Thursday, August 25, 2016

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Hi guys! For today, we are featuring one of the nicest authors that I know and one of the first authors that I ever contacted for Celebrating Debutantes 2016. It was a bit of a mistake - I thought her book was coming out from January to June, so emailed her way back. Anyway, stick around for a swag pack giveaway later on.


What or who inspired you to write Fear the Drowning Deep? The inspiration for Fear the Drowning Deep came from something I read in the news: an article about a rare shark that had been spotted by fishermen (near Japan, if I recall) and it got me thinking about all the strange creatures in the ocean. It seems to me that people spend more time wondering about space, looking up, than they do wondering about what’s in the waters below us--way deep down, in the darkest places we can't see or reach...and the idea for Fear was born!

What kind of historical research did you do for the book? My research process was a bit unusual. For one thing, I found some great books first published in the 1800s on Manx mythology (mainly dealing with fairies and the Islanders’ customs and lore surrounding them), and read those/took notes! I also ordered some Manx history books directly from the Isle–I don’t recommend this though, unless you want to spend a TON on shipping!

I also went to YouTube to look up videos of the Isle of Man TT. This is a famous motorcycle race (for those who aren’t as enthralled by motorcycles as I am!) and my awesome biker dad had mentioned it to me several times growing up. Anyway, bikers from around the world flock to the Isle of Man for this big race around the island each year; it’s actually been happening since the early 1900s! Anyway, I watched videos of the TT to get a sense for the Manx landscape and the accents of the Manx people reporting on the race!

Could you tell us a bit about the historical period wherein Fear the Drowning Deep is set? What made you decide on this specific time period? Fear the Drowning Deep is set in the early 1900s--to be specific, 1913. This particular year felt right to me for Bridey’s story for a number of reasons. First, it was a year after the sinking of the Titanic, an event which confirmed Bridey's worst fears about the ocean. Second, this was a time in which there was very little technology on the Isle (relative to other places in the UK, which were quicker to adopt new tech as it became available). This was also a time when many on the Isle still upheld rich old traditions, and some still believed in the existence of fairies. All these things combined made 1913 on the Isle of Man feel like a distinctly magical time in which to set my story!

Could you tell us about the tasks, responsibilities and competencies of a witch's apprentice? 
Bridey herself would tell you that being a witch's apprentice is dirty work; her employer, Morag, hasn't swept her hearth in at least a decade. Sometimes, her duties involve going to the beach, even though that brings her much closer to the sea than she can stand. She's also always on the lookout for things that might please Morag--sea glass, driftwood, a piece of string; the witch's moods shift as swiftly as the wind. On the best days, being a witch's apprentice involves drinking tea and talking about the moon and mythical krakens.

What were the difficulties that you encountered while writing Fear the Drowning Deep, if any? How did you deal with them? Without getting too spoiler-y, writing the Big Bad in this book freaked me out! Also, Bridey’s so scared of the ocean that I often felt terrible about the things I was subjecting her to! In fact, I'd say that was the most difficult part of writing the book overall; I came to love all the characters (okay, okay, maybe not Mr. Gill...), and I often felt bad about ruining their lives (something I've since gotten over in my subsequent books...consider yourselves warned ;)). I dealt with it by writing an ending that was satisfying to me, and that I hope will be the same for readers!

What is your favorite part about writing your debut? Researching the mythology, definitely. I had a great time learning about and shaping what Bridey would be up against in her fight to save her town!

Have you been to Isle of Man? Could you share with us some of the places there that are highlighted in your book? 
I wish! I haven't been to the Isle of Man yet, though it's absolutely a goal of mine.

As for places that are highlighted in my book, certainly: while Port Coire, Bridey's hometown, is purely fictional, I situated it about five miles from the very real town of Peel. One of the awesome things about the town is Peel Castle, which was built in the 11th century by the Vikings. There's a supposed spectral black dog (known in Manx Gaelic, the language of the Isle of Man, as the "Moddey Dhoo") roaming the ruined castle, which is open to tour in the summers!

To the south of Peel town, there's the Calf of Man, an island that's home to a large colony of seals!

Another special place on the Isle is the Fairy Bridge, a stretch of road where it's customary to stop and greet the fairies (or "Mooinjer Veggey" as they're known in Manx!); it's considered unlucky not to greet them! Oh, and did I mention that Manx fairies aren't sweet like their English counterparts? Instead, they're quite tricky and fearsome!

Thank you!

About the Author:

Sarah Glenn Marsh is the author of the YA fantasy Fear the Drowning Deep from Sky Pony Press, the forthcoming Reign of the Fallen fantasy duology from Razorbill (Penguin), as well as several forthcoming children's picture books. An avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life, she's been making up words and worlds ever since. She lives in Virginia with her husband and her tiny zoo of four rescued greyhounds, a bird, and many fish.

When she's not writing, she's often painting, or engaged in nerdy pursuits from video games to tabletop adventures.

Find Sarah: | Website |

Book Description:

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: October 4th 2016 by Sky Pony Press

Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.


What's up for grabs: Swag Pack including signed bookmarks, postcards, stickers, and a book-inspired necklace
Scope: International!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full schedule and links to the posts!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: How to Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Hi guys! The weekend is here! And the event has been running for two weeks now more or less. Don't forget to check out our list of authors + giveaways here. For today in Celebrating Debutantes 2016, we're featuring How to Hang a Witch and Adriana Mather!


Could you tell us a bit about your experience and knowledge as a descendant of Cotton Mather?

My family is firmly rooted in American history. We came over on the Mayflower, fought in the Revolutionary War, survived the Titanic, and lived in Sleepy Hollow. I’ve been hearing stories about forbidden love and adventures since I was little. But nothing tops the infamy of my ancestor Cotton Mather who instigated the Salem Witch Trials. In HOW TO HANG A WITCH, I explore that piece of my family’s history and bring it into present day with a pinch of magic and a good old-fashioned mystery.

How do you manage to balance the various elements in the book - romance, humor, wit, snark and supernatural?

Ha! You know, I never thought about it. The supernatural elements sprung out of the spooky Salem atmosphere; they flowed naturally. And everything I write has some amount of humor. I like to keep my stories fast-paced and intense, so it’s almost necessary. As for the romance, now that was actually the last part of the book I wrote. Everyone kept telling me to add more, and at first I had no idea how to accomplish that. I revised and revised. And the funny thing is that now it’s the romance that is one of the most talked about elements of my book.

Could you tell us a bit about the adorable boys that author Samantha Joyce mentioned in her review?
Elijah is one of my favorite characters. Truthfully, I love the idea of a friendly ghost – Casper, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Hocus Pocus. There just aren’t enough of them. And I also adore difficult personalities, especially ones that wind up being more complex than they appear. We judge each other so quickly, and often times we’re wrong. When you first meet Elijah, you think you’ve got him pegged. But he surprises you.

I have read that some reviewers mentioned that your debut felt like the "novelization of a TV show". Do you think that this has something to do with your writing style and your profession?
Absolutely! In addition to being a writer, I’m an actor and a film producer and those two things have influenced me greatly. My writing is dialogue heavy. Plot is definitely a driving factor - every scene has to inform it in some way. And I often see a story in my head as a visual, much like watching a movie. Scenes play in my thoughts before I write them down and usually while I’m trying to go to sleep.

What is next for Adriana Mather? Are you working on a new story or perhaps a continuation of How to Hang a Witch?
My next book is currently titled HOW TO SINK A SHIP and is a sequel to HTHAW. It’s the same cast of characters, only it has ghosts from the Titanic instead of ghosts from the Witch Trials. My ancestors survived the Titanic with their valet and their dog (one of the only dogs to survive!) and my family has an actual letter recounting their journey. It’s in the book and I’m bursting with excitement to share it with everyone.

Thank you, Adriana!

About the Author:

Add caption
Adriana Mather is the 12th generation of Mathers in America, with family roots stretching back to the first Thanksgiving, the Salem Witch Trials, the Revolutionary War, and the Titanic. Adriana co-owns Zombot Pictures, a production company that makes feature films. In addition to producing, Adriana is also an actress. She lives in Los Angeles where she has a life full of awesome, cats, and coffee.

Find Adriana: Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Book Description:

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 26th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

It's the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in a debut novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren't enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it's Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.


What's up for grabs: Bookmark
Scope: US 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full schedule and links to the posts!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: The Dragon's Ring by Debra Daugherty (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Hi guys! The weekend is here! And the event has been running for two weeks now more or less. Don't forget to check out our list of authors + giveaways here. For today in Celebrating Debutantes 2016, we're featuring a Middle Grade/YA fantasy! Stick around for a giveaway at the end.


Hello, Precious! I’m excited and trilled to be here today to answer your questions. Thank you for having me, and for letting me share information about my debut novel, THE DRAGON’S RING, which was released July 28, 2016.

Who or what inspired you to write The Dragon’s Ring?

When my nieces and nephews were young, I loved writing stories for them. I’m Irish, as if you couldn’t tell by my last name, Daugherty; and I must have some blarney in me. (I did kiss the Blarney Stone in 2012.) The Dragon’s Ring has a unicorn, witch, dragon, wizard and fairy in the story, and Irish lore is filled with stories of these creatures. I believe much of my inspiration comes from my Irish roots.

What kind of research did you do for the book?

I researched castles to find out what they were like in olden days. I also had the good fortune to visit a couple, The Tower of London and Edinburgh Castle. Clothing was another part of my research. What would a knight wear? How would a princess dress? What surprised me was the fact that a Bishop’s garments were as rich and ornate as a King’s.

Which was the most difficult part to write?

The most difficult, yet also the most fun, part to write was when the dragon chased the knight in the cave. This is a pivotal part of the story, and I wanted it to be as realistic and scary as possible. What thoughts were running through the knight’s head? When he couldn’t find the witch’s pouch, did he expect to die? I also wanted to get inside the dragon’s head and show his POV as he prepared to end the knight’s life.

How different was the first version of the story from the final version?

This is an excellent question, as in my case, the final version turned out totally different from the first draft. Originally, Princess Isadora waited at the castle for her knight, Sir James Trueblood, to return from his quest with the unicorn. I decided to give the princess an active role, making her a true heroine. In the final version she disguises herself as a beggar and follows the knight on his quest. When he encounters trouble with the witch and dragon, it is she who saves him, but he never finds out. Only the reader knows. By changing the dynamics of the story, I believe it turned out much better.

Could you tell us a bit about your writing process?

I like to sit at my keyboard and start writing, with no idea at first what I’m going to write about. My muse kicks in, and a story begins to take shape. Usually I don’t plot anything until halfway through the manuscript. I let my characters take me where they want to go. I may type for hours without a break, and in the middle of the night, if an idea comes to me in bed, I’m up and at the keyboard. I become lost in my story, my setting, my characters’ world, and am annoyed when the phone rings as I’m abruptly brought back to reality. After a first draft is finished, I wait a bit, then with fresh eyes begin my edits. I share my story with fellow writers for critiques and suggestions, and then edit again. I keep editing up to submission, and don’t even stop then. There’s always a better word, a keener description, a new angle or twist to add.

If you could write a book in a different genre, what would it be about?

I consider The Dragon’s Ring’s genre to be upper middle grade/young adult. My stories range from picture books to young adult, and I actually already have a published pictured book, Calamity Cat. MeeGenius published it as an e-book on their site in 2013, but it now belongs to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company. Hopefully, it will be included in their Curious World website in 2017. For the last three years I’ve been working on a contemporary YA mystery series. My teen sleuths meet and fall in love in London, where they become involved in an espionage plot. From there they travel to Paris, Rome and Edinburgh, solving murders and mysteries in each city. These books all began as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) projects, for the November 2013 and 2014 challenge. I would love to find a publisher for this series.

Thank you for sharing, Debra!

No, thank you, Precious, for including me on your blogsite. It’s been a pleasure, and I’m happy to be able to connect with all your followers and readers.

About the Author:

Debra Daugherty is from Central Illinois, and is a member of SCBWI, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She enjoys living in the country with her two dogs, a Chihuahua named CeCe, and a rescued American Stratford Terrier named Honey. Besides writing children stories, Debra loves to spend time with her family, travel, and browse through antique shops. She also sews, knits and crochets, but writing takes up so much of her time, she hasn’t done much handiwork lately. She feels fortunate to have been able to travel to England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, where fairies, unicorns, witches and dragons once roamed, if not in truth, in legend. Of the famous cities she’s visited, including London, Paris and Rome, London remains her favorite. She loves how the historical sites that are thousands of years old blend in with the modern day city.

Find Debra: Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

Book Description:

Sir James Trueblood is determined to capture a unicorn so he can marry Princess Isadora. The knight begins his quest, not realizing the Princess is following him in disguise. On his journey Sir James encounters a witch and a dragon. With the dragon’s ring his mission is a success, but then he learns the unicorn will die if not set free. Now he has a dilemma; marry the Princess or free the unicorn.



Thanks to Debra for this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Ebook of the Dragon's Ring
Scope: US and CA

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full schedule and links to the posts!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: The Killer in Me by Margot Harrison (Movie Cast + Giveaway)

Hi guys! For today in Celebrating Debutantes 2016, I'm featuring The Killer in Me by Margot Harrison. It's about serial killers. I've always been drawn to the mechanics, the psychology and the creepy thrill in general of serial killer films. This would be my first book about it, if ever. Margot is going to talk about her ideal movie cast for her debut. Stick around for a giveaway - open internationally - at the end.


I’m a huge movie fan—in fact, I see a movie every single week (you can find my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, where I’m a critic). So when I write, I tend to “cast” my book as I go along. The Killer in Me has a small cast — just three major characters — but I’ve thought a lot about who I’d like to see play them on screen. Here goes:

Nina Barrows would be played by Kacey Rohl

The main character of The Killer in Me is a girl who believes she has a mysterious connection to a serial killer—she knows what he’s going to do next. On the NBC series “Hannibal,” Kacey Rohl plays Abigail, the daughter of a serial killer who may or may not have been his accomplice. Abigail is a wonderfully ambiguous character: One moment she seems like a normal teenager dealing with tragedy; the next moment, she just might be a cold-blooded murderer.

I wanted the reader to wonder about Nina in exactly the same way. On the surface, she’s an anxious girl who’s afraid of her own shadow — but is she hiding something darker underneath all her nervous mannerisms? Rohl would be the perfect actor to bring out both those possibilities. Her eyes are blue, and Nina’s are brown, but I can deal with that.

Warren Witter would be played by Charlie Heaton

Warren is Nina’s best friend, her sidekick, the person she tells her secrets to—and maybe more. He’s the kind of friend who agrees to go on a road trip to help you catch a killer, even though he’s not sure that killer actually exists. He’s sweet, funny, nerdy, and nursing a huge crush.

When I wrote the book, I imagined Warren as a younger version of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. But now that I’ve seen Stranger Things on Netflix, I know exactly who I’d cast: Charlie Heaton, who plays Jonathan Byers. Jonathan is a quiet guy who initially seems a little sketchy before revealing himself to be an awesome son, brother, and friend. His relationship with Nancy reminds me so much of Warren and Nina, especially in the scene where they visit the Army Surplus store to stock up on weapons. (Warren teaches Nina all about guns.) Jonathan even has a great relationship with his mom, just like Warren does with his. Heaton would rock this role.

Dylan Shadwell would be played by Michael Shannon (younger version)

Yes, I know. Casting a younger version of an actor is cheating. But I can’t imagine anyone better for the role of a guy who MAY or may NOT be a serial killer than this character actor, who can move from “down-home friendly” to “ultra-creepy” in a heartbeat.

Nina believes Dylan Shadwell is the killer she’s searching for. But she has no physical proof, and when she comes face to face with her suspect, he’s not what she expected. Could this sweet, shy guy who made his stepdaughter a dollhouse be a killer? She needs to get close to him to find out.

You may know Shannon for bad-guy roles like Zod in Man of Steel, but he can pull off the soft-spoken nice-guy thing, too—see Midnight Special, where he’s just a desperate dad trying to save his son. He’s also done full-on mentally unstable in movies like Bug and Revolutionary Road. It takes an actor with that kind of versatility to pull off the shadings of Dylan’s complex character. Most importantly, though, he has incredibly spooky eyes—perfect.

Truth is, I’d be ecstatic to see anyone cast in a film version of my book. But putting together this dream cast was a blast!

About the Author:

Margot Harrison was raised in the wilds of New York by lovely, nonviolent parents who never managed to prevent her from staying up late to read scary books. She studied at Harvard and Berkeley and now lives in Vermont, where she works at the newspaper Seven Days. Her favorite part of the job is, of course, reviewing scary books and movies. The Killer in Me is her first novel.

Find Margot: Website| Goodreads | Twitter 

Book Description:

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 12th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion

Seventeen-year-old Nina Barrows knows all about the Thief. She’s intimately familiar with his hunting methods: how he stalks and kills at random, how he disposes of his victims’ bodies in an abandoned mine in the deepest, most desolate part of a desert.

Now, for the first time, Nina has the chance to do something about the serial killer that no one else knows exists. With the help of her former best friend, Warren, she tracks the Thief two thousand miles, to his home turf—the deserts of New Mexico.

But the man she meets there seems nothing like the brutal sociopath with whom she’s had a disturbing connection her whole life. To anyone else, Dylan Shadwell is exactly what he appears to be: a young veteran committed to his girlfriend and her young daughter. As Nina spends more time with him, she begins to doubt the truth she once held as certain: Dylan Shadwell is the Thief. She even starts to wonder . . . what if there is no Thief?


Thanks to Margot for this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Copy of The Killer in Me + Swag
Scope: International

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full schedule and links to the posts!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: Cherry by Lindsey Rosin (Author Interview + Playlist + Giveaway)

Hi guys! It's been a rainy week here in Manila. I hope the weather is better there, wherever you are on Earth. Today, I'm thrilled to feature Cherry by Lindsey Rosin! I like the simple white and pink cover. Don't you? Lindsey is visiting the blog to share a playlist and to answer some questions for an interview. Ready? 


First off, the playlist! It's called Zoe Got Some and is related to Cherry.

What or who inspired you to write Cherry?
I’m inspired by anything that moves me emotionally. High school friendships and relationships are incredibly emotional. I think it’s something about that time of life and all the new experiences and how it feels like it’s the beginning and end of everything all at once. I also like to say that my spirit animal is a teenage girl, so I’m always looking for opportunities to tell teenage stories and female stories – and anything about frozen yogurt. Cherry is sort of the perfect storm of all of that. I also drew a lot on my personal experiences while writing the book, my relationships with my best girl friends and the boys in my life and the awesome/awkward/awful sexual experiences I’ve had along the way.

Could you tell us about the background behind the title of the book, Cherry?
Yes! So, I absolutely love the title, but I have to give credit to my good friend, sometimes writing partner and YA author, Aaron Karo for coming up with it. He’s incredibly good at coming up with titles – for books, movies, TV shows; it’s really a gift. When I first told him about the book proposal I was working on, I knew I wanted the title to be something fun and simple that could capture the mood of the book. Aaron said Cherry and the rest is history. I think it’s perfect.

Do you have a writing ritual that you do before/after writing?
I do not have a writing ritual. I wish I did because maybe it would help me start writing quicker and be less distracted. I really do believe that writing is 3% writing and 97% not being distracted by the Internet. Two unusual things about my writing process are that 1) I tend to write a lot by hand. I’ll write my first drafts in notebooks or just on lined pads of paper before typing them into the computer. I find it feels less permanent to just write it by hand as opposed to seeing it in black and white on the screen so it allows me to push through the shitty first drafts much faster. And then 2) my favorite time to write is between midnight and five or six in the morning. I love that the world is quiet and no one is distracting me (haha, not even the internet.) I’ve always been a night owl, so I think my brain just works better during that time.

How different was the initial manuscript of the book from the final manuscript? What changed?
The initial manuscript is probably about 60% the same as the final draft. I had fabulous editors at Simon Pulse – hi Jen and Sarah! – who really helped me find the pace and rhythm of the story. I’d only written plays and screenplays before Cherry, so I trusted their notes and guidance quite a bit throughout the process. One big change that I can talk about without giving away any spoilers has to do with the POV of the book. It’s written in third person and the narrator is sort of omniscient, all-knowing, but we do get to go inside the heads of the four girls. Originally, we were going inside the heads of a lot of the other characters and the boys they interact with, but it was a lot of people’s thoughts and feelings to keep track of, so I’m glad we trimmed it back to just the four girls.

Which character is your favorite? Why?
Ah! There’s a little bit of me, and bits of a lot of people I love, and a whole lot of my imagination mixed into all four of the main characters, Layla, Zoe, Emma and Alex. It’d be impossible to pick just one. Who’s your favorite? I’m hoping people can relate a little bit to all of them, but also maybe find one that they identify with most.

Thank you, Lindsey!

About the Author:

Photo Credit: Claire Leahy
LINDSEY ROSIN is a professional writer/director/producer and fourth generation Los Angeles native. In the past year, she has written television pilots for Lionsgate, CBS Studios, Sony, MTV, CBS, and NBC. Most recently she co-executive produced the “Cruel Intentions” television pilot (for NBC), which she also wrote along with Roger Kumble (the writer/director of the original film) and Jordan Ross.

Lindsey’s debut novel Cherry, a story about four teenage girls who make a pact to lose their virginity before high school graduation, will be published by Simon & Schuster’s YA Imprint, Simon Pulse, on 08/16/16 and Hot Key Books in The U.K. on 08/25/16.

Under her Sucker Love Productions banner, Lindsey directed and co-developed Cruel Intentions: The Musical, which enjoyed a sold-out run in Los Angeles in the spring and summer of 2015, and is currently working to bring the production to an off-Broadway venue in New York City. Lindsey also directed The Unauthorized O.C. Musical, a sold-out, one-night only event in August 2015, and will be directing The Unauthorized Friday Night Lights Musical sometime in 2016.

Lindsey graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania as an English Major with a concentration in dramatic writing. While at Penn, Lindsey won the University’s Judy Lee Award for Dramatic Writing for three consecutive years (2005-2007) and was the winner of a senior capstone award for her writing achievements. Additionally, Lindsey is an alumnus of The Excelano Project, Penn’s premiere spoken word poetry group. Under her direction, the group took first place at the National Collegiate Poetry Slam in 2007. Lindsey began her writing career as a playwright, having won numerous statewide and nationwide playwriting competitions, and continues to be a mentor and judge for the Harvard-Westlake One-Act play festival, happily supporting her alma mater.

Lindsey drinks vanilla lattes, wears Converse tennis shoes and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Josh, and their adorable poodle mix named Dodger. She is repped by ICM, Underground Films and Management, Foundry Literary and Media and Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.

Find Lindsey: Website| Twitter 

Book Description:

Expected publication: August 16th 2016 by Simon Pulse

In this honest, frank, and funny debut novel, four best friends make a pact during their senior year of high school to lose their virginities—and end up finding friendship, love, and self-discovery along the way.

To be honest, the sex pact wasn’t always part of the plan.

Layla started it. She announced it super casually to the rest of the girls between bites of frozen yogurt, as if it was just simply another addition to her massive, ever-evolving To Do List. She is determined to have sex for the first time before the end of high school. Initially, the rest of the crew is scandalized, but, once they all admit to wanting to lose their v-cards too, they embark on a quest to do the deed together... separately.

Layla’s got it in the bag. Her serious boyfriend, Logan, has been asking for months.

Alex has already done it. Or so she says.

Emma doesn’t know what the fuss is all about, but sure, she’ll give it a shot.

And Zoe, well, Zoe can’t even say the o word without bursting into giggles.

Will everything go according to plan? Probably not. But at least the girls have each other every hilarious, heart-warming, cringe-inducing step of the way.

From debut author Lindsey Rosin, Cherry is a coming-of-age, laugh-out-loud tale of first times, last chances, and the enduring friendships that make it all worthwhile.


Thanks to Lindsey for this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Copy of Cherry

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full schedule and links to the posts!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: In the Shadow of the Dragon King by J. Keller Ford (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Hi guys! I'm back with more features! Maricar and I are posting alternately from August 5 all the way to September 30. Keep coming back for more features and giveaways. It's listed in the main Celebrating Debutantes page, which you can access by clicking the post over here >>> (top right). Today, we are featuring a fantasy novel, In the Shadow of the Dragon King. 


Hi Precious! Thank you for having me today. I’m super excited to talk about my novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING with your readers.

What or who inspired you to write In the Shadow of the Dragon King?
You know, I’ve always had the story in me, ever since I was a little girl. My dad was in the army, so I grew up traveling all over the world. I lived in Germany for almost 3 years when I was young and visited tons of castles and palaces. I loved fairy tales of princesses, and knights on white horses. I always kind of viewed my dad as one of those armored heroes that saved the day. He defended his family and the land he loved and when you put that together with stories of wars and castles and dragons and fairies, well, you’ve got a fantasy story brewing. While the plot has changed considerably over the years, the underlying themes of love, perseverance, honor and sacrifice remained.

What kind of research did you do for the book?
I think what I was the weakest on was my knowledge of medieval weapons, official titles and military ranks of soldiers and knights. I read a lot, went to Renaissance Fairs to observe language, mannerisms, fight scenes. I’ve held swords, shot arrows and tried to submerse myself in that sort of lifestyle as much as possible. I also did a lot of research on dragons so I could come up with my own unique creatures.

Could you tell us about Fallhallow? How did you develop the storyworld?
Fallhollow is one of five realms in the world of Estaria: the floating isles of Itas, Fallhollow, Felindil, Gramata, and Ansilar. Fallhollow is made up of three kingdoms: Berg, Braemar and Hirth, with Hirth being the seat of power. Each country rules itself, but matters concerning all of the realm must be debated and decided upon by all governments of all kingdoms. Those meetings take place at Gyllen Castle in Hirth.

But it’s not so simple. There are magical beings that live in Fallhollow: barbagazis, unicorns, fae, elves, gnomes, and yes, dragons. To oversee these magical beings, there are mages and sorcerers and sorceresses that maintain the peace over the magic. They also have representatives that attend the military/governmental meetings in Fallhollow as they need to also be aware of what the humans have in mind.

Mages and humans do not get along, which adds fuel to the fire.

As to how I developed the world, I never really thought about it. It sort of evolved as I wrote the story. I even surprised myself a couple of times. Some things I had to cut because they didn’t make sense or they felt far-fetched, but for the most part, I let the world develop on its own. I knew I wanted certain political elements, but I didn’t dictate where they would happen. I let the characters and story lead the way.

Could you share with us some of the key places in Fallhallow and tell us a bit about its importance?
Wow, there are so many. As I said earlier, Hirth is the primary focus in Fallhollow. It is where Eric, my young squire lives along with Sir Trogsdill Domnall and the other revered knights, as well as the beloved king and queen, Gildore and Mysterie. It also is the home to the mages, who live in a town called Avaleen. This is a gorgeous area of the realm set among lush green hills and peaceful valleys.

I don’t want to give too much away, but the kingdom of Berg and Berg castle itself, are extremely important, as are the towns of Gable and Tulipakar. The Southern Forest and the Northern Forest also hold their own secrets that the readers really need to discover on their own because they’re magical, spooky, or mesmerizing. They are all important to the story, either because of someone or something that lives there or the role they play in the telling of the story.

What were the difficulties that you encountered while writing In the Shadow of the Dragon King, if any? How did you deal with them?
My biggest difficulties were plot lines and date lines. The story is linear yet at the same time, it isn’t. There are important events that happened fifty years ago, a hundred years ago, even more, and to keep them straight was really hard. Lots of times I had to go back to my notes to see when something happened to make sure I had it in the correct timeline.

I ended up making a timeline graph, kind of like those graphs you find in high school history books. I’d list out the year and then all the events that they took place and where they took place. Having the visual really helped a lot.

I also drew a map of Fallhollow. It was a really rough sketch but it let me visualize where all the key places were and, by referring to legends from real maps, I was able to determine how long it would take to get from one place to another. Very important when traveling a magical world. 

What is your favorite part about writing your debut?
OMgosh, meeting so many people because of my book has been amazing!! Whether it’s through blog posts or on social media or in person, the enthusiasm from my readers has been so special to me. Seeing my readers’ smiles when they hold my book. Priceless. You have no idea how much it means to me. I can’t thank them enough for their kind words, their belief in my story. The book signings have been fantastic and I loved going to ALA in Orlando to meet so many teachers and librarians who were so excited to include my book in their school libraries. I think the biggest praise came from the School Library Journal where they compared me and my novel to Paolini and Tolkien. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that for a debut novelist!!

How did you blend high fantasy and urban fantasy? Could you share your techniques on how you balanced these two?

I think the key is to introduce elements as early on as you can. In the Shadow of the Dragon King is told from two perspectives – Eric, who lives in Fallhollow, and David, who lives in Havendale, a small town in the Cherokee National Forest not too far from Bristol, Tennessee. The story opens in Fallhollow, but we are introduced to the possibility of someone or something coming from outside the realm.

The next chapter is all about David, and the fantasy aspects come into play very, very early. I found this worked best for me. My beta readers tended to agree after reading a couple of versions with the chapters reversed.

The fantasy aspects have to make sense, too, and my beta readers were very clear when something didn’t seem right or jarring. It’s all a delicate balance. For each fantasy element, I had to ask myself: who, what, where, when, why and how. If I couldn’t come up with a reasonable explanation for each of them, out it went. I also relied heavily on my beta readers and my son who wasn’t afraid to ask questions of each element that seemed weird to him. He was relentless in his questions and if I didn’t have a good enough explanation, I really had to examine what I was doing. I think the results turned out great and I hope my readers will think so, too.

Thank you!

No, thank you so much for having me!!

About the Author:

J. Keller Ford (known to all as Jenny) is a scribbler of Young Adult and New Adult speculative fiction. As a young Army brat, she traveled the world and wandered the halls of some of Germany’s most extraordinary castles in hopes of finding snarky dragons, chivalrous knights and wondrous magic that permeated her imagination. What she found remains etched in her topsy-turvy mind and oozes out in sweeping tales of courage, sacrifice, honor and everlasting love.

When not torturing her keyboard or trying to silence the voices in her head, Jenny spends time collecting seashells, bowling, swimming, screaming on roller coasters and traveling. Jenny is a mom to four magnificent and noble offspring, and currently lives in paradise on the west coast of Florida with a quirky knight who was silly enough to marry her, and a menagerie of royal pets. Published works include short stories, The Amulet of Ormisez, Dragon Flight, and The Passing of Millie Hudson. IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING is her debut novel and the first installment in the Chronicles of Fallhollow Trilogy.

Find Jenny: Instagram| Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook 

Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old, Eric, is a kick-butt squire to the most revered knight in Fallhollow. Well he would be if Sir Trogsdill allowed him to do anything even remotely awesome. Determined to prove his worth, Eric sets out to find the mythical paladin summoned to protect the realm from the evil lurking nearby.

Sixteen-year-old, David, spends his days collecting school honors, winning archery tournaments, and trying not to fall in love with his scrappy best friend, Charlotte.

Right when things start to get interesting, he is whisked away to the magical realm of Fallhollow where everyone thinks he's some sort of paladin destined to fulfill a two-hundred-year-old prophecy. He's supposed to help kill a dragon with some sort of magic key. The same key that happens to adorn the neck of an annoying squire who's too wrapped up in proving himself to be much help to anyone.

With egos as big as the dragon they need to destroy, Eric and David must get over themselves, or watch everything they know and love, burn.


Thanks to Jenny for this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Copy of In the Shadow of the Dragon King by J. Keller Ford
Scope: US and CA

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Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full schedule and links to the posts!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: The Last Cherry Blossom by Kathleen Burkinshaw (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Hi guys! This is the fifth feature for #CelebratingDebutantes2016! Maricar and I are posting alternately from August 5 all the way to September 30. Keep coming back for more features and giveaways. It's listed in the main Celebrating Debutantes page, which you can access by clicking the post over here >>> (top right). Today, we are featuring a dramatic and heart-wrenching historical novel, from a young girl's point of view - The Last Cherry Blossom..

Good morning, Kathleen! Thanks for taking the time to drop by.

Hi Precious! Thank you so much for having me on your blog! :)

Did you encounter any challenges in writing The Last Cherry Blossom? How did you deal with it? Because the main character, Yuriko was based on my mother, it took me a while to figure out how to describe her as a 12-year-old, not the person I knew as my mom. So once I began describing Yuriko as a fictional young girl in Japan, it was easier to then sprinkle some of my mother’s personality traits in the mix.

The other challenge for me was the order of events in her life. I would get bogged down in the details and forget that there is some fiction in this book, so that the exact events did not have to happen in the same timeline as in her life, or even be in the book at all for that matter.

I have read that the story is loosely based on your mother's firsthand experience. Aside from this, what kind of research did you do for the book to flesh out the story world of Yuriko? I spent many, many, many hours reading books written about how WWII affected the people in Japan. There were some books that had diaries of older people during the years that Japan was at war. Japan had been at war since 1937 with China. So by the time that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, the Japanese people had already been at war for four long years. By reading these accounts, I was able to get a better understanding on how the Japanese viewed their Emperor and the lengths some would go to support him. I researched newspaper headlines, radio show slogans, and propaganda poster copy.

My family visited the Hiroshima Peace Museum last year. We also honored my mother at the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for Atomic bomb victims. Being there in person and standing on the same ground that my mother and others experienced such horror and destruction, broke my heart. I tried to use that emotion for Yuriko’s reactions when I was doing revisions.

Was it difficult to slip into a young girl's mind to retell the story? What were the pros and cons of narrating a tragic story from a child's perspective? At first, yes. But once I focused more on how I might have reacted to those situations at 12-years-old, it became much easier.
Pros- more honest reaction, most likely to say what they are thinking
Cons- I had to be careful that Yuriko, didn’t act or say things as if she had the same knowledge or understanding that an adult would.

What is the message that you want readers to pick up from The Last Cherry Blossom? That nuclear weapons should never be used again on any country for any reason. Each person under the famous mushroom clouds of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were someone’s mother, father, sister, brother, or child.

If you could write a story in a different genre. What genre would it be and what would it be about? Perhaps a fantasy novel based on a Japanese fairy tale. :)

Thank you, Kathleen!

About the Author:

Kathleen Burkinshaw resides in Charlotte, NC. She’s a wife, mom to a daughter in college (dreading the reality of being an empty nester-most of the time), and owns a dog who is a kitchen ninja. Kathleen enjoyed a 10+ year career in HealthCare Management unfortunately cut short by the onset of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). Writing gives her an outlet for her daily struggle with chronic pain. She has carried her mother’s story her whole life and feels privileged to now share it with the world. Writing historical fiction also satisfies her obsessive love of researching anything and everything.

Find Kara: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

Book Description:

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by Sky Pony Press

Following the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, this is a new, very personal story to join Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and Japan's fate is not entirely clear, with any battle losses being hidden fom its people. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the bomb hits Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.

This is a story that offers young readers insight into how children lived during the war, while also introducing them to Japanese culture. Based loosely on author Kathleen Burkinshaw’s mother’s firsthand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Last Cherry Blossom hopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding them that the “enemy” in any war is often not so different from ourselves.


Thanks to Kathleen and Sky Pony Press for this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Copy of The Last Cherry Blossom + Bookmarks
Scope: US and CA

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Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full schedule and links to the posts!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: Frayed by Kara Terzis (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Hi guys! This is the third feature for #CelebratingDebutantes2016! Maricar and I are posting alternately from August 5 all the way to September 30. Keep coming back for more features and giveaways. It's listed in the main Celebrating Debutantes page, which you can access by clicking the post over here >>> (top right). Today, we are featuring a wattpad favorite, Kara Terzis and her debut Frayed.

Based on the reviews I read about Frayed, it was mentioned that there was a lot of coffee. Could you share us a bit about Ava and Kesley's caffeine fix?
This is an interesting one, because personally, I don't even drink coffee. But... yes. It's mentioned a few times in the novel, and there's a coffee shop where a few pivotal scenes happen. With Ava and Kesley, I always imagined they'd skip first period to have coffee together--to sit and talk as sisters. No animosity, no arguments. Just sit and talk like sisters.

How different was the original manuscript from the final version? What changed?
A lot changed! I wrote the first draft of FRAYED in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2012, and then, in the following year, I rewrote it completely. After some more self-editing, it was picked up by Sourcebooks, and underwent through three or four (I can't remember exactly) rounds of edits with my fantastic editors. What changed specifically is probably a little too spoilery to mention, but the novel is SO much better for it.

Which scene was your favorite? Why?
I had the most fun writing the climax/ending chapters, so probably them. They’re very suspense-driven (I hope!) where there are a lot of reveals for both plot, and character motivation. I wrote FRAYED with both real-time narration and letters where Ava would write to Kesley--which was a way for her to process her sister’s death. While it’s not a scene specifically, Ava’s letters were a chance for me to dig deep into her emotion, and some of my favorite parts of the novel come from those letters.

If you could write a short story about Ava and Rafe outside of the story world you created, what would it be about?
Ooh, I love this question. Out of the story world--I'm not sure. The characters are so deeply embedded in my mind with that story it would be hard to untangle the two. But I think it would be fun to explore what happens after FRAYED. Because it's a fairly open-ended novel, there's theoretically lots more to explore. The ending of FRAYED turned everything that happened on its head, and it would be interesting to delving deep into the repercussions of the story's ending and how it effected the characters (Ava, in particular) in more detail.

Do you have advice for aspiring writers?
Keep writing--and don't give up. A lot of being writer is persistence, and even when the going gets tough (because it WILL), not to quit. But most of all, ENJOY what you do. Find the love in creating stories... and trust me, everything will be easier.

Thank you, Kara!

About the Author:

Kara Terzis was twelve when she wrote her first novel, and hasn’t stopped writing since. Later she started publishing her work on Wattpad, where in 2013 she won the Sourcebooks Story Development Prize, leading to the publication of her debut novel, Frayed (June 7th, 2016.) She adores fairy tales, photography, rainy days, and film soundtracks. When she’s not writing, you can find her buried in a good book and daydreaming. She lives with her family in Sydney, Australia.

Find Kara: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

Book Description:

Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire

Dear Kesley,

My therapist tells me I should write you a letter. Like flushing all my thoughts and feelings out of my system and onto paper. I tell her it's a stupid idea.

But here I am, writing a letter to a dead girl. Where do I start? Where did our story begin? From the moment you were born...or died?

I'll start with the moment I found out the truth about you. Your lies and my pain. Because it always begins and ends with you.
And that end began when Rafe Lawrence came back to town...

Ava Hale will do anything to find her sister's killer...although she'll wish she hadn't. Because the harder Ava looks, the more secrets she uncovers about Kesley, and the more she begins to think that the girl she called sister was a liar. A sneak. A stranger.

And Kesley's murderer could be much closer than she thought...

A debut novel from Wattpad award-winner Kara Terzis, Frayed is a psychological whodunit that will keep you guessing!


Thanks to Kara for this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Copy of Frayed via the Book Depository
Scope: International

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full schedule and links to the posts!