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Teri Bailey Black


Shane Morales


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tonya Hurley Author Interview

Book Nerd Interview

Tonya Hurley is the New York Times best-selling author of the highly acclaimed “ghostgirl“ book series; creator, writer and producer of animated and live action hit television series; writer and director of independent films; writer and director of commercials for Playstation, Gameboy and Warner Home Video; and creator of groundbreaking videogames. Her new young adult trilogy, THE BLESSED, will be released by Simon and Schuster in Fall 2012.
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Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

When I was very young, we didn't' have much money, so I used to check Maurice Sendak’s ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ out of the school library every week. At the end of the school year, the librarian gave me the book as a gift. I was over the moon. It meant everything to me -- both the book and the gesture. I had the book memorized by this point, so I put masking tape over the text and made up my own stories to Sendak's illustrations. I still have it sitting on my shelf with the words taped over. I suppose that was the start of it.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

It's how we learn about ourselves, our families, our history and about each other. Storytelling is really relevant to the martyr legends that I reimagined for The Blessed. These legends were passed down over the centuries as part of an oral tradition among ordinary, mostly illiterate people and in written text by clergy and became an important influence on western culture and history. So, for me, storytelling is a way of communicating values and ideas, and of firing and inspiring imagination, personally and collectively. I believe that these martyr stories are the first YA stories that we have.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Nothing bad ever happens to a writer, it's all material.

In your new book; The Blessed, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?

It’s a supernatural romance about three teenage girls – Lucy, Cecilia and Agnes - in Brooklyn at a low point in their lives and a mysterious boy who believes they might just be the incarnation of ancient martyrs. Each girl has a real New York story of trying to make their way, on three on the skids, and then they find out that they are part of this extraordinary lineage. It’s a dark, gritty and sometimes violent story that explores themes of love, self-acceptance, death and faith and reimagines ancient martyr legends in a modern context. Kind of like a supernatural bachelorette with blood.

What part of Agnes did you enjoy writing the most?

She’s the most idealistic and romantic of the three girls and the only one still in high school and living with a parent, who she's constantly at odds with. It was great writing her because she was such a contrast to Lucy and Cecilia, who are much more independent but also closed down emotionally. There is a hopefulness and openness to her, despite the dire circumstances in which we meet her at first.

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

She is a self-sufficient and uncompromising indie rocker with an artist’s soul. Cecilia wants to be adored but strictly on her own terms. Like all artist’s however, she is driven by her insecurities and appetites in her personal life and frequently finds herself trading her dignity for a place to sleep. She's chock full of badassery, but at the same time, she is vulnerable.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?

I’m working on the second novel in The Blessed series right now, so that's taking up all of my time. I’ve also just finished a new ghostgirl novella for this Christmas called ghostgirl Xmas Spirit: It's a Wonderful Afterlife. The ebook is out in the U.S. now.

If you could introduce Lucy to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

Wow! That's a great question. Maybe Truman Capote's Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's since they're both social climbers.

From the author of the New York Times bestselling ghostgirl series, the start to a captivating and haunting teen trilogy about three girls who become entangled with an enigmatic boy—a boy who believes he is a saint.What if martyrs and saints lived among us? And what if you were told you were one of them?

Meet Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy. Three lost girls, each searching for something. But what they find is Beyond Belief.

Tonya Hurley’s captivatingly addictive debut novel, The Blessed, tells the meeting of three young women in a hospital in Brooklyn, New York. Cecelia, Agnes, and Lucy are all in the hospital from different close encounters with death. A mysterious stranger, Sebastian, makes himself known to the girls and give each girl an antique chaplet upon exiting the hospital. The three girls figure out what Sebastian is, or at least what they think he is. Going on their separate ways, all four eventually end up together again after seeking refuge from a storm. Their second meeting takes a turn for the weird as they learn more about their not-so coincidental meetings.

The deeply rooted religious themes in this book are unique and highly interesting. As the story progresses, it gets darker and the plot thickens as readers learn more about the three girls. The twists and turns that are revealed make the reading interesting and will keep readers turning the pages. Tonya’s writing etiquette is remarkable. Although the book gives several points of view, I found that its flow and transitioning from one character to the next was done well. It is truly a change up from the usual reads and new people to this genre will appreciate it. The Blessed is a great start to a trilogy, it provides the right amount of momentum that will lead readers to devour the upcoming two books.

You can purchase The Blessed at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Tonya for making this giveaway possible.
3 BLESSED prize packs (which include a copy of the book & a candle)
5 additional copies of Blessed
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Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Jane Austen Giveaway Hop
Co-Hosted by My Shelf Confessions

For fans of Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.

You can purchase Mystic City at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
1 Winner will receive a copy of Mystic City by Theo Lawrence.
Mystic City will be purchased through Book Depository.

Click the Banner below for my Giveaways:
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Susan Dennard Author Interview

Book Nerd Interview

I am a writer, reader, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. I used to be a marine biologist, but now I write novels. And not novels about fish either, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues (I really like swoon-worthy rogues).

I live in Germany with my French husband and Irish setter, and you can learn more about my crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on my blog or twitter.

My debut, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY is now available from HarperTeen, and you can look for sequels in 2013!

Note: I am on Goodreads to READ. So, if you want to discuss books and the joys of literature, add me as a friend!

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Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

I’m not sure I can choose a single moment from my you—I honestly can’t tell you exactly when I sat at my computer and tried to write my first story. I remember the story was a fan fiction, and I remember it was a culmination of years of reading and daydreaming. I know I was thirteen years old, and I know I didn’t share it with anyone. For years and years, I wrote in private—some of it fan fiction, some of it original. And then in high school, I joined a well-known online writing community called Fictionpress. I started reading other people’s work, offering feedback, and taking their feedback. For five years, I worked (very anonymously! My family didn’t even realize I was writing!) on Fictionpress. But then, graduate school came along and my writing tapered off to mere hobby-writing when I had the time. I finally picked it back up again seriously when I was twenty-five. And now here I am!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in Eleanor?

I really do always have a choice! Ha! That was a theme that I never expected to be in the story, but as I wrote and revised the book, I really saw it unfurl from the various characters—and saw how Eleanor learned that she didn’t have to be a victim. It’s such a good lesson, and one I really try to apply to my everyday life. I feel grumpy today? Well, it’s time to choose to feel upbeat! Amazingly, that works most of the time! ;)

For those who are unfamiliar with Daniel, how would you introduce him?

Daniel is…a scalawag. He’s made a few bad choices in life, and he’s not a particularly classy guy. But, he’s determined, hard-working, and absolutely loyal—which makes him a great love interest and even a role model for Eleanor.

If you could introduce Eleanor to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

Oh gosh, I think she would kill to meet Rosalind from Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Rosalind is such a strong heroine—always my favorite growing up. She sets out to get Orlando, and by golly, nothing is gonna stop her!

What’s your most missed memory?

Uh…tough question! I definitely miss being a kid. I remember when I was in fifth grade, we went to see the space shuttle Discovery launch. My mom’s cousin was an astronaut, so we were able to sit with all the other family members watching the launch—meaning way closer than the general public. It was in the middle of the night, and when the rockets started, it was SO LOUD and SO BRIGHT—it was literally like it became daytime all of a sudden and—and the earth just shook and shook. It was the most amazing thing, and I still remember it so very vividly.

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Janet Gurtler’s Who I Kissed is the remarkable story of Samantha who accidently kills a boy by kissing him. When Samantha wanted to make another boy jealous, she kisses Alex. He is highly allergic to peanuts and it just happened that Samantha just ate a peanut butter sandwich. Alex’s allergic reaction went into full blast that ultimately took his life while he was on his way to the hospital. Living with this tragic event, she must face all of her peers in shame for accidently killing Alex, a well-liked boy in school.

The story is more than about a boy who dies from an allergic reaction to peanuts, Samantha’s story about having to deal with its aftermath is the other part. Readers witness the reactions of her peers and how she deals with it and how her life did a full 360.

The writing style in this book is simply incredible. Janet has a way of putting words together that just clicks to her readers. Not only was Samantha likable and relatable, she felt authentically real. The story may sound far-fetched, but allergies to peanuts are very common. Not only is the story highly gripping and intriguing, it is also informative. Peanut allergies are on the rise and there is a research on ways to fight it. Who I Kissed is like three stories into one. There’s Alex’s story, how one single event can totally change your life, and the awareness of peanut allergies.

You can purchase Something Strange and Deadly at the following Retailers:

Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again. When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone.

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Susan for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard.
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The Liar Society: Lies That Bind by Lisa & Laura Roecker

Book Nerd Vlog Tour

Lisa and Laura Roecker are sisters-turned-writing-partners with a passion for good books, pop culture and Bravo programming. Not necessarily in that order. Lisa has always been a phenomenal liar and Laura loves to write angsty poetry, so writing for young adults seemed like a natural fit. The sisters live in Cleveland, Ohio in separate residences. Their husbands wouldn't agree to a duplex. To learn more about The Liar Society series check out

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“A book for mystery lovers everywhere…will suck you in and leave you hanging until the very end.”—RT Book Reviews

Kate’s heard of messages from beyond the grave, but she never expects to find one in her fortune cookie. Especially from her best friend, Grace—who’s supposed to be dead.

At the elite Pemberly Brown Academy, nothing is as it seems. A classmate has gone missing, and Kate soon realizes that the disappearance is tied to the secret societies that rule her private school. Her best friend died for their secrets, and there’s no way she’ll let them get away with it twice. It’s up to quirky outsider Kate to get some answers, but in a school where every answer leads to more questions and nothing’s as it seems, who can she trust?

This exciting sequel in The Liar Society series is filled with suspense, danger, and mystery as Kate stops at nothing to prevent the secret society at her school from getting away with murder again.

LISA and LAURA ROECKER are sisters-turned-writing-partners with a passion for good books, pop culture and Bravo programming. Not necessarily in that order. Lisa has always been a phenomenal liar and Laura loves to write angsty poetry, so writing for young adults seemed like a natural fit. The sisters live in Cleveland, Ohio in separate residences. Their husbands wouldn’t agree to a duplex. To learn more about The Liar Society series check out

You can purchase The Liar Society: Lies That Bind at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Sourcebooks for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a exclusive gift pack, filled with Liar Society favorites including copies of the books, Twizzlers, bracelets, and of course blue hair extensions.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Margie Gelbwasser Author Interview

Book Nerd Interview

Margie Gelbwasser is the author of INCONVENIENT, published by Flux in November 2010. INCONVENIENT, named a 2011 Notable Book for Teens by the Sydney Taylor Awards Committee, tells the story of Alyssa Bondar. Alyssa must cope with an alcoholic mother, tuned-out dad, first boyfriend, and end of a long friendship. Margie's next novel, PIECES OF US, is told in 4 POV (one of them second) and deals with cyber-bullying, abuse, and how each teen's secrets affect the other 3. It will be published by Flux March 8, 2012.

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Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

I have always wanted to be a writer! I think my earliest memory of this was when I wrote a mystery story in second grade for a contest—that I lost.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

I think storytelling is both an escape and a comfort. For those days/months when your own life is difficult, a good story can provide the very needed laugh or departure from the everyday. Sometimes, though, you want to read about others who are going through hardships similar to yours. You want to know you're not alone. That's also where a great story comes in.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Just write.

In your book, Pieces of Us can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?

Pieces of Us focuses on 4 teens (2 brothers, 2 sisters) and is told from each of their points of view. It addresses the difficult topics of cyberbullying, rape, physical and sexual abuse, and the impact each teen's secret has on the others. While the material is difficult and most appropriate for mature audiences (ages 15 and up), I hope this book helps give a voice to those experiencing these issues and helps them break their silence.

What part of Alex did you enjoy writing the most?

Certainly not the scenes where he is callous and abusive. The scenes I liked best were when he was changing into a better person because of Katie.

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

Katie is the popular girl who appears to have everything and then is stripped of it all. Her need to hide the terrible things that happen to her (due to fear and the need to keep up her image for her mother) forces her life to spiral out of control. It is very easy to see these “golden girls” and want to believe they have it all and are free of problems. The opposite is often true. No one ever knows what lies beneath someone's exterior.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?

I am working on a third novel that takes a break from the contemp genre. This one is a dystopian, and I'm about 2/3 of the way done. Planning on doing NanoWriMo in November and finally finishing it.

If you could introduce Alex to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

I want Alex to meet Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. He would be a good father figure and maybe help Alex become a better person and help rid him of his demons.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

I left this question for last because I couldn't think of answer. I try to tell the truth, but I guess if someone asks me “How are you?” and I'm having a bad day/week/month/year, I won't answer honestly because no one really wants the truth when they ask that question. :-)

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?

Keep reading and writing. Through reading, you can pick up technique and make it your own. Through continuous writing, you can perfect your craft.

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

My husband or my brother-in-law. They're both really good with listening and giving advice and telling me if I'm worrying too much (as usual).

What is your favorite room in your home?

I love the family room. The walls are a light green, as is the furniture, and it's bright and comforting.

Who was your first boyfriend?

I kind of got into the dating thing a little late. The guy I would consider my first boyfriend was in my second year of college, but my first real, meaningful relationship came 2 years after that.

Who was the last person you hugged?

My son, who is lying in bed, waiting to fall asleep as I type. He's five, and the cutest boy in the whole, entire world. :-)

What is the one, single food that you would never give up?

Just one? I love too many. Sushi is AWESOME. Chocolate is AWESOME. Fruit is AWESOME. Sorry. Can't pick one. :-)

Where can readers stalk you?

I'm on Twitter, but sometimes slack. They can find me at @Margiegelb
There is also my website

Thanks so much for having me!!

Two families. Four teens.
A summer full of secrets.

Every summer, hidden away in a lakeside community in upstate New York, four teens leave behind their old identities…and escape from their everyday lives.

Yet back in Philadelphia during the school year, Alex cannot suppress his anger at his father (who killed himself), his mother (whom he blames for it), and the girls who give it up too easily. His younger brother, Kyle, is angry too—at his abusive brother, and at their mother who doesn’t seem to care. Meanwhile, in suburban New Jersey, Katie plays the role of Miss Perfect while trying to forget the nightmare that changed her life. But Julie, her younger sister, sees Katie only as everything she’s not. And their mother will never let Julie forget it.

Up at the lake, they can be anything, anyone. Free. But then Katie’s secret gets out, forcing each of them to face reality—before it tears them to pieces.

The highly inspiring Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser touches on some of today’s important issues. Nothing is watered down as it delivers a very powerful story that includes rape, bullying, eating disorders, betrayal, and more. When pairs of siblings, Katie & Julie and Alex & Kyle, come together at the lake in the summer cottages, a story unfolds that is very real and will have a direct connection to any reader.

The raw honesty that Margie delivers in this book is absolutely marvelous. It is great to read a story that is not afraid to touch on very realistic situations that many teens and young adults face each day. It would not be as impactful without the skillful writing prose of the author. The characters that are tenderly crafted are the main draw for readers staying glued to this book. Written in the points of view of the four main characters, with the exception of Kyle, which is in second person, Margie takes her readers on an insightful account of real life issues that readers will forget it is a fictional story.

Pieces of Us is very edgy look into the minds of four different teens. It is one of those books that will have an instant grip on its readers once the first lines are read. Surrounded with amazing characters that drive the story along well, readers will be so invested in each one that they will feel all of their pain and hope for nothing but a happy ending for them. This is a remarkable book that will open up eyes with its powerful story.

You can purchase Pieces of Us at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Margie for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser.
a Rafflecopter giveaway