DRAGONS ARE PEOPLE, TOO by Sarah Nicolas . . . On Sale to Celebrate Diversity!
Apr29

DRAGONS ARE PEOPLE, TOO by Sarah Nicolas . . . On Sale to Celebrate Diversity!

In honor of Celebrate Diversity Month, the ebook of Sarah Nicolas’s DRAGONS ARE PEOPLE, TOO is on sale for only 99 cents!   Never judge a dragon by her human cover… Sixteen-year-old Kitty Lung has everyone convinced she’s a normal teen—not a secret government operative, not the one charged with protecting the president’s son, and certainly not a were-dragon. The only one she trusts with the truth is her best friend—and secret crush—the über-hot Bulisani Mathe. Then a junior operative breaks Rule Number One by changing into his dragon form in public—on Kitty’s watch—and suddenly, the world knows. About dragons. About the Draconic Intelligence Command (DIC) Kitty works for. About Kitty herself. Now the government is hunting down and incarcerating dragons to stop a public panic, and a new shape-shifting enemy has kidnapped the president’s son. Kitty and Bulisani are the last free dragons, wanted by both their allies and their enemies. If they can’t rescue the president’s son and liberate their fellow dragons before getting caught themselves, dragons might never live free again. Entangled  |  Amazon  |  B&N |  iBooks |  Kobo     Sarah Nicolas Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook |  Instagram  |  Tumblr Sarah is a 30-something YA author who currently lives in Orlando with a 60-lb mutt who thinks he’s a chihuahua. She believes that some boys are worth trusting, all girls have power, and dragons are people too. She’s a proud member of the Gator Nation and has a BS in Mechanical Engineering, but has switched careers entirely. She now works as an Event Coordinator for a County Library and as a freelance book publicist and author’s assistant....

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The People Who Matter by Tamara Mataya
Apr28

The People Who Matter by Tamara Mataya

I could tell you about the time they poured pencil shavings—and staples—into my hair and rubbed it into my scalp. I could list for you the names they called me. The ones no one but me remembers, and the ones that stuck. I could tell you about the time I got stabbed with a pencil. But I’d rather tell you about my best friend. We didn’t start out that way. I was never someone you’d be proud to walk down the hallways with in case the brashness of my presence tainted the way others saw you. Others more popular. Outside of school was a different story. You’d be more than happy to be my friend until the “cool kids” let you into their ranks, then you stopped being my private friend as well. I was the girl who said what she wanted, wore clothes she thought were awesome even if no one else did, listened to “the wrong” music instead of what everyone else worshipped. She had funny hair and awful teeth and didn’t suck up to anyone. In a landscape where those politics are everything, she was never going to win. Time went by. Friends left me. I remembered the silly shit that you’d loved before you became too cool to laugh at it anymore. I remembered the panic on your face when your little sister had to be rushed to the hospital with a high fever during one of our sleepovers and you cried and thanked me for being there. I remembered those things years later when our friendship was only a memory—maybe an embarrassing one to you, as your stares went right through me like I was invisible. But you didn’t forget me completely because without an audition, you argued for me to sing the solo in the drama production because you remembered I could sing—I could really sing. You, and a small chorus of other girls like you who’d once been my friends all swayed the vote and I got the solo. But back to my best friend. We never started out as friends. I wasn’t the one she wanted, but I was the one who was there. She’d lied about not having a birthday party once and I called to wish her a happy birthday—and heard the party in the background. Maybe if I wasn’t already familiar with secret friendships and the way I could embarrass people, it would have made me act differently. Cutting me up behind my back and then being my best friend when we were alone was a pattern I knew and wore. It hurt, but I didn’t stop being...

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Dear Bully by Laura Shovan
Apr28

Dear Bully by Laura Shovan

  Dear Bully Sometimes when we pass in the hall I hear you say, “She’s no one at all.” I’m invisible, though we both wear a hoodie, jeans, the same long hair. Showing off for your latest boy, you scan the crowd for some new toy to play with, pick apart and tease. I melt into shadows. I hide. I freeze. I’m quasi human, not quite here. When you look at me, I disappear. Note: The title refers to Dear Bully: 70Authors Tell Their Stories, Edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones.                       Writing “Dear Bully” brought up memories of my own bully, an ex-boyfriend. (Admission: I own but have not yet read the Dear Bully anthology, probably because of the memories it’s likely to trigger.) We broke up at the end of sophomore year in high school, but stayed friends, sometimes more than that, for a few months. Then I left the tight social circle we shared. It was hard to walk away from some of those friendships, but I wasn’t ready for the drinking–and other things–that were happening when we hung out together. After a year-long relationship with my ex, I had left many other friendships untended. Only a handful of old friends were willing to welcome me back, so I felt isolated at school. Midway through junior year, we all started driving. That’s when the real bullying started. My ex would sit in his car and wait for me in the school parking lot. Every day. It didn’t matter what time I left. Whether I stayed at school until 6 PM, or left immediately after the bell, he was there. As soon as I started to pull out of the lot, my ex would slam his foot on the accelerator and cut  me off, swerving to miss my car and beat me through the lot’s single exit. I don’t know how many times he nearly hit me. It went on for months. I began to panic every time I had to stay after school, but I never told my parents. I never told a teacher. I didn’t want to admit this was happening. Finally, a dear friend told her parents, who told mine. The car-bullying stopped, but things did not get easier at school. Every day, I felt the way the speaker in my poem does. I wished I were invisible, below the radar. But I also felt invisible, as former friends disappeared from my life. Almost 30 years later, this incident is still painful. That’s probably why I haven’t talked about it much, even as an adult.  ...

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Carnations Do Matter by Nikki Roberti
Apr27

Carnations Do Matter by Nikki Roberti

It started when I was 12. My parents moved me to a Christian private school because my brother had issues with a local middle school and had thrived from his own move their two years prior. However, my brother and I were very different people, and while the move was great for him, it nearly killed me. On multiple levels. There were only 19 kids in the whole seventh grade…and 15 of them were girls– girls who had mostly grown up with each other in the same class since kindergarten. Here I was–new. New and “weird” according to them. They’d spend hours arguing over whose shoes were the whitest. Mine weren’t even white. Obviously I was a freak. I was the kid who enjoyed school and got good grades and had horrible fears over breaking the rules. It started small at first. Any time I’d open my mouth, I was met with an eye roll. But then the whispers started to grow and paranoia set in. I was assured that I went to school with nice Christian girls. It couldn’t all be bad. It must be in my head. But then girls put Elmers Glue in my hair. When I asked why, a girl responded, “I didn’t think it would hurt you” and acted like I was crazy for questioning her at all. When I cried, they told me they’d “pray for me.” Yay Christian school. When we were all standing on a stage during some down time, the girls were doing impressions of movies. I chimed in with my favorite line from “A Bug’s Life” saying, “I am a beautiful butterfly!” (in the funny caterpillar’s voice and everything!). But instead of joining in on the fun like I had hoped, I was met with a girl on either side of me, grabbing me by the arms shouting, “You’re not beautiful!” as they threw me off the stage. I decided the only way to deal with this sort of environment was to remove myself from it. At first I made friends with the few boys in the class, but the girls ruined that by doing the classic “you must be in love with her” type shenanigans and all my guy friends refused to talk to me too. So, I hung out with the older students–some as old as juniors who thought having a pet seventh grader to protect was charming. But somehow the mean girls in my seventh grade class tried to ruin that for me too. I’ll never forget on Valentine’s Day when the carnation fundraiser was delivered and I somehow had the most flowers in the class....

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Setting Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … sign up now!
Apr27

Setting Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … sign up now!

We’re holding a SETTING workshop with some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors during the month of June! They’ll critique 500 words from any part of your manuscript to help bring your settings to life. Critiques will be posted daily on my blog for the month of June. This is for MG, YA, NA, & Adult manuscripts. Your manuscript doesn’t have to be completed and it doesn’t have to be a manuscript that will be entered in Pitch Wars. We have 20 plus spots available. All you have to do is sign up for a chance to win one of the spots on the Rafflecopter below. The critique will be posted on my blog, so if you’re squeamish about posting your work, please don’t enter. No names or email addresses will be included in the posts. It’s for any category and genre. Your manuscript doesn’t have to be completed and you don’t have to enter Pitch Wars with it. I’ll draw names on May 5th at 12PM EDT (NY time) so be ready to submit your sample for critique immediately after I announce the winners. You will receive an email with instructions. If you don’t send your sample in before the allotted time  expires as specified in the email, you will lose your spot. Make sure to check your spam for the email. Sign up by May 5th at 12PM EDT now! a Rafflecopter...

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You are Beautiful, You are Strong by Janet B. Taylor
Apr27

You are Beautiful, You are Strong by Janet B. Taylor

Today, I am so grateful to Brenda for allowing me to participate in this extremely-important topic. We hear a lot about bullying these days, and that is wonderful and amazing and every time I read about or see a post that speaks against this type of behavior, I cheer and fist-pump! See, I’m a *tiny bit* past school age now. But back when I was in school, there was no outcry against bullying. It was just considered a part of life. Something one had to deal with. Almost a rite of passage. There were no posters, no website or conferences, no celebrities on TV speaking out on against bullying. People who were hurt like this back then just had to sink or swim. The sad part is, it’s difficult to say how many actually didn’t make it back to shore. I was a chubster all through school. Though I slimmed up some when I went through puberty, I was never a size 2 like most of my friends. It’s never, ever easy to be the chubby kid. Even now, everyone is doing so much better, being politically-correct with most issues. Sexuality. Race. Creed. And that is a wonderful, positive thing. But for heavy people, there is still no umbrella of protection. Big people are still fair game. Wow. Read the above paragraph again. Did you notice that I used four different terms that mean the same thing? Chubster. Chubby. Heavy. Big. I didn’t plan that. I used those words subconsciously because even now—at forty *cough* years old—it still hurts to use or hear the word ‘fat.’ Such a simple word. Just three tiny letters. Doesn’t seem like something that small could cause people so much pain, does it? It’s kind of astonishing to me that in this day and age, with all we know about the terrible consequences bullying can cause that it’s still got so much power behind it. But I’m here to tell you—as someone who’s been there/done that–that YOU are beautiful. YOU are strong. YOU are a miracle. And NEVER let anyone, EVER tell you differently.               Janet B. Taylor Website  |  Twitter |  Facebook  |  Tumblr I’m a reader and fan first and foremost! I’m also the author of the upcoming YA Time Travel series, INTO THE DIM (coming 3/1/2016 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). I’m also a total, fangirl, book geek…. member of the SCBWI and the fabulous debut author group, The Sweet 16s. In addition, I’m a member of–and have done author interviews for–the Historical Novel Society. I’m also the previous author of the popular CBS affiliate-fansite BigBigBrother.com . I’m thrilled...

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A Pitch Wars 2014 Success Story with Heather Ezell and Her Mentor, Rachel Lynn Solomon!
Apr26

A Pitch Wars 2014 Success Story with Heather Ezell and Her Mentor, Rachel Lynn Solomon!

The best part of the contests for us around here is when we hear about successes. Today we celebrate Heather Ezell and her Pitch Wars mentor Rachel Lynn Solomon! Heather signed with Sarah Davies at Greenhouse Literary, and Marissa Grossman at Razorbill has acquired her debut NOTHING LEFT TO BURN. We couldn’t be more thrilled for her. So without further ado, please meet Heather and Rachel as they recap their Pitch Wars success story.   Heather, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Rachel? Ah! Moment of shame. I did not submit to Rachel. AND I AM THE LUCKIEST GIRL THAT I STILL WOUND UP WITH HER, MY GOODNESS <3. Backstory: I was a very, very last minute Pitch Wars applicant. I was supposed to start grad school and teaching that fall, so I knew it was unrealistic for me to attempt the rigidness of Pitch Wars, but man did I fantasize about submitting all summer. I had a manuscript ready! I wanted to revise! I wanted to interact with fellow YA writers! I wanted the challenge! But it could not be… But then–dun dun dun–I started doubting the logic of moving to Alaska and starting grad school when my health was on the fritz. On a whim, I submitted. I only had an hour or so to read through the mentor blog hop (I know, I’m terrible, don’t do this!) and was in such a mental frenzy (I was dying my hair simultaneously!), I only submitted to mentors I’d been following on Twitter longterm–all fantastic writers and mentors–but I was SO, SO, SO lucky that one of those gals forwarded my submission to Rachel. Whoever did this, THANK YOU! CAN I HUG YOU? By the time I’d officially deferred my graduate studies, Rachel surprised-emailed me a request for my full manuscript. I was so thrilled by her email. It was an instant connection: I had those ~I GOT A GOOD FEELING ABOUT THIS~ vibes. Naturally, when I went back and read Rachel’s blog-hop, I kicked myself. She was a perfect fit. Long story short: I didn’t submit to Rachel but Rachel found me and this changed my world. Rachel, what about Heather’s application made you choose her? Heather’s application wasn’t initially submitted to me, but I’m so glad it found its way to me! The manuscript’s sense of place (Orange County during a forest fire the main character may or may not have played a role in setting) immediately captivated me, and the sensory details fully transported me there. Her writing is stunning. Every word felt both meticulously chosen and effortless, and the book...

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My Thoughts About Bullying by Kelly Calabrese
Apr26

My Thoughts About Bullying by Kelly Calabrese

  HEY THERE FELLOW ARMADILLOS! AKA: MY THOUGHTS ABOUT BULLYING. BY: KELLY CALABRESE I’ve been asked to share my insights on bullying, which Urban Dictionary defines as: See abuse. ‘Nuff said.  So true! Bullying is abuse. It is a wicked display of power meant to intimidate and embarrass another. Worst all, bullying often causes victims to internalize. We remain silent about what happens. But thanks to organizations and people like Brenda Drake, many are speaking up. This is me speaking up. This is me on a rooftop bellowing… THE BULLIES ARE THE WRONG ONES. It’s not you. It’s not us!!! I’m loud. You probably heard that right now. If you didn’t, I hope some of these thoughts might make their way to your ears. And any currently wounded chunks of your heart. *First thought: For those facing bullies, I wish I had a simple solution for you. I wish I could let you in on a secret that saying the word – armadillo – will ward off all bullies and allow you to live as free as a ray of sunshine. It won’t. But armadillo is a fun word to say. And being able to keep a strong sense of inner light is one key to getting through hard times. I believe this to be true… “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt It’s not easy to maintain a strong core, while in the middle of a mean storm. I didn’t remain strong. As a kid, from age five to fifteen, I spent every day as a target. I went through a gamut of name calling, people spitting on me, playing pranks on me, and even inappropriate touching. I tried everything I could to make people stop picking on me. I tried laughing alongside them. Ignoring them. Hiding. None of it worked. Only time stopped the bullies. Sucky news. I realize. But now I know! There was one thing I never tried. Loving myself. Being kind to myself. Ouch. Damn. It hurt to get picked on. But it hurts way more, still, to know how much I internalized. How much consent I gave. How inferior I allowed others to make me feel. If I could go back to young me, I’d hug the crap out of myself. I’d embrace myself so hard I’d feel no pain at the end of the day except for the hug bruises left by a self-loving, superhero named ME. *Second thought: Talk about it. I never told anyone what I went through. Only Cover Girl knew. Yes, I mean the make-up. Because I used so much of their foundation...

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DOWN WITH THE SHINE, Safe Wishing PSA & Giveaway!
Apr25

DOWN WITH THE SHINE, Safe Wishing PSA & Giveaway!

  Tomorrow is the release of my third book with HarperTeen, DOWN WITH THE SHINE.   About the book . . . There’s a reason they say “be careful what you wish for.” Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for “balls of steel” and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave. These are things Lennie only learns when it’s too late-after she brings some of her uncles’ moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago. Lennie didn’t mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles’ moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their “important family legacy,” she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging. As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year. Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…   Public Service Announcement . . . Because this book is about wishes and the many many many ways in which they can go wrong, I wanted to put together some helpful public service announcements – or PSA’s – to help other people out there make sure they’re wishing safely. Today, I’m revealing all three of them. The first one is here on Brenda’s blog, the other two can be found on Mindy McGinnis and my own personal blog. With each reveal is a separate giveaway to go with each trailer where you can win books and fun swag. And so without further ado, here it is – PSA #2 And here is giveaway #2 to go with PSA #2. Don’t forget to visit both Mindy’s and my own blog to see the other PSA’s and enter the other giveaways! a Rafflecopter giveaway   Kate Karyus Quinn is an avid reader and menthol chapstick addict. She has lived in California and Tennessee, but recently made the move back to her hometown of Buffalo, New York, with her husband and two children in tow. She promised them wonderful people, amazing food, and weather that would… build character. She is the author of ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE and (DON’T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME both from HarperTeen....

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Don’t Be a Bully (or Raise One) by Laura Heffernan
Apr25

Don’t Be a Bully (or Raise One) by Laura Heffernan

Don’t Be a Bully (or Raise One) by Laura Heffernan This month, some of the other mentors have shared their experience with bullying, how it changed them. I hope these posts have made some people think about this problem, in realizing that our actions really do impact those around us. But if that’s not enough to make people care, to stop bullying (or to encourage their kids to stop), I want to talk about something else: the fact that actions have consequences. Battery is defined as a harmful or offensive touching. What’s offensive is based on what would be offensive to a reasonable person. Anything that causes bruising or leaves a mark is probably harmful, but offensive can extend to things like spitting in someone’s face (who wouldn’t be offended by that?); brushing against someone “accidentally” and shoving them out of the way or brushing areas they don’t want touched; or “petting” someone’s hair when they don’t want you to. You might think that’s funny or harmless, but it’s actually a misdemeanor. You (or your child) could wind up with a criminal record. Threatening someone is also a crime in most states. Engaging in a course of conduct that serves no legitimate purpose and is done solely to annoy, harass, or terrorize someone is ALSO criminal – and in many states, it falls within the definition of stalking. Do you really want your twelve-year-old to have a stalking conviction on his record? Maybe you’re reading this thinking, “Whatever. No one’s going to report me/my kid.” I can’t really speak to that, because my crystal balls in the shop. Or maybe you don’t care if you/your kid has a criminal record. But how would you feel about getting hit in the wallet? Ah, suddenly, that shove against the wall is less funny if it cost you $2,000 – or more. One Chicago family was sued for $50,000 for their child’s bullying. Sure, that’s just Chicago – but most states have laws that hold parents liable for intentional, wrongful acts such as assault, battery, property damage, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On top of that, your child can always be sued. A judgment is good for usually 5-10 years, depending on the state, but can be renewed. In some states, it can be renewed forever. A judgment can be a black mark on your child’s credit before they’re even old enough to know what credit is. Entire job markets (like finance) could be unavailable to your child as a result of a civil judgment before they even finish high school. And as a practical matter, a lot of parents wind...

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Friends Stop Bullies by C.M. McCoy
Apr22

Friends Stop Bullies by C.M. McCoy

Friends Stop Bullies by C.M. McCoy Bullies have been the bane of my existence since the sixth grade, and when I saw Brenda Drake was doing a blog series dedicated to anti-bullying, I knew I wanted to contribute. This cause is close to my heart. Before I go into my experience with bullies, I wanted to share some things I’ve learned over the years. There are a lot of myths about bullying—that bullies just have low self-esteem, that bullying is harmless and builds character, that victims should just ignore bullies because they’ll eventually go away. None of those things are true. According to a UCLA study, most bullies have ridiculously high self-esteem. Sure victims of bullies grow in character, but some also commit suicide. While a bully will eventually go away, that may not happen for years or even decades. So what to do? Let’s take a look at what a bully is and then we’ll tackle strategy. Bullies emerge when two things happen. First, there’s a tumultuous environment (a change from grade school to middle school, a new boss in the office, a sudden shift in media exposure, a change in success of a member of a household, etc.), and then a social hierarchy forms. When that hierarchy forms, a leader naturally emerges, and if that leader has any insecurity, he may attack someone he sees as submissive. And then we have a bully. This is cave-man brain at its best, and to combat a bully, you have to think like one, like a cave-man. 3 WAYS TO STOP A BULLY 1. Find a friend. Having just one friend may be enough to deter a bully. There’s safety in numbers. 2. Avoid submissive behavior. Hold your head high, look a bully in the eye, and say out loud, “STOP.” 3. I usually don’t advocate violence, but if a bully escalates his attacks from teasing and shoving to throwing punches, you don’t have to sit there and take it. Fight back. Learn to throw a punch. Bullies have killed kids.   What can you do if you see a bully? The number one thing you can do is speak up. Be a friend. Don’t succumb to the by-stander effect. Tell the bully to “STOP,” and then befriend the victim. Sometimes it takes just one friend—just one—to end a cycle of bullying. Bullying doesn’t just hurt physically and socially. It hurts emotionally, mostly because victims tend to blame themselves. That makes them even more submissive and even more susceptible to bullying, which can last for years and take a huge toll. It’s important for victims to know 1) it’s not...

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SOME KIND OF MAGIC by Mary Ann Marlowe . . . Cover Reveal!
Apr22

SOME KIND OF MAGIC by Mary Ann Marlowe . . . Cover Reveal!

  In this sparkling debut novel, Mary Ann Marlowe introduces a hapless scientist who’s swept off her feet by a rock star—but is it love or just a chemical reaction?… Biochemist Eden Sinclair has no idea that the scent she spritzed on herself before leaving the lab is designed to enhance pheromones. Or that the cute, grungy-looking guy she meets at a gig that evening is Adam Copeland. As in the Adam Copeland—international rock god and object of lust for a million women. Make that a million and one. By the time she learns the truth, she’s already spent the (amazing, incredible) night in his bed… Suddenly Eden, who’s more accustomed to being set up on disastrous dates by her mom, is going out with a gorgeous celebrity who loves how down-to-earth and honest she is. But for once, Eden isn’t being honest. She can’t bear to reveal that this overpowering attraction could be nothingmore than seduction by science. And the only way to know how Adam truly feels is to ditch the perfume—and risk being ditched in turn… Smart, witty, and sexy, Some Kind of Magic is an irresistibly engaging look at modern relationships—why we fall, how we connect, and the courage it takes to trust in something as mysterious and unpredictable as love.   About Mary Ann Marlowe When not writing, Mary Ann takes karate with her kids (she has a second degree black belt) and works by day as a computer programmer/DBA. She spent ten years as a university-level French professor, and her resume includes stints as an au pair in Calais, a hotel intern in Paris, a German tutor, a college radio disc jockey, and a webmaster for several online musician fandoms. She has lived in twelve states and three countries and loves to travel. She now lives in central Virginia where she is hard at work on her second novel.   Connect with Mary Ann Website | Facebook |...

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