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Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.
Gone is her mom’s attention and cooking and parent-teacher conferences. Gone is her sister’s trust ever since she’s been dazzled by the cameras and new-found infamy. Gone is her privacy. Gone is the whole family’s dignity as ATN twists their words and makes a public mockery of their lives on Life and Death. But most of all, Jackie fears that one day very soon her father will just be . . . gone. Armed only with her ingenuity and the power of the internet, Jackie is determined to end the show and reclaim all of their lives, even in death.
I dropped out of NYU film school in the mid 80s to play guitar and write songs for Woofing Cookies. We were a punk-pop four piece — think R.E.M. meets the Ramones — that toured up and down the East Coast, and had two singles and one full-length LP on Midnight Records.
The band broke up in 1987 and I followed my other passion, books. I’ve worked in the book industry ever since. And, of course, I write. And I write, And I write, write, write.
My first novel, The Scar Boys — it’s labeled as Young Adult, but I’ve never really liked labels — published January 2014. It is, not surprisingly, a rock and roll coming of age story. No vampires or dystopian future, just a messed up boy and his guitar. (I have nothing against vampires or dystopian futures. I loved The Passage, The Hunger Games, and The Road.)
Scar Girl, the continuation of The Scar Boys’ story.
I live in Connecticut with my super awesome wife Kristen, and our six year old son Charlie, and three and a half year old son, Luke, and I spend my days working at a small book industry non profit.
One of the things people find most surprising about the process of getting published is that the publisher, not the author, chooses the title of the book. Not to say we authors don’t have titles for our manuscripts; we do. But publishers reject those titles as often as they accept them.
The original title for Life in a Fishbowl was House of Stone. It referred to Jackie’s family and the house in which they lived, the setting for most of the book. It was also a play on words, making the point that the love that held the family together was made of stone. I liked it. I really, really liked it.
“Yeah, okay,” my editor said, “but no.”
“Because no one will buy a book called House of Stone. Especially teens.”
“What do you mean? They buy The Catcher in the Rye. And Catch-22. Hey wait, maybe I should put catch in the title.”
“How about “Catching Stones?”
You get the idea.
While authors know how to write books, it is the folks who work in the publishing house that know how to sell books. You have to trust their expertise when it comes to things like titles, and I do.
After my plea to give House of Stone one final chance fell on deaf ears, my editor sent me several lists of choices. This was one of them:
LIFE OFF FOCUS
THE TERMINATION SHOCK
LIFE FOR SALE
THE MEMORY EATER
REZZING IN THE HOUSE OF STONE
LIFE IN THE FISHBOWL
THE WEAK-KNEED AND THE WOBBLY
THE STONE COLD TRUTH
My eye immediately zeroed in on Life in the Fishbowl, and not just because it was such a good fit for the book. It also had personal meaning to me.
When I was younger, I played guitar in a punk-pop band called Woofing Cookies. (If you like punk and stories about music, see my first book, The Scar Boys. But I digress.) After putting out two 45 RPM singles, Woofing Cookies was signed to record a full-length LP on a small label out of New York City by the name of Midnight Records.
I forget exactly how it happened, but I think the label rejected the working title for our record. Just like publishers, music labels, or at least this music label, have final say over album titles. To come up with something quick, we thought it would be funny if we each chose one word at random, and Horse Gum Tortilla Shoes, was born. (You can still find copies on eBay.)
What was the working title the label rejected? Have you guessed it? Are you ready?
Of course, it was Life in a Fishbowl.
Eerie coincidence? Fate? Or maybe my editor is a creepy stalker who somehow knew this obscure and arcane piece of knowledge about my life. I don’t know. Whatever the reason, I was ecstatic and I was on board. And, of course, any lingering fondness for House of Stone as a title evaporated when I saw the cover for the book. (I really, really love the Life in a Fishbowl cover. Thank you designers Jessie Gang and Donna Mark!)
So let this be a lesson to younger writers. Don’t obsess over the title of your book, because honestly, they’re probably just going to change it anyway. And you know what? That’s okay.
GIVEAWAY: 1 copy of LIFE IN A FISHBOWL (US/Canada)
Charlotte survived four long years as a prisoner in the attic of her kidnapper, sustained only by dreams of her loving family. The chance to escape suddenly arrives, and Charlotte fights her way to freedom. But an answered prayer turns into heartbreak. Losing her has torn her family apart. Her parents have divorced: Dad’s a glutton for fame, Mom drinks too much, and Charlotte’s twin is a zoned-out druggie. Her father wants Charlotte write a book and go on a lecture tour, and her mom wants to keep her safe, a virtual prisoner in her own home. But Charlotte is obsessed with the other girl who was kidnapped, who never got a second chance at life–the girl who nobody but Charlotte believes really existed. Until she can get justice for that girl, even if she has to do it on her own, whatever the danger, Charlotte will never be free.
LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Indiebound
Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.
Today Clara is a RITA© Award-winning author of dark fiction for young adults. Her super-romantic psychic thriller series, Run To You, was named an RT Magazine Editors Pick for Best Books of 2014, and Run to You Book One: Deception So Deadly, is the winner of the prestigious 2015 RITA© Award for Best First Book.
Clara’s latest release is Aftermath, a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines YA contemporary in the tradition of Roomand The Lovely Bones. Aftermath is on Goodreads’ list of Most Popular Books Published in November 2016, and Young Adult Books Central declared it a Top Ten Book of 2016.
Clara’s favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.
Aftermath by Clara Kensie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
FYI: There’s a Goodreads giveaway going on now for 3 annotated copies of AFTERMATH! https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh…
This book!!! It’s powerful, emotional, gripping, hard-to-put-down with lots of twists and turns you won’t predict. AFTERMATH will leave the reader thinking about these characters and the choices they made. How well do you know your community? How well do you know your brother? What would make a “seemingly normal” person kidnap a young girl and hold her prisoner? What happens afterward?
I read this book in a day. Three weeks later, I’m still thinking about this family—how each one found different ways of coping with the kidnapping and everything that came from that. The choices they made, the before and after. Human beings can endure a lot, but this…it’s a parent’s worst nightmare. Yet through the journey, readers will find hope. It’s a lifeline we all need.
Beautifully written, I still have images of the cage, the house, the school, and “home” in my head. Scenes will stay with you and there are moments that will make you gasp and may even bring you to tears. Have some tissues ready, just in case, but whatever you do, don’t miss AFTERMATH! It’s a must-read.
View all my reviews
1/2: The Irish Banana Review – Review
1/3: Bibliobuli YA – 2 Truths & A Lie Post
1/4: Swoony Boys Podcast – Character Interview
1/5: Novel Ink – Review
1/6: Fiction Fare – Q&A
1/7: Actin’ Up With Books – Review
1/8: The Story Sanctuary – Review
1/9: Who R U Blog – Review
1/10: Lisa’s Loves – Dream Cast
1/11: Gabriella M Reads – Q&A
1/12: Novelgossip – Review
1/13: Such A Novel Idea – Playlist
1: A “Do It Double” Aftermath tote bag from Blu Bear Bazaar (photos attached). Inspired by Aftermath‘s message to “Do it double, because some can’t do it at all,” Blu Bear Bazaar designed beautiful artwork for it and printed it on tote bags and throw pillows. Blu Bear Bazaar is generously donating a portion of all Aftermath product proceeds to RAINN and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Click here for more information.
2: Choice of TWO books from Clara’s collection of YA novels. Clara will give the winner a list of the YA novels in her collection, and the winner can pick two. Some of the books are signed by the author.
*US/CAN for the above prizes. If the winner is international, the prize will be substituted by a book from Book Depository up to $18.00, winner’s choice.
Good luck, and happy reading!!!
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A holiday tradition in Emerson’s family is everyone receives a book. Essentially, that’s the only “physical” gift they will get. Their big gift is a family activity, like a road trip to the caves of Kentucky or a trip to Memphis to see the Civil Rights Museum or a trip to Chicago to explore museums.
My mini-challenge is: What book would you give as a holiday gift and why?
Extra entry: If you chose to pass on other holiday gifts, and instead decide to take a road trip within reasonable distance of your home (so it’s affordable) where would you take a few days off to spend quality time with your loved one(s)?
International: A copy of HELLO? from The Book Depository
Does your elf love books? Well, guess what! Some of my favorite author-friends have banded together to giveaway a $175 e-gift card to Barnes & Noble.
Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter.
Would you like to find out more about the authors behind this giveaway? Jingle on over to their websites.
Jennifer Anne Davis
Jennifer M. Eaton
***Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter!***
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
1. Promotion Description: The ‘$175 Barnes & Noble Giftcard’ (“Sweepstakes”) begins on 11/28/2016 at 07:00 AM (Pacific Time (US & Canada)) and ends on 12/13/2016 at 08:00 AM (Pacific Time (US & Canada)) (the “Promotion Period”). By participating in the Sweepstakes, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of Jennifer Bardsley (“Sponsor”), which shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the giveaway. Entrants should look solely to Sponsor with any questions, comments or problems related to the Sweepstakes.
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3. Winner Selection: The winner of the Sweepstakes will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible Entries received throughout the Promotion Period. The random drawing will be conducted by 48 hours by Sponsor or its designated representatives, whose decisions are final. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible Entries received. Winner will be notified by email at the email address provided in the Entry Information on or about 48 hours after the random drawing. Potential winner must accept a prize by email as directed by Sponsor within 48 hours of notification. Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. The potential prize winner may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and release of liability, and a Publicity Release (collectively “the Prize Claim Documents”). No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted except by Sponsor.
– 1 (#) winner(s) will receive [(1) $175 Barnes & Noble e Gift Card ] (approximate retail value or “ARV”: $175 USD)
Only one prize per person and per household will be awarded. Gift cards and gift certificates are subject to the terms and conditions of the issuer. Prizes cannot be transferred, redeemed for cash or substituted by winner. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion to award a substitute prize of equal or greater value if a prize described in these Official Rules is unavailable or cannot be awarded, in whole or in part, for any reason. The ARV of the prize represents Sponsor’s good faith determination. That determination is final and binding and cannot be appealed. If the actual value of the prize turns out to be less than the stated ARV, the difference will not be awarded in cash. Sponsor makes no representation or warranty concerning the appearance, safety or performance of any prize awarded. Restrictions, conditions, and limitations may apply. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prize items.
A note from Liza Wiemer: A little over a year ago, I met Cheyenne at a high school where I gave some workshops connected to my YA novel, Hello?. Last week, she shared this poem with me. It’s powerful, insightful, meaningful and I have no doubt, many can relate to this beautiful, heartfelt poem. The moment I read it, I knew Cheyenne’s words needed to be read by others. It’s a privilege to share AN EMOTIONAL WAIT on my blog.
White birch trees line the path so bright
Their bark glints sliver in evening light
Silent winds rustle whispering leaves
Autumn says goodbye and the land grieves.
As I stumble upon this educational lane
My hopes and dreams I try to retain
But winter is bleak and this road is harsh
Like lilly’s struggling in an overgrown marsh.
I trudge on..my troubles never far from mind
Shadows cling under my eyes and I pray
That the next curve in my life be kind.
Valleys so deep, their dark and dank
My mind is threatening to overtake
I hurry on, determined to fight this one mistake.
This road is lonely
The trees are thick
but up ahead…is that a break?
I hurry ahead…I am so alone..
This road I am on is not well known.
Look! The trees are disappearing
Up ahead…snow capped mountains!
I should be glad that I leave that forest
But the road uphill..sigh..
Will the journey be kind?
I am lost in thought as I taste the air
Bitter cold winds…lost in despair
Where are those that said they would always be here?
The road leads on, all I can do is follow
And hope my mind will survive this sorrow.
Up this mountain with it’s stealing winds
I’m reminded of my many sins.
My troubles are great as I grow weary
I look about, as the weather grows dreary.
The pack on my back that I have carried
Are all my troubles that I should have buried.
Sitting down, I look around
This path I walk is overgrown.
I look at my pack, the one I hate,
And wonder at its emotional weight.
I reach in and discard one thought
The weight is less…
is it all for naught?
Just as I round the very next bend
There stands one of my very best friends.
Where were you in the dark forest gloom?
My friend says nothing but points to an empty classroom.
Warmth and kindness beckons me
I rest my shoulders and rub my knee.
My friend says nothing, she looks haggard as well.
This road less traveled has been sheer hell.
We sit silently lost in thought
The lessons we’ve learned, the ones we’ve been taught.
My pack, so heavy sits by the door
And I wonder what is in it that I’ve been fighting for,
My back is rested
My feet less sore
It’s time to move on, there is more.
My friend looks up,
A smile…nothing more..I see her pack
My faith restored.
The mountain top is close at hand
And I am reminded why life is so grand.
The sun is shining, the winds not so harsh..
My friend was there..when I needed her most.
I adjust my pack and I trudge on
I know not what I will come upon.
As I walk, the sun soon sets
And leaves me in shadows that I’d rather forget.
A river ahead..it’s waters so deep
With stones so sharp
They cut my feet.
Why! I cry in utter despair.
I have come upon my Junior year…
I stand in swirling black waters
The current is strong
My reserve falters.
My pack of troubles is taking on water
I can’t breath…I must make it lighter!
I reach into the waterlogged pack,
And draw out a memory, the tears I fight back.
I drop it into the watery depths far below
The waves toss it to and fro.
I watch it sink out of sight
Suddenly I laugh at my ridiculous plight.
The river seems calmer, serene almost
Not as wide, gliding like a ghost.
I quickly make it to the other side
I look back at my path and smile with pride.
I have made it through valleys and forests so dark,
I have climbed mountains so steep.
And forged rivers too deep
I let my mind wander to my friend so kind,
Her pack so large
Is she so far behind?
She has not yet made it to the river’s edge
I can see the path clearly etched
Will she conquer her fear as I?
Or will the bleak waters
Steal her mind?
I must trudge on for this path is less traveled
There are not many whose minds unravels.
It’s lonely here, but peaceful to
Here I can be me, and you can be you.
I have rested too long,
It is time that I’ve gone..
I pick up my pack and turn towards the sun…
my path less traveled is far from done.
I walk in meadows with birds in flight
Flowers and their fragrance, senses delight.
My pack is lighter, my troubles less heavy
The air is thin, my path less scary…
I reflect on my struggle
The pack I carry
I lower my head…truly humble
Those that said they would be there
They said my problems they would bare,
My confidants I confined
They have not come I’ve been defrauded..
Where are they now
On my path less traveled?
No…they took their leave when I fell into shadow.
I look up and see the sands ahead
A desert so vast
It fills me with dread.
My pack I drag through dunes alone
I have reached my end
I can go no more
Like on the mountain top long before.
I drop my pack
I leave it behind
All these troubles that have corrupted my mind.
There I lie
With the sand as my bed
I wonder at length is this the end?
My road less traveled has disappeared
Much like my friends…my greatest fear.
I raise my hand to shield my eyes
The sun is so hot
Yet, I cannot rise
When I awoke I looked about
No stranger, no friend but there was my pack
But how could this be
How has it found its way back to me?
The air is clouded with a heavy mist
Dark and unforgiving
The silence persists
With trepidation I glance at my pack
I shiver at its bulk, I don’t want it back!
Slowly I reach
And pull it near
This road less traveled wasn’t my only fear
I look around again and to my surprise
The stranger that led me here was by my side
They motioned for me to open my pack
Just a shadow in the dark that could see through the black
No! I shout, I won’t carry it anymore!
But the stranger stood fast,
Taunting me to explore.
I looked down at my feet and counted my toes
This stranger wasn’t leaving
This path held more.
So I opened the pack that I did carry
The one my friends said they’d help me bury.
The very same pack with all the despair
The tears and scars that I had hidden in there
I expected to see the razor blades that cut so deep
The words that were flung used to beat
The tossed inside shards of glass
Broken pieces of my past.
A silent scream, a tear I shed
I gasp for air as I shake
The stranger spoke
the words so dear
my best friend’s voice said so clear..
“Though my troubles were heavy,
I picked up your pack, though my soul was weary
and took your troubles and held them closely.
All those times throughout those years
where you felt alone
and shed those tears
when friends were cruel
and the stakes were high
when you wanted to quit
or just “get by”
Those days when you thought you’d lose your head
when darkness threatened and you wished for death.
When shadows taunted
and your dreams were haunted,
you stuck it all into this pack
and carried this load on your aching back.
keep the memories and see life through
because I lost the fight when I carried it for you.”
What did you learn?
Nobody can carry you, you must carry yourself.
I decided to participate in THE THANKS U GIVE because it’s a beautiful way to add goodness into this world. We need it right now. I’m so grateful to the authors and bloggers who have made a tremendous difference in my life, supporting my journey with HELLO?, and my other endeavors, including a new website, I Hope You Forgive Me, where people have the opportunity to share their stories from their teen years. Here’s the video explaining the project:
To show my appreciation, I will be giving away a copy of Hello? and Aftermath, a new novel by Clara Kensie. Find it on Goodreads
My thoughts: From all the reviews I have read, it’s a book that brings hope out of darkness. Given the state of the world right now, this seems so fitting! I have this book on order, but it hasn’t arrived yet. I can’t wait to read it and I’m thrilled to give a copy to some lucky winner!
Winner of the 2015 RITA Award for Best First Book!
Latest release: AFTERMATH (November 2016, Merit Press/Simon and Schuster), a story of hope, healing, and triumph over tragedy, for fans of Room and The Lovely Bones.
Today, Clara is the author of dark fiction for young adults. Her debut, the super-romantic thriller RUN TO YOU Book One: DECEPTION SO DEADLY is the winner of the prestigious RITA Award for Best First Book.
The RUN TO YOU series (Book One: DECEPTION SO DEADLY and Book Two: DECEPTION SO DARK) was named to several Best Books lists, including RT Book Reviews Editors’ Pick for Best Books of 2014.
Her latest release is AFTERMATH, a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines contemporary about a girl who returns home four years after being kidnapped, only to find her family has fallen apart in her absence. To fix her broken family–and to prove the existence of her captor’s first victim–the traumatized girl must first heal herself.
Clara’s favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.
Theirs was the perfect love story.
After Emma Lorde’s parents’ divorce forces her to move halfway across the state of Arizona to live with her father, Emma must face her senior year in a new school knowing absolutely no one.
Then she meets Dillon Hobbs and something just clicks.
Dillon introduces Emma to friends she can call her own. He provides a refuge from the chaos of her past and the security of a commitment that he promises will last forever. And because circumstances of her messy life forced Emma to put aside her dream of pursuing archaeology, Dillon creates a blueprint for a future together.
He saves her, over and over, by loving her more than she thought anyone ever would.
But just when everything seems picture-perfect, Emma is offered an opportunity that will upend the future they’ve planned. Uncertainty grows, and fear spirals into something darker.
Now Dillon is the one who needs saving.
But how much do you sacrifice for the one you love? What if saving Dillon means losing herself?
Amy Fellner Dominy is a former advertising copywriter, MFA playwright and hula-hoop champion. Her novels for teens and tweens include Die For You (11/8/16); A Matter of Heart, Audition & Subtraction; and OyMG, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book. Amy’s first picture book, Cookiesaurus Rex, will be published by Disney, Fall 2017. Amy lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, various pets and two kids who occasionally stop by for free meals.
Die for You by Amy Fellner Dominy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Profound, painful, powerful. DIE FOR YOU is hard to put down.
Readers will get sucked into the lives of Dylan and Emma and watch what appears to be a beautiful relationship spiral out of control. Amy Fellner Dominy creates a story that could be going on at any high school. Yes, with different circumstances, but we’ve seen the headlines—teens so wrapped up in each other that one or both would be willing to die to keep the other or to make sure they stay together. Forever. In death. Not all relationships that are unhealthy take it that far, but here are some chilling statistics: One in three young people will be in an unsafe or unhealthy relationship. WOW!
Though this is a gut-wrenching, important topic, the story is gripping. The way Amy integrated Emma’s family history and Dylan’s family history brought an eye-opening understanding to the intensity of the relationship. Another very cool aspect was Emma’s love for archeology, which plays a central theme in the novel. I loved the story created around Pompeii.
Friendship is also explored. How loyal should a friend be? What constitutes disloyalty? And then there is family betrayal as well as loyalty to one’s family. What lines should or shouldn’t be crossed?
Without a doubt, DIE FOR YOU is the type of novel that will take you on a journey of reflection, and for some a mirror to look into and hopefully recognize before things get too out of hand. This kind of ugly love is not love at all. It needs to be revealed. It needs to be understood.
Brava, Amy! I highly recommend this novel!
This book started with an innocent question: “How did you and your husband end up together?”
I asked a friend that question about twenty years ago. I’ve always been a romantic and there’s nothing I love as much as a good love story. But what I got instead was a reply that sent shivers up my spine. She told me her husband had said that if she ever left him, he’d kill himself.
And she believed him.
So she married him.
I never forgot that over the years. How could a smart, talented, beautiful woman let herself be manipulated that way? I would never fall for that kind of emotional blackmail…or would I?
What if I loved someone and what if I worried for his life? What if he convinced me his need was love? What if I thought it came down to his life or mine?
What would I be willing to sacrifice?
What should I be willing to sacrifice?
I always say it was the search for answers that led me to write Die for You. But really, it began with a question.
Thanks so much for hosting me!
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A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.
Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.
When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.
As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.
LINKS: Amazon | B&N
The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
This NOVEL! DO NOT MISS THIS ONE! My acrostic poem below.
GAH! I loved it. It’s definitely one of my top reads of 2016! Thank you so much to the publisher for providing an ARC
Humans, humanoids and
It’ll hold your
Blow you away with fascinating characters and
Open up a universe filled with betrayal, murder,
Love, danger, humanity and
Cheers, S.J. Kincaid!
Note from Liza: I LOVE THIS! Yes, you know I read The Diabolic, so I totally get it! I wouldn’t want to imagine this male main character any other way! Read on…
A SECRET OF THE DIABOLIC:
My male main character went through several iterations. In the very first, seen-only-by-me draft, he was unquestionably a bad dude. A bad dude who quite enjoyed the main character, but he did bad stuff. He manipulated, he engineered an innocent person’s death without blinking, and there is a great crime in the book which he originally did.
But I never liked that. Never. And I wanted this to be a full stand-alone story arc and I couldn’t really end it on the note I was ending it on. I knew the ending I really wanted to write, so I decided to scale back the bad dude part, and maybe make him more of a manipulative, ambiguous product of his upbringing. That’s what I did originally, and even then, I scaled it back a bit more after my first reader (my sister) noted that a particular part seemed a bit sociopathic.
Then after the book was acquired, a few other things the character did were questioned as particularly douchey and wrong. I balked at first at the idea of removing these, because I knew as soon as I did, I had to reconceived of this character on a rather fundamental level. it meant seeing him through a new lens in my own mind, and then incorporating that in the text.
But I did it, and I’m really glad I did, because it gave me a new vision of the character that I feel better about… And surprisingly, some people still pick up on a few of those undertones I thought I’d removed.
You will have to read it to see who I am talking about.
(Okay, it’s Tyrus).
S.J. Kincaid was born in Alabama, grew up in California, and attended high school in New Hampshire, but it was while living beside a haunted graveyard in Scotland that she realized that she wanted to be a writer. Her debut, Insignia, came out in July of 2012. The second book in the series, Vortex was released in July of 2013. The final book in the trilogy, Catalyst, came out October 28, 2014. Her standalone novel The Diabolic will be released in fall 2016.
LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Mention blood, and I get woozy. Mention needles, and there is a chance I’ll need to get horizontal before I pass out. But for some glorious reason, I wasn’t bothered one bit from all the blood and gore and even needles mentioned in THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN. As a matter of fact, I became completely wrapped up in listening to this audiobook that I decided to take a long afternoon drive to enjoy the fall colors in the country and listen to the novel. After I returned home, I dragged an old CD boom-box in from the garage just to finish listening to it while I cooked dinner, and then folded laundry.
I freakin’ loved a novel about VAMPIRES!
Listening to a novel is most definitely a different experience than reading it. Christine Lakin’s performance took Holly Black’s rich, detailed, vibrant story and brought these characters to life. The key to this book is buying into the fact that vampires are real. (Yes, I know they are not real.) They’re out there and if you’re bitten, then you’ll be infected. Once infected, the only way to not turn into a vampire is isolation for eighty-eight days. There is a near unquenchable thirst for human blood and if the infected give in to that thirst, they’ll turn into vampires.
The story opens with Tana waking up in a bathtub at a farmhouse where she attended a party. Soon, she discovers that almost all of her friends were massacred by bloodthirsty vampires. She finds her ex-boyfriend Aiden still alive, but infected, tied up in a bedroom. Across the room is Gavriel, a vampire in chains. Tana decides to rescue them both.
Tana’s journey with Aiden and Gavriel is absolutely fascinating, dangerous, and unapologetically violent, but not over-the-top scary. THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN will make readers think about the power of TV and the Internet and how some sensationalize and embrace the underworld. Vampires were revered by some in a sick, fascinating, cultish way. YA blogged about them, emulated them, wanted to become them. With this desire, the reality and fantasy were too different worlds and Holly Black did an exceptional job of showing the two.
Tana is a heroine of heroines. She’s imperfect, struggles with her own demons, loves those who may not deserve it and goes to extraordinary lengths to protect the people she cares about. Sometimes she succeeds. Sometimes she doesn’t.
THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN was my surprise read of the year. I never expected to love it. I did! I never expected that it would make my “top reads list for 2013.” But it did.
Thank you so much, Holly for writing such an unexpected and gripping vampire novel!! And thank you Christine Lakin for a captivating performance that brought Holly’s characters to life.
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