Release Day Post: The Missing Season by Gillian French (Excerpt + Giveaway)

I am so excited that THE MISSING SEASON by Gillian French is available now and that I get to share the news! If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by author Gillian French, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for FOUR signed copies of the book, Us Only, courtesy of Gillian and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


Author: Gillian French
Pub. Date: May 21, 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 304
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | TBD


From the author of Edgar Award finalist Grit and The Lies They Tell comes a tense, atmospheric novel for fans of E. Lockhart and Marieke Nijkamp, about friendship, truth, and the creeping fears that can’t be outrun.

Whenever another kid goes missing in October, the kids in the old factory town of Pender know what is really behind it: a monster out in the marshes that they call the Mumbler.

That’s what Clara’s new crew tells her when she moves to town. Bree and Sage, who take her under their wing. Spirited Trace, who has taken the lead on this year’s Halloween prank war. And magnetic Kincaid, whose devil-may-care attitude and air of mystery are impossible for Clara to resist.

Clara doesn’t actually believe in the Mumbler–not like Kinkaid does. But as Halloween gets closer and tensions build in the town, it’s hard to shake the feeling that there really is something dark and dangerous in Pender. Lurking in the shadows. Waiting to bring the stories to life.


And now for the excerpt. Enjoy!

“It’s sad, you coming here.” Kincaid takes me in, his smile fading. “Now you’ve got no chance.”

No chance. Like he read it in my tea leaves or the lines of my palm. “Why?”

“Because he only takes Pender kids. Likes our taste, I guess.” Kincaid drops his board, glides backward on one foot, never breaking eye contact. “Like . . . hopelessness.”

“And Steak-umms from the caf,” somebody says, making people snicker.

“Liver.” Trace shows his teeth. “God, I love that shit.”

“What about Gavin Cotswold?” Sage says. “Have they figured out how he died yet?”

“Mumbler got him.” Trace.

“He OD’d.” Bree gives Trace a withering look. “He went out in the woods, got fucked up, and died. His own mom thinks so.”

“I heard the animals didn’t leave enough of him behind to be sure.” Trace says. Then, to Kincaid, “Tell her about the first boy. Ricky Whoever.”

“Sartain. Ricky Sartain.” Behind Kincaid, most of the activity has stopped, everybody pulling up some concrete to listen. He’s holding court, a storyteller who knows his audience. “It all started, like, twenty years ago. Kid went missing two days before they found him on the banks of the marsh, way out by the railroad bridge.” Kincaid nods slowly, easing into it. “Somebody put their hands all over him.”

More covert laughter, Trace’s whisper: “Loved to death.”

Kincaid entwines his fingers, working his palms together in sinuous rhythm. “Squeezed him, crushed him. Mashed his spine, smashed his belly.”

A voice speaks up: “My mom said that kid got hit by the train.”

“Of course she did.” Kincaid doesn’t turn. “She also told you that Santa Claus is real and honesty is the best policy and if you’re good, you’ll get into heaven, right?”

Snorts. Somebody mimics, “But my mommy said,” whacking the boy who interrupted with a baseball cap.

“He was folded in half.” Sage grips Trace’s forearm. “That’s what I heard.”

“No.” Kincaid’s hands are tai chi slow. “Lengthwise.”

“Stop.” Bree says it under her breath; I’m the only one who hears.

“Ricky disappeared right around Halloween. That’s the pattern.” Kincaid skates a circuit around us, dismounts, and slaps the tail of the board so it pops into his hand again, all one smooth movement that I wish I could watch again frame by frame. “Truth. After, Ricky’s friends told everybody how they’d all gone out to the railroad bridge to smash pumpkins one night, and there was somebody hiding under there. Too dark to see, but they heard him, mumbling and yammering away.”

Yip, yip, yip! I look up to see audience participation, lumbering shapes aping around the others, sounding like a zoo after hours—Ahhh-ah-ah-ah! Mwaaa-hoohoo!

“Next time anybody saw Ricky, he was red guacamole.” Kincaid pauses, smiling faintly, but he’s not really seeing me now. “Ever since, Mumbler’s been around. Takes a bad kid every few years, always in October. Grown-ups have some bullshit excuse for what happened to them, but we know.”

Nods pass around the circle. I watch for inside looks—they’ll drop the act when they see I’m not taken in—but the quiet drags on. “What’s the Mumbler look like?” I hold
Kincaid’s gaze, willing him to let me in on this, let me prove I don’t scare easy. “So I’ll know him if I see him.”

Kincaid looks to Trace, again with the smile that creases his eyes into merry slits, a kid showing his little sister where Mom hides the Christmas presents. “We can take you to him.”


I’m a ridiculous, sometimes cranky, often hungry, frequently writing flibbertigibbet who really hopes she can keep doing this for a living.

My debut novel, GRIT (HarperTeen), was an Indie Next List pick, a Junior Library Guild Selection, received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and ALA Booklist, was an Edgar Award Finalist, a South Carolina Young Adult Book Award Finalist, and received both a 2018 Lupine Award from the Maine Library Association and a 2018 Maine Literary Award from the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.

My other novels include THE DOOR TO JANUARY (Islandport Press; Bram Stoker Award Finalist), THE LIES THEY TELL (HarperTeen; 2019 International Thriller Award Finalist, 2019 Maine Literary Award Finalist, 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection), and THE MISSING SEASON (HarperTeen, coming 5/21/2019; preorder giveaway happening now). My short fiction has placed in Writer’s Digest and Zoetrope: All Story contests, as well as appearing in such publications as Weirdbook and Creepy Campfire Stories for Grownups.

I hold a BA in English from the University of Maine, and I’m a member of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, Mystery Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. Currently, I still live in my native state of Maine–shocker, I know–with my husband and sons, where I’m perpetually agonizing over my next novel (in the best possible way, of course!)

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Giveaway Details: 4 winners will win a signed finished copy of THE MISSING SEASON, US Only.

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Book Birthday Celebration: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (Giveaway)

Happy Book Birthday to Hafsah Faizal and We Hunt the Flame (May 14, 2019 – Farrar, Straus and Giroux), book one in the Sands of Arawiya series!!!!

I’m SO excited for this book, I can’t even put it into words. I wish I could read it RIGHT NOW, but I work for Barnes & Noble and am hosting the YA Book Club for We Hunt the Flame, so I’m going to hold off reading it until closer to the book club night on July 11 (at 7pm). But that doesn’t mean I can’t spread the book love NOW!!! To do that, I’m hosting a giveaway for the book!! It will be international, as long as Book Depository ships to you for free!

First, here’s more about the book:

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

Glossary and Pronunciation Guide



And now for the giveaway!! Again, this is international AS LONG AS Book Depository ships to you for free! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below! May the odds be ever in your favor!

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About the Author:
Hafsah Faizal is an American Muslim and brand designer. She’s the founder of IceyDesigns, where she creates websites for authors and beauteous goodies for everyone else. When she’s not writing, she can be found dreaming up her next design, deciding between Assassin’s Creed and Skyrim, or traversing the world. Born in Florida and raised in California, she now resides in Texas with her family and a library of books waiting to be devoured. WE HUNT THE FLAME is her first novel.

Her work is represented by John M. Cusick of Folio Lit.

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Author Interview: Every Moment After by Joseph Moldover (Giveaway)

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to have Joseph Moldover here for an interview! First, here’s more about Every Moment After:

Best friends Matt and Cole grapple with their changing relationships during the summer after high school in this impactful, evocative story about growing up and moving on from a traumatic past.

Surviving was just the beginning.

Eleven years after a shooting rocked the small town of East Ridge, New Jersey and left eighteen first graders in their classroom dead, survivors and recent high school graduates Matt Simpson and Cole Hewitt are still navigating their guilt and trying to move beyond the shadow of their town’s grief. Will Cole and Matt ever be able to truly leave the ghosts of East Ridge behind? Do they even want to?

As they grapple with changing relationships, falling in love, and growing apart, these two friends must face the question of how to move on—and truly begin living.

Goodreads | The Book Depository | IndieBound


And now for the interview! Enjoy!

Describe your book in ten words or less.
The long-term impact of a too-common tragedy.

Every Moment After is about a topic that is very relevant to what’s happening in the real world right now. What inspired you to write it?
The book is definitely a direct response to real-world school shootings, and particularly to the Sandy Hook tragedy. In many ways, it’s less of a reaction to the shootings themselves than to the lack of a really effective preventative course of action in the years after. Although there are some outstanding organizations working hard on gun control and school safety, it feels like as a society we get too overwhelmed by the immediate horror of the incident and before we gain real traction, we turn our attention to other news stories. I wanted this book to follow the story past the immediate aftermath.

While many school shooting books take place during or immediately after the event, Every Moment After takes place eleven years after the shooting. What made you write it from that perspective, that many years later?
I knew that I didn’t want to write about the shooting itself and that I didn’t want to delve into the details of that event. I did want to explore the way that people find the strength to go on in the years after this kind of tragedy, and how they find meaning in their lives after such trauma. By setting the book many years after the shooting, and at the pivotal moment when the survivors are leaving home, I was able to focus on the long-term community impact rather than on the drama and tragedy of that day.

You’re a clinical psychologist. How does that help/hinder your writing?
For a book like this it’s helpful to have some professional background in understanding psychological trauma. I also work with a lot of adolescents and that helps me to stay in touch with the tone and voice I want for my characters. At the same time, it’s important to “turn off” the clinician in me when making some unhealthy decisions on behalf of my protagonists.

Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
I spent a lot of time googling hot air balloon launch videos for this book. I’m someone who doesn’t love heights, so it wasn’t something I would ordinarily do! I finally wound up cold-calling a balloon company and the owner was very nice about taking me through the details I wasn’t picking up from the videos.

What book(s)s would you recommend to a reader who enjoyed yours, and wants to read something similar?
“After the Shot Drops” by Randy Ribay is an alternating point of view YA novel which deals with male friendship, one of the central topics of my book. Outside of the YA genre, Douglas Coupland wrote a book called “Hey Nostradamus!” several years after Columbine about a high school shooting. It explores the ways in which the tragedy in that book ripples out through the lives of the people in the community, and goes on for decades. Russell Banks’ “The Sweet Hereafter” is a book about a different kind of tragedy, a school bus accident, that takes various perspectives to understand how a terrible event is seen and experienced differently by characters within and outside of the community.

What are three must-have items when you sit down to write?
Coffee; notebook for jotting down stray thoughts before they disappear; and there’s an old sweatshirt I like to wear when I write early in the morning.

Are you working on anything new?
For several years I’ve been trying to write a book about characters with a fictional psychological disorder that makes it very difficult for them to live in their families and communities. Due to their disorder, they are off in a boarding school trying to learn how to cope. It’s been a real world-building challenge to create a unique, believable disorder like that, but I’m hopeful that I’m getting close!


And now for the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive one copy of the book! Giveaway is US only. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

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Spotlight Post: Order of the Majestic by Matt Myklusch (Giveaway)

Hey everyone! Order of the Majestic by Matt Myklusch releases on May 7, 2019 by Aladdin! Have you checked it out/pre-ordered it yet???

Fans of Brandon Mull and James Riley will love this action-packed, accessible fantasy story about one kid’s journey to discover magic as he’s caught up in an epic battle between two powerful ancient orders.

Twelve-year-old daydreamer Joey Kopecky’s life has been turned upside down. After acing a series of tests, he’s declared a genius and awarded a full scholarship at a special (year-round!) school. He’s understandably devastated, until he takes one last test, and the room around him disappears, replaced by the interior of an old theater.

There, Joey meets the washed-up magician, Redondo the Magnificent, and makes a shocking discovery…magic is real, but sadly, there isn’t much left in the world. It may be too late to save what little remains, but for the first time in his life Joey wants to try—really try—to do something big. Soon he’s swept up into a centuries-old conflict between two rival societies of magicians—the Order of the Majestic, who fights to keep magic alive and free for all, and the dark magicians of the Invisible Hand, who hoard magic for their own evil ends.

The endless battle for control of magic itself has reached a tipping point. For Redondo and the Order to survive, Joey must inherit the lost legacy of Harry Houdini. Will he prove himself worthy, or will the Invisible Hand strike him down? The answer will depend on Joey’s ability to believe, not just in magic, but in himself.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Book Depository | IndieBound


And now for the giveaway! Thanks to the team at Aladdin, we have one copy of the book to give away (US only)! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

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Spotlight Post: The Simple Art of Flying by Cory Leonardo is out in one month! (Giveaway)

Hey everyone! In just one month, The Simple Art of Flying by Cory Leonardo (February 12, 2019 – Aladdin) will be released to the masses! If you haven’t heard about it yet, check out more details below – and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Quirky characters, plucky humor, and a heartwarming message come together in this big-hearted debut novel about friendship and the true meaning of family.

Sometimes flying means keeping your feet on the ground…

Born in a dismal room in a pet store, Alastair the African grey parrot dreams of escape to bluer skies. He’d like nothing more than to fly away to a palm tree with his beloved sister, Aggie. But when Aggie is purchased by twelve-year-old Fritz, and Alastair is adopted by elderly dance-enthusiast and pie-baker Albertina Plopky, the future looks ready to crash-land.

In-between anxiously plucking his feathers, eating a few books, and finding his own poetic voice, Alastair plots his way to a family reunion. But soon he’s forced to choose between the life he’s always dreamed of and admitting the truth: that sometimes, the bravest adventure is in letting go.

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And now for the giveaway! Thanks to Aladdin, one lucky winner will receive a copy of The Simple Art of Flying! Giveaway is US only. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

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About the Author:
Cory Leonardo grew up believing she’d replace Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune, but when that didn’t work out, she decided she’d turn letters and phrases in a different way (but minus the glittery dresses, sadly). A born and bred upstate New Yorker, she currently lives in the Syracuse area with her husband and three plucky children. Cory was selected and mentored in Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars 2016, and has been an active SCBWI member for the past five years. This is her first novel.


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Spotlight Post: Twilight of the Elves by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos (Interview + Giveaway)

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to have Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos here for an interview! First, here’s more about Twilight of the Elves:

I should probably start at the beginning, Zed wrote, when things first went wrong?

Zed, Brock, and their friends may have saved Freestone from destruction, but the fight against the Dangers is far from over. No one knows what to expect next from the dark power that forced the elves to abandon their city. And the influx of elf refugees in Freestone strains resources and brews resentment among the townspeople. Things have shifted between best friends Zed and Brock, as well, with their friendship crumbling under the weight of the secrets they’re keeping from each other.
When tensions reach an all-time high, Queen Me’Shala, leader of the elves, approaches the Adventurers Guild with a mission. She wants a small group of adventurers to go behind the king’s back on a covert mission to save her city, and Zed, Brock, Liza, Jett, Micah, and their elven friend Fel join the quest. To face a powerful form of magic thought to be extinct, the adventurers will have to learn how to rely on each other and fight harder than ever before.

Don’t miss this second installment of Zack Loran Clark and Nicholas Eliopulos’s Adventurers Guild trilogy, where the stakes are raised, the action is breathless, and the dangers will stop even the bravest of hearts.

Goodreads | The Book Depository | IndieBound


And now for the interview! Enjoy!

A note from the authors: Hello, Pandora’s Books readers! We’re Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos—best friends, unapologetic super-nerds, and authors of the middle-grade fantasy novel The Adventurers Guild and its sequel, Twilight of the Elves—which comes out November 13th! We’re here to talk about elves, books, and our writing process. Thank you for having us!


Describe your book in ten words or less. Go!
Zack: Knights, wizards, and monsters—but the monsters already won!

Nick: Yikes! (“Yikes” makes ten.)

How was working on book two different from working on book one? Most important thing you’ve learned so far?
Nick: Writing a sequel was tougher than I expected! Book 1 was all about invention—throwing in new ideas, adding new characters, constantly building this world and this story until we got to the big showdown and put a bow on it. With Book 2, we had to do right by the huge cast and detailed world we’d already established—while continuing to add to them and push in new directions.

At the same time, we knew we had to keep some developments in reserve for Book 3. It was a delicate balancing act to tell a compelling and satisfying story that also served as a bridge between the previous and forthcoming books.

Zack: Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned is to be flexible, narratively speaking. So many of our favorite ideas and plot twists weren’t in the outline—or even the first draft. Writing is like adventuring! Sometimes you have to break off the path, because it’s swarmed with undead horrors.

If you could go back to book one, and give ONE character a piece of advice, who would you give advice to and what would the advice be?
Zack: Oh man, so much of storytelling is characters making mistakes, though! Ours certainly make plenty, the consequences of which won’t be clear until even Book 3 in some cases. I’d probably warn Zed to cool it with the sugar at the initiation party, though.

Nick: And I’d tell Brock to enjoy that party while it lasted. Pretty much everything after that point is a parade of nightmares!

Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Zack: We’ve searched high and low for monster inspiration, but the most nitty-gritty Googling I’ve done for TAG involves urban planning. Where does a closed-off city like Freestone get its water? How do they tell the time? And would a pseudo-medieval society have a comprehensive filing system? (The answer is yes!)

Nick: Zack is sort of my Google for our own world-building stuff. “Did we say which planar realm slime creatures come from? How is anima different from mana, again? Do we have an elven word for ‘cool’ yet?” I’m pretty sure he’s memorized an encyclopedia’s worth of magic systems from across all media, and I’ve made use of that.

What are three must-have items when you sit down to write?
Zack: Coffee, a comfortable chair, and an outline. (I still like a plan! Even if I end up breaking it.)

Nick: Snacks, an uncomfortable chair, and music. (If I get too comfortable, I doze off as soon as the plotting gets tough.)

What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours, and wants to read something similar?
Nick: Oh, it’s a great time to be a fantasy reader. Off the top of my head, I’d recommend The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta, which has the balance of thrills and laughs that we strive for. Karuna Riazi’s The Gauntlet is all about a close-knit group of friends thrown into an impossibly dangerous situation, and the sibling dynamic at its heart will resonate with fans of Zed and Brock, I think. And I love Lou Anders’ Thrones and Bones series, which pulls from some of the same sources of inspiration that we do (like tabletop gaming!).

Zack: I edited the Spirit Animals series in my day job as an editor, where each book featured a new author picking up the sprawling fantasy narrative. Nick actually wrote a few stories for me there, which were so popular they got compiled into a book of their own! It has a similar tone and themes to TAG, especially the ensemble cast of great kids. I’m also a big fan of Tui T. Sutherland’s Wings of Fire books, and anything Jonathan Stroud writes.

But like Nick mentioned, if you loved our books, you should definitely check out tabletop adventures like Dungeons & Dragons! They are basically just an exercise in collaborative storytelling.

What’s it like writing a book with your best friend? Do you split the writing 50/50? If not, how do you divide the work up? Who writes what?
Zack: We split the writing between our two viewpoint characters, Zed and Brock, in alternating chapters. Honestly, it’s been a blast. We get instant feedback on our chapters, and then we pass the baton for a while. And having a buddy there to celebrate the wins or air my nerves with has made the experience so much richer. (I’m not sure Nick would agree on the nerves part. I’m capable of great feats of anxiety.)

Nick: My favorite part is the element of surprise that it brings. While Zack and I do plan some plot points out in advance, we tend not to discuss what’s happening chapter-by-chapter. So I never know exactly where things will be when it’s my turn to take the reins. And I enjoy throwing Zack curveball cliffhangers, including some really challenging situations that he has to get the characters out of!

Are you working on anything new?
Nick: As of this writing, we have JUST turned in our first draft of The Adventurers Guild #3. It’s the big finale, where we get to blow everything up! Look for that in late 2019.

Zack: Yeah, wrapping up the story for this trilogy was a surprisingly emotional experience! We’re taking a moment to decompress before we discuss our next adventure. And playing a lot of D&D in the meantime.


About the Authors:
ZACK LORAN CLARK and NICK ELIOPULOS are both editors based in New York. Best friends, they take a coffee break together every day and play Dungeons & Dragons every week. Twilight of the Elves is the second book in their The Adventurers Guild trilogy. Learn more at Visit them on twitter at @zackloranclark and @NickEliopulos.


And now for the giveaway! Thanks to Disney, one lucky winner will receive one copy of each book! Giveaway is US only. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

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Spotlight Post: Umbertouched by Livia Blackburne is out in one month! (Giveaway)

Hey everyone! In just four weeks, Umbertouched by Livia Blackburne (November 6, 2018 – Disney-Hyperion) will be released to the masses! If you haven’t heard about it yet, check out more details below – and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

The mission was a failure. Even though Zivah and Dineas discovered a secret that could bring down the empire, their information is useless without proof. Now, with their cover blown and their quest abandoned, their only remaining hope is to get home before Ampara brings the full might of its armies against their peoples.

As Shidadi and Dara alike prepare for war, Zivah and Dineas grapple with the toll of their time in the capital. After fighting alongside the Amparans against his own kin, can Dineas convince the Shidadi—and himself—where his loyalties lie? After betraying her healer’s vows in Sehmar City, can Zivah find a way to redeem herself—especially when the Dara ask her to do the unthinkable? And after reluctantly falling in love, what will the two do with their lingering feelings, now that the Dineas from Sehmar City is gone forever? Time is running out for all of them, but especially Zivah whose plague symptoms surface once again. Now, she must decide how she’ll define the life she has left.

Together, healer and warrior must find the courage to save their people, expose the truth, and face the devastating consequences headed their way.

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The Book Depository | Kobo | IndieBound


And now for the giveaway! Thanks to Disney-Hyperion, one lucky winner will receive a copy of Rosemarked, book one in the series! Giveaway is US only. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

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About the Author:
New York Times bestselling author Livia Blackburne wrote her first novel while she was a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducted research on the neuroscience of reading acquisition in children. Upon graduation, she switched to writing full time, which also involves getting into people’s heads but without the help of a three tesla MRI scanner.

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Spotlight Post: Crash: The Great Depression and the Fall and Rise of America in the 1930s by Marc Favreau (Giveaway)

Hey everyone! Today, I have an amazing giveaway to share with you! Thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, one lucky winner (US only) will receive a copy of Crash: The Great Depression and the Fall and Rise of America in the 1930s by Marc Favreau (April 10, 2018 – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)! First, here’s more about the book:

The true story of how Americans from all walks of life weathered one of the most turbulent periods in our nation’s history–the Great Depression–and emerged triumphant.

Crash tells the story of the Great Depression, from the sweeping fallout of the market collapse to the more personal stories of those caught up in the aftermath. Packed with photographs, primary documents, and firsthand accounts, Crash shines a spotlight on pivotal moments and figures across ethnic, gender, racial, social, and geographic divides, reflecting many different experiences of one of the most turbulent decades in American history.

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And now for the giveaway! Again, thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, one lucky winner will receive a copy of Crash: The Great Depression and the Fall and Rise of America in the 1930s by Marc Favreau (April 10, 2018 – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)! This giveaway is US only!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

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Spotlight Post: Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead (Giveaway)

Hey everyone! Today, I have an amazing giveaway to share with you! Thanks to Simon & Schuster, one lucky winner (US only) will receive a copy of Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead (March 13, 2018 by Simon Schuster)! First, here’s more about the book:

A tender, witty debut novel about a single mother raising her daughter among the upper crust of New York City society in the late twentieth century from a nine-time Moth StorySLAM champion.

Laura hails from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, born into old money, drifting aimlessly into her early thirties. One weekend in 1981 she meets Jefferson. The two sleep together. He vanishes. And Laura realizes she’s pregnant.

Enter: Emma.

Despite her progressive values, Laura raises Emma by herself in the same blue-blood world of private schools and summer homes she grew up in, buoyed by a host of indelible characters, including her eccentric mother, who informs her society friends and Emma herself that she was fathered by a Swedish sperm donor; her brother, whose childhood stutter reappears in the presence of their forbidding father; an exceptionally kind male pediatrician; and her overbearing best friend, whose life has followed the Park Avenue script in every way except for childbearing. Meanwhile, the apple falls far from the tree with Emma, who begins to question her environment in a way her mother never could.

Told in vignettes that mine the profound from the mundane, with meditations on everything from sex and death to insomnia and the catharsis of crying on the subway, a textured portrait emerges of a woman struggling to understand herself, her daughter, and the changing landscape of New York City in the eighties and nineties.

Goodreads | Amazon

Book Depository | Kobo | IndieBound


And now for the giveaway! Again, thanks to Simon & Schuster, one lucky winner will receive a copy of Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead (March 13, 2018 by Simon Schuster)! This giveaway is US only!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

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 About the Author:
Kate Greathead is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Vanity Fair, and on NPR’s Moth Radio Hour. She was a subject in the American version of the British Up documentary series. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the writer Teddy Wayne. Laura & Emma is her first novel.

2017 Debut Authors Bash: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning (Interview + Giveaway)

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the 2017 Debut Authors Bash! I’m BEYOND excited to be hosting Sarah Henning, author of Sea Witch (July 31st 2018, Katherine Tegen Books). This book is my #1 most anticipated read of 2018, and has been for awhile. In fact, Facebook Memories even reminded me that I first put Sea Witch on my TBR on November 16, 2015 – back when it was still called Heartless. The Little Mermaid has always been my favorite Disney movie, and I’m a HUGE fan of retellings. So the fact that we’re FINALLY getting a Sea Witch origin story?? I’m just like

So anyway… I’m REALLY excited to share with you an interview with Sarah! First, here’s the awesome cover and synopsis:

Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.

The rise of Hans Christian Andersen’s iconic villainess is a heart-wrenching story of friendship, betrayal, and a girl pushed beyond her limits—to become a monster.

Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo

The Book Depository | IndieBound


And now for the interview! Enjoy!

Describe your book in ten words or less. Go!
The sea witch’s shot at telling her tale.

What inspired you to write the Sea Witch’s origin story? How much did you pull from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” and how much (if any) was inspired by the Disney movie (or other sources)?
We all love a good villain, don’t we? But here’s the thing: In Hans Christian Andersen’s original tale, the sea witch isn’t a villain. She isn’t Ursula. She’s more of a neutral character—someone who really just wants to warn the little mermaid of all she’s giving up for a boy she’s never really met. Her family, her friends, her life under the sea. I wanted to explore how exactly Andersen’s sea witch came to be.

Please note: this next question was asked in September. Obviously we now have the cover and synopsis!)
Sea Witch was originally slated for Fall 2017 (and was originally titled Heartless), and will now be coming out in July of 2018. What has this meant for your writing/editing schedule? Do you know when we’ll get to see the cover and official synopsis? Can we have ANY hints??? *Makes giant puppy dog eyes*
Oh, it’s meant a lot of my own giant puppy dog eyes at the stupid calendar. We sold Sea Witch on proposal in 2015 and therefore a little padding was added into our schedule. Then other projects on my editor’s docket shifted, which meant shifting me around because all of these things are planned years and years in advance. As a writer, I literally have no control other than to turn my book in on time. In the end, the decision was that if we had to bump me back, we’d do it to the summer because mermaids are summery, even if they’re grim (insert devil-face emoji).

My official teaser for Sea Witch:

Everyone knows what happens in the end.
A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss.
But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends.
One feared, one royal, and one already dead.

After the Sea Witch, who’s your favorite villain? Would you want to write their origin story?
Oh, man. Well, honestly, I sort of want to know what the heck made the Big Bad Wolf so grumpy in the Three Little Pigs. I’m not looking to write a wolf but I do think he was more than hungry.

Have you read any retellings lately that you’ve loved? Any with mermaids/sirens/etc?
I haven’t read any retellings with mermaids and sirens, mostly because I’ve intentionally stayed away from them while working on Sea Witch. That said, I absolutely love Renée Ahdieh’s retelling of 1001 Nights (The Wrath & The Dawn and The Rose & The Dagger) and there’s a 2018 book I’m looking forward to reading called The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen that is inspired by an ancient Persian poem that became an opera called Turnadot.

Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Hmmm, well, I’ve looked up enough ways to kill people that I’m probably flagged by the NSA. It’s for art, PROMISE!

Biggest writing quirk?
I actually do the majority of my first drafts in the Notes app on my phone at the gym. I have small children and it’s the easiest way to take care of myself and get time to myself. I just get on an elliptical or exercise bike, read what I wrote the day before and go! I have several writer friends who’ve tried it and failed (they think I’m nuts) but it’s really worked for me. So much so that I feel weird writing fresh words on my laptop.

What are three must-have items when you sit down to write?
At the gym: Water bottle, towel and phone.

At my laptop: La Croix (Pamplemousse FTW!), notebook (I have one per WIP) and either chocolate pretzels or green juice, depending on how hard the scene is torturing me.

Most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
I’m extremely good at plowing through and getting stuff done, but when I’m fatigued on a story and my brain is telling me to read or to play around with another project, I’m learning to listen. Usually, this means I’ve neglected my creative well and need to fill it up again. I find that if I listen to myself when I need to spend time away, that when I come back to my project, I’m more creative and at peace with what I write.

I know Sea Witch is still 8 months away from publication, but I have to ask… Are you working on anything new?!?
I DO have a couple of things in the pipeline. I can’t really talk about them but two are historical—one is a historical fantasy in the vein of Sea Witch, and the other revolves around a real historical event. I also have a fun contemporary that I’m playing with as well. I hope to be able to share all of them with you soon!


And now for the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive sea witch-y swag! US only. To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sarah Henning is an author with HarperCollins’ Katherine Tegen imprint. In addition, she has worked for The Palm Beach Post, The Kansas City Star and The Associated Press, among others. When she’s not hunkered down over her computer, she’s probably running ultramarathons, chasing her two adorable rugrats or pestering her husband to give beets a chance. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @shhenning and/or contact Rachel Ekstrom of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency to know all about her writing.

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