UK: Night Owls titles)
My original title was Night Owls, the UK and international title, is a nod to the late-night Owl buses in San Francisco. Beatrix and Jack are both sneaking around at night for the sake of their artwork: She loves anatomy and wants to draw cadavers in the university hospital’s Willed Body lab, and Jack is a graffiti artist. My U.S. publisher decided to change the title to reflect Beatrix’s art; my editor came up with it. I like both titles!
Since TASOAH is your debut novel in the YA demographic, what were the changes you’ve experienced in its writing process compared to writing your prior books?
It actually started as a much different book, a story set in a futuristic San Francisco. But I wrote one chapter—a quiet scene in a museum cafe with the protagonist, her mother, and her brother—and everything shifted inside my head. My literary agent had been encouraging me to try my hand at YA contemporary, because she thought I had the voice for it, but I wasn’t confident enough until I wrote that scene. After that, the book was a complete joy to write. It felt so right…almost too right, actually, so naturally I was suspicious that I’d screwed it all up. I guess I hadn’t!
Introduce Beatrix and Jack to the readers.
Beatrix—known to her friends and family as Bex—is intensely focused, has a dry wit, and is artistically talented. Her obsession is anatomy: She loves bones, muscles, veins, and eyeballs. She’s a little odd, and sort of a loner. Her mom, Katherine the Great, is a night-shift nurse, and they live in a tiny Edwardian row house with Bex’s college-dropout gay brother Heath. Bex meets Jack one night on her way home from the hospital where Bex’s mom works. Jack is charming and swoony and handsome (duh), and he’s wanted by the police for spray-painting gold words across San Francisco. But Bex discovers other wonderful things about him that completely contradict his criminal leanings. You’ll need to read to discover what those things are…
Name a character from TASOAH that you can relate to the most and tell us how you are similar to that character.
Probably Bex. Though I’m not scientifically inclined like she is, I’ve got her drive and focus. Bex feels like her world has gone a little dark since her father exited the picture, but she keeps moving ahead, eyes trained on her goal. Having a writing career often can feel that way. Success is elusive, and you never know if your next book will fail or succeed. It’s all a huge risk, and all you can do is believe in yourself and keep trying. So in that way, I understand Bex completely.
Who/what inspired you to write a story like TASOAH?
No person in particular. As I’d said previously, this book started out as a very different story. But once I made the decision to write it as contemporary romance, I just naturally gravitated toward writing about two artists. (I’m an artist, so write what you know!)
What is something you’ve learned in writing your debut YA novel?
That YA readers are some of the kindest, most enthusiastic readers on the planet. My book was released in the U.K./Australia first, so I’ve already gotten fan mail, tweets, comments, photos, and even reader art (my favorite!) about the book. And all of it has brought me to tears—happy ones! I’m overwhelmed and humbled by reader response to Jack and Bex’s story.
What are you most excited about in your book’s (North American Edition) release day?
It’s taken two years for this book to be released in North America, which is a seriously bleepity-bleep long time to wait. So mostly I’ll just be relieved that it’s finally out. In fact, if you listen really hard on November 3rd, you might hear me shout, “HOLY CRAP, IT’S REALLY OUT. THANK YOU, SWEET BABY THOR!”


JENNBENJenn Bennett is the author of The Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series with Pocket and The Roaring 20’s Historical paranormal romance series with Berkeley. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two pugs.
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23310763Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

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Author Interview | E.J. Mellow ft. The Divide + Excerpt

81xCfsCtfiL“It’s the yin yang of writing. So I would say I try to focus and take great care with both.” says Author E.J. Mellow when asked about writing plots and characters. Read more of this interview and learn more things about The Divide. (Like, who designed the book’s gorgeous cover. 😉 )

qnaFirst of all, I really enjoyed The Dreamer and am already looking forward for book 2! Can you tell us more about The Divide and what shall we expect from it?
Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed The Dreamer! And thank you so much for having me for this Q&A :-).
The Divide is a lot more action packed. While I think The Dreamer took a little more time in the beginning with getting to know our main protagonist and her life, The Divide definitely jumps right into things. Now that we have a familiarity with Molly and what’s going on with her dreams, the world of Terra really expands in this next one. Molly and her powers get tested in ways no one is prepared for and there were honestly a lot of scenes that were tough for me to write, emotionally. So if you’re a fan of action and surprising twists, The Divide will be a fun ride ;-).
Where did the idea of writing a series about dreams came from?
So here’s the crazy thing, the idea for The Dreamer actually started as a dream. I’ve always had very vivid ones and find them extremely fascinating. A while back I had one that lasted a whole week. Yup, a week! With the same characters and plot continuing on each night. It felt like I was going to sleep and clicking on a TV show and…there was a guy…and yes, he was very good looking (I’m sure you’re seeing some similarities here). I woke up one morning, a couple days into the dreams, and actually felt sad that I wasn’t still there. It was so odd (and probably a little insane). Eventually the dreams stopped, but I kept thinking about them and how strange it was to have recurring ones for so many nights. I told a friend about it, and through that conversation is how my story for this series came about.
If you would compare the writing process of The Dreamer to The Divide, what were the changes that you’ve encountered?
I actually wrote The Dreamer more than three years ago. So spent a very long time reworking, editing, and sending it to very trusted friends and editors to read before it was published this past May. In that regard the process was much longer than writing The Divide. I also think knowing my characters more allowed me to finish the second book quicker. But don’t get me wrong, there were the same concerns I came across in book two, like making sure the storyline was consistent and details of my world didn’t contradict itself from book 1, etc. Having really good editors helps tremendously with this! Overall though, I think the major changes were knowing how to manage my writing, marketing, and editing more fluidly. I’m hoping this will continue to smooth out with each book!
What did you enjoy most about writing book 2 for the Dreamland series?
Definitely getting to explore more of Terra and Molly’s strengths. While I set out to write a protagonist that was very relatable and, for lack of a better word, normal, I’m always a sucker for some kick-ass ladies. And I think Molly starts to step it up in The Divide that way, since she kind of has no choice but to ;-).
When writing, do you focus more on your plot or your characters?
Great question! I think to have a good story you need to concentrate on both. Without a good plot driving the characters, they can fall flat. And if you have poorly developed characters no one would really care about the story. It’s the yin yang of writing. So I would say I try to focus and take great care with both.
One of the many things that I love about your books are the covers! They’re beautiful! Who designed them?
Aw, thank you so much! I actually design the covers and all my marketing materials. My background is in advertising and graphic design, so it’s super fun to be able to apply that to my writing. The original photo for The Dreamer is from underwater photographer Elena Kalis and the one for The Divide is from Dmitry Laudin.
Is there a story of how you came up with the characters’ names?
I’m so glad you asked this question! Names are extremely important in this series as you probably learned from reading The Dreamer. So when choosing them I did a lot of research behind the meanings of each, making sure I chose ones that would invoke each characters strongest personality trait. And here’s a hint, if you ever wanted to do a little digging about certain characters introduced, look up their name for that will tell you a bit more about their ‘could be’ purpose in the book.
Molly’s perspective in the 1st book was really engaging. Was it easy to write in her POV? 
First, that’s so kind of you to say. Thank you! And it was easy and hard to write in her POV. Easy in the sense that she’s a 24 year old woman, young and new in New York where her biggest responsibilities are her job and friends—A time that I can still very vividly remember living. It was hard in the sense that some, if not most, of her behavior wasn’t aligned with my own. I think I have more Becca in me, at least when it comes to talking bluntly ;-).
Will we be seeing more of Dev’s side of the story in this book?
Most definitely! Dev’s history comes to the surface in many ways (good and bad) in The Divide.
Have you always liked fantasy stories? (Both as a reader and a writer).
Fantasy is definitely one of my favorites. There’s something about a world so unlike ours, but at the same time similar that’s very alluring. It’s the ultimate mental escape for me especially when there’s magic elements involved. I’m a sucker for magic!


by EJ Mellow
Clapping echoes in the room, and I glance up to find Dev casually leaning against the wall next to the door. His eyes are narrowed with appraisal, and his mouth is half-cocked in his signature amused smile. “Impressive,” he says as he pushes off the wall and slowly walks toward us. His sudden appearance and graceful saunter rock me out of my fighting mind-set. I take in his broad shoulders and the way his shirt hugs him like a jealous girlfriend.
Letting go of Rae, I tuck strands of hair that fell from my ponytail behind my ear, suddenly aware of how sweaty I am.
“I’d like to see what you could do against a real opponent,” he says with a smirk, crossing his arms. The stance calls attention to his biceps, the same ones I once found myself mortifyingly squeezing.
I leer at him. “And I’m sure you think you’re said opponent?”
“There’s only one way to find out.”
Rae fluidly stands from his fall and drapes an arm around me. “Molly here is a natural.”
I snort out a laugh. “And I’m sure retaining past Dreamers’ abilities has nothing to do with it.”
“Don’t be so modest.” He squeezes my shoulder.
“Have you practiced with any weapons yet?” Dev moves toward an empty wall in the center of the room. Placing a hand on it, the area drops out, revealing a rack of diverse armament. There’s an abundance of blades, and my eyes pause on two hook swords, knowing how they feel in my grip, before traveling on to the axes, clubs, daggers, unusual looking guns, and blunt staffs. Here is where Dev stands, taking out two Bō—a Japanese long staff weapon. Somehow I know all the names and uses of these objects, except for some of the guns. Those remain foreign.
The only difference with these weapons and the ones I’d find at home is the material in which they are made—the same strange gunmetal aluminum as the Arcus. And if my memories from past Dreamers are anything to go by, they can be filled with an altered form of Navitas, making them glow the hot blue-white, and lethal toward any opponent.
“I was saving that part of the training for later,” Rae explains soberly.
“Where’s the fun in that?” Dev asks, handling the Bō naturally as he walks back to us. “She seems to have grasped her hand-to-hand combat for today. Why not finish with a little sparring?”
“See what I mean about the tough teacher,” Rae mutters to me.
“What do you say, Molly? Care to give me a go?” Dev taunts, holding one Bō while twirling the other.
I narrow my eyes and extend a hand. “I know I won’t hear the end of it until I do.”
He gives me one of his sexy grins while throwing me the staff. I snatch it from the air, immediately knowing I’ve been trained in the art of bōjutus.
I smile back.
Oh, it’s on.
As if reading my thoughts and without any further warning, Dev sweeps toward me. His intense blue eyes are the last things I register before my mind switches off and I lunge back.

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ejE.J. Mellow is the author behind the NA Contemporary fantasy trilogy The Dreamland Series. When she’s not busy moonlighting in the realm of make-believe, she can be found doodling, buried in a book (usually this one), or playing video games. Residing in Brroklyn, NY, she is a member of Romance Writers of America and their fantasy, futuristic & paranormal chapter.
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81xCfsCtfiLMolly finally uncovers the truth about the strange dreams that plagued her sanity for weeks. Now destined to accept a clandestine role, Molly must find the strength and courage buried deep to push forward and succeed.

With the help of Dev, the roguish blue-eyed man of her dreams—whose dark past resurfaces to haunt him—Molly prepares to test the limits of her newly awakened powers and set right a world on the edge of being consumed by nightmares.

But when an unknown shadow stalks her every step and a shocking revelation about her ancestry comes to light, Molly may find herself forced to make a decision that could leave her alone in the dark and standing on the wrong side of a divide.

 The Divide (Dreamland #2)

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Author Interview | Michelle Levy ft. Not After Everything) + Excerpt + Giveaway

18520658Find out who inspired Author Michelle Levy in writing her debut novel and more about Not After Everything in this Q & A. Plus, don’t miss the chapter teaser from the book and a Giveaway!


How did you come up with the title Not After Everything?

It wasn’t easy. I went through three title changes. Between my agent, my editors, and me, we had 245 potential titles to choose from—I still have the list! Not After Everything came from a line in the book. I wish I could take credit, but that was one of my editors’ suggestions.
Aside from being a YA Author, you’re also a casting director (which is really awesome, btw!), so, if you were to cast someone to play as Tyler and Jordyn, let’s say in a movie, who are your top picks?
I find that casting my characters really helps me get their voices right. I cast Dylan O’Brien (Maze Runner) as Tyler in the early stages of drafting. And Malese Jow (Vampire Diaries) was the inspiration behind Jordyn before I even began writing. I still have their pictures on my corkboard, though they’ve been pushed to the side to make way for my next set of characters.
How was your experience writing in the perspective of a 17 year old male?
It was interesting for sure. Lucky (or unlucky) for me I have an over-sharing younger brother who provided me with more than enough (too much!) insight into the male psyche. And he still acts like he’s seventeen, so that made it even easier. 🙂
Is there a particular character in your novel that you see yourself in? If yes, who and why?
The character that’s the closest to me is probably Dr. Dave, Tyler’s psychiatrist. I’m fascinated with psychology and probably would have gone in that direction if I hadn’t become a casting director.
Have you always seen yourself becoming writer in the contemporary genre?

Actually, Not After Everything was my first attempt at contemporary. Before that I had written two urban fantasy and two paranormal manuscripts. I might come back to one or two of those one day, but for now I’m really enjoying writing contemporary.
What/Who inspired you to write Not After Everything?

Tyler did. His voice just came into my head one day. He was angry and broken and I absolutely had to know what made him that way.
Are you currently working on a new project?
I’m working on another contemporary about the psychological effects of bullying.


Not After Everything
By Michelle Levy


A thick, pink-polished fingernail strikes the edge of my desk— two succinct taps—and I look up from my poetic masterpiece, right into Mrs. Hickenlooper’s eyes. They bulge like her three hefty chins are trying to choke the life out of her.
“Am I boring you, Mr. Blackwell?”
I return to scratching the letter S into the top left corner of my notebook. “I assume that’s rhetorical.”
Muffled laughter from the class. Mrs. Hickenlooper’s bulbous eyes narrow—no easy feat.
“Out.” She juts her talon in the direction of the door, as if I’m too stupid to locate it myself.
I feel another sarcastic remark bubbling up, but I swallow it back as I casually finish the last of my scratching.
Now F-U-C-K T-H-I-S will be visible in the top margin of at least the next thirty sheets of notebook paper. I know it isn’t particularly clever or imaginative, but I smile all the same. Then I calmly collect my belongings and stroll out of AP macroeconomics, unsure how, exactly, being forced to leave all this is a punishment. She expects me to report to the guidance counselor’s office like she has the last three times, but of course I won’t.
I drift down the mostly empty hallways until . . . I don’t know, whatever. Truthfully, I kind of hope the asshole hall monitor will find me and dole out some sort of actual punishment.
“’S up, Tyler?” one of my old teammates says as I pass the gym. Before, I would have taken my frustrations out on the weights. Now it just seems so stupid. I nod a greeting to Ted and continue walking.
Time’s not the same as it used to be, and suddenly the hall- ways are filled with people I used to be able to stand. I never even heard the bell. I have AP chem now, but it doesn’t really matter if I show up. Mr. Waters wouldn’t dare fail me. Even crusty Mrs. Hickenlooper will probably still give me an A. I wish she wouldn’t. I wish they would all stop tiptoeing around me just because my mom offed herself over the summer.

Michelle Levy hails from Denver, Colorado and now lives in Los Angeles, California, where she works as a casting director for film and television, casting for such projects as Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Bruce Almighty, and more. Not After Everything is her debut novel.
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18520658Tyler has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot girlfriend, and a reliable army of friends to party with. Then his mom kills herself. And Tyler lets it all go. Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering (verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t (money). Tyler finds a job that crashes him into Jordyn, his former childhood friend turned angry-loner goth-girl. She brings Tyler an unexpected reprieve from the never-ending pity party his life has become. How could he not fall for her? But with his dad more brutally unpredictable than ever, Tyler knows he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into the chaos. So when violence rocks his world again, will it be Jordyn who shows him the way to a hopeful future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find it in himself?

Not After Everything

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Author Interview | Kris Dinnison ft. You and Me and Him + Excerpt

9780544301122_hresRead on this fun interview with Author Kris Dinnison and get a sneak peek of her debut novel, You and Me and Him.


When and where did the idea of writing You and Me and Him begun?
I’d just been rejected by an MFA program, and I had to decide whether or not I was going to try and be a writer anyway. About the same time I decided to keep writing, I saw this Neil Gaiman quote that just said “finish something”. I made that my mantra. I had a note in my writing ideas notebook that just said “a girl who works in a record store.” When I wrote it down I thought she was someone else, but when I started writing, Maggie’s voice came right away, complete with a set of experiences that went way beyond the record store. I started writing and didn’t allow myself to edit until I had a complete first draft written. That was hard because so much of that first draft was really horrible writing.
Were there any struggles you experienced in writing You and Me and Him?
Oh my gosh, yes. There were lots of struggles. Sometimes it feels like the whole thing is made up of struggles. I love writing, but it’s hard work, and there were so many things I didn’t know about writing a novel. I did dozens of drafts, and it still felt really rough to me. I was lucky to have some amazing mentors along the way, but there was also a lot of rejection and a lot of having to keep working even when I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing.
What/Who inspired you to write your debut novel?
In terms of my main character, I was really inspired by the idea that so many of the YA books about overweight teens are stories of a physical transformation: the character loses weight and that solves most of his or her problems. I wanted to write a book about a girl who is overweight, but who isn’t defined by that, who understands her physical body is just one aspect of who she is. Maggie taught me so much about that along the way.
I’m sensing Tom is the “Him” in the title of your novel, then who is the “You” and the “Me” between Maggie and Nash?
Well, actually the “Him” could be either Tom or Nash depending on where you are in the book and who Maggie’s feeling closest to in that moment. The “Me” is definitely Maggie since she’s the first person narrator in the book.
This is a question I love asking writers. Is there a particular character in your novel that you see yourself in? If yes, who and why?
Maggie is the most obvious answer to this question. People who know me will think that right away, but actually there is a lot of me in almost all the characters. Maggie is sort of how I wish I’d been in high school, but I moved during high school, like Tom, and I had really high standards for my friends, like Nash, and I had crushes on people who would never like me back, like CeCe, so I feel like all of the characters are me and not me in different ways.
Maggie is overweight and Nash is gay. Was it easy for you to write these characters that the book defined as “outsiders”?
I’ve had struggles with body image my whole life, so Maggie’s experiences were a little easier for me to access than Nash’s. I actually struggled quite a bit with feeling like I didn’t have the right to tell Nash’s story. But I did a lot of research, a lot of interviews, and I realized that my job as a writer is to tell my character’s story, not to tell a story that represents every person in a particular demographic. I modeled Nash after some guys I interviewed, and I made some really intentional decisions about which experiences he would have and not have. But in the end, he’s an individual, not a type. That’s what I want in all my characters.
Have you always seen yourself as a writer in the YA demographic?
I haven’t really seen myself as a writer at all until recently. But because I taught high school, and then I was a librarian, I read a lot of YA and have been really blown away by the quality of YA writing and the amazing compelling stories YA writers are telling these days. I also feel really fascinated by that moment of life where you go from being a kid to an adult, a moment that happens almost instantly in some cultures, but which gets stretched out over years in ours. Having a foot in each world, like so many teens do, is a really interesting place to tell stories about.
Describe You and Me and Him in 1 word.
Are you currently working on a new project?
Of course! I have two books in different stages of being finished, plus another I have outlined that I’m really excited to start. I’ve also been working on a lot of shorter fiction and essays and trying to get stuff accepted to different journals and magazines.
What shall we expect in You and Me and Him?
I think you can expect characters that might infuriate you but who are making mistakes and getting their hearts broken in ways that feel real.


by Kris Dinnison
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015
Chapter 1
Let’s get one thing straight from the very beginning: I am not one of those shrinking-violet fat girls. I don’t sit alone in my bedroom playing Billie Holiday albums while drowning my sorrows in a carton of ice cream. Okay, once—maybe twice—a year, but not every weekend. I have friends, a great job in a vintage record store, and even some minor social status. But I am an overweight teenage girl going to an American high school. It doesn’t take a clairvoyant to figure out there are going to be some issues.
The current issue: Which outfit will maximize the four and half pounds I lost this summer and minimize the remaining flesh? As usual, my mom’s annual summer diet plan for me didn’t result in any magical transformations, so for the debut of my junior year, I decide on my flowy hippie-chick skirt and a black T-shirt with sleeves too long for the heat of early September. I don’t love this outfit. But it fits, kind of. And it’s not hideous. Most of the clothes in my size look like they were designed for retirees in Miami Beach, Florida. I do not like my shirts bedazzled in any way. Someone in the plus-size fashion industry thinks if you put shiny stuff on a T-shirt, no one will notice the size of the person underneath. This particular first-day outfit is nothing tragic, but it’s more of a fashion whisper than a fashion statement.
I climb on the bus and make a beeline for Nash.
“Maggie.” He gives me a slight wave, then covers it by smoothing down his rockabilly sideburns. (He grooms them, no lie, with mustache wax.) I slide into the seat beside him. Nash shifts upward as the seat sags in my direction.
“Move your skinny ass over,” I say.
“Like my skinny ass has a choice?” He moves. “Nice skirt.” Nash squinches up his face like something smells bad.
I sigh. Nash is all about edgy, and my sixties Woodstock wear does not scream edgy. I feel a trickle of sweat drip down between my shoulder blades.
“Nice hair,” I say.
Nash pats his shellacked do, making sure it has kept its height through the bus ride. Finding all the follicles in place, he turns his attention to me. He fishes a peppermint lip balm out of his pocket and hands it over. He then picks three or four of my long, brown hairs off my shirt. Nash always grooms me like some fastidious chimpanzee mother. Finally, he straightens the silver charm on its chain around my neck. The charm was Nash’s gift to me on the first day of high school. It’s this cool spiral; he says it’s to remind me that he’s got my back. Always. I pretty much never take the thing off.
“Thanks,” I say when he’s done making me presentable.
Nash holds out his hand. “Did you bring the goods?” 
I dig in my bag and pull out a Ziploc baggie. Inside is one of my signature breakfast bars, tailored especially for Nash: cashews, chunky peanut butter, oats, cinnamon, dried cherries, and a few dark chocolate chips. I know. Shocking, right? A fat girl who bakes. So cliché. But I started making these bars for Nash a few years back when his dad left and things went to shit at his house. He was living on ramen noodles and cold cereal, so now the bars are part of our morning routine.
I wave the baggie over my head, keeping his breakfast just out of reach. “Who loves you, baby?” 
He snatches the bag from my hand and pinches off a corner of the bar, popping it in his mouth. “Mmmmmm.” His mouth is full. “What’s different?” 
“A little cardamom. Fewer cherries. It was too sweet.” 
“Well done, Mags.” 
I wait as he chews, looking out the window at the rows of identical cedar split-levels lining the streets. It’s a decent neighborhood, but it’s in between: not new, but not old enough or cool enough to be vintage, either.
As soon as he finishes breakfast, Nash glances around to see if anyone is listening and leans in close. “Check out the hottie in row two.” 
I tilt my head up above the back of the seats and catch a glimpse of tousled, longish brown hair in the left-hand seat. Ducking back down, I ask, “Who is it?” without letting my lips move.
Nash shrugs, and we fan ourselves with our hands. Nash and I have the same taste in almost everything: teachers, music, art, literature, and boys. The good news is we can mock anyone who doesn’t share our aesthetic. The bad news is we have to lay claim to guys we both crush on. There just aren’t that many crush-worthy possibilities in Cedar Ridge.
“Dibs!” we say at the same time.
Nash narrows his eyes at me. We’ve been doing the dibs thing since elementary school, but we didn’t start using it on boys until seventh grade. It’s kind of a running joke with us, this idea that we can have a guy just by claiming him. Never once have any of the crushes reciprocated, but the ritual allows the one with dibs to discuss the object of his or her affection as if romance was a realistic possibility.
“Okay.” I hold my hands up against Nash’s world-famous death stare. “You can have him.” Not a big deal. I’m long past believing in the fairy tale of the handsome stranger who sees past my not-quite-modelesque figure to discover the fabulous Maggie within. After all, that would be some headline: “fat girl snags new guy.” I gaze out the window as the bus turns the corner and rolls along the lakefront. The evergreens still cast long shadows a good distance into the lake from the shore. But starting about thirty feet out, the water glitters with early morning sunlight. I steal another glance at the new guy and cross my fingers that Nash has an actual chance with this one.


krisKris Dinnison has spent nearly two decades as a teacher and librarian while dreaming of becoming a writer. Nowadays, she helps run the retail and café businesses she owns with her husband, hikes, and spins classic vinyl. You and Me and Him is her debut YA novel. She lives and writes in Spokane, Washington.
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M9780544301122_hresaggie and Nash are outsiders: She’s overweight. He’s out of the closet. They’re best friends, and they’ve helped each other survive their small-minded small town. But when Tom moves to Cedar Ridge at the start of the school year they have something unexpected in common—feelings for the same guy. As emotions take hold, Maggie and Nash’s friendship is put to the ultimate test . . . Up until now they have always chosen each other, but what if winning someone’s heart means losing your soul mate?

You and Me and Him

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Author Interview | Amy Finnegan ft. Not in the Script + Giveaway

20613581Author Amy Finnegan shares her experiences in becoming a writer and debuting with her YA novel, Not In The Script + an awesome GIVEAWAY! So make sure to stick around!


Let’s first talk about writing in general. Did you ever see yourself becoming a writer?
Most authors I know started writing when they were very young—usually at least by their middle school years—but I didn’t start working on my first novel until I was thirty! I was in my twenties when I really began to love reading, and it wasn’t long before I realized that I couldn’t stop thinking about the books I liked. And then I noticed that my mind was actually inventing stories and soon, I was having conversations with people who didn’t exist. So when that happened, I knew I had to choose between two options: either see a doctor or write a novel.
But that’s why it’s taken me so long to write my first few novels; I’ve essentially been learning how to write as I go. And since I was well familiar with what a truly fantastic book was, I didn’t want to submit anything that wasn’t as good as I felt it could be.
However, my wildest, fondest dream when I was a child was to be a secretary. So I am at least living the typing part of that epic fantasy.
What are the struggles you experience when writing?
Oh, gosh! Where do I start? Artists of all types are infamous for self-doubt, so I’ll have to list that as my #1 nemesis. Then there is trying to balance my family life with my career (I have three daughters, and an amazing husband who I love to spend time with), so my social life is pretty much nonexistent. I also struggle with the business side of publishing, because there is so much that goes into making a book successful, and all I really want to do is keep writing new stories! But it’s all worth it in the end. I love writing, and knowing that my stories can be read by people all over the world is the best feeling ever.
Now let’s go to your book. When did the idea of writing Not In The Script start, and how long did it take to finish?
Crazy enough, I began the first draft of this novel way back in 2005. I finished it about eighteen months later, but then pretty much rewrote the entire book (while I was working on additional manuscripts as well) over the next several years. I finally submitted it to Bloomsbury in spring of 2013, and it was published in October, 2014. So it definitely wasn’t an overnight success story. It took a lot of research to get it right, and lots of hard work to make a story about teen movie stars feel realistic and relatable. But it was a blast to write, and I never grew tired of working on it.
Are there parts in the book that were inspired by real life events?
Yes and no. I have a brother who has an amazing job: He works for Fox on their studio lot in Hollywood. Over the years, he’s shared many behind-the-scenes stories with me about filmmaking, and there was one thing in particular that he said which inspired an important aspect of Not In The Script. He told me about a film he was working on in which the villain of the story was played by one of the nicest guys he’d ever met, and the hero of the story was played by a skirt-chasing jerk with a filthy mouth. And then my brother said something like, “You wouldn’t believe how common that scenario is in this business.”
That’s when I went home and actually started writing. Additional concepts came into place quickly, but this was the spark that started a fire in me and became a central theme in the novel.
So some of the scenarios and possibilities were inspired by what my brother has experienced, but the characters and actual storylines are all products or my own twisted (and romantic!) imagination.
Name a character in your book that you see yourself in and why.
I’d have to say Jake. He was the first character to enter my mind, and I knew everything about him almost immediately. Then I had to dream up a plot and a princess for him! But Jake shares my natural skepticism, and my fear that the rug is about to be pulled out from under my feet whenever life feels a bit too amazing (:
I’ve heard that you’re writing a new book, can you tell us a tiny-bit about it?
I have solid foundations for seven manuscripts right now, and bits and pieces for several others. Here’s a hint about one of the stories: I just took my fourth trip to the UK where I’ve been doing some incredibly fun, historical research! So, if you’ve already read Not In The Script, just imagine Jake in a tailcoat and you’ll get the picture. Another novel I’m working on takes place at an adventure resort in California, where adults come to relive their glory days as teenagers. But the main characters are actual teenagers who have been stuck there for the last decade, running the resort with their parents. I have no idea yet which novel will make it onto the shelves first!
Just a random question, do you read reviews of your book?
I definitely love to read reviews from readers who have already told me they liked the book, but I rarely seek after random reviews, because you never know what you’ll run across that will ruin your writing mojo for the day. And I need to be excited when I sit down to work, or I’ll get stuck and stare at a blinking cursor for hours at a time. But Not In The Script has received many, many amazing reviews, and hearing from readers who have loved it definitely makes up for anything else. Especially because the comment I hear most often is that a reader couldn’t stop smiling while reading it. And nothing makes me happier!
(Lastly, some bonus question [and answer] for Filipino readers!) Any plans on visiting the Philippines soon?
I would love to visit the Philippines more than you could imagine! Readers there have been exceptionally supportive and enthusiastic about NOT IN THE SCRIPT, and I would truly love to meet every single one of them! So it’s definitely on my travel wish list!!
And I would love to meet you soonest, Ms. Amy! ❤

abouttheauthoramyAmy Finnegan writes her own stories because she enjoys falling in love over and over again, and thinks everyone deserves a happy ending. She likes to travel the world—usually to locations where her favorite books take place—and owes her unquenchable thirst for reading to Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling. Her debut novel, NOT IN THE SCRIPT (Bloomsbury, 2014), came about after hearing several years of behind-the-scenes stories from her industry veteran brother. As part of her research, Amy was lucky enough to visit dozens of film sets and sit in on major productions such as Parks and Recreation and Parenthood.
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20613581The best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script.
Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.
Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.
When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.

Not in the Script (If Only . . . #3)

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Amy is generously giving away a SIGNED hardback copy of Not In The Script + swag pack.
Open International.


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