Paula Stokes

LIARS, INC. Official Blog Tour

Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan

GUARDIANS Official Blog Tour

Camille DeAngelis

BONES AND ALL Official Nerd Blast

N.P. Griffiths


Nancy Freund


Mary Helen Specht


Ellie Cahill


Natalie Wright

H.A.L.F. THE DEEP BENEATH Official Blog Tour

E.L. Tettensor


Jen Calonita


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Guest Post with Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan

Book Nerd Guest Post

SUSAN KIM is a playwright, TV writer, and author. Her two graphic novels w/co-author Laurence Klavan, “City of Spies” (artwork by Pascal Dizin) and “Brain Camp” (artwork by Faith Erin Hicks), were published by First Second Books in 2010. “Flow: the Cultural Story of Menstruation” (co-written w/Elissa Stein) was published by St. Martin’s Griffin in 2009. Plays include the stage adaptation of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club (Dramatists Play Service) and various one-acts that were produced in the EST Marathon, including Death and the Maiden, Rapid Eye Movement,Dreamtime for Alice (Dramatists Play Service and Farrar Strauss), and Memento Mori (Smith and Krauss). Her work has been produced internationally. Ms. Kim has been nominated five times for the Emmy and four times for the Writers Guild award for her work in both non-fiction and children’s TV; she won a WGA award in 1996 for Best Documentary. She lives in New York City, teaches dramatic writing in the MFA program at Goddard College and currently blogs for the Huffington Post.

LAURENCE KLAVAN wrote the novels, “The Cutting Room” and “The Shooting Script,” which were published by Ballantine Books. He won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the novel, “Mrs. White,” co-written under a pseudonym. His graphic novels, "City of Spies" and "Brain Camp," were co-written with Susan Kim and published by First Second Books at Macmillan. His short work has been published in The Alaska Quarterly, Conjunctions, The Literary Review, Gargoyle, Louisville Review, Natural Bridge, Pank, Stickman Review, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, among many other journals, and a collection is forthcoming from Chizine Publications. He received two Drama Desk nominations for the book and lyrics of "Bed and Sofa," the musical produced by the Vineyard Theater in New York and the Finborough Theater in London in 2011. His one-act, "The Summer Sublet," is included Best American Short Plays 2000-2001.

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Is there such a thing as a formula for storytelling?

SUSAN: No, not like plugging names into software and hitting enter. I’m actually kind of leery about craft books: “just do this, this, and this, make sure you have an inciting incident and a complication, then a reversal in your second act, blah blah blah”… it’s like trying to give someone directions on how to build a bird, because they’ve examined birds on a dissecting table and have lots of theories. That being said, I definitely think there are elements that are extremely useful for 90% of all great stories ever written. First of all, you need good characters: and by that, you need to know how they act when they really want something and how they act when they’re in trouble. In fact, you define character by their actions: characters aren’t just a list of adjectives, but reactions and behaviors in specific situations. And your characters need to want things… and not just, say, another helping of dessert, but something big, vital, the kind of thing that changes one’s life: love, power, revenge, forgiveness. You then have to think about what are the obstacles to that want: your protagonist’s stepmother and stepsisters won’t let her go to the ball? The beautiful cheerleader has decided she wants to date the cute new boy? Your protagonist’s brother wants to get the inheritance instead of her?

If there’s a flaw to a lot of first drafts, it’s that the stakes are way too low and that the protagonist is too passive. You might argue that that’s your intention… but trust me, it’s hard to keep your reader engaged when nothing matters and your hero just sits around, waiting for someone else to save the day. But other than that, there are no real rules.

The Emmy Award-nominated and Edgar Award-winning duo of Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan deliver a heart-pounding finale to the postapocalyptic teen world of the Wasteland, filled with dramatic twists and turns. Bestselling author of Criminal, Karin Slaughter, called Wasteland "a Lord of the Flies for future generations. An irresistible page-turner."

No one dares to leave the District—the towering structure of glass and steel that is their protection against the unruly bands of Outsiders that roam Mundreel and the deadly rain that carries the disease that kills all over the age of nineteen.

This skyscraper stands amid the urban devastation, the city rumored to have once been called "Montreal." Esther and her allies have created a haven on the rooftop, a garden that flourishes, and a home for her new baby, hidden from all but the very few who know her secret. But as Gideon's power grows and factions form, the ultimate darkness is born from greed, and Esther must find a way to save the citizens from themselves.

You can purchase Guardians at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Susan and Laurence for making this giveaway possible.
2 Signed Copy of Guardians by Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Guest Post with Paula Stokes

Book Nerd Guest Post

Paula Stokes writes stories about flawed characters with good hearts who sometimes make bad decisions. She’s the author of several YA novels, most recently Liars, Inc. and The Art of Lainey. Her writing has been translated into nine foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.

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Paula: Welcome to Day 7 of the #CatchAKiller Blog Tour, AKA LIARS, INC. RELEASE DAY! Most of this interview can be found in Chapter 9 of the finished book, so if you’ve read it already then you’re officially excused from your investigative duties. Go celebrate by writing a review for the book…and then do something even more fun :D But be sure to come back tomorrow to find out what Jonas Jacobsen has to say. If you haven’t read LIARS, INC, keep reading! Nothing in the blog tour content is directly spoilery for the book, but the info presented here might get you thinking about who's lying and who's telling the truth. Can you follow the clues and sniff out a killer? Make your guess and then read LIARS, INC. to see if you’re right!

CASE CA4153-228

LEAD INVESTIGATOR: McGhee, James, Special Agent
SECONDARY INVESTIGATOR: Gonzalez, Alex, Special Agent
LEGAL GUARDIAN PRESENT: Cantrell, Ben and Darla. Waived right to be present for questioning.

Agent McGhee: Thanks for coming in to talk to us.

Max Cantrell: No problem. It’s a lot quieter here than at my house.

Agent Gonzalez: Oh yeah? Why’s that?

Max Cantrell: New baby sisters. Cute, but loud.

Agent McGhee: So Preston’s mom tells us he was camping with you this weekend.

Max Cantrell: Uh, yeah. That’s right.

Agent McGhee: So take us through your camping trip from the beginning. When did you and Preston DeWitt arrive at the Ravens Cliff overlook?

Max Cantrell: Well, I had to babysit until six-thirty, so it was about seven when we met up.

Agent McGhee: And then what?

Max Cantrell: And then we pitched the tent, built a fire, and sat around bullshitting until we got tired and went to sleep

Agent Gonzalez: Bullshitting… Did that involve drinking?

Max Cantrell: Maybe. Big deal.

Agent Gonzalez: So you make a fire, have a little booze. Then what?

Max Cantrell: Then we went to sleep.

Agent McGhee: Alone?

Max Cantrell: Huh? We were in the same tent, if that’s what you mean.

Agent Gonzalez: He means was it just you two or were there girls there too?

Max Cantrell: Just us.

Agent McGhee: What happened when you woke up?

Max Cantrell: I went surfing.

Agent McGhee: And Preston?

Max Cantrell: I mean, we went surfing.

Agent McGhee: Did anyone see you guys?

Max Cantrell: I don’t know. Can I get some water?

Agent McGhee: Alex, grab a pitcher for all of us, would you?

[Agent Gonzalez leaves the room.]

Agent McGhee: Sorry about my partner. He’s tightly wound.

Max Cantrell: No shit.

Agent McGhee: What did you and Preston do after you went surfing?

Max Cantrell: He split early, actually. Said he wasn’t feeling well.

Agent McGhee: About what time was that?

Max Cantrell. Didn’t look at my phone. Maybe nineish.

[Agent Gonzalez returns with water.]

Agent McGhee: Max was just telling me that Preston left the beach early on Sunday. Apparently he wasn’t feeling good.

Agent Gonzalez: Oh yeah? A little too hung over to surf?

Agent McGhee: Do you know if he went straight home?

Max Cantrell: I figured, but he didn’t say.

Agent McGhee: Did you and Preston take a walk along the top of the cliff on Saturday night?

Max Cantrell: Yeah. He was fooling around by the edge. Pretending to fly, stuff like that.

Agent McGhee: Did you guys argue?

Max Cantrell: “What? No. Why would you ask that?”

Agent McGhee: Just following up on a tip. Probably irrelevant. I think that’s all the questions we’ve got for now, Max. But if you think of anything else, please give me a call.

Max Cantrell: Isn’t it kind of early to assume something bad happened? I thought you had to wait forty-eight hours just to file a missing persons report.

Agent McGhee: That’s actually a myth perpetuated by TV shows. There’s no required waiting period in California. And it’s been over forty-eight hours since either of his parents saw him. You’re the only one who has seen him in the last couple of days… We don’t know anything for certain, but we need to consider the possibility that Preston’s disappearance is politically motivated until we can rule that out.

Max Cantrell: What? Like…terrorism or something? Don’t you think that’s a little unlikely?

Agent McGhee: A high-profile senator’s son disappearing right after an election? We’re just trying to stay ahead of the curve, Which reminds me. We’d appreciate it if you didn’t talk to anyone about what we’ve discussed this morning.

Max Cantrell: Okay. Am I done? Do you know where my parents went?

Agent McGhee: I’ll show you where they are.

For fans of Gone GirlI Hunt Killers, and TV's How to Get Away with Murder.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called "Captivating to the very end," Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

For more information, check out THE OFFICIAL LIARS, INC. WEBSITE.

You can purchase Liars, Inc. at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Paula for making this giveaway possible.
1 Deluxe Swag Pack. Includes (1 Black or White T-shirt, 1 Notebook, 1 Signed Postcard, 1 Magnet, 2 Signed Bookmarks, 1 Signed Bookplate, and a Mini Shark's Tooth Pendant) 
all wrapped in crime scene tape and packaged in an official evidence bag.
2 Mini Swag Packs. Includes (2 Signed Bookmarks, 1 Magnet, 1 Signed Bookplate).

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Guest Post with Caroline Starr Rose

Book Nerd Guest Post

Caroline Starr Rose is the author of MAY B. (2012), OVER IN THE WETLANDS (2015), and BLUE BIRDS (2015).

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What is the greatest thing you learned at school?

My middle school Spanish teacher, Mr. Delgado, scared me our first year together. As we reviewed homework answers row by row, he’d look over his reading glasses from his lectern. If you didn’t have an answer, he’d place a check on a mysterious paper while saying, “Uh-huh,” exposing our inadequacies to the whole class. Then there were his tests, where I sometimes got grades like 49 / 115 (Yep. Still remember my exact score).

I stuck it out with Mr. Delgado in Spanish II. When I asked him to sign my yearbook, he wrote, “To a fine student and equally fine young lady.” (I remember those exact words, too). Even with those awful tests and homework slip ups, he thought I was a fine student, and even better, a fine person. It made me feel pretty special. I asked Mr. Delgado if I could be his eighth-grade aide. Because even though he was gruff, I realized I kinda liked him and I would miss being in his classroom.

My junior year in high school I took Honors English with Mrs. Mangold. She was fun and creative and did off-the-wall things, like wear a homemade Marge Simpson wig gifted to her by a student who swore she and Marge were twins. As much as she made my favorite subject even more exciting, the thing I most remember about Mrs. Mangold is how interested she was in my life outside of school. She'd remember my special events. She'd ask questions about what I was reading in my free time. She told me I was important without ever saying those words directly.

I wasn’t always a fan of school, which is strange, because I ended up being a teacher. A big reason I decided to teach was because of those small but hugely significant moments Mr. Delgado and Mrs. Mangold gave me. They recognized me outside of my academic failures and successes. They saw me for me.

“You matter” is 100 times more important to a child than anything else a teacher can say. It's the gift that makes a student feel safe, helps her want to do her best, shapes her into the adult she will become.

Thank you, Hector Delgado and Sheri Mangold, for teaching me this. I’m grateful to this day.

It’s 1587 and twelve-year-old Alis has made the long journey with her parents from England to help settle the New World, the land christened Virginia in honor of the Queen. And Alis couldn’t be happier. While the streets of London were crowded and dirty, this new land, with its trees and birds and sky, calls to Alis. Here she feels free. But the land, the island Roanoke, is also inhabited by the Roanoke tribe and tensions between them and the English are running high, soon turning deadly.

Amid the strife, Alis meets and befriends Kimi, a Roanoke girl about her age. Though the two don’t even speak the same language, these girls form a special bond as close as sisters, willing to risk everything for the other. Finally, Alis must make an impossible choice when her family resolves to leave the island and bloodshed behind.

A beautiful, tender story of friendship and the meaning of family, Caroline Starr Rose delivers another historical gem.

You can purchase Blue Birds at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Caroline for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Monday, March 23, 2015

The Snow Globe by Judith Kinghorn

Book Nerd Spotlight

Inside the glass orb was a miniature garden and a house. If she stared long enough, she could almost see the people inside. But whether they were trapped there, or kept safe, in that miniscule snowbound world, she couldn't have said...

Christmas 1926 holds bright promise for nineteen-year-old Daisy Forbes, with celebrations under way at Eden Hall, her family's country estate in Surrey, England. But when Daisy, the youngest of three daughters, discovers that her adored father, Howard, has been leading a double life, her illusions of perfection are shattered. Worse, his current mistress, introduced as a family friend, is joining them for the holidays. As Daisy wrestles with the truth, she blossoms in her own right, receiving a marriage proposal from one man, a declaration of love from another, and her first kiss from a third. Meanwhile, her mother, Mabel, manages these social complications with outward calm, while privately reviewing her life and contemplating significant changes. And among those below stairs, Nancy, the housekeeper, and Mrs. Jessops, the cook, find that their long-held secrets are slowly beginning to surface...

As the seasons unfold in the new year, and Daisy moves to London, desires, fortunes, and loyalties will shift during this tumultuous time after the Great War. The Forbes family and those who serve them will follow their hearts down unexpected paths that always return to where they began...Eden Hall.

You can purchase The Snow Globe at the following Retailers:

Author Spotlight

Judith Kinghorn was born in Northumberland, England, and grew up in the village of Warkworth, famed for its castle, featured in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part I and painted by JMW Turner. She is a graduate in English and History of Art, a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, and a former nominee of Woman of The Year. She lives with her family in Hampshire, England.

Judith’s début novel The Last Summer was first published in the UK, in April 2012. It was chosen by Lovereading UK as MEGA début and listed in The Bookseller magazine’s round-up of the year in ‘Ones To Watch’. Her second novel The Memory of Lost Senses was published the following year. Judith’s novels are published worldwide and have been translated to German, French, Spanish and Italian. Her third novel The Snow Globe will be published in the US in March 2015.

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*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Nancy Freund Author Interview

Book Nerd Interview

Nancy Freund is a poet, editor, critic, and novelist. Born in New York, raised in Kansas City, and educated in Los Angeles, she was married in England, and today lives in French-speaking Switzerland. She is the author of 'Rapeseed,' published in 2013 by Gobreau Press, 'Global Home Cooking' (2014) and 'Mailbox,' (coming out on American Mother's Day, May 10, 2015). Her work has appeared in journals such as The Istanbul Review, Blood Lotus Journal, Offshoots and The Daily Mail. In September 2012, Nancy was the writer-in-residence for webjournal Necessary Fiction, where she is also a regular book critic. Her short story ‘Marcus’ won the Geneva Writers’ first fiction prize, selected by American novelist Bret Lott in June, 2013. She co-founded the Lavaux Literary Salon (serving readers, writers and artists representing 11 countries) and she is active in Community Literacy projects for teens and adults. She holds a B.A. in English/Creative Writing and an M.Ed. from UCLA.

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Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

Our desire for storytelling is hard-wired in all of us. We seek patterns and connections from birth – the patterns of our parents’ faces and their caregiving routines, the sounds of their voices when they speak to one another, when they speak to us, the songs they sing. Soon we develop understandings of our cultural patterns of discourse, and we learn how stories are told for effect in our communities. Without access to these powerful means of connection, we feel lost and alone. We’re only human – and without that important connection, we might seek a replacement or solace in unhealthy behaviours. But with the right kinds of stories, delivered literally through words or through other sensory experience – song, dance, touch, the arts – we can re-ignite the imagination and reconnect the fragmented and suffering. It’s as ancient as call-and-response in primitive cultures. Storytelling is probably one of the most powerful social and political tools we have, and it definitely has an enormous impact on health, on the personal level and the health of a community. The bottom line is we all rely on forms of storytelling to feel that our lives have purpose, that we are connected to other people we love, and that connection is invaluable.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?

That I’ve sung the alto part in The Messiah in London’s Royal Albert Hall. My high school choral director, who cringed the first time I auditioned for him, would be more surprised than anyone.

When did you write your first book and how old were you? 

 I wrote my first book, The Orange Invasion, a poetic and colorful dystopian romp, at age nine. Sadly, it has been lost forever. I’m sure it would have won the Pulitzer by now if only I’d kept track of it!

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

Keep trying. It’s the greatest thing I’ve learned anywhere. You might bomb a test in school or become inarticulate in an interview or lose a job, but if you keep trying, there will always be new opportunities, new ways to pull yourself out of a slump. Keep trying, and keep your eyes open.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Optimistic. Resourceful. ALittleWacky.

In your new book; Mailbox: A Scattershot Novel of Racing, Dares and Danger, Occasional Nakedness, and Faith, can you tell my Book Nerd Kids Community a little about it and why they should read your novel?

First, why a person should read it: it feels good. There’s a lot to think about in Mailbox – some scenes are short, some are super-short – but they all deliver something validating and interesting. Like holding up a translucent stone to the sun... There’s always something unexpected to see when you turn it in the light. Sandy Drue is 13 years old and thinks she has figured out the Meaning of Life, so she begins assembling the stories and advice for life she’s been typing on her father’s electric typewriter for several years. Some of her stories are like diary entries – a 10-year-old’s philosophy as she’s approaching young adulthood. Some are rules for games girls play at slumber parties or poems or blog-like posts from long before blogging. Here’s something Katie Hayoz, author of the YA novel Untethered said about it: “Freund’s prose is a gift. Her straightforward style comes off as simple, yet goes straight for the gut.” I loved reading her review! Mailbox is sort of a mother-daughter love story – as Sandy is figuring out how she wants to be like her New Yorker artist/intellectual mom, and how she doesn’t. That’s why it’s being published on American Mother’s Day, with a Goodreads giveaway on UK Mum’s Day.

For those who are unfamiliar with Sandy, how would you introduce her? 

Sandy has been called a scrappy agnostic adolescent protagonist. I might just say, hi, this is Sandy Drue, and then I’d let her speak for herself! She’s got lofty goals, including trying to figure out whether God exists, but she’s very down to earth, happy to work in her dad’s office to earn money for future travels, to babysit, etc. She’s a little shy sometimes, but she shares everything, all her personal stories and secrets, in her writing. Not too different from most 13-year-old girls I’ve known.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 

Awesome question! Sandy would probably ask me to say Nancy Drew, who’s one of her heroes, or Margaret Simon, in Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume. Since I’m an adult, a mom, and always a teacher at heart, I might introduce her to Anne Frank. That would be ultimately more fulfilling, I think. Although Anne Frank’s book is her diary, and she’s not a fictional character, so maybe she doesn’t count for this question.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 

One of my most important mentors in writing Mailbox is Sandra Cisneros, who I met this past summer. If I don’t have to choose only one, I want to also mention Dani Shapiro and Robert Olen Butler. I have a couple of amazing writer friends who are also great mentors, including Meg Gardiner and Michelle Bailat-Jones.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?

Be open-minded and tenacious. That’s advice for life, for reading interesting books that might seem too tough or advanced or not the right fit for you at first. You can gain so much insight just from sticking with a book. It all counts! Nothing’s a waste of time. Enjoy the process for whatever you get out of it.

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?

Driving the train at the Kansas City Zoo when I was nineteen. In fact, my first novel, Driving the Smoky Red, grew from that experience, It’s not published yet – but never say never!

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a kid?

I was a kid in the ‘70s and I wouldn’t change a thing!

What scares you the most and why?

Huge waves. I don’t know why, but they really scare me.

What is your greatest adventure?

I’m living it every day. I married a foreign guy – from England, I moved to a different foreign country – Switzerland – I am raising what’s known as Third Culture kids and working with people from too many countries to count. My dog has a Swiss passport and speaks French! The town I live in is pretty quiet and subdued, but every time I step out of the house, an adventure awaits.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

About half an hour ago. Very important!

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?

My husband. Good day or bad day. He always gets what I’m talking about.

When was the last time you cried?

Last week.

Where can readers stalk you?

Even better – actually say hi! @nancyfreund on Twitter, nancyfreundwriter on Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and my website,

"Deep, delightful, and compulsively readable."
It's 1976. The USA turns 200 while scrappy agnostic Sandy Drue turns 10, finds an electric typewriter in her father's office, and begins turning out page after page on the conflicting demands of burgeoning adolescence and her own quiet search for the Meaning of Life.
The result is a beguiling collection of loosely linked short stories and vignettes, gathered by a now 13-year-old Sandy into an unconventional novel structured like a blog, long before blogging.
In the wake of the Watergate scandal, American society is in a state of bewilderment, the economy is fragile, and Sandy's friends are secretly reading Judy Blume -- against their mothers' warnings. The Drue family has moved from New York to Small Town USA where Sandy and her brother try to find their way to fit in. What they find instead is something ultimately more valuable.
Mailbox is an unusual mother-daughter love story that is both hopeful and heartbreaking... profound and good fun.

You can purchase Mailbox at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Nancy for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Mailbox by Nancy Freund.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway