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WORDLESS Release Day

… Except this post won’t be wordless. I am, in fact, a rather wordy person, which is probably why I write books. I’ve written a few at this point, and WORDLESS isn’t the first nor the last. It’s a step on what has been a long journey—a continuing journey, most definitely! So while this is a (book) launch, which conjures visions of rockets blasting off from the earth, it feels to me more like an incredible stopover on the moon. And thank you all so much for accompanying me on this venture.

Sounds cheesy, eh? Well, some folktales say the moon is made of cheese. Please kick back for my book launch/picnic on the moon, have a slice of cheese (gruyere on baguette, anyone?), and maybe check out WORDLESS while you’re here:

 

Wordless Final Cover
“The Gods made their Words into flesh, giving privileged individuals the powers of creation …”

In Eden City, a member of the illiterate wordless class would never dream of meeting the all-powerful Words … much less of running away with one. So when a gorgeous girl literally falls into his lap during a routine trash run, seventeen-year-old Tavin Barnes isn’t sure if it’s the luckiest or worst day of his life. That girl is Khaya, the Word of Life, who can heal a wound or command an ivy bush to devour a city block with ease. And yet she needs Tavin’s help.

By aiding Khaya’s escape from the seemingly idyllic confines of Eden City, Tavin unwittingly throws himself into the heart of a conflict that is threatening to tear the world apart. Eden City’s elite will stop at nothing to protect the shocking secret Khaya hides, and they enlist the other Words, each with their own frightening powers, to bring her back.

 

What people are saying:

“Impressive mythology and fast-paced adventure.” – Booklist

“Just the right amount of pizzazz in the form of cinematic action and naked, sexy fun…. [An] intriguing, original science-fantasy setting sure to attract fans.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Strickland’s fast-paced debut… raises questions of identity and belonging…. Even the least ethical characters prove emotionally vulnerable.” – Publishers Weekly

“A fast-paced blend of sci-fi and fantasy with scary real-world implications, Wordless grabbed hold of me from the start and wouldn’t let me go. Brilliant.” – Chelsea Pitcher, author of The S-Word and The Last Changeling

 

You can purchase a copy of WORDLESS at these places, or request it at your local library:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Indiebound ~ Books-A-Million ~ Book Depository

 

 Check out the official blog tour here for a chance to win one of three copies + a $25 B&N gift card!

 

AdriAnne Strickland author photo - tiny squareAdriAnne Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what either of those words meant. She shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, but has spent two cumulative years living abroad in Africa, Asia, and Europe. While writing occupies most of her time, she commercial fishes every summer in Bristol Bay, because she can’t seem to stop. Her debut YA sci-fi/fantasy, WORDLESS, is coming in Summer 2014 from Flux Books. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.
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DREAMWOOD Publication Day!

Cover of DREAMWOOD by Heather MackeyHi all, I can’t believe this day is here. What happened to time? Just yesterday I had long, uneventful months ahead of me with publication something just barely glimpsed on the far horizon.

Short blurb: When 12-year-old Lucy’s scientist father goes missing, she embarks on a supernatural ecological adventure through a fantastical version of the Pacific Northwest.

I revised and rewrote DREAMWOOD for seven years, which feels like a number from a fairy tale. (I can imagine the book fairies now, hanging out in their forest abode: “And after seven years, she awoke to find she was a published author.”)

Here are what some other book fairies have said:

“A stunning debut with equal parts orginality and heart.” –Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Vivid descriptions … capture the imagination at every turn. Dialogue and perilous situations nudge the story along at a steady clip, with the second half a breathless page turner.” –School Library Journal

“As the story races from one fantastic or frightening adventure to the next, it skillfully combines reality with fantasy. … pure fun.” –VOYA

“Mackey’s descriptions of the creatures and hazards of the dreamwood are gorgeous and lush, a fantastic setting for a fantastic tale.” –Booklist

And thanks to Holly Goldberg Sloan (author of must-read COUNTING BY 7S) for this amazing blurb: “Wildly inventive. Like this novel, Lucy is brave, smart, and destined for greatness.”

I hope you’ll check DREAMWOOD out. And if you do, let me know—can a tree be scary?

INDIEBOUND

BARNES & NOBLE

AMAZON

Heather Mackey is the author of DREAMWOOD, a middle-grade fantasy adventure coming in June 2014 from Penguin-Putnam. She lives in Northern California, and thinks the woods are spooky. That’s why she wrote about a homicidal forest!
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Edith Cohn: SPIRIT’S KEY

We’ve got a great group of debut authors here at OneFour KidLit. Today we’re introducing Edith Cohn. One author, four questions. Here we go!

SpiritsKey

What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

My debut novel SPIRIT’S KEY is a mystery about a twelve-year-old psychic girl named Spirit who works with the ghost of her pet dog to uncover the truth of the mysterious deaths of wild dogs on the remote island where she lives.

Cool details about the book —This book is an interesting mix of genres—mystery, light fantasy, adventure, and paranormal. I’d never written anything like it before. I’d only written YA contemporary novels—none of which I was able to sell. One of my friends, who was surprised I would attempt to write something with fantasy elements said, “But you don’t even read fantasy.” Actually this wasn’t true. But I’d written contemporary for so long—that was how people thought of me. The doubts crept in. Had I read enough fantasy to be qualified to write one? Could I get away with never saying exactly where this island was located? Could I make up weird superstitions and beliefs? What were the rules for middle grade? To hush my doubts, I wrote in my notebook in big bold letters: IT’S YOUR ISLAND. YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT! This became my mantra.

But even though the setting of Bald Island is made up, I drew a lot of inspiration from the very real Outer Banks of North Carolina. I did a lot of research that inspired the book, and some of the strangest superstitions in the story are actually based on things I read. For example, the characters in SPIRIT’S KEY drink yaupon tea to cure their anger. And actual early settlers on the Outer Banks believed this tea cured the drinker of anger and falsehoods.

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

I’m really looking forward to having actual kid readers. I want to hear what they think and have the opportunity to talk to them in schools. I used to teach 7th grade, and it will be nice to have the chance to teach kids about writing again. I’m also crossing my fingers for fan mail. 😉

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

Edith_Cohn-9744-2Probably the first thing you should know about me is that I am a crazy dog lady. I even have a bumper sticker on my car that says so! Really this just means, my dog Leia is my little fur baby. I kind of run my life around her happiness.

Also, when I’m not reading or writing, I’m crafting handmade dog collars or jewelry. I used to have an Etsy store called BUTTERPUPS, where I sold dog collars for fancy pups. Now I just do it for fun. These typewriter rings are really popular amongst my friends. If you want one, the cost is two preordered copies of SPIRIT’S KEY. Email me your receipt (edithcohn(at)gmail.com), and I’ll mail you one with your initial. The ring bases are pretty pricey, so please be honest and follow through with the book order. I also only have a handful of the ring bases left, so this is only while supplies last. 1970623_10153944009685654_2031927106_n

What are your desert island books?

In some ways being on a desert island seems like a dream come true for an introvert writer, but it also sounds kind of painful. I just reread THE GIVER by Lois Lowry, and it’s a good reminder that pain is useful, so that one is a must. I think BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu is also a great reminder of this. Here’s my favorite line, “This is what it is to live in the world. You have to give yourself over to the cold, at least a little bit.” I’d have to bring my go-to craft books like BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott, ART AND FEAR by David Bayles and Ted Orland and SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder. I’d also really like to have a notebook so I could write.

Edith Cohn was born and raised in North Carolina where she grew up exploring the unique beaches of the Outer Banks. She currently lives in the coyote-wild hills of Los Angeles with her husband and her dog. All of these things provided inspiration for her middle grade novel, SPIRIT’S KEY, a mystery about a girl and her ghost dog, coming September 9th from FSG/Macmillan.

 

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Heather Mackey: DREAMWOOD

Cover of DREAMWOOD by Heather Mackey

Today we’re talking to Heather Mackey, author of DREAMWOOD, a middle-grade fantasy adventure involving ghosts, haunted forests, absent-minded scientists, Lupine huntresses, unusual gadgets and a growing friendship between a girl and a boy who initially want nothing to do with each other. DREAMWOOD is out from Putnam on June 12, 2014.

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?

I had a weird and twisty path full of breathtaking shortcuts and very long detours. Basically, it happened absolutely backward. I sold the book on accident, before I knew how to write it. And luckily no one gave up on me while I worked to get it right.

I’d taken a playwriting class and in one of our exercises a scene came to me that was of a young girl with a scientist father and ghosts. I took that scene and did nothing with it for a long time. At some point, I went on a camping trip to a mysterious redwood forest near the California-Oregon border and thought, “this is where it happens.” I started writing stuff around it. If you squinted at it in the right light it almost looked like a first draft.

Very randomly a friend told me about SCBWI and suggested we go to a conference. I signed up for a manuscript critique, and was stunned when Putnam editor Timothy Travaglini (who is now at Open Road Media) was interested in my humble ten pages. In an email he later said, “I think I startled you.” Which is a very understated way of saying “you seemed completely freaked out.”

Putnam acquired the manuscript, with Tracey Adams representing me. And all was good, except that then I worked on the book for years because I had no idea how to write a novel let alone a novel for children. Midway through, Tim left Putnam and I started working with the amazing Arianne Lewin. AMAZING. More revisions followed. Fun stuff like taking apart the entire book and starting all over with a new plot. Still, I kept suiting up and going to work in the fiction trenches. At a certain point they told me I could come out.

What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

Yes! DREAMWOOD is the story of Lucy Darrington, a spunky young girl who runs away from boarding school to find her father, an early 19th century ghost buster and expert on the supernatural.

Her quest takes her to an alternate Pacific Northwest, where her father has disappeared into the haunted woods of Devil’s Thumb in search of the mysterious dreamwood, a tree with magical properties. To find him, she joins forces with Pete Knightly, a slightly older boy with (initially) annoying competencies and superstitions. Along the way she has help from Niwa Sillamook, a member of the Lupine Nation, which controls most of the area. Spookiness and adventure ensue.

Cool detail? I made up a whole science of ghost physics (despite being not all that sure about ordinary physics!). I also needed to figure out if a tree could be scary. I spent many late-night hours thinking of bad trees. Everything from Old Man Willow in The Fellowship of the Ring to the apple trees that scared the bejesus out of me in The Wizard of Oz. I finally came to the conclusion that if you have seen The Wizard of Oz as a child you will have enough irrational fear in you to fuel a lifetime of novel writing.

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

Not exactly cool, but certainly little-known: To look at me you wouldn’t know I listen to a ton of rap and am a CrossFit addict. I won a prize for ancient Greek in college (the same college that later kicked me out of student housing for, um, a very raucous party). Despite working for years in high tech, I don’t know how to use a GPS, and honestly, I’d rather get lost.

Do you have any writing quirks–places you need to write or things you need to have with you?

I listen to one particular piece of music over and over again while I write. It has to be wordless, classical, dreamlike, and modern. For DREAMWOOD I listened to Arvo Pärt’s “Silentium.” To me it sounds like sneaking into a forbidden room in a magician’s mansion and nervously, cautiously opening a hidden door. Whenever I was stuck or mired in doubt (i.e., always) I would put this on and listen to it and talk to my imagination and say, “Okay, so now you tell me what is behind that door.”

Heather Mackey is the author of DREAMWOOD, a middle-grade fantasy adventure coming in June 2014 from Penguin-Putnam. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two kids, and thinks the woods are spooky. That’s why she wrote about a homicidal forest!

 

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The Author’s Voice: interview with OneFour author Kathryn Rose

Arthurian legend steampunk’d!!

Kathryn speaks with us about her forthcoming YA fantasy CAMELOT BURNING (Flux, 2014).

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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 debuts September 9th, 2014 (Abrams/Amulet and Faber & Faber).
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The Author’s Voice: interview with OneFour author Danielle L Jensen

Trolls! Romance! Rebellion!

Danielle speaks with us about her forthcoming YA fantasy, STOLEN SONGBIRD.

Cover: Steve Stone, Artist Partners

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 debuts in November 2014 (Abrams/Amulet and Faber & Faber).
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AdriAnne Strickland: WORDLESS

We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. Today we’re talking to AdriAnne Strickland, author of WORDLESS, coming from Flux in 2014. One author, four questions. Here we go!

So, you’re getting published! How’d that happen? (aka, what was your path to publication?)

My husband landed a fellowship for us to live in rural fishing villages in Africa for a year, and I figured, this being the first time I’d ever not been in school or working since I was four, that I should finally embark on that writing career I’d been dreaming since about that age—okay, maybe not in such terms as “writing career.” But before I’d even learned to write my ABCs, I told my mom I wanted to make up stories when I grew up (since I was a habitual liar), and she was the one who first planted the word “author” in my brain.

Maybe rural villages were a bad place to bring a laptop (which became infested with ants), but it powered on and so did I. I finished my first novel in Cameroon in 2009, and it… well, it sucked. It was 250,000 words, no joke. After my husband and I returned to the States and moved to Alaska later in the year, I wrote a YA novel next, hoping that would help curb my word addiction. Even though it was shorter, it sucked too. I revised and revised both novels until the only thing I could do was scrap them entirely and start over. I rewrote my first (adult) novel, but was struck by a new YA idea, and thus WORDLESS was born.

My agent actually signed me for the rewritten version of my first novel, but she ended up loving WORDLESS as well. She sold it to Brian Farrey-Latz at Flux (along with book two in the series), and here I am! It only took three novels, a total rewrite, and four years. Easy career choice. Minus the sarcasm, it’s been the best career choice. Thanks, Mom.

What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

Here’s the short version: In a world where the masses are illiterate, 17-year-old Tavin Barnes, a wordless orphan, must do everything he can to stop a ruthless group that knows how to control the “Words”—an elite few with the power to turn their words into reality.

And here’s the longer version (which has a few more details that I hope are cool): In Eden City, the Wordless, or illiterate poor, would never even dream of meeting one of the all-powerful Words who run the city-state. Much less running away with one.

When a drop-dead gorgeous girl literally falls in his lap during his routine trash run, seventeen-year-old Tavin Barnes isn’t sure if it’s the luckiest day of his life, or the beginning of the worst. Because Khaya is also the Word of Life, meaning that she could either heal a wound with a touch or command an ivy bush to devour a city block, depending on her mood.

By helping Khaya escape the seemingly idyllic confines of Eden City into Europe beyond, Tavin unwittingly throws himself into the heart of a conflict that is threatening to tear the city apart… if not the world. Eden City’s elite will stop at nothing to protect the shocking secret Khaya hides, and enlists the help of the other Words, each with their own frightening powers—like the ability to spark a fire, raise a flood, or kill with a touch—to bring her back.

To survive, Tavin must confront the mysteries of his past… and risk sacrificing what he cares about most.

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

Mostly typical things: getting professional jacket copy so no one has to read the above description anymore, seeing my cover for the first time, finally holding my finished book in my hands, finding my book in a bookstore. I’m also so excited that after this first installment, the rest of the Words Made Flesh story gets to come to life. I get to write a sequel! Without a debut, I never would have let myself do that.

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

—When I’m not an author, I’m a commercial fisherwoman, returning to Alaska every summer to catch red salmon. My husband and I own and run our gillnet boat (named the Catch-22—that’s what you get with an English-lit-nerd like me on board). If you don’t mind being frozen, sleep-deprived and coated in fish slime, it’s the second best job ever, after being an author. Besides, it lets me write for the other ten months of the year.

—I make my own kimchee. As in, a lot of it, fermented in five gallon buckets. I’m addicted to it.

—I speak a reasonable amount of Mandarin Chinese and French. I sometimes confuse them and speak both at the same time.

—I don’t watch much TV, so my favorite shows are still the X-Files and Firefly.

—If I could be a character in any book, I would be an otter in Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. I’m pretty sure that says a lot about me.

AdriAnne Strickland shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, but has spent two cumulative years living abroad in Africa, China, and Europe. While writing occupies most of her time, she commercial fishes every summer in Bristol Bay, because she can’t seem to stop. Her debut YA sci-fi/fantasy, WORDLESS, is coming in Summer 2014 from Flux Books. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.