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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Skip Through Time with GCC Member Myra McEntire

The second book in GCC member Myra McEntire’s Hourglass series is out this month, and I have to say, it has one of the prettiest covers I’ve ever seen. Love it! (The wallpaper in the background almost looks like the stencil on my bedroom wall.) So if you’re looking for a book with a great twist on time travel, check out TIMEPIECE, out this month through Egmont USA.

As always, here’s a little bit about the book to get you hooked:

Kaleb Ballard was never supposed to be able to see ripples—cracks in time. Are Kaleb’s powers expanding, or is something very wrong? Before Kaleb can find out, Jonathan Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, reappears. Why is he back, and what, or whom, does he want?

In the wake of Landers’s return, the Hourglass organization is offered an ultimatum by a mysterious man. Either they find Landers and the research he has stolen on people who might carry the time gene, or time will be altered—with devastating results for the people Kaleb loves most.

Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their extraordinary powers to find Landers. But where do they even start? And when? Even if they succeed, just finding him may not be enough. . . . 

Here’s what Myra had to say:

Q: In ADIOS TO ALL THE DRAMA, Mariana is a bridesmaid in her cousin's wedding. How many times have you been a bridesmaid and what's the worst dress you ever wore? 

Myra: I’ve only been a bridesmaid once, and my dress was pretty sweet!

Q: I've used some of my personal background in each of my novels. Did you take any snippets from your real life when writing your latest book? Base any characters on real people?

Myra: I’ve based one character on two girls I know, and I’m actually getting ready to put two more into my third book, Infinityglass.

Q: Let's talk publishing. What was harder for you, finding an agent or an editor? Why?

Myra: They were both equal, actually. I was agented in about a month, and then once I went on sub, sold in about a month. In both cases, I am wildly blessed.

Q: Where did the idea for you latest novel come from?

Myra: One book I’m working on came from a place I used to play when I was a kid. I’ve tried to work it into so many stories, and I finally just found the right one!

Q: Where were you when you found out that your latest novel was going to be published? Tell us the story.

Myra: It’s a third book in the series, and I hoped it would sell, but nothing is certain. It took a long time from offer to signed contract, but I just signed it last week.

Thank you, Myra! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Two Books Are Better Than One With The GCC's Amanda Ashby

GCC member Amanda Ashby has two books debuting this summer, and both sound absolutely adorable. I mean, what preteen wouldn’t love the power to grant wishes? Check out WISHFUL THINKING and UNDER A SPELL, two books in her new series published by Puffin.

As always, here’s a little bit about her books to get you hooked:
Book One: Wishful Thinking
Be careful what you wish for…
After eleven year old Sophie accidentally gets herself turned into a djinn, she starts to think that it might not be so bad after all. (Of course, that’s after she gets the whole orange skin problem sorted out.) Who wouldn’t enjoy having the power to grant wishes! But when Sophie develops RWD (Random Wish Disorder) and can’t STOP granting wishes, things get more than a little mixed-up!

Book Two: Under a Spell
And that spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E…
As Sophie gets used to her magic, her relationship with the adorable Jonathan Tait is blossoming. There’s only one problem: Jonathan’s twin sister, Melissa. She’s a total mean girl who seems intent on making Sophie’s life miserable. On top of that, Melissa somehow seems to sense that Sophie has powers–and manages to bind Sophie to her in a totally self-serving way. Can Sophie figure out a way out of this–without ruining her chances with Jonathan?

Here’s what Amanda had to say:

Q: In ADIOS TO ALL THE DRAMA, Mariana is a bridesmaid in her cousin's wedding. How many times have you been a bridesmaid and what's the worst dress you ever wore? 

Amanda: I’ve never been a bridesmaid! I’m from a small family so there were no weddings growing up and not that many of my friends have had traditional marriages (not to mention the fact that I move countries a lot). However, now I feel like I’ve missed out on a rite of passage and I feel like I should invent a game called Bridesmaid Party and make everyone wear really bad dresses!

Q: I've used some of my personal background in each of my novels. Did you take any snippets from your real life when writing your latest book? Base any characters on real people?

Amanda: I’ve never based characters on real people but I definitely take snippets of myself and put them into books (Malik, who is Sophie’s ghostly djinn guide is addicted to Cheetos and American Idol and let’s just say that this in this case the literary creation didn’t fall far from the tree!).

Q: Let's talk publishing. What was harder for you, finding an agent or an editor? Why?

Amanda: An agent, definitely! I never really tried to go directly to an editor so I spent a long time writing books and trying to get an agent. Of course what I didn’t know at the time was that it wasn’t my writing that they were rejecting, it was my story and when I finally wrote the “right” story, that’s when I got an agent.

Q: Where did the idea for you latest novel come from?

Amanda: This one was a slow build. I have always loved old TV shows like Bewitched, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and I Dream of Jeannie and then when I was looking for an interesting mythology to explore I got hooked on djinns. From there I just started to explore what it would be like for a regular girl to have a secret world and a secret power that she had to hide from everyone!

Q: Where were you when you found out that your latest novel was going to be published? Tell us the story.

Amanda: My publishing sales always seem so unexciting because I live so far away from America where my agent and publisher are so we do everything by email! Anyway, my agent had told my editor that I was doing a middle grade book and would she would be interested in seeing it. She was and while she loved the idea, she asked for some revisions on the first few chapters and also asked if I had considered making it a series. So I went back and revised it and then wrote a very brief summary for two more books and we sent it back to her. A few weeks later I got an email from my agent with an offer for a three book deal.

Thank you, Amanda! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Relax And SURRENDER With GCC Member Elana Johnson

Looking for a summer book with love, intrigue, and super powers? Look no further than SURRENDER by GCC member Elana Johnson, which just debuted through Simon and Schuster.

As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked: Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn.

Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque….

Here’s what Elana had to say:

Q: In ADIOS TO ALL THE DRAMA, Mariana is a bridesmaid in her cousin's wedding. How many times have you been a bridesmaid and what's the worst dress you ever wore? 

Elana: I have never been a bridesmaid. I got married at 19, so maybe that had something to do with it…

Q: I've used some of my personal background in each of my novels. Did you take any snippets from your real life when writing your latest book? Base any characters on real people?

Elana: Absolutely! A lot of the relationships my characters have with each other is based on experiences in my own life, or things I’ve witnessed in life around me. I can’t say that I’ve based entire people on someone I know, but little snippets of their personality, sure.

Q: Let's talk publishing. What was harder for you, finding an agent or an editor? Why?

Elana: Finding an agent. I queried two books. For the second one—POSSESSION, which was published—I sent 189 letters to agents. I had a phone call with 3 different agents before someone actually offered representation. It took 8 months and was a very hard time, what with so many rejections.

Q: Where did the idea for you latest novel come from?

Elana: I just started a new contemporary novel, and the idea came from a conversation I had with my husband about one of his students. I can’t wait to write it!

Q: Where were you when you found out that your latest novel was going to be published? Tell us the story.

Elana: I was at home, sitting in the writing cave, when the email came in. A few minutes later, I called my agent, and rejoiced that Simon & Schuster was going to publish SURRENDER.

Thank you, Elana! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

GCC Member Melissa Walker Will Help UNBREAK YOUR HEART

Summer lovin’ had me a blast… Unless your love is your best friend’s boyfriend and you’re spending your summer desperately trying to forget he exists. UNBREAK MY HEART is the latest by GCC member Melissa Walker and it’s the perfect mix of romantic drama, sailboats, and beaches. It just debuted this month through Bloomsbury and everyone should add it to their list of summer beach reads.

As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked: Usually Clem would dread the idea of spending an entire summer sailing with her family—two parents, one annoying little sister, and no internet, all on one tiny boat; however, right now escaping her life on land sounds pretty good. Clem did something bad during her sophomore year, even though she didn’t mean to. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and thought that he was falling for her too. Now the school year is over, the truth is out and he’s been excused while she’s been exiled, leaving her with no friends and zero social life. When she and her family set sail the last thing Clem is looking for is another romance, but perhaps it found her anyway. His name is James. He’s cute, funny, and best of all, doesn’t know anything about her past. He and his dad are sailing the same route as Clem and her family for the summer and he's just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem's walls and unbreak her broken heart?

Here’s what Melissa had to say:

Q: In ADIOS TO ALL THE DRAMA, Mariana is a bridesmaid in her cousin's wedding. How many times have you been a bridesmaid and what's the worst dress you ever wore? 
Melissa: I've been a bridesmaid 6 times! Worst dress: One I had to have made based on fabric the bride wanted. That sounds like a cool idea, but I ended up in a matronly mess. (My fault!)

Q: I've used some of my personal background in each of my novels. Did you take any snippets from your real life when writing your latest book? Base any characters on real people?

Melissa: Yes! I had an awful friend breakup and I mined a lot of those emotions for UNBREAK MY HEART.

Q: Let's talk publishing. What was harder for you, finding an agent or an editor? Why?

Melissa: Finding an editor was harder--I had no clue about who I could work well with or how each publishing house worked... my agent I really liked instantly.

Q: Where did the idea for you latest novel come from?
Melissa: The aforementioned friend breakup had a lot to do with it... and I also spent a lot of time sailing with my parents as a teen.

Q: Where were you when you found out that your latest novel was going to be published? Tell us the story.
Melissa: I was actually on a trip with three of my best friends from high school when I heard that Bloomsbury liked the synopsis I'd written for this book and wanted to go ahead with the idea. It was great! We were on the central coast of California--in Morro Bay, to be exact--and we had mimosas to celebrate!

Thank you, Melissa! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

Friday, June 1, 2012

How to Save the Arts In Philadelphia

How many of you played an instrument in elementary school? Performed in your school choir? Won an art competition? Climbed a rope in gym class? Well, consider yourselves lucky, because if Pennsylvania legislatures have their way, not too many students in our state will be able to say the same.

A few weeks ago, the Upper Darby School District, which is on the border of Philadelphia serving 12,000 students speaking more than 60 languages, unveiled its new budget. In it, the administration announced it plan to cut “art, music, library and gym into the elementary classrooms and eliminate foreign language and technology in middle schools and reduce the teaching staff by 60-plus members at a budget savings of $4 million,” according to the Delaware County Times.
Wow.
It boggles the mind, really. The first lady of the United States has made childhood obesity her main cause, and yet school districts still have no qualms cutting gym. Entertainment is probably one of our country's greatest exports, yet we’re going to cut art, music, and pretty much all creative thinking out of our curriculum.
And cutting the library? Seriously? It’s as if schools aren’t even trying to pretend that there is more to research than Wikipedia. Who needs books? Who needs reading for pleasure? Buy a laptop, that’s all a kid needs.
Thankfully, the Upper Darby community does not share the views of its school board. Parents, teachers, residents, and even Tina Fey (an Upper Darby alum) have spoken out asking for support and signatures to show the district, and the state, how important they feel the arts are to their students.
And so have many young adult authors.
I grew up down the road from Upper Darby in Ridley Township, PA. We played the Royals in sports. And I have a friend who teaches in one of the elementary schools that’s being hit with these cuts. This is a cause that’s close to my heart, and thankfully some of my author friends have joined in the fight.
Please watch our video. And if you support the arts in Upper Darby and you want to stop the snowball effect before these cuts become commonplace and reach a school near you, please sign the online petition  before the June 6th school board meeting. Thanks for your help! And thank you to all of the authors who tweeted and who submitted videos, especially: Elise Allen, Jessica Brody, Eileen Cook, Jenny O'Connell, Debbie Rigaud, and Melissa Walker.


Copyright © 2008 Diana Rodriguez Wallach, All Rights Reserved