Friday, June 27, 2014

YA Guy Presents... 9 on 9!

As the publication of SURVIVAL COLONY 9 approaches--less than three months away!!!!--YA Guy has created a new feature to run on my website and blog: "9 on 9," which will provide 9 intriguing and tantalizing facts about my novel. And that’s not all--if you contact me via my website, I'll send you some signed swag and enter you in a drawing to win a signed copy of my book!

To get started, I thought I’d introduce you to some of the characters (9 of them, to be exact) you’ll meet in SURVIVAL COLONY 9.  Let’s begin with…
  1. Querry Genn. The novel’s narrator. Fourteen years old and a member of Survival Colony 9, one of the small groups that formed in the wake of catastrophic wars that turned the planet to a wasteland. Due to an accident six months before the book starts, Querry can’t remember his past, his identity, or his relationships with anyone else in the colony. Not even with…
  2. Laman Genn. The commander of Survival Colony 9. Demanding, authoritarian, and unwilling to accept advice or excuses from anyone in his camp. His famous “focus” speech drives Querry nuts. And there’s no other officer Querry can turn to for support, because Laman’s second-in-command happens to be…
  3. Aleka. Tall, slim, and severe, she enforces discipline in Laman’s camp. A fierce defender of the colony, she’s also a mystery to Querry--her face is a mask, and there’s no telling what’s going on behind her deep gray eyes. The only thing Querry feels pretty sure of is that she can’t tolerate…
  4. Yov. One of the other teens in Survival Colony 9, three years older than Querry. The camp clown, with a nasty edge to his wit. He calls Querry “Space Boy,” a snide reference to his memory loss. The only other teen who seems able to stand up to him is…
  5. Korah. Two years older than Querry and amazingly beautiful, she’s one of Laman Genn’s strongest supporters but also Querry’s only sympathetic ear. One glance from her brilliant blue eyes makes his face flush and his tongue tie. He feels he’d have a chance to get to know her better, if not for…
  6. Wali. Korah’s boyfriend, who loves to flex his sizable muscles any time Querry looks her way. Nowhere near as infuriating as Yov, he’s still a serious obstacle, and not only because he’s with Korah. It also seems he’s getting sick of Laman and Aleka’s rule and might be cozying up to…
  7. Araz. Laman’s driver, a burly, taciturn brute who could be recruiting opposition to Laman’s leadership behind the commander’s back. Like so many things that are going on in Survival Colony 9, Querry can’t be sure--his loss of memory makes it incredibly hard for him to sort through the shifting allegiances in camp. He’s not even sure of…
  8. Petra. The camp’s best scout, stocky and self-confident, so sneaky in the field she’s virtually invisible. Querry thought she was on Laman’s side--but that was before she lost her scouting partner in an ambush and Laman steered the interrogation toward her. Maybe he needed to--maybe Querry’s uncertainty about his fellow colonists doesn’t come solely from his amnesia. It could also be because of…
  9. The Skaldi. Monsters that appeared on the planet after the wars of destruction, the Skaldi have the ability to take over human bodies, mimic their owners, then shed the corpse like a skin before moving on to the next victim. No one knows where they came from or what they are--no one’s even seen one outside the human bodies they steal. All anyone knows is that they’re out there, in the western desert--which is precisely where an attack on Querry’s camp in the novel’s opening chapter forces the colony to flee.
So there you have it. What do you think, readers? Which of these characters would you like to get to know better? Drop me a line on my website for some signed swag, and make sure to pre-order SURVIVAL COLONY 9 to learn the whole story!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

YA Guy Interviews... YA Guy Jr. on THE EIGHTH DAY by Dianne K. Salerni!

In today's post, I interview my 11-year-old son, Jonah, a great reader of Middle Grade literature. Jonah just finished Dianne K. Salerni's wonderful book, THE EIGHTH DAY, and here's what he had to say about it!

Hey, Jonah! How’s it going, dude?

Pretty good.

Tell us a little bit about THE EIGHTH DAY.

Okay. Jax is an orphan who lives with his guardian, named Riley, who he really hates. After his thirteenth birthday, Jax wakes up in a world with nobody there. He’s confused and doesn’t know what’s happening. In his second Eighth Day, he meets Riley there, and Riley tells him about the Eighth Day. He tells him how the Eighth Day is a curse trapping certain people in the Eighth Day. Jax is a “Transitioner,” so he can get into the Eighth Day, but Evangeline, who lives next door, can’t get out of the Eighth Day. In trying to help Evangeline, Jax ends up in a situation where he has to save the world.

What was your favorite part of the book? Who was your favorite character?

My favorite part of the book was the end, but I’m not going to say that! Instead, my second favorite part of the book was when Jax was kidnapped by the villains. My favorite character is Miller, because he’s a double agent and you don’t know whose side he’s on until the end.

What about villains? Did the book have any good villains?

Yeah, the best villain in the book was the Kin lord Wylit. The Kin are the people who are trapped in the Eighth Day. I liked Wylit because he had mischievous plans to destroy the world.

If you had an extra day each week that you could spend doing whatever you wanted, what would you do?

What would I do? I’d go in one of those sea rover thingies underwater to see giant squids and stuff. And I’d go to Pirates batting practice and do batting practice with Andrew McCutchen.

Final question: on a scale of one to five, how many honor blades would you give to THE EIGHTH DAY?

Can I do six?

Thanks, Jonah!

Readers, if you want more information about Dianne or THE EIGHTH DAY, visit her website at

Sunday, June 22, 2014

YA Guy Hosts... The Darkly Delicious YA "Splash into Summer" Giveaway!

Now that summer has officially arrived, YA Guy is thrilled to host the "Splash into Summer" giveaway from Darkly Delicious YA, a group of traditionally published YA authors that includes yours truly!

We're giving away lots of great stuff (just check out the Rafflecopter giveaway below), plus one lucky winner will receive a $40 gift card to stock up on some of your favorite YA titles.

So enter now! And let the summer fun begin!

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Friday, June 20, 2014

YA Guy Reads... Classic Literature!

For the past several years, YA Guy has been reading almost exclusively YA. (That's one of the ways you become YA Guy, in case anyone was wondering.) I've read a lot of great literature, some not so good, and some really bad. That's the nature of the game, no matter what genre or category you're reading.

But for this summer, as I gear up for my own YA debut, I thought I'd take a break from YA and focus on some non-YA classics I've never read. Remember, I'm an English professor, so I've read a ton of classic literature; but practically everything on the following list is a book you're pretty much expected to have read in my field. I'm planning to read these books not because I'm afraid of being publicly humiliated--that ship has sailed--nor because I subscribe to the preposterous notion that adults reading YA should crawl into some kind of hole. No, I'm planning to read them just because I've always wanted to, and now seems like a good time to do it.

So, here it is: my list of classics for summer 2014. My brand-new Kindle awaits!

1. Catch-22. In my final year of college, I was the runner-up in an essay contest sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Writing Conference, at which Joseph Heller was the keynote speaker. I couldn't attend the conference since I was at that time living in Middletown, Connecticut, but I received an autographed copy of Heller's masterpiece as a prize. For some unknown reason, I've never read it in the twenty-seven years since.

2. Ulysses. In grad school, I took a class on Modernism and read almost all of Joyce's great novel. But once the paper was turned in, I set the book aside and didn't finish it. That's an omission I plan to address this summer.

3. Crime and Punishment. My dad's a huge fan of the Russian novelists (his family's from Russia), but I've never done much more than read a little Chekhov and enjoy Woody Allen's send-up in Love and Death. Clearly, I've got to do something about this.

4. Lolita. A few years ago, a very ambitious undergrad at the college where I work wrote a senior Honors paper on Nabokov's novel. I told her I'd never read it, but since no one else in the department had either, she chose me as her thesis advisor. Ah, academia!

5. Invisible Man. Another grad school story: I was teaching H. G. Wells's novel The Invisible Man one day to a class of freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania when my teaching supervisor dropped in for an unannounced visit. She'd glanced at the syllabus and thought I was teaching Ellison's novel. The puzzled look on her face as my lecture proceeded said it all.

6. A Tale of Two Cities. Like many classics, I first encountered this Dickens novel in comic book form. Unlike many classics, I never graduated to the real thing.

7. Dune. As a science fiction writer, it's pretty much criminal not to have read Herbert's classic, but there it is.

8. One Hundred Years of Solitude. No excuses about this one either. I've had it on my shelf for about one hundred years of neglect.

9. A Princess of Mars. I watched the nearly unwatchable Disney adaptation of this book. It's time to go back to the source material.

10. Herland. Yet another science fiction classic I've always wanted to read but never quite got around to.

That's ten, and I doubt I'll have time for any more this summer. But I'm always open to suggestions. Feel free to add your own favorite (or unread) classics in the comments!

Monday, June 9, 2014

YA Guy Hosts... Vicki Leigh's CATCH ME WHEN I FALL cover reveal!

It’s cover reveal day for Vicki Leigh’s CATCH ME WHEN I FALL! Lots of awesome stuff going on, including a giveaway! But first, here's a special message from Vicki:

And here's what CATCH ME WHEN I FALL is all about:

Recruited at his death to be a Protector of the Night, seventeen-year-old Daniel Graham has spent two-hundred years fighting Nightmares and guarding humans from the clawed, red-eyed creatures that feed off people’s fears. Each night, he risks his eternal life, having given up his chance at an afterlife when he chose to become a Protector. That doesn’t stop a burnt-out Daniel from risking daring maneuvers during each battle. He’s become one of the best, but he wants nothing more than to stop.

Then he’s given an assignment to watch over sixteen-year-old Kayla Bartlett, a clinically depressed patient in a psychiatric ward. Nightmares love a human with a tortured past. Yet, when they take a deep interest in her, appearing in unprecedented numbers, the job becomes more dangerous than any Daniel’s ever experienced. He fights ruthlessly to keep the Nightmares from overwhelming his team and Kayla. Soon, Daniel finds himself watching over Kayla during the day, drawn to why she’s different, and what it is about her that attracts the Nightmares. And him.

A vicious attack on Kayla forces Daniel to break the first Law and reveal his identity. Driven by his growing feelings for her, he whisks her away to Rome where others like him can keep her safe. Under their roof, the Protectors discover what Kayla is and why someone who can manipulate Nightmares has her in his sights. But before they can make a move, the Protectors are betrayed and Kayla is kidnapped. Daniel will stop at nothing to save her. Even if it means giving up his immortality.

CATCH ME WHEN I FALL will be available on October 23, 2014 in both paperback and e-book formats from Curiosity Quills Press. For more information, visit the book’s Goodreads page.

Now, there can’t be a cover reveal without a giveaway, right? Lots of authors stopped by and donated some fantastic books to help Vicki celebrate. You don’t want to miss out on these! Here’s what you can win:

  • An e-copy of CATCH ME WHEN I FALL by Vicki Leigh
  • A submission package critique (query+synopsis+first chap) from Vicki Leigh
  • An e-copy of HEIRS OF WAR by Mara Valderran
  • Two query+first chapter critiques from YA author Emily Stanford
  • A full manuscript critique from YA author Emily Stanford
  • An e-copy of WITHOUT BLOODSHED by Matthew Graybosch
  • A paperback of DESTRUCTION by Sharon Bayliss
  • An e-copy of KIYA: HOPE OF THE PHARAOH by Katie Teller
  • One query+first chapter critique from YA author Katie Teller
  • An e-copy of DARKNESS WATCHING by Emma Adams
  • A copy of DESCENDANT by Nichole Giles
  • An e-copy package of EVER and EVADE by Jessa Russo
  • A signed copy of DIVIDE by Jessa Russo
  • A copy of UNHINGED by A.G. Howard

Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win! All prizes will be accompanied by a Dreamcatcher swag package from Vicki Leigh.

Thanks for stopping by!

About Vicki:

Adopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. By the sixth grade, Vicki penned her first, full-length screenplay. If she couldn’t be a writer, Vicki would be a Hunter (think Dean and Sam Winchester) or a Jedi. Her favorite place on earth is Hogwarts (she refuses to believe it doesn’t exist), and her favorite dreams include solving cases alongside Sherlock Holmes.

Vicki is an editor for Curiosity Quills Press, a co-founder of The Writer Diaries, and is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

You can find Vicki at her website and blog and on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, and Goodreads.

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Friday, June 6, 2014

YA Guy Reveals... His First SURVIVAL COLONY 9 YouTube Video!

Thanks to YA Guy's technologically literate teenage daughter, I now have a YouTube video about Survival Colony 9!

I'm calling this a cover reveal, though it's not actually that, since the cover's been out there for a while. But it's got some fun facts about the cover anyway, so check it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

YA Guy Hosts... Kai Strand, author of POLAR OPPOSITES

Today on YA Guy, Kai Strand, author of many books including the forthcoming POLAR OPPOSITES, Book 2 of her SUPER VILLAIN ACADEMY series, takes to the streets to hear what people think about heroes and villains. Take it away, Kai!

Hi everyone! I’m Kai Strand, author of the Super Villain Academy series. I’m here to pose a VERY important question. But first let’s talk about Supers.

Top Reasons to be a Hero:

You know people worship you
You look good in tights
You never lack a date to an awards banquet in your honor

Top Reasons to be a Villain:

You never have to consider the consequences of your actions
You never lack the comforts of life – since you just take whatever you want
Girls LOVE a bad boy

So now I ask you:

Hero or Villain?

I’ve taken to the streets to find out what people think:

Your turn! Weigh-in on my website

Sign up for my newsletter. (Hint: Soon I’ll be having a special giveaway for newsletter subscribers only. The more subscribers, the better the giveaway!)

Polar Opposites: Super Villain Academy, Book 2 coming June 2014

The supers are balanced. All’s well in the super world. Right? When dogs drag Oceanus away, Jeff learns the supers are so balanced, they no longer care to get involved. The only one who seems to care is Oci’s ex-villain, ex-boyfriend, Set. With Jeff’s own powers unbalanced and spiraling out of control, he wonders if they'll find Oci before he loses control completely--and if they’ll find her alive.

Add on Goodreads!

Need to catch up? Here's where you can pick up your copy of King of Bad: Super Villain Academy, Book 1!

About the author:

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website,