Tag Archives: YA

Errand Girl of the Undead, Open for Business!

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Happy book birthday to The Trouble with Werewolves! For a short story, it certainly took me a long time to get this one out into the world.  I think a lot of the reasoning was because I wasn’t completely done with the series and wanted to hold off. I’m still not done (the 3rd book is nearing completion but has a ways to go yet) but I figured if I published then it would push me to get it done.

I really enjoyed writing this story, I think because Ellie’s a tough chick but with a definitely vulnerable side to her. She’s had an interesting upbringing but still wanted to be “normal”. Like most teens, she is trying to find herself, love, and a great pair of jeans to highlight her ass…ets.

I hope you enjoy her antics as much as I enjoyed writing about them!

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Ellie Weston may look like a blonde Barbie wanna-be, but call by her full name of Elvira and you’ll find she can take you down with nothing more than a paperclip and a hair tie. Having been raised by an ancient vampire, a faerie and a demon hardly makes her a normal teen. She’s trained in self-defense, with a bit of magic thrown in, but those talents are going to waste as she picks up dry cleaning, walks three-headed dogs and collects grave dust by the light of the full moon.

Her job as an errand girl to the undead–and other paranormal creatures–has kept her busy and relatively safe, until she receives a job to hunt down a rogue werewolf who is brutally butchering norms in her father’s territory. As she tries to track down the bloodthirsty beast, she finds the clues aren’t quite adding up. Will her wiles be enough to keep her safe and solve the mystery, or will she become the next victim of these ghastly crimes?

 

Pick up a copy for 99 cents!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Trouble-Werewolves-Errand-Girl-Undead-ebook/dp/B01CC5FSF2

Nook: pending (check back!)

Where is the comparative YA lit?

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book heartFor those that don’t know, my degree is not in English, but Comparative Literature and Languages. I read a good deal of world literature and found similarities and differences in style, characters, etc. (see my senior essay on how Russian lit influenced modern Japanese lit here!). I was recently discussing my degree with someone and it got me thinking that I don’t read a whole lot of works by non-American authors these days (unless I don’t realize they’re not American. Maybe I’m naively assuming they’re all American!).

I tried to do some Googling of best selling non-American YA authors but not a whole lot comes up. I found this list which has the very obvious JK Rowling and Cornelia Funk but I don’t recognize a lot of the other authors and some of the titles are very dated and strike me as odd to be considered YA (Crime and Punishment?!).

I know a lot of American titles make it across the Pond and onto Europe but I’m curious if they make it over to the Middle East and Asian countries as well. Do we get their work translated here as well? I think an influx of stories dealing with teens in different cultures could really be beneficial to young readers, especially in helping to banish racism and coming to learn that different doesn’t mean bad. I know there is a push in American YA lit for characters of color and minorities but I’d love to see the stories actually coming from different cultures where the authors have first hand accounts of the lifestyles, rituals and taboos there.

With a little more Google-fu, I found some other lists and articles that I will definitely be checking out!

Different but worthwhile foreign YA fiction translated to English
The Power of Foreign Young Adult Literature

Do you have a favorite non-American YA author? What are some of your favorite foreign stories?

An Interview. A Book Release. A Chance to Win Stuff With Raine O’Tierney!

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Look at that sweet cover!

Look at that sweet cover!

I have the delightful honor of being the first stop of author Raine O’Tierney’s blog tour for her new release I Will Always Miss You, a LGBT YA novel that deals with diversity and reminds its readers that family doesn’t always mean the people you share DNA with.

I was able to pin down the busy author for a bit and got her to answer some questions about the book and her writing in general. Let’s see what she had to say!

(Keep going after the interview for blurbs, excerpt,purchase links, contest info and more places where you can connect with Raine!)

1) Is this your first Young Adult book?

It is! And I’ve got to say—mad props to anyone who writes YA exclusively. Getting the ever-changing voice of a teenager right is hard work! How we talked as teens is insanely different than how teens today talk, and I don’t even consider myself a *total* dinosaur.

(MB- as a fellow YA author, I understand this struggle completely!)

2) Why do you write Young Adult?

Even though I’m closer to 30 than I am to 18, my experiences as a teenager—the good, the bad, and the awkward—are still so vibrant in my head. Writing YA lets me explore some of those emotions in a creative way.

(MB – as someone over 30 I can tell you some of that vibrancy never fades…)

3) What’s so important about I’ll Always Miss You that made you have to tell the story?

In addition to trying to contribute to positive LGBT literature for teens, I wanted to write a story about an Arab-American teenager. We need more diversity all around, but there’s a noticeable lack of Arab characters. Throughout this story Isa Zaman struggles with how others perceive him and his family and how he perceives himself.

4) Were there any parts that were difficult for you to put down on “paper”?   Why?

Any time the boys were in a fight. I would argue with them, nooo, guys, let’s all get along! But characters do what they do.

(MB – They have a mind of their own, don’t they? Silly characters!)

5) What do you hope people take away with them upon completing the book?

There are so many things you can walk away with depending on the angle you look come at it from. But, hmm, my favorite theme? Family doesn’t always mean our blood relatives.

6) Who was your favorite character in the book and why?

Isa’s oldest sister Aaliyah is my favorite character. She has completely embraced her Moroccan heritage and creates beautiful things that inspire Isa on his journey. She’s also very kind—the sort of person I wish I knew in real life. I’d love to spend the afternoon with Aaliyah.

7) Who or what inspires you to write?

Siôn O’Tierney (my writing partner and hubs!) He said he married me for my sweet, sweet writing monies (hahahahaha…ha…) so I keep writing stories for him.

8) What are five of your favorite reads?

(In no particular order)

Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

(MB – I…don’t know any of these! To the Amazon.com!”)

9) Do you have any other projects in the works readers can look forward to?

I have an adult work coming out from Dreamspinner Press in May called All That Shimmers and a collaboration I did with the fantastic Debbie McGowan called Leaving Flowers that will be out in June from Beaten Track Publishing.

10) Where can fans connect with you?

Swing on by my FB page for randomness! ❤

https://www.facebook.com/RaineOTierneyAuthor

11) Bonus Question! If I’ll Always Miss You was turned into a hit Broadway musical, what would the name of the big song played in all the commercials be called?

Shoes on the Wire! (With the exclamation point.)

ISBN-13: 9781632165244

Pages: 256 pages

Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Categories: Young Adult | Bisexual | Coming of Age |

 

BLURB:

Isa Zaman might forgive his parents for taking in a friend’s son if only he wasn’t the most boring teenager in the universe. Macklin “Mackie” Cormack’s only interests are reading and the outdoors. Yeah, right. Isa’s convinced Mackie is either a pyro or a klepto. Plus, as a white kid, Mackie looks ridiculous in the Zamans’ Arab American household. Forced to share a bedroom, the boys keep butting heads until an absurd fight finally breaks the tension between them.

Isa’s just starting to figure life out: this new houseguest, his cultural identity, school, and even girls, when the entire family is uprooted from their home for reasons Isa can’t understand. They move from their tiny city apartment to a giant, old house in a small town, hours away from everything he’s ever known. Oh, and the new house? It’s probably haunted, or so says the blank-faced ten-year-old next door. As if things weren’t weird enough, Isa’s friendship with Mackie suddenly takes a strange turn down a path Isa’s not sure he’s ready to follow. It turns out Mackie Cormack isn’t nearly as boring as Isa once imagined.

EXCERPT:

He took a deep breath. “That’s sort of the thing. I don’t like anything about her.”

“What?”

“She asked me out.” Mackie shrugged. “But I don’t really like her all that much either.”

I couldn’t wrap my head around it. We’d been ignoring each other for all that time over a girl he didn’t even like? Bullshit. Complete and total bullshit.

“Are you for real?”

“Yeah.”

“So why are you going out with her, then?” And then I remembered what he’d said in my room that day, that he was dating her just because…. Because why? If we were ever going to be friends again, then I needed to know. “Why are you going out with her?”

“I really don’t want to talk about that, Isa.”

“C’mon, Mackie. It’s been driving me nuts. Why would you date someone you didn’t even like? Or do you like kissing her?”

“Not… really,” he said. “That’s kind of the thing. I thought I would. But… I don’t.”

The book.

“Okay, then stop.” I shrugged. “We’re supposed to start working at Rashid’s, and we could hang out again, and there’s only like a week left of school. We could be friends.”

I don’t… think that’s… a good idea.”

“You don’t want to be my friend?” I demanded. “What? ’Cause of Katy? ’Cause I was a jerk? That’s stupid, Mackie! It was your fault too! I don’t understand you at all.”

He was quiet for a really long time.

“I’m screwed no matter what I do,” he finally said on a low sigh.

“You think?” I asked, not knowing what he meant. I rolled Dad’s nine iron with my palm.

“Jesus H, Isa. You’re going to make me do this, aren’t you?”

“Yup,” I told him dryly. “Yup, I’m going to make you do this, whatever the hell ‘this’ is.”

He turned his face and stared at me. He stared at me so hard and for so long, I started to get uncomfortable. And then he leaned in, and I thought he was going to whisper it. Whatever the big secret was, whatever he’d been hiding from me, his reasons for dating a girl he didn’t even like, his reasons for not wanting to be my friend, all of it. Instead, he kissed me.

 

BUY LINKS:

 http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6128

 http://www.amazon.com/Ill-Always-Miss-Raine-OTierney-ebook/dp/B00TWR8A7C/

 https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-i039llalwaysmissyou-1740472-149.html

 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ill-always-miss-you-raine-otierney/1121262925?ean=9781632165220

 

 GIVEAWAY:

 Rafflecopter prizes: $25 Amazon.com giftcard and an e-copy of I’ll Always Miss You

(Please clicky the link! Sadly my version of wordpress does not support Rafflecopter widgets *sad panda face*)

Click me to Win Stuff! Pretty Please!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Raine O’Tierney lives outside of Kansas City with her husband, fellow Dreamspinner Press author, Siôn O’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either asleep or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers! Writing for 20+ years (with the last 10 spent on M/M) Raine changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!

Homepage: Raineotierney.com

LGBT Author Interviews: http://raineotierneyhatparty.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RaineOTierneyAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RaineOTierney

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7770350.Raine_O_Tierney

Top Five – Reinvent or Retire

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When you read a lot, you can’t help but come across similar themes, or tropes. Some of them I don’t mind, but others…others need some serious reinvention or they need to be retired for a while.

Here’s my top five tropes in YA books that needs new life breathed into them or that need to go away on an extended vacation:

1) The Love Triangle

I admit, I’m guilty of using this trope myself (see Tears of a Clown).  While it has been around for a while, it really gained steam with the Twilight books and the whole Bella, Edward, Jacob bit. I can understand how a reader would love to put themselves in Bella’s place and have two hot guys fighting over her, but it’s since showed in every other book I’ve picked up in recent years making it a yawner of a theme. I still have to guess who the main character will end up with but even that ends up being pretty predictable.  Let’s face it, romance is hard enough, especially as a teen.  The readers don’t need an extra person to add to the dramatics of young love.

2) Boarding School

I think, for American writers, the boarding school is pure fantasy because it’s not a common thing here.  An American being put in the foreign setting, away from parents, allows for more shenanigans, culture shock, longing and homesickness. It ends up being repetitive though: “Oooh I’m the outsider and sooo alone” “Why does everyone laugh when I talk about a fanny pack?” “Foreign guys are so much more sexy than the boring guy I left at home” (okay, the accents are always swoon worthy but more so in movies than books!). Some authors are doing it right, Maureen Johnson’s The Shades of London series comes to mind, but I think this trope needs some serious reinvention. Make the American the bad “guy”, give the school secret passages or doors to fantastical worlds, etc. I’m interested in seeing what else can be done with it.

3) Vampires

This just needs a bit of a break. I think, given time, I can enjoy a good vamp story again, but I need some time away from the bloodsuckers.  I don’t mind seeing them as secondary characters but the libraries were so flooded after Twilight that I overdosed on the trope. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking vamps need to go back into the coffin for a while.

4) I’ve hit my x birthday and suddenly: have powers/am a mermaid/am a wizard

I can still go for more mermaid stories (hehe) but the whole latent powers that get released by a certain age has grown a bit dull. I’d rather see them have their powers from birth and struggle to hide them as a rambunctious toddler or how they get out of control when puberty hits.  I know a lot of these stories stem from Harry Potter success but I have yet see more than a handful of books do a good job of it.

5) Absentee Parents

This happens in many stories via tragedy or drug and alcohol related problems. I can understand that like the boarding school trope, not having adults around allows for the characters to do more with less consequences, but having a parent or guardian around helps keep the story more realistic and adds more depth to the characters. Absent adults can work but I think there needs to be someone the characters have to answer to.

What tropes are you tired of seeing in YA today? What can you stand to see some more of?

Heavyweight News!

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Ocean Co. Library Main Branch, Toms River

Ocean Co. Library
Main Branch, Toms River

If you follow my Facebook, Twitter or Tsu, you may have already read about my good news, but I wanted to make sure I posted about it here as well. Heavyweight  is coming to libraries in NJ soon! This has me excited beyond belief.

Every writer loves to sell books; the thought that someone is interested enough to buy a copy makes any author happy. Some may think that having their work in a library means less sales because people will be able to read for free (the library does buy their copy but then obviously anyone with a library card can take it out), but for me, to know that it will be in libraries where people who wouldn’t have access to it otherwise can get a copy, makes me more than ecstatic.

LGBTQ literature is greatly under represented everywhere, but especially in libraries.  I think having stories with LGBTQ main characters easily accessible could save a teen who feels alone or that no one understands them. They need the escape just as much as anyone else and it’s easier for them to place themselves in the story if a character has the same thoughts, concerns, feelings, desires as the main characters. I think it’s also a good opportunity to learn about the culture through stories and if someone hasn’t come out yet, it’s possible to read the books and not have people question what they’re reading (of course that will depend on the cover images and occasionally the title).

I have already contacted libraries in other counties in the hopes that they will bring in Heavyweight or other stories from my publisher’s, Harmony Ink, catalog. While it will be great to see my books on the shelves of libraries, I would really love to see a larger selection of books in the YA/NA section over all.

If you agree, don’t hesitate to contact the YA librarian in your local libraries.  They can look into bringing in books they don’t already carry and it’s good for them to know what’s out there.

Have you ever requested that your library try to get a specific book that they don’t carry in their system?