Deadly Ever After

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

Archive for the tag “YA books”

Cover Reveal! (and so much more) PRETTY WICKED by Kelly Charron

 

TODAY’S BREW: It’s 95 degrees. I AM a cup of coffee

By Julie

SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK. I don’t tell you guys enough what I’m reading. I’ll do that soon, but for now THIS BOOK.

Pretty Wicked Printable 330 6x9

 

About PRETTY WICKED:

The daughter of a local police detective, fifteen-year-old Ryann has spent most of her life studying how to pull off the most gruesome murders her small Colorado town has ever seen.

But killing is only part of it. Ryann enjoys being the reason the cops are frenzied. The one who makes the neighbors lock their doors and windows on a hot summer’s day. The one everyone fears but no one suspects. 

Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price. 

Praise for Pretty Wicked: 

 

“This creepy novel places you inside the mind of a twisted teen killer, which is even more unsettling because of how familiar and normal she seems. Be prepared to leave the lights on and look at the people around you in a whole new way.”

 

-Eileen Cook | Author of WITH MALICE

 

 

“Dark and haunting, this witty thriller with its petite feminine anti-hero is an American Psycho for teens. Be prepared to sleep with the lights on.”

 

Lisa Voisin | Author of THE WATCHER SAGA

 

 

“Pretty Wicked is fresh, thrilling, and deeply haunting. I’ve never read anything like it! The story escalates from page one and will leave your pulse pounding as you wonder just how far Ryann will go. 5/5 stars.”

 

Tiana Warner | Author of ICE MASSACRE & ICE CRYPT

 

NOW I WILL LET YOU READ SOME, LOOK:

 

I heard the bell ring in the distance. Lunch was over. I leapt up to go when I was struck with panic. What if someone had seen me walk out there with Veronica? No one could know what I’d done. My breath hitched.

I ran as fast as I could back to the yard and to the first teacher I saw.

“Mrs. Hopkins! Come quick, Veronica’s really hurt!” I pretended to be hysterical so effectively that she couldn’t understand me the first few times.

She bent down so we were at eye level. “Where?”

“We went into the woods at the far end of the property. I’m sorry. I know we’re not allowed, but she fell and she’s not moving! You have to hurry!” I sobbed, shoulders shaking, snotty nose. I don’t know how I’d managed to look so distraught, but I nearly convinced myself.

Mrs. Hopkins turned to a kid named Austin, who was in the grade ahead of me. “Go get Mr. Chute. Tell him to call 911 and to come out and meet me in the woods.”

Austin, who was paper white, nodded and took off like his ass was on fire.

I ran back with Mrs. Hopkins to the rocks where I’d left Veronica. She was in the exact position I’d left her. Thankfully there was no miraculous recovery waiting for us.

After she was taken away in an ambulance, Mrs. Hopkins and Mr. Chute walked me back and called my parents.

My dad showed up to the school, hugged me, and told me how brave I was.

After my mother had finally stopped fussing and checking on me every twenty minutes, I sat on my bed and thought about Veronica. It would be weird not to see her in class every day or hang out with her at lunch, not that we hung out that much. I was usually with Bao-yu anyway, but sometimes she came along. Maybe now B and I would be better friends. She wouldn’t have to share me anymore.

I wondered what I was feeling—if I was missing Veronica. But I didn’t think that’s what it was. The twinge in the bottom of my stomach didn’t have the achy hollowness that people refer to as a pit. It was more like butterflies.

 

 

 

Link for Amazon: 

https://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Wicked-CharronKellyebook/dp/B01KAX8VLQ/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1471040176&sr=8-6&keywords=pretty+wicked#nav-subnav

 

Link for Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31394680-pretty-wicked?ac=1&from_search=true

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE WONDERFUL LADY WHO WROTE THIS SCARY-ASS BOOK!

 

Questions about Pretty Wicked:

 

  1. What inspired you to write such a dark character?

 

I’ve always been fascinated with psychology and human motivation. Whenever I read a novel or watched a movie or television show, I was drawn to the villain. I wanted to understand what made them act the way they did––delve into what happened in their lives or minds to make them the person they had become.

 

When there was the odd story from the “villains” point of view, it seemed to characterize them as “misunderstood” and usually spun them into a likeable character who was the hero of that new version of the story. I wanted to write something unique and portray the villain realistically. What would the story look like if they were a true villain? I got the idea for a teenage serial killer who was unapologetic about who she was and what she wanted and thought it was really interesting to explore what her point of view would be if she drove the story and the “villain” was the detective trying to stop her.

 

  1. Is this your first novel?

 

Pretty Wicked is the second book I wrote and the first to be published. I have been writing for ten years. My first book was a YA urban fantasy that took me seven years to complete because I kept stopping for huge chunks of time while I completed my degrees (English Lit and Social Work). I finally got serious about writing in 2013 and have just completed my fourth novel.

 

  1. Why did you choose to self-publish?

 

I did query it to literary agents and received a lot of positive praise for the book. In the end I kept hearing the same feedback: it’s a fascinating concept, the writing and voice are great, but we don’t think we can sell such a dark book to a publisher. I completely understand this. I know this book is going to be very polarizing. People will either love the concept of hate it. So far I have had overwhelmingly encouraging feedback from readers who understand that this is a fictional story that is trying to do something different from most novels. There was some interest from small publishers but the wait times were longer than I was comfortable with. I decided if I wanted to see this book out in the world I was going to have to do it myself. It was an intimidating process, but luckily I have an amazing and brilliant support group who helped me along the way.

 

  1. What genres do you write in?

 

Psychological thriller, urban fantasy, and horror. I have two YA urban fantasy books, though one may never see the light of day. It’s my first book and would need to be rewritten before I decide its fate. The second (currently titled Wilde Magic) is the first in a planned series that I am very excited about.

 

Here is a short blurb:

 

The novel follows fifteen-year-old Ainsley Davenport as she moves from her life in Maine to attend a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts after her widowed mother marries a wealthy man that she can’t stand. At Ashbury Academy, Ainsley meets a group of students whom she finds more sophisticated and exciting than any kids she’s ever encountered. Ainsley is pulled into a world of wealth and extravagance, but it isn’t long before she realizes some things aren’t adding up and there is more to Ashbury than meets the eye. One of the oldest covens in history, The Wildes, is hidden beneath the school grounds. Magic is alive and well, and the coven is actively training new witches in this secret enchanted society. Ainsley soon recognizes that she may be in over her head when she uncovers secrets that she was never meant to know. The magical kind. The deadly kind.

 

  1. Is Pretty Wicked a standalone novel?

 

The Pretty Wicked series will continue with adult books. The sequel, Wicked Fallout, is currently going through editing and the third book in the series is brewing in my mind. I have some very fun ideas for Ryann.

 

Wicked Fallout takes place twelve years later when Ryann is 27 years old. That’s all I can say right now as to not reveal spoilers.

 

  1. Ryann is not a very likable character. Do you like her?

 

I actually do. I really enjoyed writing her. I don’t agree with anything she does at all! In that sense, Ryann is deplorable! But what I like is her humor and wit and the way she owns who she is. She was a fun character to write because she is so different to most characters out there. It’s like when you see a Hollywood actor discuss their favorite roles. Often they say the villain roles were their preferred because it was more fun and exciting to play. There are forbidden elements that make it a bit more exciting than the standard hero. It’s no different for me as the writer.

 

  1. What is your writing process?

 

I have a day job so writing usually happens in the evenings and on weekends. I work in a school so I am fortunate to have shorter days, two vacation break periods, and summers off which really help me carve out the time needed.

 

On a writing day (Saturday or Sunday) I will get up, shower, eat breakfast, procrastinate with some TV and then get to it. I’ll make a coffee and park myself on my couch (even though I have a beautiful desk in an actual home office). I’ll write for about 2-3 hours (about 1500-2000 words on average). I may do another session later that evening if I’m really inspired. I watch a lot of television and read widely to inspire my creativity and ideas.

 

I also have an amazing group of friends who are writers as well and we meet up to have writing and brainstorming sessions, which is fantastic!

 

kelly charron

 

Kelly Charron is the author of YA and adult horror, psychological thrillers and urban fantasy novels. All with gritty, murderous inclinations and some moderate amounts of humor. She spends far too much time consuming true crime television (and chocolate) while trying to decide if yes, it was the husband, with the wrench, in the library. She lives with her husband and cat, Moo Moo, in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

 

Connect with her:

 

Sign up for her mailing list or check out upcoming books at: http://kellycharron.com

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyMCharron

 

Facebook: https://goo.gl/UNkH3g

 

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/rf4NlM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Summer Wier, author of Sci Fi YA, LINK!

TODAY’S BREW: More than you can imagine.

By Julie

Last week was the release of LINK by Summer Wier, a book near and dear to my heart. I had the divine pleasure of editing this book, and to see it come to life from start to finish is wonderful. It’s almost as near and dear as Summer herself, who is one of the greatest champions of my work and the one who insisted THE HARPY become a REUTS Publications book next year. I knuckled my way into Summer’s busy schedule to ask her a bunch of questions about LINK, which is one of the most unique YA sci fi books ever.

link-final-front

  • I love the unique way stars are used in LINK. Different than any sci fi or fantasy I have ever read. Where the heck did that come from? Are you a science geek or did you have the idea and need to find a way to make it come alive?
Why thank you! That’s such an amazing compliment. I think I’m definitely more geeky now than I ever would have admitted growing up, but I’ve always loved astronomy and astrology (two very different takes on similar things). When I set out to write a book, my original idea had nothing to do with stars or space, but focused on the connection between two characters who were separated by something I hadn’t figured out yet. It took me forever to even start writing because I didn’t know what I wanted the book to be or what would make it different from so many young adult stories that were already on the shelves. One day, I stumbled across this NASA clip “Black Hole Eats Star, Beams Signal to Earth” (https://youtu.be/2j04JEjKMjg) and I was so fascinated by it, I swear I watched it a hundred times. As I played the video over and over, it was like I’d found the piece I was missing for my story. LINK’s world, partly based on real science, partly imagination, mapped itself out in my mind, and at that moment I knew exactly where my story needed to go.
  • Kira’s relationship with her mother and her views on her mom’s life fascinated me. Tell me a little about how their relationship evolves in this book, if you could without giving too much away. 🙂
This is one of those areas where I used perspectives from my youth and parenting experiences, and blended them together. As a parent, I thought about how many things happen in life that children are completely oblivious to, or if they are aware of “things” they don’t always know the truth behind the story. In LINK, we see Kira’s perspective of what she believes is “truth” based on her experiences with her mother, and also what she’s created in her mind so that she can cope with what she thinks has happened between her mother and father. As the story evolves, Kira begins to piece together clues that shed more light on the events contributing to her parents’ past. And when she learns the “truth,” she gets a peek into her mother’s perspective and the reasoning for everything she did to protect Kira. With secrets revealed, Kira gains a new look on life and grows closer to her mother!
  • You created a really cool dreamscape sort of alternate world, which you managed to make unnerving and a little scary without any monsters. How did you do it?
I think black holes carry an uncertainty that contributed to the natural mystery of the world I created. I mean, what the heck is inside there?! No one really knows. There is so much left to discover in our galaxy, universe, and beyond—anything is possible! As my theories evolved from the NASA video, I let my imagination run wild with the kinds of landscapes one might see in a world pieced together in the way they’re fabricated in LINK, how this world would sustain itself in such an atmosphere, and who would inhabit it. Mix in the disorientation from traveling by starlight and who wouldn’t be a little creeped out with what awaits on the inside?
  • What is the message you want your readers to take from LINK?
Science changes everyday; life is ever-evolving. When I started writing LINK, so many of my ideas went against everything science believed about black holes (hence the fiction part). Take this simple definition of black holes from Wikipedia, “A black hole is a region of space-time exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing—including particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from inside it.” The NASA clip I shared earlier was a first look at a celestial event that totally changed that definition. And now, leaders in the science community have totally changed their positions on what’s possible when it comes to black holes, even so far as to share theories remarkably similar to those I created for LINK! (See article here: http://news.sky.com/story/1541609/hawking-black-holes-may-lead-to-other-universes) So my message to readers is: Anything is possible. Nothing is written in stone. Question. Explore. Create. The sky’s the limit.

Thanks so much for having me today! ❤
YOU GUYS PLEASE BUY LINK AND LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT.Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, Link pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world.

Available now from Amazon, and other retailers.

Room of Horrors: A High School Library

Today’s Brew:  Angry Orchard Apple Ginger Cider. Because two whole days off in a row.

by Kristen

Everyone bitches that kids don’t read enough.  I’m going to include anyone who has yet to graduate from high school in my “kid” grouping for the purpose of my argument.  It’s not so much that we want young people to read fantastic stories. Reading building vocabulary and spelling ability.  It helps foster imagination and curiosity.  It’s the easiest way to learn there’s a big wide world out there beyond your hometown.

All you need to read is the ability to understand the words on the page.  Financial barriers shouldn’t apply. All you need is a library card, right?  Access shouldn’t be a problem.  We should be providing kids with abundant reading material. Isn’t this a no brainer? We aren’t the problem, it’s those lazy kids.  Apparently, I live in a fantasy world and you do too if you think this is the case.

Last week, I worked on a production that filmed in a high school library.  This was an urban catholic school.  Parents pay to send their kids to this place.  If I was writing a check for thousands of dollars in tuition each year, I would want my child to be getting the best education available.  I can’t help to think if these parents bothered to set foot in this library they would be shocked.

Aesthetically, the place did nothing for me.  The books looked old. Now, I since I could have a kid in high school, I can only imagine how uninviting this place looks for the students.  All hard covers, all leaned willy nilly on shelves.  Nothing faced out. No featured reads.  Nothing literary on the walls.  The artwork was candids of the students.  Wouldn’t that be better placed in the cafeteria?  How about some library appropriate posters, like book covers, authors, instructions on how to use the freakin’ room properly?  The shelves were half empty.  The place looked sad. Kids are far more visually savvy than we are, and we have far less time to capture their attention.  This room simply doesn’t work.

The Soviet Union lives on at Arlington Catholic High!

The Soviet Union lives on at Arlington Catholic High!

I love looking at bookshelves, so of course I couldn’t resist checking out a whole room dedicated to books!  What I found made me furious. There were books about Russia from 1958.  A History of the 20th century published in 1980.  And this gem, which isn’t even politically correct.  Isn’t the only current acceptable use of the word “Oriental” in regards to rugs?

Aren't we saying "Asian" now?

Aren’t we saying “Asian” now?

The world moves fast, and no one will remind you of that faster than a teenager.  A teenager has no use for an outdated encyclopedia set.  That’s exactly the type of thing to turn someone off from learning.  If we expect these kids to compete in a changing world and economy, we need to be 2 steps ahead of what’s coming next, not 15 steps behind.

The library featured a large fiction section, but the books were again so outdated that they didn’t even appeal to me.  You know how hot YA fiction has been for, oh, say the last decade or so?  Here’s the YA section.

The entire YA section in a High School library.

The entire YA section in a High School library.

Yeah.  That’s it.  I looked around but found nothing else.

I get it. Everyone is on a budget, including schools.  But this is important.  If you don’t hook a person young on learning, chances are  you will lose them.  We can’t afford any more dumb.

If you have an extensive collection of YA books that you’ve already read that are taking up room on your bookshelves, please consider donating them to your local high school library.  If you are a YA author, please reach out to your local HS librarians.  See if you can donate your books and maybe even talk to some of the students.

Books are badass and everyone deserves a chance to experience them.

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