Category Archives: Guest Post

Caragh O’Brien Guest Post and Giveaway!

Recommended Reading by Caragh O’Brien

My tastes in reading run all over the place, from outer space to contemporary prisons, hot and cold. I tend to relish characters who invite me to see the world in a new way. For this list, I’ve limited myself to 7 Young Adult novels I have loved this year and heartily recommend.

Trail by Fire by Josephine Angelini. In an alternate universe, Salem is run by witches while scientists are persecuted. Lily from our world meets her double, Lillian, and discovers hidden powers within herself. Especially cool: the connections between chemistry and magical medicine are ingenious.

The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely. An altar boy battles with the secrecy, shame, and anger from an abusive relationship with a Catholic priest. Especially cool: the writing is heartfelt and Aidan’s character is vividly real.

Say What You Will, by Cammie McGovern. In this story about a high school senior with CP and her peer helper, a quiet guy with OCD, the two minds of the protagonists completely sucked me in. Especially cool: the play between how Amy thinks, her partly honest typed speech, and how she is perceived by Matthew, who sees her through his own insecurities, is fascinating.

Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci. This pure sci fi adventure takes place in outer space, with a deserted human girl who has to face ruthless and often putrid aliens all alone. The succinct, telling prose perfectly matches the chill and brutality of deep space. Especially cool: Plucky Tula Bane is a heroine for the ages, right up there with Princess Leia.

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu. In this contemporary story, five high school students tell their perspectives on the accident that killed the high school quarterback, and the girl who supposedly caused his death. Especially cool: the slut shaming invites outrage, and the mean girl is so mean, I’m still mad at her.

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. This intriguing, nostalgic graphic novel set in the recent past at a shoreline vacation community captures a time when Rose is stuck between the tension of her estranged parents and the charged sexuality of older teens. Especially cool: the drawings are incredibly expressive, as when the flip-flops whisper words of complicated disapproval.

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. I hardly know where to begin. This novel is told from the points of view of an escaping princess, a prince who wants to school her, and an assassin who wants to kill her, but when the princess meets the two men, she doesn’t know how their jobs match their names, and neither does the reader. Especially cool: it’s a clever mind game for the reader.

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About the Author:
Caragh M. O’Brien is the author of the BIRTHMARKED trilogy and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS, both from Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ms. O’Brien was educated at Williams College and earned her MA from Johns Hopkins University. She recently resigned from teaching high school English in order to write young adult novels.

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Courtesy of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, I have a copy of The Vault of Dreamers for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends October 3. I’ll draw a name on October 4, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Caragh O’Brien Guest Post and Giveaway!

Kira Peikoff Guest Post

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Guest Blog: What Happens When Aging is Cured?
By Kira Peikoff
Author, NO TIME TO DIE

In my new book NO TIME TO DIE (Kensington, August 26th), a young woman has inexplicably stopped aging at the worst possible age—fourteen. She’s actually in her early twenties, and her stunted growth baffles and frustrates her until she finally receives a diagnosis that changes everything. Scientists believe she carries a gene mutation that has turned off her entire aging process—and if they can pinpoint this mutation, they might be able to figure out a way to cure aging in other people, too. Of course this sounds like pure sci-fi to us today, but the truth is that it’s not necessarily far off. Leading researchers into the genetics of aging say that the scientific fountain of youth will be discovered within the next century. So what does that mean for us? Here’s a list of some of the good, the bad, and the not-so-ugly (no more winkles!) of what might happen when aging is cured:

The good:

• You could stay 25 forever and so could your kids, so you and multiple generations of your family could feel and look the same age; you wouldn’t have to mourn the painful passing of your parents and grandparents.

• Nobody would retire at 65 if they weren’t aging–they could just keep working. And why not spend time learning all you can, going back to school for different fields, and having multiple careers?

• You could stop your dog or cat’s aging too so you would no longer have to outlive your best friend.

• Diseases of aging–cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s–would greatly diminish if the body’s parts remained in prime working order.

• Age discrimination would disappear–if you’re older and still in the work force, you’ll still be just as likely to keep your job and get promoted as someone younger because you’re as physically capable; economy could grow tremendously because it’s not losing workers to disease and death as often.

• You wouldn’t have to stop dressing super hip and fashionable for your age because the latest styles would always look good on your young body; no more anti-aging products in your morning beauty routine. Goodbye fine lines and crow’s feet!

The bad:

• Massive population growth that could challenge existing infrastructure, at least at first.

• Ethical dilemmas over who gets to use the aging drug: should money play a role? Should government? A possible public health battle could erupt.

• People might be forced to stop having as many kids if population got out of control.

• Resources like food, clothing, and medicine might be stretched thin to accommodate the skyrocketing demand.

So after weighing the pros and cons, what do you think? Would you want to stop aging? Leave your answer in the comments!

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KIRA PEIKOFF is a journalism graduate of New York University who has written for The New York Times, Slate.com, Cosmpolitan.com, Psychology Today, The Daily News, The Orange County Register, Newsday and New York magazine on a wide range of subjects. She published her first book, Living Proof, in 2012 and has worked in the editorial departments of New York publishing houses. She is currently at work on her third thriller, freelancing for major media outlets and attending Columbia University’s Master of Science program in Bioethics. www.kirapeikoff.com

Tessa Gratton Guest Post and Giveaway!

The Strange MaidCreating a Story Arc for a Series
by Tessa Gratton

There are different kinds of series:
– Those that are big stories broken up into pieces of a whole, where no part stands alone and you need all of them to complete the story. Examples are traditional high fantasy trilogies like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.
– Those composed of single stories that follow after each other, each complete to itself, with reoccurring main characters. Examples are the Die Hard movies or almost any murder mystery series, like the Stephanie Plum Mysteries.
– Those with interconnected stories, where each story stands alone, but there’s an overarching narrative that builds from story to story. Examples are the current Marvel movie franchise or Kristen Cashore’s Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue series.

Each sort will be plotted very differently (aside from the fact that different writers would plot the exact same book differently).

I happen to be a reverse-plotter, in that I plot last when I plot at all. Sometimes I don’t even plot until I’m revising a seat-of-the-pants draft. I reverse-engineer my plot to suit the greater needs or character and theme and world. To me, plot is the most malleable element of a story. World and character matter more to me, and plot comes from the interaction of a character with her world. I can shift plot elements as easy as rewriting 40,000 words. It’s harder for me to entirely rewrite an element of world building or change my character’s intrinsic nature or motivations.

The United States of Asgard falls into the third of the above categories. I wrote The Lost Sun as a stand-alone novel originally. By the time I was finished, I knew I wanted to sell it as a series if possible and write more stories. The world was so big, and I was so excited by the possibilities, I had to write a few more novels set there.

In order to put together my proposal, I needed to choose the sort of series it would be. I knew three things:

1) I did not want to write another book from Soren’s POV because his character arc as a young adult was finished.
2) I DID want him to be an important player in the other books.
3) I love romance trilogies where each book has a complete romance, but you revisit the heroes of the previous novel in every new one.

The world of USAsgard really works on two main plot layers already: the plot involving the teenage protagonists and the plot involving the ancient gods who think decades and centuries in advance. It was relatively easy to break the series down onto the same levels. Each individual book would stand alone with regards to the narrator’s plot and character arc, but the series as a whole would have a meta plot revolving around the goddess Freya, who sees the future and meddles in the affairs of humanity to direct Fate as she sees fit.

Initially I pitched USAsgard as a 5 book series. I knew The Lost Sun was book 1, and I knew exactly who the narrator for book 5 would be and what her conflict was. The series was plotted very much like the Avengers movies: 4 introductory stories with new, (hopefully) compelling and sexy and fun characters, culminating in the 5th book where they all come together to save the country.

Every book was meant to be its own story, but there were elements and Easter eggs, hints and subplots that were quietly building up to the finale. Take those elements out and the story wouldn’t suffer, but with them it creates a complicated, inter-connected series.

In the end, there are only 3 novels in the series, which was my own creative decision. It wasn’t because the series was unwieldy or unsupported, it was because I realized when I began write book 3 that it was time for the character and plot I’d intended for the finale, and I wasn’t desperate to tell the stories in the original books 3 and 4. Or at least not so in love with them that I could dedicate a year of my life (minimally) to them. The things that drew me to those stories were themes and toothy ideas to explore in the series world, and those themes and ideas shifted in my imagination to other projects and other worlds. What I needed the United States of Asgard for was the book 5 story, because it’s about faith and godhood and love and fate: things The Lost Sun and The Strange Maid are also about, but the original books 3 and 4 were not.

Book 5 became book 3, and the middle book – The Strange Maid – is its own meaty, complicated middle. I’ll be publishing 3 novellas in the next year based on some of the lost stories and characters, but I’m very happy with the choices I made.

I’m not a plotter, so although I had a skeletal over-arching plot for my entire series, 80% of it was scrapped by the time I finished writing book 2. Someday when I write an honest-to-god high fantasy trilogy I will be must less laissez-faire about series plotting.

Thanks for having me, especially if you read all the way to the bottom here!

Tessa

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Courtesy of Random House Children’s Books, I have a copy of The Strange Maid for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US and Canadian residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends August 15. I’ll draw a name on August 16, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Tessa Gratton Guest Post and Giveaway!

Excerpt and Giveaway: The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma

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The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma Excerpt
by Brian Herbert
Reprinted with permission from Tor Books.

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For the environmental health of the American continents, all inhabitants who survived the Corporate War will be relocated onto densely populated human reservations, with the remaining land slated for either collective farms or comprehensive greenforming, returning it to the pristine beauty of nature. As part of his historic Edict 101, our beloved Chairman Rahma Popal has announced, “Anyone who resists will be dealt with severely. He will be recycled.”
—government news flash, March 17, 2043

THE NUCLEAR-POWERED TRUCK flexed its long body around highway turns without slowing, its air whistle keening to ward off wild animals. Inside the passenger dome sat a man and a woman in complementary uniforms—his forest green and hers black, with peace symbols on the lapels. They held hands and gazed out at the sun-mottled trees of autumn, bearing leaves that were a spectacular array of golden-brown hues. This was an old road, bumpy from decay and debris, having fallen into disuse because of the mass exodus of population in the last two decades. It was the year 2063 in the New England Conservancy, and soon there would be no more need for this route.

Ahead of the vehicle and behind it, police cars created a security zone, their strobe lights flashing and fender-mounted weapons glow-ready, while a Greenpol aircraft flew low overhead. For years there had been attacks by disaffected Corporate elements against GSA assets, and the Chairman had ordered extra precautions to secure his valuable equipment and personnel. Greenpol was the special police force he had created, with divisions to stop eco-criminals, prosecute other crimes, and bodyguard his person.

Presently the big armored truck slowed and turned onto the rough, weed-encrusted surface of an abandoned parking lot, where it screeched to a stop. Outriggers shot into position and adjusted for the uneven surface, leveling the great machine mounted on the chassis. The two passengers, both eco-techs, exited the dome and stepped onto a wide turret platform on the vehicle. They secured their stylized, owl-design helmets and dark goggles, then grabbed hold of safety bars. Other crew members rushed to their stations, to operate the complex equipment and monitor the results. They wore black trousers, jackboots, green jackets, and shiny green helmets.

Continue reading Excerpt and Giveaway: The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma

D.B. Jackson Guest Post

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“Making Historical Fantasy Lasagna,” by D.B. Jackson

There were no thieftakers in Boston in the 1760s. There were no conjurers in Boston at that time, either.

Which means that from the outset, my historical fantasy series, the Thieftaker Chronicles, is based not on historical fact, but rather on huge fallacies. Yet, as I have written each book in the series, starting with Thieftaker (Tor Books 2012), and continuing with Thieves’ Quarry (Tor Books, 2013) and my latest release, A Plunder of Souls, which is to be released tomorrow (yay!), I have gone to great lengths to get my historical facts right. Why would I do that? Why strive for accuracy when the books are founded on two conceits that overwhelm every other fact I might find?

Because those fictional elements, and the historical details that act as counterweight to them, are both crucial ingredients in what has been a successful series. Let me explain.

The concept of the series isn’t terribly complicated. Ethan Kaille, my hero, is a thieftaker — a sort of eighteenth century private detective — and a conjurer. Each book in the series revolves around a crime he must solve and a related historical event leading to the Revolutionary War. That’s it. I mean, obviously there is more to each book — character relationships, the twists and turns one would expect from a good mystery, knife fights and magical battles, and walk-ons by several key historical figures from the period. But at a conceptual level, the series is fairly simple. That’s part of what I love about writing these books.

My challenge as the author of the thieftaker novels, is to blend my fictional and factual elements in such a way that my readers cannot tell where one ends and the other begins. I have to make Ethan and his fellow characters seem like natural citizens of 1760s Boston. Their speech can’t be completely of that time, because if it was they would be barely comprehensible to a twenty-first century audience. But I can put in rhetorical flourishes and conversational quirks that will identify the spoken word as being of that period in our history. And I can offer details about clothing, food, weaponry, tools, transportation, etc. that place the stories firmly in the late-colonial period.

But still I am left with those two conceits: thieftakers and conjurers.

Thieftaking was an actual profession, although it was far more prevalent in Europe, making only a brief appearance in early nineteenth century America. But thieftakers tended to find work in the absence of established professional law-enforcement. And in the 1760s, Boston had no police force to speak of. The city did have a sheriff — Stephen Greenleaf, who is a recurring character in the Thieftaker novels and stories — but he commanded no police officers and only had under his authority a small cadre of night watchmen who were mostly incompetent and as likely as not to be corrupt. Boston in the 1760s was a fairly lawless town. In other words, while the city had no thieftakers, conditions there were ripe for the profession to arise.

As for conjurers, I am not going to get into a debate here as to whether there is historical precedent here or elsewhere. Rather, I will keep my discussion limited to people’s beliefs, and as evidenced by the tragic executions in 1692 of twenty so-called “witches” in Salem, Massachusetts and surrounding communities, the people of the Province of Massachusetts Bay certainly believed in witchcraft and black magick. So when I developed my magic system for the thieftaker books, I came up with something that would involve the drawing of blood in a form of sacrifice, communing with spirits (Ethan and other conjurers have spirit guides who help them access their power), and speaking in tongues, in this case Latin incantations. The conjurers in the Thieftaker universe live in constant fear of being hanged as witches, and as a result their magic feels like something that could be endemic to that time and place.

With respect to both thieftaking and conjuring, I sought to use historical circumstance to mitigate my historical inaccuracies. Put another way, while I knew I wasn’t recreating a Boston that actually was, I tried to create a Boston that could have been.

And that brings us to the lasagna. Yeah, you knew we’d get there eventually. My friend, Faith Hunter, one of my co-founders (along with Misty Massey) of the Magical Words blog site (http://magicalwords.net) likes to compare writing a novel to making lasagna. As she points out, when you make lasagna, you don’t put all the cheese in one area, and all the onions and garlic in another, and all the pasta in yet another. That would be pretty awful. Instead, we blend it all together to make something that is delicious throughout. In the same way, we don’t offer our readers blocks of characterization and then blocks of plotting and then blocks of worldbuilding. We interweave all of our narrative elements to create a novel that flows smoothly and that tells a complete tale from beginning to end.

Adding the historical element to the analogy, I wouldn’t want to isolate my historical ingredients any more than I would one of the other ingredients. But more to the point, just as we build a lasagna in layers, I try to write the Thieftaker books the same way, sprinkling the fictional on top of the historical, on top of the fictional, on top of the historical, and so on. The result is something so completely integrated that separating what is “true” from what is “made up” becomes all but impossible. It’s not just that the flavors and textures are blended, but also that they are transformed into a whole that is both different from and more than its component parts.

As with any metaphor, the lasagna-as-book analogy isn’t perfect. But it does get at an essential truth of writing: As with cooking, the ingredients and process are equally important in determining the ultimate success or failure of the final result. Poor quality elements will doom a project, as will slipshod execution. Which is why we strive for excellence in both.

And now, all this talk of lasagna has made me hungry. Buon appetito!

*****
D.B. Jackson is also David B. Coe, the award-winning author of more than a dozen fantasy novels. His first two books as D.B. Jackson, the Revolutionary War era urban fantasies, Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry, volumes I and II of the Thieftaker Chronicles, are both available from Tor Books in hardcover and paperback. The third volume, A Plunder of Souls, will be released in hardcover on July 8. The fourth Thieftaker novel, Dead Man’s Reach, is in production and will be out in the summer of 2015. D.B. lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two teenaged daughters. They’re all smarter and prettier than he is, but they keep him around because he makes a mean vegetarian fajita. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.

http://www.dbjackson-author.com
http://www.dbjackson-author.com/blog
http://www.facebook.com/dbjacksonAuthor
http://twitter.com/dbjacksonauthor
http://www.goodreads.com/dbjackson
http://amazon.com/author/dbjackson

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Courtesy of Tor Books, I have a copy of A Plunder of Souls for three (3) lucky winners!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends August 1. I’ll draw names on August 2, and notify winners via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading D.B. Jackson Guest Post

Kevin J. Anderson Guest Post And Giveaway Winner!

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Seven Suns — My Love Letter to Science Fiction
by Kevin J. Anderson

I grew up with science fiction.

Even though I lived in a tiny farming town in Wisconsin that didn’t even have a library–just the book mobile once a month–I actually spent much of my youth on other planets, exploring the galaxy with the crew of the Enterprise or lost in the Galaxy on the Jupiter 2. I read comics. I read science fiction magazines. I watched Sci-Fi Cinema every Saturday afternoon on a staticky black-and-white TV that barely got the Chicago television station broadcasting old monster movies.

It got in my blood. It fired my imagination, and I had no doubt whatsoever that I wanted to be a science fiction writer.

I wrote a lot of bad SF short stories. Then I started to write slightly better ones. Eventually some were published.

Then, my first novel. Then, my first three-book contract, which eventually led to my work in the Star Wars universe, then in the Dune universe with Frank Herbert’s son, Brian.

Not only was I a fan of science fiction, I actively worked in science fiction. Every day I commuted to my job on an alien planet in my imagination.

I continued to write original novels even as I worked in all of those shared universes. Throughout it all, though, a much bigger story was brewing in my mind, something of my own—a universe that was the biggest thing I had ever developed.

The Saga of Seven Suns.dark between the stars

I envisioned a spectacular opening scene: a gigantic industrial city floating in the clouds of a gas giant planet; a crew of workers harvesting chemicals out of the planet’s atmosphere. Then an enormous alien vessel, like the mothership from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” rises from the high-pressure depths and destroys the facility. In a sprawling galactic empire with several cooperative alien races, this was a new threat: an exotic species that lived deep in the cores of gas giants. And they had just risen up to declare war on the rest of the galaxy.

I developed all the characters who would drive my story—the star-crossed lovers, the alien emperor, the head of the human trade confederation, the military commanders, the scam artists, the archeologists, the spies, the explorers, the artists. I developed each culture, each planet, each monster, each type of starship. The Saga of Seven Suns grew and grew, spiraling out like a galactic “War and Peace.”

With so many plot threads going at once, the story itself became the main character, the driving force with hundreds of characters moving the story along. And I poured everything into it.

The Saga of Seven Suns was my love letter to science fiction, with exotic planets, alien races, killer robots, abandoned and mysterious cities, characters that ranged from the highest leader of a civilization, down to the lowest gutter-scum. The original series encompassed seven volumes, beginning with HIDDEN EMPIRE. Each massive book coming out on time, year after year. (Yes, I know–unheard of in science fiction and fantasy, right?).

I did a graphic novel prequel, VEILED ALLIANCES, and then novelized that and published it through my own WordFire Press. In addition to the comic rights, I sold audio rights, UK rights, French, German, Bulgarian, Czech. The series took off world-wide, building with each volume. One year, the top-selling science fiction and fantasy books in the UK included seven Terry Pratchett books and three of my Seven Suns books.

I wrapped up that great saga in 2009 with THE ASHES OF WORLDS, and then I wrote other things for five years. The Seven Suns universe was my masterpiece. It contains everything I love about science fiction.

I wrapped up the story, but I had planted seeds throughout, always planning to come back for a new trilogy, a “next generation” saga—The Saga of Shadows.

But, if the Saga of Seven Suns was my masterpiece, how could I follow it up? By trying to do even better, of course, making a bigger story with an even more dire threat. With THE DARK BETWEEN THE STARS, the first book in The Saga of Shadows, I returned to that universe that is so dear to me with a whole new story and a new cast of characters, as well as some old favorites.

Two decades have passed since the end of THE ASHES OF WORLDS, leaving the Spiral Arm in a completely different situation. I wanted to start fresh, so I wrote THE DARK BETWEEN THE STARS so that it starts anew and stands alone, introducing readers who haven’t experienced The Saga of Seven Suns, while delivering exactly what fans of the original series are looking for.

It was both exhausting and exhilarating to stretch those mental muscles again. The first novel just came out, and I’m well over halfway finished writing the second, BLOOD OF THE COSMOS, and it will be out on time next year. I promise.

I am very much enjoying this return to familiar strange places and characters who have become old friends, or even family. If you like good, old-fashioned space opera, and if you love science fiction as much as I do, I hope you’ll sample it.

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And The Dark Between the Stars giveaway winner is: Irene M. from Toms River, NJ!
Congrats! Your book will be shipping shortly.

Author Elsie Chapman Guest Post and Giveaway!

DividedDeveloping Your Fictional World
by Elsie Chapman

Developing your fictional world is, at its heart, a very personal process for a writer. There are so many ways it can be tackled. I’ve read before that you should attack a new world as a block of marble, chipping away at the unnecessary bits until all that is left are the essentials—the guts that will drive your story. I’ve also read that you should think of a new world as a sand sculpture—what you want to do is add layers slowly, a bit here and a bit there, until you’ve added everything you need and no more.

Maybe it’s a more a combination of both. Fits and starts. Two steps forward and one step back. Worlds are aggravating and they’re moody. Some days they are buried so deep you think they are never going to see light—others, you are dealing with bare bones that will fall apart if you sneeze wrong.

Whichever method of attack, the end result needs to be the same—a world that’s well drawn enough that a reader can envision it in their head and understand how it works, but not to the point where it begins to fight your characters for attention. A good world, I think, knows when to sit back and let its characters be. A good world, I think, really is a stage.

Some questions you can ask yourself about your world as you work:

What’s happened in your world in the past to bring it to where it is now? You’re about to write a book with a plot based about certain events. But what happened to lead to those events?

Technology? Education? Religion? Politics? Language? Education? Transportation?

Description of everyday things will ground your world and make it believable to a reader looking for ways to relate. Think about your senses. Think about colour and sound.

How diverse is your world? Diversity can make or break a world when it comes to believability. Why and how is your world the way it is when it comes to diversity? What do its people look like? How do they work together? How do they relate to each other?

Not all of your answers are going to end up in your book because not all of them are going to come into play. You will probably be okay not describing in minute details the food your character consumes over the course of a day (unless, of course, your world actually is about food, eg a world where hunger is a huge factor, etc.). Sure, most of that information will end up being background noise, but background noise is better than the silence of not knowing. Not knowing often leads to plot holes and contradictions in your world; both are frustrating to fix after the fact.

Like any work of art, start slow.
Tread thoughtfully.
There’s no rush.
It’s as much about letting your world develop as it is about you developing it, really.

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About DIVIDED:
In Elsie Chapman’s debut young adult novel, Dualed, West Grayer trained as a fighter in preparation for the day when her assignment arrived and she had one month to hunt down and kill her Alt—a twin raised by another family. In Chapman’s much anticipated sequel DIVIDED (Random House Books for Young Readers | On sale May 27, 2014 | Ages 12 up), West is back and has to undergo one last test before she can be free to live her life . . . but will she survive?

“We need you to kill again. . . .”

West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life. But the Board isn’t through with her. Somehow they know her past as an assassin, and they offer her a deal that’s almost too good to be true: safety for her future children and a clean slate if she kills one more time. It should be an easy job. Except West recognizes her target: It’s her dead brother’s Alt—hauntingly familiar and yet a stranger.

The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future. How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves?

Fast-paced action with surprising twists, DIVIDED is an exhilarating page-turner that delivers a fierce punch as West’s decisions kindle rebellion!

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About the Author:
ELSIE CHAPMAN grew up in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, before graduating from the University of British Columbia with a BA in English literature. She lives in Vancouver with her husband and two children, where she writes to either movies on a loop or music turned up way too loud (and sometimes both at the same time). For more information, please visit Elsie at ElsieChapman.com.

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Courtesy of Random House, I have a copy of Divided for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 11. I’ll draw a name on July 12, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Author Elsie Chapman Guest Post and Giveaway!

Author Jaime Lee Moyer Guest Post and Giveaway!

Five Things I’ve Learned Since I Sold My First Novel
by Jaime Lee Moyer

1. Publishing is made of ninety percent waiting and ten percent frantic activity. Months creep past and from your perspective, nothing happens. Then comes the rush of copyedits—followed by nothing, the thrill of cover reveals followed by (you guessed it) nothing, first pass pages (followed by nothing), and not too too long after a case of author copies arrives at your door. Holding a copy of your book makes up for all the waiting.

2. Walking into a bookstore and seeing your book on the shelf, the book you lost sleep over, agonized over, and worked to make your very best, is an emotional experience that’s impossible to describe. Knowing that people are reading your words, which is what you’ve worked years for, is both overwhelming and humbling.

3. People at conventions, conferences—readers, fans (!!)—start to treat you differently as soon as your book comes out. Writers aren’t rock stars, but you become an author with a capital A. Staying grounded is important, as is remembering that not that long ago, you were the shy fan nervous about talking to a real writer.

4. Fan mail will never, ever get old. That someone took the time out of their day to tell me they liked my book feels like such a gift. Probably because it is.

5. And I’ve learned that eleven-year-old me was right about being a writer. I want to do this for the rest of my life. This is the best job ever.

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Courtesy of Tor Books, I have a copy of A BARRICADE IN HELL by Jaime Lee Moyer for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 27. I’ll draw a name on June 28, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

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