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Guest Post with Author Nina LaCour (Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle), Plus Giveaway! ~US Only

March 31st, 2022 by

Today we are excited to share a guest post from author Nina LaCour,

Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle!

Read on for more about Nina, Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle, plus a giveaway!

Meet Nina LaCour!

Nina LaCour is the award-winning author of several books for young adults, including We Are Okay, which won the Michael L. Printz Award, and Hold Still, which was a William C. Morris Debut Award finalist and won the Northern California Book Award. Nina LaCour lives in California with her wife and daughter.

Author: Nina’s Website * Twitter * Instagram 

Illustrator: Kaylani’s Website * Twitter * Instagram

 

 

About Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle:

A little girl stays home with Mama when Mommy goes off on a work trip in this tender, inviting story that will resonate with every child who has missed a parent.

For one little girl, there’s no place she’d rather be than sitting between Mama and Mommy. So when Mommy goes away on a work trip, it’s tricky to find a good place at the table. As the days go by, Mama brings her to the library, they watch movies, and all of them talk on the phone, but she still misses Mommy as deep as the ocean and as high as an astronaut up in the stars. As they pass by a beautiful garden, the girl gets an idea . . . but when Mommy finally comes home, it takes a minute to shake off the empty feeling she felt all week before leaning in for a kiss. Michael L. Printz Award winner Nina LaCour thoughtfully renders a familiar, touching story of a child who misses a parent, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita, whose distinctive style brings charm and playfulness to this delightful family of three.

 

B&N * Bookshop.org * Indiebound* Amazon * Books-A-Million

 

~ Guest Post ~

 

YA BOOKS CENTRAL: GUEST POST

The story behind my first picture book: Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle

A guest post from Printz Award-winning author Nina LaCour

When my daughter was three, I was offered a job teaching in a graduate program that allowed me to work from home year-round—with an exception. Each January, I would travel to take part in a residency devoted to the study of children’s literature. The trip would last ten days, during which my colleagues and I would lead workshops and give lectures and get to know our students, and then we’d all say goodbye and fly back to where we came from. I knew that being away would be difficult, but I wanted the job and trusted that it would get easier with time, so I said yes.

I’m from the San Francisco area and have lived here all my life, so packing for Saint Paul, Minnesota, in January was no easy task. But more pressing than the question of heavy coats was the question of how to say goodbye to my sweet kiddo for so long. How do you help a three-year-old understand what a span of ten days will feel like? Or is it better not to? Should I make it sound fun—like a novelty—or let her know how terribly I’d miss her? It was uncharted territory. My wife told me about the fun plans she was making for the two of them. Usually she was the one who traveled for work. It was a reversal of our roles, and we both knew it would be good for everyone. We were navigating family life as two working mothers. We were figuring it out.

Still, after they dropped me off, I sobbed at the airport.

As the days passed in Minnesota, I remembered what it was like to be a writer out in the world with other writers. My favorite job perk was sitting in on my colleagues’ lectures. I’d published a few YA novels at that point, and though I loved the idea of writing picture books, I had no clue where to begin. Still, I scrawled pages of notes on the emotional life of the child and the interplay between text and art, hopeful that I’d find a story to tell. All the while, I missed my wife and daughter terribly.

And one day, I realized that the story I wanted to write was already unfolding.

One thing I love about picture books is how honest they can be, and how beautifully simple. Here is mine: I went away for my job. My wife took time off of hers. Our daughter missed me sometimes, and had fun without me, and got her mama all to herself. They played and snuggled and made big plans. And then I came home, and we were all together again.

Kaylani Juanita’s gentle and vivid and joyful illustrations bring such tenderness and whimsy and delight to the text. I couldn’t have dreamed up a more beautiful visual language for it. I hope this book will help children who are missing someone they love feel seen and understood. Thank you for reading it.

 

Book’s Title: Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle

Author/Illustrator: Nina LaCour/Kaylani Juanita

Release Date: March 29, 2022

Publisher: Candlewick Press

ISBN-10: 1536211516

ISBN-13: 9781536211511

Genre: Picture Book

Age Range: 3-7

 

 

 

*Giveaway Details*

Three winners will receive a fridge magnet and a finished copy of the book Mamma and Mommy and Me in the Middle (Nina LaCour) ~US Only

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway!*

 

 

 

 

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Behind the Scenes of Indie Publishing

January 16th, 2017 by

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The Best of Being Indie

By Michelle Lynn, Staff Reviewer and Indie Author

I’m not going to lie, being an indie author can be disheartening, stressful. Much of the time, we don’t believe we’re good enough. So much hangs on the opinions of others. Our sales might struggle and it can take years to truly get off the ground – if it ever happens at all.

We’ve chosen to do something that scares us. We put ourselves out there, our hearts on the line. The books we write are a part of us and it hurts when they aren’t appreciated as much as we’d hoped. There are a lot of hard parts to this business we call show – okay, maybe a bit different than show business, but I just wanted to say that. Speaking for myself, I want to quit at least once a week. I’d save a lot of time and money if I did.

But, I don’t. I can’t. I’m too far gone. The world of an Indie writer isn’t all darkness and gloom, it’s actually pretty great a lot of the time. Soul crushing, but still great. I like to think I’m a positive person, so here are my favorite reasons for living with the pain of indie publishing.  Now, I’ve never been a non-indie so I don’t know what these things are like on that side. I’m not comparing, only sharing my experiences.

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The community – You expected me to say control, didn’t you? That’s what everyone says is the best thing about being indie. You control your work. For me, the people are the best part. Indie writers stand together through thick and thin. On every social media platform, you will find them forming small groups to get to know one another and help promote each other’s work. They understand that the best thing for all indies is for indie publishing to succeed.

Writer’s spend a lot of time alone with only their characters for company. Not a lot of people truly understand, but other writers do. I call them my internet friends, but I consider them good friends even though we’ve never met. I talk to many of them every single day. We give advice, beta read books, and talk about everything. You won’t find a better group of people. They’ll be your cheerleaders, your confidants, and yes – your critics.

Schedule – there are no deadlines except for the ones you set yourself. You decide how many books you want to write in a year. I usually go for a minimum of three and then more depending on how life works out. There’s no stress to be productive. I can mold my writing time around everything else I have going on. I can take two days a week to watch my two-year-old niece or spend weekends with my family. When all is said and done, I won’t regret the time I didn’t spend writing, but I’ll be wishing for the days my niece was so young. Writing is my job, but it doesn’t have to be my life. I love it immensely, but there are things I love more and setting my own schedule allows me to do it all without the added pressure.

Topics – as an indie, I can’t write about anything I want to. In the YA contemporary genre, sometimes you must deal with hard topics. My newest book deals with something no one wants to talk about until it’s on the news. I have to handle it with care, but I have to freedom to do it my way, a way I think will resonate with readers.

Price – “The indies have devalued literature”.  We hear it all the time as if it’s the worst thing in the world. Indies have had to try everything to find a foothold in the world of price collusion and other such practices. Here’s the real deal, e-books should NOT be even close to paperbacks or hardcovers in price. I’m sorry, but they shouldn’t. The real issue isn’t that indies are selling books too cheaply, it’s that big publishing houses are overcharging. Pew Research Center has found that more Americans are buying books than ever before. Millennials are out-reading the older generation and they are buying books rather than visiting libraries. Being able to set your own price and to experiment with different prices is one of the biggest advantages to being indie. You want to set it free for a promotion? Go ahead.

 

As indies, we start out operating with a bit of a handicap. We have a bigger hill to climb that someone with a big publishing machine behind them. But, why then do people go indie? The prevailing thinking is that most indies are people who could never find an agent or were turned down for publishing contracts. Ten years ago, that may have been true. Now, authors are going indie without first trying traditional. There have to be reasons for that, right? See above <;  

 

 

Indie Superstars with Giveaway!

January 9th, 2017 by

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Welcome to YA Books Central’s

“Indie Superstars” column.

This monthly event will spotlight the best and brightest of the indie community.

You don’t want tomiss these talented authors

This week, Staff Reviewer, Kelly St Clare has interviewed Internationally bestselling author, Siobhan Davis!

INDIE SUPERSTAR

YABC: Welcome, Siobhan! You are joining us all the way from Ireland! …Word on the street is you make the best Sunday roast around. What does an Irish Sunday roast include? And when should the staff of YA Books Central come over?

SIOBHAN: I’m totally claiming bragging rights on this one! A roast in my house consists of roast potatoes, carrots, glazed parsnips, mushy peas, meat (could be a stuffed chicken, turkey & ham, beef, roast stuffed pork) and lashings of gravy. Yum, I’m making myself hungry writing this! And my door is always open any time you want to cross the water to join us J

YABC: How many books do you currently have out? Tell us a bit about them.

SIOBHAN: I have eleven published titles with my latest book just releasing yesterday (Finding Kyler) and the final book in my Saven series will be published next month. I have written two YA sci-fi romance series – True Calling and Saven. True Calling is set between a dystopian world on Earth and a utopian society on Planet Novo and Saven is an alien sci-fi romance with tons of action adventure, an alien invasion, lots of different alien planets, and a unique time travel twist. Finding Kyler is book one in my new upper YA contemporary romance series and I’m super excited to release my new baby into the world! The one thing all my books have in common is swoon worthy romance, tons of mystery/intrigue, and plenty of angsty drama. I’ve also been known to use a cliff hanger or two J

YABC: Your worst ugly cry while reading – go!

SIOBHAN:

This is hard because I’m a very emotional reader, and I’ve cried over so many books. However, the one that sticks in my mind is Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. I sobbed for a solid twenty minutes at the end of that one, and it really felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest. It is a superb book, and I would challenge anyone to read it and not fall apart.

YABC: I had the pleasure of reading Saven Deception and Saven Disclosure. A few things that struck me were the vividness of your settings, the little complexities you developed into your worlds, and [fans face] the tension between your main characters. What kind of writing process do you go through to ensure you bring all of these aspects to the reader?

SIOBHAN:

Thank you for those lovely comments! I’m a hybrid pantser/plotter so I start every new book with a chapter-by-chapter outline and an updated character bible. I always know, at a high level, where the story is going before I start to write. What I love is how it develops in tangents I hadn’t predicted and I let the story flow organically. I’m a detail-orientated person, and I always map out the finer points to ensure I have a good idea of how they are going to develop from book to book. I spent years reading crime novels/thrillers and I definitely think it has stood to me with my own work. I like to plant tons of subtle clues that build up over the progression of a series until all is revealed!

YABC: You “tripped and fell down the steps of the infamous ‘Bewleys Café’ in Grafton Street Dublin” when you were nineteen [snigger]. Three words to summarise that experience, please.

SIOBHAN: Still completely cringeworthy!

YABC: Your new series, The Kennedy Boys released yesterday! Congratulations! I understand that you are branching into a bit of YA contemporary romance. How hard is it to turn off the fantasy switch?

SIOBHAN:

Thank you! It actually wasn’t hard at all, and while I adore writing fantasy and sci-fi I’ve really enjoyed creating a story in a contemporary environment where I can focus more on the relationships and the drama. The world building in Saven is complex with different alien planets and races and it takes time to plot out all the varied components. It was nice to take a breather from that for a little bit, although I will be returning to a fantasy world in the second half of 2017 when I start writing my new urban fantasy romance series, The Mortal Kingdom.

YABC: If you suddenly found yourself on a luxury space island in a parallel galaxy and could pick five authors to join you there, who would you choose?

SIOBHAN:

Jennifer L. Armentrout, Sarah J. Maas, Jay McLean, Elisa S. Amore, and Stephenie Meyer because they are all authors I adore.

YABC: Book one in the series is called Finding Kyler, how many swoon-worthy Kennedy Boys can we expect?

SIOBHAN: There are seven Kennedy boys in total! Yes – seven!! I’ve initially planned three books focused on Faye and Kyler, however, if the series is popular I will write some of the other boys stories as well. Their backstories are already plotted, and the early feedback has been amazing so far so I think this series will be ongoing for quite some time J

YABC: …Do you have a beloved book of the bunch? We promise not to tell your characters and hurt their feelings…

SIOBHAN:

You’re really putting me through the mill here, Kelly!  I honestly cannot choose a favorite as they all mean so much to me in different ways.

YABC: My favorite setting in your Saven series (so far) is the underwater experimental facility – so unique! What inspired this?

SIOBHAN:

My True Calling series was the initial inspiration for the underwater city in Saven. In TC, the new world is underpopulated and the government are worried about continuation of the human race so they introduce a forced marriage/mating policy to address their concerns. One day I sat down and thought what if I flipped that notion on its head? What if we have a world that is overpopulated? What type of issues would arise? How would the government address the crisis and how can I tie this into the plans for my new alien series? The idea just popped into my head then – the government would build a new underwater colony with the aim of relocating some of the population there and attempting to solve the housing crisis.

YABC: What is in store for your readers in 2017?

SIOBHAN:

Saven Deliverance releases next month, closely followed by Losing Kyler in March/April, and Keeping Kyler in June/July. In the latter half of 2017 I will be releasing Curse of Gods and Angels (book one in The Mortal Kingdom series) Lily’s Redemption which is a NA spin-off to my True Calling series (can be read as a standalone) and a couple of optional Saven novellas. I am also hoping to squeeze in a fourth Kennedy Boys novel, which will most likely be Kalvin’s story.

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Siobhan Davis writes emotionally intense young adult fiction with swoon-worthy romance, complex characters, and tons of unexpected plot twists and turns that will have you flipping the pages beyond bedtime! She is the author of the Amazon bestselling True Calling and Saven series.

Siobhan’s family will tell you she’s a little bit obsessive when it comes to reading and writing, and they aren’t wrong. She can rarely be found without her trusty Kindle, a paperback book, or her laptop somewhere close at hand.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Siobhan forged a successful corporate career in human resource management.

She resides in the Garden County of Ireland with her husband and two sons.

 

Siobhan’s website | Twitter | Facebook |Instagram

Finding Kyler | Saven Deception | True Calling

 

Saven     True Calling     Finding Kyler

Finding Kyler:

Two fractured hearts and a forbidden love they can’t deny.

You shouldn’t want what you can’t have…

Faye Donovan has lost everything. After her parent’s tragic death, she’s whisked away from her home in Ireland when an unknown uncle surfaces as her new guardian.

Dropped smack-dab into the All-American dream, Faye should feel grateful. Except living with her wealthy uncle, his fashion-empire-owning wife, and their seven screwed-up sons is quickly turning into a nightmare—especially when certain inappropriate feelings arise.

Kyler Kennedy makes her head hurt and her heart race, but he’s her cousin.

He’s off limits.

And he’s not exactly welcoming—Kyler is ignorant, moody, and downright cruel at times—but Faye sees behind the mask he wears, recognizing a kindred spirit.

Kyler has sworn off girls, yet Faye gets under his skin. The more he pushes her away, the more he’s drawn to her, but acting on those feelings risks a crap-ton of prejudice, and any whiff of scandal could damage the precious Kennedy brand.

Concealing their feelings seems like the only choice.

But when everyone has something to hide, a secret is a very dangerous thing.

 

Saven Deception:

THE TRUTH DOESN’T ALWAYS SET YOU FREE

I’ve fallen hard for an alien, but he’s harboring secrets.

Massive secrets that threaten the very essence of humanity.

How can I give him my heart when his race plans on taking my future?

Sadie Owens has been slowly dying inside. Bit by bit, piece by piece, day by day. Trapped in a life she hates, she relies on only one person—herself.

Despised by her family and betrayed by an unscrupulous government, Sadie dreams of a different life. When she is chosen to participate in the government’s new social experiment, she is ecstatic at the prospect of spending six months in Thalassic City, the shiny new city under the sea.

Immediately drawn to Logan Chandler, Sadie is captivated by the beautiful boy with the ocean-blue eyes. Logan seems to embody everything that has been forbidden, but he isn’t all he appears to be.

Confused over Logan’s true intentions and concerned when best friend Jenna starts transforming in front of her eyes, Sadie partners with newcomer Jarod in a bid to uncover the government’s real agenda. The truth is more shocking than anything she could ever have imagined.

When Sadie finally understands why the Saven walk among us, will it be too late to save her heart and the human race?

 

 

True Calling:

Welcome to Novo: Your new home in Space

For Ariana Skyee, Planet Novo was everything it promised to be until the authorities introduced “The Calling” as their response to repopulation. Now, all seventeen-year-olds are to participate in this Bachelor-style pageant to find their perfect match, marry, and have children.

But that’s not Ariana’s only concern. Thanks to the government-sanctioned memory erase, she has no recollection of Zane, the mystery boy who haunts her dreams. Things are further complicated when the pageant commences and her feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify. Together, they start to realize not everything about their new home is as it seems.


Entangled in a dangerous web of deceit, Ariana sets out to identify the truth. Conflicted over warnings that Cal isn’t trustworthy and alarmed at the government’s increasing interest in her, she doesn’t know where to turn. But her search for the truth comes at a high personal price. When her world implodes, discovering the past shapes her future with devastating consequences.

 

Get Siobhan’s books on Amazon

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS* 

One winner will receive signed copies of Saven Deception: The Saven Series Book 1, True Calling AND Finding Kyler (Siobhan Davis)

~ (Open Internationally) ~

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

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**Interview contributed by Kelly St Clare, Staff Reviewer**

YABC Favorite Covers of The Month ~ December 2016

January 2nd, 2017 by

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Hey everyone! Welcome to YABC’s Favorite Covers of the Month poll and giveaway!!

 

Each month we will be featuring the covers from all the new releases for the current month and will be offering a giveaway from our prize shelf! Everyone who participates in the poll can enter the giveaway.

 

Check out the choices below, pick your favorite, and enter the amazing giveaway!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click HERE to vote for your favorites!!

 

 

 

*GIVEAWAY*

 

After participating in the poll for Favorite Cover Of The Month for December 2016,

click below and enter the giveaway for a chance at a book from our amazing prize shelf!!! 

 

 

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

 

 

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Diversify Your Shelves–“Half Empty, Half Full”

January 2nd, 2017 by

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I write my books in halves.
It’s easy to see now, looking back, how I’ve always lived my life in halves. Like night side versus day side, there’s a clear distinction between these two parts of me that sometimes don’t line up, but are ever shifting, fluid, as routine and certain as sunset and moonrise.
I still check in with my first main character once in a while. I wrote him when I was 15, when I had absolutely no idea how to relate to the world. He was typical fantasy fare: a white guy with an impressive sword and two lady love interests. Although I certainly couldn’t relate to him in most senses, there was still something compelling about him, something specific to me I couldn’t put my finger on.
It was this: he was torn into halves. The gods chose him to be a savior, and the villain chose him to be destroyer. He struggled with these two sides, uncertain how he could live with both.
Now, sitting in front of my computer several years later, I’m laughing and saying “Of course.”
Writing about yourself takes courage. I started with characters like this—white, straight, able-bodied—because it was all I had read. It was prevalent in the fantasy books I devoured, those thick, doorjamb-esque ones with enormous worlds and so many characters they needed dramatis personae in the backs. Those books usually had some sort of POC culture in the background, something to help the hero along on his journey. But they were never the heroes themselves. Similarly, I hardly saw any queer heroes, or even secondary characters who were out and proud.
But I continued to read, and I continued to write books. Each of my main characters had something that divided them: a queen with a missing twin, a thief who was two people in one, a boy who belonged to two opposing magical castes, a healer who held both life and death in his hands.
A clock mechanic who lives between overwhelming anxiety and devastating hope.
They weren’t me. They weren’t mirrors. But like my first, they all tugged on the thread that keeps the two halves of me sewn together.
Leading up to Timekeeper, I slowly discovered what it was I wanted to write. How I wanted to challenge traditional fantasy by bringing overlooked characters to the forefront, making their stories the priority, giving them the tools to destroy or save the world. The cast of Timekeeper is dear to me because it’s a collection of what I know and what I’ve learned, a window into a broader world—the world as I’ve seen it, and lived it, in halves.
There is a girl in Timekeeper who is particularly dear to me, a girl who is both British and Indian. Like me, she is pale. Like me, people look at her and don’t see what she is. Perhaps out of everyone I understand her the most, because her struggle is as fluid and shifting as mine, invisible and dividing and a constant tap on the shoulder.
Like I said, it takes courage to find your truth in your writing. It might take years to find it, to slowly work yourself up to it, one character at a time. And that’s fine. Nothing is purely day or night—things can be twilight and dusk and dawn, mixed and blended to how you see the world, and how it sits within you.
I will likely continue to write my books in halves. To paint these worlds as I see my own, maybe shifting my focus from time to time, but always aware of that tapping on my shoulder.
Don’t forget me, one half of me says to the other. I’m here too.
 

*This post originally appeared at Diversity in YAand has been 

brought to you thanks to our partner, Cindy Pon!*

 

 

Tara Sim is the author of Timekeeper (Sky Pony Press, Nov. 8, 2016) and can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives. Follow her on Twitter at @EachStarAWorld, and check out her website at tarasim.com.


Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. Her most recent novel, Serpentine (Month9Books, 2015), is a Junior Library Guild Selection and received starred reviews from School Library Journal and VOYA. The sequel, Sacrifice, releases this September. WANT, a near-future thriller set in Taipei, will be published by Simon Pulse in summer 2017. She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Learn more about her books and art http://cindypon.com.

Indie Superstars: An Interview with Ednah Walters + Giveaway! (US Only)

December 12th, 2016 by

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Welcome to YA Books Central’s “Indie Superstars” column. This monthly event will spotlight the best and brightest of the indie community.

You don’t want to miss out on these

talented authors

 

INDIE SUPERSTAR 

This week we’re interviewing Ednah Walters, USA Today best selling author of the Runes Series

 

YABC: Tell us a little bit about each of your series

Ednah: Well, where to begin.

Runes series, which is based on Norse mythology, is about Immortal soul reapers and how they meet their soul mates. Unfortunately, there are rules that these Immortals are supposed to follow if they want their identity and existence kept a secret, yet they are willing to break them for their love interest, who tend to be Mortal/humans. I wove Norse mythology in each story, blending in contemporary elements. The series focuses on three friends, Raine, Cora, and Eirik, who are raised in a small town in Oregon, and how they fall in love and discover their true destiny.

Guardian Legacy, based on the children of the fallen angels, focuses on Guardians who watch over humans, and their demonic counterparts, who want to enslave humans and turn them evil. Like Runes series, the groups are both Immortal. The series focuses on the love story of Lil, a girl who didn’t know she was a Guardian and how she falls in love with a half demon while she trains to become the most powerful of all the Guardians.

 

YABC: What was the hardest scene in the Runes Series to write and why?

Ednah:  Most fight scenes are hard for me to write, because I’m a visual person. I have to visualize every move my character makes and what she sees and feels, but the gut-wrenching scenes are even harder to write because I cry while doing it. The end of Runes was hard for me to write. I cried with Raine.

 

YABC: Where did the concept for Runes come to you?

Ednah: I’m not going to sugar coat this. I read Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instrument book, City of Bones and read about runes for the first time, so I decided to do a little research. The more I learned about runes, their origin, how Odin acquired them and taught them to the gods before giving them to the worthy humans, the more I was intrigued. Along the way, I got into Norse mythology, especially Valkyries. So I put my spin on it and decided to make Valkyries interact with humans and fall in love with them. And since I couldn’t only focus on soul reapers for Odin and Freya, I had to do stories on reapers for Goddess Hel. It’s been a fun ride.

 

YABC: Your story centers on Norse mythology, what kind of research did you need to do to prepare for Runes?

Ednah: I’ve read so many books on Norse mythology. I probably have more people on the mythology than all the others. I did online research. Since most of the reapers are Immortal and have been around for centuries, and I have them coming from various civilizations, from Vikings and Gaul societies, Roman and Greek, ancient Egypt and Nubia, Native American, and feudal Japan. I had to read on all these ancient civilizations. Also, since Valkyries recruit humans who are spiritual, they tend to be witches and high priests. It was interesting to see that in every society, there are always high priests, from Druids in Gaul society (Echo in Cora’s story is a Druid) to Native American Shamans (Hawk, an Immortal friend of Raine’s family)

 

YABC: How many books have you written? Which are your favorites?

Ednah: I write adult romance under E. B. Walters and have 9 books. These are contemporary. Under Ednah Walters, I have 4 Guardian Legacy books and 9 Runes series books. I just finished the 10th Runes book and the first book of Phantom Islanders, my shifter NA book. So that’s a total of 24 books. My favorite series is Runes series. But I have a feeling the Phantom Islanders series might knock her off the pedestal.

 

YABC: You have such interesting character names.  Do you have a process for selecting names?

I suck at naming my characters. I tend to name them according to their background and character. If he is a Druid, I’ll find Druid names and the meaning behind the name, but most often I ask my Valkyries Reader Group to list names and I choose from their list, then I research the name. I’m anal.

 

YABC: What other Indie authors do you recommend?

Ednah: So many YA authors whose work I love. Anything by Melissa Haag, Karen Lynch, and Quinn Loftis., but like I said, there are a lot I love. Kelly Oram’s contemporary works are amazing too. Rebecca Ethington’s Imalind series and then there are newer authors like Raye Wagner, Char Webster, and Stephany Wallace. Oooh, I recently discovered JL Weil’s books.

 

YABC: What’s up next for you?

Ednah: A NA shifter romance with piracy thrown in there and a dose of Celtic/Irish/Scottish Mythology. Since I want my YA readers to enjoy the book, I’ll have a clean version with a different cover. I hope to release the book in March 2017.

And my big announcement, I’m working with Amazon Publishing to launch Runes Kindle World in April 2017. Present YA Kindle worlds are mainly based on popular TV series targeting teen viewers like The 100, Vampire Diaries, Veronica Mars, Pretty Little Liars to name a few. To date, there are only adult books-based kindle worlds out there, so I hope Runes Kindle World opens doors to more YA-books-based KW. I have a list of amazing authors participating (announcement in January). If you haven’t heard of Kindle Worlds, it is an imprint of Amazon Publishing that teams with authors of established fictional world and allows other authors to write books in that established world. Think of it as publishing a fan fiction and getting paid for it.

 

 

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Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her. 

Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.

Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about him. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only is she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life

FREE On Amazon

 

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS* 

One winner will receive a copy of Runes #1 (Ednah Walters)

~ (US Only) ~

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

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Diversify Your Shelves–“No Miracles Cures”

December 5th, 2016 by

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Back in 2011 when I first started drafting Skid, it never occurred to me that my main character Gabrielle would be considered unusual. All I remember from that the time was wanting to tell a story that combined some of my favorite elements—romance and ghost stories and murder mysteries and crows that might really be servants of the underworld coming to steal your soul. Oh, and it would be set in an apple orchard, which struck me as the kind of almost mystical place where these various elements would naturally converge.

It would also star the sort of main character who I never saw in YA books, a girl that would be completely normal within the banality of my own existence. A girl living with an injured back and chronic pain.

See, my mother has been living with back problems since I was a child. My husband does too, thanks to being hit by a car (while he was on a bike) only a couple years after we met in college. And my own back pain issues began just a few years after that when I was in grad school. Pain was part of my life. A character dealing with those issues on top of falling in love and struggling with school and life and the collapse of her dreams—that was just how the world worked and the story I needed to write. I hadn’t read it before, and I just knew I couldn’t be the only one who could relate. 

To paraphrase The Princess Bride, life is pain, or at least it is for many people. Studies vary, but approximately 15% of adolescents and teens report living with chronic pain of some sort. That’s part of the reason why the U.S. is facing an epidemic of addiction and overdoses caused by narcotic pain relievers. (While many people abusing these drugs may not need them, data suggests that most people who abuse painkillers started out taking the  drugs for legitimate pain issues.) Modern medicine is capable of amazing feats, but its ability to address pain is woefully inadequate. It’s not just drug dependency that goes along with chronic pain either; it’s depression and suicide and an overall reduced quality of life.

Reading has always been one of those things that’s helped me cope, whether with pain or daily life stressors, and there’s a reason why I gravitate toward reading escapist stories. But even purely escapist stories can—and do—show us possibilities for real life. So long before I figured out the details of the orchard and its mystery (or the cute farm boy who lives there), I knew one thing about Gabrielle’s story. It had to be honestly hopeful. That is, I wanted Gabrielle’s story to be true to my experiences and to not trivialize what she goes through because there are no miracle cures in real life, not even love. In fact, I tend to believe in the opposite—we must heal ourselves in order to find love. But within that context, I didn’t want Skid to be a sad story because living with pain doesn’t need to be sad.

As Gabrielle figures out in Skid, we always have choices. Or as she puts it, as a former swimmer with shattered with Olympic dreams, we can either keep swimming or we can let ourselves sink. Some days, that choice is harder to make than others, but ultimately, I hope we all find ways to cope and to work around whatever it is in our lives that’s trying to hold us back. I want everyone to choose to forge ahead, grasping the precious moments of life with both hands—the ones that remind us that life is, in fact, more than pain. It’s the fluttery feeling of first love, the sweet crispness of fresh apples, and the mysteries of the past and awe of the unknown. 

And it’s there for all of us.

 

 

*This post originally appeared at Diversity in YAand has been 

brought to you thanks to our partner, Cindy Pon!*

 

Tracey Martin wanted to be an astronaut, a doctor, and an actor, possibly all at once. Instead, she studied psychology, and that led her to have an epiphany–imaginary people are way more fun than real ones. And so she became a writer.

She likes her coffee simple, her music epic, and her movies to contain explosions. A city girl at heart, she doesn’t understand how she and her husband ended up living in New Hampshire, but writing keeps her off the mean, small town streets.

Skid is available for purchase.


Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. Her most recent novel, Serpentine (Month9Books, 2015), is a Junior Library Guild Selection and received starred reviews from School Library Journal and VOYA. The sequel, Sacrifice, releases this September. WANT, a near-future thriller set in Taipei, will be published by Simon Pulse in summer 2017. She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Learn more about her books and art http://cindypon.com.

YABC Favorite Covers of The Month ~ November 2016

December 5th, 2016 by

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Hey everyone! Welcome to YABC’s Favorite Covers of the Month poll and giveaway!!

 

Each month we will be featuring the covers from all the new releases for the current month and will be offering a giveaway from our prize shelf! Everyone who participates in the poll can enter the giveaway.

 

Check out the choices below, pick your favorite, and enter the amazing giveaway!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click HERE to vote for your favorites!!

 

 

 

 

*GIVEAWAY*

 

After participating in the poll for Favorite Cover Of The Month for November 2016,

click below and enter the giveaway for a chance at a book from our amazing prize shelf!!! 

 

 

 

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

 

 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Behind The Scenes In Indie Publishing

November 28th, 2016 by

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Behind the Scenes of Indie Publishing: Sparking Your Story

In my teens whenever I read a truly great book I would sit back and wonder how on Earth the author thought up such an amazing story. Since becoming an author, many of my ideas emerge when I’m dreaming or in the passenger seat of a car, but you do not have to wait for these ideas to come knocking on the door. There are endless ways to spark your own story.

Below are some are techniques used by many authors, including myself.

Pintrest Board

Create boards for your characters and worlds. You can pin everything from what your character might wear, how they do their hair, their hobbies and type of car, all the way to their tattoos and favorite food. You can look through travel boards and find a destination you love, and then search that destinations local foods, customs, national holidays, languages, and house types. Not only are authors using Pintrest for inspiration boards, many of them are sharing their boards later down the publishing line, so readers can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the author’s process.

Music Lyrics

Most authors listen to music at some stage of the writing process (second draft and final edits for me). Listening to music can help to bring emotion into your writing and get you ‘in the zone’. Do not overlook this as a way to spark your next story. It might be one interesting phrase in a song your grandma listens to. Maybe the concept of a song strikes your fancy, or even the mood of a song. All stories begin with a single thread, and you could find yours in a song.

Writing Prompts

Confession: I always assumed writing prompts were boring. That is until, out of curiosity, I actually did one and ending up writing six thousand words of a short story that I mean to turn into a novel one day. There are websites dedicated to storing thousands of writing prompts. Scroll through and find one that makes you go, ‘hmmm’, and let the floodgates open.

A ‘WHAT IF’ list

I use a ‘What If’ list when trying to squeeze all the potential out of a plotline. You can also use this technique if your ideas bank is in overdraw. Jot down any ‘what ifs’ you can think of for ten to fifteen minutes without stopping; what if an orphan were wrongfully accused? What if every time you turned a magical hour glass the world turned with it? What if it was considered intimidating to not wear a hood? The first few minutes might be difficult, but by the end of the exercise one idea might be leading into another, or your attention might be wrenched back to that idea you had at the seven-minute mark. Guess what? That right there is the beginning of your next story!

Quotes

This is a popular one. You might notice some writers put quotes or words, and poems or historical excerpts at the beginnings of their novels or at the start of each chapter? Quotes can be particularly helpful where you are pondering the themes within your novel. Sift through quote sites and find one (or more) which provoke thought. When writing my new series, I searched quotes on a particular subject—global warming—and made up a folder of 20-30 of them.

People Watching

This is a great tool to develop realistic characters. If you watch closely, you might just see something that triggers your creativity. Why does the elderly woman sit on the same bench at the same time each day? How did that man lose his leg? Why is that young person in such a rush? Are they being chased? Have they committed a crime? Are they late for the interview of their life? Why is that woman hurling a bottle into the ocean? Will someone pick up that same bottle? Would that person live here, or in a distant land? Would they even live on Planet Earth? Give it a try during your next walk.

Notebook

This method is tried and true. Keep track of your thoughts in a notebook (I have a filing cabinet. Scary, I know). Whether you are looking to begin a new story or finding it hard to get your brain into motion, flicking through a notebook of ideas could give you an answer. You might find a scrawled note about a four-fingered man selling pies, a scribble about a young girl who likes to wear three pigtails, instead of two, or a page in the back that holds details of a mountain you visited with your family that can only be seen at dusk and dawn .

      

Any small detail can become a big detail—even an entire story if you wish it to! And while you might find one piece of inspirational material to base your entire story on using the techniques above, you can also accumulate a bunch of different elements and form them into an in-depth and cohesive outline, too.

Have fun with it!

[Disclaimer: I have never visited an awesome disappearing mountain with my family.]

 

Contributed by Kelly St Clare, Author of The Tainted Accords and Staff Reviewer 

 

Indie Superstars: Interview with Jaymin Eve and Leia Stone Plus Giveaway!

November 14th, 2016 by

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Welcome to YA Books Central’s “Indie Superstars” column.

This monthly event will spotlight the best and brightest of the

indie community.

You don’t want to miss out on these talented authors

 

INDIE SUPERSTAR

This week, we’re interviewing USA Today best selling authors and co-writers, Jaymin Eve and Leia Stone

 

YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write together as co-authors? And how does that work with Jaymin in Australia and Leia in the US?

Jaymin: We loved each other’s work, we had lots of readers in common, and we knew we could write an awesome story together. We share the entire load, we each try and write 2000 words, and then send back to the other one and they add their own parts to that and then continue on with the story. We wished we lived closer, just so we could hang out and such, but the internet allows us to keep in touch easily. We skype to discuss the storyline and then chat every single day. All day.

Leia: Ditto. All Day. Sometimes I just email her to see if my outfit is cute enough for my date night with hubby. =)

 

YABC: You guys are so fast! How long does it take you to write a book?

Jaymin: We can write 80k words in about a month. It’s so nice to have a writing partner. When one of us is not feeling very creative, the other steps in, and then somehow it boosts both of us. A perfect symbiotic relationship.

Leia: It really is and I feel like parts where I am weak, Jaymin is strong and vice versa. We are both really creative individuals but nothing compares to when we put our writer brains together.

 

YABC: Which part of the writing process do you each enjoy? (Drafting revising, editing etc.) How do you split up all the duties that come with being independently published?

Jaymin: I love the planning and first draft. The pure creation and writing without thought. Just letting those words and the story flow out.

Leia: Same here. Is there an author alive that likes editing? Lol. We split everything when it comes to duties. We both help design the cover and have a say in the editing and all of that.

 

YABC: What were your reactions when you made the USA Today Best Seller list?

Jaymin: I was asleep when Leia found out (Time difference in Australia) so I woke up to multiple messages and emails. We were so excited. Jumping up and down, and moments of disbelief. It was a wonderful feeling.

Leia: Total fan girl freak out with arms flailing and everything. I jumped on the couch and then off of it, over my dog, up the stairs etc. Was a beautiful day! To make that list as an Indie is a great accomplishment. We are really proud and honored.

 

YABC: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

Jaymin:  I have two daughters and they are perfection. I spend my time with them, and they give me a sense of joy I could not get anywhere else. Otherwise I love eating out, coffee with friends, karaoke, and travel. 

Leia: I have three year old twins who are not perfection lol but pretty close. I love family time and also alone time. For alone time I go to movies, book stores, and coffee dates with friends. Living in Portland Oregon we spend a lot of time outdoors, ya know hugging trees and being weird.

 

YABC: What advice would you give to anyone thinking about self-publishing?

Jaymin: That it is a long, hard road. That you will fall and hurt and cry, but it’s also something so amazing. Satisfying. Perfect.

When you’re a writer, you have to write. It’s in your blood. Your soul. If you don’t free the characters and worlds you’ll go crazy. So write. Every single day you should write. Also read as much as you can, it’s the best way to learn and grow as a writer.

Leia: All of the above and NEVER give up. I have had so many rejections from agents and 1 star reviews but here I am. I never gave up and sometimes my mom was my only reader. Ten years later I’ve turned this into a full time career.

 

YABC: What do your families think of your books and all the success you’ve each experienced?

Jaymin: They are very happy and proud. Knowing I am doing something I love is all they ask for.

Leia: Mine are proud and amazed most days that I get to sit around in my pj’s and create worlds. But, fun fact: most of my family hasn’t even read my books.

 

YABC: How many books have you each written? Which are your favorites?

Jaymin: I have written 16 books and am working on two more as we speak. I don’t think I could choose a favourite, that would be like choosing a favourite child, but Queen Heir is quite a special book to us.

Leia: I’ve written ten and have another on the way (It’s like a baby) and I would have to agree with Jaymin that Queen Heir is quite special.

 

YABC: What’s up next for you both? Together as a team and as individuals?

Jaymin: NYC Mecca series is our next coauthor adventure. Queen Heir is due for release in December and the rest of the series will follow close behind. Individually I am working on Sinclair Stories #2, which is my contemporary romance series.

Leia: Yep, Queen Heir and then I’m working on Matefinder Next gen book 2, Walker.

 

YABC: Have you ever gotten reader’s block? Does the writing and editing process ever make it difficult for you to enjoy reading for pleasure?

Jaymin: Yes. So much yes to this and it breaks my heart. I am really picky now with the books I read, and it’s hard to capture my attention. I used to be able to read everything but now I edit as I go, and pull apart storylines, and find faults. I wish I didn’t, but if you train your mind long enough, there’s not much you can do. Luckily there are many, many amazing writers out there. I still manage to read 2-4 books a week.

Leia: YES! What Jaymin said above. I was a HUGE reader and now I’m picky and it’s hard to hold my attention as well. When watching movies I always guess what will happen! But I still love reading and will never stop.

 

YABC: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Jaymin: I have many author friends and they are wonderful. Honestly, no one understands this world like another author. The ups and downs. We are artists and sometimes our sensitive souls just need another sensitive soul to connect with. There are too many to name, but I appreciate each and every one of them. 

Leia: Yes, this Indie author community is so tight knit. We have a special group on Facebook and we can all go on there and talk about covers and editing and stuff that only authors will get. Elise Kova, S.T Bende, Derek Murphy and other YA authors have been so supportive.

 

 

 

Queen Heir

Arianna is a queen heir and at 20 years old she’s now eligible for the crown of wolf shifters. Heirs are trained and groomed so that they’re ready, should the queen perish during their time of eligibility.

Of course, there’s little chance of that happening. The Red Queen has stood for a century, and her power is beyond reckoning.

Or so Arianna believes, right up until the final tolling of the bells. The queen has fallen. Four heirs will now fight it out for the crown.

Let the summit begin.

 

Pre-order Queen Heir

 

Follow Jaymin Eve: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

Follow Leia Stone: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

 

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS* 

One winner will receive a copy of Queen Heir: NYC Mecca Series #1 (Jaymin Eve and Leia Stone)

~ (US Only) ~

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  

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