Tuesday, October 2, 2018

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


YA Guy's super excited to participate in this year's FALL YA SCAVENGER HUNT! This is my sixth Hunt, and I've got a new book, the YA fantasy ECOSYSTEM, out this year, with the sequel due in another month. 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 green lettering in this post (not to mention the banner at the top), I'm on the GREEN 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 GREEN 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 SEVEN 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 OCTOBER 7! (My personal giveaway, though, will run a little longer, through October 9.)

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 Green 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, October 7, 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 THE DEVOURING LAND! The sequel to ECOSYSTEM, this novel is having its cover revealed right here, right now! Like the Hunt itself, the personal giveaway is open internationally. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

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

Shannon Klare is a writer, teacher, reality TV fanatic, and movie connoisseur. A born and raised Texan, her writing is heavily influenced by small town living and year round sports. When Shannon isn’t writing or daydreaming new plots (22 of them to date), she can be found frequenting Starbucks or hanging out with her family. SURVIVING ADAM MEADE is her debut novel. It's available in stores now!

To find out more about Shannon, go to her website!

About SURVIVING ADAM MEADE: Seventeen-year-old Claire Collins has a plan: get into college and leave North Carolina behind. What she doesn’t have is an idea for how to get rid of the local football star and womanizer extraordinaire―Adam Meade, who she can’t even avoid (despite many efforts), because Claire’s dad is the high school football coach.

Seventeen-year-old Adam Meade never fails. He always gets what he wants . . . until he meets Claire, the new girl who leaves him unnerved, pissed off, and confused. But there’s something about her that he just can’t resist....

With the bite of lemon meringue pie and the sugar of sweet tea, Surviving Adam Meade is a sexy and compelling young adult novel about two strong-willed people who think they know what they want but have no idea what they need.

To buy the book, follow this link!




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But wait, there's more! Enter below for a chance to win one of two signed copies of my forthcoming YA fantasy novel THE DEVOURING LAND! This personal giveaway runs through October 9, and the cover is being revealed to the world for the first time ever!


About THE DEVOURING LAND: On the day of Miriam and Isaac's wedding, Sarah’s village is overrun by monstrous creatures from the Ecosystem. With the community’s leaders dead and few Sensors remaining, Sarah shepherds the survivors into the deadly forest surrounding the village. Her own Sense badly damaged in an earlier attack, she must fight through a host of new threats in hopes of discovering the place where her mother was born, rumored to be home to a community of healers.

When another attack decimates her band, the survivors are rescued by a group of people under the leadership of a man named Gabriel. Taking Sarah and the remnants of her village to a sheltered city ruled by healer-women known as queens, Gabriel instructs Sarah in the Ecosystem’s origins and teaches her a new way of coexisting with its creatures. But the City of the Queens is haunted by a dark secret from the past, and Sarah will have to learn the truth of her lineage in order to save the people she loves and protect the world she knows.

The second book in a fantasy-adventure trilogy that begins with Ecosystem, The Devouring Land will be released on November 20, 2018. Sarah’s story concludes with House of Earth, House of Stone (2019).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Fall 2018 Hunt is over, but my personal giveaway is still going on for a couple of days. Thanks to everyone who participated, and I hope to see you back in Spring 2019!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

YA Guy Announces... SKALDI CITY!

YA Guy is thrilled to announce that my novel SKALDI CITY will be published by Entangled Teen in 2019! Here's the formal announcement from Publishers Weekly:

Skaldi City is a survival story, a horror story, and (maybe most of all) a love story. It features one of the characters from my Survival Colony series, but it takes place fifty years before the events depicted in those novels, so readers can enjoy it whether they're familiar with Survival Colony 9 or not. And if I do say so myself, it includes some of the scariest monsters and most intense scenes I've ever invented.

I'll have more news as the publication date nears, but for now, I just wanted to let you all know. Thanks for reading the blog, and please feel free to leave a comment!

Monday, July 16, 2018

YA Guy Reviews... CROSS FIRE by Fonda Lee!


YA Guy's favorite YA science fiction author is Fonda Lee.

There. I said it.

While I like and admire lots of YA science fiction writers--Paolo Bacigalupi, Amie Kaufman, AdriAnne Strickland, Parker Peevyhouse, M. T. Anderson--Lee is at the top of my list. I've loved all of her sci-fi books, starting with ZEROBOXER and moving on to EXO and, now, CROSS FIRE. (I'll confess I didn't get into her fantasy novel JADE CITY, but that's not a reflection on its quality; it just wasn't my type of story.) I love her world-building, character development, eye for action sequences, and--in particular--her willingness to explore moral problems without settling on simple answers. In too much YA sci-fi, the world is neatly divided into nefarious (often adult) villains and virtuous (typically teen) heroes, who might have some superficial character flaws but who always manage to do what's right in the end. In Lee's books, the picture is much more complicated.

Take CROSS FIRE. It's the sequel to EXO, which featured a future Earth colonized by the alien zhree. Unlike most races in alien-invasion narratives, the zhree didn't come to destroy Earth but to colonize it and, to some extent, to share their superior technology with the human race. Thus they've rebuilt Earth's cities, incorporated many of Earth's citizens into their government and trades, and biologically enhanced a select group of human beings, including main character Donovan Reyes, to share the zhree's virtually indestructible battle armor. But there are some people, including the radical group Sapience, who hate the zhree and those humans who work along with them. Sapience wants to take Earth back, and they'll fight and kill to do it.

With this kind of premise, it's hard to draw clean lines between the "good guys" and "bad guys." Sapience is viewed by many in Donovan's world as a terrorist organization, and there's validity to that viewpoint--but at the same time, their admirable desire for human independence complicates the reader's response to them. By the same token, if the zhree seem generally willing to share their technology and their resources with humanity, there's no doubt that humans are second-class citizens in zhree society, and that becomes all the more apparent in CROSS FIRE, where the zhree decide that Earth is too costly to maintain and make plans to evacuate, knowing full well that their departure will leave the planet vulnerable to other alien races bent on the annihilation of humankind. Under that scenario, Donovan is faced with a wrenching choice: to stay behind on a threatened planet in order to defend his own species, or to accept the zhree's offer to take a tiny percentage of the human population, himself included, with them.

It's just at this point in the narrative, though, that I feel Lee adopts a course that reduces some of the moral complexity she's established. I don't want to give anything away, but suffice it to say that the book takes a turn at its approximate midpoint that makes Donovan's choice no less physically demanding but somewhat less ethically challenging. Later in the book, a second turn--one that, like the first, hinges on the sudden appearance of a fresh threat just at the moment of a critical decision on Donovan's part--similarly serves to draw somewhat cleaner lines between heroes and villains. I wonder how Lee would have worked out the issues she set up if these plot twists had not occurred, and whether that resolution would have been more morally murky but intellectually satisfying.

That being said, I loved CROSS FIRE and found it in some ways even better than its predecessor (which is rare for sequels). If you're interested in reading Lee's book, leave a comment on this blog post; I'll be giving the book away to one person chosen at random from the comments.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

YA Guy Publishes... Short Stories!


Way back when, before YA Guy was (officially) YA Guy, I published short stories--science fiction, horror, and fantasy mostly, though occasionally I'd dip into contemporary realism. Short fiction was my way of getting back into writing after a long hiatus, and it was incredibly rewarding to finish a story and, from time to time, see my name in print.

Though I've focused on writing novels in the years since, I've felt for a long time that it would be fun to collect some of my short stories--most of them originally published in obscure places that are hard to track down--for readers to enjoy. Thanks to my recent discovery of self-publishing, I've done just that, and I'm happy to present the result: TEN TALES OF TERROR AND TERRA, an e-book collection that's available for free on Amazon, B&N, and other online bookstores.

Of the ten stories, one or two might be considered YA--at least, they have youthful protagonists. But for the most part, the stories are aimed at a mature readership (which is not to say they're full of sex and graphic violence!). Some of them experiment with language, such as an apocalyptic tale told from the point of view of a non-human character and a horror story about a man who's losing his ability to speak. Others are fairy-tale adaptations, including the lead story, "Scarecrow," which is narrated by the straw man from The Wizard of Oz. There's a deep-space colonization narrative, a story about demonic possession and/or madness, a tale (narrated in the second person) about the invention of a technological afterlife. There's some pretty cool stuff, I think.

And, like I said, it's free. So pick up a copy, and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

YA Guy Experiences...Self-Publishing!


YA Guy's self-published novel Ecosystem came out last month. A survival story set on a future Earth in which the physical environment has evolved into a sentient predator, it's on sale for only 99 cents through May 25, if you want to check it out.

Ecosystem isn't the first novel I've self-published--that distinction goes to The Passing of Boss Krenkel, which came out several years ago--but it's the first self-published novel I've taken seriously. I splurged a bit on cover and interior design, and I'm doing much more to market the book than I did with Boss Krenkel. I don't expect to become a millionaire on this book or any self-published book--but then, I wasn't becoming a millionaire on my traditionally published novels, either. I do, however, see Ecosystem (which is the first in a three-book series) as the start of what might turn out to be a viable alternative path for me as a writer.

The decision to take the self-publishing route is a personal one, and I'd never be one of those writing-advice gurus who tell people that the ONLY way to go is to self-publish. (By the same token, I wouldn't tell anyone that traditional publishing is the only legitimate option.) Having experienced both forms of publishing, I can confidently state that they both have their advantages and disadvantages. I won't belabor the obvious, but I will take a few moments to talk about the three major factors that appeal to me about self-publishing.

1. Creative control. This is huge for me, as it probably is for most authors who self-publish. To start with, I like the idea of not having anyone tell me that a story concept that intrigues me isn't "marketable" enough or doesn't fit into a convenient category. Ecosystem is an ecological, post-apocalyptic survival story with elements of both science fiction and fantasy, featuring a teen protagonist but possessing crossover adult appeal. That might be a hard sell for many, possibly most, traditional publishers. By self-publishing, I can forego these gatekeepers and put out a book that's close to my heart as a writer. I did hire a freelance editor--I think every self-published writer owes it to themselves to do so--but in the end, the final decision about form and content was mine; I didn't need to convince anyone that my creative vision was sound, or argue with anyone who didn't like a choice I'd made. I'm not going to badmouth anybody, least of all the editor for my first three books--who undeniably made those books better than they were when they left my hands--but I felt the need to spread my creative wings and venture out on my own, and through self-publishing, I had that opportunity.

2. Speed. Traditional publishing is incredibly slow. It was two years between the two books of my Survival Colony series, which is an awfully long time to wait. With self-publishing, I can make books available to readers as quickly as they can be written, revised, edited, designed, and published. Ecosystem came out in April, I'm currently preparing a collection of science fiction short stories for publication no later than July, the sequel to Ecosystem will appear by November, and the final book in the trilogy will be available by early 2019. Putting books out quickly isn't necessarily a good thing in itself, but as with my desire to control my books creatively, I like having the power to control when and where they appear.

3. No pressure. For me, this is probably the biggest benefit to self-publishing. As a writer, I hate pressure: the pressure of external deadlines, the pressure of other people's expectations, the pressure to sell large numbers of books. Maybe some writers thrive under such pressures; I find that they kill creativity and strip the joy out of writing. I've wanted to be a writer since I was six years old--and I've wanted to be a writer because I love telling stories, not because I want to become rich and famous. But in traditional publishing, the pressure to meet certain standards or hit certain targets is always there, whether that be the pressure to "earn out" your advance, to have a new book ready to satisfy the option in your contract, or to "outperform" your previous books. With self-publishing, the only pressure I feel is internal, and it's a good pressure: the pressure to tell the stories I want to tell, the way I want to tell them.

At this point, it's too early to say which direction I'll ultimately take as a writer--whether I'll go hybrid, self-publishing some books and traditionally publishing others, or whether I'll settle into self-publishing exclusively. For the time being, I'm still working with an agent on some of my projects, including one that she's shopping around right now. I'm not fretting about the future; I'm just enjoying the moment. And I hope, if anyone out there is weighing the possibility of self-publishing, this post will help you to make your decision.

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!

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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!