Thursday, April 12, 2018

YA Guy Announces... The ECOSYSTEM Blog Tour!


YA Guy's got a new book coming out: ECOSYSTEM, the first in a YA fantasy trilogy about a future Earth where the physical environment has mutated into a sentient being. The book releases in e-book and paperback on April 22, which just happens to be Earth Day. Here's the back cover blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Sarah is a Sensor, gifted with the ability to survive within the sentient Ecosystem that swept away human civilization centuries ago. While the remnants of humankind huddle in small villages of stone, Sarah uses her psychic connection to the Ecosystem to travel freely in the wild in search of food, water, and fuel. Sarah doesn’t fear the Ecosystem—but she hates it for killing her mother when Sarah was a child. When she hunts, she hunts not only for her people’s sustenance but for revenge.

Then Miriam, an apprentice Sensor, is lost in the Ecosystem, and Sarah sets out to rescue her. Joining Sarah is Miriam’s beloved, Isaac, a boy who claims to possess knowledge of the Ecosystem that will help their people survive. The harrowing journey to find the missing apprentice takes Sarah and Isaac into the Ecosystem’s deadliest places. And it takes Sarah into the unexplored territory of her own heart, where she discovers feelings that threaten to tear her—and her society—apart.

A thrilling fantasy adventure from the author of FREEFALL and the Survival Colony series, ECOSYSTEM is the first book in a YA trilogy that includes THE DEVOURING LAND (2019) and HOUSE OF EARTH, HOUSE OF STONE (2020).

To launch my latest venture, I've lined up a group of amazing YA bloggers, who've got exclusive interviews, excerpts, reviews, and other goodies including a giveaway of signed copies of ECOSYSTEM! The tour starts on April 17 and concludes on April 30, and here's the lineup:

                The YA Gal
April 18: Kristi Helvig
April 19: Jean BookNerd
                Katie L. Carroll's Observation Desk
April 21: Work in Progress
April 22: RELEASE DAY!
April 23: Margo Kelly
               Darlene Beck-Jacobson
April 24: We're taking a mid-tour break!
April 27: Erin's Rhewsings
April 28: Sarah J. Schmitt
April 29: Christina Farley
April 30: Larry Ivkovich

You can also check out the cover reveal that's running right now on YA Books Central, which includes a giveaway. Or, if you simply can't wait to see the cover, you can check it out right here!


Finally, you can enter the giveaway I'm running during the blog tour, with a chance to win one of two signed copies of ECOSYSTEM! The giveaway starts right now and runs through April 30, when the tour ends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm very excited about ECOSYSTEM, and I hope you are too! Drop me a line to let me know how you like the cover, how you're enjoying the tour, what you think about the book, or anything else!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

YA Guy Participates in... The Spring 2018 YA Scavenger Hunt!


YA Guy's super excited to participate in this year's SPRING YA SCAVENGER HUNT! This is my fifth Hunt, and I've got a new book, the YA fantasy ECOSYSTEM, due out on April 22. So I'm totally ready for the Hunt, and I trust that you are too! (I mean, why would you be here if you weren't?)

As you can probably tell by all the purple lettering in this post (not to mention the banner at the top), I'm on the PURPLE TEAM, along with the other awesome authors you see below:



The YA Scavenger Hunt is a bi-annual event first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! Add up the clues on each PURPLE TEAM page, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in our team! There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! But don't delay: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will be online only until noon Pacific time on APRIL 8! (My personal giveaway, though, will run a little longer, through April 11.)

HOW IT WORKS

Directions: In the author biography below, you'll notice I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the purple team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form to qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally. Anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 8, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered. For more information, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Personal Giveaway: In addition to the prizes named above, readers who enter my personal giveaway will have a chance to win a signed copy of my forthcoming novel ECOSYSTEM! Like the Hunt itself, this personal giveaway is open internationally. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

Got all that? Then let's meet the author I'm hosting, EVA POHLER!

Eva Pohler is the USA Today bestselling author of The Mystery Book Collection, The Mystery House Series, and four series for young adults: The Gatekeeper's Saga, A Gatekeeper's Spin-Off Series, The Purgatorium Series, and The Vampires of Athens Series. (That's a lot more than 22 books, if you're counting!) Her books have been described as "thrilling" and "addictive." A Kirkus reviewer said of The Gatekeeper's Sons that it was "sure to thrill Hunger Games fans."

To find out more about Eva, go to her website.


About THE GATEKEEPER'S BRIDE: Unrest brews among gods and mortals alike when Hades makes a deal with the Fates to end his loneliness in the Underworld. But when Persephone proposes to conspire with him in a plot against Demeter, things get out of hand.

Find out the truth of how Hades and Persephone met and fell in love and the impact it had on the rest of the pantheon during these tumultuous times. Learn how their children--Hypnos, Thanatos, Megaera, Tisiphone, Alecto, and Melinoe--came into being. Discover why they were assigned their respective duties as Sleep, Death, the Furies, and the goddess of ghosts. Find out the real reason why the Olympians possessed such profound disdain for these Underworld gods.

This prequel to The Gatekeeper's Saga is more than a retelling of the Persephone myth. Many more of the ancient myths are woven together to reveal the conflict, tension, and relationships among the gods in one of the most beloved pantheons in human history. The Gatekeeper's Bride can be read before or after The Gatekeeper's Saga.

To buy the book, follow this link!

*********************************************************************************
But wait, there's more! Enter below for a chance to win a signed copy of my forthcoming YA fantasy novel ECOSYSTEM! This personal giveaway runs through April 11 (which also happens to be the day a cover reveal for the book runs on YA Books Central)!




About ECOSYSTEM: Seventeen-year-old Sarah is a Sensor, gifted with the ability to survive within the sentient Ecosystem that swept away human civilization centuries ago. While the remnants of humankind huddle in small villages of stone, Sarah uses her psychic connection to the Ecosystem to travel freely in the wild in search of food, water, and fuel. Sarah doesn’t fear the Ecosystem—but she hates it for killing her mother when Sarah was a child. When she hunts, she hunts not only for her people’s sustenance but for revenge.

Then Miriam, an apprentice Sensor, is lost in the Ecosystem, and Sarah sets out to rescue her. Joining Sarah is Miriam’s beloved, Isaac, a boy who claims to possess knowledge of the Ecosystem that will help their people survive. The harrowing journey to find the missing apprentice takes Sarah and Isaac into the Ecosystem’s deadliest places. And it takes Sarah into the unexplored territory of her own heart, where she discovers feelings that threaten to tear her—and her society—apart.

A thrilling fantasy adventure from the author of Freefall and the Survival Colony series, Ecosystem is the first book in a YA trilogy that includes The Devouring Land (2019) and House of Earth, House of Stone (2020).

a Rafflecopter giveaway *********************************************************************************

The Spring 2018 YA Scavenger Hunt is over! Thanks for playing, and happy reading!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

YA Guy Hosts... Kai Strand, author of I AM ME!

YA Guy is tickled to host one of my favorite authors, Kai Strand, whose latest novel, the YA contemporary I AM ME, is now available. Kai's here to talk about how she manages to be so prolific as an author, and then, as a special treat, she's provided an excerpt from her new book. Read on, and then find out about Kai and where to buy I AM ME!


Just Ger ‘Er Done!


Inspiration from Kai Strand


People often think I’m a fast writer, but I know plenty of authors who write faster than me. They’ll post their daily word counts of upwards of 5,000! I’m lucky if I hit 1,500. What I am – or have been – is consistent. Think: The Little Engine That Could or the tortoise from The Tortoise and The Hare.

My first book, a middle grade fantasy, The Weaver, was published at the very end of 2010 and I immediately began a quest to make it the world’s best-selling book. When I wasn’t even successful in scheduling my first book signing until March of 2011, I realized that marketing a book was both harder than I expected and very time consuming. I didn’t understand that I needed to concentrate more on writing the next book until well into 2011. Therefore, my second middle grade – a contemporary titled SAVE THE LEMMINGS – wasn’t published until 2012. But the second book in my Weaver Tale series was also published in 2012, The Wishing Well. I discovered that I liked publishing two books a year. I liked it very much, so that became my goal.

My first young adult book, King of Bad, was published in 2013 and I got a taste of good sales and that bestseller title I’d hoped for. In 2014, I decided to try my hand at self-publishing with a couple young adult novellas, all while publishing two different titles with publishers – making my publication count for the year FOUR books. I found it difficult to promote, though, and learned I wanted to keep it at two books a year. In 2015 I added a new pen name (L.A. Dragoni) so I could write romance for the grown-ups among us.

Needless to say, in order to publish all of these books, I had to keep writing. And if I average fewer than 1,500 words a day, that means I have to sit down and write on a regular basis. It isn’t always easy. I get sucked into social media or composing blog posts. There are plenty of times I have simply forced myself to open my WIP and just put some dang words down. And the crazy thing is…when you do that…seven years later, you have FIFTEEN books published.

It’s hard for me to comprehend that I’ve accomplished that, but with more books in the pipeline and several others underway…I know it won’t stop there.


I Am Me by Kai Strand
YA Contemporary

Despite—or perhaps because of—her fancy car, private school education, and life of privilege, Lola Renaldi has become a volunteer junkie. Feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, visiting the elderly—if it’s a good cause, she’s done it.

Lola’s favorite stint, building affordable houses, puts her directly in the path of Rodney. He refuses to discuss why he’s doing community service, but it’s clear he’s hiding something dark about his past. As their friendship grows, Lola begins to question the true reasons for her obsessive volunteerism and her view of those she has pledged to help.

She is only beginning to understand how lucky she truly is when her life falls apart. After losing friends, her boyfriend, even Rodney, Lola finally recognizes which parts of her life she wants to hang onto and what specifically she wants to go after. But with all she’s been through, will she be able to hang onto who she wants to be? Or will she lose all that defines her?


Excerpt: 

“Have you ever been completely surprised to learn the truth behind someone’s circumstances?”

Rod freezes, paintbrush held high overhead. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I have a friend who seems to have everything, you know? I’ve always known how far from the truth that is, but she’s got a rock solid fa├žade. Or, she did until last weekend.”

Rod’s rigid posture relaxes, and he resumes spreading paint along the fascia. “Wasn’t last week homecoming?”

Tipping my head up, I stare at Rod in surprise. “Yeah, how did you know?”

I see one side of his mouth quirk. “You weren’t here last week. Hank said something about hair and makeup and fingernails.”

I continue to stare up at Rodney. His long frame at the top of a tall ladder makes my head spin in some reverse vertigo thing.

He stops working again and shifts sideways on the ladder. “Hey, are you okay?”

“Oh.” If I shake my head, will the myriads of thoughts spinning through it dissipate into dust, or at least fall into a nice orderly pile that I can sort through later? “I’m…it’s just…” Shrug.

Resting the brush in the paint tray, he somehow adopts a super casual pose on the ladder, perched precariously sideways, with his arms crossed over his chest. His tone is unexpected in its gentleness. “Is this 'friend' really you?”

“What? No!” I leap to my feet and his eyebrows arch, which for some reason makes me mad. “Rodney, why would you even think that?”

His head cocks sideways in consideration. “Someone who seems to have everything. Someone you know well enough that you’re the only one to know she doesn’t.”

I slam my hands on my hips, though really, I want to slug him. “It’s a friend of mine. I’ve known her forever.” A strange expression passes over his face and my anger wafts away on the chilly breeze. “Do you have any friends, Rodney?”

He gives a strange one-shoulder shrug that he probably hopes appears dismissive but is actually an admission of truth. The question of what he did to earn community service—tons of hours of community service, apparently—flashes through my mind and for the first time I wonder if befriending him like I have was really so smart.

A tinge of anger darkens his caramel colored eyes making me think of toffee.

“We’ve moved a lot.”

Oh. Not what I expected. Before I can reply, he continues.

“Poor people do that, you know.”

I open my mouth to voice my offense. His tone is so accusatory. But I see guilt and regret and embarrassment flash in his expression, so I slam my lips shut.


Here's where to buy I AM ME:

Amazon
B&N
iBooks

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, Kai entertains children of all ages and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.

To connect with Kai, go here:
Mailing List
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Amazon

Thursday, February 1, 2018

YA Guy... Stops Reading!

YA Guy loves to read. What writer doesn't?

Over the past seven years, as I've launched my career as a YA writer, I've averaged between 50 and 60 novels per year. Many of them were YA, but many were not. I dipped into classics, science fiction, historical novels, whatever struck my fancy (or was related to my own writing project) at the time. So if you add it all up, that's about 400 novels all told, or somewhere in the neighborhood of 160,000 pages.

I've learned a lot from these novels about craft, storytelling, character development, genre expectations, you name it. I've also read some truly great literature (both YA and non-YA), as well as some real clunkers. I've reviewed many of these books--primarily the ones I loved, because I'm not in the habit of writing negative reviews. I dropped my Goodreads account last year, but you can find the reviews on Amazon. And I've tweeted about and otherwise promoted many of the books I read, all in the interest of supporting others who are pursuing this very difficult job called writing.

So overall, it's been a great run. I'm glad, for both personal and professional reasons, that I made a commitment to upping my reading content these past seven years.

But for 2018, I'm taking a break.

Here's the short version of why: I'm beat.

Here's the longer version:

I'm not a fast reader. I average about 30 pages an hour, maybe 40 with YA. So the roughly 160,000 pages I read over that seven-year span represent somewhere around 4000 hours spent reading, or almost 600 hours per year. Which translates, in turn, to almost two hours of reading per day for the past seven years. And that's not counting the time spent reviewing and otherwise promoting the books I've read.

The above numbers might not seem like a lot to some people. But the other things I do during the day include, to list only the most important and time-consuming:

--work a full time job
--spend time with my wife and children
--spend time with my aging parents
--spend time with friends
--attend or otherwise participate in political, cultural, and artistic events
--coach
--travel
--shop
--do chores and other housework
--promote my books, on social media and via live appearances
--write

Again, that's no different from what most writers do. But if I'm spending almost two hours every day on reading, it tends to curtail my ability to do some of the other things. Including, most importantly for me as a writer (if not as a human being), write my own books. This is especially true since I'm an even slower writer than reader, taking an average of six months to complete a draft. And that's not counting revisions and all the other things that are involved to transform a manuscript into a published book.

This year is going to be particularly busy in regard to writing, for at least two reasons: I have multiple projects in the hopper (one of which my agent is currently shopping around, the others of which are in various stages of completion), and I'm contemplating self-publishing another project, thus requiring time not only to perform the necessary actions but to learn a whole new form of publication.

Hence my plan to take a break for a year. I'll read a few things that I absolutely have to--like the novels and other materials I'm teaching, or the occasional 2018 publication I'm so excited about I simply can't pass it up--but for the most part, I'm going to go reading-free for a year and see what happens. Certainly, some 2018 books I'd like to read will pass me by, and I'm not sure I'll have a chance to catch up on them. Possibly, I'll find myself so bored I'll regret my decision. But ideally, I'll be freed to focus for a year on all of those other things in my list, including, most importantly, writing.

Every writer has to figure out how to make all this stuff work. There are only so many hours in a day, a year, a life. Some writers (maybe the ones who read and write faster than I do) find ways to do it all. I'm not one of those writers, and I'm trying to be honest with myself about my limitations.

So if you're putting out a book this year and hoping I'll read it, I'm sorry to disappoint you. If I seem ungenerous and you decide not to read my books in retaliation, that's okay. If all goes according to plan, I'll be too busy writing to notice.