Musings of Jodi Meadows + Giveaway


Waiting For Your Break
By Jodi Meadows

Waiting sucks. I know it. You know it. The neighbor’s barky dog knows it. Waiting is the worst. But in writing, we’re made to wait whether we like it or not. And sometimes that can be a good thing. No, wait (haha), hear me out. There are benefits to waiting, especially when it comes to publishing a book.

That whole thing about “it’s worth waiting for” is true. Figure out what you want out of publishing. For me, I wanted a deal with a Big Five publisher (Big Six when I started), and all the things that should include: a passionate editor, something resembling a marketing plan, a cover designer, a great copyeditor and proofreader, and a hundred other things I didn’t know about yet. I wanted distribution and to make enough money to write full time.

I was reaching high, and I knew it. It would take a lot of work. Maybe even — ugh — patience. I thought I was willing, but I had no idea how much waiting would actually be involved. It took seven years of writing full time before I got my current agent and sold my first book. (Not that long to some people, but to twenty-something me, it was ages.) And that first book that was published? That was the seventeenth manuscript I’d written. (As in completed. We won’t even count the starts and stops, even those I almost finished but abandoned instead.)

Seventeen manuscripts.

General wisdom says it takes ten years of writing before you get published. A million words of crap. I figure my seven years (short, by this standard) and seventeen manuscripts (long — at ~100k each, that’s 17 million words) averages out the whole ten years/million words thing.

I’ve received a lot of rejections in my time (see photo), and though there were certainly times when I became bitter about them (and other times I saw them as just serving my time in the query trenches), there’s something they all have in common.

None of them say “No. Never.”

Instead, the message between the lines is something more like, “Not right now.” Or “Not this one.” Or even “I’m not right for you but someone else will be. Just wait for them.”

Yes, it’s stressful. Yes, it’s discouraging. Yes, it seems like you’re waiting for something that will never happen. But being told to wait forced me to work harder and become a better writer. If I wanted my Big Five publisher and all that other stuff — I had to wait for it.

And you know, it was worth it. There were times in there I could have gone with something that wasn’t my big goal, but I’m glad patience won and I didn’t give up on what I knew I wanted. (There’s nothing wrong with other paths, of course. I’ve always just had very firm ideas about what I need out of publishing. It’s good to know what you want and what’s right for you.)

I needed to wait. To grow. To become emotionally ready, as well as writing ready. As much as waiting sucks, I’m glad none of my efforts to rush through the process worked, because years after the publication of my first book, I’m still darn proud of it — in a way I don’t think I’d have been proud of the stories I’d written before.

Whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been at this a while and have a long trail of “keep waiting”s behind you, I hope you stick with it. You’re waiting for the right thing, after all.


Jodi picture

About Jodi

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy (cat), and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and a coauthor of the forthcoming MY LADY JANE (HarperTeen). Visit her at

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram | Pinterest

The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen, #1)

The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1)

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Series Link

My Lady Jane

My Lady Jane

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane,coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.

Like that could go wrong.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Incarnate (Newsoul, #1)

Incarnate (Newsoul #1)

New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?


Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Series Link


We have a giveaway for an ARC of The Mirror King and an ARC of Vengenace Road by Erin Bowman.  Both Jodi & Erin will be visiting Boston, so Melissa will be able to get both ARCs signed and personalized if you wish.


  • You must be a U.S. Resident.
  • You must respond within 24 hours of winning.
  • We have the right to disqualify any entry who has not been truthful, has entered without actually doing the actions, or who is a “giveaway robot” (meaning an account we believe to be fake, just entering giveaways and nothing more).
  • ENDS April 5th at Midnight EST

Enter the Giveaway!

Shout out and huge thank you to Jodi Meadows, who still to this day remains one of the nicest authors I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. You’re amazing for sharing your story, writing this post six months early, and doing what you do every day (even if that includes signing seven of my books and then losing in author trivia with me). If you have yet to meet this woman, you are truly missing out!

A huge thank you, as always, to all writers, agents, editors, etc., who are participating or have already participated in making this feature amazing. You all have no idea how many writers you help every single week by posting your own stories of struggles, mishaps, advice, and triumphs. I’ve never met a more kind group of people than all of you.

I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of your week! Enjoy!



Waiting on Wednesday: Heir to the Sky


As always, we would like to let everyone know that Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by the wonderful Breaking the Spine.


Title: Heir to the Sky

Author: Amanda Sun

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Page Count: 384

Release Date: April 26th, 2016


As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family; by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman; and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.

When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.


About the Author:

I’m a YA author and proud Nerdfighter. I was born in Deep River, Canada, a very small town without traffic lights or buses, and where stranger safety is comprised of what to do if you see a bear—or skunk. I started reading fantasy novels at 4 and writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. Hopefully my work’s improved since then.

​In university I took English, Linguistics, and Asian History, before settling into Archaeology, because I loved learning about the cultures and stories of ancient people. Of course, I didn’t actually become an archaeologist—I have an intense fear of spiders. I prefer unearthing fascinating stories in the safety of my living room.

​The Paper Gods is inspired by my time living in Osaka and travelling throughout Japan. That and watching far too many J-Dramas. I currently live in Toronto with my husband and daughter. When I’m not writing, I’m devouring YA books, knitting nerdy things like Companion Cubes and Triforce mitts, and making elaborate cosplays for anime cons.

(you can find more information for Amanda and her books at her website here!)


10 Most Recent 5 Star Reads


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is about the most recent 5 Star books we’ve read this year. Unfortunately Kelly’s been the busiest out of the three of us, so her list is extra short. As always Top Ten Tuesday is weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish



Truthwitch by Susan Dennard



The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Water’s Wrath by Elise Kova

Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den by Aimée Carter

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare



The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand

Titans by Victoria Scott


Have you read of these books yet? Which ones are you looking forward to reading? Let us know in the comments below!





Musings of Julie Eshbaugh



A Letter to my Child Self – Some Advice for your Journey
by Julie Eshbaugh

Below is a letter of advice to my twelve-year-old self—a girl who wanted to grow up to be an actress, and had given very little thought to writing a book.


Dear twelve-year-old Julie,

It must be so exciting to hold this letter in your hands—a letter from the future! I’m sure you’re hoping it will promise you that you will “make it” someday—that a day will come in the future when you’ll feel like you’ve crossed some imaginary finish line and won some race you’ve been running all your life.

But here’s the thing—there is no finish line. The path of your artistic career doesn’t have a goal where it ends. You may not know it now, twelve-year-old Julie, but you won’t want it to end. You won’t want to say you’ve won. Because it’s not a race; it’s a journey. And there’s not just one destination. The places you can go are countless.

So how do you know which path to choose? It might sound cliché, but you’ll find it’s true: when it comes to art, do what you love. Do what makes you happy.

Somethings will make you happy for a while. Like acting. Then you’ll realize that you want more control over your artistic life, and you’ll try filmmaking. That, too, will make you very happy for a while. You’ll grow as an artist. You’ll learn about storytelling. Your acting path will converge with a filmmaking path, and that path will converge with a video production path. Each of these will have obstacles and challenges of its own—long uphill climbs—but at the crest of those climbs you’ll rest and enjoy the view.

Don’t check to make sure you’re “getting somewhere.” That’s not what you need as you develop as an artist. You just need to do the things that bring you happiness and create the art that only you can make. You will find out what that art is as you make it. It takes time. But that’s not wasted time.

Eventually, the path you’re on will lead to writing novels. You will love writing. You will love the process of finding your voice and the stories only you can tell. Don’t rush it. Walk the novel writing path for as long as it takes.

Then one day the path will widen and you’ll be able to see farther than you’ve ever seen before. You’ll have a book deal—a deal that will allow you to write a trilogy. You’ll be able to see that far ahead—three years into your future—but no farther. But that’s okay. You wouldn’t want it any other way.

Because it’s not good to know what’s coming. If you’d been able to see that place in your path from way back where you first started, you may have been tempted to take a shortcut. You may have jumped right from acting to novels, thinking you were saving time and “getting somewhere” faster. But if you hurried or avoided part of the trail, you wouldn’t be the artist you need to be. You might come to the place in the path where you’re book deal should be, and find you’re not ready.

So take your time as you travel into your future. You’re on a journey to discover yourself and the artist you were meant to be. That journey’s not a race; it’s an expedition. Take the side trips. Explore. Find the artist you were meant to be.

I’m way ahead of you on the path, twelve-year-old Julie, and I’m still looking for her.



About Julie

Julie Eshbaugh is the author of the upcoming Ivory and Bone (HarperCollins, 2016). She used to have trouble staying in one spot, having lived in places as varied as Utah, France, and New York City. Julie eventually returned home to the Philadelphia area, where she now lives with her husband, son, cat and dog. Her favorite moments are when the unexpected happens and she cheers loudest when the pitcher gets a hit.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads



About Ivory and Bone

A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N


A huge thank you to Julie, who wrote such an insightful post reminding us that we should take the time to enjoy the journey and everything will eventually fall into place.  Life is full of obstacles, self-discovery, and not an easy road to take. However we will all get to where we’re meant to be in time.

As always, thank  much to everyone who was, is, or will be a part of this feature. Your words of wisdom help so much more than you will ever know. We all truly appreciate your time, effort, and advice.

Have a wonderful rest of your week!



This Monstrous Thing Anniversary + GIVEAWAY



Happy 6 Month Anniversary Mackenzi & This Monstrous Thing!

When Mackenzi told me last month she wanted to do something fun for the 6 month release of her debut novel I said, “Great idea!” and helped her brainstorm. You’ll have to visit her Twitter to find out what we decided! While I was messaging her, it dawned on me, what kind of weird and creepy things did she have to research for her book? I actually got her a mug that says “Pay No Attention to My Browsing History I’m a Writer Not a Serial Killer”.

If you follow Mackenzi on Twitter, you may have seen some random tweets about what she’s researched for her second book. Mainly tweets about when specific words were first used.  I inquired if she’d be interested in writing a guest post about her Google search history for This Monstrous Thing. I’m thrilled that I can present you with her incredible list of things she looked up. I’m actually surprised she kept it all on file! So without further ado, I give you Mackenzi Lee.

Up to this point, I have written only historical novels, often about places and/or time periods I knew nothing about until I decided to set a story there. Which means that before I start writing, I have to read. I read historical fiction, I read non fiction, I read primary sources, I read modern sources. I once spent $50 to subscribe to a medical journal for a single article about a very specific type of eighteenth century medicine.

But as a writer of historical fiction, you will inevitably run into questions while you’re writing that you didn’t consider when you were researching. So what do you do then?

You ask the Google.

I dug back through my Google search history from when I was writing This Monstrous Thing, and here is a small sampling of some of the more bizarre things I plugged into my beloved Google over the course of the writing process.

  • Miles between Geneva and Lyon
  • Recipe for spiced wine
  • Paradise Lost quotations in Frankenstein
  • French pastries
  • Slang for cyborg
  • Regency winter wear
  • Does a corpse bleed?
  • Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
  • Nineteenth century embalming
  • How long does it take to dig a grave?
  • Victor Frankenstein childhood
  • How to tell if a cut is infected
  • Regency cursing
  • Parts of a bridge
  • Can a bullet go through a steel plate?
  • Swiss surnames
  • Grave robbing
  • How to pick a lock
  • Geneva city gates
  • Frankenstein first edition
  • Ingolstadt University
  • Gluehwein recipe
  • Bridges in Geneva
  • Switzerland castles
  • Swiss prisons
  • Clock tower interior
  • Billiards in the eighteenth century
  • What’s that German wooden Christmas pyramid called?
  • What did professors wear in the 1800s?
  • What color hair did Mary Shelley have?
  • Regency underclothes
  • How much does it snow in Oslo?
  • How to say “shut up” in Dutch



Well I don’t know about you guys, but I know who I can call if I need to bury a body or break in somewhere! 😉

About This Monstrous Thing

In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.

His sweetheart, Mary—gone.

His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

 About The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue



When lifelong friends Monty and Percy embark on their Grand Tour of 18th century Europe, they stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris’ glittering finery to the haunted, sinking islands of Venice–along the way fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other.

Out 2017 by Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins


 About Mackenzi

Mackenzi Lee is reader, writer, bookseller, unapologetic fangirl, fast talker, and perpetually-anxious badass. She holds an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults, and her short fiction has appeared in Inaccurate Realities, The Friend, and The Newport Review. Her young adult historical fantasy novel, THIS MONSTROUS THING, which won the PEN-New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award, as well as an Emerging Artist Grant from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, published by Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins.

She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and historical fiction. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently calls Boston home.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads



* 1 signed HC copy of This Monstrous Thing
* 1 TMT Button

* 1 TMT Bookmark
* 1 TMT postcard


Open to U.S. residents only!!

We have the right to disqualify any person/social media profile who is what we deem a “Giveaway Account,” whom only enters giveaways and does no other interactions.

This Giveaway will end at Midnight on Sunday, April 3rd .




Thank you so much Mackenzi for doing this!! I loved This Monstrous Thing and I’m sure Kelly & Lauren will to when they get to it. It was quite entertaining to read your list of things you researched.

What did you all think of this of this post? Would like to see more posts like this? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below!!



Ten Books We Love But Haven’t Talked About Enough


For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, we’ll be discussing some books we haven’t talked about on the blog enough.  As always Top Ten Tuesday is weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Okay maybe we always talk about this book, well mainly because Lauren plans to read it this spring! However, Kelly and I feel like it’s been AGES since we’ve discussed our love for Throne of Glass. The lucky duck got to see Sarah several days after I visited her last month! Anyway we are totally stoked for Empire of Storms to come out later this year as I’m sure many of you are!

Kelly’s Picks

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Haunting of a Sunshine Girl by Paige Mackenzie


Lauren’s Picks

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
I’m not a huge reader of contemporary so it’s not very often I come across a non-fantasy book I loved. This was one of them! I loved the character development we get to read about, and seeing all the things on the list to complete was entertaining. Especially considering what some of them were! I really need to show this book some more love!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
When I see most people talk about Sarah’s books, it’s usually referring to Throne of Glass series. This was my first read for a Sarah J. Maas book and I adored the twist on the Beauty and Beast story. I can’t wait for the sequel to come out this year! (I already have it preordered!)

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
I read this book with Kelly for one of our first buddy reads and fell in love! I really need to include this story in more posts, but for some reason I always tend to forget about it when listing my favorite books or characters. It was such a fun and great story to read.


Melissa’s Picks

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
I really love the world building Sara has done with the rhythm and season kingdoms, the magic system, and the history of Primora.  This book will also definitely mess with your head about which ‘ship to support. =p


The Young Elites by Marie Lu
What I love is that Marie doesn’t give us the typical skilled badass heroine, and instead gives us Adelina who is seen as an outcast and feared by everyone around her. She’s the villain you’re rooting for as she trusts no one, yet needs to find a safe haven, and harness her magic abilities.


Titans by Victoria Scott
This is definitely one of my favorites of 2016 so far. I honestly didn’t think I would find a friendship story I’d love as much as Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, but Victoria proved me wrong. Titans is a story centered around family, friendship, trust, and the personal growth of Astrid who is the main character. I loved that there was no romance either!


Have you read any of these books? Let us know in the comments below!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Winner’s Kiss


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!


Title: The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy, #3)

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Page Count: 496

Release Date: March 29th, 2016


War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?


About the Author:


Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children’s fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner’s Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and fiction writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.


TTT: Spring TBR


Spring’s in the air and for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday we’re telling you which books we hope to read over the next couple months! As always Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Lauren’s Picks



Melissa’s Picks



See any titles that you still need to read? Or let us know your thoughts on a book that you’ve already read!




*Giveaway* Sunday Street Team: Beyond The Red Interview!

Sunday Street Team

Sunday Street Team is run by Nori at ReadWriteLove28!
Find more information on her blog!

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in Sunday Street Team, but I’m happy to say that I am back and with a very exciting interview for you! I’m so happy to welcome Ava Jae to our blog today, to talk all about her new book Beyond The Red! So sit back, read, and let the money fly from your pockets for this book!

Beyond the Red

Beyond The Red

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves into the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Weclome Ava Jae!

  1. Do you remember how the idea came to you of Kora, Eros, and their alien species?

Well I came up with the species and the planet well before it ever occurred to me to write about it, and later on when I decided I wanted to write a Sci-Fi book that took place on another planet and had an alien POV, I remembered I already had a race and planet set up. From there I drastically changed a character I had in reserve who became Eros, and developed Kora’s character as the plot started coming together. It was an exciting process!

  1. Was there anything that helped you develop your plot and enhance your world building techniques?

Revisions. That sounds a little like a joke, but a ton of the plot nuances, character development, and world building was built and refined over the course of many, many rounds of revisions. Writing is rewriting, as they say…

  1. What are your favorite characteristics of Kora and Eros?

I love how snarky and resilient they are. They also both struggle with a ton of responsibility and pressure to stay strong, while they both deal with some really emotional situations, which is something I can really relate to.

  1. What is your writing strategy like? Do you have a process?

I’m fairly methodical, yeah. I usually start with loose brainstorming until I have enough to pull together into a plot, then I plot everything out in Scrivener and start writing when I’m done. While first drafting, I usually aim for roughly 2,000 words a day, and I try to start early in the morning, when I have the most motivation and energy. It’s worked well for me so far! 🙂

  1. Who was your favorite character to create and write?

Hmm…probably Eros. I identified with both Kora and Eros while writing, but something about Eros’s voice and character really grabbed me from day one.

  1. Without spoilers, did your ending turn out anything like you had wanted it to? Is there a sequel in the works?

It did! I had to rewrite the climax several times to get it right, but the last chapter has stayed largely the same from first to final draft. And it’s exactly how I envisioned it.

As for a sequel, that’ll depend on sales! I have plans and would love to continue Eros and Kora’s stories, so fingers crossed. 🙂

  1. How many books have you written so far, both published and unpublished? Do you plan on going back to any unpublished works?

I’m currently up to thirteen books total. Beyond the Red was my tenth novel, and the manuscript I wrote while I was querying Beyond the Red I’ve pulled out of the drawer and have revised. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to share it with you guys some day. 🙂

  1. When you’re not writing, what are a few things your readers might find you doing in your spare time?

Reading, answering blog/vlog comments, catching up on e-mail, playing Assassin’s Creed, and streaming Supernatural, or Vikings, or one of the many other shows I enjoy.

  1. Do you have any books or authors that have helped inspire you to become a writer? 

I was pretty obsessed with Ted Dekker novels when I first decided I wanted to be a writer. From there I developed a love for YA and was (and continue to be!) inspired by a lot of really incredible writers like Beth Revis, Tahereh Mafi, Leigh Bardugo, and more.

  1. We all know that writing isn’t easy. What is one thing or one person that keeps you going through the darkest parts of your journey?

Hearing stories from other writers about persevering through rejections and how long it took them to get published was really encouraging for me during my very long search for representation. Their stories and triumphs helped to remind me that as long as I didn’t give up, I’d see my dream come true. I’m glad I stuck with it!

It was so wonderful having you on the blog Ava! Thank you for sharing everything Beyond The Red and giving us a little insight to your writing life. =)

Thanks so much for having me!

Ava Jae

About Ava Jae

Ava Jae is a writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Her YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, is releasing March 2016 from Sky Pony Press. When she’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find her with her nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on her blog, Twitter, Facebook , tumblr, Goodreads, Instagram, or YouTube channel.


Ava is kind enough to be giving away one finished copy of Beyond The Red to a lucky winner! Enter now, before it’s too late! =)

Beyond The Red Rafflecopter Giveaway!

Thank you again to Ava Jae for being so wonderful! Thank you to Nori for allowing me to participate in this tour. You both are so awesome!

I hope everyone enjoyed this interview and continues to follow Ava on her journey to becoming a very successful author (as if she’s not already! =P). Have a great week!


Musings of Jessica L. Brooks


Delving into Magical Realism
By Jessica L. Brooks

Over the past couple of years, magical realism has become more popular in the publishing world (and not just in YA). It’s a sub-genre that isn’t always obvious in its execution, and is, for many readers when put on the spot to explain it, kind of hard to describe.

Fantasy on the other hand, for instance, well, it’s more obvious: there’s whole new worlds, people, languages, powers… mostly everything is created by the author. The storylines and characters likely wouldn’t be able to stand on their own if you took out the fictional, not-realistic stuff, either. It’s necessary for the storyline.

Magical realism, however, is a blurrier scope. It takes the normal and adds just a hint of not-so-much, oftentimes making things easier to believe since an entire world doesn’t first have to be built for the reader to accept what the author is offering.

Years ago, I was asked to put a finger on what the sub-genre of the Flora series was, I’d say “urban fantasy”. It was the only thing that made sense at the time: most of the storyline occurred in the here and now, in a normal town (Shaver, California), but there were fantastical elements and a different place (Ambrosia) and other things that the main character, Dahlia, was exposed to, so in my mind, it was the only sub-genre that made sense.

Then, someone mentioned “magical realism”, and it struck me just how perfect it was. IF I SPEAK TRUE was reality, but not. It had the truth of the here and now, but magical elements thrown in also.

As I was searching for a great description for this post, I came across Goodreads’ description, and it’s quite good:

Magical realism is a fiction genre in which magical elements blend to create a realistic atmosphere that accesses a deeper understanding of reality.

Encyclopedia Britannica ( says,

…Some scholars have posited that magic realism is a natural outcome of postcolonial writing, which must make sense of at least two separate realities—the reality of the conquerors as well as that of the conquered.

Both descriptions are great at shedding light on what makes magical realism what it is: two separate realities intertwining throughout the book. Unlike fantasy, the magical elements aren’t so in-your-face; they’re more subtle. And, like I said earlier, that subtlety is what enables the reader to take the author’s “word for it” and consume the book.

How about you? Have you read any magical realism? If so, did the execution work for you? On the other side of this, are you writing magical realism, or would you like to? 

If magical realism is new to you (or you’d like to read more), here’s a Goodreads list of recent releases, as well as a Goodreads popular magical realism list, and Amazon’s best sellers in magical realism. You can also check out the first book in the Flora series: IF I SPEAK TRUE (available in audiobook, too!)

Jessica L. BrooksAbout Jessica:

Jessica L. Brooks is a lover of books, coffee, and all things owl-dorable. She writes young adult books about near-future dystopia (Pity Isn’t An Option, Cozenage #1, available now) and magical realism (the Flora series). Connect with her on her blog, Let Me Tell You A Story, Tumblr, or anywhere else on the interwebs by doing a search for her username: coffeelvnmom.

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If I Speak True (Flora, #1)

If I Speak True (Flora #1)

Dahlia Kennedy’s sixteenth birthday marks a decade of mysterious dahlias arriving and strange, lonely dreams of being in a forest. The only difference this birthday, however, is that for the first time, someone is there with her. And he’s practically from a whole other era.

The more often Dahlia visits Rowan in his land of Ambrosia, the stronger their connection grows. But… is Ambrosia real? Is he real? What is going on between the two of them, exactly, and why does he insist that she keep it to herself?

As secrets usually go, however, it’s only a matter of time before everything comes out. And when Dahlia finds out the truth of who Rowan is, who she is, and how he really feels — it’s beyond anything she could have ever imagined.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A huge thank you to Jessica, who wrote such an awesome post for this week! You are such a doll, especially when I’m e-mailing you t 1am asking you to change the format because my stupid computer doesn’t like it. Seriously, you’re so wonderful! If you should ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask!

As always, thank  much to everyone who was, is, or will be a part of this feature. Your words of wisdom help so much more than you will ever know. We all truly appreciate your time, effort, and advice.

Have a wonderful rest of your week!