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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
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.
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.
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 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.
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For the past four years, Wisconsin and Illinois authors/bloggers/librarians/teachers have gathered together for a luncheon inspired by foods mentioned in various novels. This may have been our best year yet! After all, we had some fantastic new people join us, including Alyssa of lifeofabookenthusiast.wordpress.com, who drove all the way from Michigan to be with us! Though people are still talking about the Dragon Risotto from The Fault in Our Stars, which we had three years ago. 😀
There is no way this event could be done without my awesome co-host Heidi Zweifel of YA Bibliophile. Together with Alyssa, we had a blast cooking together, laughing and yes, tasting.
Our group included: Monica Fumarolo, Heidi Zweifel, Kristen Harvey, Alyssa Perrin, Erin Arkin, Jaime Arkin, Rachel Kinnard, Lori Lee and her daughter, Phoebe Dyer, Mary Evers, Tara Jordan, Liz Czukas, Jenny Chou, Silvia Acevedo, Melissa Gorzelanczyk, Emily Alfano, Jaimie M., and me!
As part of our fun celebration, everyone received an ARC of Wisconsin debut YA author Melissa Gorzelanczk’s ARROWS, which is being published by Delacorte Press on January 26, 2015! We’re all proud of Melissa and are excited for her book to come out in the world.
In addition to enjoying outstanding company and yummy food, everyone brought books to donate to the new Sojourner Family Peace Center’s library!
Strawberry Fields Salad – We Can Work It Out
Deviled Eggs – Keeping the Moon
Guac & Chips – What Happened to Goodbye, When Joss Met Matt
Trail Mix – The Start of Me and You
Tomato Salad – Better Than Perfect
Make Your Own Pizza – Saint Anything, Lying Out Loud, G0D Awful Loser
Pies – Hello?, The Devil You Know
Hummingbird Cake – Rebel Belle
Chocolate Chip Cookies – The Boy in the Black Suit, Arrows
Raspberry Lemonade – The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Hot Chocolate – A Court of Thorns and Roses
Coke/Diet Coke – What Happened to Goodbye, Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless
Sweet Tea – Persuasion
This is my Hello? bookmark handcrafted by Liza @ReadingwithABC! It’s my FAVORITE! Liza was so incredible generous to make additional bookmarks for giveaways!
The selection of gorgeous bookmarks!
Tricia: A girl struggling to find her way after her beloved grandma’s death.
Emerson: A guy who lives his life to fulfill promises, real and hypothetical.
Angie: A girl with secrets she can only express through poetry.
Brenda: An actress and screenplay writer afraid to confront her past.
Brian: A potter who sets aside his life for Tricia, to the detriment of both.
Linked and transformed by one phone call, Hello? weaves together these five Wisconsin teens’ stories into a compelling narrative of friendship and family, loss and love, heartbreak and healing, serendipity, and ultimately hope.
Told from all five viewpoints: narration (Tricia), narration (Emerson), free verse poetry (Angie), screenplay format (Brenda), narration and drawings (Brian).
(The Glee Version! I just had to share since it was one of my favorite moments on the show!)
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My bookish day started out with a reunion with Hannah from the Irish Banana and Andye from Reading Teen. Without any doubt, I’ve missed these girls so much!
Another part of my special day was meeting Andye and Hannah’s roommates, Krista from Krista’s Book Jacket. Later on in the week, we spent some quality time talking fave mystery romance books on our way to the Harlequin High Tea. Loved it! I also met the amazing blogger Valerie from Stuck In Books. How had I not known about her and her incredible blog before this moment, I have no idea. After years of following the classy Andi from Andi’s ABCs on Instagram and Twitter, we finally met. If you’re not following her fashion tips on Instagram, it’s a must. I can’t tell you how many times I told her, “I love your outfit!”
One of the best parts of being on Twitter and a part of the YA blogger/author community, is that I have felt emotionally connected to many of the people I follow. It might seem strange to some that you can form those kinds of relationships without meeting someone, especially when the communication is in 140 characters, but it’s TRUE. I had an incredible reunion filled with lots of hugs from Meg and Kassiah from Swoony Boys Podcast. Hung out with Milwaukee blogger dear friends Erin and Jaime from Fiction Fare, talked with Liza from Reading with ABC, who’s handmade bookmarks are so beautiful. She gave them out to people at the Harlequin Teen Breakfast, and I was lucky to receive one. It’s now one of my most favorite bookmarks EVER!
A downfall of mentioning people is ALWAYS leaving someone out. Without a doubt, I’ve done it. It’s been over two weeks since I arrived in NYC, and that Tuesday is now flashes of memories. Attending the following events, I relished in being surrounded by the most talented book people. It was, still is, an honor to walk among you.
Next stop was the Teen Author Carnival. It was so amazing to catch up with authors and bloggers I hadn’t seen for a year. I also met quite a few new people or people I’ve known on twitter and felt like I’ve known forever. Most of all, I was incredibly proud of Andye for doing a spectacular job MCing a panel on “Emotions,” which featured authors Kody Keplinger, Tiffany Schmidt, Katie McGarry, Elizabeth Eulberg, Adam Silvera, and Jesse Andrews.
Before the event started, I met my Spencer Hill Contemporary publicist for the first time. The crazy thing was, that it didn’t feel like the first time. From moment one, we’ve been close. She’s not just my publicist, but someone I absolutely adore. We’ve fit seamlessly into each other’s daily lives! I also met Kathy Coe of Glass of Wine Bloodspot, a blogger Kelly had introduced to me to via Twitter/Goodreads/Facebook etc. last January. Kathy wasn’t the only blogger from Canada who made the event. She introduced me to many other Ottawa bloggers. Lovely, lovely people, and many of them had participated in the #HelloFrom Ottawa photograph that brought me to tears when I first saw it! A special shoutout to the beautiful Danielle Ellison, with whom I had a very joyous reunion with! Meeting her 4 years ago on a rooftop changed my life and is linked to the publication of HELLO? I love looking back and seeing how wondrous—no, miraculous—these situations are!
For the first time in 4 years, I didn’t host the BEA Rooftop Party. Instead, Hannah of the Irish Banana and Andye of Reading Teen did a PHENOMENAL job putting an event together at their hotel. Bloggers, some authors, and publicists from all over came together for an informal evening. I started the night pouring wine, collecting garbage, and introducing publicists to bloggers. I was having a blast! And then . . .
Much to my surprise, Hannah and Andye arranged for part of the night to be dedicated to my FIRST signing for HELLO?. I knew Hannah had requested ARCs. I knew she wanted people to receive them at the party. And right before the event, Hannah told me that she wanted people to have the opportunity to sign them. BUT I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT EXPECT THAT IT WOULD BE AN EVENT! I just thought that if someone wanted one, he or she would take it out of the box. If they wanted me to sign it, of course I’d sign. BUT NO! People lined up! We ran out of ARCs!!!!!! I could have signed many more!! I was in a happy daze. And Hannah and Andye? They had the biggest grins on their faces!
And the signing wasn’t the only surprise! Becca Fowler of Pivot Book Reviews painted a spectacular book bag with the “vintage” cover of HELLO?. I was so blown away I had tears in my eyes. (Check out her twitter feed to see more spectacular book tote bags!) Still, there was more!!! I was presented with my own ARC of HELLO? with signatures from everyone who attended the event! When I had my book signing at BEA on Friday, I brought my special ARC along to have more people sign. That ARC will go with me to all my book events.
The memories of this evening and these cherished gifts will stay with me forever. I am so truly humbled and deeply grateful to Hannah and Andye. A shout-out to my wonderful publicist, Kelly Hager, who not only knew about the evening and kept it a secret, but also sat by my side and helped me with the signing. Thank you to all the bloggers, publicists (It was fantastic talking to so many of them! We often connect via email about books, but this was great having one-on-one time!), authors, and my editors for their tremendous support and enthusiasm for HELLO?! HAPPY READING!!!!!
To read a synopsis, click on my Hello? page or on Stuart Krichevsky’s Literary Agency Liza Wiemer page. I will have more to share in the upcoming months, but I wanted to start today by describing the journey to publication.