Tuesday, March 29, 2016

YA Scavenger Hunt


Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt! 

My name is Deirdre Riordan Hall & I'm the author of PEARL. I'm your host for this stop on the YA Scavenger Hunt and am on the GOLD TEAM


Before we get started, I want to introduce myself and the newest member to our pack. Meet Chewie; yes, his grandpapa is Chewbacca. He keeps my feet warm while I write and is the friendliest little guy ever, which makes it easier for me to forgive him for waking me up at night. I'm glad you stopped by my blog. Are you ready for the scavenger hunt? Let's do this!



So, what is the YA Scavenger Hunt? 

This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt on my team! 

But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online  
From Tuesday, March 29th at 12 pm Pacific Time until Sunday, April 3rd at noon Pacific time.





How do I play? 

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are NINE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all. I am a part of the GOLD TEAM--but there is also a red team, a blue team, an orange team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.


How does the YA Scavenger Hunt work?

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GOLD TEAM, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 3rd at noon Pacific time. (Here's a time calculator to find out when that is.) Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Okay, ready to get to the fun stuff? Here we go! 

I'm hosting Lisa Amowitz  for the YA Scavenger Hunt, the author of UNTIL BETH



Lisa is an award winning author of three fantasy/thrillers for young adults,
UNTIL BETH [Spencer Hill Press, 2015], VISION [Spencer Hill Press, 2014], and BREAKING GLASS [Spencer Hill Press, 2013].

She is also a cover designer and
​Professor of Graphic Design at Bronx Community College. www.bcc.cuny.edu

She is represented by
Shannon Hassan of Marsal-Lyon Literary Agency 

***
Visit Lisa on Twitter and Facebook.



Talented rock guitarist Beth Collins has been barely holding herself together for months, ever since her boyfriend and bandmate became the latest victim in a string of suspicious disappearances. When her brother is injured an accident and she sees something dark billowing around him as he hovers close to death, she’s convinced her sanity is collapsing for good.

Then she's accepted by a boarding school for the musically gifted. All of her new friends are bursting withtalent, but they're also keeping secrets. Can she trust Vincent, who's so sweet that his very touch makes her fears melt away? Or Xavier, who's trying to tell her something but is hiding even more?

And will anyone be safe when her true Talent comes out?

Check out more here.


And now for the super awesome exclusive content from UNTIL BETH by Lisa Amowitz!


Hi! Lisa here, author of Until Beth, Vision, and Breaking Glass. In all three of my books, even though there are dark paranormal forces at work, basic human character traits and actual (thinly disguised locations) play a big part. Often the books are set in hybrid mash-ups of the locales that fired my imagination in the first place.

Until Beth first popped into my mind as most of my books often do, during one of the summers I spent with my husband and children in a rented house in the Hudson River Valley in New York State. Every summer we’d rent a different place with its own unique features. As a hectic urban professor, those languid summers gave my imagination a place to breathe.

UNTIL BETH, starts in a mythical Connecticut town, then features fictional locations in both Massachusetts and New York State. The settings have been drawn from my own travels and stitched together like a quilt to form the eerie backdrop for my books.

Besides stitching together separate and disparate locations to concoct the unique and spooky setting for UNTIL BETH, I also grafted in a character from an older (unpublished book). UNTIL BETH was originally written as my fourth book, before I ever wrote BREAKING GLASS and VISION and was then set aside. Two years later I decided to exhume it and rebuild the book from scratch, and realized that Xavier, one of my favorite characters from an abandoned manuscript would fit perfectly.  Can I admit that I had a serious crush on my own character? Vincent is kind of a close second. Check out my Pinterest Board and see why.



My exclusive content is a visual peek into the world of UNTIL BETH, the locations the people, the creep factor. Enjoy! If you comment below I’ll pick someone at random to send a custom signed UNTIL BETH guitar pick necklace. Or visit my blog and enter my contest to win a signed copy of UNTIL BETH along with a digital copy of BREAKING GLASS (print version US only—International digital only.)

Thanks for having me, Deirdre Riordan Hall!




And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a book by me, Deirdre Riordan Hall and a bunch of other amazing authors including ! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 14. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the GOLD TEAM and you'll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

AND THERE'S MORE!!!



About PEARL

Run fast and run far, unless you’re fearless. Unless you’re courageous. I’m not, but I’d like to be.
Pearl Jaeger is seventeen and homeless after drugs, poverty, and addiction unraveled the life she shared with JJ, her formerly glamorous rock star mother.
This moment of happiness is fleeting; someone will take it from me.
When tragedy brings a chance to start over at an elite boarding school, she doesn’t hesitate. Yet the only salvation comes from an art teacher as troubled as Pearl, and she faces the stark reality that what she thought she wanted isn’t straightforward.
I trace the outline of my reflection in a window. I am no more than a replica of my mother. This is not the self-portrait I want to paint.

Through the friendships she forms at school—especially with Grant, a boy who shows Pearl what it means to trust and forgive—she begins to see a path not defined by her past. But when confronted with the decision to be courageous or to take the easy way forged by her mother’s failures, which direction will Pearl choose?


Wait, before you go, enter to win a second prize drawing for a chance to win an MP3 Audio copy of PEARL (<Find out more here) read by the amazing Brittany Presley, a lovely necklace & and some sweet swag! 


Good luck! 

*This drawing is only open to residents of the US. Sorry international readers! 
The main YA Scavenger Hunt is open internationally.



CONTINUE THE SCAVENGER HUNT...

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! The one and only Carly Anne West! And remember, you're on TEAM GOLD right now :) 

Leave a comment  below sharing your progress, the books you're hoping to win, or just to say hi!
P.S. Thank you for stopping by, participating & supporting authors! If you'd like to get your friends in on the fun, share on TWITTER  and FACEBOOK

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Why I wrote Pearl

Writing this post was on my calendar the Monday before last, then I moved it to Tuesday, and before I realized it, the weekend arrived and I still hadn't found the words, the why

Why did I write PEARL?

The easy answer is because I couldn't not write it. But that isn't an elaborate blog post or the full story.

So, really, why?

I needed to write PEARL because there are girls like her who've lived in families with addiction, abuse, with loss, and heartbreak, girls like me. 

For years the strands of this story wrote themselves into the fabric of my thoughts until one day I put pen to paper with the scratches of ideas and eventually found my fingers on the keyboard with an inkling of a first draft…and then there were at least ten more versions afterward. (The original opening scene was on a street corner and involved the exchange of a banned book and chocolate. There were diary entries and the dial on tragedy was much higher.)

But back to the why. This was a story I wanted to tell; to create a narrative of juxtaposition, to place two potentially conflicting themes side by side: rich and poor, loneliness and belonging, vulnerability and strength, love and loss. But that's not the full story either because those themes also complement each other. At least in this instance, like two sides of a coin, they require us to rub both faces between our finger and thumb in order to shine.

An author friend recently wrote an article making the distinction between authors who need to write and those who want to write. I contemplated what composes me as an author and came to the conclusion, at least for now, like so many aspects of who I am—and who Pearl is—that I'm both a writer who needs and wants to tell stories. Paradox tends to rule my life. I need to write like I need to laugh, smile, and be with the people I love. I want to write in much the same way, but mostly it's because I want to connect. 

So, really, what kind of author am I?

Need, a requirement.

Want, a desire.

I'm a writer whose mind leaps, spins, and pirouettes with creativity, day and night and in the twilight moments between moments. Without a channel to funnel that energy into, I find myself anxious, unsettled. I need an outlet. It's a personal truth. I need to write—whether it's about the children of addicts, victims of abuse, mermaids, or Shakespeare retellings. I also believe telling stories is something some of us, many of us, require to connect, to reach through what we see on the exterior: pigtails, brown eyes, braces, knobby knees, unlaced sneakers, and into the webs that draw us together: the raw stuff of longing, friendship, love, perseverance, and hope, just to name a few.

Similarly, I believe within each person lay treasures, dirt encrusted jewels lodged in the depths of our being, and it's up to us to find a medium with which to extricate them…or maybe the medium chooses us—as is the case with most forms of art. For me, I'm a person who needs to polish these gems with words.


But I'm also a writer who wants to write. When an idea sparks, wild, giddy joy rushes through me. When I'm drifting to sleep, ideas, single words, entire scenes pinch me awake and I pop on the book light and pull out my pen to make a note as a smile brushes my lips with wonder at where this stuff comes from. (*Looks starward, thanks universe.*)

My curiosity feeds this want and I follow it down sunny lanes, dim corridors, trailing characters and settings. Sometimes I arrive at dead ends and other times, entire worlds open up. 

When the ideas for a story fill me to near-brimming, I know it's time to let it pour out, and delight in losing sense of time, worries, and the nigglings of life. Don't get me wrong, it isn't always easy: I get stuck, lost, confused, but the enchantment and magic and awe of this privilege, of storytelling, of saying yes! to doing something I want far outweighs the trickiness of it.  

I am an author who needs and wants to write. So I do, every day, which brings me to another question, what kind of book is Pearl?

Pearl is about grit and second chances, memories and potential, recklessness and redemption. The story is about friendships that turn into sisterhoods, the salvation of art, and learning what it is to trust and forgive. Pearl chases a tiger's tail only to eventually decide to be done with it and bite the thing clean off.

Pearl was me exploring the impact of addiction on families, how a person can straddle socio-economic lines, how sometimes a girl has to make her own mistakes and choices, and learn the exquisite power of struggling and triumph. 

Writing Pearl took courage, but ultimately brought me peace. It required humility and a quieting of my busy mind to distill all the questions I ask myself to this: which risks are worth taking? It asks us to in what instances is it better to choose what we know or cast ourselves into the great unknown and rely not only on our own inner resources, but the extended hands of friends, teachers, and even, sometimes, strangers.

Pearl is story of finding something believed to be tainted, tarnished and keeping it close, maybe wiping away dirt and tears, adding some polish, and seeing that really, it was beautiful, maybe even all along.


During a dance performance I recently attended, as I leaned in close, as though by doing so my proximity would transmit to me the same kind of concentrated joy on the faces of the dancers, I remembered that I once believed I'd never be happy. In that exuberant moment with live music directing movement through space, a pair of tears drifted down my cheeks. How sad for me, to have lived for so many years with the belief that I'd never be happy. How silly, embarrassing, unsettling… I sat there, a stranger in the audience, and continued to watch the dancers lift and glide, the music floating through all of us in attendance and transmitting that timeless something…the thing of connection. Then my experience transformed because I realized that when we connect, when we form bridges, everlasting pathways, even ones made of the intangible: sound, the physical: dance, and the visual: words, we find and share happiness. 

And that's what I do with writing; I bring my wants and needs to wrestle with the ugly and painful until what's left alchemizes into something in which I see beauty and makes me happy. 

I hope my words connect with readers and that they too glean their inner-extraordinary from unhappiness and sadness. And from the darkness too. If not, let's look up, there are stars in the sky.


*This article also appeared on Hypable

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Supercross Me Cover Reveal!


I'm so excited to share the cover for SUPERCROSS ME! 
I read the first book MOTOCROSS ME and I've have been eagerly awaiting the follow up. 

So, what's SUPERCROSS ME about?

Hana thought that love was all she would need to get through a long distance relationship, but fame had another thing in mind when Ash Carter became the hottest rookie on the Supercross circuit. It’s been five months since Hana and Ash called it quits. They say it was mutual, but she’s not so sure about that now. 

In an effort to cope with the overwhelming hurt of losing her first love, Hana has thrown herself into her work at Mixon Motocross Park. She’s now fluent in the world of dirt bikes, sparkling trophies, and checkered flags. She even has a game plan for dealing with Ash’s upcoming visit to his hometown: avoiding him completely. 

When tragedy strikes Mixon Motocross Park, Hana is forced to choose between taking another easy way out or pushing through the pain to keep her new life, and job, afloat. 

Everyone always said the motocross family was fun, but they never warned how badly it can hurt.

Add SUPERCROSS ME to your TBR and preorder below!

Amazon pre-order link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CV5EBPQ



Author Bio:

Cheyanne Young is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, and collecting nail polish. After nearly a decade of working in engineering, Cheyanne now writes books for young adults and is the author of the City of Legends Trilogy. She doesn’t miss a cubicle one bit.

Cheyanne lives near the beach with her daughter and husband, one spoiled rotten puppy, and a cat that is most likely plotting to take over the world.


^AND I'd like to add that not only is Chey a great author, but a great human-friend-puppy-mama-nail polish fan. Seriously guys, she's the BEST! <3


Visit Cheyanne: www.cheyanneyoung.com 

And be sure to say hi and hangout on her socials: 



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Pearl Release Day!

Today (Er...yesteday. In all my excitement I forgot to press publish. Derp!) is the day PEARL is officially available to buy and read and review and maybe tuck itself into a pocket in your heart and stay there a while or touch you in a way that is inspiring or tear-making or evocative. 

AND ohmygoshIcan'tbelieveit! 

If anyone asks if the second time having a book published is as exciting as the first time, I already have the answer: 
Yes! Yes! Yes!

You know though, time is a funny thing. Have I said that before? I think so. It seems like just a few weeks ago, I was planning and preparing for pub day with bookmark designs and teasers and hoping with fingers crossed that people would read the thing. 

Then months before that, I had that buzzing feeling in my belly, like this is really happening, and wow I'm so grateful to everyone who played a role in getting the words I'd written into a book-shaped thing. 

Before that it was summer and I was crazy with edits... Then, we're talking for years, there I was hunched over my laptop, writing, writing, writing and revising, revising, revising my little heart out. 

And now here we are! You may be getting a copy of PEARL in the mail today or downloading the book onto your Kindle and I have about a thousand thank yous and bouncy puppy-dog kisses and hugs to give everyone! 

Mwah! Mwah! Slobber! Slobber!

Phew! It's been a whirlwind and I've been completely swept up in the magic of it all, and oblivious to how fleeting it is, but the best things always are like that and then we look back and think, wow, that was pretty awesome. *Author sighs and nods, looks around knowingly.* Yep, it is pretty awesome and I'm pretty lucky so thank you for helping make that so! 

Here you go readers, I officially present, PEARL!


Hardcover

Paperback

Kindle 

Audio

IndieBound

Add to your Goodreads TBR


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! 

If after you read the novel, I'd love to hear what you think so please leave a review. Now, I'm going to go read (because that's my reward for doing this thing!) What am I going to read? Well, some Gayle Forman is at the top of my list ;-)