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8 signed YA books from London’s 2016 YALC (with pretty UK covers!)

Last weekend we left Taiwan and headed to London for #yalc (London’s Young Adult Literature Conference, which was part of ComicCon). I got to see some young adult authors, some pro-wrestlers and about half the cast from Game of Thrones, which was awesome.

I also gave out 400 mini booklets I’d printed, which had the first four chapters or so of the four books I have on Amazon. So that was fun.young adult authors

Now we’re in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and it’s amazing… beautiful weather and ice cream every day (really good gelato) and roman ruins and history everywhere.

 

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I’m catching up on work and fixing some of my platforms so that this fall I can focus on writing – I’d like to finish up each of the stories I’ve started so far, and hopefully put out a few more.

In the meantime, I’ve made this giveaway for you of books I got signed at YALC.

  • The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
  • Half Bad by Sally Green
  • This Savage Song and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  • Crow Moon by  Anna McKerrow

You can enter HERE.

Or click the image below…

signedbooks

writer's retreat

I’ll be at the London Film and Comic Con!

Just finishing my PhD and finally, finally moving on with my life… this year I managed to put out some fiction, which was a huge goal of mine, but now I’ll have the time to finish what I’ve started and start writing full-time. I have dozens and dozens of novels sketched out; first up will be finishing Shearwater this fall. I wasn’t really planning on doing live events until I had 10 finished books out, but since we’ll be flying into London and I wanted to go to the London Film and Comic Con July 29-31st, I just decided to book my own table.

I won’t be bringing books with me, but I will have some “I’m really a mermaid” stickers and some cool stuff. If you’re in London, come visit!

Mermaid books mermaid YA books

The Europe trip has three main goals: my book Orpheum is set in Sofia, Bulgaria but I haven’t actually been there yet… so we’ll stay there for about a month soaking up culture and visiting the ancient Thracian temples. I also REALLY want to stay at this amazing mountainous apartment and do some writing.

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After that we’ll head to Ireland to check out the places mentioned in Shearwater around Portballintrae, like Dunlace castle and Giant’s Causeway. I think I’m going to giveaway a free trip to join me, as part of my launch for Shearwater part 2, but I’ll announce that later.

dunluce castle 2

We’ll end up in Dublin for the Claddagh Author Event … there are a few authors I’d like to meet.

Finally, in November we’re meeting 10 bestselling authors and some of the top YA booktubers to spend a month in a castle and it’s going to be epic. We’ll be posting lots of fun stuff on social media, and do some contests and things. This is the place we rented (in France).

nanowrimocastle

I plan to do at least one major “writing retreat in a castle” per year from now on.

Mostly however, I need to focus on finishing more complete books and then building them up into series… I’m shooting for 100 books in the next 5 years.

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Best Scifi Time Travel books for Teens 2016

Here are some great young adult time travel books. If you think writing is hard, try writing time travel fiction – it’s so much more challenging! To honor these authors, and to launch the book I’m working on (Prescient), I’m giving away a package of time travel books, and a Harry Potter time turner. It’s the coolest time-travel related object I could find.

I’ll choose 3 winners and give each winner ebook copies of each book, plus a time turner. Everybody who signs up to my list will get my book (Prescient) for free.

Time travel

If you don’t win, make sure to check out these books on Amazon! (Click the covers).

Sleepless (Bird of Stone Book 1)UnhappeningsInception (The Marked) (Volume 1)PassengerRewinder (Rewinder Series)Into the DimThe Girl from EverywhereTime Warper: Fated (A Sage Hannigan Novel Book 1)Travel Glasses (The Call to Search Everywhen Book 1)Timebound (The Chronos Files)TimelessTime Salvager

 

My book: Prescient

I started writing Prescient last year and was excited about it, but gave up because it was so hard. I published Shearwater, Orpheum and Scarlet Thread, and have now come back to it. It’s still hard. But I like the story, and I hope you will too.

Sign up to my list and I’ll let you know when you can grab a free copy.

>>Check it out on Amazon here.

>>Or add it to Goodreads.

Here’s the summary.

The first time I saw the future I lost hope.

It wasn’t just that the future sucked; that civilization had gone and ruined itself; that we’d altered our own DNA and devolved into predatory monsters that fed on the few remaining survivors. That was all awful enough, but it was more than that. I remember being young and thinking, when I grow up, I’ll have a nice big house. I’ll get an exciting, interesting job. I’ll meet the man of my dreams and we’ll fall in love and stay together forever.

But that all disappeared the first time I tripped 20 years into the future and found the houses burned, the handsome boys dead, and the only jobs were the ones young girls gave hairy old survivors in tents in exchange for a little food and water. Nobody asked little girls what they wanted to be when they grew up anymore. Nobody wanted to draw attention to the fact that most of them wouldn’t live that long.

There was no hope, no peace for anyone. At least I had it better than they did. When my trip was over, I would get to go back. Back to the normalcy of 2015. Back to iPhones and Twitter and buying so much food it went bad before you could eat it. Back to laughing over foamy cappuccinos and iced lattes at the mall, window shopping and flirting with hot guys (not that I ever did that, mind you – but I always wanted to). And I still could. That was the point. Unlike everybody else, for whom 2015 was 20 years ago – long before humanity was destroyed – it was my reality. At least, it was some of the time.

But after seeing the future; after struggling to make it to the end of the day; after my first kill – none of those other things were the least bit enjoyable. All I could think when I got back to the real world, is how can I stop what’s coming?

Prescient is a young adult time-travel dystopia, this is Part One of the first book in the series.
YA books based on greek myth

Best books for teens based on Greek mythology (2016)

Here’s a list of my favorite young adult books based on Greek Mythology. I researched these at the beginning of 2016, though some were published earlier.

Click the covers to see them on Amazon!

I’m running a giveaway so you can win some of these books, scroll down to enter!

 

Elementals, Michelle Madow

Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows (Volume 1)

The Helicon of Muses, VJ Chambers

The Helicon Muses Omnibus: Books 1-4

The Curse of the Sphinx, Raye Wagner

Curse of the Sphinx

Percy Jackson, Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)

The Power, Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Power: A Titan Novel

Half Blood, Jennifer L. Armentrout

Half-Blood (Covenant)

Dark Descendant, Jenna Black

Dark Descendant (Immortal Huntress)

Everneath, Brodi Ashton

Everneath

Sweet Venom, Tera Lynn Childs

Sweet Venom

Starcrossed, Josephine Angelini

Starcrossed (Starcrossed Trilogy)

AntiGoddess, Kendare Blake

Antigoddess (The Goddess War)

From GodsMary Ting and Maxine Bringenberg

From Gods (Descendant Prophecies Book 1)

The Gatekeeper’s Sons, Eva Pohler

The Gatekeeper's Sons (The Gatekeeper's Saga Book 1)

The Shadow Prince, Bree Despain

The Shadow Prince

The Goddess Test, Aimée Carter

The Goddess Test

Persephone, Kaitlin Bevis

Persephone: The Daughters of Zeus, Book One

The Trials of Apollo, Rick Riordan

The Trials of Apollo Book One The Hidden Oracle

Omega, Lizzy Ford

 

Omega (Omega Series Book 1)

Pandora, Andrea Domanski

Pandora (Book 3) (The Omega Group)

Goddess Legacy, M.W. Muse and Mandy Harbin

Goddess Legacy: Goddess Series Book 1 (Young Adult / New Adult Series)

The Scarlet Thread, D.S. Murphy

The Scarlet Thread

This one is mine! And I only have part one up; it’s a mashup of fallen angels and forgotten gods, kind of Percy Jackson meets Fallen.

It’ll be free on Amazon March 12-14. Click here to get it.

Or see it on Goodreads.

 

Orpheum, D.S. Murphy

Orpheum (Part One): A Dark Fantasy Romance

Orpheum is mine too – it’s based on Orpheus and Eurydice; an amazing tragic romance basis that is much less used than the more popular Persephone and Hades.

It’ll be free on Amazon March 10-13. Click here to get it.

Or see it on Goodreads.

Best YA mythology books on Goodreads

Here are some lists of mythology books for teens on Goodreads; if you like any of the books above, please add them to a list or vote for them!

Best books about Mythology

Oh my Gods and Goddesses 

YA mythology series

Best of the YA Greek Mythology Books

Books with Greek mythology references

Don’t forget to review!

If you like any of these books, don’t forget to review them! Authors work really hard on their books, and we love feedback – even a few simple sentences would be amazing.

 

 

Best Greek Myth Books


love triangle YA fantasy

Not everything is a freaking love triangle (AKA: why your presumptions about young adult literature prove your bias)

I’ve made it no secret that I’m writing YA literature based on a template. Yes, a lot of YA is formulaic. Yes, there are some tropes that get annoying when they’re repeated. And you don’t want to annoy readers.

However, I maintain that writers shouldn’t just try to avoid all cliches. Writing popular fiction, like crafting any powerful story, is based on fundamentals of story construction that go back thousands of years.

Books need conflict. And a lot of bestselling young adult fiction really aren’t that innovative. They’re the same old stories, but retold in a fresh way. I want to give young adult readers what they’ve come to expect of the genre, while delighting or surprising them by remixing common themes in a way they haven’t seen before.

So it’s a little annoying to have all my future works criticized (as I know they will be) for merely having a “love triangle.” It’s as if a love triangle is a superficial thing, incidental to the story, that can easily be removed.

Most of the time, it isn’t. Because stories are built on character, not just plot events. In just about every cop show, ever, there’s a girl and a guy in a platonic working relationship. That’s so each of them can have multiple other partners, which opens up more plot events. In young adult fiction, the number is usually three. In my estimation, it’s because you need a representative of two warring races/classes, and a hero who is the medium between them. It allows for maximal conflict.

Sometimes the heroine is a girl. In The 100, (if you’ve been watching season three) Clark is sort of split between Bellamy, who represents the SkyCrew, and Lexa, who represents the grounders. She needs to make peace between them.

In the Shannara Chronicles, Amberle is a princess elf, the last of her kind. Wil is a halfblood. He alone has the power to use a magic weapon. Eretria is a human orphan with a mysterious background. She has visions and “her blood is the key.”

In Shades of Blue, Jennifer xxx plays a dirty cop, pinned between an FBI agent who is trying to bring down her ring leader, and Wozniac. Neither, incidentally, is her love interest – she’s actually banging the lawyer who can keep her violent ex locked up for good. So sex isn’t necessarily part of the “love triangle” at all – although there’s something creepy and sexual brewing between her and the FBI agent, Wozniac is more like a father figure to her.

Yes there is some romance and dramatic tension happening between all the characters, which keeps things interesting, but they’re really not that important compared to the racial warfare happening around them.

So I find it a little flippant to discount any book since Twilight with the complaint that it has a “love triangle” anytime there are three main characters representing necessarily diverse points of view. The conflict shouldn’t just stem from petty jealousy, but the fear, distrust, hatred and desire should be structured around the more important stuff that has calamitous consequences for everyone else.

Twilight is an excellent book, because it did the love triangle well. Which is exactly why I think the phrase “love triangle” needs to be assigned a new definition. As is, it has come to represent amazing, well told stories that should not be discounted out of hand – where the alleged love triangle is really a necessary and interesting center of conflict between three major players.

This is simply good construction.

Love Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Three decisions.

Peace, War, or aligning with either team.

It’s not fair to say, “Oh look, there are three characters, that must be heading towards a love triangle because they’re there” and then discrediting the book for that reason. If a book has a romantic interest flippantly, for no reason at all, which isn’t connected to the larger circumstances, then yes, that should be criticized. But that’s bad writing. It has nothing to do with the love triangle.

And I hate comments like “the love triangle was well done” or “poorly done”. Not everything is a fucking love triangle. If a girl has a love interest and another friend who likes her, but she doesn’t like him back in that way, is it still a love triangle? If she finds out one is her brother? If he’s actually an assassin sent to kill her or a prince in disguise? The story matters, not how many main characters there or how they feel about each other or whether they’re male or female and might develop feelings for each other.

Readers, stop hunting for love triangles and enjoy the story. If it’s poorly told, say so. Don’t discount it out of hand because some other critic says there’s a love triangle in there.

Authors, don’t avoid love triangles just because you think readers are sick of them; and don’t write them just because you think readers want them. Write what’s necessary to tell a great story, fill it with as much conflict as possible, and do things that readers have never seen before.

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YA paranormal Romance Giveaway + custom-made corset!

I started this giveaway on Valentine’s but have extended it so I can do only last push. This is for young adult readers only. Enter to win a corset from Versatile Corsets (an amazing, Portland Oregon business). My friend Janet is a “corset connoisseur” – she’ll help you shop. Winners will also get a big package of dark fantasy paranormal romance books I like. I chose them by their covers, rather than theme, but they’re all excellent reads.

There are lots of ways to earn entries, so do as many as you want to – also don’t forget to grab your special link in the “Share this Contest” field. You can share that on social media, with the images down below – you earn more entries every time someone signs up.

Double book launch

I’m using this giveaway to get the word out about my next two books, which are dark, pseudo-gothic fantasies. The Scarlet Thread is based on Greek mythology (like Percy Jackson) but becomes an angel romance (like Fallen). You can read a preview (it’s rough!) on Wattpad, or view it on Amazon.

scarlethreadOrpheum dark fantasy romance

Orpheum is a dark fantasy based on Eastern European mythology, Orphism and Pythagorean philosophy. With maenads and satyrs. I freaking love this cover, and I’m so excited I finally get to use it. The sparkle effect was better before but I couldn’t replicate it…

You can read a preview (it’s rough!) on Wattpad. Or view it on Amazon.

Both books will be free on March 12th – 13th. You can download them and review them if you like them.

You do not have to buy or review my books to enter the giveaway – you can also just share.

 

Dark Fantasy $400 Corset Giveaway

This giveaway is international, but if for any reason we can’t ship the corset to your country, you can swap for a $250 Amazon card.

Images you can share with your special link

You can download/upload this, or just highlight and copy+paste them straight into your WordPress post. Remember you can earn 20 entries just by doing a cover reveal and/or blogging about this giveaway. You can just copy+paste the covers or giveaway stuff to your site.

I’ll add the book descriptions down below.

 

The Scarlet Thread

My name Kaidance Monroe, and sometimes when I touch people, I see how they die. After I saw my little brother’s death but failed to stop it, my parents abandoned me to a juvenile detention facility. I don’t let people touch me anymore. Not my fingertips, not my skin, not my heart. I make my own clothes by stitching together the donations we get; usually a bunch of crap that fits like a parachute. My sweater is a patchwork of different shades of inky, dark squares. I make plain gray skirts that hang to my knees, with cute or funny T-shirts sewed in. They clash ironically with my unsmiling face. My Allstar high-tops are black and frayed, like my soul.

I also wear a chunk of brightly colored legos around my neck. My little brother was working on it the day he died. The day I failed to save him. It’s unfinished, so I’ll never know what it was meant to be. Most days, I just try to get by. But then I got a visit from a cute guy, who tricked me into giving up my secrets. He said I was special. That he needed me. For a while, I believed him. But once I found out what I could really do, I learned everybody wanted the power I possessed. The power to destroy deities. To kill gods. To end the world… or to save it. My heart is torn, and those I loved most betrayed me. I’m trying so hard to do what’s right, but nobody can tell me what that is anymore, and the moral boundaries I’d always let define my life have been shattered. Whose rules should I obey now? Or do I have to make my own?

The Scarlet Thread is a dark fantasy for fans of Greek mythology and Gothic romance. Fans of Fallen and Percy Jackson will be captivated by this mashup of fallen angels and forgotten gods.

Amazon link to use:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Scarlet-Thread-D-S-Murphy-ebook/dp/B01B5COTFI/

Orpheum

I always knew music was powerful. Even though I rebelled against the marathon forced practice sessions that turned my adolescence into a prison camp, there were moments—even in the mechanical repetition of practice—where I stopped being a robot and felt a kind of transcendence, a connection to something deeper.

I wasn’t raised to be religious, but in those fleeting spaces, often between beats in the tempo, my body seemed to go on playing by itself, while my awareness shifted to something greater. Almost like I was outside my body, sitting in the audience, feeling the music wash over me like a pounding surf, telling me to relax.
To let go. To give in.

But that was before I learned what music really was, and that it was capable of more than just pretty feelings and a mystical connection to a transcendental Other. That it was a weapon, which could cause great pain and destruction; that it was deeper and older than humanity; and that there were forces in the world that wanted to reclaim it for themselves.

Orpheum is a young adult dark fantasy romance based on Eastern European history, the myths and literature of Orpheus and Pythagoras’ theory of Musica Universalis, or the music of the spheres.

Amazon link to use:

http://www.amazon.com/Orpheum-Part-One-Fantasy-Romance-ebook/dp/B01B4Y8034/

 

PS) These are both “Part One” of new potential series. I do have them mapped out, but I wanted to get your reaction first and see whether you want to hear how the story ends. So if you like them enough to want to know what happens next, please let me know by reviewing them!

PPS) If you’re interested in getting an early ARC, and helping me to troubleshoot/fix any issues, you can sign up as a beta reader.

 

review1

YA Writing Trick #1: The Missing Family Member

You’ll see this in a lot of YA fiction, TV series, etc – it’s easy and effective.

It’s the “hunt for the missing family member.”

One of the main characters has missing parents, or a mother or father, or a big brother or sister, or younger sibling that has gone missing. Maybe even an uncle (although uncles generally turn out to be the bad guy).

It’s easy to introduce and explain, and justifies having good, smart characters make stupid decisions. You need conflict, and the plot should be character driven, which means your characters sometimes need to do stupid, desperate things that aren’t very safe.

Why would they risk it?
Why would they press on when their friends tell them to stop?

Why would they throw their life and current relationships away?

To find the truth.

This is Mulder chasing his abducted sister.

It not only helps us understand the character’s devotion to the cause, it also helps give the character a motivation to take deliberate, if reckless, action, without losing the sympathy of the reader, which makes it very effective.

Strangely, so far in most of my fiction, I haven’t used this technique, which is a mistake. Most of my characters are only children. Nobody goes missing. They don’t have a burning quest to find them. My characters are usually motivated by external opposition and trying to protect loved ones.

But this doesn’t have to be used by a main character – maybe you need a marginal character or friend to do something to jumpstart the plot into action at the right time… the “missing relative” gives them a reason to do so which is honorable, without turning them into a bad guy.

how to write young adult fiction

How to write a YA novel (the beginning)

I’ve written several posts about how to write YA, but let’s just talk about the intro. In the majority of YA books (maybe half), the protagonist has to move and start a new school.

The first day goes like this:

  1. New friend explains the rules
  2. Hot guy who she’s warned to stay away from
  3. Embarrassing moment
  4. Probably a bully who makes fun of her
  5. Something mysterious or unexplained happens

Easy right?

She probably feels overwhelmed or all alone, someone shows her kindness, later she infiltrates the “cool crowd” – those standoffish, secretive kids who all look like supermodels.

She learns she has secret powers, that her parents were probably ass-kicking members of a secret, supernatural group, and that she is the key to everything – if she can learn to control her powers.

There’s another guy, who’s probably blonde, who is nice and funny but she’s just not into him. She obsesses about the other guy, the hot guy with shaggy dark hair, who is always brooding or looking at her like a puzzle he needs to solve. She finally hooks up with him (even if he starts with a girlfriend) after they have a few arguments.

There’s a bad guy, who wants something she has (or something she can find; or something her parents stole… or he just wants her for her abilities) and he’s probably trying to take over the world.

He offers her the one thing she wants more than anything, but she would have to betray her new friends so she turns him down.

 

 

Giveaway for mermaid lovers!

 

The mermaid giveaway is over!

Thanks everyone for entering, and for helping me with my first book launch – it really meant a lot to me.

The winners are:

  • Taryn Curry
  • Holly Biggs
  • Catherine Lestrange
  • Hazel Bear
  • Emily Madsen
  • Anna Tan
  • Pamela Loperena
  • Camillia Dass
  • Adriana Villanueva

Prizes

Winners = choose any 1 + 1 mermaid books

I’ve been scouring the interwebz for awesome mermaid merch I think you’ll love. Here are the coolest things I could find. PS) If you find something else you like for around $35 let me know

il_570xN.381846651_lwwp

I found out these bookends are really expensive, so actually I can just send one, rather than a set of two. Also they are usually metal, you’ll need to paint it white if you like that style.

enhanced-32301-1447797084-1 enhanced-28454-1447796246-6 enhanced-17835-1447797252-1 enhanced-5000-1447796013-1 shopping1 il_570xN.521892251_rohx shopping lost_ocean il_570xN.844561864_6euxmermaidsoap

 

 

 

 

 

This giveaway ended, I’ll email the winners asap!

mermaidgiveway

About the book reviews

This is Part One of a full length novel, so I understand you won’t get the “full picture” – but I think you’ll enjoy the book anyway; and if you sign up to my email list, I’ll give you the rest for free when it’s done.

To find out more about the book, click here.

 

If you leave a review for Shearwater, I’ll send you a little mermaid charm for free even if you don’t win (just email me with your address).

Reviews DO NOT have to be positive. Just your honest opinion. I value any criticism that helps me improve my writing.

 

Also, if you like mermaids, check this out!

best YA mermaid books

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