June Preview!!

We’ve got another great month of releases coming up!!

Michelle Pickette’s PODs releases June 4th from Spencer Hill Press:

podsSeventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it’s in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it’s a balm for the broken soul.

After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That’s the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating… monsters.
Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life–a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.

Dorothy Dreyer’s My Sister’s Reaper releases June 18th from Month9Books

sistersreaperSixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.

When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong. Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human. To top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara’s soul. Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper or let Mara die … this time for good.


PJ Hoover’s Solstice releases June 18th from Tor Teen:

solstice_cover_275_411Piper’s world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

Kimberly Ann Miller’s Triangles releases June 18th from Spencer Hill Press:

kim coverA cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong?

In the Bermuda Triangle – a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life–her father’s death years ago, her mother’s medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her–seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she’s gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser is suddenly claiming they’re a happy couple… a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying “Happy Anniversary”… and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship’s doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she’s warned that these “alternate realities” could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question – how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

Robyn DeHart’s The Secrets of Mia Danvers releases June 18th from NAL:

600149_10200771614755067_1586137962_nA lone witness finds her protector…

Since losing her sight in a childhood accident, Mia Danvers has resided in a small cottage on the vast Carrington estate. Thought to be dead, Mia lives a life of virtual seclusion—until one night, while walking home, she happens upon a horrendous crime.

Alex Foster, Eighth Duke of Carrington, lives according to society’s expectations for him. He’s never met the woman who lives in the cottage at the edge of his property. But when she arrives at his door in the pouring rain terrified and claiming she has witnessed a murder, she seizes his attention.

Mia is determined to help the authorities track down the culprit, even though the only person willing to accept her aid is the handsome, arrogant duke. Working closely together proves difficult as Mia’s beauty and independence tempts Alex to ignore convention and follow his desire. But what neither of them know is that this murderer has struck before in Whitechapel, taunting the British press only to vanish—a ruthless killer who knows that Mia is the only living witness to his crime…

Jennifer Allis Provost’s Copper Girl releases June 25th from Spence City:

CopperGirlsFRONTcoverFINALSara had always been careful.
She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark. After all, the last thing she wanted was to end up missing, like her father and brother.
Then, a silver elf pushed his way into Sara’s dream, and her life became anything but ordinary.

For more info on all these amazing releases, check out the author’s pages above.



This month’s theme is Transitions, so be sure to check in each day for each author’s interpretation 🙂


The Best Kind of Busy


Mayday! Mayday! Yes, Karen and I have both shouted it a few times this month as deadlines attack from all sides. As debut YA authors with a book coming to the shelves in July, we are crazy-busy. There are a lot of blog posts to write for the upcoming Camping Out Blog Tour. There are three books in this series, so there are obviously more stories to work on. There are novellas between the books, so we’ve got some writing to do there as well. 

Writing, of course, doesn’t mean plopping words on the page and calling it a day, either. We start by brainstorming. Spend a lot of time drafting. Work on revisions. Edit those revisions. Send it to critiquers and eventually to editors, all of whom weigh in with ideas and suggestions for changes that Karen and I debate over, think about, and make changes accordingly. The creative process is long and multi-layered.

J.K. Rock NewsletterThrough it all, when a book nears its release date, there is a lot of promotional business to attend. We are packing for BEA and are so excited to meet some fellow Scene13ers (pictures coming soon!). We have websites and newsletters to update, booksignings to schedule and promote, social media outlets to keep current, swag to choose and purchase, friends to contact for support… it’s busy.

But you know what? It’s the Best Thing. As writers, this is what we strive for during long months (YEARS for some of us!) of creating and hoping we know what we are doing on this journey. The road to publication is difficult and I (Joanne for J.K. today- you’ll hear lots from both of us on the blog!) slipped on it plenty of times. Before I started writing YA with Karen, I struggled to sell a book under my own name for years before I sold my first adult romance. There was a great deal of rejection. I wrote book after book though, determined that one day, I’d sell one. One day, someone besides my best friend would read my words! That hope and faith (okay, and stubbornness) kept me going   as I worked toward that goal of a first sale.

cb shirt swag 002So I never mind the busy. Sometimes I get stressed and overwhelmed… of course! But one of the great blessings of being in this business for awhile is being able to take the long view on things. Even if it feels like everything in the world depends on this one book, one review, or this one promotion- it doesn’t. I will never forget that, in my darkest months of feeling like I’d never sell a book, I would have given my right arm for the opportunity to be busy with deadlines. So even when my To Do list spirals out of control and I’m fielding two email accounts, managing multiple websites, monitoring tons of social media accounts and hoping, hoping, hoping I find time to work on my chapter, I can guarantee you that I’m smiling, too. I worked really hard to have this chance. And I couldn’t be happier to be busy. I wish the same for all of you ;-).

17371981***Some kinds of “busy” are better than others, I’ll admit. What’s your favorite kind of work in your day to day job? Your least? Chat with me today on the boards and I’ll send one commenter a fun, Camp Boyfriend Swag Pack (pictured above).

Interested in the Camp world? You can download our prequel novella, Camp Kiss for FREE now.

When it all goes to hell … just write

MAYDAY! Over the years I’ve found a bit of zen in the madness. (A bit. Okay. Let’s be real. Beer helps the zen.)


Unless you’re JK, Jodi Picoult, Suzanne Collins or one of the very few (ones you can count on fingers and toes) authors that pump out commercial success after commercial success, your road may look a lot like mine, just replace one of my obstacles with your own. These are EXCLUSIVELY PUBLISHING/BUSINESS SIDE obstacles I’ve faced over the course of five novels as well as other possible mishaps that have happened to authors I know and love. I’m not even going to start with other commitments and the hullabaloo of life.

Which way do I go from here?

Which way do I go from here?

Publishing and Business Mayday!

  1. Editors move on to different houses, get different jobs. It’s so important to realize how important your editor is. Not only does she make sure you have completed arcs and characters that feel real, she is the front line cheerleader for your work. Editors scream titles and jacket blurbs in the subways in New York. (Well, okay, perhaps not…) They make sure everyone’s talking about your book around the office, in the streets, Times Square … everywhere! They go to conferences and talk, talk, talk … And if your editor leaves, that talk doesn’t necessarily stop, but it slows down, and somebody else has to take up the megaphone for a project she hasn’t worked on. This is HARD.
  2. Imprints get bought out or pushed out. Publishers leave. (Yep. They do.) Not all projects that were slotted for that imprint will get picked up by the imprints that absorb them. Some do. Some don’t. This is hard.
  3. Sales don’t hit what people hoped (people being the publishing house). This is the rule, I’d say, rather than the exception. It’s really a rot when expectations are really high, and then it’s just plain sucky to hear “sales are soft.” HOW CAN A SALE BE SOFT? I CAN’T TOUCH A SALE! CAN I HAVE HARD SALES?

Note: Have you seen the “hard” aspect of all these hiccups thus far?

  1. Books don’t go to paperback (which is bad, bad, bad).Sucky sucky sucky.  Hard. No. Soft. teehee. Hardbacks are double or more than a paperback. If the hardback doesn’t do well, then the book stays on the shelves in its stiff little spine until … until people get tired of looking at it. There’s a graveyard for books, I hear.
  2. Doors that were once open have closed (not been locked, but definitely closed). Yep. The enthusiasm for your last project has waned three months after it hits the shelves. This … is hard.
  3. A finished, accepted, paid-for, edited novel gets shelved. Indefinitely. This is murder and disappointment and … _ _ _ _ … You get it.

I’ve realized, though, through all of these moments, my job has been the same: write the best bloody book I can, get that book to my agent, revise, make it better and too irresistible to not sell. I always, always discuss everything with my agent. I don’t write a paragraph until I send him an idea. He has to be able to sell something. He knows the market better than I do. So my job is to communicate with him then work my tail off to create something HE CAN SELL regardless of previous mishaps. This doesn’t, by any means, mean I’m compromising my “art” or writing. The ideas are mine. He helps me take an idea and hone in on a way of presenting it, making it better. Then I write. At the end of the day, good writing trumps all!

That’s it. We’re writers. Everything may blow up around us, but our job, first and foremost, is to write the best story we have in us. And honestly, keep perspective.  I always muse about the obstacles others’ face. Like that guy who cut off his arm to get out of a crevasse. I mean, that’s hardcore. Ewww, ewww, ewwwwwww.

127 hoursAll I have to do is put words on a page. No Leatherman needed. Sure. It’s hard. Who said it’d be easy. But it’s what I love. So when it all goes to pot (it will … it always does), just sit down and write.

Soaring Over Hurdles


Every writer dreams of coming into publication without obstacles, flying to their book launch with shimmering, flawless wings. But how often does that really happen? More likely is the path that’s riddled with at least a few speed bumps and detours. Obstacles that could easily drive an impatient author to the brink of insanity.

So what’s a writer to do?

The original pub date for My Sister’s Reaper was May 29th. As my pub date got closer, I was worried about a couple things. One was that my link on Barnes and Noble had been up for months without a cover picture. It wasn’t a major worry, but seeing books on the site that had a similar release date with their shiny, dazzling covers presented made me a little antsy. The second thing that worried me was that Amazon still hadn’t had my book up for pre-order at all. I guess this was more annoying than worrisome, because I really wanted to see how well my book would do in that domain. I mean, love or hate Amazon, it still is pretty much one of the biggest go-to site for books. So I guess it didn’t feel quite as real if my book wasn’t up there.

Then came the next speed bump: My Sister’s Reaper was held up in production. The release date would be pushed back to June 18th.

When I got the news, my heart just about stopped. But I had two options: I could freak out and cry and shout and pull my hair out and fall into an alcohol-induced stupor, or I could take a deep breath, nod, and go with it.

I went with option number two.

Instead of wailing over the fact that I had to wait another three weeks for my precious book to come to life, I tried to find the silver lining. Like, at least it was only three weeks. Another writer I know told me how she has to wait a year longer than she expected for her book to come out. Whew! Three weeks is better than a year. Plus, I had come to know that time flies. With all the pre-launch stuff, preparing for blog tours and Book Expo America, time is going to zoom by.

So with a smirk and a shrug, I rush towards my new pub date without breaking down at every hurdle. Instead, I choose to soar over them, take them as they come, knowing that I’m still headed toward the finish line, no matter what.

*Cue Jaws Theme Song* Unseen Danger Ahead

So this month’s topic is, “Mayday, mayday! Obstacles, unseen dangers and challenges.”

I can’t help but think this topic is eery in its timing considering some bumps in the publishing road I’ve encountered lately. I’ve been thrown several curve balls, some expected and some definitely not. And if I’ve learned anything from them it’s that:

1. Every writer needs a support group. Seriously. I think I would have lost my mind if I didn’t have my writer friends to vent to. I’m pretty sure that’s while all the writers of yore were alcoholics. All I can say is thank goodness for my writer peeps!

2. Have a plan B. Nothing is certain in this industry, not even things you think are contracted and set in stone. I was a big horseback rider in my youth and one of my instructors spent an entire day teaching us the right way to fall so as not to injure ourselves if we were bucked from a horse. I think writers need to similarly prepare for the unexpected just in case something does happen the blow won’t be rehabilitating.

3. Remember this is fun. Because it should be. Isn’t that why each of us became writers in the first place? And if it feels like the fun is gone, then maybe it’s a good time to step away from the keyboard and recharge.

And because I don’t want to leave a post on such a serious note, stay tuned until my next post when I should be able to reveal some super exciting news! Oh, and that leads me to my last point:

4. Always, ALWAYS, celebrate your successes–no matter how small. Life’s too short to not celebrate!

Have a great Memorial Day and make sure to thank a vet!

Interview with Lisa Gail Green about her debut YA fantasy, The Binding Stone

Lisa Gail Green’s imaginative young adult fantasy debut, THE BINDING STONE, came out this month, in which Lisa spins a highly original, contemporary “genie trapped in a bottle” tale. Except this genie (or Djinn) is trapped in stone.

I got to catch up with her recently and ask her a few questions about THE BINDING STONE and her road to publication.

THE BINDING STONE  by Lisa Gail Green

Amazing Cover of THE BINDING STONE by Lisa Gail Green (Currently on sale for 99 cents on Kindle!)

“Twisty, complex, yet easy to read…[THE BINDING STONE] is fresh, original, and wholly absorbing.” –Martina Boone

First, I want to say that this book cover is absolutely glorious. I’ve been in cover love since I first saw it. (Just look at those gorgeous jewel-toned colors. Love.) I’ll also add that Lisa is possibly one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

LENA: In the spirit of Three Things & A Cupcake, a lighthearted author interview series I post (sporadically) on my personal blog, I asked Lisa the oh-so-very-serious question: What are three challenges you faced on your road to publishing? I also promised I’d post a drool-worthy picture of a cupcake, unless she was anti-cupcake, to which Lisa replied: 

LISA: WHAT??? ANTI-CUPCAKE???? Are you crazy? LOL!

LENA: And that’s why Lisa in on my permanent friend list. Forevah! 😉

LISA: Okay, three challenges having to do with myself or THE BINDING STONE? Here we go!

1. I have to be honest here. I’m perfect. What? Oh. Right. I said honest. Sorry! My biggest personal challenge is actually self-doubt. I’ve written blogposts about keeping it at bay and everything, but it does creep back in there even though I have a book coming out. Crazy, huh? Luckily though, it doesn’t last too long. I move on and find something to be happy about and just enjoy writing too darn much to let it bug me! So there.

2. Challenge with the book? I love this book. So I guess my BIGGEST challenge was hacking it up and deleting my darlings and all that. Plus Leela’s a Djinni so she kept fixing everything and putting it back and we had this big fight and there were tears shed and… That last part may or may not have actually taken place. It’s hard to say what’s in my head and all. That’s one crazy place! But that’s why I love writing. No offense to any non-crazy writers out there.

3. RUNNING OUT OF COFFEE. I must have it. It’s the only thing that flips the on switch in my brain. Especially now that I have a baby who WILL NEVER SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT. And, yes, I have two other children, so I know that sounds ridiculous, but I’m really starting to go there. Anyhow, I’d love to quit caffeine, but I don’t see that happening in the near future. So in the meantime I embrace it.

Three things you now know about me. NOW WHERE’S MY CUPCAKE? ;D

Image used with permission. Thanks to pinkcakebox.com–looks yummy!

LENA: Okay, I promised Lisa a cupcake, preferably something a genie would have conjured up…. Honestly, that sounds like just about any cupcake I’ve ever met, right? But I’m up for a better challenge than that, so how about a whole tower of genie-lamp-themed cupcakes? Mmmmm….

Thanks so much for chatting with me, Lisa, and best wishes with your book launch!

Question: if you had one wish from a djinn (aka genie) what would it be? Must include some reference to books, writing, or cupcakes. 🙂

Failure Is Not An Option

It may be a bit ridiculous for me to come before you, fresh off the release of my first novel, at the age of twenty-one years old, and talk about failure. It almost feels wrong for me to address the topic of failure, seeing how much success I have Thank G-d seen since I began my journey as a writer. Shattered Illusions came to life, and literally took over my entire being, two weeks shy of my eighteenth birthday. Since then, I have seen endless doors opened for me, some which people who have struggled in the publishing world for years cannot say they have seen. I have had the generosity of many bestowed on me, friends and strangers alike. I have not known failure in the way that many people would categorize failure, but it has been the underlying factor in the drive behind my success. Failure is not something one should fear, but rather, quite the opposite. Failure is something that one should embrace, for it is often times behind the failure where a person will find their greatest opportunities lay.

There were many people rooting for me when I began this journey. At the same time, there were many people who awaited the day where I would stand before them, sad and pathetic, with nothing to show for myself but a half written manuscript and a jumble of dreams. When I told people that I was writing a novel, they shrugged me off, assuming that I was going through a phase that would quickly pass, and that soon enough, I would find something else to occupy my time. Such was not the case, but it took a lot of time for me to figure out how to hold my own without letting the petty people get to me.

My biggest failure came from within myself. The failure wasn’t that I had failed in writing a book, or had failed to bring it to life, but simply, that I failed to give myself credit where credit was due. I didn’t look at myself as a success, because I was looking at it from the world’s point of view. True, according to the world, you have to sell 500,000,000 copies of whatever product your promoting and have a world tour with Beyonce in order to considered successful. But then again, completing a novel is a huge feat, one that not many people can say they have achieved. ‘Failing’ in this way give me room to grow as a person. This journey taught me exactly what kind of person I am. I learned not to look at myself through the eyes of the rest of the world, but through my own eyes. In this way, my ‘failure’ was also my greatest success. I learned what it meant to be ‘me’ based on my definition rather than that of the rest of the world. What greater success can there be than coming to understand and respect yourself? So, perhaps it was not a failure after all…