Live Chat with TIMEKEEPER author Tara Sim

And we’re live!

 

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Feel free to chime in at any point by typing your questions into the box below. Tara and Alison will get to as many as possible. And don’t forget to scroll down to the post below to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Timekeeper.

Live Blog Live Chat with TIMEKEEPER author Tara Sim
 

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Live Chat with TIMEKEEPER author Tara Sim!

Join us on Monday, December 12 as we chat live with Timekeeper author Tara Sim!

timekeeper-9781510706187-2

Timekeeper is a triumph . . . If you read only one such book . . . let it be this one.” –Bustle

MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 9:00PM EST

Join Sky Pony editor, Alison Weiss, as she chats with Timekeeper author Tara Sim about her debut, her publishing path, and what you can expect from her in the future. The only thing we still need? YOU!

You can find the chat right here next Monday. Click on the box below and you can even sign up to be sent a reminder by email!

Haven’t read Timekeeper yet? No problem. We’ll attempt to keep the chat as spoiler free as possible. Emphasis on attempt.

If you can’t make it, no worries. Feel free to leave your questions in the comments section below, and Alison will work them into the conversation.

We hope you’ll join us! We can’t wait to see you!


Live Blog Live Chat with TIMEKEEPER author Tara Sim

 

 

And there’s more! We’re running a Rafflcopter! Tara’s graciously agreed to sign a copy of Timekeeper and we’ll be giving it away to one lucky winner. Enter below!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


TIMEKEEPER

I was in an accident. I got out. I’m safe now.

An alternate Victorian world controlledby clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time–and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself. determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.

A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.

A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.

A romance that will shake the very foundations of time.

The first book in a dazzling new steampunk-fantasy trilogy, Timekeeper introduces a magical world of mythology and innovation that readers will never want to leave.

sim-tara-timekeeperTara Sim is a YA author found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not writing about magic, clocks, and boys, she drinks tea, wrangles cats, and sings opera.

Tara grew up in California, but braved the elements of Virginia to study English/Creative Writing at Hollins University.

Half-Indian and full geek, she eats too many samosas and awkwardly dances to Bhangra music.

Timkeeper is her first novel.

Follow her on Twitter @EachStarAWorld, or online at www.tarasim.com where you can find fun Timekeeper extras.


Paste Magazine Best Book 2016
Barnes & Noble Teen Blog Best Queer Fantasy 2016

Timekeeper is an extraordinary debut, at once familiar and utterly original. Between its compelling world, its lovely prose, and its wonderful characters, the pages flew by.” —Victoria Schwab, #1 New York Timesbestselling author

“Alive with myth, mystery, and glorious romance, Timekeeper will keep hearts pounding and pages turning til the stunning conclusion. Reader beware—there’s magic in these pages.” —Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere

Timekeeper’s premise is original and its world unique.” —EW.com

“While the world is wildly interesting and fantastic, with broken clock towers that have left towns frozen in time, it’s the emotional impact and diverse cast of characters that make this book soar . . . The resulting story is an exciting and inclusive one, drawing in elements of magic, mystical spirits, swoon-filled romance, and just so much more.” —BookRiot

“Part mystery and part romance, this fantasy novel delves into what it means to grow up and make important decisions. With an easily relatable main character struggling to fit in, the novel has a realistic and contemplative voice. VERDICT: A must-have richly written fantasy novel that will have readers eagerly anticipating the next volume.” —School Library Journal

“Sim creates a cast of complex and diverse characters, as well as a mythology to explain how the clock towers came to exist . . . an enjoyable, well-realized tale.” —Publishers Weekly

“[M]ystery, LGBTQ romance, and supernatural tale of clock spirits and sabotage that explores how far people might go for those they love. Its strongest elements are the time-related mythology and the supernatural gay romance.” —Booklist

“This LGBTQ steampunk romance sports a killer premise and admirably thorough worldbuilding, helpfully annotated in the author’s afterword. The characters—even the bad guys—are sympathetically drawn and commendably diverse in sexuality and gender.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An enjoyable start to a promising new trilogy.” —BookPage

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Q&A with TIMEKEEPER author Tara Sim

Today, we are so lucky to have Timekeeper author Tara Sim to join us for the Q&A. Her debut is one of the most anticipated novels of Fall 2016, and we’re excited to chat with her to learn a little more about the woman behind this intricate clock-controlled alternate Victorian world.


Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

I’ve always been more interested in made up worlds than our own, mostly because I felt like more was possible in those worlds–magic, adventure, what have you. Two very early influences were Harry Potter and the Song of the Lioness series, which were both magical and fun and far more interesting to me than contemporary stories. I mean, wizards and lady knights, come on. Ever since reading those series, I’ve been a fairly consistent fantasy reader/writer. One day, I decided that I wanted to write my own worlds, my own magic systems, and my own adventures.

Q:What are you reading right now?

I just finished The Midnight Star by Marie Lu, and right now I’m turning to my backlist and finally picking up Uprooted by Naomi Novik.

Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

I would love to be Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. She’s insanely awesome and sneaky, and gets to hang out with Kaz.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

In my bedroom. I have a tiny desk by my bookshelves that faces a window, which is great for when I need to sit back and stare into space/admire my book collection.

Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

I actually don’t watch very many classic movies, but my favorite movies of all time are The Lord of the Rings. Also anything by Hayao Miyazaki, and a ton of Disney, of course.

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

A wolf! I’ve always loved wolves. They’d probably make bad household pets, though.

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Dark chocolate. Milk is good too, but white chocolate is made of lies and sin.

[Editor’s note from Tara’s actual editor: I knew I liked you.]

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

Christmas. Not just because of the presents (although those are pretty nice), but because it’s in my favorite season, with my favorite weather, and it just looks pretty. It makes me feel happy and nostalgic.

Q: What’s your favorite GIF?

tara-gif

 

Q: What did you want to grow up to be when you were 17?

An author. 😉


sim-tara-timekeeper Tara Sim can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area in California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives. Timekeeper is her first novel.

Follow her on Twitter at @EachStarAWorld, or online at www.tarasim.com where you can find fun Timekeeper extras.


 

9781510706187-frontcover

I was in an accident. I got out. I’m safe now.

An alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time–and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.

A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.

A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.

A romance that will shake the very foundations of time.

The first book in a dazzling new steampunk-fantasy trilogy, Timekeeper introduces a magical world of mythology and innovation that readers will never want to leave.


Timekeeper is an extraordinary debut, at once familiar and utterly original. Between its compelling world, its lovely prose, and its wonderful characters, the pages flew by.” —Victoria Schwab, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Alive with myth, mystery, and glorious romance, Timekeeper will keep hearts pounding and pages turning til the stunning conclusion. Reader beware—there’s magic in these pages.” —Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere

Timekeeper is a triumph . . . If you read only one such book . . . let it be this one.” –Bustle

“Part mystery and part romance, this fantasy novel delves into what it means to grow up and make important decisions. With an easily relatable main character struggling to fit in, the novel has a realistic and contemplative voice. VERDICT: A must-have richly written fantasy novel that will have readers eagerly anticipating the next volume.” —School Library Journal

“Sim creates a cast of complex and diverse characters, as well as a mythology to explain how the clock towers came to exist . . . an enjoyable, well-realized tale.” —Publishers Weekly

“[M]ystery, LGBTQ romance, and supernatural tale of clock spirits and sabotage that explores how far people might go for those they love. Its strongest elements are the time-related mythology and the supernatural gay romance.” —Booklist

“This LGBTQ steampunk romance sports a killer premise and admirably thorough worldbuilding, helpfully annotated in the author’s afterword. The characters—even the bad guys—are sympathetically drawn and commendably diverse in sexuality and gender.” —Kirkus Reviews

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Fandom Fashion: Spin the Sky

Check out this outfit inspired by the cover of Spin the Sky by Jill MacKenzie!


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Spin the Sky by Jill MacKenzie

spin-the-sky-9781510706866Magnolia Woodson wants nothing more than to get her and her sister, Rose, out of the pitifully small, clamming-obsessed Oregon town that hates them—she just doesn’t know how. Forced to put up with the snide comments and hateful looks the townspeople throw at them, Mags thinks she’s destined to pay for the horrible, awful thing her mom did—and that she’s left her and Rose to deal with—until the day she dies.

But when a nationwide televised dance competition posts tryouts in nearby Portland, Mags’s best friend, George, says they have to go and audition. Not only have they spent the past fourteen years of their lives dancing side-by-side, dreaming of a day just like this, but also it could be Mags’s chance of a lifetime—a chance to win the grand-prize money and get her and Rose out of Summerland, a chance to do the thing she loves most with everyone watching, a chance to show the town that she’s not—and has never been—a “no-good Woodson girl,” like her mother. But will the competition prove too steep? And will Mags be able to retain her friendship with George as they go head-to-head in tryouts? Mags will have to learn that following her dreams may mean changing her life forever.

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Author Chantele Sedgwick takes on the Sky Pony Q&A

Chantele Sedgwick takes on the Sky Pony Q&A! Check out her answers below!


Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

I write young adult because I think teenagers are amazing, intelligent, wonderful people. Being a teen is hard. They have so many emotions zipping around their bodies, they’re trying to figure out their place in the world, and they deal with some pretty heavy things. I love first experiences and young adult fiction has helped me put some experiences teens go thorough on paper. I love the stories of first love. The first kiss. Going through trials and growing from them. Relationships with parents, friends, siblings. I love it all.

Q: What are you reading right now?

I just barely started Gemina (Illuminae Files book 2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I absolutely LOVED Illuminae, so I’m hoping the sequel will be just as awesome.

Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

Hermione Granger. She’s loyal, brave, smart and can be fierce if messed with. Plus, she’s a witch and can do magic!

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

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Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

The Sound of Music. Hands down. (I’m a big musical fan.)

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

Cheetah.

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Milk. Although, I do love white too.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

Christmas. I love being with my family.

Q: What’s your favorite emoji? OR What’s your favorite GIF?

via GIPHY

Q: What did you want to grow up to be when you were Oakley’s age?

I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. I became a mother and an author instead and I love it.


Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick

love-lucas-revised-9781510709928A 2015 Whitney Award Nominee!

A powerful story of loss, second chances, and first love, reminiscent of Sarah Dessen and John Green.

When Oakley Nelson loses her older brother, Lucas, to cancer, she thinks she’ll never recover. Between her parents’ arguing and the battle she’s fighting with depression, she feels nothing inside but a hollow emptiness. When Mom suggests they spend a few months in California with Aunt Jo, Oakley isn’t sure a change of scenery will alter anything, but she’s willing to give it a try.

In California, Oakley discovers a sort of safety and freedom in Aunt Jo’s beach house. Once they’re settled, Mom hands her a notebook full of letters addressed to her—from Lucas. As Oakley reads one each day, she realizes how much he loved her, and each letter challenges her to be better and to continue to enjoy her life. He wants her to move on.

If only it were that easy.

But then a surfer named Carson comes into her life, and Oakley is blindsided. He makes her feel again. As she lets him in, she is surprised by how much she cares for him, and that’s when things get complicated. How can she fall in love and be happy when Lucas never got the chance to do those very same things?

With her brother’s dying words as guidance, Oakley knows she must learn to listen and trust again. But will she have to leave the past behind to find happiness in the future?

Chantele Sedgwick is a young adult author, harpist, wife to one and mom to four. She loves fairy tales, happy endings, Kit Kats, and (judging by her bookshelves) buying way too many books. She lives in Roy, Utah, with her family and can usually be found reading, or talking her husband’s ear off with her endless supply of book ideas.

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A Spin the Sky Playlist

Spin the Sky hits shelves today! To celebrate, author, Jill MacKenzie shares some behind the scenes information with us! Check it out!


I listened to all of these songs while writing Spin the Sky—many of them on repeat for hours and hours at a time.  Some I was originally drawn to for the tone or for the lyrics, some helped me evoke that kind of hopeless emotion that Mags felt throughout the story, and others are just really great songs that made me want to dance and, in turn, write powerful dance scenes. Each of them, however, correlates to a specific scene in the book.

sky-pony-press-qa-jill-mackenzie


Spin the Sky by Jill MacKenzie

spin-the-sky-9781510706866Magnolia Woodson wants nothing more than to get her and her sister, Rose, out of the pitifully small, clamming-obsessed Oregon town that hates them—she just doesn’t know how. Forced to put up with the snide comments and hateful looks the townspeople throw at them, Mags thinks she’s destined to pay for the horrible, awful thing her mom did—and that she’s left her and Rose to deal with—until the day she dies.

But when a nationwide televised dance competition posts tryouts in nearby Portland, Mags’s best friend, George, says they have to go and audition. Not only have they spent the past fourteen years of their lives dancing side-by-side, dreaming of a day just like this, but also it could be Mags’s chance of a lifetime—a chance to win the grand-prize money and get her and Rose out of Summerland, a chance to do the thing she loves most with everyone watching, a chance to show the town that she’s not—and has never been—a “no-good Woodson girl,” like her mother. But will the competition prove too steep? And will Mags be able to retain her friendship with George as they go head-to-head in tryouts? Mags will have to learn that following her dreams may mean changing her life forever.

bio-picJill MacKenzie, a Vancouver native, is an ex-ballerina and contemporary dancer. Now working toward her MFA in creative writing at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Jill chassés between roles as part-time student, full-time mom, and always-writer. Though Jill no longer studies dance, she still tries to dance herself clean whenever she can. Currently she lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she spends her free time beach-bound with her husband and two beautiful daughters.

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Spin the Sky author, Jill MacKenzie takes on the Sky Pony Q&A

Spin the Sky hits shelves in less than a week! We’re celebrating this week by sharing teaser quotes and images on our social media (do you follow and like us everywhere?). Author, Jill MacKenzie took on the Sky Pony Express Q&A so you lovely readers can get to know her a little better before you meet her protagonist, Magnolia Woodsen! Check it out below!


Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

To me, writing YA literature was always a no-brainer. Those years between thirteen and nineteen have always been the ones I’ve gravitated towards, the ones that I reflect on now most often. It’s not so much that my own high school years were amazing (trust me, they weren’t) but more a case of knowing that those years shaped who I am as a person today. And when I say shaped who I am, in no way do I mean that my teenage years defined who I am—quite the opposite, actually. I’m a very different person now than I was as a teenager. I’d like to think that I’m a nicer one. I know that I’m a quieter one, a more introspective one. But my teenage years are when I started my journey of self-discovery and that was pretty huge for me. That’s when I really started to feel different and knew that others weren’t really seeing the world the way I was. Back then, I always felt uneasy in my own skin and moved through life carefully, like if I said one wrong thing my whole world would explode. I wish I could go back and tell my teenage self that it’s okay to be different. I guess that’s why I write YA. So that when I write teenage characters now, I make sure each and every one of them know it’s definitely okay—preferable actually—to be different.

Q: What are you reading right now?

I’m reading a few books right now and choose which one to read each night based on my mood or what kind of day I’ve had. These include: Eileen Cook’s With Malice, A.S. King’s Still Life with Tornado, and Katja Millay’s The Sea of Tranquility. I’ve also got Jaye Robin Brown’s Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit and (You) Set Me on Fire by Mariko Tamaki loaded up on my Kindle. So I’ve got a lot going on, reading-wise! But that’s a good place for me to be in. My best place, actually.

Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

Right off the top of my head, I’d say Amber Appleton from Matthew Quick’s Sorta Like a Rockstar. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a character with the kind of strength that parallel’s Amber’s and I envy that because I’m naturally a pretty fearful person. I fell in love with Amber pretty instantly. As I did with Kidd from Matt de la Pena’s I Will Save You, though I think it was a different kind of love with Kidd. I’d like to be Amber. But if I’m Amber, I want to meet up, one day, with Kidd.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

Sadly, my favorite place to write isn’t the place I write in on a daily basis. Usually, I write at home in my office (pajama clad, of course) with my little Siamese, Gloria, curled up on my lap. I love her. She’s snuggly. Plus she enforces that I sit in my chair for a minimum of three hours a day, as per her nap schedule. Here is a picture of me (or, at least, my lap) on usual, Monday-Friday days.

jill-cat

But that’s not necessarily my favorite place to write. Last year, I went on a writing retreat to Tennessee. The cabin/mansion I was staying in (packed with about thirty other writers) was nestled in the Blue Mountains and it was pretty huge for me because, although I grew up surrounded by mountains, my South Florida home has no mountains to be seen. This is a picture my retreat roommate took of me writing in Tennessee. I think it’s my favorite place in the world to create characters. I don’t know if I’ve ever written prettier sentences than I did while I was here.

jill-writing-spot

Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

Easy! Field of Dreams. I am a girl who doesn’t like sports. Probably because I don’t understand them at all—like, I don’t know the rules to any sport at all. So, a movie about baseball has to be pretty awesome to make me love it the way I do. Field of Dreams is definitely that, plus the miraculous W.P. Kinsella wrote it. I’ve always loved his work.

My other favorite movie—though not a classic—is called Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer. Everything about this movie speaks to me. I’ve seen it over ten times when most people haven’t even heard of it. I definitely recommend it.

Lastly, I really love the movie rendition of Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes. I think I’m sort of alone in my bursting-heart-bubbles feeling on this film, but it doesn’t happen often (for me at least) where a movie casts characters so right, so completely authentic and true to its book counterpart. Tiger Eyes did that for me, absolutely.

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

A miniature donkey, hands down. Have you seen those things? Serious cuteness overload. Like a tiny horse, but with a feistier personality. Like a large goat but without the weird eyes. Omg, I’m dying here.

donkey

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Milk! I eat chocolate every single day of my life without exception. But I’m a purist about it. It pretty much has to be Godiva, Cadbury’s or Hershey’s (if I’m feeling a little desperate) or I won’t eat it at all.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

Promise you won’t laugh? It’s Valentine’s Day. I know what people say about it being a Hallmark holiday or whatever but I just love it. I love the little candies, I love the exchange of school Valentines, I love the colors red and pink and I love the red and pink together. It’s just a sweet little day without too much build up and if that’s what it takes for everyone to be a little nicer to each other, so be it.

Q: What’s your favorite emoji? OR What’s your favorite GIF?

My favorite emoji is this one here:

eye-roll

Giant eye roll. I often use it in text when I know I’ve just said something eye-roll worthy. I just put it out there so that the person on the other end doesn’t have to.

Favorite gif? Easy one, too! Someone sent this to me with the caption that said, “my current process” in regards to crafting a story. I was like, “oh my god IT’S MY CURRENT PROCESS TOO.” Ack.

via GIPHY

Q: What did you want to grow up to be when you were Magnolia’s age?

Well, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. But for a time (a long time, actually) I was told that the chances of actually being a writer were probably pretty small. I also wanted to be a Social Worker for at-risk youth so I tried my hand at that for a year as well. It was so incredibly hard and I didn’t make it at that kind of job very long. But when I was Magnolia’s age, I was very much a wanderer. All I wanted to do back then was travel the world and read books and do a little work along the way to support this travel-plus-books habit. That’s about as far as my ambitions went back then!


Spin the Sky by Jill MacKenzie

spin-the-sky-9781510706866Magnolia Woodson wants nothing more than to get her and her sister, Rose, out of the pitifully small, clamming-obsessed Oregon town that hates them—she just doesn’t know how. Forced to put up with the snide comments and hateful looks the townspeople throw at them, Mags thinks she’s destined to pay for the horrible, awful thing her mom did—and that she’s left her and Rose to deal with—until the day she dies.

But when a nationwide televised dance competition posts tryouts in nearby Portland, Mags’s best friend, George, says they have to go and audition. Not only have they spent the past fourteen years of their lives dancing side-by-side, dreaming of a day just like this, but also it could be Mags’s chance of a lifetime—a chance to win the grand-prize money and get her and Rose out of Summerland, a chance to do the thing she loves most with everyone watching, a chance to show the town that she’s not—and has never been—a “no-good Woodson girl,” like her mother. But will the competition prove too steep? And will Mags be able to retain her friendship with George as they go head-to-head in tryouts? Mags will have to learn that following her dreams may mean changing her life forever.

bio-picJill Mackenzie, a Vancouver native, is an ex-ballerina and contemporary dancer. Now working toward her MFA in creative writing at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Jill chassés between roles as part-time student, full-time mom, and always-writer. Though Jill no longer studies dance, she still tries to dance herself clean whenever she can. Currently she lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she spends her free time beach-bound with her husband and two beautiful daughters.

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Live Chat with FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP Author Sarah Glenn Marsh

Here we go, folks! Please feel free to jump into the chat! And the transcript will live here after!

9781510703483-frontcover

“Haunting—gripping—beautiful. So powerful!” —Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Beka Cooper trilogy

Live Blog Live Chat with FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP Author Sarah Glenn Marsh
 

And there’s more! We’re running a Rafflcopter! Sarah’s graciously agreed to sign a copy of Fear the Drowning Deep and we’ll be giving it away to one lucky winner. Enter below!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP

Some secrets are better left at the bottom of the ocean.

Sixteen-year-old Bridey Corkill longs to leave her small island and see the world; the farther from the sea, the better. When Bridey was young, she witnessed something lure her granddad off a cliff and into a watery grave with a smile on his face. Now, in 1913, those haunting memories are dredged to the surface when a young woman is found drowned on the beach. Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her Granddad to leap has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, people in Bridey’s idyllic village begin vanishing, and she finds an injured boy on the shore—an outsider who can’t remember who he is or where he’s from. Bridey’s family takes him in so he can rest and heal. In exchange for saving his life, he teaches Bridey how to master her fear of the water—stealing her heart in the process.

But something sinister is lurking in the deep, and Bridey must gather her courage to figure out who—or what—is plaguing her village, and find a way to stop it before she loses everyone she loves.

e2bade3aa4885e31996644816c7838a0-300x300 Sarah Glenn Marsh writes young adult novels and 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. When she s not writing, she s most often engaged in pursuits of the nerd variety, from video games to tabletop adventures and dungeon crawls. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and four rescued greyhounds.


Fear the Drowning Deep is gorgeous. Lyrical. Atmospheric. Magical. Sarah Glenn Marsh’s debut is perfect for anyone who’s ever looked out at the sea with awe, and wondered what kind of creatures lurk in the deepest places. Utterly haunting.” —Jodi Meadows, author of the Incarnate trilogy, the Orphan Queen duology, and My Lady Jane

“Beautifully-written with mysteries and love lurking within the pages as dangerously as an ancient evil waits in the drowning deeps of Sarah’s unique setting on the Isle of Man. Don’t miss this one!” —Martina Boone, author of Compulsion and the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy

“Readers will be swept away by Bridey’s love story, every bit as thrilling and mysterious as the Isle of Man’s deep, dark sea.” —Tricia Rayburn, author of the Siren trilogy

“Sarah Glenn Marsh’s debut is a captivating tale of love and loss, fear and doubt, monsters of the sea and inside ourselves, and the strength it takes to endure and conquer them all. Hauntingly written with a richly developed setting of the Isle of Man in the early 1900s, you can smell the salt of the sea with every page you hungrily turn.” —Lori Goldstein, author of Becoming Jinn and Circle of Jinn

“[A]tmospheric historical fantasy . . . evocative setting, memorable characters, and use of obscure folkloric elements all contribute to the novel’s strong sense of place.” —Publishers Weekly

“[T]his watery take on “Beauty and the Beast” will be catnip to paranormal-romance readers.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

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Live Chat with A MILLION TIMES GOODNIGHT author Kristina McBride

We’re so excited to be talking with Kristina McBride tonight! We hope you’ll join us! Transcript will live here afterwards.

We’ll be starting at 8 EDT. Feel free to leave questions in the comments section if you can’t make it–Alison will ask them. And if you have any questions about the chat, please feel free to tweet us at @skyponypress!

See you soon!

Live Blog Live Chat with Kristina McBride
 

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Writing a Villain – a Guest Post by Amalie Howard

Amalie Howard, author of many books including Alpha GoddessThe Almost Girl, and The Fallen Prince is the queen at writing nasty, nefarious types. Today, she joins us to tell us the ins and outs of writing a really great bad guy.


As a kid, when everyone else wanted to be Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, or Princess Leia, I was the kid who wanted to be Darth Vader.

*whispers to you* . . . come to the dark side . . . 

I don’t consider myself to be a villain, but I do appreciate both sides of the battle as well as the lure of being bad. Because, let’s face it, villains can be awesome. And not only are they awesome, but they’re crucial to most stories. The villain is the antagonist that makes the role and journey of your protagonist so much more meaningful. Put in the simplest terms, they’re meant to keep your hero from reaching his (or her) goals. They’re the obstacles to the hero’s journey. The stone in his shoe. The sand in his swimsuit. The Joker to his Batman. The Voldemort to his Harry Potter. You get the picture.

That said, there are many different kinds of villains: villains who become twisted through some life-altering event or quirk of nature, villains who are simply born bad, villains who like being evil, villains who want to preserve the greater good, villains who have no choice but to be villains, and villains who are heroes in disguise.

But my favorite type of villain is hands-down the complex, misunderstood kind. The kind where the definition of villainous is mired in shades of gray, where moral nihilism starts to beg the question. What’s right? What’s wrong? Who defines goodness and/or badness? Is this villain truly a villain?

Megamind is a great example of this. He’s not inherently evil, but was pegged from the start into that role because of circumstance. In the end, he turns out to be the true hero of the story. Another example of a character often portrayed in a villainous light is Kali in East Indian mythology. She has a bad reputation for being a berserker killer goddess, but a lot of her fury comes from her deep-rooted protective instinct, much like a ferocious mother bear defending her cubs. She is considered to be the great mother goddess, capable of terrible destruction and yet also representative of powerful and nurturing female power. I like that combination of strength and ferocity (which is why I am writing about her in my next YA book, Dark Goddess, out in Spring 2017 from Sky Pony Press).

For me, writing a good villain (not an oxymoron by the way) is essential to my stories. And by “good,” I mean well-rounded, multi-dimensional, and layered. A good villain has to be as fleshed out as much as the hero. As the creator, you have to understand what drives him, what his motives are, what he wants so that these are transparent to your readers. His goals (nefarious as they may be) are just as important as the hero’s. At the end of the day, he is the surrounding pressure—the mold that helps shape your hero into the person he is meant to be. A good villain fosters urgency, creates impetus, causes challenges, incites tension. In short, this friction is what give your story its kinetic energy . . . the force that keeps it moving from page to page. One of the biggest things I talk about in my creative writing workshops is your character’s GMC or Goals, Motivation, and Conflict. Each character must have a goal they are working towards, motivation that drives them to achieve this goal, and the conflict that keeps them from getting there. The cool thing about villain/hero conflict is that their goals will usually be at opposing ends of the spectrum, which can make for very interesting tension.

In my own writing, I like to keep my readers guessing as to who the true villain is. Often, I’ll have a character who checks all of the boxes, but will turn out to be an ally. Conversely, I also enjoy writing characters who may seem wonderful on the outside but may have secret agendas. My favorite villains are the ones you don’t see coming.

Some tips on writing a good villain:

  1. Make sure your villain is complex, layered, and multidimensional. (He is a reflection of the hero so put as much work into him as you would your hero.)
  2. Give him real goals and motivation that make sense in the framework of your story.
  3. Create a believable backstory that brings value to his narrative.
  4. Avoid typical villain clichés (long speeches, disfigured, vain, jealous, angry at the world, abusive, sinister, over-dramatic, dressed in black, etc.)
  5. Surprise your reader.

Some well-done villains in literature:

  1. Alex DeLarge—A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  2. Dolores Umbridge—Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix  by J.K. Rowling (In many ways, I see her as even more evil than Voldemort.)
  3. Coulter—His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
  4. Ramsay Bolton—A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin (I really, really, REALLY hated him.)
  5. Count Dracula—Dracula by Bram Stoker
  6. The White Witch—Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis

 

Howard, Amalie - Alpha Goddess

Amalie Howard is the award-winning IndieNext author of Alpha Goddess, The Riven Chronicles, the Aquarathi series, and the Cruentus Curse series. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was an Amazon bestseller and a Seventeen Summer Read.

Her next novel with Sky Pony, Dark Goddess, is a sequel to Alpha Goddess, and will release in Spring 2017.

She currently resides with her husband and three children in Colorado.

Visit her online at www.amaliehoward.com or follow her on Twitter @amaliehoward

 

 


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Alpha Goddess

In Serjana Caelum’s world, gods exist. So do goddesses. Sera knows this because she is one of them. A secret long concealed by her parents, Sera is Lakshmi reborn, the human avatar of an immortal Indian goddess rumored to control all the planes of existence. Marked by the sigils of both heaven and hell, Sera’s avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world, but all she creates is chaos. A chaos that Azrath, the Asura Lord of Death, hopes to use to unleash hell on earth.

Torn between reconciling her past and present, Sera must figure out how to stop Azrath before the Mortal Realm is destroyed. But trust doesn’t come easy in a world fissured by lies and betrayal. Her best friend Kyle is hiding his own dark secrets, and her mysterious new neighbor, Devendra, seems to know a lot more than he’s telling. Struggling between her opposing halves and her attraction to the boys tied to each of them, Sera must become the goddess she was meant to be, or risk failing, which means sacrificing the world she was born to protect.

 

The Almost Girl

The Almost Girl

Seventeen-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?

 

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The Fallen Prince

Riven has fought for a hard-won peace in her world, and has come to shaky terms with who and what she is—a human with cyborg DNA. Now that the rightful ruler of Neospes has been reinstated, Riven is on the hunt for her father in the Otherworld to bring him to justice for his crimes against her people.

But when she receives an unwelcome visit from two former allies, she knows that trouble is brewing once again in Neospes. The army has been decimated and there are precious few left to fight this mysterious new threat.

To muster a first line of defense, her people need help from the one person Riven loathes most—her father. But what he wants in return is her complete surrender.

And now Riven must choose: save Neospes or save herself.

 

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