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Friday Q&A: Spooky Edition

From bumps in the night to sending that ugly first draft to your agent/editor: OneFours, what scares you?

“Dolls, heights, creepy clowns, and driving over bridges, but above all else: Giraffes.”
—Heidi Schulz, HOOK’S REVENGE 

“Everyone will expect me to say bunnies (BUNNYYYYYY AHHHHHHHH!!!), but SPIDERS, final answer.”
—Lauren Magaziner, THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES

“Cockroaches! Or any big, black, shiny bug for that matter.”
—Christina Farley, GILDED and SILVERN

“Snakes and Dolls. A Doll with pet snakes would be the worst!”
—Jaye Robin Brown, NO PLACE TO FALL

“I’m beyond terrified of snakes. I have no problem with lizards, and I love frogs. But snakes? *shudder* – I once nearly ran my car off the road because I saw a snake sunning itself in the middle of my lane. And then, for two weeks afterward, I was afraid to get into my car, because I had this mental image of the snake somehow catching hold of my vehicle as I drove past and slithering up through the vents to lie in wait and get me as soon as I let my guard down. (My kids won’t even utter “the S-word” in my presence!)”
—Veronica Bartles, TWELVE STEPS

“Dolls with moving eyes. Sadists. My children in the road while a huge truck barrels toward them and I stand frozen and soundless and out of reach.”
—Mary Crockett, DREAM BOY

“I’m right in there with critter phobias (snakes, spiders, huge cockroaches, etc.) but I think what scares me the most is floating off into literary oblivion without having made a difference in people’s lives with the words that I have labored over for so long and with such sincere intentions.”
—Linda Vigen Phillips, CRAZY

“Heights. Enclosed spaces. And frogs. (They hop!)”
—Skila Brown, CAMINAR

“Clowns. And the movie Pinocchio.”
—Robin Constantine, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING

“Rats. For some odd reason, every nightmare I can remember, since childhood on, has involved rats. *shudders*”
—Dana Alison Levy, THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER

“Having to make a phone call.”
—Jessica Love, PUSH GIRL

Heidi Schulz is a writer, reader, and giraffe suspicioner. Her debut novel for middle grade readers, HOOK’S REVENGE, is available now. A sequel, HOOK’S REVENGE: THE PIRATE CODE, will follow in September 2015. Her picture book debut, GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING, by Bloomsbury Kids, in Spring 2016. She lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband, their teen daughter, a terrible little dog, and five irascible chickens.
Connect with her on HeidiSchulzBooks.comTwitter, or Facebook.
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The Author’s Voice: interview with OneFour author LISA MAXWELL

Voodoo, murder, and haunting dreams collide in Lisa Maxwell‘s spell-binding mystery, SWEET UNREST.

Lisa speaks with us about the importance of setting and research in her YA paranormal debut (Flux, 2014).

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Lisa Maxwell is the author of SWEET UNREST (Flux, Fall 2014). When she’s not writing books, she teaches English at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys. You can find her on Twitter @lisamaxwellya most days.

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Kate Boorman is an independent artist and writer from the Canadian prairies. She was born in Nepal (where she was carried up the Himalayas in a basket) and she grew up in a small Albertan town (where she rode her bike to Girl Guides). She is fond of creepy things. Speaking of! Her YA fantasy WINTERKILL is out now (Abrams/Amulet and Faber & Faber).
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BEWARE THE WILD…in the wild!

“It’s no secret, ours is the meanest swamp in Louisiana. . .”

13639182There’s something about the swamp in Sticks, Louisiana. Something different, something haunting . . . something alive. Everyone knows this, and everyone avoids going near it. And even the Mardi Gras–bead-decorated fence that surrounds it keeps people away.

Until one morning when Sterling Saucier’s older brother, Phineas, runs into the swamp . . .

And doesn’t return.

Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out in his place, and all of a sudden, no one in Sticks remembers Phin at all. They treat Lenora May as if she’s been Sterling’s sister forever.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance—but first she’s got to find someone who believes her.

Heath Durham might be that someone. A loner shrouded behind rumors of drug addiction, Heath has had his own strange experience with the swamp. He and Sterling will have to piece together enough bits of memory and ancient swamp lore to get to the truth. But as the wild swamp encroaches on their town, Sterling and Heath may find a lot more than they expected . . . and Phin may be lost to them forever.

****Early Praise for BEWARE THE WILD****

“Parker’s assured debut is a creepy southern fairy tale set in a town infused with an undercurrent of supernatural menace.” — Booklist

“Parker has a nice touch with the Southern flavor of Sterling’s Louisiana town, steeped in superstition and silence…This engaging debut should enjoy a wide audience.” — Kirkus

A creepy, atmospheric book that will draw readers in…Beware the Wild breathes new life into the teen supernatural genre.” — School Library Journal

“Unique, haunting, and filled with characters who steal your heart, you’ll be just as intrigued by the rural, small-town world that Parker builds as you will by the magic she weaves in the dark of the wild.” — International bestselling author Josephine Angelini

“A lovely modern fairy tale as tangled and dark as the swamp it lurks in. Parker’s debut is American myth at its very best.” — Kiersten White, NYT bestselling author

****BEWARE THE WILD Launch Party****

If you’re in Kansas, you’re invited! Heck, even if you’re not in Kansas, you’re invited.
When: Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 @ 6:30pm
Where: Mysteryscape Books in Old Overland Park, KS
More details can be found here: http://www.mysteryscape.com/event/beware-wild-launch-party.

****BEWARE THE WILD on the road!****

So, you’re not in Kansas. Don’t fret! I’ll be traveling to nine other locations in seven other states with four other authors over the next two weeks. Details are below and on my handy dandy appearances page.

RoadsideYA_flyer

 

****Other things!****

bookplatesI’ll also be visiting the Chicago area for an event at Anderson’s in Naperville on November 14th with Lindsay Currie, Trisha Leaver, and Rachel Wilson, so make that eight states.

Not in any of these states? You can order BEWARE THE WILD in all the fabulously traditional ways listed below OR you can order via Fountain Bookstore and your copy will arrive with one of two smashing bookplates!

Other ordering options include but aren’t limited to: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!).

This day has been a long time coming and I’m thrilled, thrilled, a thousand times thrilled to be able to share this project with you. Happy reading!

Natalie C Parker is a writer, professional project coordinator, and future zombie slayer. When not saving the world, she can be found on Twitter (@nataliecparker). Though once determined to never live in a land-locked state, she resides in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters. Her southern gothic YA debut, BEWARE THE WILD, is due from HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2014.
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Happy 14th Day: October!

Happy October! For those of you who celebrate Halloween, or the changing of seasons, or Pumpkin Spice in everything, it’s a good month.

 

Now, our news:

Jaye Robin Brown‘s book, No Place to Fall, was recently reviewed by some big-hitters.

School Library Journal had this to say about Jaye Robin Brown’s No Place to Fall:
“Debut author Brown is off to a wonderful start with authentic characters who speak in true voices. Amber could be the best friend you had in high school—she’s funny and moody and truthful and absolutely the real deal, and readers will clamor for another well-paced story featuring her and her friends.”

And from Publisher’s Weekly:
“Debut author Brown makes a small town in North Carolina —where everyone knows everyone, and the outside world comes in via the Appalachian Trail hikers – fee real, but the heart of the story is Amber, as tries to find herself, love, and her voice.”

And Kirkus Reviews:
“Southern charm oozes off the page….the read is an enjoyable ride.”

(I have to check out this book for several reasons, not the least of which is because the main character and I have the same name.)

NextOtherbound by Corinne Duyvis, Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley, and The Chance you Won’t Return by Annie Cardi were included in this list of “11 Great Debut Novels” by Kirkus Reviews!

And finally, Dahlia Adler’s debut, Behind the Scenes, got a makeover cover, and it’s awesome:

btslightersunset

This month’s news is short but sweet! Enjoy the rest of October. Watch out for large pumpkins.

 

 

Amber Lough lives with her husband and two kids in Germany. She spent much of her childhood in Japan and Bahrain. Later, she returned to the Middle East as an Air Force intelligence officer to spend eight months in Baghdad, where the ancient sands still echo the voices lost to wind and time. Her Middle Eastern fantasy, THE FIRE WISH, debuted this July 2014 from Random House Books for Young Readers.
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Mad For Middle Grade: Villainous Tricks and Treats

Welcome to MAD FOR MIDDLE GRADE!  We’re here the first Monday of every month, discussing middle grade writing, chatting about from our favorite middle grade books, introducing our own middle grade titles, sharing middle grade writing advice, and generally obsess over everything middle grade! And if there’s any middle grade topic you’re interested in, we’d love to hear it in the comments!

What’s not to love about the Halloween time? There are pumpkin spiced lattes, candy, costumes, hayrides, and most importantly… SCARY, EVIL BEINGS! There’s a real art to creating a convincing villain, so we’re here today to shed some advice on how to approach the task.

Question: How do you create good antagonists or roadblocks for characters? Share your villainous tricks and treats! 

Rebecca Petruck
STEERING TOWARD NORMAL
Abrams/Amulet

2014-09-29 16.37.53

The scariest villains are the ones we carry inside us. Being the person we want to be in the face of serious challenges can feel impossible, and in some moments is impossible. But those bad moments only define us if we let them. It seems like it should be easy to let go of the memories of things we’re not proud of and move forward as a better person. But feelings like envy, jealousy, anger, fear, doubt, and insecurity are clingy little dingleberries. Defeating our inner villain who wants everything his way right now without having to fight for it or compromise can be our greatest battle. Yet winning has the kind of long-term effects that can create a life we’re proud of—even if sometimes we just have to through some cow poop to get it out of our systems.

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Dana Alison Levy
THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHERDAL_Costume_OneFour
Delacorte/Random House

Personally, I find it far more difficult to write good villains than good heroes. After all, a good villain should be bad, sure, but also interesting, complicated, and have a story of his or her own. In THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER I didn’t really have a villain, (though some might have thought of Mr. Nelson that way at first). But I have worked on other stories with a more traditional bad guy (or bad gal!) and I think the only “trick” to writing a good one is to make her (or him) as full a character as possible. Does she love her dog? Does she laugh at puns? Does he only pursue his evil goal because of a desire to help someone else? If an author works to understand the villain readers are “treated” to a far better story!

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Lauren Magaziner
Lauren Witch HatTHE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES
Dial/Penguin

Writing a villain for middle grade can be especially difficult. Without enough villainous “oomph,” an antagonist would be boring and give no stakes to your story–but at the same time, a villain can easily become too scary or menacing. I think the key is to balance a little bit of humor with the more threatening parts. For example, in one moment in The Only Thing Worse Than Witches the dreadful Mrs. Frabbleknacker makes children stand on their heads until their words come out backwards. It’s a funny kind of threat–something that is actually rather horrible when you really think about it, but so entrenched in humor that it feels almost safe. Almost. (Muahahaha.)

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Robin Herrera
2014-10-01 04_19_43HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL
Amulet Books

I hope that people are surprised to learn that Mr. Savage, one of the “villains” of HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL, is based on myself. Creating a good villain starts with understanding your villain. The villain is the hero of their own story! In Mr. Savage’s world, he is the heroic teacher hired to shape and mold the minds of young 4th and 5th graders. Star Mackie is the villain of his world, and she’s about to start a rebellion in his own classroom! The only way to stop it is to assert himself in front of his students, belittling Star in the process. When you think about it that way, Star is kind of a huge jerk. (Just kidding! Mr. Savage still wins the jerk award.)

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Louise Galvestonmongeepoo
BY THE GRACE OF TODD
Razorbill/Penguin

Bad guys aren’t born, they become. Understanding what warped a villain’s personality is key, even if it takes a while to be revealed. In By the Grace of Todd, Max is evil incarnate to Todd and his tiny Toddlians. But in the sequel, In Todd We Trust, we see that Max is terrified of his big brother, and get a glimpse of the treatment he’s faced that causes him to torment others. I also believe bad guys can be redeemed, as in Ernie, Todd’s elementary school nemesis who does an about face in middle school and becomes Todd and Duddy’s buddy. (I’m dressed as Mongee Poo, a hero from Todd’s favorite anime series Dragon Sensei. Hoo hoo hi-yah!)

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Matt London
10362515_927717525241_7320697419049827655_n THE 8TH CONTINENT
Razorbill/Penguin

I’ve always believed that what makes readers LOATHE a villain is when the baddie gets away with something terrible. So I try to make sure my villains get away with everything! The villain of THE 8TH CONTINENT is Vesuvia Piffle, the ten year old super secret CEO of the Condo Real Estate Corporation. She is rotten! But she is also convinced she’s doing the right thing. And that makes her all the scarier.

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Ryan Gehart
THERE WILL BE BEARSbearrcoat
Candlewick Press

It would appear that Sandy, the vicious grizzly bear prowling the Bridger-Teton National Park who killed two hunters from Ohio would be the villain in BEARS, but she’s anything but. Tyson wants nothing more than to see her. It’s everything that’s getting in the way of the trip that’s antagonizing him. It’s the realities of adulthood, of his beloved grandfather who was supposed to take him to the Tetons get put into a nursing home instead. And as Tyson puts it: being an adult sucks.

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Two more posts left in our Mad For Middle Grade series! Are there any middle grade topics you want to hear about? Let us know!

See you on Monday November 3rd! And remember: the best way to stop an evil villain in his or her tracks is a pie in the face (……or maybe just a fantastic protagonist).

Lauren Magaziner is a 4th grader at heart, watches way too much TV, and loves to steal people’s toes to make Toecorn, which tastes like chewy, meaty popcorn. Only one of those is true. (Okay… you caught me. They’re all true.) Her MG debut THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES—about a boy who becomes a witchling’s apprentice in a town full of dangerous, Toecorn-loving witches—is available now from Dial/Penguin.
 
 
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LIES WE TELL OURSELVES Release Day

It’s incredibly surreal to think that this day has actually come. You spend years, probably decades, anticipating it. It’s like waiting for Christmas when you were a kid. The day itself always seemed so impossibly far away that your whole life was just anticipation.

But the anticipation is over ― and my first book, LIES WE TELL OURSELVES, is here. It’s in stores! It’s got an actual “Order” button on websites! (Preordering is so yesterday.)

Lies We Tell Ourselves

Synopsis:

In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept “separate but equal.”

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it.

Advance praise for LIES WE TELL OURSELVES:

“A beautifully written and compelling read.” – School Library Journal

“A well-handled debut.” – Booklist

“A piercing look at the courage it takes to endure…forms of extreme hatred, violence, racism and sexism.” – Kirkus Reviews

“The big issues of school desegregation in the 1950s, interracial dating, and same-sex couples have the potential to be too much for one novel, but the author handles all with aplomb. What makes it even better is that both Linda’s and Sarah’s points of view are revealed as the novel unfolds, giving meaning to their indoctrinated views. Educators looking for materials to support the civil rights movement will find a gem in this novel, and librarians seeking titles for their LGBT displays should have this novel on hand…. This is a meaningful tale about integration.” – VOYA

Lies We Tell Ourselves is a phenomenal story of two high-school seniors experiencing desegregation for the first time in their Virginia school. The story provides no easy solutions; instead, it offers a solid and responsible ending that leaves hope for both girls to find a better future, while indicating that there is still much left for us to do.” – Sara Hines, Eight Cousins Books

Launch event:

This Saturday, I’m having a joint launch party with Caroline Richmond (whose debut THE ONLY THING TO FEAR comes out today too ― hurrah!) in Arlington, Va., right outside of Washington, D.C. You should come! Here are the details.

You can buy LIES WE TELL OURSELVES at:

IndieBound | One More Page Books | AmazonBarnes & Noble | Harlequin

Robin Talley lives in Washington, D.C., with her ornery cat, goofy hound dog, and very patient wife. Robin’s debut novel, LIES WE TELL OURSELVES (Harlequin Teen, September 2014), follows a black girl in 1959 Virginia who’s the first to desegregate an all-white high school, and winds up falling in love with a white girl in the process. Robin tweets at @robin_talley.
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Next Book News!

We’ve debuted, we’re debuting and we’re selling more stuff! Check back on the 28th of each month to find out all the awesome Next Book News!

 

A sequel to Tara Dairman’s ALL FOUR STARS! 

A sequel to Tara Dairman’s middle-grade debut, ALL FOUR STARS, is coming in summer 2015, and Tara will be revealing its title and cover in October!

Subscribers to her e-mail list will get an exclusive first peek at the new book; you can sign up to be notified here! 

 

Rachel M. Wilson releases eBook with HarperTeen Impulse!

Rachel M. Wilson’s story “The Game of Boys and Monsters” will release October 7th as a stand-alone eBook with HarperTeen Impulse.

Says Harper, “From Rachel M. Wilson, author of Don’t Touch, comes an eerie and utterly compelling short story about best friends Leslie and Evy, whose friendship changes when the enigmatic Marsh brothers move to town.”

Pre-order for $0.99, or add it on Goodreads!

 

Cover Reveals and Giveaways!!!

 

Helene Dunbar and WHAT REMAINS

 

Helene’s next stand-alone, WHAT REMAINS releases from Flux in May 2015. There is a cover reveal and giveaway on YABC!!  Add it on Goodreads!!

 

Emily Lloyd-Jones and DECEPTIVE

 

The sequel to ILLUSIVE, called DECEPTIVE, has a cover! And a giveaway for a galley over on Icey Books! (ends September 30th!!)  Add it on Goodreads!!

 

Can’t wait to see what October brings!!

 

Robin Constantine is a born and raised Jersey girl who moved down South so she could wear flip-flops year round. She spends her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, well, eventually but not without a lot of peril, angst and the occasional kissing scene. Her YA debut, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, is out now! Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Publishers.