Friday, November 28, 2014

The Valentine Files: Thankful Version

Hi sweet readers!

Yesterday was the American Thanksgiving, and as we Vals nommed turkey and dressing and embarrassing amounts of pie, we wept with thankfulness. (We also may have wept because we can no longer fit into our skinny jeans but whatevs. THAT IS SO NOT IMPORTANT.;D)

In this epic year of 2014 . . .


How we feel whenever we see our books in the wild…:)
Not kidding.

We are all so incredibly grateful that our agents took a chance on us… and our editors . . . and our publishing houses . . . but most of all, we're grateful for you, sweet readers! We're thankful that you chose to pick up our books out of the hundreds thousands on the YA shelves, and we're thankful you took a chance on a new author. We're thankful you read our stories and shared them with others, and we're so, so grateful for your support.


We're also incredibly grateful for each other. In your honor, we got together and cracked open the Valentine files to give you a little extra insight into our characters. (We're also eating virtual pie in your honor because we're all about you.:D)

Ready? Here's our question:

What is your character thankful for at the start of the novel…and what is he/she thankful for at the end?

Kristi Helvig, BURN OUT:
At the beginning of the novel, 17-yo Tora is just grateful to be alive in a world where most have died. By the end of the novel, she's still grateful to be alive but she's even more grateful to know that she's no longer alone. 

At the beginning of the novel, Alex is thankful for death. At the end, Alex is thankful (ironically) for life, for a second chance, and for Chase.

Bethany Crandell, SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS:
At the start of the novel, Cricket is thankful for good cell service. At the end, she’s thankful for an uncomfortable summer.

Kristen Lippert-Martin, TABULA RASA:
At the start of TABULA RASA, Sarah is grateful for forgetting and at the end, she's grateful for remembering.

Lynne Matson, NIL:
At the start of NIL, Charley is grateful for basic necessities like clothes and food. At the end, Charley is thankful to have contributed something meaningful to help those trapped on Nil, she's thankful to have a chance to live without an expiration date, and she's thankful that she found her soul mate . . .  even if Nil won't let Charley keep him.

Bethany Hagen, LANDRY PARK:
At the beginning of LANDRY PARK, Madeline is thankful for almost everything about her life. But by the end she is thankful that she was able to learn to see past it and find the truth.

Lindsay Cummings, THE MURDER COMPLEX:
At the start of TMC, Meadow and Zephyr are thankful for enough food to survive on. At the end...they're not feeling very thankful at all.
 Philip Siegel, THE BREAK-UP ARTIST:
Becca is thankful at the beginning for being single, and by the end she's grateful for her best friend.

Sara B. Larson, DEFY:
At the beginning of DEFY Alexa is grateful for anonymity, to be hidden in plain sight, but by the end she is grateful to be truly seen.

 Paula Stokes, THE ART OF LAINEY:
Lainey starts out thankful for her industrial flat iron and smoking hot boyfriend. She finishes the book thankful she has not gone bald from all of the flat ironing, and also for her true friends and even more smoking hot new boyfriend :)

Jaye Robin Brown, NO PLACE TO FALL:
At the beginning of the novel, Amber is thankful for her best friend, Devon, because he keeps her life from being complete drudgery. At the end, she's thankful for him and a whole lot more but telling would be spoilery! :)

At the beginning of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, Gretchen's grateful for her friendship with her honorary "Uncle Dolf"--aka Adolf Hitler. By the novel's end, she's incredibly grateful that she's seen through him.

At the beginning of SNOW LIKE ASHES, Meira is thankful for her chakram and any food that isn't something she had to scavenge in the prairie lands where she lives with the other Winterian refugees.

At the end of SNOW LIKE ASHES, Meira is thankful to BE one of the Winterian refugees, instead of one of the Winterians enslaved in a Spring work camp. She comes to be thankful for a number of other things that border on spoiler-land, so the only other thing I'll say is that she becomes very, very aware of how good her life was -- and how much better it could still be.

At the beginning of DAUGHTER OF CHAOS, Darlena's thankful for an evening to herself. By the end of the book, she's just thankful she's still alive!

And there you have it! :) The Valentine Files….thankful version. *closes files* *hugs all the readers*

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Sweet Six Interview with Author Mary Pearson!

I'm SO honored today to be chatting with the lovely and talented Mary Pearson! 

Mary is the author of the highly acclaimed Jenna Fox Chronicles, which is one of my all-time favorite series. And now Mary has a new high fantasy series, The Remnant Chronicles, which is equally fabulous! The Remnant Chronicles starts off with THE KISS OF DECEPTION, and oh my land, WHAT A BOOK.

Before I go any further, here's the book scoop:


A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.


From the gorgeous cover to the beautiful writing inside, THE KISS OF DECEPTION is one of my favorite reads of 2014, and I'm not alone. THE KISS OF DECEPTION has received quite a few starred reviews . . . like this one:
"Pearson is off to an extraordinary start with her fantasy series . . . an alluring world and romance that’s ideal for fans of Kristin Cashore and Megan Whalen Turner . . . a formidable heroine at its core . . .  masterfully crafted." --Publisher's Weekly *starred review
And this one:

"Harrowing, romantic, and full of myth and memory, fate and hope . . .  This has the sweep of an epic tale, told with some twists; it’s a book that almost doesn’t need a sequel, but readers will be thrilled if it continues on."--Booklist, *starred review

Now don't you want to find out a little more about the amazing author who penned this amazing book? I thought so!:)

Without further ado, here's Mary!


1) Mary, tell us about your book!
The Kiss of Deception in the first in a series about a princess who bolts on her wedding day because her parents are perpetrating a sham about her "abilities" to another kingdom, and also because she wants to marry for love and not be used as a political pawn. She flees to a small fishing village and begins life anonymously and anew along with her friend and attendant. All is well until the jilted prince and an assassin from a neighboring kingdom who is sent to kill her show up looking for her--under assumed identities. She begins to fall for one of them but doesn't know who they really are--and the reader doesn't know who is who either. Prince or assassin? But all this deception is just the tip of the iceberg. The Kiss of Deception is also about how whole kingdoms are deceived, and the many ways truths are twisted. It is also about how history repeats itself over and over and how the freedoms we earn can vanish in the breadth of a one generation.

2) What scene in your book do you LOVE the most?
I have several favorite scenes, but most are spoilers--especially the reveals in the middle and ending. But another scene which is less of a spoiler I really love too, and that is the burial scene. Princess Lia show incredible strength in the face of such tragic loss as she digs graves and during edits, every time I reread the part where she bends down and kisses a "certain" character on the forehead, a knot twisted in my throat. I loved that scene from start to finish. It was a defining moment that irrevocably changed Lia.
Mary, this scene is one of my favorites too! Very, very powerful, and it changes how certain people in the book view Lia as well.:) <3!

3) If you had to pick a character you LOVE (and not your own!), who would you pick and why?
There are so many, and strangely, I usually fall in love with the secondary characters--maybe because we see less of them and I always want more--but one recent character I fell in love with was Beast from Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers. Oh, how I love him! He was actually in the whole His Dark Assassin series but in Dark Triumph he got more of a starring role. He was, as his name suggests, on the beastly side--ugly and fiercesome. But his heart and bravery won me over. I would put Beast and Sybella in my all-time Top Ten Couples of love stories.
*nods* All great choices!

4) What's the craziest/most memorable valentine you've ever received?
When I was eight month's pregnant with my first child my husband sent me a dozen red roses--but I also got another delivery that day--a single pink rose in a tiny white vase with a note that said, "For my little Valentine." God, if I didn't already love that man to the moon and back.
Aw, very swoony! He's a keeper.:) (Y'all, see Mary's answer to number 6 below as to why this Valentine is doubly perfect for her.:D)

5) If you were a Brach's Heart, what phrase would be written on you?
I suppose, considering the title of my book it would have to say: 

6) The all-important choice: flowers or candy?
Flowers without a doubt! Any kind! But I especially adore hydrangea, peonies, gerber daisies, and lisianthus. I always have fresh cut flowers in my house. It is one of my indulgences. (Full confession--I usually always have candy in the house too.)

Thank you so much, Mary, for hanging out with us today! *sends virtual bouquets of gerber daisies* Best of luck with The Heart of Betrayal coming out in 2015! Count us in!:) #TeamRafe #TeamLia

Mary E. Pearson is the award-winning author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles, The Miles Between, A Room on Lorelei, and Scribbler of Dreams.  She writes full-time from her home office in California where she lives with her husband and two golden retrievers.

You can find out more about Mary at her website and check out all of her books on Goodreads.