Friday, March 30, 2018

March Madness: Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst

Today I've got the wonderful Audrey Coulthurst on the blog talking about her favorite f/f couples in fiction! :D

*****

Title: Inkmistress (Of Fire and Stars, #.5)
Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: March 6th, 2018!

From Goodreads...
Asra is a demigod with a dangerous gift: the ability to dictate the future by writing with her blood. To keep her power secret, she leads a quiet life as a healer on a remote mountain, content to help the people in her care and spend time with Ina, the mortal girl she loves.

But Asra’s peaceful life is upended when bandits threaten Ina’s village and the king does nothing to help. Desperate to protect her people, Ina begs Asra for assistance in finding her manifest—the animal she’ll be able to change into as her rite of passage to adulthood. Asra uses her blood magic to help Ina, but her spell goes horribly wrong and the bandits destroy the village, killing Ina’s family.

Unaware that Asra is at fault, Ina swears revenge on the king and takes a savage dragon as her manifest. To stop her, Asra must embark on a journey across the kingdom, becoming a player in lethal games of power among assassins, gods, and even the king himself.

Most frightening of all, she discovers the dark secrets of her own mysterious history—and the terrible, powerful legacy she carries in her blood.

*****

Top Ten Fictional Couples (f/f edition)

Sherrill & Keren from the novel Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey 
These two are secondary characters but will always have an important place in my heart as the first f/f couple I discovered in a fantasy book. Plus, Keren is a riding instructor kind of like Mare from Of Fire and Stars!

Yorkie & Kelly from the “San Junipero” episode of the television show Black Mirror
I am not going to lie—this episode of Black Mirror messed me up badly. The juxtaposition of innocence and experience, of lives lived, passed by, and lost, and the incredible romance between Yorkie & Kelly is life-changing to witness.

Liza & Annie from the novel Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
Annie on My Mind was the first lesbian love story I ever read. I’ll never forget the thrill of watching Liza and Annie fall in love and finally seeing characters like me in the pages of a YA contemporary.

Ash & Kaisa from the novel Ash by Malinda Lo
Malinda Lo was the author who made me realize it was possible to write fantasy worlds that weren’t beholden to the homophobia in our real one. I wish I’d had this beautiful f/f Cinderella retelling when I was a teen.

Bo & Lauren from the television show Lost Girl
Lost Girl is the perfect combination of fantasy and humor with a kick-ass, sex-positive bisexual heroine. Bo & Lauren are not my only favorite pairing from this amazing show, but Zoie Palmer plays one of the most nuanced lesbian characters I’ve ever seen onscreen and her chemistry with Anna Silk is undeniable.

Lynet and Nadia from the novel Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
This novel took me by surprise last year and now ranks as my all-time favorite retelling of Snow White. As if the feminist take on a favorite fairy tale wasn’t brilliant enough, the tentative and lovely romance that develops between Snow White and the castle surgeon is breathtakingly poignant and real.

Cosima & Delphine from the television show Orphan Black
Okay, okay, this one is a little bit toxic, I know…but their chemistry is just so good I can’t help rooting for them even though it’s all a hot mess. Forgive me!

Emi and Ava from the novel Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
This book is just so layered—a rich, complex story of love and discovery that I’ll never forget.

Sue and Maud from the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Fingersmith is one of my all time favorite f/f books, as I love historical fiction and no one tells a story quite like Sarah Waters. There’s some toxicity here, yes, but the tenderness and beauty of what Sue and Maud feel for each other will surely win over your heart.

Ruby & Sapphire (Garnet) from the television show Steven Universe
Without a doubt, Ruby & Sapphire (collectively Garnet) have one of the most beautifully-rendered f/f relationships I’ve ever seen on television. This show will sneak up on you with its seemingly innocent storylines until suddenly you realize you’re sobbing into your cookies over a deep emotional truth revealed by the characters and their struggles.

*****

Find Audrey on her website | Twitter | Goodreads

*****

Audrey was kind enough to offer up a signed copy of Inkmistress to one lucky US winner, so be sure to enter it along with the event's giveaway! :D

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

March Madness: In Her Skin by Kim Savage

Today I've got an April release for March Madness (I think it got pushed back), but that's okay, because Kim Savage is super nice and I'm glad I was still able to promote her newest book!

*****

Title: In Her Skin
Author: Kim Savage
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: March 27th, 2018!

From Goodreads...
Sixteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain is about to take on the biggest heist of her life: impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn’t been easy, and Jo is hoping to cash in on a little safety, a little security. She finds her opportunity in the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family with ties to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine. 

When Jo takes on Vivi's identity and stages the girl’s miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her back with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household—and some secrets refuse to stay buried. As hidden crimes come to the surface, and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold onto an illusion of safety, or escape the danger around her before it’s too late.

*****

10 Terrible YA Book Titles Lifted From Lines in In Her Skin

I admit it: I'm really, really bad at titling my own books. Any title you see attached to my books was not thought up by me, or, in some cases, was my second or third suggestion when my first suggestion was panned. I’m lucky that my lovely editor and agent are always willing to step in and save me from my myself. In the spirit of bad titles, I give you ten terrible Young Adult book titles inspired by lines in In Her Skin. Enjoy!



1. DIMPLED BARE KNEES  

“I leaned back and pretended I was that girl, that her dimpled bare knees and the suitcase on the bus floor were mine, and that I was going back home to my momma, daddy, and a sister besides. It was a pretty thought. I started to think maybe it was a sign, me seeing that girl, and that my destiny in this life was to have that family.” —Jo, to reader


2. FATAL FLAW

“The teachers, the shelter counselors, the parole officers: their fatal flaw is that they only want to trust and be trusted.” —Jo, to reader


3. A SHINY GIRL 

“I know we’re connected, though anyone looking at us would say you are the un-me—a shiny girl who’s never felt her mother’s boyfriend brush up against her, never devoured a dirty lollipop dropped by a kid in the park, never slept in a bus terminal with a knife under her thigh for protection—you are me, just like me.”  
—Jo, to Temple


4. Available on NetGalley now, under horror…TRAPPED UNDER PLASTIC 

“I flip the ID over. Trapped under plastic, your cheek can’t feel me drag my thumb over it slowly.” —Jo, to Temple


5. BROWN TOOTH 

“To speak would encourage Brown Tooth, and I have ten minutes left to mine the Interwebs for your address, where I will paw through your trash for helpful digits.”


6. And it’s sequel, BIG SQUARE TEETH

"The girl’s own hair is the color of butter, and she has big square teeth.” —Jo, to reader


7. Because the word “things” is trendy…UNSPEAKABLE THINGS 

“Momma would tell me to remember when I was a soldier returning from battle. You’ve seen and done unspeakable things, she’d say, and now you are home.” 
—Jo, to reader


8. …though not as trendy as “girl”…THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR 

“Naked and dripping, I clear a circle in the mirror with my knuckles. Great black pupils. Slicked hair. Vulnerable. The girl in the mirror looks frightened by her own imagination. The girl in the mirror looks high. The girl in the mirror looks alone.” —Jo, to reader


9. Also, books about the dark side of the ballet world…TIGHTS-WEARER 

“I shimmy around, uncomfortable sitting on the counter stool in a white collared dress that I would not have picked, but that is clean and nice, and thank God I figured out how to get tights on because Vivi was definitely a tights-wearer.” —Jo, to reader


10. THE RETURN OF VIVIENNE WEIR 

“The papers will want your story— ‘The Return of Vivienne Weir’—so we’ll have to manage that. You’ll be going to school, sharing our home. It’s a lot for a teenager to adjust to.” —Clarissa Lovecraft, to Jo


That last title, number ten? That was the original title of In Her Skin: The Return of 
Vivienne Weir. Maybe I should have fought for it. What do you think?

*****

Find Kim on her website | Twitter | Instagram

Monday, March 26, 2018

March Madness: Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Today's March Madness post is a very fun Q&A I got to do with Ashley Herring Blake, author of queer-centric, feminist stories in YA and MG. So please give her a warm welcome, and I hope y'all enjoy this. :)

*****

Hi Ashley, thanks so much for joining me on The Fox’s Hideaway. For those unfamiliar with your newest novel, can you tell us a little bit about it? 
Hi there, thanks for having me! Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World is a story about a girl who loses her house in a tornado and in the aftermath, starts to develop feelings for another girl at school. It’s a book about first crushes, first love, and self-acceptance.

If you were to sort Ivy into a Hogwarts house, which one would she be in?
I think Ivy is probably a Gryffindor. She’s quiet, but she’s brave despite that and I loved writing a character who was brave despite being scared. 

And if Ivy had a page filled with drawings of her favorite things, what would they be? 
Since she lost everything in a tornado and had to rebuild her life from the ground up, I think she’d have a lot of favorite things to draw, things she misses and things she learned to value that she never thought about before. There’d be pictures of books—her mother’s chapter books, to be specific—as well as one or two of her baby brothers’ toys. She’d draw kettle-cooked chips and toasted ham sandwiches and maple pancakes. There’s be green dresses and trees with bright blue apples. Ivy has a pretty active imagination, but I think more than anything, she’d draw her friends and her family with her right in the middle of them all. 

MG is still a category that is widely underrepresented with LGBTQ+ characters (which makes me even more happy about your book! :D). Was that something you thought about as you wrote Ivy’s story? 
It definitely was. Story is how we understand the world, how we understand ourselves. Queer YA has grown so much in the past few years and I’m so thankful for and excited about that. Those YA books helped me self-accept, helped me love myself, but I always wonder what a difference a book like IVY might have made in my middle school life. At that age, I was definitely thinking about things like sexuality, but because I liked boys too, I had nothing to help navigate me through an attraction to girls. So I ignored it for years and years. I don’t want kids today—I don’t want my own kids—to have to feel like they need to run from or ignore parts of themselves. I don’t want them to feel alone and that, ultimately, is why I wrote IVY.

Since IVY ABERDEEN is your debut middle grade book, did you find the writing process to be easy or difficult compared to YA? Or was it about the same? 
Every book is different, no matter what age group I’m writing for. I had written several YA books by the time I decided to write IVY and it did take me a while to get out of the YA mindset. Overall though, IVY was her own project, regardless of it being my first MG, and I learned so much working on it.

And lastly, a question I always love asking: what are you currently working on? 
I’m currently working on my second MG book, which I think I might love even more than I love Ivy. I can’t wait for you all to meet Sunny St. James!

Thank you for participating in my event and congrats on your latest release, Ashley 😊

*****

Buy Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World from Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Find Ashley on her website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Friday, March 23, 2018

March Madness: Second Chance Charmer by Brighton Walsh

I'm so happy about today's March book and author, guys! Brighton's one of my all-time favorites, so I was excited to have her on board for another year! I can't wait to read her newest book about a small town romance between the town's resident bad boy and the Mayor's daughter. :D Below is some more information about the book, and then I'll let Brighton take over to let you guys know why she loves small town romances so much!

*****

Title: Second Chance Charmer (Southern Heat, #1)
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publisher: Brighton Walsh
Release Date: March 19th, 2018!

From Goodreads...
Willow Haven’s content. Okay, that’s a lie, but she has been trying her damndest. Trouble is, it never sticks. Second oldest in a family her town was named after, she’s always felt the pressure. From the townspeople, from her sisters, but most of all from her daddy—the original Good Old Boy and Havenbrook’s reigning mayor. The only time she didn’t feel that stress had been those blissful months spent in the arms of the resident bad boy. The same one who broke her heart beyond repair when he left without a word.

Life hasn’t come easy for Finn Thomas. He’s had to claw and fight for everything he’s ever had—and truth be told, it hasn’t been much. He spent the first eighteen years of his life living so far from the wrong side of the tracks, he couldn’t even see them through his trailer window. The only thing that ever came easy for him and made his sorry ass happy was the one girl he loved with all his heart. And the one thing he had no choice but to leave behind.

When an opportunity arises to return to his tiny, southern hometown and open the first bar in a formerly dry county, he jumps at the chance. That won’t win him points with the mayor, who’s hell bent on making Finn’s life a nightmare for sullying his namesake. But too bad for Mayor Haven, Finn’s got his sights set on more than just the town, and this time he won’t be scared off quite so easily.

*****

Getting Lost in a Small Town Romance

From movies to books to even real life, there is something so magical to me about small towns. Toss a little romance into the mix, and I’m a goner. I loved Gilmore Girls for a million reasons, but right at the top of the list is Stars Hollow. It was its own character in the show, a living, breathing entity viewers loved to get wrapped up in.

The same goes for small town romance novels. To me, there’s just something about reading them that’s the equivalent of getting my mom’s homemade spaghetti, or spending the night curled up on the couch in front of a roaring fire while watching my favorite movie. They are comforting and relaxing in a way that I haven’t found in any other niche. 

And that’s exactly why I decided to write Second Chance Charmer, the first in my upcoming small town romance series, Southern Heat. I loved the idea of molding and crafting my own special place that would make my characters both flourish and fumble. Set in Mississippi, Havenbrook has a picturesque downtown area called The Square, and it’s filled with a wide range of multi-faceted characters that make it a melting pot of personalities and people. 

Another thing that works for small town romance is the built in conflict. Everyone knows everyone’s business, so it’s very hard to keep a secret. That was integral to the plot of Second Chance Charmer, where the mayor’s daughter rekindles her relationship with the town bad boy. Willow and Finn had to dodge interfering siblings, an angry father, and a nosy mail carrier in an effort to keep their status on the down-low. 

In the end, what I set out to do was create a small town that was a character in and of itself. Someplace quaint and beautiful and real. Enough so that readers could easily be transported there in their minds, so they could get lost in a new place as they read. And if there so happens to be some serious romancing going on in that quaint and beautiful small town? Well, all the better. 

*****

Buy Second Chance Charmer on Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo
Find Brighton on her website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | and alter-ego, London Hale

Monday, March 19, 2018

March Madness: Along the Indigo by Elsie Chapman

Today I'm SO excited to be sharing an interview with Elsie Chapman, whose newest book release is coming out on March 20th. :D

*****

Hi Elsie, thanks so much for joining me on The Fox’s Hideaway. For those unfamiliar with your newest novel, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Hi Holly, thanks for having me! Along the Indigo is about struggling teens, a small, sordid town full of lies and secrets, and the ways family can both love and hurt you. It sounds bleaker than it is, I promise! It’s set in the 80s, and both Marsden and Jude are mixed (she’s half Chinese and he’s half Black), and it’s a very different book than either of my first two (Dualed and Divided), both of which are dystopian/SF. I’m really proud of Along the Indigo, and I hope readers will enjoy it!

If you were to sort your main character, Marsden, into a Hogwarts house, which one would she be in? 
You know, it’s been so long since I read HP that I don’t know if I can remember the characteristics of each house well enough to say. I’d say probably…Gryffindor? Marsden’s got a good heart, but she’s not overly trusting, and she’s smart without being sly.

How about Jude? Who is he and how does he fit into Mars’ life?
Jude’s a huge complication for Marsden, and in her mind, he comes into her life at the worst possible time. But it’s never the easy things that bring about the greatest, most important changes, and I think that’s a good way to look at these two ending up being so pivotal to one another. (As for the HP part of the question, I think Jude falls somewhere in between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Maybe? Though I’m probably way off base, so if any HP fans end up reading Along the Indigo and want to share how they’d sort Marsden and Jude, please let me know!

I love hearing about the writing process, so what was one of your favorite parts about writing this particular story? Least favorite?
I really wanted to write a book that felt like something a reader would want to curl up with on a rainy day, something a bit longer, a bit slower-paced, with tons of mood and atmosphere. Recently I came across an article about the art of the slow read, and it reminded me how, as a teen, those were always the kinds of books I was most drawn to (and still am). As for my least favourite part of this book’s writing process, it was hard for me to lose Jude’s perspective (Along the Indigo was originally dual POV). But he’s still fully in the story, and I think focusing on Marsden’s perspective makes for a stronger book in the end!

You’ve also got a short story coming in the A Thousand Beginnings and Endings anthology (which I seriously can’t wait to read). Was it harder or easier to write than a full-length novel, or did you find that it was about the same? Also, can you tell us a little bit about your story? :D
I’m so glad you’re excited! I’m co-editing A Thousand Beginnings and Endings with Ellen Oh, and I do also have a story in it. It’s called “Bullet, Butterfly,” and it’s a retelling of the tragic Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers, which is widely known as the Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet. I put a futuristic spin on it that I hope readers will find cool!  
As for the process of writing it, I did find it easier than writing a full-length novel, if only for length alone (5k vs 90k). Which means less to revise, too, less to fix. But it can go the other way, as well—with less words to play with, it can frustrating to try to fit what you want, or to feel like you’re saying it most effectively.

Lastly, whether it’s writing it or reading it, what do you love about YA?
I still remember how hard it was being a teen, and really turning to books to kind of disappear into when I needed it. I love the idea of readers finding solace in books, especially at a time in their lives when there’s often a lot of uncertainty and questions. If even one teen reads my books and is made the happier for it, then I’ve done my job.

Thanks for taking part in the event and congrats on your newest release, Elsie! 😊
Thank you so much, Holly!!!

Friday, March 16, 2018

March Madness: Nothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell

Today I'm happy to be sharing a top ten list from debut author, Heather Ezell. But before we get into that, here's more information about the book. :)

*****

Title: Nothing Left to Burn
Author: Heather Ezell
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: March 13th, 2018!

From Goodreads...
A dark, riveting YA contemporary novel that follows sixteen-year-old Audrey as she navigates a tumultuous and all-consuming relationship, while reckoning with her family's evacuation from the path of a deadly wildfire.

The autumn morning after sixteen-year-old Audrey Harper loses her virginity, she wakes to a loud, persistent knocking at her front door. Waiting for her are two firemen, there to let her know that the moment she's been dreading has arrived: the enormous wildfire sweeping through Orange County, California, is now dangerously close to her idyllic gated community of Coto de Caza, and it's time to evacuate.

Over the course of the next twenty-four hours, as Audrey wrestles with the possibility of losing her family home, she also recalls her early, easy summer days with Brooks, the charming, passionate, but troubled volunteer firefighter who enchants Audrey--and who is just as enthralled by her. But as secrets from Brooks's dark past come to light, Audrey can't help but wonder if there's danger in the pull she feels--both toward this boy and toward the fire burning in the distance. 

*****

It’s been a ride of a debut year, seeing the publication of Nothing Left to Burn come to fruition complete with its many ups (and admittedly very few downs). Compiling this list of my top ten favorite debut moments was far trickier than I thought. But, alas, I pressed on and attempted to distill my memories and thoughts…so in no particular order, an incomplete list (and one that changes day to day) of my top ten favorite debut moments:  


1. Working with a keen, compassionate editor who so thoroughly understood the story I was trying to tell and gently guided me to tell it better. Reading my editor’s first major edit letter was surreal—she understood my characters as well as me and loved them, too.

2. Seeing Nothing Left to Burn’s cover for the first time: shock, confusion (is it a painting? Is it a photo? A pool! Audrey doesn’t swim? Audrey is obsessed with water! The flames!), elation. I am obsessed with my cover.

3. Sending in my final proofread pass – being done, finished, complete. The relief of knowing I’d given Audrey’s story everything I had to offer. 

4. Seeing the finished product of the map Cat Scully designed for Nothing Left to Burn. I’m obsessed with maps and I’m so glad I had the gall to go about acquiring one for my debut.

5. Hearing from early readers—it’s bonkers beautiful to know that people are connecting with the story and interpreting it in their own ways. 

6. Meeting fellow authors and 2018 debuts, finding wonderful friends in my comrades. 

7. Unboxing (or, okay, slicing into a bag) my ARCs. I’m still kind of speechless. You can watch my utter terrified glee here: https://twitter.com/heatherezell/status/895463219384336384

8. And then, just two weeks ago, holding a finished copy for the first time. I can’t quite remember what was going on in my head. Shock. 

9. This is most definitely a cheat but every moment of debuting has been a beloved dream: something I’ve worked for my entire life is really happening—my first novel is being published—a novel I started (sort of, not really, but technically) when I was thirteen. Nothing Left to Burn will be typed in italics, and not all caps, and it’ll be on bookstore shelves… on reader’s shelves.  

10. And I imagine today, March 13th, the day of Nothing Left to Burn’s release, will hold one of the best moments yet: seeing my debut on the shelves.  

*****

Buy Nothing Left to Burn on Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | Target | IndieBound
Find Heather on her website | Twitter | Tumblr

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

March Madness: White Night by Ellie Marney

Today I've got a book that I think was published a *little* earlier than intended, but I'm still counting it. Because fuck it, I'm so excited to have Ellie Marney on the blog, author of one of the best series EVERRRR. But before we get into her fun post on the research she did for White Night, here's a bit more information on the book. :)

*****

Title: White Night
Author: Ellie Marney
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: March 1st, 2018!

From Goodreads...
In Bo Mitchell's country town, a 'White Night' light-show event has the potential to raise vital funds to save the skate park. And out of town, a girl from a secretive off-the-grid community called Garden of Eden has the potential to change the way Bo sees the world. But are there too many secrets in Eden? 

As Bo is drawn away from his friends and towards Rory, he gradually comes to believe that Eden may not be utopia after all, and that their group leader's goal to go off the grid may be more permanent - and more dangerous - than anyone could have predicted.

A wonderfully compelling novel from the acclaimed author of the Every series.

*****

White Night's Themes
People do occasionally ask me about the themes and threads running through my books, and the kinds of research I do to create an authentic world for the characters. In the case of White Night, I had to do a lot of digging to create the worlds – and worldviews – of Rory and Ray Carl and the community of Garden of Eden.

Ninety-nine percent of the research I do for my books doesn’t make it onto the page: I’m not trying to bore readers with a long treatise on environmentalism, honest! But one thing I learned early in my writing career is that even if the reader doesn’t see all the details of a character’s personal philosophy on the page, I have to know what that philosophy is, so I have a complete understanding of how that character will think and behave.

So here’s a glimpse (and it really is only a glimpse! I have a lot of bookmarked articles on my laptop) into the kinds of things I studied during the writing of White Night to make Eden come alive for readers.


Environmentalism
Eden’s particular brand of environmentalism was primarily informed by two books: David Suzuki and David R. Boyd’s Green Guide, and The World Without Us by Alan Weisman.
Both books come at the topic from very different perspectives. Suzuki and Boyd provided a lot of the information and stats I needed to bulk up Ray Carl’s arguments about healthy eating, pesticide and antibiotic use in modern farming, and the dominance of ‘food corporations’ in contemporary food production.

Weisman’s book is altogether different: it’s a thought experiment, where Weisman (an American journalist) poses the initial question, ‘What would happen to the natural and built environments if all the humans disappeared overnight?’ and then talks to experts and studies landscapes to find out what the result would be. This book is the origin of Rory’s abhorrence of plastic, and her anxiety about The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Weisman’s book is really astonishing. It also provided the basis for Ray Carl’s utopian imaginings of a world without people, and fed into his philosophy about how much nicer the world might be if all the people just died out…

Cults and Communes –
One of the reasons I built a storyline around a girl who lives in an isolated, closed-off radical community is because I was once a member of one. Like Rory, it was something I was dragged into by my parents – although my experience centred around a religious community, and Rory’s commune is focused on radical environmental politics.

To get some additional perspective on communes, cults and demagogues, I spent a lot of time reading about Jonestown. The circumstances around the terrible loss of life in Jonestown, when nearly a thousand of Jim Jones’s followers killed themselves in an act of ‘revolutionary suicide’, has served as a cautionary tale on the frightening power of ‘groupthink’ and fanaticism since 1978. Books like Stories from Jonestown by Leigh Fondakowski and Jonestown Survivor by Laura Johnston Kohl were – I have to admit – grim reading. I also pored through a lot of articles about cult leaders and the kinds of techniques they use to reel people in (although, having been exposed to it personally, I already had a pretty good idea of that kind of psychological manipulation).And if you want a primer on cults and demagogues, I can’t recommend a better place to start than with Lili Wilkinson’s vlog series, Let’s Talk About Sects.

Pottery –
Every character needs to have a personal passion – and with Rory, that passion is pottery and sculpture. I did some work with clay and pottery a long time ago, so for research I went back to the book that first informed me: Step-by-Step Guide to Pottery by Gwilym Thomas. It’s old (published in 1973!), but it covered all the basics about clay bodies, hand forming and using a wheel, as well as other more complicated things like slip casting. For other details, like how to find and dig your own natural clays, I went to the web. There are literally hundreds of articles about pottery and raku online. I also have a friend whose husband is a professional potter: he has his own kiln in a backyard shed, so I was able to gain some insights by looking at his workshop. Would I take pottery back up as a hobby now? Maybe – although the book-writing thing is keeping me kinda busy…

Food Politics –
Our ideas about food and mealtime have changed pretty significantly since the Industrial Revolution. Apart from maybe counting calories and checking for unwanted additives, most of us don’t really put too much thought into what we’re putting in our mouths – but maybe we should. I’m not talking about the new focus on things like gluten/dairy/sugar-free, but about agribusiness and industrial food production. Reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan is scary. Food production is a heavily concentrated industry, and you don’t want to know what goes on behind the scenes in processing factories…or maybe you do? Pollan’s journey, following a beef steer he bought at market through the feedlot process to the ultimate end, in his article Power Steer is disturbing but essential reading, and went a long way towards informing the Eden community’s position on sustainably-grown, community-based food. The documentary Pollan made with Robert Kenner, Food Inc, is also highly recommended.


And that’s it! I mean, that’s not it – this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as book-research goes. But I hope I’ve managed to incorporate into White Night some of the ideas and themes that developed while I was doing this research (without beating you over the head with them). Thanks so much for reading the book! I hope you enjoy it, and maybe we’ll run into each other someday over a plate of sustainably-grown food!
XxEllie

*****

Find White Night on:

Find Ellie On:

*****

And be sure to enter the event-wide giveaway if you haven't already! :)

Monday, March 12, 2018

March Madness: Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

Today I'm so STOKED to be sharing this fun, birthday-themed miniature Q&A session with Kristen Simmons. But first, here's all the deets about her newest novel, Pacifica. :D

*****

Title: Pacfica
Author: Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: March 6th, 2018!

From Goodreads...
Marin is cosario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him. Sailing the ocean to chase adventure is in her blood. But these days no one cares that the island town her people call home is named after her grandfather. They have a new leader, one who promises an end to their hunger – and one who thinks that girls are meant for the kitchen or the brothel. Marin knows she's meant for more than that, and with the sudden influx of weapons on the island, and rumors of a pending deal with the enemy oil nation in her wake, she knows a big score to gain the council's favor is the only way to save her people, and herself.

Ross lives a life of privilege. As the president's son he wants for nothing, but he longs for a life of adventure. On a dare, he convinces his best friend Adam to sneak out to the Docks, the site of local race riots between the poor Shorlings and the upper class. But when Adam is arrested along with the other Shorlings, and not even the president is willing to find him, Ross finds himself taking matters into his own hands. He journeys back into the Docks, ready to make deals with anyone, even a beautiful pirate, if it means Adam's safe return.

When Marin and Ross meet in dangerous Shoreling territory he sees a way to get his friend back and she sees her ticket home. The ransom a president’s son would command could feed her people for years and restore her family’s legacy. But somewhere in the middle of the ocean, Marin must decide if her heart can handle handing over the only person who has ever seen her as more than a pirate. 

*****

Ice cream or cake?
I have to eat a gluten free diet, but that said, STILL CAKE! There is nothing in the world like a good red velvet cupcake. Yum!

Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate, of course!

A big surprise party or a small gathering of close friends?
Always a small gathering of close friends. With cake.

Homecooked meal or a night out at your favorite restaurant?
A night out is always fun! I love trying new foods!

And lastly, who would be more fun at a party: Chase and Ember from Article 5 or Lena, Ty, and Colin from Metaltown? :D
Ha! The Metaltown crew for sure! Colin can dance, Lena can sing, and Ty can sneak in Matchstick, who can provide the fireworks. Though I love Chase, he doesn't exactly kick up his heels in a party situation. And Ember, well, she's running for her life, so she's probably busy anyway.

Thanks so much for joining me on my blog, Kristen, and congrats on your newest release! 😊
Thanks so much for having me, Holly! 

*****

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