Today I’m talking with my friend, Stephanie Morrill. I really wish I could swing by her house and visit. Alas, we live too far apart, so I am forced to be an email/blogging friend. *sigh* Such is life.
Steph’s publisher has put her fabulous book, Me, Just Different (the first in her Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt trilogy) on a free ebook campaign. And that means all types of ebooks, not just the Kindle kind! So, if you have an ebook reader, follow these links to get your copy of Me, Just Different right now. You can’t beat this price, and you can always read it later if you don’t have time now. It won’t be free forever.
Amazon.com: Click here.
Barnes&Noble: Click here.
I love the Skylar Hoyt books, Steph! And I’m so excited about the special promotion that’s going on. Do you have plans for more books with these characters?
Some of the characters will make guest appearances in other books of mine. In fact, there’s one in my upcoming release, The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet. It’s a little sneaky, though, so I’m curious to see who catches it. But The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series is complete at three books.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer of “serious” novels who lived in New York City. I compromised on the serious thing when I finally admitted to myself that I don’t write literary fiction, and I traded NYC for my husband. Great amendments to my original dream.
How old were you when you got your first book published?
I was 25 when Me, Just Different hit shelves.
What do you consider one of your biggest life adventures?
Well. Anytime I get on an airplane, it feels like quite an adventure. I’m not the calmest flyer!
When I was 21, my husband and I moved away from our families and our hometown of Kansas City to Orlando, Florida. Even though we’d already been married a year and had been living in our own place and all that grown up stuff, it felt like we had REALLY moved into adulthood. It was a wonderful—and stretching—experience.
Getting a fresh start is harder than it looks.
Skylar Hoyt is a girl who seems to have it all–she’s pretty, popular, and has a great-looking boyfriend. Her senior year should be the best one yet. But a horrible experience at a summer party has changed everything. Now she’s vowing to make better choices, including going back to church. But as Skylar tries to gain new perspective on life, the world as she knows it begins to fall apart.
Her parents are constantly fighting. Her younger sister has a big secret that Skylar is forced to keep. The guy she’s dating is annoyingly jealous. And the new guy down the street is just plain annoying. In the midst of the chaos, Skylar starts to wonder who her real friends are and, even more importantly, who she is.
Skylar runs into big-time friend trouble in these books. Steph, what advice might you give girls whose friends aren’t behaving like good friends should?
Oh, I know! Poor Skylar. Skylar and I don’t have a ton in common, but toxic friendships is one of our similarities, unfortunately. (I would much rather have her sewing skills!)
I would say don’t be afraid to put physical and emotional distance between you and a friend who isn’t behaving the way he or she should. Physical distance can be really hard or even impossible when you’re in the same class or youth group, but emotional distance can be achieved with drawing clear boundaries. (I’m so thankful for reading one of the Boundaries books by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. I actually read the marriage one, but it helped me a ton with my friendships too.)
Sometimes we think of boundaries being rude walls we put up, but really it’s just drawing a line between you and another person saying, “This is me, and that is you. I want to let good, healthy stuff into my heart, and I’m using this boundary to keep unhealthy stuff out.”
I would also say extend grace and forgiveness whenever you can. I know I did mean things to friends in middle and high school that I feel horrible about now. We all make mistakes.
What new fictional adventure are you working on now and when can we read it?
My next release is The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet, which is coming out in May. I’m so excited about this book! Ellie is a teen writer, and I have a heart for teen writers. Plus a bunch of readers over at GoTeenWriters.com helped me brainstorm the idea for the book that Ellie is writing and trying to get published. It was really fun to collaborate with them.
Ellie Sweet is a lot of things—good girl, novelist, silent adorer of the new boy at school, Palmer. But when “outcast” gets added to the list, she decides it’s time to take reality into her own hands … and tweak it as needed.
In the pages of her book, she’s Lady Gabrielle, favorite of the medieval Italian court. Her once-friends are reduced to catty ladies-in-waiting, and the too-charming Palmer—who in real life never spares her a second word—gets to be nothing more than a rake wracked by unrequited love for her. She even has a perfect real-life villain in the brooding Chase, who hails from the wrong side of town.
But just when she’s getting along great in her fictional world, the real one throws her a few curves. With Chase pursuing her, Palmer wanting to date her—but in secret—and the details of her manuscript going public, Ellie suddenly receives more attention than she ever really wanted. And when her former-friends discover what she’s been writing, they’re determined to teach Ellie a lesson about the severe consequences of using her pen as her sword.
Love it! I’ve already read Ellie Sweet’s story, and I can’t wait to put the book on my shelf. Where can readers learn more about you and your writing?
First chapters of my Skylar Hoyt books are available at my website, www.StephanieMorrill.com. And if you’re a teen writer, come hang out with me and Jill at www.GoTeenWriters.com. Thank you so much for having me, Jill!
Thank you! And, readers, go download Stephanie’s book now! It’s fabulous!
Me, Just Different, Book 1 in The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, FREE. Grab it for your teen! Click to Tweet this!
Do you need help setting boundaries in friendships? Click here to Tweet this!
It’s time for another installment of Countdown to Captives! We are only two weeks away from the release day. Some reviews are starting to come in, which is exciting. Here are a few quotes I’ve gotten so far.
“Expert worldbuilding and fascinating characters collide in an adventure that begs the question: What would you do if you were torn from your home and forced to adopt another culture as your own? Williamson’s characters surprised me and I can’t wait to see what they do next!”
–Shannon Dittemore, author of the Angel Eyes trilogy
“Intriguing and slightly unsettling, Captives is a phenomenal addition to the world of dystopian literature. Jill Williamson has done it again.”
–Christian Miles, teen author
“Jill Williamson’s compelling young characters shine in Captives as they face a dark world beset by a lethal plague and a devastating betrayal that threatens their lives.”
–R. J. Larson, author of Prophet
“Any time I pick up a book by Jill Williamson, I know to expect an adventure that’s both creative and captivating. And Captives was no exception. From the first page, Captives held me enthralled with an original plot, flesh and blood characters, heart-racing action and plenty of peril. A high-stakes dystopian novel, Captives is sure to leave readers with paper cuts from turning the pages, and begging for more when they reach the end.”
–Gillian Adams, author of Out of Darkness Rising
“Captives is a compelling adventure about the bonds of family and love despite all obstacles, grievous mistakes, and a haunting future. Portrayed in only the way Jill Williamson can, Captives is a gut-wrenching story. I winced, I cringed, I groaned and I cheered!” –Ronie Kendig, Christy award winning and bestselling author
I’ve got two more ARC copies to give away today. But before I get carried away, here are last week’s winners:
Congrats! Today’s freebie is the story of how I came up with Captives. Check it out:
And to enter to win one of the two advanced reader copies of Captives this week, all you have to do is help me brainstorm some names for my next fantasy novel. Anything you think that sounds cool. Here’s the name I’m thinking of calling my hero: Hezukariah. Maybe it’s too weird. Naturally, though, he hates his name and goes by Hez.
My website broke last week. And it’s still a little broken! (So sad.) My image uploader isn’t working at all. I’m trying to find someone who knows WordPress who will help me get the thing fixed. In the meantime, I’m going to make up for missing last week’s Captives ARC giveaway by posting two freebies this week and giving away two ARC copies!
I know, you’re excited, right?
But first allow me to choose the winner from last week’s entries. And let me just say that I loved hearing about the maps you guys love. It was awesome to Google them all and stare, transfixed, at them for hours instead of writing. Oh. Um … yeah … Anyway …
The winner of an ARC of Captives is: Christianson F. *raging applause and whistles*
And now for today’s contest.
My first freebie is my Pinterest inspiration page for Captives. As I researched, I pinned images to the board I created for the book, and that way I could find things quickly if I wanted to remember a detail or just needed a creative boost.
And I can now share it with you.
I’m not sure if you need a Pinterest account to view the board or not. But here is the magical link: http://pinterest.com/jillmwilliamson/inspiration-for-captives-the-safe-lands-book-one/
My second freebie is the prologue and chapter one of Captives, which Zondervan has posted on Scribd!
And now for the giveaway. Enter on the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
It’s been quite a while since we did a Team Novel Teen blog tour. We now have several blog tours lined up over the next few months, and I’m really excited about them. There are lots of great books out there, and we can’t wait to help spread the word.
Today’s book is Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker. (A teen author—woot!) Chasing Jupiter is a historical fiction novel with a coming-of-age feel. You can learn more about Rachel and her books on her website: http://www.rachelcoker.com.
Team Novel Teen did a blog tour for Rachel’s first book, Interrupted, which you can read by clicking here.
Rachel has a YouTube channel where she posts little videos of herself telling stories about her life or answering questions. Here is a video of Rachel sharing how she got the idea for Chasing Jupiter:
And here is my book review for Chasing Jupiter:
Scarlett’s family is a little out-of-the-ordinary. Her dad is obsessed with politics, her mom is always working, her older sister is becoming a hippie, and both her little brother and her grandfather have special needs. Scarlett is the one trying to hold it all together. The summer starts out with her little brother Cliff’s wish to build a rocket so that he can be the first astronaut to travel to Jupiter. So Scarlett and the cute neighbor boy, Frank, make a peach pie stand and start selling pies to make money for the rocket. But things don’t always go as planned in life, and when Scarlett’s life starts to crumble around her, she has to find her own way.
This was a sweet book. It takes place in 1960s Georgia. I fell in love with the characters from the start. Rachel Coker has a gift for creating the most endearing people to read about: Scarlett with her big heart, Cliff with his big dreams, and Grandpop Barley with his red necktie and addiction to peanut butter. The story sucked me in from the start. I loved Scarlett and wanted to see her and Cliff make that rocket! I also thought it was great fun to see Scarlet and Cliff watching the first men on the moon.
A few things distanced me from the action. Several important events were told after they happened. Once, a side character died, and it was mentioned after the fact, like it was no big deal. But someone like Scarlett would have made sure to be there for her loved one—to make sure he got to attend the funeral. And later, the fact that Frank had come to the hospital and the fact that he’d chosen a college and moved away … these things were mentioned after they happened, nonchalantly, which felt like mistakes in the story. These scenes would have been so much more powerful told in the action of the story.
Don’t get me wrong. I still liked the story very much, and I cried! My heart broke for Scarlett and her family. This is an entertaining and powerful book. Rachel has a gift for telling good stories. I know we’ll see many more of them in the future. If you haven’t read Rachel’s books before, be sure and check them out!
*I received this book free for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker by clicking on the links below, and click here for more information about Team Novel Teen.
ADD Librarian • Book Nook 4 You • Blooming with Books • Bookworm Reading • Christian Book Review Blog • CTF Devourer • Gillian Adams • Jessica Laurie • Jill Williamson • Labor Not in Vain • Rachelle Rea • The Ramblings of a Young Author • A Slightly Nerdy Bookworm • Shadow Writer World • Surrendering All of Me • Worthy2Read
Review by Jill Williamson
Chris has returned home to Solitary, North Carolina. They have his mom, so he needs to do what they say—or at least make it look that way. But it’s not easy, especially when they threaten Kelsey, who’s been the only good thing in Chris’s life. What’s a guy to do?
I don’t want to give away any more than that. This was book four, the conclusion of the Solitary series. It lived up to my expectations. I flew through the book, anxious to get to the end and find out what was going to happen. All I can say is, I’m thrilled with how everything worked out. I review a lot of books: books I love. And I donate 90% of them to my church library. But I keep a few. And I’ve kept this series because I liked it that much. Thrasher is a gifted storyteller. He’s created a wonderful character in Chris Buckley. This is a series I will likely read again someday. Love it.
If you already have the paperback, please download the free ebook as well. The more downloads the book gets over the next two days, the more people will find out that the book exists. That would be so cool!
So, if you don’t mind, please go buy a FREE book to support me and the Blood of Kings series.
Thanks so much!
Calling all writers in the Oregon/Idaho area! There is a fun, one-day writers conference coming up Saturday, March 16 in Boise. I’m teaching a class on storyworld building. Brandilyn Collins, Robin Lee Hatcher, Peter Leavell, and others will be teaching as well. If you write books and are anywhere near us, come! It’s going to be a blast!
See the IdaHope Writers website for more information.
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with drawing maps for the storyworlds I create. If you want to see some of the others, click here.
Captives, my new young adult dystopian novel, is releasing April 2, 2013. To celebrate, I’m releasing something new each week. Today, it’s the map from the front of the book. I’m also giving away one advance reader copy per week until release day.
So, first allow me to choose the winner from last week’s entries. Drum roll please?
And the winner is: Emma E.
Congrats, Emma! For those of you who didn’t win, you’re welcome to enter this week’s drawing!
Here’s the map I drew for The Safe Lands. It takes place in what was the former ski resort of Mount Crested Butte, Colorado. Click on the map to see it closer up.
To enter to win this week’s advance reader copy of Captives, leave a comment telling me what map is your favorite from books, TV, or movies. Mine, I think, is Middle Earth, though the Maurauder’s Map is a close second. I love those little moving footprints.
Brielle and Jake are growing closer, but her father doesn’t like it–doesn’t seem to like Jake at all. Brielle is certain it’s because of Jake’s faith, but there seems to be something more that her father isn’t saying. And then her dad starts dating Olivia. Brielle doesn’t approve. It’s just a feelings she has. But feelings aren’t enough to convince her dad of anything, so all she can do is stand by and watch… and pick up the pieces if things go bad.
Meanwhile, Jake still doesn’t know why the ring has vanished from the wooden chest. He hasn’t told Brielle that it’s missing, either, and she can tell that he’s keeping something from her. And unbeknownst to Brielle or Jake, Damien in hunting them both, hoping to take the boy who heals and the girl who sees to his master. The Sabres are coming. And Brielle learns more about the reoccurring nightmare she’s been having, and it’s leading Jake and her closer to something big.
I couldn’t put it down! This is a fantastical story of Biblical proportions and yet Dittemore make it feel so real. Brielle learns that faith isn’t a quick fix. That tough times still come. And the ending… Gah! You’ll be desperate for book three once you close this one.
This is one of my favorite new series. Dittemore has accomplished a rare feat with Broken Wings: she’s written a sequel that’s as good as/better than book one. Beautiful, romantic, and fascinating. I couldn’t stop reading this enthralling page-turner. I’ll be the first one in line for book three.
Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her pastor husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.
Also, please note, everyone who leaves an e-mail address and specifies which format they’d like in their comment will receive a free e-copy of Kicking Eternity! How cool is that?
I really enjoyed Kicking Eternity, Ann! And I’m so excited that you have more books. Do they all follow the same characters?
Yay! So happy you liked it. Each book stands alone, but characters make appearances in multiple books. Kicking Eternity and The Art of My Life are the most closely tied books because The Art of My Life tells the story of the secondary characters introduced in Kicking Eternity.
Do you have plans for more books with these characters?
Three of the books in the New Smyrna Beach (FL) Series are out now, and the final book will come out next month.
Cool! When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I decided I wanted to become a writer the year I discovered Sister Sheila had hair. I was in fifth grade at St. Hugh’s Catholic School in Miami, knee deep in nouns and verbs, when Sister Sheila walked through the door in a new habit that showed two inches of mouse brown hair threaded with silver. Her encouragement of my writing was a positive force while my parents’ marriage went through its final meltdown. Thanks to Sister’s jump-start, I went on to earn a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University.
How funny. What do you consider one of your biggest life adventures, Ann?
My father spent several years building a forty-foot sailboat in our backyard. We launched it in the Miami River and lived aboard at Dinner Key Marina when I was eleven until I turned thirteen. At the time I didn’t realize how unusual it was to live on a boat and ride my bicycle down the dock each morning to attend school. All my friends at the marina did the same. After school every day, I tossed my books onto my bunk, shimmied into a swim suit, and jumped overboard. Sailboats show up in all my books thus far.
No wonder! What a fun place to live, Ann.
Here’s a little bit about Ann’s book, Kicking Eternity.
Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.
The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ life. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.
Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.
Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?
For anyone who’s ever wrestled with her dreams.
Raine had a close relationship with God. She knew what her heart wanted, but she constantly fought against that in order to make sure that she was following what God wanted for her life. And it wasn’t easy! This is a really hard thing for girls to do in real life too. Do you have any tips to help girls bring God into their decision making?
a.) Ask God to show you what to do.
b.) Read something from the Bible every day with your heart open to what God is saying to you.
c.) Discuss your decision with a couple of people you respect who know you well.
What new fictional adventure are you working on now and when can we read it?
Even though Avra’s God came out last month, I wanted to mention it here because it would appeal to YA and NA readers. Here’s the back cover:
In the tradition of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, four friends navigate college and the drama churned up by their Florida beach band to cement friendship and more.
Avra wants love, but drummer Cisco—self-medicating from his parents’ divorce with sex and intoxicants—is a poor choice. Cisco hungers for fresh-baked cookies and the scent of family he finds at Avra’s.
Kallie shares her classically trained singing voice only with lead vocalist Jesse and fights to keep her heart safe. Jesse feeds on fame and hides more than insecurity beneath his guitar.
The friends surf ego, betrayal, and ambition and head for wipe-out. But somehow, when they’re not looking, Avra’s God changes them all.
Sounds like a fun story, Ann. Thanks for talking with me today. You can learn more about Ann on her website: www.AnnLeeMiller.com, follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/annleemiller, or “like” her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AnnLeeMillerAuthor.
View all electronic formats of her books here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/161225