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Blog Tour: THE DOOR BY THE STAIRCASE by Kathrine Marsh — Novel Secrets & #Giveaway
Mar 7th, 2016 by Liza Wiemer

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THE DOOR BY THE STAIRCASE

by Katherine Marsh

with illustrations by Kelly Murphy

Published January 5, 2016

by Disney-Hyperion

LINKS:

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | The Book Depository

ABOUT THE DOOR BY THE STAIRCASE:

A Junior Library Guild Selection

“Well-drawn characters, an original setting, and a satisfying resolution are the ingredients that make this carefully crafted middle-grade adventure a highly rewarding read.”
   —Kirkus, Starred Review

“A sparkling tale full of adventure, magic, and folklore…Imagine Little Orphan Annie crossed with Russian folklore, plunked down in the spiritualist community of Lily Dale, NY, with a dash of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away on top.”
   —School Library Journal, Starred Review

“This book is a splendid mix of traditional Russian folkloric details, magical adventure, and hints of historical fiction.”
   —The Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Books, Starred Review

“An engaging, almost cinematic story.”
   —The Wall Street Journal, “Children’s Books: Inspiring Awe”

Door Staircase

Twelve-year-old Mary Hayes can’t stand her orphanage for another night. But when an attempted escape through the stove pipe doesn’t go quite as well as she’d hoped, Mary fears she’ll be stuck in the Buffalo Asylum for Young Ladies forever.

The very next day, a mysterious woman named Madame Z appears at the orphanage requesting to adopt Mary, and the matron’s all too happy to get the girl off her hands. Soon, Mary is fed a hearty meal, dressed in a clean, new nightgown and shown to a soft bed with blankets piled high. She can hardly believe she isn’t dreaming!

But when Mary begins to explore the strange nearby town with the help of her new friend, Jacob, she learns a terrifying secret about Madame Z’s true identity. If Mary’s not careful, her new home might just turn into a nightmare.

KM Author

Katherine Marsh

KATHERINE MARSH LINKS:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

 


I‘m Katherine Marsh. I write books about kids. Some are alive. Some are dead. Some lived hundreds of years ago. All of them find themselves in unusual situations and places. Some of them are unusual themselves.

If you’ve ever wondered about witches, ghosts, the lives of court dwarfs, the power of magic, the invincibility of death, and how (and how not) to care for a fire-breathing horse, then you’ll probably enjoy my books. Warning: They may make you laugh. They will almost certainly make you cry.

My debut novel, The Night Tourist, won the Edgar® Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. It was published in translation in ten countries and there’s even a sequel, The Twilight Prisoner.

My third book, Jepp, Who Defied the Stars was a New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Books of 2012 and a Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2012, among other accolades.

The Door by the Staircase is available now from Disney Hyperion. It’s a fairy tale adventure story for middle grade readers inspired by Russian folklore. Other influences include my love of cooking and magic acts, my cat Egg, and my family’s onetime ownership of a small flock of chickens.

NOVEL SECRETS:

One of my favorite childhood photographs is this one: Me, aged 4, sitting behind a big bowl of my grandmother’s homemade borscht.IMG_5033

My grandmother was born in Russia. She came to this country in 1928, opened a bar and restaurant, and still loved to cook when my parents and I moved in with her in the late 1970s. The comfort food in my house growing up was her food. And although she could win any American bake-off with her apple or lemon meringue pies, the food I remember most was her Russian cooking—pierogi and blini, stuffed cabbage, and of course, borscht, the chicken soup of the Slavic soul.

There was something magical about her cooking—the old recipes that she knew by heart and would never write down; the hours of invisible prep-work—that became even more magical to me as an adult. As hard as I tried, I could never recreate her dishes. I didn’t have any recipes but even if I did, I felt she’d always added something more than I could give: time, patience, love.

The magic of cooking is something I worked into THE DOOR BY THE STAIRCASE. The book, after all, is about eating—initially in the worst possible way. Twelve-year old orphan Mary Hayes is finally adopted only to discover that her new guardian is the child-eating Russian witch Baba Yaga. But Mary confounds the witch by daring to stick around and demanding she teach her magic. Will Baba Yaga eat Mary or love her? What follows is a tale that is really about the ingredients of family, particularly mothers and daughters. But it also a secret catalogue of those special dishes my grandmother cooked for me.

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

3/7: Who R U Blog – Novel Secrets

3/8: Books for Thought – Excerpt

3/9: Quite the Novel Idea – Guest Post

3/10: Mundie Kids – Excerpt

3/11: The Cover Contessa – Q&A

Week 2:

3/14: Once Upon A Twilight – Excerpt

3/15: The Story Sanctuary – Top 10

3/16: I Turn the Pages – Q&A

3/17: I Am Shelfless – Excerpt

3/18: Books Are Love – Playlist

GIVEAWAY: 3 Finished Copies of THE DOOR BY THE STAIRCASE (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Novel Secrets for CONCENTR8 by William Sutcliffe, plus giveaway!
Jan 18th, 2016 by Liza Wiemer

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CONCENTR8

by William Sutcliffe

Published by Bloomsbury

Pub date: January 19, 2016

 

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

ABOUT CONCENTR8:Concentr8

In a not-so-distant future London, riots have become the norm. But when the government suddenly stops distributing Concentr8–a behavioral modification “miracle” drug akin to Ritalin–the city’s residents rise up fiercer than they ever have before.

Amidst the chaos, five teens pick a man seemingly at random and chain him up as a hostage in a warehouse. Blaze is their leader, and Troy has always been his quiet sidekick–the only person he has ever trusted. But even Troy didn’t see this coming, and as their story unfolds over six tense days, one thing is clear–none of them will ever be the same again.

Told from the perspective of multiple characters in a world familiar to our own, this searing look at a group of teens who push back from the margins of society is perfect for fans of thoughtful fiction like Panic and The Program series.

 

 

NOVEL SECRETS – a behind the scenes look into CONCENTR8!

Sometimes the idea for a book takes shape slowly, with various thoughts gradually coming together. Concentr8 wasn’t like that. It came to me in a flash, during a conversation with a friend of mine who is a child psychiatrist. I asked how her work was going, and she started telling me about a problem that was troubling her. The issue was with ADHD and Ritalin.

She told me that she suspected some parents were bringing children to her who were perhaps naughty, or misbehaving in school, but essentially perfectly healthy, and pressuring her for an ADHD diagnosis. She spoke to me at length about cultural pressures to conform and succeed; about a medical orthodoxy the tends to see drugs as a quick-fix solution to all problems; and also about how some parents will get extra welfare if their child has an ADHD diagnosis. She also added that Ritalin was very similar to the amphetamines that adults take recreationally, usually referred to as “speed”.

I was horrified and outraged, but the novelist in me felt an immediate spark of excitement. Horror and outrage are the jet fuel that often get me started on a project. More than this, I felt that I had stumbled on something that sounded like the premise for a speculative sci-fi novel – a malevolent state drugging “bad” children – which was in fact happening in right here, right now.

I had just finished a novel called The Wall set in a seemingly fictional dystopia that was also a real place – The West Bank – and this premise seemed like a perfect companion to that novel. I quickly came up with the idea of Concentr8, a fictional drug similar to Ritalin, which a fictional London mayor dishes out to ever-increasing numbers of children in the wake of riots similar to those which hit the city 2011. As soon as I had Concentr8, I was on the path to Concentr8. I knew the book would be very different in tone and setting to The Wall, which preceded it, but I liked the idea of playing a similar game with readers, where as you read you learn that the seemingly fantastical setting is far closer to reality than it at first seemed. In both books, I want readers to sense the ground shifting under their feet as they progress through the book.

But I could never have written this novel if it wasn’t for one other experience, which happened to me almost ten years ago. I was in a London park, and a group of drunk people attacked me, for no reason. I was punched, pushed to the ground, and kicked in the head. The assault left me with lingering headaches but didn’t do any lasting physical damage. I was quite traumatised, though, tormented by fear and anger which circled round my head without any outlet.

Not long after this, an email from a friend arrived, asking for volunteers to mentor troubled teenagers in Camden. I decided this would be a good way to psychologically turn a corner. If my mentee was from the same world as the people who attacked me, this would be a way to confront my fears and turn them into something positive.

As it turned out my mentee was not white, like my attackers, but was a 16-year-old black kid who had been excluded from school, had a very challenging home life, no qualifications, and felt he had no career prospects whatsoever. For one year, we met more or less every week for a coffee. We slowly came to a mutual understanding and respect. In the end I don’t think I did anything to improve his life chances, but I did listen to everything he said, which seemed to be a new and empowering experience for him. I’m pretty sure, though, that I learnt more from him than he did from me.

I didn’t do it to research a novel, except in the sense that when you are a writer every experience you have is, in a sense, research. When I started writing Concentr8, almost a decade after my year of mentoring, this boy’s voice came back to me. The way he talked, the way he sat, his mannerisms and his perpetual worry about “the feds” – it all bubbled up to the surface and came out on the page. There is nothing of his direct experience in the book, but his voice is right there in the voices of the kids in the novel. Thanks to him, I also have a bedrock of understanding about how it feels to be intelligent yet failed by the education system; bright but with a feeling that society has given you no opportunities for the slightest self-advancement. Without our friendship, I wouldn’t have had the empathy or understanding to write this novel.

I no longer live in London and I’m no longer in touch with him, but, nonetheless, it is to my mentee, Darren, that I have dedicated the book.

 

ABOUT WILLIAM SUTCLIFFE:William Sutcliffe c. Maggie O'Farrell

William Sutcliffe is the author of the young adult novel The Wall, which was published in 2013 to much critical acclaim, including being short-listed for the 2014 Carnegie Medal and long-listed for the 2013 Guardian Fiction Prize. He also wrote five adult novels, including the international bestseller, Are You Experienced, and a middle-grade novel, Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom. William currently lives in Edinburgh.

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

1/18: Who R U Blog – Guest Post

1/19: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes – Pocket Letter

1/20: A Book & A Latte – How I Write

1/21: Kelly Vision – Review

1/22: The Cover Contessa – Q&A

 

Week 2:

1/25: The Petite Book Blogger – Review

1/26: Go Read A Book – Top 10

1/27: Resch Reads & Reviews – Review

1/28: Emily Reads Everything – Q&A

1/29: Avid Reader – Review

Giveaway: (US)

2 Finished Copies of CONCENTR8

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Novel Secrets: Violent Ends – Edited by Shaun Hutchinson
Sep 24th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

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VIOLENT ENDS

Edited by Shaun David Hutchinson including authors: Kendare BlakeSteve BrezenoffDelilah S. DawsonTrish DollerMargie GelbwasserE.M. KokieCynthia Leitich Smith , Tom LeveenHannah MoskowitzElisa Nader , Beth RevisMindi ScottNeal ShustermanBrandon ShustermanCourtney SummersBlythe WoolstonChristine Johnson 

Published by: Simon Pulse23341259

Pub. date: September 1, 2015

About:

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.

NOVEL SECRET: “In Memory of Aunt Debbie”

By Shaun Hutchinson

Violent Ends is an anthology that’s not an anthology. It’s a book about a school shooter, with each chapter written by a different author from the point of view of someone connected to the shooter.  Because all of the characters live in a shared world, I created some characters, places, and information about the shooter before the authors began writing their stories.  As we moved forward, the other authors also added characters and places to the world.
One of the first characters I created was a teacher named Mrs. Recupido.  In the story, she’s an art teacher who interacts with a character in the story I wrote, “The Perfect Shot,” but winds up appearing in or is referenced in a few of the other stories.  In the stories, Mrs. Recupido is an inspiration to her students; the kind of teacher who goes out of her way to help and is genuinely interested in her students’ lives.  I based that character on my Aunt Debbie, who passed away suddenly when we were beginning to write these stories.  When I attended her funeral, hundreds of students—past and present—showed up to honor Aunt Debbie.  And including her in this book full of dark stories as an inspirational figure is my small way of honoring such an amazing person who was lost too soon.

Giveaway (US Only)

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Novel Secrets Blog Tour: ALL WE HAVE IS NOW – Lisa Schroeder reveals something special & giveaway!
Aug 17th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

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ALL WE HAVE IS NOW22840148

by Lisa Schroeder

Published: July 28, 2015

Publisher: Scholastic

Buy here: IndieBound | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Connect with Lisa: TwitterGoodreads | Website |

NOVEL SECRETS:

In the NOVEL SECRETS Blog Tour, readers will discover some fascinating behind-the-scenes information connected to brand-new YA novels! I’m thrilled that author Lisa Schroeder is sharing some information that none of us would EVER have known just from reading her latest book, ALL WE HAVE IS NOW. I’m always fascinated by how authors infuse parts of themselves in their books. Lisa is no exception. Read her “I Wish Everyone Could Visit the Enchanted Forest,” to find out why she included this special place in her book.

NOVEL SECRETS BLOG TOUR – check out the following posts:

Reading Teen’s post on LEGACY OF KINGS by Eleanor HermanI Wear Ancient Dead People’s Jewelry
–  Giveaway ends August 22nd.

I Wish Everyone Could Visit the Enchanted Forest

by Lisa Schroeder

In my new novel, ALL WE HAVE IS NOW, Vince and Emerson go around helping people do fun things as they make wishes Enchanted forest 2come true before a meteor is due to destroy North America in a little over twenty-four hours. One of the places they end up going is a place called the Enchanted Forest in Salem, Oregon. What some people may not realize is that this is a very real, and very special, place, dreamt up and built by a man named Roger Tofte. In 1964, he purchased twenty acres of land and for the next seven years, he spent all of his spare time building a small amusement park smack-dab in the middle of a forest (thus the name).

Enchanted forest

Lisa Schroeder at THE MAD HATTER’S TEA PARTY display!

The fact that it feels a teensy-bit “homemade” adds to the charm of the place. I’m lucky in that I’ve been visiting the Enchanted Forest since I was a little girl. Much of it is based on children’s stories and fairy tales, so you can see why I love it so much. Over the years, they’ve added various rides in an effort to continue to attract visitors, but the trail that takes you down Storybook Lane at the beginning of the park has hardly changed in forty years. Here, visitors get to say hello to Humpty Dumpty, wave at Little Red Riding Hood, and take a trip down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole, among other things. It’s so fun to write about cool places most of the world doesn’t know about – definitely feels like letting people in on a well-kept secret.

 

GIVEAWAY: US (Only) One lucky winner will receive a signed copy of ALL WE HAVE IS NOW!

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