August 20, 2014

Writing Club Wednesday: The Class of 2k15

We're going to start doing something a little different with our Wednesdays here at YA Misfits. Since it sometimes feels as if we've exhausted every writing topic we can possibly talk about, we've decided to change our Wednesday focus to the books produced by all this wonderful writing.

And I get to kick off the change by shamelessly promoting the Class of 2k15!



What is the Class of 2k15, you ask? Every year, a small group of YA and MG writers gets together and helps promote each other's books, plan events, and reach out to booksellers, librarians, and teachers. There was a Class of 2k14, a Class of 2k13, etc. etc... Being part of the class is a great honor, and since I was fortunate enough to find a spot in 2k15, I wanted to hop on over here and share our twenty amazing books with you! SO HERE GOES (...in alphabetical order, of course).

COURTNEY ALAMEDA :: SHUTTER
YA Horror
Release date - February 3rd, 2015


Goodreads Synopsis: Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.


YA Fantasy
Release Date - Fall 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: The first of a duet, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN is a reimagining of The Arabian Nights, where the wits of one girl are the only thing standing between a vulnerable kingdom and its ruthless boy-king.














YA Psychological Thriller
Release Date - May 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: Chandler Baker’s debut ALIVE, pitched as in the vein of Gayle Foreman and Lauren Oliver, is about a girl recovering from a heart transplant, whose recovery (acclimating back to home and school life) also introduces disturbing side effects and hallucinations that haunt her every day, as she soon discovers the line between life and death is more fragile than even a girl with a replacement heart could imagine.











YA Contemporary 
Release Date - December 31st, 2014

Goodreads Synopsis: If you want more, you have to give less.


That’s the secret to dating in high school. By giving as little as they expect to get in return, seventeen-year-old Aubrey Housing and her three best friends have made it to the second semester of their senior year heartbreak-free. And it’s all thanks to a few simple rules: don’t commit, don’t be needy, and don’t give away your heart.

So when smoking-hot Nathan Diggs transfers to Lincoln High, it shouldn’t be a big deal. At least that’s what Aubrey tells herself. But Nathan’s new-boy charm, his kindness, and his disarming honesty throw Aubrey off her game and put her in danger of breaking the most important rule of all: Don’t fall in love.





YA Near-future half-verse
Release Date - May 12th, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa, though, doesn't want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view-Sudasa's in verse and Kiran's in prose-allowing readers to experience both characters' pain and their brave struggle for hope.


YA Historical Fantasy
Release Date: June 1st, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: THE WITCH HUNTER is set in an alternative 16th-century London. In the story, pitched as SHADOW AND BONE meets THE TUDORS, the only girl in the king's elite group of witch hunters is framed for being a witch herself, finding freedom at the hands of the world's most wanted wizard. 












YA Contemporary Romantic Fantasy
Release Date: April 28th, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: High school senior Jonathan Aubrey creates worlds at will. In Kylie-Simms-is-my-girlfriend, he’s given himself everything he doesn’t have in real life-–the track team, passing grades, and his dream girl–-until one day he confuses his worlds and almost kisses the real Kylie Simms. Now his girlfriend Kylie and the real Kylie are changing, and Jonathan must solve the mystery of his own life to save his love from a gruesome fate.













SONA CHARAIPOTRA & DHONIELLE CLAYTON :: 
TINY PRETTY THINGS
YA Contemporary
Release Date: Summer 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: TINY PRETTY THINGS digs beneath the practiced poise of a cutthroat Manhattan ballet academy, where three young protagonists all fight for prima position while navigating secrets, lies, and the pressure that comes with being prodigies. 

Free-spirited new girl Giselle just wants to dance – but the very act might kill her. Upper East Side-bred Bette lives in the all-encompassing shadow of her ballet star sister, but the weight of family expectations brings out a dangerous edge in her. Perfectionist June forever stands in the wings as an understudy, but now she’s willing to do whatever it takes – even push someone out the way – to take the stage. 

In a world where every other dancer is both friend and foe, the girls have formed the tenuous bond that comes with being the best of the best. But when New York City Ballet Conservatory newbie Giselle is cast as the lead in The Nutcracker – opposite Bette’s longtime love Alec – the competition turns deadly.



MG Fantasy
Release Date: February 10th, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.

Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.

Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre. 

And what he knows will change Kym’s life. 

MG Humor
Release Date: February 24th, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: It is 1895. Stan is on a mission to find his long-lost father in the logging camps of Michigan. And he's embellishing all of it in his stupendous scrapbook. 

There are many things that 11-year-old Stanley Slater would like to have in life, most of all, a father. But what if Stan's missing dad isn't "dearly departed" after all? Who better to find this absent hero/cowboy/outlaw than manly Stan himself? Unfortunately, Stan's fending off his impossible cousin Geri, evil Granny, and Mama's suitors like Cold-Blooded Killer Stinky Pete. If only he could join the River Drive, the most perilous adventure of all, where even a fellow's peavey is at risk.

It's a wild ride for Stan as he finds out about true manliness. But at least Stan has his scrapbook, full of 200 black-and-white 19th-century advertisements and photos, "augmented" with his commentary and doodles. 

Stan's tale will leave readers in stitches, but not the kind that require medical attention.

YA Contemporary
Release Date - Fall 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: It's hard enough being a teenage girl without having to deal with a Y-chromosome. 

Halfway through her senior year, track start Kristin Lattimer finds out that she’s intersex – neither girl nor boy, but something in between. When her best friend leaks the news to her high school, she’s forced to question the true definitions of loyalty, love, and what it really means to be a woman.










YA Contemporary
Release Date - Fall 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: For the Record is a glimpse into the modern music scene in which a girl unexpectedly becomes the lead singer of an indie darling band and captures the attention of a Hollywood it-boy.














YA Thriller/Drama
Release Date - February 3rd, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: It’s been nearly two decades since the Red Allies first attacked New York, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp, ruled by Warden Rolladin and her brutal, impulsive warlords. For 17-year-old Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s 16-year-old sister, Phee, the P.O.W. camp is a dangerous playground of possibility, and the only home she’d ever want.

When Sky and Phee discover their mom’s hidden journal from the outbreak of the war, they both realize there’s more to Manhattan—and their mother—than either of them had ever imagined. And after a group of strangers arrives at the annual P.O.W. census, the girls begin to uncover the island’s long-kept secrets. The strangers hail from England, a country supposedly destroyed by the Red Allies, and Rolladin’s lies about Manhattan’s captivity begin to unravel.

Hungry for the truth, the sisters set a series of events in motion that ends in the death of one of Rolladin’s guards. Now they’re outlaws, forced to join the strange Englishmen on an escape mission through Manhattan. Their flight takes them into subways haunted by cannibals, into the arms of a sadistic cult in the city’s Meatpacking District, and, through the pages of their mom’s old journal, into the island’s dark and shocking past. Sky and Phee are dependent on each other, and their ragged posse, for survival, but as their feelings grow toward the handsome English boy Ryder, love and jealousy threaten to break them apart.

While primarily a thriller, Manhattan Savages is also a story about the many meanings of sisterhood, told across two generations of New York women—those who survived a terrible tragedy, and those who were raised to live in its aftermath.

YA Science Fiction
Release Date - April 8th, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Carr “the Raptor” Luka is an athletic phenom, a rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing. Training and competing aboard the lunar orbiting city-station of Valtego (where It’s More Fun on the Dark Side TM), all he’s ever wanted is to win the championship title.

His talent and marketability don’t go unnoticed by the top brass of the Zero Gravity Fighting Association. They assign him a brandhelm; after all, anyone who wants to be anyone needs a dedicated personal marketing strategist. Beautiful and ambitious, Risha is one of the genetically engineered Martian colonists that Earth dwellers view with resentment and suspicion. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity, and stolen his heart along the way.

But success could be the worst thing that happens to them. As his fame grows, Carr must come to terms with the fact that he’s become an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet now angry at falling into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. When Carr learns of a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating personal secret. Not only will his choices place into jeopardy everything he holds dear, they may spill the violence from the sports arena out into the solar system.


YA Historical Fiction
Release Date - March 17th, 2015

Goodreads Summary: A powerful story of friendship and sacrifice, for fans of Code Name Verity 

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.
 
This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.

YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date - Spring 2015

Synopsis: On the tenth anniversary of her father's death, sixteen-year-old Claire Takata finds a letter which reveals that her stepfather knew her father. As she investigates into this family secret further, she learns that her father was once a member of the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia.














YA Contemporary
Release Date - March 17th, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore. 

And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.

YA Contemporary
Release Date - February 10th, 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: 13 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.

YA Contemporary
Release Date - Summer 2015

Goodreads Synopsis: A teenage girl from a famous country music family, after a rough year at home, attends a boarding school in Korea only to get swept up in the K-pop fandom when she falls for a teen idol.















YA Contemporary
Release Date - Spring 2015

OH LOOK IT'S ME.

Goodreads Synopsis: MADE YOU UP  is about the ultimate unreliable narrator, a schizophrenic teenage girl unable to tell the difference between reality and delusion, who discovers -- thanks to her Magic 8-Ball, her little sister, and a boy she thought was imaginary -- that sometimes there really is someone out to get you.










As you can see, we don't all have official release dates, summaries, or even covers, but that'll change soon. I'll keep this post updated as new info comes in, but soon the Class of 2k15 will have a website where you'll be able to find info on the books as well as the authors, not to mention a ton of other fun and exciting things. This is an amazing group of books from some amazing writers, and I can't wait till everyone gets to read them next year.

August 18, 2014

Monday Pep Rally: Here Comes WriteOnCon!

Since we've all gotten so used to getting our thoughts down in 140 characters - and it's fun to keep the conversation flowing - we've take the Pep Rally to twitter! Every Monday, we host a twitter chat and we'd love you to join in. Just keep an eye out for the #MisfitPepRally hashtag!


Hi Everyone,
Happy Monday! Have you heard? WriteOnCon is coming? Don't know what that is? Here's a little bit about it.

WriteOnCon is an online conference complete with agent interviews, editors and more! This year it's going to be on August 26-27. I've had the pleasure of attending every year since it began and I'm thrilled at how it's grown. I still refer to the agent/editor interviews and live events when researching where to submit. It's a great resource for writers and it's FREE (although they accept donations)! So you have no excuse!! 

Click here to register today!

So, Misfiteers, for those who've attended... what's your favorite part? Tell us on our hashtag #MisfitPepRally!


Enjoy your week!!


August 15, 2014

Casual Friday: Interview with Courtney Alameda, author of SHUTTER

Happy Friday, Misfiteers!

Erica here, sitting in for Misfit Gina (don't worry we won't get in trouble with the teacher). Today we have a special guest at our lunch table--YA author of SHUTTER (Feb 2015), Courtney Alameda! I've had the pleasure of corresponding with her and I can tell you she's awesome and I can't wait to read her book (look at that cover *shudders*)! Gina asked Courtney a variety of questions from her writing style to what supernatural ability she'd want. Want to know which one she chose? I'll let Gina and Courtney take it from here... catch ya on the flip side. - Er


Thanks for joining us today, Courtney! Tell us a little bit about SHUTTER and what inspired you to write it.

Here’s SHUTTER’s synopsis from Goodreads:
Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain
. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

All my novels are catalyzed by individual characters, rather than by ideas. In Micheline’s case, I started envisioning a tiny girl fighting this massive, ultraviolet ghost with nothing but her wits and an analog Nikon camera. Exorcising ghosts on camera isn’t exactly a new idea—it’s been done in both films and video games—so my challenge was to find a way to explain Micheline’s abilities in a compelling way. When I stumbled upon tetrachromia in my research—women born with an extra color cone in their retinas—I knew I’d found the basis of my fantasy construct.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt you can share with us?

My favorite lines contain spoilers, but I quite like the moment Micheline steps onto St. Mary’s fourth floor—alone an in violation of Helsing code—and begins to realize she’s in over her head:

The stairwell to the fifth and sixth stories was silent; bloody fingerprints wrapped around the door to the fourth floor. Adrenaline sawed off the edge of my fear, and the cocktail of the two turned my senses wolfish. Think like a predator, Dad’s voice whispered to me, never the prey . . .

Here goes. I leaned on the door lever, spilling limp light into the hallway beyond. Snatches of a lullaby wafted out, pebbling my skin with gooseflesh. I trembled, pushing away memories of Mom singing to my little brothers. I didn’t want to remember them, not now.

I started forward, holding my camera like a gun. A bloody taint corroded the air and burned in my lungs. Inside the rooms, wreckage. Equipment made venomous shapes in the darkness. Divider curtains hung in shreds from broken tracks. When I looked harder, I saw a woman slumped on her bed, shrouded and splattered in shadows. A girl about my age lay outside her door, unmoving. Blood gelled on the floor under her. As I got closer, I almost lost courage—the girl’s hands were dismembered at the wrist, her
eyes gouged, teeth torn out and scattered.

I’d seen dead people before. Lots of them, in fact. But I’d never seen such careful murder from a ghost.”


Tell us a little bit about your journey from writer to agented writer to published author – how did it happen?

I wrote for ten years before I met my wonderful literary agent, John M. Cusick, at the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference in Sandy, Utah. I’d never queried before, thinking my work wasn’t good enough for publication; but John offered representation, we revised the book together, and out it went. Imagine my surprise when it didn’t only sell, but sold to my dream publishing house—Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan!

In short, I have the quintessential fairytale publishing story. (Please don’t shoot me!)

Give us a glimpse of your writing process – plotter or pantser? Favorite place to write? Slow or fast drafter? Are you working on anything new?

Proud pantser! Though I do feel like Terry Pratchett’s plotting metaphor describes my own process marvelously:  “Writing a novel is as if you are going off on a journey across a valley. The valley is full of mist, but you can see the top of a tree here and the top of another tree over there. And with any luck you can see the other side of the valley. But you cannot see down into the mist. Nevertheless, you head for the first tree.”

Despite my pantser inclinations, I draft slowly. I will write and revise an entire chapter before moving on to the next, with great attention to detail; I never skip ahead, and am infamous for my ruthlessness when it comes to sub-par work.

There are currently five different Scrivener projects on my desktop: Two of them are active manuscripts, both horror with fantasy and/or science fiction overtones; the other files are receptacles for musings, research, and bare-bones sketches. My creative subconscious is far more generous when I am willing to make a digital space for all its offerings.

How do you plan to celebrate SHUTTER’s release?

With a party, of course! I’m very fortunate to have worked for the historic Provo City Library for the last five years, and they will be hosting my launch party in their ballroom next February. There will be shenanigans (and cupcakes. Lots of cupcakes)!

The obligatory food question – what’s your favorite flavor ice cream? Any food you can’t live without?

Can I have two? I love Talenti’s Chocolate Chip gelato, it’s supernal; better yet, the guy I’m dating makes an incredible raspberry ice cream with candied pecans that’s to die for. (Yes, you should all be so lucky as to date men who make you ice cream, read YA, and write!)

Also, it’s a well-known fact that I cannot work/function/live without Dr. Pepper. Consider it my hummingbird food!

If you could have a supernatural ability, what would it be and why?

Psychokinesis! I would love to be able to “grab” books off the shelf for my patrons without having to leave the reference desk. Also, reading in bed would become so much more comfortable!

Lastly, hit us up with all the important links where we can find more information on you and your books!

Thanks so much for having me on the YA Misfits! You can find me (and SHUTTER) on the web at:

Twitter: @courtalameda

Thank you, Courtney for stopping by!! You'll want to pre-order this one, folks - OR, you can leave a comment for your chance to win an ARC! That's right, just leave a comment below, and you are in the running for an advanced copy. Don't forget to include your e mail and/or Twitter handle so we can contact you if you win!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

August 13, 2014

Writing Club Wednesdays: Guest Post by Jaye Robin Brown

Assigning A One (Two or Three) Word Theme

My critique partners tell me I’m a writer of “the feels.” My editor says characterization is my thing. And, you know, I’m okay with both of these. I’ve always liked books that make me cheer on the people between their pages. Plot I figure out as I go.

But for me to keep on track with plot and character arcs, I have to keep on track with what my novel’s about. I’ve found a little trick that is immensely helpful. The one word theme.

Sometimes I’ll know this word before I even begin the story. Sometimes it takes a first draft and a revision before the theme surfaces (total pantser, yo).

In No Place To Fall the word was LONGING. Throughout the entire novel, Amber is infused with this want: to travel, to sing, to be the best daughter, the best sister, the best aunt. It’s a palpable ache that carries through the whole story and, I hope, really makes you root for her to fulfill her dreams.

In my current WIP, which I should be able to tell you more about soon, I ended up needing three words. POWER is the main word, but FAMILY and BLOOD are tied up pretty tightly in there as well.

So how do I use these words? I make a Wordle (http://www.wordle.net/), print it out, and hang it above my writing desk. This also gives me a chance to add in some supporting words, feelings, items, moments that are strong in my story. How Wordle works (if by some slim chance there are one or two of you who’ve never played with it), is you enter words and it creates a word cloud. You want your theme word to be the largest word, so enter it six or seven times, then enter your other words one to three times; the frequency of the words determines the size they are on the page. For No Place To Fall, I ended up with something like this: 


How does it help? Anytime I’ve been away from the manuscript for a while or really, at the start of each writing session, I spend a second or two looking at the Wordle and try to put myself back into the feeling of that one word. When I wrote Amber, I tried to fill myself with that feeling of intense longing for more that she has. That way, her words were true and the story stayed close to theme. It also gives me a concise response when people say “What’s your story about?” Contemporaries are not the easiest elevator pitch stories, so my response is often something like, “It’s a coming of age story about longing, dreams, singing, family, mistakes, lies, and truth.” Then I can tell a bit more about the actual plot line.

So try it out, can you come up with one word that drives your story?

Jaye Robin Brown, or Jro to her friends, lives and writes in the mountains north of Asheville, North Carolina.  She is fond of horses, dogs, the absurd and the ironic. When not writing, you can find her in the art room of the high school where she teaches.

Her debut young adult novel, NO PLACE TO FALL, comes out in the fall of 2014 from Harper Teen. It's about dreams, singing, friendship, love, betrayal, family, and mistakes. It's also a love song to small town girls and mountain music, both of which shape the area that Jaye now calls home. 


NO PLACE TO FALL - HARPER TEEN - DECEMBER 9, 2014

Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.

August 11, 2014

Monday Pep Rally: Instabuy Settings

Since we've all gotten so used to getting our thoughts down in 140 characters - and it's fun to keep the conversation flowing - we've take the Pep Rally to twitter! Every Monday, we host a twitter chat and we'd love you to join in. Just keep an eye out for the #MisfitPepRally hashtag!





I don't know about other people, but I can be a pretty easy sell when it comes to books - all you have to do is have impressed me greatly in the past, and I'm yours! Okay, maybe that doesn't sound so easy, but this doesn't only apply to my instabuy authors - one thing I've realized as of late is that certain settings are totally instabuy for me too.

And I don't just mean the obvious "If this book is set in Paris or Rome, it's probably super fun and amazing," although those are pretty insta-buy for me too.

No, this realization was brought about by reading My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten, and seeing what a sucker I am for books set in historical reenactment camps, of all places.

So, those are a few of my instabuy settings - what are yours?

Answer in the comments, or join the discussion on twitter - don't forget the hashtag, #MisfitPepRally!

August 7, 2014

Band Geek Thursday: SERVANTS OF THE STORM by Delilah Dawson

Ladies, gents, and Misfiteers of all ages, please welcome Delilah S. Dawson, author of the newly released Southern Gothic Horror, SERVANTS OF THE STORM!
 *
A long, long time ago, back in the 90s, my then-boyfriend and I dreamed up a sinister-sounding mix tape called "Music to Murder By." Whenever we heard a song that fit, we added it to the list. But of course, back then, to make a playlist, you had to go to a music store and buy the CD, then make the tape, so we never actually made it.

Now that boyfriend is my husband, and the SERVANTS OF THESTORM playlist (http://open.spotify.com/user/delilahsdawson/playlist/3Kw5wtDgwIxPqOEKKlXUsk) is very real and available for free on Spotify. Ain't technology grand?

Here's the blurb for my YA Southern Gothic Horror, just so you'll know the world you're sinking into:

Dovey learns that demons lurk in places other than the dark corners of her mind in this southern gothic fantasy from the author of the Blud series.

A year ago, Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction—and taking the life of Dovey’s best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her.

But recently she’s started to believe she’s seeing things that can’t be real…including Carly at their favorite café. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah—where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk—she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

And here's the playlist, presented in two parts:



Possum Kingdom – The Toadies
I can promise you
You'll stay as beautiful
With dark hair
And soft skin...forever
Yeah, this is a dark, swampy song about killing girls and turning them into dolls. Which is pertinent to what's really going down in Savannah in Servants of the Storm. This was the song that inspired Music to Murder By, all those years ago, so it gets first place, naturally.

No One Believes Me – Kid Cudi
Have you ever felt
Something evil
Lurking around the moon is full
The streets are empty
Shadows cover the town
When I heard this one on the soundtrack of the new Fright Night, it really stuck with me. All the lyrics basically describe Dovey's experience of being the only person in town aware of the evil lurking just around the corner, and whenever she mentions it, they call her crazy and tell her to take her pills.

The Killing Moon – Echo and the Bunnymen
In starlit nights I saw you
So cruelly you kissed me
Your lips a magic world
Your sky all hung with jewels
The killing moon
Will come too soon
An oldie but a goodie. This one reminds me of Isaac when Dovey first meets him in bowler and suspenders, his knowing smirk and bad boy side. And yet there's a ritual sadness to the song, the reminder that the killing moon is coming even if you wish it wouldn't.

Barton Hollow – The Civil Wars
Miles and miles in my bare feet
Still can't lay me down to sleep
If I die before I wake
I know the Lord my soul won't take
This song was the first one I ever heard by the Civil Wars, and it perfectly captures that Southern Gothic twang of Savannah. And of course, if you read Servants, you who *really* takes the souls...

The Letter – The Veils
All that I've lost
Is bound to pass
Dying to know
Too afraid to ask
Most Veils songs sound like starlight to me, shifting indigo pinpricked with white flickers. This one feels old and regretful and reminds me of Dovey streaking through the night in her grandmother's Skylark, driving too fast toward mysterious danger on the Truman Parkway. That's what I love about Dovey-- her loyalty to Carly means she'll run toward doom, foot on the gas, even though she knows it's going to go badly.

Overjoyed – Bastille
And I hear you calling in the dead of night...
This song is haunting wistfulness. All Dovey wants in the entire world is to have her best friend back, to hear her voice again. And all she has are nightmares...

But the real (cold, black) heart of the SERVANTS OF THE STORM playlist is Saturnalia by The Gutter Twins. When I hear this album, I'm immediately back in Dovey's Savannah, walking a little faster and feeling like I'm being stalked by something hidden and evil.
 


God's Children – The Gutter Twins
Strange the way you seem suicidal
You don't live at all, so why you cryin'?
Come and play with me and feel desire
It's all in the dark, a walk through the fire
If I had to choose one song the represented the entire book, this would be it. It calls to mind cities brought to ruin and smoldering, wind whipping over skeletons and ash as demons lurk in the corners, lynx ears twitching. I like the sinister lure of Kitty and Josephine, the fact that even though they're completely and irredeemably evil, there's just something... fascinating about them. Since my demons and cambions are based on the mythology around Lilith, Adam's first wife, I like the reminder that they're fallen from grace.

All Misery/Flowers – The Gutter Twins
Make me shake me deep black water
Gonna run through my veins
Gonna make it rain
Honestly? I don't like rain. It makes me feel chased and cornered and like I'm waiting for something to break or erode. Although this book is written a year after Hurricane Josephine nearly destroyed Savannah, there's an oppressive feeling that the storms are waiting to wash away what little they've left behind. This book was inspired by a photo set of Six Flags New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and this song feels like stalking through the abandoned amusement park in the dark, catching antlered shadows and growing green eyes, just out of view.

The Body – The Gutter Twins
Dream, close your eyes
I was done, you're alive
I love the dreamy galloping of this one, the sense of dappled sunshine. It reminds me of going for a carriage ride through downtown Savannah with my brother-in-law, the Dread Pirate Robert, and the way that the horse trots lightly through intersections, harness jingling. This song is a reminder that Dovey is alive, that she has little mercies despite the horror she's living.

I Was In Love With You – The Gutter Twins
I was in Love with you
It's Ladies Choice
Bring on the boys
Love triangles in YA... you love 'em or you hate 'em. Some people think they're cliché, but you know what? Every time I started dating someone in high school, some other dude would suddenly show up and make me start reconsidering my choice, whether because locking it down made other options more apparent or because they revealed their interest only after I was taken. Dovey isn't caught in a love triangle with Baker and Isaac because Dovey doesn't have to choose. Two boys are interested in her, and she's interested in helping her dead best friend. Just because your childhood friend finally says he loves you doesn't mean you have to act on it or that you're going to immediately swoon. I love Dovey's independence and dedication to Carly... and the way she lets herself feel passion in the moment.
*


Delilah S. Dawson writes the steampunk fantasy Blud series for Pocket, including Wicked as They Come, Wicked After Midnight, and Wicked as She Wants, which recently won the Steampunk Book of the Year award and the May Seal of Excellence from RT Book Reviews. Her first YA, Servants of the Storm, is a Southern Gothic Horror set in Savannah, Georgia. Spring 2015 brings her next YA, HIT, a pre-dystopian about teen assassins in a bank-owned America. Delilah loves sassy boots, eating weird animals, painting, having adventures, and cupcakes and lives in the North Georgia mountains with her husband, children, a Tennessee Walking Horse, and a floppy mutt named Merle.

 
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