Out in paperback this week, reviewers say CRIMINAL is “searing,” “gripping,” “hard-hitting,” and “…a book for any teens who might consider themselves lost and desperate for love and belonging.”
Welcome to Day 2 of the This Side of Salvation Superfan contest! Both of my local baseball teams (the Orioles and the Nationals) won on Opening Day yesterday, so I’m a happy fan. I’m also a happy author, becauseTODAY IS RELEASE DAY!!!!
Yay! Check out my official release week post for…
I’m thrilled to announce the official release (at last!) of my YA contemporary debut:
THIS SIDE OF SALVATION
Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure: The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.
Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties in to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.
But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined…
What Others Are Saying:
“THIS SIDE OF SALVATION is impossible to pigeonhole. It’s a mystery, a love story, a tale of friendship, of prejudice, and of a family overcoming tragedy…Jeri Smith-Ready has her finger on the pulse of American youth.” — Printz Honor winner and NYT Bestseller Elizabeth Wein
“This is a frighteningly realistic story that delicately handles the issues of religion and family—an emotional mystery sure to be popular and perfect for discussion.” — VOYA, **Highlighted (Starred) Review**
“[A] smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale…bringing to light issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus self—while never being heavy-handed.” Booklist, **Starred Review**
“This book has some of the best written, strongest, and most satisfying character dynamics that I have read in a long time…There are no extreme moral rights and wrongs in this book. These people just are, and they work, and they make this story beautiful.” — Bibliopunkk
I’ve got two ongoing giveaways to celebrate the release of This Side of Salvation.
Reviews for This Side of Salvation are starting to rain down like Demon Locusts from Hell!*
OK, that was the least apt metaphor ever, because the reviews so far have been super nice. Let me try some other similes….
Reviews for This Side of Salvation are starting to rain down like:
HOORAH! After a year-long wait, I’m so excited to say that UNFORGOTTEN, the second book in the Unremembered Trilogy, is now in stores!
Check out the gorgeous new cover of Holly Schlinder’s latest YA, FERAL :
Here’s what the book is all about:
It’s too late for you. You’re dead.
Those words float through Claire Cain’s head as she lies broken and barely alive after a brutal beating. And the words continue to haunt her months later, in the relentless, terrifying nightmares that plague her sleep. So when her father is offered a teaching sabbatical in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out of Chicago, away from the things that remind her of what she went through, will offer a way to start anew.
But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire quickly realizes something is wrong—the town is brimming with hidden dangers and overrun by feral cats. And her fears are confirmed when a popular high school girl, Serena Sims, is suddenly found dead in the icy woods behind the school. While everyone is quick to say Serena died in an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it—for she was the one who found Serena, battered and most certainly dead, surrounded by the town’s feral cats.
Now Claire vows to learn the truth about what happened, but the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to discovering a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley… .
With an eerie setting and heart-stopping twists and turns, Holly Schindler weaves a gripping story that will make you question everything you think you know.
This sounds INCREDIBLE!!! It will be out August 26th, but you can pre-order from Amazon now and add it to to your Goodreads shelves.
I love teaching and sharing knowledge/talking about YA Fiction just as much as I love reading and writing it, so I’m particularly psyched that I’ve got a couple of upcoming opportunities to do so even though I’ve got a busy dayjob right now (and meanwhile, having been keeping my nose to the grindstone before and after work to finish my proposal for my zine-style essay collection!)
The first will be the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Conference, which is being held in Seattle this year (perfect timing! It’s like yet another present for moving here!) from Wednesday, February 26 through Saturday, March 1st. I will be on a panel on Thursday, February 27th from 10:30 am to 11:45 am with Micol Ostow, Laurel Snyder, Nova Ren Suma, and Sara Zarr in Room 618/619/620, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6!
Stellar line-up, right? I KNOW! I feel so lucky to be chatting with these brilliant woman and I think our topic is pretty damn interesting:
Commercial Literary Fiction (Not an Oxymoron): The Place of Craft in Writing and Teaching Children’s and Young Adult Literature
Young Adult and Children’s literature are exciting, increasingly popular markets that many writers want to break into. How do you make your manuscript—or help make your students’ manuscripts—stand out… and sell? How does being commercial mean respecting the reader, not something crass? Five published YA and Children’s authors will present exercises they employ in their own writing, and in workshops they teach, to develop authentic voice, characters, and story worlds that editors will snap up.
Please come and see us if you are in town for AWP!
Then, I will actually be putting these teaching techniques I’m talking about into practice in Seattle this spring! I’m teaching a Young Adult Fiction Workshop at Hugo House, which begins on May 1st! This workshop will be focused on generating material and getting regular feedback from critique partners in class, though we will still talk about craft and I’ll bring exercises to the table in each class. This should be super helpful for anyone who is trying to finish or revise a draft of a YA book and it will be motivating for anyone who is just starting a draft because you’ll be encouraged to bring in up to 10 pages a week.
Because of the workshop style, this class will be capped at 10, so register ASAP! Registration is open for Hugo House members now and will open to the general public on 2/18!
I hope to meet all sorts of new writers at AWP and at Hugo House this spring!
Though I don’t remember it, my mom will tell you that my first literary love was Peter Pan. I loved the story, especially the title character. I wasn’t interested in Tinkerbell or motherly Wendy (not until she was out there in Neverland being a bad ass). I wanted to be Peter and fight pirates, dammit.
Here’s the picture to prove it:
“Do you know how hard it was to find pirate stories that were appropriate for four-year-old girls?” my mom vents, every time she tells this story. “Next to impossible. We just read Peter Pan over and over and over again! I feel like in a way this set the tone for my life as a reader and writer. I was always searching for books that weren’t there, especially when I was a punk rock teenage girl who was going through a ton of complicated shit and desperately hoping a character in a novel might give me answers. When I didn’t find my story reflected in books, I started writing it. If I ever write a book for a younger audience, it will definitely be about girl pirates, both for little girl me and for all the moms of little girls like me.
Though I know I loved Peter Pan because I still have a fondness for that story, the first book/author/character I remember falling hard for is this one, which I discovered in kindergarten:
I loved Laura. I wanted to be her so badly that I would dress up in an old-fashioned, hand-me-down dress, my moon boots (because I didn’t have any other kind of boots) and tie a doll bonnet around my neck. I would regularly insist on going out in public like that AND on my parents calling me Laura.
At the time I read the Little House books (and reread about a million times), I thought they were pure autobiography and I fantasized that some day I would write my life story in that way. I started keeping a journal as well as making mental notes when I walked around school: She heads to her locker. It’s third grade and this year, they have locks. Remembering the combination is very stressful.
Yeah, my 1980s childhood was really not nearly as adventurous as Laura’s, so ultimately I turned to writing fiction instead… Until recently. I’ve been documenting my teenage years in essay form for Rookie magazine for two-and-a-half years and I’ve decided to compile those and write some new essays, combine them with awesome illustrations (not by me, I can’t draw!) and pages from the zines I wrote as a teenager. I’ve just finished a rough draft of the book proposal, so we’ll see—my Laura dream may come true after all. Well, one of them, I also want to visit all the Laura sites that Wendy McClure did in The Wilder Life!
We are wonderful, girls who write :)
Date a girl who writes.
Date a girl who may never wear completely clean clothes, because of coffee stains and ink spills. She’ll have many problems with her closet space, and her laptop is never boring because there are so many words, so many worlds that she’s cluttered amidst the space. Tabs open filled with obscure and popular music. Interesting factoids about Catherine the Great, and the immortality of jellyfish. Laugh it off when she tells you that she forgot to clean her room, that her clothes are lost among the binders so it’ll take her longer to get ready, that her shoes hidden under the mountain of broken Bic pens and the refurbished laptop that she’s saved for ever since she was twelve.
Kiss her under the lamppost, when it’s raining. Tell her your definition of love.
Find a girl who writes. You’ll know that she has a sense of humor, a sense of empathy and kindness, and that she will dream up worlds, universes for you. She’s the one with the faintest of shadows underneath her eyelids, the one who smells of coffee and Coca-cola and jasmine green tea. You see that girl hunched over a notebook. That’s the writer. With her fingers occasionally smudged with charcoal, with ink that will travel onto your hands when you interlock your fingers with her’s. She will never stop, churning out adventures, of traitors and heroes. Darkness and light. Fear and love. That’s the writer. She can never resist filling a blank page with words, whatever the color of the page is.
She’s the girl reading while waiting for her coffee and tea. She’s the quiet girl with her music turned up loud (or impossibly quiet), separating the two of you by an ocean of crescendos and decrescendos as she’s thinking of the perfect words. If you take a peek at her cup, the tea or coffee’s already cold. She’s already forgotten it.
Use a pick-up line with her if she doesn’t look to busy.
If she raises her head, offer to buy her another cup of coffee. Or of tea. She’ll repay you with stories. If she closes her laptop, give her your critique of Tolstoy, and your best theories of Hannibal and the Crossing. Tell her your characters, your dreams, and ask if she gotten through her first novel.
It is hard to date a girl who writes. But be patient with her. Give her books for her birthday, pretty notebooks for Christmas and for anniversaries, moleskins and bookmarks and many, many books. Give her the gift of words, for writers are talkative people, and they are verbose in their thanks. Let her know that you’re behind her every step of the way, for the lines between fiction and reality are fluid.
She’ll give you a chance.
Don’t lie to her. She’ll understand the syntax behind your words. She’ll be disappointed by your lies, but a girl who writes will understand. She’ll understand that sometimes even the greatest heroes fail, and that happy endings take time, both in fiction and reality. She’s realistic. A girl who writes isn’t impatient; she will understand your flaws. She will cherish them, because a girl who writes will understand plot. She’ll understand that endings happen for better or for worst.
A girl who writes will not expect perfection from you. Her narratives are rich, her characters are multifaceted because of interesting flaws. She’ll understand that a good book does not have perfect characters; villains and tragic flaws are the salt of books. She’ll understand trouble, because it spices up her story. No author wants an invincible hero; the girl who writes will understand that you are only human.
Be her compatriot, be her darling, her love, her dream, her world.
If you find a girl who writes, keep her close. If you find her at two AM, typing furiously, the neon gaze of the light illuminating her furrowed forehead, place a blanket gently on her so that she does not catch a chill. Make her a pot of tea, and sit with her. You may lose her to her world for a few moments, but she will come back to you, brimming with treasure. You will believe in her every single time, the two of you illuminated only by the computer screen, but invincible in the darkness.
She is your Shahrazad. When you are afraid of the dark, she will guide you, her words turning into lanterns, turning into lights and stars and candles that will guide you through your darkest times. She’ll be the one to save you.
She’ll whisk you away on a hot air balloon, and you will be smitten with her. She’s mischievous, frisky, yet she’s quiet and when she has to kill off a lovely character, when she cries, hold her and tell her that it will be alright.
You will propose to her. Maybe on a boat in the ocean, maybe in a little cottage in the Appalachian Mountains. Maybe in New York City. Maybe Chicago. Baltimore. Maybe outside her publisher’s office. Because she’s radiant, wherever she goes. Maybe even outside of a cinema where the two of you kiss in the rain. She’ll say that it is overused and clichéd, but the glint in her eyes will tell you that she appreciates it all the same.
You will smile hard as she talks a mile a second, and your heart will skip a beat when she holds your hand and she will write stories of your lives together. She’ll hold you close and whisper secrets into your ears. She’s lovely, remember that. She’s self made and she’s brilliant. Her names for the children might be terrible, but you’ll be okay with that. A girl who writes will tell your children fantastical stories.
Because that is the best part about a girl who writes. She has imagination and she has courage, and it will be enough. She’ll save you in the oceans of her dreams, and she’ll be your catharsis and your 11:11. She’ll be your firebird and she’ll be your knight, and she’ll become your world, in the curve of her smile, in the hazel of her eye the half-dimple on her face, the words that are pouring out of her, a torrent, a wave, a crescendo - so many sensations that you will be left breathless by a girl who writes.
Maybe she’s not the best at grammar, but that is okay.
Date a girl who writes because you deserve it. She’s witty, she’s empathetic, enigmatic at times and she’s lovely. She’s got the most colorful life. She may be living in NYC or she may be living in a small cottage. Date a girl who writes because a girl who writes reads.
A girl who writes will understand reality. She’ll be infuriating at times, and maybe sometimes you will hate her. Sometimes she will hate you too. But a girl who writes understands human nature, and she will understand that you are weak. She will not leave on the Midnight Train the first moment that things go sour. She will understand that real life isn’t like a story, because while she works in stories, she lives in reality.
Date a girl who writes.
Because there is nothing better then a girl who writes.
this is my favorite post on tumblr
I write ;)