Category Archives: Featured Book

Court by Cat Patrick: Q&A + Contest

featured books
Today, we’ve got a really cool featured book to share with you — Court by Cat Patrick, a really original novel about a hidden monarchy within the United States!

court_150[2]Here’s more:

For more than 300 years, a secret monarchy has survived and thrived within the borders of the US, hiding in plain sight as the state known as Wyoming. But when the king is shot and his seventeen-year-old son, Haakon McHale, is told he will take the throne, becoming the eleventh ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, the community that’s survived for centuries is pushed to the limit. Told through four perspectives, Court transplants us to a world that looks like ours, but isn’t. Gwendolyn Rose, daughter of the Duke of Coal, is grudgingly betrothed to Haakon — and just wants a way out. Alexander Oxendine, son of the Duke of Wind and Haakon’s lifelong best friend, already grapples with internal struggles when he’s assigned to guard Haakon after the king dies. And commoner Mary Doyle finds whispers in the woods that may solve — or destroy — everything, depending on your bloodline.

Money. Love. Power. Community. What’s your motivation?

Order Court here!

And now, here’s a quick Q&A with Cat Patrick:

cat patrick picIs this a start of a series?

I hope to write at least one more book, yes.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

I do: I definitely pick up books in the store or library with covers that appeal to me. With the male lead in Court, I felt it was really important not to do the typical girl-on-the-cover thing that happens in a lot of YA books today.

Advice for aspiring authors

From one of my six-year-old daughters: “Think of something that happened to you. Touch and tell across pages. Write a quick sketch so you don’t forget. Then write the words.”

I’m not kidding. She just said that.

For me, I think the most important thing is to just do it. I hear from people all the time: “I want to publish a book.” And they haven’t written the book yet. Also, unlike my kiddo, I purposely don’t write down book ideas—or sketch them. If I forget them before it’s time to write then you’ll forget them before it’s time to read.

If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

Forgetting that I have a wild imagination and am now dreaming up scenarios where I get permanently stuck in someone else’s body, I’d choose someone with a very different life from mine for a new perspective, like Coco Chanel or the head of NASA or a plumber.

Favorite holiday?

Halloween. I love dressing up and fall is my favorite time of year.

About Cat Patrick:

Raised in a house that was struck by lightning–twice–Cat Patrick is the author of young adult books ForgottenRevived, and The Originals, and the co-author of Just Like Fate.

As a child, Cat could be found making up stories like her first book, Dolly the Purple Spotted Dolphin; growing corn in the backyard; or performing with a traveling sign-language troupe. She earned a journalism degree from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree from Boston University, and worked in public relations for fifteen years. She lives outside of Seattle with her husband and twin daughters, and is on Twitter @seecatwrite, or Facebook at authorcatpatrick.

Cat once…

  • Interrupted Warren Beatty’s lunch to snap a picture with him.
    • Appeared on a game show, but not as a competitor.
    • Climbed a 50 foot tower and rappelled back down. (At least she thinks it was 50 feet.)
    • Met Muhammad Ali.
    • Was on the high school golf team.
    • Got a tattoo.
    • Was pooped on by a dolphin.
    • Performed a high kick routine to Personal Jesus.
    • Interviewed Carmen Electra.
    • Worked as a “concessionist” at a movie theater.
    • Met the guy who created Sonic the Hedgehog.

Cat likes… Crunchy snacks, decaf nonfat lattes, mint chip ice cream, Alan Rickman, zombies from afar, traveling, reading, easy hikes, challenging plotlines, stargazing, silly hats, and boots.

Cat dislikes… Talking on the phone, socks with holes, zombies close up, the flu, mean people, touching ice, copyedits, flying, spiders, squeaky windshield wipers, black licorice, and salmon.

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Enter to win one of two sets of signed copies of ALL of Cat’s previous books (4 in all)!

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to get started.

Enter to win Sublime by Christina Lauren

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To wrap-up our week-long feature on Sublime by Christina Lauren, we’re giving you a chance to win a copy of your very own. But first, don’t miss any of sublimethis week’s posts:

Here’s all the ways you can enter to win Sublime:

  • Comment below & tell us why you want to read it!
  • Follow Christina Lauren on Twitter
  • Follow Novel Novice on Twitter
  • Tweet about the contest

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to start earning entries!

Contest is open to the U.S. only, and ends at midnight (PT) on Friday, October 17th.

Q&A with Sublime authors Christina Lauren – Part 3

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Today, we conclude our 3-part Q&A with Sublime authors Christina Lauren with a round of flash questions! If you missed it, catch part 1 here and part 2 here.

(Lauren on the left, Christina on the right!)

(Lauren on the left, Christina on the right!)

Favorite decade?

Christina: Now

Lo: The current one

Must-have writing snack?

Christina: Sour patch kids

Lo: There isn’t any must have, actually, but I like having coffee when I start in the morning.

Favorite Disney movie?

Christina: Sleeping Beauty

Lo: Tangled

sublimeThe beach or the mountains?

Christina: Beach

Lo: Mountains

Song that can always get you dancing?

Christina: Always changing, right now LoveStoned

Lo: Same—always changing, but right now R U Mine by Arctic Monkeys

Name 5 things currently on your desk (or in your writing space), and share a photo, if possible

Christina: coffee, iPhone, notebook, copy of Sublime, bracelet a reader gave us

Lo: coffee, iPhone, pen, bowl that holds my random stuff, Post-It notes, iPhone cord. Phone not pictured because . . . took the picture with my phone. Had to turn off my monitors b/c they were so bright but yeah, I’m writing all day all night right now.

christina lauren desk

 

Tune in for part 3 of our Q&A tomorrow!

The Shadow Lantern Author Teresa Flavin’s Guest Post: Spooky Reads

halloween reads

Today, I am pleased to present a Halloween-worthy guest post from Teresa Flavin, author of The Blackhope Enigma Trilogy. The Shadow Lantern, the third and final book in the series, came out earlier this year — and the entire trilogy makes for a perfectly spooky read leading up to Halloween.

Learn more about the series below, but FIRST check out a great guest post from Teresa about SPOOKY READS! Thanks for stopping by, Teresa.

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Spooky Reads
A Guest Post by Teresa Flavin

It’s Halloween and you’re crossing an overgrown cemetery. Fallen leaves are swirling around old gravestones. Dusk is descending and shadows are growing longer. Soon it will be completely dark. Suddenly something crackles behind you. A twig falling, a cat on its way home – or something more ominous? Your heart beats a little faster as you turn around but nothing is there. You walk faster and something crackles again, closer behind you. This time you don’t look around. You’re too busy racing away.

shadow lanternI nearly got palpitations writing that even though it’s full of clichés. Why? Because I have an overactive imagination and I’m a bit of a scaredy-cat. I can’t take gory, violent stories and movies but I love ghostly, mysterious ones.

What makes for a spooky read? I think the best stories start with a character that we can identify with and put him or her into a situation that may seem quite ordinary at first. Then something subtle happens to suggest that all is not quite right. Perhaps there is a presence or the character feels he is being watched in a particular place. Or something appears in the corner of his eye and when he tries to pin it down, nothing is there. Do we believe this character or is something wrong with him?

The great stories ratchet up tension in the character and in us. A brooding atmosphere unnerves us but even a bright, sunny setting can be freakish if we fear something frightful is watching our hero. The author may tease us with tiny bits of new information about a terrible tragedy in the past or a person who vanished into a certain forest or maybe a house no one dares go into. We begin to connect these tidbits with our feeling of trepidation. Perhaps at that point the author eases off, distracts us and makes us think we were just dreaming. As we relax, the author ambushes us with a new revelation. That old lady our hero asked directions from? Why, she’s been dead for ten years. He couldn’t possibly have spoken to her.

And those footsteps the hero heard overhead? Impossible. There is no floor above his room.

shadow lantern halloweenHow did that stone statue get closer to our hero? Statues can’t move! But it has moved. Our imaginations go into overdrive. The creepiest images are in our own heads. Yes, witches, vampires, ghouls (and, for some people, clowns) are scary but nothing gives me the shivers as much as a force which remains unseen and unexplained. And yet, many ghost stories ultimately arouse our sympathies too. Often there is a great personal tragedy to explain why a spirit haunts a certain room or walks a particular location.

When I was researching the final book in my trilogy, The Shadow Lantern, which is set in a Scottish castle at Halloween, I learned that All Hallow’s Eve is the time in the year when the barriers between our world and the ‘unseen’ world are thinnest. The idea that dark forces cross into our space on that night is universally spooky but we enjoy the thrill because we know that dawn will conquer the night and push the ghosts back to where they belong. And we can happily shiver to the words of a supernatural story while we’re cozy beside a campfire or tucked up under our quilts while the autumn wind howls outside.

Thank you to Novel Novice for hosting me today and Happy Halloween to everyone!

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Photo by Ian Marshall

Photo by Ian Marshall

About Teresa Flavin:

Teresa Flavin was born in New York and studied art in Boston and at Syracuse University. After moving to Glasgow, Scotland, she was awarded the Scottish Arts Council New Writers Bursary. She has illustrated a number of picture books. Her first novel, The Blackhope Enigma, was nominated for a Cybil Award. Teresa Flavin lives in Scotland.

Website: http://www.flavinauthor.com/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TeresaFlavinTwitter:  @TeresaFlavin

Google+ : https://plus.google.com/112373948785537399170/postsTumblr: http://teresaflavin.tumblr.com/

About The Shadow Lantern:

Sunni and Blaise face their most dangerous challenge yet in their third and final adventure.

When a mysterious oil lantern and a box of painted slides appear at Blackhope Tower, Sunni and Blaise are drawn back to the place where their adventures first began. When they discover that the slides conceal secrets about artist-magician Fausto Corvo, the pair find themselves once again caught up in a deadly pursuit. An old enemy is still tracking Corvo and will stop at nothing to find him. Sunni and Blaise must fight to protect Corvo’s secrets and rid themselves of Soranzo’s evil threat once and for all.

Check out a free chapter sampler HERE!

Q&A with Sublime authors Christina Lauren – Part 2

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Today, we bring you part 2 of our 3-part Q&A with Sublime authors Christina Lauren. If you missed it, catch part 1 here.

sublimeDo you feel good with where you’ve left Colin and Lucy’s story, or do you foresee a sequel in the future?

It’s an interesting question, whether we feel good about it. It’s the ending that we kept coming back to. We’ve talked a lot about doing a sequel, and we know how it would play out. If there was interest there on the reader end, then sure. But it could also be something we just play with a bit in out-takes on our site, to get out of our system and show the readers how it all works after the book ends.

(Lauren on the left, Christina on the right!)

(Lauren on the left, Christina on the right!)

I’m always curious about writing teams. What system have you two worked out for writing together? (Especially given how far away you live!) 

We’ve been really lucky this year with all the travel. Thirty one cities, several countries, and we see each other all the time. It makes the outlining process really easy now, because we always do that in person. But it has made the actual drafting process harder because it’s nearly impossible for us to write while we’re on the road. So, generally we outline together, split the book up into who is writing what (sometimes it’s by POV, male versus female) and sometimes it’s just by the kind of scene (for example, Christina is really great at building a setting, and visual description; Lo is great at the emotionally intense scenes), and then we write. We write in shared documents so we can always see what the other did, and of course we talk or Skype all day long, so it’s almost like we’re in the same house, just different rooms.

 

Tune in for part 3 of our Q&A tomorrow!

Q&A with Sublime authors Christina Lauren – Part 1

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Today, we bring you part 1 of our 3-part Q&A with Sublime authors Christina Lauren. Thanks for stopping by, ladies!

(Lauren on the left, Christina on the right!)

(Lauren on the left, Christina on the right!)

You guys have written several adult novels together already. What was it like switching gears for your first YA? 

Actually, Sublime was a book we wrote before any of the adult books happened! We wrote it back in late 2011-early 2012 when our first YA (the book with which we signed our agent, Holly Root) was out on submission to editors. That first book went out to a small handful of editors and they enjoyed it, but passed ultimately because it had a lot of mythology, and YA was at the tail end of a trend back in 2012 (the Rick Riordan juggernaut aside). Holly felt that Sublime had better commercial potential, and so we almost immediately went out with that book instead. We had a revise and resubmit offer from Zareen Jaffery at S&S BFYR that we decided to go with. Only a couple weeks later, Beautiful Bastard went out to editors and essentially sold in a matter of hours. It’s simply a difference in the two genres’ publication cycles that had seven adult books out before Sublime was released.

We can say, though, that after writing a couple of the adult books, it was really nice to come back to revise Sublime for Zareen. Different voice, different speed. We think it’s good for writers to stretch all those muscles sometimes. It takes a different kind of creativity to write ghosty spookiness than it does to write sexy adult. It’s great that we can do both.

sublimeYour adult books are also contemporary, and SUBLIME is a supernatural story. Was there anything different about your approach with this genre? 

The adult books are meant to be fun to read—a way to relax and unwind. They’re not meant to be deep or world-altering. Perhaps relatedly, they’re fun to write; we make ourselves laugh and we act like piglets and it’s sort of unreal that we get paid to do it.

Sublime was such a different experience because we felt so tenderly about it. We were earnest and kind of bare here. Being able to go overboard with atmosphere was a blast. Dialing up the tension but having to keep things vague was also a blast. But it’s a darker book, and that was sometimes hard because we generally are pretty goofy people. While writing, we felt a little like we were in the caboose of a train that was hell bent on following a certain path. We told the story that felt the most genuine to us, and it took a lot more out of us. Also? Paranormal is hard. You create the rules—which is fun—but then you have to stick to them—which sometimes sucks. But in the end, it was a wild ride.

Colin and Lucy have a captivating romance. What do you think makes their love story so powerful? 

We may be too close to the story to be able to answer this very articulately. This project is a labor of love that has spanned nearly 4 years, and these characters have been in our lives for so long that they’ve begun to feel real, and have depth outside of the pages.

It may be because there’s that yearning there—when we’re teens we feel everything so intensely, and we are also at a point where we enjoy touching (honesty time). Putting those things together creates a sort of blissful torture. It’s the same thing that’s been explored in countless books: I want to touch you, but I can’t. What we wanted to do is flip the trope on its head: what if the boy was the one doing crazy things to try to obtain the girl? Colin is a gentle soul—despite his wild, rugged nature—and that may contribute to the power of the love story: you watch him on this spiral and know there isn’t anything you can do to stop it, really, because he was sort of fated to head there.

Tune in for part 2 of our Q&A tomorrow!

Introducing Sublime by Christina Lauren

featured books
Today, we kick-off a week-long feature spotlighting Sublime by Christina Lauren, the first YA novel from the bestselling author duo behind the New Adult Beautiful Bastard series. As we get things started, here’s a look at what the book’s all about:

sublimeTrue love may mean certain death in a ghostly affair of risk and passion from New York Times bestselling duo Christina Lauren, authors of Beautiful Bastard. Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of Shatter Me calls Sublime “a beautiful, haunting read”.

When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.

Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed…

Learn more:

GoodReads | Website | Christina’s Twitter | Lauren’s Twitter | Facebook

Contest: Win a copy of Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy

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As we wrap up our week-long feature on the magical middle grade novel Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy, we want to give some of you lucky readers a chance to win your own copy!

Deadly Delicious - ebook coverThe Prizes:

One winner (U.S. only) will receive a signed paperback of Deadly Delicious

One winner (Int’l) will receive an e-book of Deadly Delicious

(All prizes courtesy K.L. Kincy)

How to Enter:

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form here. You can gain add’l entries by following Novel Novice & K.L. Kincy on various social media, and by commenting below.

Just tell us in the comments below … what is one magical ingredient you’d add to your own baking!

The Deadline:

This contest will run through midnight (PT) on Friday, August 1st.

Questions? Leave ‘em in the comments & we’ll reply!

Exclusive Excerpt from Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy

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Today we have an exclusive excerpt from Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy:

Deadly Delicious - ebook coverI bound up the crooked stairs and slip into the kitchen. “Mama?” I call.

No reply.

Cooling on top of Mama’s prized pink appliances, her secret-recipe DeLune DeLuxe doughnuts perfume the air with the aromas of happiness, confidence, and good luck. My head gets all whirly as I breathe in deep.

These doughnuts are pretty enough to be hanging on a Christmas tree. They’re all twinkly with sprinkles, and plump enough that I’m just itching to squeeze them. Oh, look, chocolate filling leaking from the good luck doughnut. I glance around the kitchen. The coast’s clear, so I dip my pinkie into the chocolate.

A stinging blow lands on my knuckles. Mama’s choice walnut-wood spatula.

Even though she can’t actually poof from a cloud of smoke, it still scares the bejesus out of me when she pounces like that. She’s wearing her favorite coral pink suit and pillbox hat, her hair all glossy—she must have just drove up.

“For customers only,” Mama says.

Like I don’t have any wishes of my own.

Check out more & order your copy of Deadly Delicious here!

Exclusive Q&A with Deadly Delicious author K.L. Kincy

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As part of our week-long feature on Deadly Delicious,today we bring you an exclusive Q&A with the author, K.L. Kincy!

Karen - author photo2DEADLY DELICIOUS was your first foray into middle grade. Did anything surprise you while writing MG?

Deadly Delicious was supposed to be a young adult book, actually! When I started writing it, I realized that Josephine was younger than I’d thought. Then I revised the book to make Josephine officially 12 years old. Everything started to click after that. The sweet romance, the friendship drama, and the growing pains of a witch.

I love the idea of mixing magic with cooking … I mean, a good recipe really CAN taste like magic! If you had powers like Josephine and her mom, what sort of conjure would you cook up for yourself? 

I would totally bake some DeLune DeLuxe doughnuts. Who wouldn’t want happiness, confidence, and good luck in a delicious doughnut?

The setting for DEADLY DELICIOUS is really great, and your descriptions of it are so vivid. Have you traveled to those areas? Did you research the locations? How did you bring them to life? 

My grandparents live in Sikeston, Missouri, and I know the Kincy family has lived in the area for over a hundred years. When I was a kid, I was fascinated by all the katydids, Osage oranges, stick insects, and magnolias. While writing Deadly Delicious, I also collected inspirations on a Pinterest board.

Deadly Delicious - ebook coverI adore your cover. How did you get such an awesome cover? 

My cover artist, Kirbi Fagan, did an awesome job. You can see some of the earlier drafts of the cover on her website.

What are you working on now? 

I’m writing dieselpunk romance for adults, and I’m also drafting a young adult regency that involves ladies with a tendency to transform into cats.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Favorite decade?

I’d say the 1950s, for writing this book. ;)

Must-have writing snack?

Cherry cream cheese danishes at a local cafe, but sparingly!

Favorite Disney movie? 

Aladdin. I loved that movie when I was a kid, and watched the old VHS tape almost to death.

The beach or the mountains? 

Beach! Mountains involve climbing and panting for breath.

Song that can always get you dancing? 

“Lose Yourself to Dance” by Daft Punk, with Pharrell. Once I was getting ready to run a 5K race and the song came on, so my whole running group started skipping to the song.

Name 5 things currently on your desk (or in your writing space), and share a photo, if possible

I have my writing notebooks by my computer and a few toys. The hedgehog came from a Japanese bookstore in Seattle. The stingray came from the aquarium in Denver. I got to pet and feed real stingrays there, and they felt like wet mushrooms!

 Karen's writing stuff