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What Amy Giuffrida is thankful for:
First and foremost, I am thankful to my writer friends. It’s them who helped me to whip my first novel, The Bleeding Heart, into shape and supported me while I self-published it. They have also been ridiculously supportive of my working on novel #2, while working two jobs, taking care of two kids, beginning an internship, and writing for The Midnight Society. Plus, these lovely ladies from BGP welcomed me into their fold. I know that 2016 will be another whirlwind of a year, with more changes to come. I’m thankful that these same friends will continue the journey with me.
Amy Giuffrida teaches language arts to teens by day, while working nights as supermom, bookseller, and author. The teen in her is never far away, calling to her to crank the tunes and write stories about the darkness that surrounds us all.
Amy is known for taking the path less traveled, but can always be found on Twitter @kissedbyink or online at one of her haunts: amygiuffrida.com, midnightsocietytales.com, or bookish.nu.
Author Page | Blog | Blog Contributor | Twitter: @kissedbyink | Instagram: kissedbyink | Facebook | Tumblr: amygiuffridaauthor | Pinterest | Goodreads
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What Jenny Adams Perinovic is thankful for:
New beginnings. 2015 has been a crazy year for me in every respect–I released my debut novel, grew my freelance business, started BGP with some amazing ladies, quit my job, moved from DC to Philadelphia, started a new job, and became a full-time graduate student! And through it all, I dealt with some pretty scary health issues, so I’m definitely thankful that I’m finally back to feeling like myself.
Most of all, I’m so thankful for all of the people who’ve supported me through all the upheaval–from the readers who loved A Magic Dark and Bright to the friends who never let me give up. My family, who have always believed in me. And my husband, Eric, who’s been beside me on every step of the way. I’m so excited to see what we do next.
Jenny Adams Perinovic has always loved books. By day, she’s a full-time graduate student and library outreach coordinator, and by night, she writes YA fantasy, romance, and horror about brave girls, the boys who love them, and their battles against dark forces (also, kissing). She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2010, where she wrote papers about monsters in medieval literature (yes, really!). She lives in Philadelphia, PA with her very patient husband and tiny menagerie. On twitter, she’s @JennyPerinovic. You can find her online at jennyperinovic.com and thegreatnovelingadventure.com.
Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/A-Magic-Dark-and-Bright/9780986201301
What Sarah Kettles is thankful for:
Obviously, first of all, I’m thankful for the opportunity to share The Old Creek Bridge with the world, and for the many people who helped me along the way. I’m thankful for the support of my friends and family not only with regard to publishing but in relation to the many wild/wonderful things going on in my life at the moment. I’m thankful for all that I’ve got to look forward to in the next year (and it’s a lot – let’s leave it at that!) and for all that I experienced this past year. Life is difficult and painful sometimes, but I’m thankful for the strength that fighting through all the hardship and stress and worry has given me, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do it all better next time.
Sarah Kettles is an American married to a Scot and living in Ireland, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing at University College Dublin in 2012. She’s been writing since she learned to read and playing with words since long before that. When she’s not working on her next book, she works as a freelance editor and illustrator. Online, you can find her at SarahKettles.com and @sfkettles on Twitter.
What Danielle Ellison is thankful for:
It’s been a really big transition year for me – lots of upheaval, lots of first, lots of fantastic stuff. I’m thankful for these amazing new experiences! With major transition, for me anyway, comes major instability. I’ve been really fighting my way through the year and fighting to enjoy the things I’ve been given. In all of these, I’m beyond thankful for the fantastic friends I have in my life. They have really support me, listened to me, challenged me, and let me cry on their shoulder all the while cheering me on. I’m thankful for them more than they know. I’m also thankful for my agent, who has been so patient and kind during all of this when I had to repeatedly answer that “what are you working on?” question with no reply. I’m thankful for readers who love my books, tell others about them, and ask when something new is coming–and their patience. I’m thankful for my family and my boyfriend who constantly believe in me and show me that each day is a just another opportunity. I’m thankful that failure, hardship, stress, worry, insecurity, and doubt are not the end of anything; they are merely the beginning of something new. And tomorrow, I get to try all over again.
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Danielle Ellison spent most of her childhood reading instead of learning math. It’s probably the reason she can’t divide without a calculator and has spent her life seeking the next adventure. It’s also probably the reason she’s had so many different zip codes and jobs.
Danielle is also the author of the YA duology, Salt and Storm, about a snarky teenage demon-hunting witch without any magic that’s been called ‘Buffy meets Supernatural meets Charmed.’
When she’s not writing, Danielle is probably drinking coffee, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. She has settled in Northern Virginia, for now, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.
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Craig Lew’s storytelling career began even before he had learned to write. As a child, he used his father’s tape recorder to capture tales about strange planets and scary creatures. His favorite story openings at that time were, “Once upon a junk yard heap …” or “It was a dark and stormy night.”
A movie producer, director, award winning author, illustrator, and screenwriter, Craig still favors a Hitchcockian thriller over a broad teen comedy. Regardless of the genre, he believes the best stories involve a hero who is either seeking love or giving love. At heart he’s a big, mushy romantic.
Craig spends his days with his fiancé in a house on a hill with the corgi land seals Yobo and Zeekie, a three-footed Boston Terrier named Moogie, and Smittens, the kitten with the marshmallow mittens.
I strive to spread good karma. Artistically, I enjoy pushing the envelope because I believe this makes more room in the middle. I believe the keys to success are dreaming big, working hard, and being nice.
I didn’t plan on writing Breath to Breath in verse, but my actions helped turn things in that direction.
I introduced a book based on a true story, CRANK by Ellen Hopkins, to the publisher Rana DiOrio and William, the subject of Breath to Breath. They both felt strongly that verse might be the correct direction…I think my editor, Emma Dryden might have been thinking this all along.
It’s not your fault, you are worthwhile and you can rise above.
Although the novel depicts sexual abuse, Breath to Breath has a hopeful message. The very last poem came from deep inside me. It’s truly how I want to live my life. So, anytime I get stressed or frustrated I say to myself, “Be THE GUY that wrote Breath to Breath.”
Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry? – Chocolate
Vacation spot: ski slope, big city, small town, beach, or nature preserve? – Mala Mala Game Reserve South Africa
Snack food you have a compulsion to eat? – Salt and Pepper Kettle Chips
Favorite place to write? – In the living room, with Smittens on my chair, looking out the tall windows at the catalpa tree.
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, hot cider? – A double espresso in the morning – Golden Monkey Tea in the afternoon
Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.
While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).
Hi Liza! YAY! I am so honored to be here with you. It’s fun to get to hang out with you on your blog—mostly because you’re fun to hang out with any old place. : ) I’m afraid that your questions were so good that I went on and on and on about them. Sorry in advance!
1. Barrie hates that Eight knows how much she needs and wants him to stay on Watson Island. Because he’s compelled to fulfill her desire, it’s hard for her to trust his feelings for her. What is important for readers to know about this relationship???
That’s a great question. It would be so easy for Barrie to just accept how Eight feels for her at face value. She’s already had to come to terms with questions about how much Eight’s ability to know what she wants allows him to manipulate her into falling in love with him, but it’s easier for her to believe that he’s worth loving than it is for her to see the same quality in herself. Part of that has to do with the fact that your parents create formative relationships in your life. When she isn’t sure that her own mother could love her, it’s hard to believe that someone like Eight would do so.
It quickly becomes more than that, though. It becomes a question of free will versus compulsion. Eight is changing his life for her—putting aside something that she knows has been a long-time dream he’s worked hard to achieve. Because she loves him, how can she let him do that if he isn’t doing it of his own free will?
While she’s thinking about that, the situation becomes complicated by Obadiah and Seven, who essentially make her have to choose between giving up her magic or giving up her relationship with Eight. She refuses to accept that choice, and she struggles to find an alternative solution—and the only way to do that, as she sees it, is to keep a secret that she probably shouldn’t keep.
I really wanted this relationship, and this entire book, to make people give some thought to the lies we tell, the secrets we keep, and the fine line between persuasion and compulsion.
2. I found the Civil War scenes very powerful and heartbreaking. What research did you do to bring the horrors from the past into your novel?
I did a ton of research. In addition to working with an archeologist and professor of anthropology on the trilogy overall, I spent months poring over and often crying over, the stories that I found in diaries and personal accounts. In some ways, though, the “official” records were far worse—the official records that I found and the ones that simply don’t exist.
There’s a myth that the Civil War was somehow “civil” when it came to women, that there wasn’t as much rape as there has been in other wars. There are two reasons for that—one is that the general stigma of rape was even worse back then than it is today. According to the Department of Justice, even now only 36 percent of rapes, 34 percent of attempted rapes, and 26 percent of sexual assaults are reported—and the reason those are reported is the hope of bringing the perpetrators to justice and preventing future victims. In war, neither of those outcomes is likely. White women were therefore unlikely to accept the shame of publicly admitting to having been raped. Crimes against black women were not reported either. The reasons for this were so horrifying that I felt almost paralyzed writing about it. For one thing, the rape of black women was most often reported as a property crime by slave owners rather than a sexual assault, and even more horrifyingly, female slaves were frequently forced into having sex.
The scene the night the mansion burned was one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. It’s actually based on an account about a ten-year-old child that I read. The situation was so awful that I had to tone it down to write the first draft, and then I toned it down again, because had I left it in, it would have overshadowed the entire book.
3. You blend the past and the present seamlessly. Past is the present as Cassie, Barrie, and Eight see the forces of the Civil War unfold right in front of them. What can readers learn from what they went through as witnesses to this horror?
I was researching and writing Cassie’s story at the time that Boko Haram took the school girls hostage and the extent of the slavery crisis across Africa and the rest of the world began to be more widely reported. Having spent so much time speaking to sexual assault and PTSD victims, I was deeply affected by what the girls I read about or spoke with had gone through or were going through. More than anything else, it gutted me to realize the extent to which we are going backward rather than forward. How can we, in 2015, have 30 million slaves in the world? Because most of them are women and children. Because most come from poor nations. Because . . . There are innumerable reasons and excuses. But slavery is just the extreme example of what are still staggeringly high statistics of crimes against women. We talk a lot about the “rape culture” in this country. That doesn’t exist just in the United States.
The problem isn’t just with men. It’s with anyone who allows the lines between free will, persuasion, and compulsion to get blurred by their own self-interest or desire. Force isn’t the only tool in the arsenal used to diminish, marginalize, or overpower women. Subtle pressure, bullying, blackmail, and threats of various kinds can be almost as, if not just as, damaging.
You know the saying—the best villains don’t know they’re villains. This was true with slave holders in the Civil War, and it’s true of those who enslave, rape, date rape, or abuse adults or children today. Somehow, they manage to convince themselves that they’re not really doing anything wrong.
The answer to this, I believe, has to start with empathy. The first thing we have to realize is that the people who do these horrible things, the people who did them in the past, and who are doing them in the present, are often kind or productive citizens in other respects—and that they use that fact to excuse their own horrific acts toward those weaker than themselves.
The interweaving of past and present in Persuasion was a very deliberate way for me to try to raise awareness of the problem of violence against women in all its different guises, both as a societal issue we need to repair here in the United States, but also as an act of war all around the world. And it’s my hope that girls who read this book might consider, even if only on a subconscious level, their own definitions of the line between compulsion and persuasion. It breaks my heart that one in three girls will be raped in the US before they are 19. Or when I see statistics that show 41 percent of 6th to 9th grade girls and 51 percent of boys think it’s okay for a man to force a woman to kiss him if he’s spent money on her. Or that 47 percent of the girls and 65 percent of the boys think that forcing sex on a woman is okay if they’ve been dating for more than six months, and this shoots up to 79 percent of girls and 87 percent for boys who think its okay as long as the couple is married. WTF?
This has to change. But we all know it’s not going to change by screaming at people. I truly do feel that fiction has a role to play here. Fiction builds empathy, and empathy is our hope for the future. Not everyone reads—and even fewer people read “issue books.” I wanted to write about the issue in a way that might reach readers who normally don’t read about issues. Fingers are crossed!
Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry?
Vacation spot: big city, beach, nature preserve?
Snack food you have a “compulsion for?”
What terrifies you more: snakes, spiders, mice?
Snakes. So much!
Would you rather be a Watson, a Beaufort or a Colesworth?
Watson. : )
Persuasion by Martina Boone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Cover: Absolutely GORGEOUS! ❤️❤️❤️
We have kissing like THIS:
Hold on to the edge of your seat, because PERSUASION takes you on a ride that will leave you breathless. Martina Boone does an extraordinary job weaving together history, magic, mystery, and modern times. She unspools questions like the Fire Carrier unspools his ball of flames across the river. Readers will swoon over Eight and Barrie, pray that they’ll make it as a couple. Is Eight with Barrie because she wants him and he wants to give her whatever she wants? Is their love for each other real? Or is it because of the magical gifts each one has: Barrie’s ability to find things and his ability to know what other people want.
The questions won’t stop there. Readers are introduced to Obadiah and his magic. Who is he? Is he evil? What is his connection to the curse plaguing Cassie? And what is going on with Cassie? More games? What kind of persuasion is influencing these characters? Why did Seven break up with Pru years ago, when clearly he loves her? Why is Seven keeping secrets from Eight? Can the curse be broken? Will Barrie get to keep her gift? Will Eight be burdened by his??? Will the archeologists find the missing gold or something unexpected, perhaps evil, on the Colesworth estate?
The biggest question of all? WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?!
So, take a breath . . .
Get comfort where you can . . .
And be patient. OKAY, I CAN’T BE PATIENT!
I absolutely, positively MUST have the third book in this series!!!!!!!!!!!
If you haven’t read COMPULSION, get it now!
Fall in love with the history, Southern charm, romance, magic, mystery, rich scenes, clever, smart writing, and all those questions. (Oh! And I forgot to mention the food references!!!!!! I will be searching for recipes, just like the amazing COMPULSION Woopie pie cake Heidi from YA Bibliophile made for our Novel Cuisine Luncheon http://www.whorublog.com/2014/12/16/t… ! – which is once again mentioned in PERSUASION! Drool!)
Without any doubt, PERSUASION will be on my top-reads list of 2015!
Thank you so much to SimonTeen and Martina Boone for the advanced copy.
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In this romantic sequel to Famous in Love, new Hollywood “It Girl” Paige must navigate love with her co-stars, both on and off screen and all in the public eye.
Lights, camera, love!
After being plucked from obscurity, Hollywood’s newest starlet, Paige Townsen, has a hit film to her name and Rainer Devon on her arm. But being half of the world’s most famous couple comes with a price, and soon Paige finds herself dodging photographers; hiding her feelings for her other costar, Jordan Wilder; and navigating tabloid scandals that threaten to tear her and Rainer apart-and end her career as quickly as it began.
Rebecca Serle’s sequel to Famous in Love is filled with the kind of celebrity drama and swoon-worthy romance fit for the silver screen.
This is book #2 in the Famous in Love Series.
The story continues with Paige being torn between two boys: the one she REALLY loves and the one she feels a sense of loyalty to. That loyalty is also love, but the kind one feels for a close friend, not someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. Straight out of the tabloid headlines, Paige gets herself into compromising situations. More on those soon.
One of my most favorite characters in this book is Alexis. She’s strong, sensible, authentic. There’s a scene at the end of the book that reminds me of other actors who have done similar things at national events. Good on ya Alexis!!!!
My heart ached for Rainer. He really struggled with his relationship with his dad and found it difficult to be vulnerable, especially with Paige. Without a doubt, his father’s betrayal crushed Rainer. How do you reconcile the fact that the father you’ve loved has done something so awful that you can no longer respect him?
Then there is Jordan. He’s had to turn off his feelings for Paige like one turns off a spigot. Unfortunately, the spigot leaks once in awhile.
Paige really does some inappropriate and/or boundary-breaking things that definitely confuse and encourage Jordan. As far as the love triangle situation, I kept thinking about Twilight—Kristen Stewart & Taylor Lautner and, of course, Robert Pattinson. Then there is Paige’s sister. You’ll have to read the book to form your own opinion of what was right or what was wrong. The best part of Paige’s life are her friends from before she became famous, Jake and Cassandra. They accept her for who she is with little expectations. If they did have expectations of Paige, like getting phone calls returned, I doubt they’d be able to remain friends. This acceptance, this unconditional love, is a foundation for Paige, one she’s very fortunate to have and is able to lean on when she needs to be rooted again.
For those who love Hollywood drama, love triangles, and the human side to actors and actresses, you will gobble up Truly, Madly, Famously! Without a doubt, Rebecca Serle has created a story that’s right out of the tabloids. It’s captivating, filled with vivid descriptions, and a Hollywood dripping with privilege and betrayal.
Hey, Guys! I’m so glad you decided to visit my little corner of the Internet. As you may know I am a writer– always have been and barring some kind of Broadway-discovery– always will be. I have loved writing since I could put words down on a page and that love took me through school at USC and eventually delivered me to NYC, my home and the scene of one of my novels, The Edge of Falling. I feel about New York the way I feel about writing– pretty in love. That is not to say they both don’t have their challenges (they do– they are both so unruly and noisy!) but there is really no where else in the world I’d rather live, and nothing else in the world I’d rather do. I’m crazy lucky, but by far the best part of my job is interacting with you, the wonderful people, teens, hearts on the other side of this dialogue. So please reach out! Tweet me, visit me on Tumblr, talk to me about your favorite TV show (mine is The Vampire Diaries) and know that it is because of you that I am here.
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When I was writing First & Then in college, I would write in the cafeteria during meals, in the student lounge, in the radio station where I hosted a show, before and after classes… just about everywhere!
These days, I prefer to write at home when I can, but I also love writing outside my favorite coffee shop.
Picture 1: My ideal writing set-up—a computer for when I’m on a roll, and a notebook for when I want to work something out on paper.
Liza’s note: MacBookAir and occasionally a notebook – usually carry one in my purse and keep one next to my bed! You never know when you’ll find inspiration!
Picture 2: I’m not saying the inspiration comes DIRECTLY from iced Chai lattes, but they certainly help.
Liza’s note: I definitely need a mocha to write!
Picture 3: Sometimes when I’m stuck on something, I look to the sky and hope that a bit of inspiration will rain down on me!
Liza’s note: I take a walk along the shores of Lake Michigan!
Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.
Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.
Emma Mills is a debut author better known to her subscribers as vlogger Elmify. She is also cocreator and cohost of the “life skills” channel How to Adult.
GREAT NEWS AND HUGE CONGRATS to Sandy! She has signed a contract to write two more books, so Odin’s Promise is now going to be a trilogy! Click here for more info: Sequel Update: Good News- DOUBLED
Literary awards: Midwest Independent Publishers Association, Midwest Book Award (2014), Gold for Children’s Fiction
About the novel:
ODIN’S PROMISE is a historical novel for middle-grade readers, a story of the first year of German occupation of Norway in World War II as seen through the eyes of a young girl. Eleven-year-old Mari grew up tucked under the wings of her parents, grandma, and older siblings. After Hitler’s troops invade Norway in Spring 1940, she is forced to grow beyond her “little girl” nickname to deal with harsh new realities. At her side for support and protection is Odin, her faithful elkhound. As the year progresses, Mari, her family, and her neighbors are drawn into the activities of the Norwegian underground resistance.
About the author:
Books have been a central part of Sandy’s life since bedtime read-alouds with siblings. Reading and writing with and for her students during her long teaching career led to some publications in magazines and journals.
When Sandy retired from teaching and joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) she gained a critique group and took part in professional workshops and conferences. The development of her writing craft and extensive research led to the publication of Odin’s Promise.
She writes picture book text, poetry, early reader paneled text, and professional articles on developing reading with quality literature.
Sandy hosts a blog about the use of picture books for all ages at http://UnpackingPictureBookPower.blog….(less)
Readers might be surprised to find out that Odin is a dog. He’s very protective of eleven-year-old Mari. I noticed you dedicated the novel to the first Odin. What can you tell us about the first Odin and was he, too, protective of you?
Odin was a mixed breed, golden retriever-spaniel, and was a wise and gentle soul. He came into my life when he was already an older dog, full of humor and loyalty. Perhaps because he was nearly deaf by then he was very attuned to changes in household routines and the environment, so he would alert me to those. I have no doubt he would have defended me with his life, if needed (between naps).
Here’s an interesting fact: I avoid reading books featuring dogs, until I absolutely can’t stop myself because I know the book is so terrific. I’m sure there are other readers like that, and I NEVER planned to write a story with a dog in it. When dogs are in stories I’m in constant fear for their safety, even if I’m told in advance that nothing bad happens.
After I found Mari’s voice and perspective (or she found me) I had no choice. Mari needed a dog. She knew it and I knew it. I needed to give her the right one.
That’s when research about native Norwegian breeds began. The more I researched the more certain I was that she needed a Norwegian elkhound, even though I never had one or had even known one. Its breed traits (protective, intelligent, loyal, powerful, and fearless) were perfect for Mari. Even more importantly, elkhound traits represent the ideals of Norway as a country. Odin HAD to be his name. He became my symbol for Norway’s stand against the Nazis and refusal to accept their false claims of friendship.
I was relieved to find that there are black elkhounds, even though elkhound-blacks are not common. As a child we had a black dog with white toes and tail-tip, and the dog/family member I met on my first trip to Norway was also black with those markings. I was especially happy to find that was a realistic option for Mari’s dog, too.
Since Odin’s Promise was released I have been involved with members of the NEAA, the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America. Through their warm-hearted members (two- and four-footed ones) I’ve fallen in love with the breed and found that everything I read about them is true, and more.
Anyone interested in learning more about the breed and available dogs could contact: http://www.elkhoundrescue.org
Can you share any picture of the type of traditional dress Mari would have worn to her sister’s wedding?
Link here to a post with other links: http://www.sandybrehl.com/bunad-whats-that/
Norway is a single country but represents widely different cultures and climates because it stretches from northern Europe into the Arctic Circle. The country is divided into districts (something like our states), separated by geographic landmarks like mountain ranges, tundras, etc. As with our states, each district has its own local pride and practices. The bunad (traditional costumes) for each district are distinct and can be easily identified by most Norwegians. (Think cheeseheads and team logos.) Even when someone moves (within the country or by emigrating) the bunad design from their “homeland” or family-based district is usually the design they will continue to wear and use in succeeding generations.
Mari’s family in Ytre Arna would wear the Hardanger District bunad. (pictured). These are VERY expensive outfits and include many embellishments with silver or pewter buttons, laces, and jewelry adornments. When children are young and growing fast they may have simpler bunad, made in the general style, then finally receiving their adult version at fifteen. At that age they have Confirmation, a major event in Norwegian culture indicating passage to adulthood.
Over the course of the occupation many people found they needed to barter away the buttons and other valuable parts from personal and heirloom bunad in exchange for necessities.
What is your favorite food that Mari and her family would have eaten? Can you share a recipe?
(kranse kaka recipe sent, if you want it, from a master-expert Norwegian baker, a friend of mine.) Link to it on my blog is here, but the special eBook price no longer applies: http://www.sandybrehl.com/holiday-kranse-kake-recipe-a-bonus/
Recipe for Kranse Kake
3 – 8 ounce cans SOLO pure almond paste
1 cup granulated sugar
2 egg whites
Mix together in mixer until well-blended. Spray tins well with PAM for baking with flour. Use flat star template in cookie press to make a ring of dough in each section of the tins. Use a blunt tool such as a plastic orange peeler to press ends together. Be sure the ring of dough is perfectly round.
Bake tins (2 or 3 at a time) in a 325 degree oven for 17-22 minutes. Check at 15 minutes. Do not let the rings get too brown. They should be just turning and be golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven and let cool before removing from pans. (I take my orange slicer tool and gently lift here and there to make sure they aren’t sticking.)
After rings are completely cold, remove from tins and arrange in order on a counter. Begin with the largest and stack “gluing” them together with frosting:
1 egg white slightly beaten
3 drops white vinegar
1 cup powdered sugar
Put the “glue” into a strong zip-lock bag and when you are ready to assemble the cake, snip a very small piece off one corner of the bag. Pipe a solid band of frosting all around the top of the layer and then immediately set the next layer on top. Repeat until all layers are used.
If you wish, you may pipe “scallops” of frosting around the cake to decorate. Store the cake in an airtight container. It may also be frozen.
Norwegian flags or wrapped candies may be stuck into the cake for decoration. For special occasions, I have used a wired ribbon bow atop the cake.
This recipe makes an eighteen layer cake. You will likely have dough left over which can be used to make fingers. (Just pipe out long lines of dough on a cookie sheet and cut into uniform pieces and then bake.)
If you double the recipe (which we do for weddings) it will make a 36 layer cake and about 200 fingers.
Note: I always use the SOLO almond paste because it works the best. I have used other brands (Odense) and the cake does not turn out as well.
Food was extremely scarce during this time, but Mari didn’t complain. Would she have suffered in any other way besides weight loss, which you mentioned?
Odin’s Promise is only the first year of the occupation, so the rationing was not nearly as severe as it would become over the course of five long years of occupation. The conditions in specific areas varied greatly, as I suggested in the story. Mari lived near the southwest coast, a milder climate, and had access to the fjord for fishing.
Agricultural areas had more ability to provide for themselves despite the fact that much of their crops/livestock were confiscated for German use. From the beginning the Germans stayed well-fed and many reports say they considered being stationed in Norway a luxury posting.
Urban areas with limited garden space, dense populations, and a heavy concentration of soldiers suffered the greatest shortages.
Over time this had different effects depending on age and general health. Young children were allowed a modest milk ration until age five. Children had poor bone and dental development, including toothaches and decay as well as joint pain. It was common to develop severe and chronic coughs during the winter months, usually treated with nothing more than flannel rags soaked in warm camphor oil tied to their chests. Pneumonia posed the greatest threat to the very young, very old, and those with chronic illnesses because nutrition and resistance were so poor.
In the final year of the occupation the potato crop failed, an essential staple, at a time when troop numbers were the highest and resources had been severely depleted.
Mari and her family were VERY fortunate to be able to stay in their home when the Nazis came to their village. Please share what happened to other families who had to leave their homes or had to house Nazis during this time.
This changed after the first year and is a major component of Books Two and Three, and shapes major plot elements in both.
What topics would Mari have studied in school and how would they have been different or the same for children going to school at the same time in the United States?
First, Norway offers parents a full year paid maternity leave, followed by high-quality free or affordable early childhood services. Children usually attend preschools and child-care centers at which socialization, play, and other developmentally appropriate experiences fill their days.
Schools do not actually enroll children in “year one” (first grade) until they are seven years old. At that time they begin working with a single teacher and often stay with that teacher and group until “lower school” is completed at year six (age 13).
As you can imagine, these groups, including the other students, their teachers, and their families, become very close during those years. I heard numerous stories of people who remained lifelong friends from those shared years.
School subjects included the usual math, reading, writing, grammar, history, and science. Nature, art, music, fitness, and sports also played important roles.
Additional languages were taught as early as year four, and at that time the foreign language was often German. Norwegian language has variations in different regions of the country, but it is similar in many ways to Danish and Swedish, so those were picked up more naturally.
These days formal English instruction begins at year four and by the time students leave the school system most are fluent in three or more languages.
Foreign language was rarely taught in elementary schools in this country. In fact, those who spoke other languages were often treated with disdain or suspicion here, especially after war began in Europe and the Pacific areas.
School patterns were affected severely in the second year of occupation and beyond due to ever-increasing numbers of German troops. These changes play a significant part in Book Two of the trilogy, as Mari and her classmates move into upper school.
There were Norwegians who joined the Nazis. What kinds of things did they do for the Nazis and how was their relationship with the other Norwegians who refused to become members of their party?
This was some of the most interesting research I was able to discover while preparing to write Odin’s Promise. The Germans quickly eliminated the authentic Norwegian government and constitution and replaced it with German control, a new flag, and a controlling party, the “NS”, or Nazi Norway. Anyone who openly joined and acted friendly toward the Germans and these changes was treated as if they were Germans. Anything seen as making the Germans welcome (chatting, dating, attending their events) was collaboration. The benefits granted meant some who agreed with the Germans weren’t the only ones supporting them. In order to provide additional food or medicine, some insisted they “had no choice” but to cooperate. It was understood that anyone might be “striped”, acting and talking as if loyal to Norway but then reporting on others to the Germans for extra ration tickets or because of threats.
This posed a challenge to everyone there, but especially to young Mari who had never doubted that everyone she met could be trusted—until the Germans arrived.
“The ice front” (social ostracizing) was a major tool used against the soldiers and anyone who openly supported them. This could be simple things like ignoring them to boycotting their businesses, ridiculing them in the underground newspapers, and making them the butt of jokes.
It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto school grounds, enter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others.
But this isn’t a story about the shooting itself. This isn’t about recounting that one unforgettable day.
This is about Kirby and how one boy—who had friends, enjoyed reading, played saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before—became a monster capable of entering his school with a loaded gun and firing on his classmates.
Each chapter is told from a different victim’s viewpoint, giving insight into who Kirby was and who he’d become. Some are sweet, some are dark; some are seemingly unrelated, about fights or first kisses or late-night parties.
This is a book of perspectives—with one character and one event drawing them all together—from the minds of some of YA’s most recognizable names.
Tippi and Grace share everything—clothes, friends . . . even their body. Writing in free verse, Sarah Crossan tells the sensitive and moving story of conjoined twin sisters, which will find fans in readers of Gayle Forman, Jodi Picoult, and Jandy Nelson.
Tippi and Grace. Grace and Tippi. For them, it’s normal to step into the same skirt. To hook their arms around each other for balance. To fall asleep listening to the other breathing. To share. And to keep some things private. The two sixteen-year-old girls have two heads, two hearts, and each has two arms, but at the belly, they join. And they are happy, never wanting to risk the dangerous separation surgery.
But the girls’ body is beginning to fight against them. And soon they will have to face the impossible choice they have avoided for their entire lives.
ABOUT SARAH CROSSAN:
Sarah Crossan is Irish. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Literature before training as an English and Drama teacher at Cambridge University and worked to promote creative writing in schools before leaving teaching to write full time.
She completed her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in 2003 and in 2010 received an Edward Albee Fellowship for writing. She spent several years living and teaching high school in New Jersey before moving to London.
She currently lives in NYC.
I did ALL the research! This means I didn’t use the internet because, as anyone who has done proper research knows, the internet is actually pretty useless when it comes to accurately depicting a picture of reality! Instead I went to the British Library and trawled the shelves for books and periodicals to find out all I could on the subject of conjoined twins. I spoke sweetly to a friend of mine at the BBC, and he managed to retrieve lots of documentaries for me from the TV archives. And finally, I spoke to medical professionals including Edward Kiely, the leading separation surgeon for conjoined twins in Europe. All in all, my research lasted about a year.
I was surprised that it ended up in verse. It began life as a prose novel. In fact, I wrote thirty thousand words of the novel in prose, but it just wouldn’t come together. I spoke to my agent, who suggested I start again. This idea horrified me. Delete thirty thousand words? “Yes!” she said. So I did, and when I went back to the novel, it was in verse. And everything fell into place.
Tippi and Grace show us what it means to love, which is allowing oneself to be happy in order to honor another person. Let happiness be your gift to others.
I have three brothers, but I didn’t really draw on those relationships at all for this novel. Instead I focused on my relationship with my daughter, who was an infant when I was writing the book, and thought about the physical closeness of mother and child and how no one ever questions the importance or the normality of that.
Writing in verse is a waiting game! You can’t sit at a computer and rattle out one thousand words a day. You have to (pretentiously) wait for the words to come to you, and that can be very frustrating.
I’m influenced all the time by different things I read, but Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust made me fall in love with verse novels. I don’t believe there is a verse novel that can compare to this masterpiece. Everyone should read it. NOW!
I saw a documentary about Minnesotan twins Abby and Brittany Hensel and was completely captivated by how happy and successful they have made their lives despite sharing a body. I knew I had to write a novel on the subject, so I started my research the very next day.
If it’s only one day, I would become Grace, so I could know how it feels to live in one body that has two minds. I’m sure I would find all the stares difficult, but it would be worth it.
Praise for NOELLE AUGUST
“Boomerang, the first book in a new series by August, is a flirty, hilarious read. New Adult readers will devour this book, loving its rapid-fire witty dialogue and engaging characters.”
Playing the occasional club gig just isn’t cutting it for twenty-two-year-old cellist Skyler Canby, who’s trying to support herself and her mother back home in Kentucky. Persuaded by her best friend Beth to accompany her on an audition for the first feature film launched by Blackwood Entertainment, she figures why not? Beth’s a shoe-in for the lead, but maybe Skyler’s newly dyed pink hair will help her stand out enough to score a small speaking part. Never in her wildest dreams does Skyler imagine she’ll land the starring role—or that she’ll have her shoes knocked off her feet by the kiss she shares with her nineteen-year-old audition partner, Grey Blackwood.
After throwing a party that causes thousands of dollars of damage to his older brother’s home, reckless musician Grey Blackwood gets roped into working off his debt on the set of his CEO brother’s newest project. Grey spends his days fetching coffee and doing odd jobs, but he lives for nights when he performs with his band. He knows if he can stay focused, success as a singer is just around the corner. But that’s tough with a distracting pink-haired girl occupying his every waking thought.
Skyler and Grey have every reason to resist each other. But, like a song neither of them can get out of their minds, they have no choice but to go where the music takes them.
“This debut entry for August in the new adult genre is refreshingly charming. Absent are the tortured baggage tropes that permeate the category, which is a welcome change. Readers who enjoyed Megan McCafferty’s “Jessica Darling” series (especially the later ones set in college) will want to read this.” — Library Journal on BOOMERANG“…your summer fling in paperback…” — WomensHealthMag.com on BOOMERANG“Boomerang is a novel with substance, fabulously detailed, and August is a fine writer — able to draw a nuanced character. Ethan is a dream, but still realistic, and Mia is every girl’s best friend. Interesting plots, dynamic characters and, of course, scintillating sex make this a new adult title to emulate.” — RT Book Reviews on BOOMERANG
“Readers will enjoy seeing more of the mental and emotional level of the relationship being developed, in addition to the physical — a nice change of pace for the genre.” — RT Book Reviews on REBOUND
Don’t miss the first two in the series!
Bounce by Noelle August
BOUNCE sucked me in and tugged at my emotional heartstrings. For anyone looking for a romantic and meaningful NA contemporary series, BOOMERANG definitely fits those qualifications.
When Skyler and Grey are paired together to read a scene for Blackwood Entertainment, sparks fly. The only problem is that Sykler wasn’t planning on getting the role she was playing and Grey was only there as an audition partner because he owed Adam, his brother, big time for trashing his condo. Two completely unexpected circumstances brings on an attraction that’s hard for either one to resist.
Here’s what I loved:
1. The complexity of the characters.
2. Friendship and loyalty. I was really happy to see family loyalty and loyal friends.
3. Characters from the pas.t
4. Grey having to face his demons.
5. Skyler sticking up for herself with her dad and her mom.
6. Grey making Skyler a priority in his life and really thinking about what she means to him.
7. Skyler playing the lead role in a film with very little acting background. I love that dreams can come true.
8. Pineapple on pizza?!?!
9. What pushed Grey over the edge to leave home and to go live with his brother, Adam!
10. This wasn’t a novel that was loaded with sex scenes for the purpose of being gratuitous. The relationship seemed natural and real.
11. Grey’s persistence of his dream. It made me really happy to see that he kept at it, even when family didn’t always seem to approve.
12. Grey’s younger than Skyler, but it wasn’t a HUGE ISSUE! After high school, it seems to me that younger or older by a few years no longer matters. I liked this aspect of this novel!
Another winner in the series! Definitely recommend.
Thank you so much to the publisher for the review copy!