5 Sky Pony Protagonists As Cool As Black Widow

Captain America: Civil War hits theaters tomorrow! Most of us in the office are so excited to watch the feud between Cap and Iron Man unfold on the big screen but to celebrate the release of the film we’ve been excited to see ever since the credits rolled on The Avengers: Age of Ultron, we want to highlight one of our favorite female superheroes: Black Widow. Avenger, spy, friend, enemy—someone whose bad side you most definitely wouldn’t want to be on—Natasha Romanoff is quite the powerful female character. We imagine that when you’ve seen Civil War once or twice or three times, you’re going to need another source for your awesome female characters. Check out these Sky Pony books with some awesome female protagonists!


1. Itzy—Divah

Itzy Nash is the kind of hero who takes everything in stride. She isn’t phased by fallen angels swooping in or demons in her closet. And she doesn’t need a boy to rescue her.

“If Buffy the Vampire Slayer edited Vogue, Divah’s heroine Itzy Nash would be its first cover girl.” —Wendy N. Wagner, author of Skinwalkers

giphy941GkjrYv7pL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Eloise meets Rosemary’s Baby in New York City’s very own Carlyle hotel.

Seventeen-year-old Itzy Nash is spending the summer at the exclusive Carlyle hotel in New York City. But the hotel harbors more than the rich and privileged; it is host to a gorgeous fallen angel, reclusive movie stars, and—Itzy soon learns—demons of the worst sort. When the Queen of the Damned checks in, all Hell breaks loose. Itzy is called upon to save herself—and all of humanity—from the ravages of the Underworld. There’s only one problem: Itzy’s possessed.

Part gothic thriller, part historical fiction, the novel straddles the Upper East Side and the lush trappings of the Carlyle hotel, and Paris during the Reign of Terror in 1789. Marie Antoinette is the Queen of the Damned. Marilyn Monroe is an expert demon hunter. To kill a demon, Hermès scarves, Evian water, and a guillotine are the weapons of choice.

For anyone who loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, this has an epic battle between angels and demons with a doomed love story at its core. But it’s also darkly funny, for fans of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, and more than anything it’s something original—dark, funny, clever, and glamorous.

2. Tal—Wandering Wild

Tal is a schemer. Faced with challenges that would force most to bend to expectations, she’s determined to make her own luck and write her own path. And it doesn’t always go well for her—especially when what she wants most clashes with what has long been decided for her. But a fierce loyalty, especially to her brother, is the force that always sees her through. After all, “Fortune favors the bold.”


9781510704008-frontcover“I believe in possibility. Of magic, of omens, of compasses, of love. Some of it’s a little bit true.”

Sixteen-year-old Tal is a Wanderer—a grifter whose life is built around the sound of wheels on the road, the customs of her camp, and the artful scams that keep her fed. With her brother, Wen, by her side, it’s the only life she’s ever known. It’s the only one she’s ever needed.

Then in a sleepy Southern town, the queen of cons picks the wrong mark when she meets Spencer Sway—the clean-cut Socially Secured boy who ends up hustling her instead of the other way around. For the first time, she sees a reason to stay. As her obligations to the camp begin to feel like a prison sentence, the pull to leave tradition behind has never been so strong.

But the Wanderers live by signs, and all the signs all say that Tal and Spencer will end only in heartache and disaster. Is a chance at freedom worth almost certain destruction?

3. Riven—The Almost Girl

Riven is determined and resourceful. She is loyal and fierce and she will do anything to accomplish her goals.

The Almost GirlSeventeen-year-old Riven comes from a world parallel to Earth, a world that has been ravaged by a devastating android war. As a Legion General, she is the right hand of Prince Cale, the young Prince of Neospes. In her world, she’s had everything: rank, responsibility, and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to rescue his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.

Armed with the mindset of a soldier and racing against time to bring Caden home, Riven must learn how to blend in as a girl in a realm that is the opposite of all she’s ever known. Will she be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?


4. Kora—Beyond the Red

Kora is the first female ruler in generations and remains powerful on the throne though people think her younger brother should rule in her place. Kora is cunning and strong and fights for what she believes in.

giphy39781634506441-frontcoverAlien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

5. Flo—The Wanderers

Flo is a brave and strong character with a lot of sass. She discovers just how strong and brave she truly is on her journey. giphy4

9781634502016-frontcoverA Unique Twist on Shape-Shifters with Fast-Paced Action, Thrilling Adventure, Mystery, and a Bit of Romance

Flo lives an eccentric life—she travels with a popular circus in which the main acts star orphaned children with secret shape-shifting abilities. Once Flo turns sixteen, she must perform, but she’s not ready. While practicing jumping a flaming hurdle in a clearing beside the circus, she spots a dark figure in the trees and fears he saw her shift. The news sends the circus into a panic.

In Flo’s world, shifters are unknown to humans with the exception of a secret organization—the EOS, referred to as “hunters.” Hunters capture and kill. They send some shifters to labs for observation and testing—testing they don’t often survive—and deem others useless, a danger to society, and eliminate them. To avoid discovery, shifters travel in packs, constantly moving and keeping themselves hidden. Up until now, the circus was the perfect disguise.

Believing she has brought attention to the group, Flo feels dread and anxiety, causing her to make a mistake during her performance in front of the audience—a mistake that triggers a violent attack from the hunters.

Flo manages to flee the torched circus grounds with Jett, the bear shifter who loves her; the annoying elephant triplets; and a bratty tiger named Pru. Together they begin a new journey, alone in a world they don’t understand and don’t know how to navigate. On the run, they unravel secrets and lies that surround the circus and their lives—secrets and lies that all point to the unthinkable: Have they been betrayed by the people they trusted most?

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Sky Pony’s Stable of Authors: Kate Ormand/Kate Louise and GIVEAWAY!!

What is it like to be an author? How does a book go from acquisition to publication? Where can I get a copy of Kate Ormand’s Dark Days? Is there an actual sky pony at the Sky Pony offices? Are these questions you ask yourself on a daily basis? Never fear, we have the answers to almost all of these questions!

Sky Pony author, Kate Ormand, steps in to tell us about her experience with Sky Pony Press. Stay tuned for a GIVEAWAY at the end—the first of many!

It all started in February 2013, when senior editor, the lovely Julie Matysik, sent an offer through to my agent for my debut YA dystopian novel, Dark Days. Things have been moving fast since then as I went on to work with Sky Pony on a further five titles, both YA and picture books.

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Publishing was new to me when Dark Days sold, and I didn’t have much of a clue what to expect from that point. I reached out to fellow Sky Pony author, Rose Mannering, whose debut, Roses, was releasing about eight months before my own. She was farther along in the process and told me about her own experience. That was so reassuring, and Rose and I have stayed close friends.

When the time came for edits, I realized I didn’t really need to worry at all because Julie was so clear and helpful and guided me through every step as we got to it. There wasn’t a moment I felt like I didn’t know what was expected of me, and there was nothing I couldn’t email Julie about.

When I started writing, I knew I wanted to write young-adult fiction. I signed with my agent for a YA book and my first book deal was for that book. My second deal, however, was for a children’s picture book, and that was a whole new adventure . . .

Later in 2013, Julie sent offers through for two of my children’s picture books: Pierre the French Bulldog Recycles, illustrated by Bethany Straker, and The Upside-Down Fish, illustrated by Laura Matine. This was completely new to me. Writing picture books kind of felt like starting over again. It was scary, but exciting, too. I’m the kind of person who likes to know what’s going on, though, and, fortunately for me, Bethany had illustrated several Sky Pony titles before Pierre so I had someone to tell me what to expect again!

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So 2013 was a lot of fun and filled with exciting news and projects. I learned a lot about the industry and made some great friends along the way. I chose to write under different names, so I was spending time building up profiles and my websites for both. For YA books, I’m Kate Ormand; for picture books, I’m Kate Louise. You can still discover one through the other, even though they’re mostly kept apart. My YA novels are quite dark, whereas my picture books are quite sweet and good fun. It made sense to me to write under two names as I expanded my books and my brand.

Just before the release of Dark Days (June 2014), I got the opportunity to work with another, equally wonderful, editor at Skyhorse—Nicole Frail. I’d briefly worked with Nicole on Dark Days and knew we connected well. The new project I pitched her was a YA novel called The Wanderers, about a girl traveling with a shape-shifter circus. Nicole was so enthusiastic about this project from the start and knew how much it meant to me to get this published. And soon after submission, I received an offer.

Following this, Julie sent an offer on a third picture book I wrote called Tough Cookie, about a mischievous gingerbread man, which was illustrated by Grace Sandford. Tough Cookie was such a fun project, and it was great to be working as a picture book team again.

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I’m sometimes asked if I prefer one to the other: YA or PB. I don’t have a preference, really—they both have their charms, and they both have their tough moments. I’m sometimes asked how I switch between the two. I try to focus on one project at a time whenever possible, to get more involved and to be able to sink into that story without distraction from another in the back of my mind. And I’m sometimes asked how writing for one age group helps with another. I can sum it up this way: thinking more visually, working as a team, and patience!

Without Isabel (my agent), I doubt I’d have discovered the love of writing for such a young age group or would have met and became friends with illustrators Laura Matine, Bethany Straker, and Grace Sandford. And without Isabel, Julie, and Nicole, I wouldn’t be where I am now with my YA books, either. I’m very fortunate to be able to explore both genres with Sky Pony.

2015 was the “Year of Book Releases” for me. The three picture books released in February, March, and November respectively. The Wanderers came out in September. It was such an exciting year, and I got the opportunity to attend some great events associated with the books’ publications.

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The first event was in February at Waterstones Birmingham for the UKYA Extravaganza. Then I visited Paris for the Teen Author Smash at the American Library in Paris, where twenty-five authors were invited for readings, Q&A hot seats, books signings, and chats with librarians, readers, and writers. In August, I went to New York City (for the first time!) for Teen Author Reading Night. Chaired by David Levithan and held at the Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library, this event was comprised of eight authors who were invited for readings and a Q&A. I read from The Wanderers here for the first time, and Nicole came with some Skyhorse colleagues for support, which was so great! It was also the first time I’d met Nicole, and later that week I got to meet Julie and fab publicist, Cheryl Lew, when I visited the Skyhorse offices! I also met my agent, Isabel, for the first time as well. It was a really wonderful trip—with a lot of firsts!

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Being with Skyhorse Publishing throughout its growth has been really interesting. I’ve felt encouraged and in good hands since day one, but I’m enjoying watching the team grow and move toward exciting things now that they’ve been publishing books since 2011. And I love being a part of that growth, too. The Wanderers released with really great blurbs and trade reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, and VOYA, which I hadn’t had before, and that felt amazing. In November the book was honored as “Winner” in the “Fiction: Young Adult” category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards! Tough Cookie also released with a great review from Kirkus, and both book trailers for Tough Cookie and The Wanderers were chosen as “Book Trailer of the Day” by Shelf Awareness.

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I love being a Sky Pony author and feel proud to be part of a hugely supportive team. Through writing for Sky Pony Press, I’ve met various members of the editorial and publicity team as well as fellow writers who’ve become amazing friends. We have a Team Rogue YA blog, set up by Ava Jae and Sarah Glenn Marsh, for YA and MG Sky Pony authors and now this blog, too! I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next and to working with Sky Pony again on my 2017 release, The Pack!

A Sky Pony Express Giveaway!

Interested in winning a copy of Kate Ormand’s Dark Days . . . and The Wanderers . . . and Tough Cookie . . . AND a variety of awesome Sky Pony swag? 

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Enter below to win: 

  • Gorillas in Our Midst poster,
  • A variety of Sky Pony book postcards and bookmarks,
  • A Skyhorse tote bag,
  • A copy of Tough Cookie by Katie Louise, illustrated by Grace Sandford,
  • A copy of Dark Days by Kate Ormand,
  • A copy of The Wanderers by Kate Ormand,
  • An advanced reader copy of Liars and Losers Like Us by Ami Allen-Vath,
  • A copy of Canned and Crushed by Bibi Belford,
  • An advanced reader copy of Camp Dork by Beth Vrabel, and
  • A copy of Jokes for Minecrafters: Mobs, Creepers, Skeletons, and More by Michele C. Hollow.

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