Here’s a coming-of-age fantasy book for those who love YA novels. AMOK by @natzers sounds fab! #fantasy #YA #comingofage #asian

AMOK by Anna Tan Continue reading

Looking for gift ideas for the older child? check out this #YA book library! Plenty of ideas there!

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Looking for gift ideas for the older child? check out this #YA book library! Plenty of ideas there! Continue reading

Fans of fairy tales and folklore need this book! by @1alliemacdonald #fantasy #fae #Scottish #YA

The Unseelie Prince by Nicki Allie MacDonald After thousands of years of bloodshed and slaughter, the humans and the Fae, known as Neighbours, now enjoy an uneasy coexistence, although a shadow of danger looms closer everyday. Peace is threatened the … Continue reading

An emotional read for #YA audiences by @kamichijackson #blackAmerican #abuse #mustread

An Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semi-Finalist K My Name Is Kendra by Kamichi Jackson Fifteen-year-old Kendra James’ life begins to spiral out of control with the return of her long-lost runaway sister Meisha, and the visit of a young celebrity … Continue reading

Check out #YA book from @ljstark321 for a powerful story of challenges, risks and rewards #contemporary #fiction

When a Unicorn Crosses the Rubicon Meet Angie and Taylor.  They seem to have everything going in the right direction for themselves as young adults. The next steps in life are on the horizon and ready to be seized—until life changes … Continue reading

The fun of Harry Potter

Mary E Twomey

Writing a comedy started out as a way to challenge myself. I had just finished a fantasy fiction space opera quadrilogy, Saga of the Spheres, and needed a bit of a laugh. I had never written a comedy before, but as I slipped into the genre, I found it to be incredibly relaxing. There were no megalomaniac plots to interweave. My cast of characters was cut in half. Plus, I had a wealth of humorous situations stored up from years of marriage. 

One thing that always manages to make my husband laugh is my impeccably bad aim. We spent a very long evening where he had me practice giving high-fives. After being smacked in the head, the neck, the shoulder, had his fingers bent back, and watched several total misses, he ruled the training session a flop. This scene made it into my comedy book, well after my pride (and my hubby) had healed. 

Another thing the people around me have learned is that I am, perhaps, too sensitive to animals. Aside from being a vegetarian, I burst into spontaneous tears if I drive by a particularly mangled bit of roadkill. This translated into one of the characters throwing miniature funerals for the poor animal they hit on their roadtrip across the country.

Needless to say, the jokes were piling up, and needed a place to go. Jack and Yani Love Harry Potter combined my two happy things: young adult fiction and ridiculous humor. I adore Harry Potter. I also love a great many books in the booming young adult genre. If it’s got a vampire on the cover, I’m all over it. After reading the Iliad four times through high school and college (that’s right, four), I decided to cut myself a break and just read for fun. I devoured all things wizard, witch, vampire, superhero, angel and the like. We even throw an annual Harry Potter’s Birthday Party on July 31 every year. I wear my Luna Lovegood dress robes with my crazy blonde hair, and wish everyone a magical evening. I used to bring in cupcakes to work that had golden snitches and broomsticks on them to celebrate. It’s amazing how tolerant people will be to my theatrics, so long as there is cake involved. 

Yes, I’m in my thirties. No, that does not bother me or my ridiculous friends one bit. That’s the gem I’ve found in the people I’ve been fortunate enough to surround myself with. While they may not read the YA books that I adore, they can get into just about anything. I made sure to add to the novel a group of friends to egg on the two main characters, as all good friends should.

When searching for a plot for my comedy novel, I came across some great advice by Stephen King. He said to write what you know. I know Harry. I even have dress robes that make me look like Luna Lovegood all dressed up for a party. And so the plot of Jack and Yani Love Harry Potter was born. Yani is a girl obsessed with all things young adult fiction, which I could write without any further research needed. She gets to visit all the places she’s read about in her books. As I read and write, I smile and sigh with longing that one day I might be able to go on a similar young adult adventure of my own.

Jack and Yani

Best friends Jack and Yani do everything together. After Yani’s thirtieth birthday party, however, she decides to leave town on a spontaneous vacation to visit all the sites of the young adult fiction novels she loves, hoping that when she returns, she’ll have buried the secret flame she has for Jack.

Forced by his friends to go on a road trip to track down Yani, Jack learns a lot about his best friend by reading the novels she’s been obsessed with. From vampire hunting in Forks to searching for wizards in Florida, Jack confronts his greatest fears –that he just might love Harry Potter…and perhaps, Yani.

“If she’s not careful, she may find herself being followed by a fandom of her own.”
–        Robbie Fischer,

Mary E. Twomey lives in Michigan with her husband and two adorable children. She enjoys reading, writing, vegetarian cooking and telling her children fantastic stories about wombats.
Mary Twomey’s books have been promoted at dozens of comic book conventions across the globe. She gives seminars on writing fiction, and writes book reviews for
For more information on the Volumes of the Vemreaux, Jack and Yani Love Harry Potter or Saga of the Spheres, including review copy requests, please contact Lynn Jaymes with Sparrow Communications at

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Joy Givens is my NFA!

Or New Favourite Author, for those not in the know. Let me explain…

On my review blog I rates books from a no rating up to NFA, and those I reward with a 4*, 5* or a NFA rating I want to share here. I’ve enjoyed them and I want you to, as well, and how better than a book spotlight on WWBB? Ugly Stick was rewarded with a NFA rating because I found the writing smooth, engaging, the premise original and I couldn’t put the book down. It’s that simple. Check out the review on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Reviews. 

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Joy Givens the author of the excellent YA fiction novel in question … 
Ugly Stick
Fifteen-year-old April Somerfield is a shy, self-loathing misfit who would blend in with the wallpaper, if only the wallpaper were a little less attractive. In a family line of gorgeous, successful women, April’s a fluke. At Prescott High School, she’s a walking punch line.

A school project sends April on the hunt for her mother’s mysteriously missing yearbooks, and upon finding them she uncovers a big secret. It turns out that being “hit with an ugly stick” is a surprisingly literal occurrence in April’s family tree—a curse has been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries. But when April sees a chance to finally ditch the family curse, she must decide if becoming beautiful on the outside is worth giving up the person she is meant to be.

Joy Givens
Joy Givens is the author of Ugly
Stick and a co-founder of Tributaries Press, a publishing company
dedicated to “books that edify, educate, and encourage young

Joy’s childhood nickname was “Belle,” due to her
penchant for walking around “with a dreamy far-off look, and her nose stuck in
a book.”  

Joy’s favorite authors include Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis,
L.M. Montgomery, Mark Dunn, Markus Zusak, and J.K. Rowling (and, of course, her
delightful publishing partner Samantha Bennett), and her preferred genre of writing
is middle grade and YA fantasy, leaning towards the fantastical and the

Joy and a young reader, Joshua.
Born and raised with four siblings in
Columbus, Ohio (GO BUCKEYES!), Joy now resides in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, with her fantastic husband David, their remarkable son Joshua,
and their impossibly lovable dog Riley. 

Joy tutors high school students and is
currently pursuing a master’s degree in higher education. She is also a grammar
ninja, Dickens fan-girl, a cappella enthusiast, and veritable Starbucks

Free paranormal novel by Lisa Graves.

What would you do if you thought your boyfriend were a figment of your imagination? That is Lilly’s problem. 

YA Paranormal Romance / Mystery
 by Lisa Graves

Sure he randomly seems to appear and
disappear out of nowhere.  
Perhaps he is cryptic and evasive when it
comes to details of his past?
But what if you can feel in your soul
that you are meant to be together?  
Would that tiny detail matter?

Excerpt from Atlantis:
My eyes looked at the
ground. I didn’t want to, but I made myself say it. “You’re not real.”
Elliott was quiet. I
looked up to see what he was doing. He continued to sit on the grass but he
looked shocked. “What do you mean by that?” I noticed a cautious tone in his
I dove into my brain
trying to find the right words to use when breaking up with yourself. I came up
empty handed. The fact that I desperately wanted to stay and live in my fantasy
land didn’t make it any easier. My torrent stream of emotions was giving me away.
I bit my lip, trying to keep my face from exposing all of my secrets.
Strangely, he did the same.
“What do you mean, I’m
not real?” Elliott asked again. He gently placed his hand on mine. The usual
sensation of electricity flowing through him to me, pricked my mind and made me
doubt my hallucination theory. He wasn’t helping me.
It was probably a
combination of my emotions keeping me an inch from tears, and his penetrating
eyes bearing down on my soul, but I had overflowed. I couldn’t stop the words
from pouring out.
yelled, more at myself than at Elliott.
I stood up. His mouth
gapped open at me as I paced the cove and continued.
“You are too perfect.
And good looking. And sweet…”
He looked as though he
was going to argue, but I went on.
“No one has seen you but
He whispered something
to himself and shook his head.
“You appear and
disappear out of nowhere.”
I turned again at the
edge of the cove, racking my brain for more proof of my theory. When I resumed
my pacing, he spoke.
“I know,” he said in a
soft, apologetic purr and looked straight at me.
Elliott caught me off
guard. I hadn’t expected my hallucination to agree with me. “What do you mean
you know?”

Find out more from Lisa Graves at:

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island by C.K. Volnek

Evil haunts Roanoke Island and it’s up to young Jack Dahlgren to destroy it…before it destroys him.
Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island
C.K. Volnek
In 1587,117 colonists disappeared from Roanoke Island without a
trace, leaving behind not only unanswered questions, but a terrifying evil. 

Now it’s up to twelve
year-old Jack Dahlgren to unravel the age-old mystery and save his family from
the hateful beast that haunts the island. 

With the help of
newfound friend, Manny, a Native American shaman, and an elusive Giant Mastiff,
Jack must piece together the clues of the Lost Colony to discover what really
happened. Shrouded in ancient Native American folklore, it’s up to Jack to
uncover what the evil is and why it haunts his island.

But can he destroy
it…before it destroys him?

Buy it now:
Find out more at:

Whatever you do begin writing your novel in the CORRECT place!

This week Jamie Magee is here to talk us about where to begin writing a novel. At the beginning? You think?

Take it away, Jamie…

Whatever you do begin writing your novel in the CORRECT place!
Jamie Magee

I always thought that there was only one way to write a novel – from the beginning to the end – but that was before I was writer.

When I began writing the Insight series I was chasing a daydream. The image I had of my main character, Willow Haywood, was painful and full of raw emotion.

I knew I couldn’t start at that point so I thought backwards and tried to figure out how this scene would come to life then I started the Insight series at the wrong place – the beginning.

Once Insight was complete my scene saw was nowhere to be seen. It was an awkward moment in my life. One thought would tell me that I’d wasted three months writing a story that would never be read, the next that this was simply the beginning and that I needed to write deeper and find that lost scene.

As beta readers began to read Insight I felt unfulfilled. Even though I’d told Willow Haywood’s story I felt empty – after organizing every closet and drawer in my house my restlessness became too much for me to handle, and before I had the verdict from the beta readers I began to write again.

This time I started with my lost scene. At first it felt like I was writing outside of the series but I began to let my characters guide me. It was a turning point.

I’d wrote what is chapter twelve in Embody all the way to end before I had any feedback on Insight, at that point it didn’t matter if anyone else was in love with Willow and Landen – I was!

More scenes came – but this was a good thing if I wanted to keep writing! What was different with the these scenes is that I didn’t try and figure out what happened before that point, instead I just wrote them down and made room for the next ‘big idea’ to come.

Image will be launched Nov 8th 2011

My third novel, Image, was written differently. In that novel I wrote countless scenes then placed them in order and connected them together. Somehow it created a fast paced novel, and looking back now I know I would not have managed to come up with the same effect had I written the novel from the beginning to end.

Jamie Magee has always believed that each of us have a defining gift that sets us apart from the rest, she has always envied those who have known from their first breath what their gift was. Not knowing hers, she began a career in the fast paced world of business. Raising a young family, and competing to rise higher in that field would drive some to the point of insanity, but she always found a moment of escape in a passing daydream. Her imagination would take her to places she’d never been, introduce her to people she’s never known. Insight, her debuting novel, is a result of that powerful imagination. Today, she is grateful that not knowing what defined her led her on a path of discovery that would always be a part of her.

Not many Scorpio’s are known for their patience,
and Willow Haywood is no different. Her only desire is to love Landen Chambers
and redeem the lost souls of Esterious, but the path to that desire is long,
dark and dangerous…

Before Willow’s life had a chance to balance the sudden revelations and grief
she had to endure to get to Chara a disturbing discovery is made. A photo, one
that shows Willow blissfully embracing the flawless image of Drake Blakeshire;
giving her not only proof that she had lived before, but that she had loved

Running away from the memory of Drake’s hypnotizing touch, and the prophecy set
before her seemed like the logical thing to do. That is, until a dark dream
reignites her passion to save the hopeless dimension of Esterious. Willow
struggles to find patience – to learn everything she needs to know before she
faces Drake again, but her eagerness is dangerous and one step in the wrong
direction takes everything and everyone away from her – the only way to survive
this trial is for Willow to remember who she is and what she really wants out
of this life.

Jamie Magee’s Blog:
FB page:
and twitter:!/insight117

She’d love to hear from you!

The Starlight Prince by Borislava Borissova

“If the human’s world becomes boring, you have the sky.”

A young boy lived alone on his tiny planet at the end of the Sagittarius galaxy. On his trips to other celestial spheres, he had seen that there were no lonely stars in the universe and even the most powerful one, the sun in the neighbouring Milky Way galaxy, had a friend – Nemesis. In a search for his first friend, The Starlight Prince caught a passing comet and, deluged by a haze of star-dust, entered the solar system.

Landing on the planet Earth he found himself on an unbelievably beautiful island. There, at the Valley of the Temples, the ancient Olympic Gods had been spending their summer rests for millennia. Far above the tree tops and hidden by the clouds, The Prince noticed The Little Olympic God who according to the Olympic allocation of duties was responsible for friendships.

Amazed by his divine work destined to inspire friendliness in humans, the celestial boy was sure that The Little God could help him, too. Trying to face him in person, The Starlight Prince remained on Earth. He followed a young teen company and took part of their unusual experience in an ancient Castle. This beautiful building claimed it functioned as a hotel but after their arrival to spend their vacation there it became the strangest hotel in the world with mysterious inhabitants, history, and secrets.

A great Master of magic was trying to harness the nature elements to become immortal as prescribed in a magical manuscript written long ago by the Olympic Gods. This text was given to the Little God of friendships for safekeeping.

During the long adventure the lonely celestial boy found his first friend, The Little Olympic God.

This delightlful young adult fiction “The Starlight Prince” is Borislava Borissova’s first published book, and like most YA books adults will also enjoy reading The Starlight Prince.
In words of the author: “It is a lifeboat for everybody who loves to be drawn from everyday life in the free time and yearns to sink emotionally in another world when the reality is not enough.”

Although Borislava considers herself a writer she has been working as a Recruiter in Human Resources for years in Sofia, in the heart of Balkan Peninsula. In her free time, history as well as writing is an important passion in her life and she is more than happy to share both.

Her second book “Affairs of the Heart” will be published in 2011. They are two novellas – contemporary love drama “The Last Secrets of The Ancient Island” and historical love drama “A Love In A Time of Wars”.

Click below for the interview:

What inspired you to write your book?
Night hours! I like them when the Earth – my home-planet – sleeps profoundly and a new world, the one of the stars, wakes up in the sky above my head. Today information about them, about many galaxies is available on the Internet. I was always curious about the comparison between our Milky Way and the other galaxies. I wonder what would be a usual day for us at the neighbor Sagittarius galaxy if we live there. And the opposite, if we were Sagittarians, how we would feel starting a journey to the unknown planet Earth? How would a starry boy feel if he falls on the Earth and what would be the mix of the past, presence and future of our world for him…

What is it about?
Magical realism, a fiction, purposed for teens but I hope that all people with great imagination would love it. It is a lifeboat for everybody who loves to be drawn from everyday life in the free time and yearns to sink emotionally in another world when the reality is not enough.

Was there a character you struggled with?
Not exactly, The Starlight Prince had always drawn me. I loved to work over the character and the plot; I was thirsty to finish it; and to bring it to the world one day. Now the last sentence is written, the pages are wrapped with beautiful covers in warm colors… but I miss the hours when I was sitting behind my laptop and going with my hero on his next adventure… There is a sense of sadness that the journey is over.

I am content that my imagination has created my heroes. They keep a very friendly company of mine during the long hours of writing. many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
Affairs of The Heart will be my second published book. There are two novellas, the contemporary love drama “The last secrets of the ancient island” and the historical love drama “A Love in Time of Wars”.

“The Last Secrets of The Ancient Island” is a story, which starts with loneliness and the fears of loneliness that can change our world with the same strength as strong love or hatred. Series of collisions and mishaps in an old town drives each of main characters under suspicion. There is an unknown driver, who has a tragically motivation to take his with others life. At the end with the unveiling the last mysteries of ancient sights unexplored in full by historians and archaeologists, it will be also clear that we were born alone, we die alone but life is our chance to live in love. If possible… or if we so wish…

“A Love in Time of Wars” happens in the beginning of 20 century. Sofia and Istanbul are scenes where passion, hatred, love and great efforts for peace changes everyone’s life of the two nations. On the ground of all differences in cultures, religions, languages, traditions and so on, a young Bulgarian girl and a Turkish officer know how to prevail over all borderlines between them.

The wars becomes past, the past becomes history, only love is still alive in a tale, very beautiful tale to remember them.

How did you find your publisher? How do they treat you? Would you recommend them?
Rose Heart Publishing is my publisher and I am happy to be their author! Till you find someone to believe in you and your works you may feel both hopeless and bored. The easy roads were already occupied and for me there was just one road left, the more difficult one.

One day I have found Rose Heart Publishing and I feel sincere gratitude to their team for the friendship and appreciation of my writing!

I also often receive compliments for their cover of my The Starlight Prince. It is very beautiful, indeed and sometimes people surprise me leaving a few words on my page at Facebook and even to my email using how much they like it.

What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
I consider myself a writer by soul because, although I have been working as a Recruiter in the field of Human Resources for years, at home in Sofia, my native city in the heart of Balkan peninsula, in my free time, history and writing are the important passions of my life. It is the best to share both of them with readers.

The worst is “to write or not to write”; “to start a new book or never start a new book”… such moments always can happen. But I believe that when one loves to do something – to climb mountains, to play a game soccer or to write – he or she just does it because of the pleasure and despite the result. Of course, there is also thought about success in everyone.

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
Perhaps night hours but I have no choice, if I find a little time for writing I do it. Being a professional HR I need to steal some free time to be a writer as well.

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
I always have paper and a pen with me. I collect stories that impress me, the ones that I would not forget for a long time. Loving historical themes I also need strong research before I would be able to sit down behind my laptop because I like to be very accurate in historical references. Therefore I can never say “I have written it for a few months” because much time before the beginning I am used to taking some notes about heroes, dialogue, scenes that come in use in the process of writing. Usually a story “lives” in my mind for several years and all it starts with the notes on the papers, which I take out one day with the thought “I am ready to write it’ and turn on my computer.

What/who do you draw inspiration from?
Books and movies are inspiriting me and I perceive them as a specific channel of communication with their authors. I love interesting stories and legends, adventures that take us through the ages and help us to experience countless earthly and celestial places… I love Sofia, Sicily, Istanbul, Rome, Seville, London… the towns like museums under open sky, I like discovering these scenes of legends and secrets, history, journeys, culture, and ancient remains.

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
No. The important is whether I said everything that I wanted despite how many words I used for the purpose. After the completion of a story I need two-three months before starting its editing and sometimes it takes much time, perhaps as long as writing a new story. Therefore the word count put on the white paper in any evening or afternoon means nothing. The edit process could revise it in full.

What are you working on now that you can talk about?
“Somewhere Aroud Us”, a historical fiction. Here is its resume:

Italian ambassador, 40 years old Count Giovanni Di Castellano breaks all the rules of his world when in New York in the 1930s he meets Sofiana Assenova, an opera-star at “La Scala”. After two years of efforts, Giovanni and Sofiana succeed in obtaining permission for marriage from the Italian King Victor Emanuel the Third and from Vatican in spite of the protests of the Di Castellano family, because she is divorced and of Bulgarian origin.

She gives up her brilliant career and is converted to Roman Catholic religion. Count Di Castellano works in Paris, Moscow, London, Morocco and Rome. He is viewed as a Don Quixotte by political circles of that time. After his resignation, the couple returns to Sicily.

After the death of Count Di Castellano, Sofiana finds herself in Sicilian mental home and tries to understand what has happened with her and why. Seven years later she is saved with great difficulties and being treated in a catholic monastery before finding the path back to her grown-up son.

How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
In the past I asked very often myself: “Why don’t they feel my stories? Why don’t they accept them?” Of course, I know it is business but I think the rules of its business are very unfair for the beginning authors. There are many talented people, who have what to say, to give to the readers but no one would like to afford their books a chance. In recent days Internet changes it a bit and I am sure it is for better.

Sometimes I think that I am lucky to be part of the Internet generation and 40-50 years ago my initiative would have been an inanity, and the book would have been left in a cupboard at home without a chance for publication or being read by someone some time.

Do you have a critique partner?
My friends, they are my first readers and critics, well-wishers but critics.

Paperback and Kindle format of Starlight Prince


blurb of Solace and Grief

Solace Morgan was born a vampire. Raised in foster care, she has always tried to keep her abilities secret, until an eerie encounter with a faceless man prompts her to run away. Finding others with similar gifts, Solace soon becomes caught up in a strange, more vibrant world than she ever knew existed. But when the mysterious Professor Lukin takes an interest in her friends, Solace is forced to start asking questions of her own. What happened to her parents? Who is Sharpsoft? And since when has there been a medieval dungeon under Hyde Park?

What is Solace and Grief all about? Can you tell us a little more about its genre?
Solace and Grief is the first book of Rare, a YA urban fantasy trilogy. The main character, Solace Morgan, is a seventeen-year-old girl raised in foster care; she’s also a vampire, something she’s so far managed to keep secret. When an eerie encounter with a faceless man prompts her to run away, Solace finds herself living with a new group of friends, all of whom are something slightly more than human. But her new life has its own dangers, too – and some of them have to do with Solace’s parents.

What gave you the incentive to write this book?
I grew up reading epic fantasy, and so didn’t really discover urban fantasy until university. The idea for Solace’s story came when I was working as a legal secretary. I’d been watching a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and thought it would be interesting to try and create my own vampire mythology: one where being a vampire wasn’t enough to make you evil, but where serious villainy could still occur as a result of being a vampire. In Solace’s world, what makes vampires mad and bad is human blood, which is powerfully addictive. Drink it for too long, and not only does it become steadily impossible to feed on anything else, but you start to go crazy, too.

Can you sum the book up in one sentence?
Vampires, shenanigans and sarcasm in an alternate Sydney filled with magic doors, mind-altering nepenthe, secrecy and danger.

What makes this difference from other Vampire stories?
Here are the two most obvious points: it’s not a romance, and it’s not set at school. Also, there’s more magic in the mix than just vampires.

Have your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences?

Some characters do remind me of various friends, but that wasn’t a deliberate decision – often, I’ve only noticed afterwards. The one exception is a feline character who is directly based on one of my cats. I didn’t plan for her to be part of the story, but when I was stuck, she just strolled into the scene and refused to leave – much after the fashion of her real-life counterpart!
What is your favourite scene in your book? Can we have a snippet?
I won’t quote verbatim, because the dialogue would be spoilery, but there’s a scene on top of the Sydney Opera House of which I’m rather fond; and I do enjoy dream sequences.
Do you have an agent, or have you gone alone?
I don’t have an agent, though that was less a deliberate decision on my part than a consequence of how things worked out. At the time I submitted Solace and Grief to Ford Street, I was also looking up agencies, too – it just happened that I ended up with a publisher first.
Tell us a little about your publisher, Ford Street. How did you find them? How helpful have they been?
I found Ford Street online, and recognised the name of the founder, Paul Collins, as the editor of one of my favourite fantasy anthologies as a teenager. They’ve been tremendously helpful in terms of providing promotional opportunities, and because they publish only children’s and young adult novels, there’s a real sense of care for and awareness of the intended market.

What marketing have you been doing to help sales?
Signings, writing articles, interviews and reviews, and blogging, though I’ve been doing the latter independently for a while now. Having an online presence is really important for any new author, I think – not only because it makes it easier for readers to find out more about your work, but because it’s a great way to get in contact with other writers in your community. Twitter is especially useful.
How long does it take you to write a book?
The first draft of Solace and Grief – which, bear in mind, was about 20,000 words shorter than the finished product – took me three or four months, with another seven or more of editing and revision after that, plus further back-and-forth with Ford Street and my editor. The sequel, The Key to Starveldt, has taken a lot longer, mostly because I went through about four rejected drafts before I finally handed it in; polishing and responding to feedback is still to come. But then, when I was overseas recently and a Lady of Leisure, I managed to write a full draft for an adult fantasy novel in exactly one month, which I’ve been editing in odd moments ever since – so I guess it depends on the story!
How far have you into writing your next novel, The Key to Starveldt? Is it a follow on to Solace and Grief?
The Key to Starveldt is the second volume in the Rare, and a direct follow-on from the events of Solace and Grief. Right now, I’m in the process of editing and updating the manuscript in response to my editor’s comments – the book itself is currently scheduled for release in 2011. The third and final volume of the series, Falling Into Midnight, is planned out, but still being written.
Which comes first for you – characters or plot?
Characters, usually. I’m very much a name nerd, so if I hear a name I like, I start to think about what sort of character it might belong to, who they are and what they do, and – when I have some answers to those questions – what sort of world they inhabit. Then I start to populate and plot the story.
How did you get into writing? Did you always want to become a writer?
I’ve always written, and always wanted to write. I decided when I was twelve or so that my goal in life was to become a published author – I dreamed of other careers at various times, but always in the knowledge that no matter what, writing would still be part of my life.
What mistakes do you see new writers make?
Being a new writer myself, I’m not really in a position to comment on the foibles of others, but something I’ve learned as part of my own initiation into authorness is the importance of relaxing. It’s very easy to live in a state of constant anxiety about your first book – how it’s selling, whether people like it, if you made any mistakes in the plot, if you should’ve written a different story altogether, if you won’t be able to do as well next time – but while those are all important things to think about, it puts too much emphasis on the first book as the only book. I’d be very disappointed if Solace and Grief turned out to be the best thing I ever wrote. I’m new at this. There’s a lot of room left for development, and really, that’s how it should be. So rather than fret about what mistakes I might’ve made and how they might hurt Book One, the best thing to do is breathe deep, take the self-criticism on board and apply it to whatever I’m writing next.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Starting a story is easy. Finishing a novel is harder. Pitching a book is like masochism. There is no magical editor-fairy scanning the hard-drives of aspiring writers, looking for stories to take back to their publisher-master. Persevere, and when it gets tough, trust the words, and trust your characters. They’re what matters. But always submit. And keep a sense of humour!

Foz Meadows is a bipedal mammal with delusions of immortality. She likes cheese, geekery, writing, webcomics and general weirdness. Dislikes include Hollywood rom-coms, liquorice and the Republican party. Her blog, Shattersnipe, is updated with occasional regularity. Foz currently lives in Melbourne with not enough books, two insolent cats and her very own philosopher. Surprisingly, this is a good thing.
Foz Meadows debut novel, Solace and Grief, YA urban fantasy was released in March 2010 by a small Australian publisher, Ford Street, and she has recently signed a contract with them for the second book, The Key to Starveldt.

Kurt Frenier tells all about his new YA book


Neglected, Ethan boards The Study Train to escape his miserable existence. The Study Train is a magical train that teaches him how to harness his magical powers. But does the force make him believe he in invincible?

The Study Train: Volume 1 - Reunion of the Untouchables

Talk about a field trip! This fantasy adventure takes young readers along on a ride aboard a magical flying train, called The StudyTrain, built 500 years ago in the time of Master Magician Mikhail Pilkington III.

The magical vehicle was designed to show teenagers the world, and turn them into wizened and peaceful leaders. When a Swiss boy named Ethan is invited aboard, he discovers the wonders of The Study Train, and gets confronted with an ancient and evil alliance called The Untouchables. They see in him the qualities needed to emerge as their long-awaited leader. Ethan’s intrigue and hunger for knowledge and power makes him learn all their secrets, magic, and sorcery. Within this web of discovery, he also meets his dark side … which side will he choose?

This remarkable story about facing challenges will gather you onboard and take you for the ride of a lifetime!

Ethan has the adventure of a lifetime. After getting on the magical train he proves to be the ultimate “Untouchable” – will he go for good or bad?

What is The Study Train, Reunion of the Untouchables all about? Can you tell us a little more about its genre?
The Study Train, Reunion of the Untouchables is a YA fiction novel, for 13 to 15 year olds. It is an exciting story about a boy that goes through a lot of motions: from being brought on board of this magical train, to meeting new friends, travelling the world, and… being exposed to great powers. This is the first book in a series. Reunion of The Untouchables introduces the main character, Ethan, and his main counterpart (his enemy and hero), Krixit. It explains the magic of the Study Train, its history, and round-the-world journey. As the story unfolds, we discover that Ethan, a simple and unhappy boy at first, is actually a long awaited leader for a hidden society called The Untouchables. Ethan gets sucked into their circles, drawn in by the magic and sorcery that he gets to learn. Soon he understands that as their leader, he needs to commit mean and terrible acts. The question throughout the book is: will he go for power and recognition, or turn to the good side?

Have your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences?Absolutely yes, and absolutely no. Whenever you write, you have to tap into your view on life, your experiences, the people that you know and their behaviours. So in that sense, there are a lot of real-life inspirations woven into the story. BUT – it is not an absolute … as you throw some fantasy into the mix, every character and every situation becomes rather unique.

What is your favourite scene in your book? Can we have a snippet?
I can’t give too much away. My favourite scene is linked to the climax of the book – an ultimate fight between Ethan, the main character and Althulos (his headmaster, teacher, and the founder of the train). There is a surprising element in that scene that I like a lot, and that will be the foundation for the next volumes in the series (aha – now, here’s a piece of new information!). So, read the book to find out exactly what happens!

Do you have an agent, or have you gone alone?
I have gone on my own. I have contacted many publishers in the UK and the US. With a lot of rejection as a result. I know that that comes with the territory (i.e. there are a lot of talented authors and a lot of manuscripts for a relatively limited amount of publishers). Eloquent Books saw something in my story, and so far I’m happy working together with them. My next book (due at the end of the year; and not related to The Study Train) will also be with them.

Eloquent Books website sounds enticing, how have they helped you? Ie what sort of marketing have they done for you? Have they set up the radio shows and book signings for instance?
They are very much focused on marketing, and that’s exactly what I like about them. They have a lot of modules to help authors sell their books. It is up to the author to go as far as he wants to go. I haven’t engaged actively (yet) on book signings and radio shows; but they do provide the service of getting those done.

What gave you the incentive to write this book?
I have been writing for a long time, but always wanted to find a way to tell youngsters about a fundamental truth in life: once one opens up to other people/cultures in the world; once one has interacted with people in various places in the world, something happens … you discover that we are all very much alike, and you appreciate each other better. Now, don’t get me wrong: the Study train is a light-hearted, magical, adventurous story. But I hope that in a gentle way, this message trickles through.

Don’t you think that youngsters already feel this, and it’s us oldies that instill this prejudice?
Maybe you are right. My experience however, is that many teenagers (remember my target audience is 13-15) haven’t seen much of the world, and get exposed only what they see on the news, hear from their friends, see from their parents. In that sense, I do think it is a message worth bringing; even worth repeating if it is not new.

How many will be in the series?
Well, I still have to decide. Probably six. There’s eight year of study on the Study Train, but I don’t want the book to be covering one year at a time. And…some interesting things might develop that make me change the number of episodes; who knows (I’m obviously keeping some suspense here).

Will Ethan be in all the books?
Definitely. His character will evolve. But he is the main protagonist

Can you sum the book up in one sentence?
Ethan has the adventure of a lifetime. After getting on the magical train he proves to be the ultimate “Untouchable” – will he go for good or bad?

What marketing have you been doing to help sales?
So far, my main push has been through the Internet. I am a big believer in the power of social networks. (And my work as a marketer obviously contributed to that point of view). When it comes to books, there are a lot of social platforms where you can interact on almost a 1:1 basis with your targetgroup and with colleagues. Spaces like Shelfari, Goodreads, and the many many book blogs are just amazing opportunities to market your book. I keep going with this until I have a bit more time for other things, like participating in radio shows, releasing a video trailer, doing book signings and so on.
 How long does it take you to write a book? Have your written other books?

 I have about twelve books ready. Two were published in The Netherlands, in Dutch. The Study Train is my first English title. It generally takes me a few months of intense writing to nail down the story. Then another two months to go through some good editing, letting it sink in and rewriting a bit. I have a short span of attention and too many ideas; so I try not to take too long to finish up a book.

What comes first – the plot or characters?

Definitely the plot. For me, it mostly starts with a couple of sentences that describe the entire story, as if I would be writing the back cover text. Once I have that, I can write the story that I have in my head.

How did you get into writing? Did you always want to become a writer?
I started writing a long time ago, when I was a teenager. I physically started “writing down” my stories and ideas around the age of 13/14 … first in songs, then in philosophical essays (I was desperately searching “myself”), poems (yep – teenage love and all that), short novels (lots of movies in my head), bits&pieces of texts and stories / children’s books (I actually completed two complete children’s books by 17). For many years I wrote only occasionally and then stopped, busy focusing on my career. It was my first daughter that reignited my urge to pick up my writing again, beginning of 2006, when my wife was pregnant. As of then, I took away the barriers that I built into my head to take this forward, and just wrote away. It seemed I had and still have a lively imagination! I haven’t stopped ever since. Writing is my hobby of choice. And maybe, one day, I’ll be able to make a living out of it !

How supportive is your wife/family. Hasn’t there ever been a time where she’s moaned at you for tapping away on the keyboard when the dinner is burning, kids are an hour late for bed and the phone’s ringing?

What a wonderful question! My wife Sanne has been the one pushing me to publish my first book in Holland. She understands that this is important to me and that I want to do something with my creativity. She is an avid reader and fan of my books, gives me useful feedback when I’m in the middle of a story, and wants me to see this through. But yes, of course there is the occasional friction when I’m behind my computer for hours at a time during our holidays, deep entrenched into my fantasy world… oh well, this is my only vice in life so I’m easily forgiven 😉

Are you from Belgium originally? If English is not your first language, how difficult was it to write in a different language?
I am Belgian and have lived there for the better part of my life. Although English is not my first language privately, it has been my first language for more than 15 years business wise. I guess that helps … All in all, I find it easy to write in English.

Are you working on another book? Possible to have a preview snippet or blurb of that?
My next book is called NIRVANA, and will be released end of this year (2010). Here’s an ultra short synopsis:
Nick enters a modern youth gang, called NIRVANA. He is inspired by Dario, the charismatic gang leader. Soon, he becomes Dario’s protégé and the hero of the gang. Money hunger and the quest for power over the group become his best friends. Even at the cost of his romance with Amber, his ‘secret’ girlfriend. Corruption and theft are his daily activities. He has everything a 17-year old boy want. But love and crime don’t go well together…

Is Nirvana part of The Study Train series? 
No it is not. Nirvana is a totally different book, with a lot more reality than The Study Train.

Are all your books YA? Have you tried to write in another genre? Would you?
So far, all my books have been Children’s and YA fiction books. But I have a lot of ideas to write adult (drama and romance) novels. One day…

What mistakes do you see new writers make?
Well, I think you get very excited about your own work. There are a lot more talented writers around, competition is heavy, and not everyone likes what you write about and how. And, take off for a new book is extremely slow. Plus, you need a bit of luck to get noticed, to get positive reviews by the right people, to be picked up and promoted by others. So, it is important to stay with both feet on the ground. Not (always) easy 😉

What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Keep dreaming, keep writing, keep trying, keep going! One day, you will get there. AND: follow my blog: 

About the Author:
Born in Belgium, Kurt Frenier is a senior director at Pepsi Cola, and the author of children’s and young adult books. He lives in Dubai with his wife, Sanne, and two daughters, Julia and Emilie. The Study Train is his first English-language young adult book.