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Tracy Bilen, young adult author

New book from Colette Ballard!

Exciting news for fans of Running on Empty: the  PW announcement for Colette’s second book! Congrats, Colette!

Colette Ballard’s TEMPORARY HIGH, in which a seventeen-year-old girl feels in control of everything in her life until the man who almost destroyed it years earlier reappears to collect a debt, and paying up means she must not only break the law, but also the heart of the only guy she’s ever fallen for, to Marie Romero at Spencer Hill Press, by Kevan Lyon at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

You can add TEMPORARY HIGH to your Goodreads TBR pile here.

Also, if you haven’t read Meg Cabot’s touching 9-11 post, you can find it here.


Now available for pre-order!!!! WATCH YOUR BACK

Hooray! WATCH YOUR BACK is now available for pre-order on Amazon! Paperback release date April 27, 2015!! To pre-order, you can click the cover, the word Amazon, or right HERE!! Thanks for your support!


TV writer of Bones, YA author: Hilary Weisman Graham

Here’s a teaser from my interview with Hilary Weisman Graham, writer for the TV series Bones and YA author of Reunited:

Hilary Weisman Graham

What is your work day like?

At any given point a couple of writers will be off on script or outline and one writer will be on set shooting the episode they wrote. The rest of the writers will be split into groups in two smaller writers’ rooms , the tone of which varies, depending on the story we’re breaking and how well it’s going at the moment. As a new member of the staff, I’ve discovered group procrastination involves a lot more raucous laughter and spontaneous dance parties than my former procrastination technique (surfing the internet) back when I was writing alone at home. But I eat about the same amount of snacks.
To read the rest of my interview with Hilary, head on over to YA Fusion

Waiting on Wednesay: Vision by Lisa Amowitz

Looking forward to reading this thrilling novel by Lisa Amowitz!
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

The light is darker than you think… 

High school student Bobby Pendell already has his hands full—he works almost every night to support his disabled-vet father and gifted little brother. Then he meets the beautiful new girl in town, who just happens to be his boss’s daughter. Bobby has rules about that kind of thing. Nothing matters more than keeping his job.

When Bobby starts to get blinding migraines that come with scary, violent hallucinations, his livelihood is on the line. Soon, he must face the stunning possibility that the visions of murder are actually real. With his world going dark, Bobby is set on the trail of the serial killer terrorizing his small town. With everyone else convinced he’s the prime suspect, Bobby realizes that he, or the girl he loves, might be killer’s next victim.

Add VISION to Goodreads
Buy early on Amazon (starting now)!

Lisa Amowitz was born in Queens and raised in the wilds of Long Island, New York where she climbed trees, thought small creatures lived under rocks and studied ant hills. And drew. A lot.

Lisa has been a professor of graphic design at  Bronx Community College where she has been tormenting and cajoling students for nearly eighteen years. She started writing eight years ago because she wanted something to illustrate, but somehow, instead ended up writing YA. Probably because her mind is too dark and twisted for small children.

BREAKING GLASS which was released July 9, 2013 from Spencer Hill Press, is her first published work. VISION, the first of the Finder series will be released in 2014 along with an unnamed sequel in the following year. LIFE AND BETH will also be released in the near future. So stay tuned because Lisa is very hyper and has to create stuff to stay alive.

Enter to win: : Signed first edition Vision, Breaking Glass ebook, Vision themed necklace. International ebook of Breaking Glass and Vision a Rafflecopter giveaway


New cover! Today!

I’m thrilled to share the cover for my upcoming YA novel, WATCH YOUR BACK! Release date April 2015!


Add to Goodreads here!

Be part of the Cover Release!!

I’m thrilled to announce that the Cover Release for WATCH YOUR BACK will be Monday, June 23, 2014. BLOGGERS, if you want to be a part, please send an email to:  editor (AT)

Tag – You’re it! (My writing process)

Thanks to my writing mentor, Shutta Crum, for tagging me in the writing process blog hop! Shutta is the author of many picture books, including Fox and Fluff (my favorite) and Thunder Boomer (my daughter’s favorite) as well as the middle grade novels Spitting Image and Thomas and the Dragon Queen. You can read all about her and her writing process (and learn what happened when she was invited to read at the White House Easter Egg Roll) at her website. And stay tuned at the end of this post for the two cool authors I’m tagging for next week! But first, let me tell you about my writing process!

What are you currently working on?

In the next few weeks I should be getting edits for my upcoming YA novel, WATCH YOUR BACK, which is coming soon from Tulip Romance/Spencer Hill. It’s just been added to Goodreads (like today!), so you can add it to your To Read pile HERE! Also later this month will be the cover release for WATCH YOUR BACK. I can’t wait to share my awesome cover for this book about…


When sixteen-year-old Kate hears the boom that ends her parents’ life, she doesn’t even realize it has anything to do with her. Until the police arrive at her front door.

Sent to live with her aunt at a ski school in Vermont, Kate tries to adapt to her new life. But then Kate’s aunt is hit by a speeding car and a rogue FBI agent tries to force Kate into his car at gunpoint. She’s saved by Ryan, the risk-taking skier she’s only just met.

On the run, the two must unravel the truth about her parents’ murder in order to stop a terrorist plot and save their own lives.

Besides working on WATCH YOUR BACK, this summer I’ll also be working on a new manuscript, which I’m calling (for moment at least!) WHISPER, also a thriller.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My new book, WATCH YOUR BACK, takes place at a boarding school for high school students who want to become professional skiers and snowboarders. It’s a mix of my two favorite genres – thriller and romance!

Why do I write what I write?

When I started to write my first novel, I was just barely out of high school myself, so YA was what felt most comfortable to me. As a high school teacher, I’ve still got a foot in that world, so I still love reading and writing YA.

How does my individual writing process work?

This is how I start a new book:

1. Float through life certain I will never come up with an idea. This process can last days, weeks, months…

2. Sit down at computer in front of a blank screen.

3. Stare at screen. Put fingers on keyboard. Type random story ideas.

4. Hone in on one sentence that I love. Run with it. Write all day. If I have to go anywhere, live out the story in my head. Give monosyllabic answers to anyone I meet. Get back to computer. Stay up late and write. Live in this euphoric world for the first 50 pages, then…

5. Bam! Get stuck. Outline. Write the end.

6. Float through life certain I will never finish this book. This process can last days, weeks, months…

7. Return to computer. Begin a log of how many words I write each day. Trick myself into thinking I will finish in a month.

8. Continue to obsess about word counts until I only have 10,000 words to go.

9. Consume lots of Super Pretzels and hot chocolate (doesn’t matter what season)

10. Reach the end! Go to Barnes and Noble for a red velvet cupcake (if still in season)

So there you have it, my writing process in ten (easy??) steps! And now, tag – you’re it! Go write that novel!! But first, check out novelists Marissa Doyle and Patti Richards. Marissa is the author of several YA and historical books and writes a cool blog on what it was like to be a teen in the nineteenth century! Patti is living the writing dream, earning her living as a freelance writer by day, and writing picture books and novels by night! Head on over to their websites right now, and be sure to check in on them again next week (June 16) when they’ll be sharing their own writing process secrets! Also next week, I’ll be blogging over at YA Fusion. See you there!




Over at YA Fusion, we’re giving away an ARC of Huntley Fitzpatrick’s What I Thought Was True! Plus we have an interview with Huntley.

Here’s one of our questions and her answer:

Can you tell us a little about your path to publication?
It really does feel as though I followed the yellow brick road. I’d wanted to be a writer since I was five, but wound up becoming (and loving being) an editor for years. When we started having kids, I left my job and we moved from NYC to coastal Massachusetts. Then, a few years ago, I suddenly woke up and HAD to write a book. So I did—carrying the manuscript everywhere, writing on the beach and at playgrounds and school parking lots. I found an agent willing to look at what I turned out, and wrote two manuscripts that didn’t work. Then My Life Next Door, which was totally different than those two but somehow clicked with the agent, then with my publisher, Penguin-Dial for Young Readers. I am honestly still pinching myself that that happened…let alone that I’ve been able to keep writing since then. I don’t think I’ll get over the shock of having a lifelong dream come true, ever.



This week at YA Fusion, I interviewed the editors at Manuscript Critique Services. Check out the interview and see how you could win a query critique here.

And for a chance to win books by AC Gaughen, Tiffany Schmidt, and me, visit AC Gaughen’s blog!


Astronomy Lab, Waldorf Astoria Red Cake, and Worst Case Scenarios

Question: What do an astronomy lab, Waldorf Astoria red cake, and the Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook all have in common?

Answer: They’re all mentioned on my newly updated FAQ page!

Other tidbits include:

Where I met my agent, my German cover, and the inspiration behind my debut novel.

To get you started, here’s one of the questions and its answer:

What advice would you pass along to those of us who haven’t gotten that first book published?

Try to stop writing. (I know, you’re ready to kill me now – how is that inspiring??!). But I’m serious, in a way. Throughout my writing journey, I tried to stop writing (why did I want to publish a book anyway?) But I couldn’t stop. I always came back to it. So if you try to stop writing and you just can’t, you’ll know that you were meant to do it (and that your mind won’t give you any peace if you don’t). If that’s the case, go with it. Keep writing. Keep querying. Write something new while you’re querying (I wrote What She Left Behind while I was querying a book that didn’t sell). Join the professional organizations for your genre. Find a critique group with people who write in the same genre or for the same age-group. And don’t give up. Think back to when you were looking for your first (serious) job. It may have seemed impossible at first. You kept trying different things until you hit upon something that worked. And now when you look back on in, it doesn’t seem that bad. The publishing process is probably going to take you way longer than it took you to find that first job. But it’s worth it. And you can do it!

For more questions and answers, visit my FAQ page!

And if you missed my interview with K.A. Barson, author of 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS), head on over to YA Fusion!