Baseball, faith, love, and pain converge in the wonderfully written CONVICTION, which releases today. We with Kelly Loy Gilbert the happiest of book birthdays! You won’t want to miss out on this one!

 

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Feeling the need for some speed? Hit the road and pick up a copy of Jenny Martin’s debut TRACKED, which releases today. Congratulations, and Happy Book Birthday Jenny!
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The beautifully written IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT lands in readers’ hands today. Congratulations to Jen Brooks and her wonderful debut. Go grab a copy and meet Jonathan. You won’t be disappointed.

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What’s your greatest wish? Lori’s is to see BECOMING JINN in bookstores and libraries. And today, her wish is granted. Happy Book Birthday to Lori Goldstein and BECOMING JINN!

If you are in the Boston area, Lori will be appearing at the Newburyport Literary Festival on April 25 and having a launch event at the fantastic Porter Square Books on April 27 at 7  pm. Surprises and tons of Jinn swag in store!

A full listing of Lori’s spring Becoming Jinn touring, including festivals, readings, and library and bookstore panels with Freshman Fifteeners Lee Kelly and Jen Brooks, as well as special guests, can be found on the events page on her Web site. Follow the Freshman Fifteens Spring Break Tour on Lori’s Tumblr.

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Signed copies are available through Lori’s favorite local indie, Porter Square Books. And if you buy before April 25, email Lori your receipt and you will automatically get a signed bookmark, infinity necklace like the girls in the book have, and be entered into a raffle to win gift cards from $5-$50! Details on Lori’s Web site. And catch up on all the posts as part of the Becoming Jinn Blog Tour; some of the giveaways (including books!) are still going on so be sure to visit all the sites!

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This is becoming a trend. Same as last month, the Freshman Fifteens have two releases today!

Happy Book Birthday to Jenn Marie Thorne and her wonderful THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT and to Stacey Lee and her gorgeous UNDER A PAINTED SKY. March is a good month for reading these fantastic Freshman Fifteen books.

Grab your copies now:

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Two of our freshmen, Jenn Marie Thorne (THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT, Dial Books) and Stacey Lee (UNDER A PAINTED SKY, G.P. Putnam’s Sons) are set to debut next week, March 17!  Because they are such serious writing professionals, Jenn and Stacey decided to ask each other some very, very serious questions.  And if you make it to the end, there’s a very serious giveaway that you don’t want to miss.

Jenn interviews Stacey:

Jenn Marie Thorne: Who is your favorite classical composer?

Stacey Lee: Rachmaninoff, Debussy. Zey are zoooo romantik.

JMT: Would you rather have breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast?

SL: Breakfast for dinner because I love breakfast foods a little too much.  Plus, the idea of eating say, a rib eye, for breakfast is kind of gross.

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Stacey’s writing cave

JMT: What was your favorite book when you were 14?

SL: JACOB HAVE I LOVED, by Katherine Paterson, which won the 1981 Newbery. It’s about twin sisters growing up near the Chesapeake Bay in the 40’s, and told from the point of view of the ‘plainer’ twin. It was one of the first realistic teen books I read, and I loved it.

JMT: What’s your astrological sign and do you think it describes you accurately?

SL: Leos are supposed to be confident, ambitious, loyal, generous, and encouraging. I’d say I got 3 out of 5.

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Ocean views inspire Stacey (Princeville, Kauai)

JMT: Would you rather travel by horseback, train or stagecoach?

SL: I would love to learn how to ride a horse one day!  Until then, I’d say train.

JMT: What decade of the 20th Century would you most like to time-travel to for a shopping excursion?

SL: 1950’s. I love full skirts, peter pan collars, cute sweaters, Mary Jane shoes.

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Selfie of Stacey at Monterey, CA for writing retreat

JMT: If you had the chance to grow a talking tree in your backyard, would you?

SL: Yes.  I would love to have a talking tree.  It’d be great at keeping burglars away.  And that is the strangest question ever, but I love you anyway.

JMT: What’s your dream writing retreat?

SL: Somewhere near the ocean with a fireplace.  I had a dream writing retreat a few months ago in Monterey, CA.  I spent a lot of time walking the white sand beaches in Asilomar and staring at waves (see pictures).

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Stacey catches the crashing waves at Asilomar Beach

JMT: Do you have any phobias?

SL: Mustard.  My well-intending dad bought me a burger at Burger King when I was a kid, and made me eat the whole thing (waste not, want not) even though it had mustard and I cried and threw up.  Now, just thinking about the stuff makes me gag.

JMT: Is there another profession you’ve secretly always wanted to try (even if just for a week)?

SL: Yes!  Sea otter rescue specialist.  I would love that.

JMT: What’s your favorite movie genre?

SL: Is there a 1980’s adventure movie genre?  Lots of great movies were made in that decade – Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Ladyhawke, Back to the Future, ET.

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Stacey loves collecting sea glass (Glass Beach, Kauai)

JMT: Who was your first crush?

SL: In fifth grade, there was this skinny kid who played basketball.  He had big brown eyes and never smiled, and I thought he was the cutest thing. It was unrequited.

JMT: What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

SL: I like revision.  There’s something very satisfying about making things clean and shiny. For me, plotting is the hardest part.

JMT: Are you a cold weather or hot weather person?

SL: I’m a low-70’s kind of person and anything outside of that make me grumpy.  It’s the curse of being California-born and raised.

JMT: If you had a magic satchel that could make any small object appear in it, what would you wish for?

SL: A crystal ball that can give me the winning lotto numbers!

Stacey Interviews Jenn

SL: How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

JMT: Between six and seven hours, often in three parts, due to a ten-month-old dependent who hates to sleep. I love to sleep. It’s the most wonderful thing in the world. *sobs silently*

SL: If you were stranded on an island and you only had a stick of butter, what would you do with it?

JMT: Ooh, this is a very good question, and one that highlights how poorly equipped I am with the knowledge required to survive such a scenario. I know butter doesn’t actually help burns, so I wouldn’t save it for that. And it seems like kind of a waste to use it on food. But I wouldn’t want it to spoil. Okay, not gonna lie, I just googled “alternate uses of butter,” and the most useful tip I found was that butter takes away the smell of fish on your hands, which is obviously going to be helpful. So: that!

SL: What’s your favorite city and why?

JMT: My favorite place is the California coast, but I’ve got to give New York City the edge over LA. I spent my formative years in Manhattan, and although I’m not sure I have the energy to live there anymore, I will love its verve, eclecticism, grit, polish–and even its indifference–for the rest of my life.

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Jenn also enjoys the Grand Canyon, obviously.

SL: What outfit do you wear most of the time?

JMT: Jeans, t-shirt, hair in a ponytail so that my baby won’t chew on it. I’m all about the comfy.

SL: What’s the last book you read?

JMT: NONE OF THE ABOVE, by I.W. Gregorio. It was excellent–a really moving look at a teenager reeling from an intersex diagnosis gone public.

SL: What’s your guilty pleasure?

JMT: There are quite a few to choose from in the category of “pop culture,” but I don’t actually feel that guilty about them. So I’m going to go with: ridiculously long, dangerously hot showers. I’m killing the world one shower at a time.

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Jenn thinks Owlpen Manor would make a nice writing retreat.

SL: What’s the scariest thing you’ve done?

JMT: Having kids is terrifying. I’m putting this out there as a PSA. I wasn’t a fearful person until I became a mother. Now I’m a bundle of worries, guilt and other neuroses. I also once moved cross-country on pretty much a whim, which I didn’t actually realize was going to be scary until I up and did it.

SL: Describe your 16 year old self.

JMT: Sheltered, stubborn, quirky, accomplished, filled with inexorable longing, prone to flights of fancy.

SL: If you could be the same age for the rest of your life, how old would you be?

JMT: I’m gonna be hopeful and say “45.” 45, when it comes, is going to be amazing. Or something.

SL: What do you admire most about your writing?

JMT: I feel that I’m fair to all of my characters. I can see everybody’s point of view, even the villains, so if I’m the god of my imaginary universes, at least I am a benevolent one.

SL: Favorite board game?

JMT: Trivial Pursuit. However, I should note that I’ve been banned from playing it by most of my friends. I am not the most competitive person in the world, but this game wakes up my dark side.

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Jenn’s awesome dog and writing-companion, Molly.

SL: Have you ever had a black eye?

JMT: No, and I consider it a gross failing on my part.

SL: Coffee or tea?

JMT: I drink tea, water, coffee, water, tea all day long in rapid succession. (See sleep question above.)

SL: Taylor Swift – country or pop?

JMT: She is pop. She has always been pop. But now that she’s saying she’s pop, her pop is better pop. I’ve typed the word pop too many times and it has now lost its meaning. POP.

SL: Favorite movie hunk?

JMT: Paul Newman. He’s just…sigh. Current? I dunno. I like that Tom Hiddleston fella. My husband’s sort of crazy dreamy, though, so he kind of renders all movie stars meh for me.

 (Editor’s note: Wasn’t that fun? I mean, I already liked these girls before reading this Q&A, but now I like them even more.)

As part of the Lucky Four Leaf Clover Giveaway, Jenn and Stacey, along with , Moriah McStay (EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU, Katherine Tegen), and N.K. Travers (DUPLICITY, Thomas Dunne Books) are donating a hardback copy of their books and related treasures.  Enter the giveaway here!

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Today, the Freshman Fifteen have twins! (Fraternal.)

Happy Book Birthday to Jasmine Warga and her beautiful MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES and Victoria Aveyard’s jaw-dropping RED QUEEN. The two will be traveling together as part of the Epic Reads tour, so be sure to catch these amazing ladies in person if they swing by your town!

Grab your copies now:

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Our very first Freshman Fifteen book releases today, and in truth, we’re all a bit emotional about this. As a group, we’ve been together since the spring of 2013. We’ve all lived and breathed one another’s books, from talking plot, to gasping at cover reveals, to applauding great reviews. To see the very first one hit bookshelves is a moment we’ve been waiting for, and it has finally arrived.

And so, today, we wish a very Happy Book Birthday to Lee Kelly and her amazing debut CITY OF SAVAGES!  Congratulations Lee!

Grab your copy now:

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Catherine FondrenToday marks the release of 15 emerging writers as the COMMON ROOM short story anthology, written by talented Wattpad teen writers and edited by the Freshman Fifteens, releases  exclusively on Wattpad.

2015 marks the beginning of our Freshman Fifteen debuts. As each release day comes, we will all reflect on the journey to publication–a journey that no doubt includes countless supporters. From critique partners to beta readers to agents to editors, we’ve had help getting to this place. Which is why we wanted to work with and mentor writers of the next generation.

We organized this contest to give teen writers a glimpse into the world of traditional publishing. From pitching their story, to working with us as their editors, to copy editing, to cover reveals, and finally, launch day.

Wattpad_Logo_OrangeWe couldn’t ask for a better partner in this project than Wattpad, which has cornered the market on fostering and supporting all writers, especially teens.

We interviewed and ran profiles on all of our COMMON ROOM writers. If you missed our last posts, get to know these writers by checking out the series of profiles we did on them here, here, and here. They have amazing insights into the future of YA. You won’t want to miss hearing what they–our target audience–want to see in YA books.

And please, show your support by reading the stories in the COMMON ROOM anthology and leaving a comment to encourage these writers to do what they love: keep writing.

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The complete COMMON ROOM anthology, written by Wattpad teen writers and edited by the Freshman Fifteens, will be released on Wattpad on January 27, 2015—next week!

It’s been a long time coming! We started working on this project in the summer of 2014, and the teen writers had a full fall of revising their stories. For more on the project, check out our previous posts.

Before you read their fantastic stories, we wanted to introduce you to these talented writers. For the past two weeks, we’ve highlighted ten of our COMMON ROOM authors, and this week, we bring you the final five (see previous interviews here and here).

Get to know them and their other work on Wattpad and be sure to show your support and read COMMON ROOM on January 27!

AshleyJellisonAshley Jellison, author of LEAVE THE LIGHT ON (Wattpad username: AshJellison)

Mentor: Jenny Martin, author of TRACKED, releasing May 5, 2015, from Dial/Penguin

About me: I’m an aspiring author, a hopeful actor, and a horrible dancer. I intern with Entangled Publishing, and when I’m not doing work for them or my own homework, I’m reading or writing. Sometimes you’ll even find me training for my marathon.

How did you get into writing?

I got into writing when I was really really young. I actually wrote my very first story about my dog and I sent it off to Scholastic. I stopped writing for a few years, until I got this incredible story in my head, which I thought about for years before actually writing. But I’ve started really writing again because of NaNoWriMo. Without it, I never seem to have time. I’ve just always wanted to write and I can see myself writing in the future, so I figure the best thing for me to do IS write.

What do you like to write best?

Hmmm . . . I think I like to write fantasy best. But I think I write it the worst—haha. I love writing a new world and creating things only in my mind. I actually write more in the contemporary range right now. It seems easier for me to write and make everything flow together. Sometimes I dabble in different genres, like my horror short story.

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

I would like to see more platonic relationships between male and females. There are hundreds of books where the two are best of friends and then one always falls for the other. It makes it seem like they HAVE to fall in love. Definitely not true. I know Simon and Clary in The Mortal Instruments, no matter how much I love them, were so close. The best of friends. But Simon was in love with Clary for so long. I just want a story where the characters can mess around and do friend things without having romantic interests in each other. The only book where that worked for me was The Future of Us.

 

KatieSpektorKatie Spektor, author of THE VOICES IN MY HEAD (Wattpad username: KatieSpektor)

Mentor: Kim Savage, author of AFTER THE WOODS, releasing Winter 2016 from FSG/Macmillan

About me: I am homeschooled and dream of becoming a published author one day. When I’m not writing or reading, I spend my time adoring my kitten named Charlotte, who will assist me in writing by trying to eat my laptop.

How did you get into writing?

I actually got into writing when we adopted my older sister. She wrote and told stories that captivated me as a child and inspired me to be just like her. Over the years, I had stopped writing for some time until a novel idea suddenly came to me. I wrote the first chapter and showed it to my mother, who told me that I should participate in a writing event called NaNoWriMo where you write 50,000 words in thirty days. When I won it—and had a full novel under my belt—I knew that being a writer was the path for me.

I mean, really, in what other occupation can you talk to imaginary people in your head without being deemed legally insane? That’s a fabulous perk to being a writer.

What do you like to write best?

I love to write about heroines that are so flawed—so human—that it’s hard to find a positive thing about them, yet you can relate to them in so many ways. The genre I love to write in is fantasy because I can make worlds and rules completely unlike ours. But I like to experiment, too! Being a writer on Wattpad has widened my perspective on stories. I can see exactly what readers like to read and what they expect in a story. This stretches my mind to write the unexpected.

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

What a difficult question! I think first I want to see unique characters. I would love to see weak protagonists who have strength in different ways, soft-spoken characters who find their voice in the world, and cowardly heroes who would much rather run than save their nation. I want to see the unusual rather than the usual. I want to see stories that aren’t afraid to stand out because they’re different. I also want to see positive stories of hope. There are so many dystopian novels out there today talking of death, destruction, and government takeover. Sure, that’s interesting to read about, but I’ve seen so many of these novels that I’m starting to believe that people are trying to predict the future rather than write simple fiction. I’m sure our government wouldn’t go so far as to put kids into a death-defying arena like The Hunger Games, but the mere thought is disconcerting.

Last (and probably most) of all, I want to see love truthfully represented and not whittled down to mere impulses based on infatuation or feeling. I want to see fiction where love isn’t fantasized to the point where it blurs reality of what love actually is. For instance, do you need to kiss someone to prove that you love them? If you don’t kiss them, does it mean that you don’t love them? (The horror! No kissing?!) From what I’ve seen in a lot of YA fiction, that seems to be the ultimate step to show love and I personally think it’s a severe misrepresentation.

 

Coralie TerryCoralie E. Terry, author of BABYSITTING GRANDMA (Wattpad username: terryco)

Mentor: Jenn Marie Thorne, author THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT, releasing March 17, 2015

About me: My name is Coralie Terry, and I am a junior Music Education major attending Berea College. I read and write in what little spare time I have and one day hope to be able to write endlessly, anything but research papers and class essays.

How did you get into writing?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to read. I love to hear stories, and I’ve come to love telling them. I have pitiful attempts that go as far back as my first grade classes, but I think my true passion for writing really began to come forward when I was entering into my eighth grade year. I started short stories and wrote plenty of poems that I hope never see the light of day, but I also found some of my closest friends today because I started writing then. I’ve grown with them both in my writing and in my life. I suppose I honestly just stumbled into writing and have only fallen deeper the older I’ve become.

What do you like to write best?

I love to write in many genres and lengths—poetry, fanfiction, short stories, etc. I think I most enjoy writing stories of longer lengths because they give me more room to build my plots, explore the worlds, and more time to play with the characters. As for genres, I particularly enjoy writing mysteries with a twinge of romance, and I love writing fairytale-like stories. On the other hand, I find myself more and more interested in realistic fiction and creative nonfiction, which is what inspired “Babysitting Grandma.”

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

Personally, I absolutely love reading fairytale retellings! I always love to see new, inventive ways to portray classic fairytales as well as original fairy tales in YA. I also enjoy Christian fiction, historical fiction, science fiction, adventures, and mysteries. Honestly, just about anything with an intriguing plot and enjoyable characters is up my alley.

 

Britton Hansen_newBritton Hansen, author of A THOUSAND STARS (Wattpad username: CutieFlutie)

Mentor: Laura Tims, author of PLEASE DON’T TELL, releasing Winter 2016 from Harper Teen/Harper Collins

About me: I’m a high school senior obsessed with playing the flute, eating frozen yogurt, and shopping for clothes I definitely don’t need. I hope to continue to pursue writing through college and beyond.

How did you get into writing?

When I was in first or second grade, I had this idea for a story. And it was called . . . wait for it . . . “Dogland.” I must have written fifty versions of it, one of them involving a giant meatball, throughout elementary school. Then I continued to write in sixth grade and eventually sort of fell out of it for a few years. The summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, though, all of my friends were out of town, and I had some ideas in my head that I was desperate to get out, so I searched up writing Web sites on Google, and lo and behold, found Wattpad. I’ve been writing very seriously for about two years, although it’s been a pastime and passion of mine for much longer than that, and hopefully it’ll continue to be.

What do you like to write best?

I love writing romance. I’ve got a fascination with the idea of teenage relationships, and tragedies. Recently, I’ve been attempting to branch out of the genre a little bit, and right now I’m working on an adventure story where the love is, granted, less important, but still pretty prevalent. Like most girls my age, I think, romance is a very appealing subject, and since I really only read stories with at least some sort of romantic plot, I also tend to stick to writing them, as well.

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

Oh gosh, definitely more realism. The vast majority of the young adult novels that I read, especially the ones where teenage romance is involved, are extremely misleading as far as healthy relationships go. And I get that it’s called fiction for a reason, but one reason I love to read is because it prepares me for experiences I may have, at least if it’s the right sort of novel. It’s rare for me to find a book or author that I can really relate to, so when I feel that a plot is more realistic, it makes the entire reading experience more enjoyable.

 

shellyzevShelly Zevlever, author of LIBRARY OF AN OLD GHOST (Wattpad username: shellyzev)

Mentor: Jasmine Warga, author of MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES, releasing February 10, 2015

About me: I’m a lover of all things bookish. I have a part-time job at my library, am a co-blogger at Read.Sleep.Repeat, and a contributor at Adventures in YA Publishing. It’s not an understatement to say that books run my life.

 How did you get into writing?

I’m not really sure. As I wrote in my original bio for the contest, I had too many ideas that had to be written down! I started writing two years ago, but it wasn’t until this year that I actually committed to a project that I’m proud of.

What do you like to write best?

Currently, I prefer writing YA (although that’s not an actual genre). I dabbled with dystopian, but I soon realized that I like writing contemporaries the best. I’m always noticing the people around me and how they react to things around them. I sometimes just see something and immediately think “I AM TOTALLY WRITING THAT.” So that’s why I like writing contemporaries; you can twist the world around you however you want. I try to write stuff that I’d want to read, because ultimately, I’m writing for myself.

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

I’d definitely love to read more books with diverse main characters, for sure! I absolutely admire the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign and I will read any book with diverse characters. I’d especially love to see historical fiction and magical realism with diverse main characters.

 

A huge thank you to all our writers who have been working so hard on their short stories. Don’t forget to visit us next week for the release of COMMON ROOM!

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