Happy 14th Day: November

The year is nearly over. It’s been a year chock full of events, news, and things, so it doesn’t completely surprise me that we are two months away from our Debut Year. That is very, very exciting.

Let’s get to our news. (There’s a LOT of news this month!)

New Websites/Contests:

Elle Cosimano’s Nearly Gone has a newly designed website.

Louise Galveston‘s By The Grace of Todd has a new website.

Kelsey Macke’s Damsel Distressed cover contest winner was announced.

New sales and rights:

Nicole Maggi has sold books two and three in her Twin Willows Trilogy to her publisher, Medallion Press. Each of her books will be published six months after the other beginning with Winter Falls in December 2014, so we won’t have to wait three years to read them all. Congrats, Nicole!

Rachel Searles has sold Spanish rights to The Lost Planet, and it’s being published there this month. Click the link to see the Spanish cover!

Amber Lough has sold audio rights for The Fire Wish to Audible, which is particularly exciting for, well, me.

Reviews and Blurbs:

Corinne Duyvis‘s Otherbound got a blurb from Margo Lanagan. (Go to the link. It’s amazing!!!)

Tracy Holczer‘s The Secret Hum of a Daisy has gotten a blurb from Richard Peck! He says, “Tracy Holczer’s story is a lyric about love and loss and not being able to find your future until you’ve uncovered your past.”

Christine Kohler‘s No Surrender Soldier has gotten a review at Kirkus.

Jessica Love has gotten two blurbs for Push GirlHate List author Jennifer Brown calls it “Tender, inspirational, and, most of all, important.” And National Book Award Finalist Deb Caletti says that it’s an “Honest, feisty, and painfully real story.”

Amber Lough has gotten two blurbs for The Fire Wish. Daughter of Smoke and Bone‘s Laini Taylor calls it “a fantastically compelling and romantic read from a shining new voice. I want more!” Tamora Pierce says, “War, magic, and romance kept me reading nonstop!” (No, I can’t believe it either. Really.)

Julie Murphy has gotten a blurb from Jennifer Echols. She says Side Effects May Vary is “a funny and touching novel about a strong-willed heroine who finds facing death simple, and facing life heart-wrenchingly complicated. A real original.”

Michelle Schusterman has gotten some great reviews for I Heart Band from both Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly. (Well deserved!)

Rachel Searles got a great review in Publisher’s Weekly for The Lost Planet.

Philip Siegel has sold foreign rights for The Break-Up Artist to the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.


Livia Blackburne’s Midnight Thief:


(reveal hosted at Iceybooks)

Sarah Comb’s Breakfast Served Anytime:


Robin Herrera‘s Hope is a Ferris Wheel:


Tracy Holczer’s The Secret Hum of a Daisy:


Emily Lloyd-Jones’ Illusive:

Illusive_front cover-page-0

Jen Malone’s At Your Service:


Kathryn Rose’s Camelot Burning:



Philip Siegel’s The Break-Up Artist:


That’s all, folks. Come back next month!

Amber Lough lives in Syracuse, NY with an astrophysicist and their two kids, Future CEO and Future Comedian. She spent half her childhood in Japan and the Middle East, but majored in Russian because she likes a challenge. She quit her job in Air Force Intelligence to write stories in which no one speaks English or “common.” Her Middle Eastern fantasy, THE FIRE WISH, is due from Random House Children’s in July 2014.

GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Helen Douglas, Author of AFTER EDEN

Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she’s hooked. On the face of it, he’s a typical American teenager. So why doesn’t he recognize pizza? And how come he hasn’t heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he’s taking in her.

As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan’s bedroom – a biography of her best friend – written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose … and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

AFTER EDEN sounds like an amazing book, with such a unique premise. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy, and luckily I don’t have to wait much longer, as it’s out in just a couple of days!

I jumped at the chance to interview Helen Douglas, the fabulous author of AFTER EDEN, and ask her a few questions about her book, her process, and her ideas. Here’s what she had to say:

LW:   The premise of AFTER EDEN is so interesting! Can you tell us how the idea came about, and about the genesis of this book? 

HD: The idea came from lots of different places at the same time. I’d been thinking about the idea of two people who could have been soul mates but were born a century apart. That was the genesis. And then I received a telescope for my birthday and started taking an interest in stars and exoplanet discoveries. I knew I wanted to write a love story about two people separated by time and that stars and the universe would play a part in it.

LW:      Sci-fi is so diverse, covering everything from ENDER’S GAME to STAR WARS and back again. What drew you to sci-fi, and how does AFTER EDEN fit into the genre, and how is it different from other sci-fi out there? 

HD: I’m a huge sci-fi fan. I particularly love the high concept stories of Phillip K Dick, such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, as well as the film adaptations of his novels. I’m drawn to sci-fi because of the ideas explored in the genre. That said, After Eden is at the lighter end of science fiction, in that the novel isn’t about ideas particularly; it’s more about characters. I would say it reads like a contemporary romance with a slight sprinkling of sci-fi.

LW: Did you have a character or scene that was your favorite to write? 

HD: One of my favourite scenes comes quite early in the book when Ryan is teaching Eden about the constellations in the night sky. Going star-gazing would have been my perfect date when I was sixteen. In fact, I think it still would be!

LW: Tell us a bit about your writing routine for AFTER EDEN. Did you play any particular music? Was your desk messy or neat? Did you pin up any photos or works of art for inspiration? And… coffee or tea? 

HD: I was working full-time as an English teacher when I wrote After Eden, so I had to fit my writing in before work (most teachers’ evenings and weekends are taken up with marking and planning). So I set my alarm for 5 am and wrote til 6:30 every morning. Despite my best intentions, my desk is always a mess. I listen to music to help get me in the right mood for a scene, but then write in silence. And tea . . . buckets of tea.

LW: It looks like you have a sequel coming, CHASING STARS. Can you give us any (spoiler free) hints at what’s to come in the series? 

HD: Chasing Stars is about Eden having to find her own strengths in a new world, and using them to save Ryan. I can say no more …

LW: Since this community is “All For One and One Four Kid Lit” we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid.

HD: YA didn’t really exist as a genre when I was a kid. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham was a favourite when I was a young teenager. It’s about a post-apocalyptic world where people with genetic mutations are considered blasphemies and tells the story of some children with mutations ranging from six toes to telepathy. When I was younger, I loved Peter Pan. My first favourite book, however, was Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree.

leaf graphicAbout Helen, in her own words:

I was born in a small beach town in Cornwall, much like the fictional town of Perran that appears in After Eden. As a child I enjoyed reading, building dens and writing stories of my own. My teenage years were centred around the beach. Summer days were spent swimming and body-boarding. Summer nights meant beach parties with bonfires and barbecues. When it rained, which it did a lot, I read lots of books and dreamed of being a writer.

After leaving school, I lived in many different places including London, California, New York and New Jersey. I’m now back in Cornwall where I live midway between the woods and the beach. When the sky is clear, I can usually be found walking in the woods, hanging out at the beach or looking at the stars.  When the sea mist rolls in or it’s raining, I spend my time reading books, writing and dreaming up my next story.

Visit Helen at http://www.helenmdouglas.com/. Her book, AFTER EDEN, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Laura Wettersten lives in Ohio with her wonderful husband and their two neurotic dogs. She has degrees in both music education and library science, and when she’s not writing or teaching she enjoys directing middle school musicals, dancing awkwardly around her kitchen, and watching WIPEOUT and 30 ROCK reruns. Her debut novel, MY FAIRE LADY, releases from Simon & Schuster BFYR in 2014.

Happy Release Day to our own OneFour member, Vivi Barnes!

We’re so excited for an early OneFour release! Please join us in congratulating Vivi Barnes on the launch of her YA debut, OLIVIA TWISTED, a fun and edgy update on the Dicken’s classic, with a teen ring of cyber-hackers, a motorcycle-riding hottie, and… oh please, you need more after that awesomeness?


Vivi, I completely adored this update on a classic!  What was it about Dicken’s Oliver Twist that spoke to you and called out for a modern spin?

Thank you! I grew up watching the movie Oliver! when I was a kid, then read the book later. It’s not an easy read, and one reason I wanted to do a retelling was to reintroduce the classic in a more relatable, contemporary way. Immediately, I thought of Olivia Twisted but with a female protagonist. The original story really made society the protagonist and Oliver a victim. I wanted the external influences to play a large role with Olivia, but I wanted her to also make her own choices and be stronger than poor Oliver.

So basically, I started with a title and went from there!

One of my favorite things is when authors annotate their own books with fun tidbits about why a certain character trait, name, or tidbit was included. Give us a teaser of what we’d learn if we peeked at an annotated copy of OLIVIA TWISTED.

I laugh because I have a lot of these things—too many to list, probably. But the character Jen could possibly be named for my friend Jen, who is actually one of the sweetest people ever. Jen “gets” that the Jen in the story isn’t horrible. She’s just misunderstood.

I also have a few fun Oliver Twist references. One of the kids in the house references Z as “Dodger,” and at one point Z tells Liv “It’s not like we pick pockets.” Those were fun to reference. I couldn’t work in “Please sir, I want some more.” That just…yeah, no.

Aww. Power to the Jens! Name one thing about this publishing process that has you giddy with excitement.

I’ve spent most of this past year being giddy or freaking out. Not much tops the cover reveal—that is one of the most exciting moments! And Entangled did a fantastic job with it. I also loved the great reviews, especially getting RT Book Reviews Top Picks!

I have a feeling those great reviews are just beginning. Tell me something that’s completely surprised you about the publishing process?

I was surprised at exactly how many hands touch a book—from editors, interns, assistant editors, second pass readers, etc.

So true! Now, we’ve got a pretty funny post going on our message boards where everyone posts their pre-publishing stress dreams. Had any of those?

I dreamed the publisher accidentally published a book I had written as a kid instead of Olivia Twisted. I think the book had to do with how mad I was at my brother or something! (Fact: I didn’t write a full book about being mad at my brother; more a letter to my mother about how he should clean the dishes or else.)

Sounds like you’ve got a follow up to Olivia Twisted there. What’s on tap for release day today?

I am going to be lurking in bookstores, taking pictures until they make me leave because I’m creeping them out!

One last question: as this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d love to know two or three books that inspired you as a kid!

Lord of the Rings, Watership Down, David Eddings’ Belgariad series, and just about all of Judy Blume’s books! Random, I know!

Thanks, Vivi! Wishing you all the best and have fun seeing your book baby out in the world!


Jen Malone has visited 50 countries, met her husband on the highway (literally) and went into labor with her identical twins while on Stevie Nick’s tour bus. These days she prefers to keep the drama inside the pages of her books. Her debut middle grade, AT YOUR SERVICE, releases in August from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin. Please visit Jen on Twitter @jenmalonewrites.

Mad For Middle Grade: Giving Thanks!

Inspired by the Lucky 13′s “Meanwhile… Middle Grade” series, we the MG authors of 2014, have banded together to create an unstoppable league of superheroes… or… erm… we decided to create a similar series. Welcome to MAD FOR MIDDLE GRADE! We’ll be here the first Monday of every month! Stay tuned as we discuss the process of middle grade writing, chat about our favorite middle grade books, introduce our own middle grade titles, interview middle grade professionals, 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!

Ahhh… autumn is in the air, pumpkin-spiced everything is on the tongue, and crispy golden leaves are on the ground. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means–It’s almost turkey time (hooray!). But more important than the food is the idea of giving thanks. And this year, we all have a lot to be thankful for.

Question: What are you thankful for this year?

Rachel Searles
Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan

Rachel SearlesI’m always grateful for my fantastic family and friends, but they’re so supportive that if I told them I wanted to wanted to be a circus performer, they’d sign me up for trapeze classes and buy out seating in the Big Top. There are two people that THE LOST PLANET certainly wouldn’t have happened without. One is my incredible critique partner, Liz–I honestly don’t know where I’d be without her help and friendship. The other person is my amazing agent, who consistently impresses me with how thorough and forward-thinking she is, and whose one little “yes” over a year ago set off such wonderful changes in my life.


Rebecca Behrens

Rebecca BehrensIt takes a person to write a book but a village to publish it, right? This year I’m thankful for all the village people (ha!) who are helping me take When Audrey Met Alice from a story that existed in my head and hard drive to a published book. I’m grateful for my family and friends for their enthusiasm and encouragement; for my agent and agency for their savvy and support; for my editor and the wonderful team at my publisher for taking a chance on me and my characters; for my writer friends for keeping me sane (or what my version of sane is, anyway); and for readers and book-lovers, most of all. Oh, and I’m also extending thanks to the pizza delivery guy because otherwise I would’ve starved to death this year.


Gayle Rosengren

When you love books as much as I did growing up, the desire to write for kids often follows quite naturally. It certainly did for me. Being a children’s author is all I ever wanted to be, Gayle Rosengren 100x100and now it’s really happening! Gratitude and euphoria are inseparable in my heart. The fact that my book was inspired by the two women I loved most–my mother and my grandmother–makes my happiness even sweeter. I’m thrilled that soon kids will be reading my book! For that I’m indebted to my awesome critique group, and to my husband, family and friends for their encouragement and support. And I’m fall-down-on-my knees grateful to my brilliant editor, Susan Kochan, for bringing Esther’s story to life.


Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Author photo 357KBDial/Penguin

I was walking around today, my brow furrowed, scowling at everyone I saw, eaten away by problems on the book I’m currently writing. Why isn’t the plot working? Is this character believable? What will my editor think? Haven’t a thousand other writers already said this better? And then I realized . . . what a wonderful, fun, and unbelievably fortunate set of problems to have! Working on a novel? That’s a gift, not a curse. So today I am grateful for my current batch of problems, which I’d rather have than an easy day at something I don’t love.


Skila Brown
Candlewick Press

Skila Brown I am crazy thankful for my three kids. They ask me questions about what I’m writing, read my stories, and share ideas they have for future books. They also keep life in perspective for me—pull me away from my desk to get outside and do something else—exactly what a writer needs to do.


Robin Herrera
Amulet Books

I want to take this opportunity to thank some of my early teachers. Some of them 2013-10-18 02_50_38encouraged my writing, even before I knew I wanted to be a writer! So thank you:

MS. LAWSON (5th/6th grade) – I probably would have ended up in juvie without her guidance.
MR. BLAKE (high school Theater) – Thanks for giving me a safe place to go after school!
MS. TURNER (high school English) – The first teacher to tell me I should consider writing as a career.
MR. MIDDLEMISS (high school Journalism) – For letting me write a bunch of crappy newspaper articles! Wait… maybe I shouldn’t be thanking him…


Jennifer Downey
SourcebooksJen Downey

I am grateful to have realized with crystal clear clarity (thanks to the tutelage of unsung heroes, Winter Daphne and otters), that once my book is out in the world, no matter how many people abhor it or dislike it or remain indifferent to it, or develop a faint fondness for it or even (dare I hope) delight in it, I will essentially remain the same shmuck I am at this very moment, and the world will continue to pour out its sorrows and its treasures of scent, sound, and sense, friendship and courage, intellectual lightning and loving connective thunder.


Ryan Gebhart
Candlewick Press

To Grandma and Papa.
I’m thankful for them lending a hand in raising me and my siblings growing up. I’m thankful for all the trips they took us on, and for their unquestioning support in me and all my random dreams. Although my grandparents never hunted a day in their lives like the grandparents in There Will Be Bears, I still love them just as much as my main character Tyson loves his grandparents.


Tracy Holczer

Things I’m grateful for:

My fabulous agent, Rosemary Stimola, for having the patience of seven people and NIK_5082CROPknowing just what to say to calm writerly nerves.

Kouign-amann. If you know what that is, you know why. If not: http://www.bakedonoceanview.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19%3Ala-weeklys-best-kouign-amann-in-la&catid=11%3Apress&Itemid=5

The time to write stories, which hasn’t always been the case.

My awe-inspiring children. Each of them have special gifts and will change the world in their own big and small ways. I’m so grateful to be able to watch it all happen.


Tara Dairman

taradairmanAs my debut creeps ever closer, I’m so grateful to be sharing the ups and downs with a whole community of fabulous kidlit writers. But I would never have gotten to know these writers if someone hadn’t made the effort to organize groups like OneFour KidLit, Mad for Middle Grade, and Emu’s Debuts (the other group blog to which I belong). So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the organizationally-minded folks who make it possible for the rest of us to connect—and give a special shout-out to our Mad for Middle Grade den mama, Lauren Magaziner! 🙂


Dana Alison Levy
Delacorte/Random House

Levy_Dana_author_catI’m grateful for many elements of my life, from really good cheese to the hugs my giant children still occasionally bestow upon me. But I am particularly grateful for my writing partners. It takes a special kind of friend to:

Gently point out a massive plot hole
Highlight a ludicrously over-used word
Cheerlead and tell me I’m awesome
Reread the Same. Darn. Paragraph. Fifty times or more.

Without these patient and talented people I’m not sure the journey to publication would have happened at all. And it certainly wouldn’t have been as fun.


Lauren Magaziner

IMG_1907WARNING: I’m about to get as mushy as a mashed potato.

I am so incredibly grateful for this whole process; this is a lifelong dream come true. I have many people to thank for that, but that would seriously take a whole ‘nother novel. So a quick THANK YOU to the team: editor Nancy, assistant editor Stacey, and agent Brianne. Thank you for your insanely genius editorial letters. Thank you for laughing at my weird jokes. Thank you for believing in Rupert and Witchling Two… and me. My world is so much more amazing with you three in it!  Every day is like a cauldron full of sunshine!


Heidi Schulz

Profile 13I have so much to be grateful for this year, particularly when it comes to my writing. I’ll let my book’s acknowledgment pages give specific thank yous to those that have helped me the most, but today, I’d like to say: I am grateful to my mom, who taught me to read so many years ago, to the authors who made me fall in love with words, and to those whose work continues to inspire me. Thank you!


Edith Cohn

author photo with Leia smallI’m grateful for my craft, the joy of writing, the magic moments when a story appears to me. I’m grateful for my readers—those thoughtful people who take the time to tell me how I can improve my story. I’m grateful to the writers who don’t critique my work, but who sit next to me while I type or lend an ear when I need it. I’m grateful to the friends who don’t live nearby but still call or email to cheer me on. I’m grateful to my agent, my publisher and my editor for making this journey so much fun.


What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving season?

Have a happy turkey day! We’ll see you again on December 2nd for a really special segment of Mad For Middle Grade. Stay tuned–you definitely don’t want to miss it!

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 forthcoming from Dial/Penguin in Summer 2014.

November Business

First! It is the first of November and hopefully none of you will be eaten by a rabid kelpie!

Second! As promised, we are no longer accepting applications for new membership to the OneFours. If you are a late 2014 MG or YA debut, the Fearless Fifteeners have graciously offered to accept late applications. Also…did you see that link? I’m going to link it again because THE FEARLESS FIFTEENERS HAVE LAUNCHED. Hard to believe. It seems only yesterday I was emailing the few 2014 debuts I knew and establishing the OneFours. *sniff*sniff* Oh, how time flies.

Third! It’s time for NaNoWriMo! And several OneFours are participating. Want to know which ones? Well, I’ve made a list!

  • Dahlia Adler aka dahlelama, author of BEHIND THE SCENES
  • Stephanie Diaz aka Stephanie Diaz (that was easy), author of EXTRACTION
  • Corinne Duyvis aka thecory, author of OTHERBOUND
  • Christy Farley aka Christygirl, author of GILDED
  • Louise Galveston aka lougalveston, author of BY THE GRACE OF TODD
  • Michelle Krys aka MichelleKrys, author of HEXED
  • Emery Lord aka emerylord, author of OPEN ROAD SUMMER
  • Meredith McCardle aka MeredithMcP, author of THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN
  • Julie Murphy aka andimjulie, author of SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY
  • AdriAnne Stickland aka AdriAnneMS, author of WORDLESS

Good luck to everyone embarking on this exercise in group insanity! May you reach all your goals without losing too much hair, and we’ll catch you on the flip side.

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.