Monday, October 7, 2013

Winner of my bonus giveaway!

Thank you all so much for taking part in the YA scavenger hunt! It was so much fun!

The winner of my bonus giveaway is: Veronika
I'll email you soon!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to the Fall YA Scavenger Hunt!

I'm very excited to be part of the hunt. It's my first time, so hopefully things will go smoothly! For more info please go to the official YA scavenger hunt website
There are three teams and three contests, and you can enter them all of course to win a ton of signed books. I'm part of the red team.

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the red team, and then add them up. My secret number is highlighted in red.
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 October 6th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Okay. I think that's enough. It's time to introduce the author I'm hosting, don't you think?
And here she is:

 AMY CHRISTINE PARKER writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter @amychristinepar.

During the hunt Amy is offering a copy of her book GATED. 

Here's a short summary:
GATED follows a teenage girl named Lyla who has been living in a religious cult after the disappearance of her sister. While her parents are hopelessly under the sway of the group’s leader, Pioneer, Lyla is drawn into a dangerous situation when she begins to question Pioneer’s prophecy about the impending apocalypse.

Now you're probably wondering what the bonus content is. A deleted scene from GATED!
And here it is:

Deleted Scene from Gated
The following scene was cut during my final revisions. I still like the scene because I think it shows something about Will, Lyla, and Marie’s characters, but ultimately it slowed the pace of the book and wasn’t necessary for the story’s plot arc. Enjoy!

I spend the next half hour sprawled across my bed, flipping through the few art books I’ve managed to squirrel away from the clubhouse library. They calm me almost as well as painting does. Most of them are landscapes of places I’ll never see. I try to imagine walking through the paintings, mentally touring the streets of London and the Paris museums. It makes me sad to think that when we finally do climb out of the Silo, these places won’t exist anymore. I sometimes wonder if I might have gone there one day if Karen had never died and we’d never come to Mandrodage Meadows. But this kind of thinking is dangerous because it suggests that if those things hadn’t happened, the end of the world wouldn’t be coming—and it is. There’s no point in supposing things that will never be. In a way, Karen saved us from a danger we didn’t know existed until she was gone.
I pull out the last book in my stack and turn to my favorite painting, the one I came across just last week. Pioneer doesn’t know that I have it, no one does. It isn’t so much that he wouldn’t allow me to borrow this book, or any of the others for that matter. It’s just that so few things here are private and something about the paintings that speak to me is private, a tiny piece of who I am brushed onto the canvas by someone who seems to understand just what I feel, but can never really express. I can’t explain it and I don’t want to. Maybe some things aren’t meant to be shared. These books are my only form of rebellion. I try to tell myself that everyone needs something all their own, but still I am careful to listen for footsteps outside my door.
The painting is called Christina’s World. I saw it first last Monday. We were gathered in the Silo for school. Pioneer teaches us in there to get us used to being in the Silo a little each day. That way the transition to living inside of it full time won’t be so jarring. He is the one who teaches most of our classes. He wants to be aware of what we’re learning, to have a hand in what we know so that he can be sure we internalize all the important lessons our current world has to offer before it’s gone. He says that we are the keepers of all of the culture and history that will be preserved for later, when we rebuild our world. He doesn’t want us to leave anything important behind.
He carefully chooses what subjects we will study. Mostly we concentrate on history, art, music, science, and literature. Will, Beth, and Stephen have also studied advanced mathematics since they have an in-born talent for it according to Pioneer. The rest of us were excused from learning more advanced math once we learned the basics of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.
Pioneer’s a good teacher—thorough, but entertaining, so none of us really minds being stuck in the Silo for several hours too much. You can always tell when he’s interested in what he’s talking about because he’s unable to keep still. He paces the room, coming to rest once in a while in front of one of us, his hands always attaching themselves to our shoulders like somehow they’ve become jumper cables and the information he needs us to know will flow through them and directly into our skin. It’s sort of fascinating to watch him slowly start to almost physically vibrate as whatever we’re talking about charges him up. It’s hard not to catch his excitement simply by watching him.
I almost always try to concentrate on the fake windows Pioneer had installed on the wall when I am in the Silo. They are blown up pictures of the landscape outside with special lighting to make them appear more dimensional and real. They show a summer scene, the bright green grass of the prairie and the almost full grown corn in the very field we ran through yesterday. Pioneer engineered it so that the pictures could be swapped out seasonally. I know in a few weeks, when we go into the Silo for good, the windows will look out on trees rioting with color and a sky so blue you can almost feel the imminent chill in it. Unfortunately, staring at them has never done me any good because they are too still, too perfect to be real and it only accentuates the fact that we are encased in cement with only dirt beyond it.
That particular day Pioneer was sitting cross-legged on the floor in the middle of the room. There were stacks of books around him in a semi-circle. All of them were oversized and bursting with colors.
“Come, sit everyone.” Pioneer motions us in and with a collective sigh we all sunk to the floor which is cement like the walls, but has large, vibrant rugs scattered around the room, so it isn’t uncomfortable. Pioneer almost always teaches us from the floor as if we’re all just friends hanging out together. The ceiling fans above us spin in lazy circles and the air swirls with a medley of scents—old paper, leather, the slightly unpleasant tang of cleansers and wood polish. After a morning spent laboring over very physical chores, the room was cool, dim, and quiet and it settled over all of us like a sedative. I yawn just as Marie did and we smiled at each other.
Pioneer passed the books around until we each had one. “I ordered these some time ago and have only just now checked them out,” he said with a smile. “Practically all of the important artists are represented in the pages of these books.”
My insides warmed. The days when we talk about art or literature are my absolute favorites.
“I would like you to study the paintings in these books. Pick out the one that most speaks to you. We will be using it for the next few days for a project.”
Will and most of the others groaned. I am one of the few of us who actually enjoys lingering over art work. Will says that he would rather just look at the real thing or a photograph of it instead of some painted reproduction. Pioneer moved to the side of the room and put a CD into the music player. Classical music slowly filled in all of the empty spaces around us, as soothing as a cozy blanket and we all spread out around the room, some people sinking into the deep arm chairs and others sprawling out across the floor. Before Will could move next to me, I pulled myself into a corner between a chair and the wall, but I smiled up at him so he knew it was nothing personal, I just wanted to check out the artwork alone, without his heavy sighs and running commentary about being bored out of his skull.
“Be ready to tell the rest of us what you love about your chosen piece,” Pioneer called out once everyone was pretty much settled.
I opened up my book and set it in my lap. Almost immediately I forgot about everything and everyone else in the room. I traced Van Gogh’s brushstrokes on Starry Night and imagined diving into the cool blue of Monet’s Water Lilies. I marveled at their ability to take something sort of ordinary and make it exciting and new. I have always loved how Monet’s work is both vivid and subtle at the same time. I imagined being with him when he painted, of standing over one shoulder and watching as the blank canvas filled up with color. What would it be like to learn to paint from someone like him? It made me wonder how my own art would develop if I never had a teacher other than those books. If I’m the only artist left in a few months, can I ever create something close to what these men have? Can I be worthy of the responsibility?
Will scooted across the floor and handed me another book. “You want to trade?” he whispered. I was nowhere near done looking at the one in my hand, but I could tell that he was already bored, having zoomed through his own book in about five minutes flat.
“Sure,” I whispered back, “but I want that one back again when you’re done.”
The book in my lap was full of paintings done by one artist, Andrew Wyeth. They stopped me cold. At first I wasn’t sure what grabbed my attention, and if I even liked his work. The colors and scenes were stark. There was nothing but variances of browns and grays—every other color muted and somehow dingy. But there was one painting in particular that I just couldn’t stop staring at.
Christina’s World.
In it a woman lies on her side in the short grass, her upper body pushed upright so that she can gaze at an old farmhouse that is across a wide field. Her fingers seem to almost claw at the grass and her whole body looks as if it’s tilting towards the house. There’s such longing in her posture. But I couldn’t understand why she was so attracted to the house. It looked old and gray—so close to crumbling that it couldn’t hold that much attraction for her, but yet even without seeing her face, I could tell that it does. She was alone, just her and the house. I remember wondering what she’d turned her back on so she could focus on it, what was behind her that could seem less palatable than a run-down farm?
I stared at the picture long after everyone else had started to whisper and shuffle, now tired of paging through paintings and ready to puncture the relative quiet of the classical music with their chatter.
“You seem quite taken with this one,” Pioneer said from above me. I’m not sure how long he was standing there, leaning against the wall just behind me and watching me watch Christina.
“It’s sort of sad I guess. I wish I could see her face and figure out what she’s actually thinking,” I mumbled, half embarrassed that I’d let my imagination run away with me again.
            “The woman in the picture was handicapped. She couldn’t walk,” Pioneer said as if that explained the painting, but somehow it only confused me more because now her determination to reach the house seemed that much more extreme. Despite the fact that she would have to drag her legs behind her, she still looked ready to make the journey, to sacrifice her comfort and take on the pain of sliding over the rough ground just to reach a house that seemed to be no more than a ghost, a shadow of a place that wouldn’t be there when she finally got to it.
            Pioneer cleared his throat and called everyone else back to order. We took turns lifting up our books and talking about which painting we loved most and why. Marie picked a Degas called The Rehearsal.
 “I think the girls in this one look sort of delicate and pretty,” she said and shrugged as if their looks are the only thing that attracted her to this painting. But I knew better. I saw the way her eyes lingered on the girls’ ballet tutus.
Marie loves to dance and ever since Pioneer started showing famous ballets on the television, Marie has been obsessed with them. Once I found her out in the pasture imitating the moves from one of the ballets. She must’ve memorized the complicated turns and leaps and practiced them on her own countless times, because she was beautiful and graceful. It made me wish that she had the chance to learn from a proper teacher, that she could actually take the stage one day and dance for a real audience. I looked around the meeting room. It’s one of the larger ones in the Silo, but it’s nowhere near open enough or private enough for her to ever consider dancing in it. What would she do when she couldn’t practice anymore? Could she lose something she loved so much and still be happy?
            Will picked a Seurat painting called Gray Weather. It’s of a boat navigating down a wide river with just the hint of a town on the other side of it.
“I dunno, I think I just like boats,” he said in explanation, his face reddening with his inability to express what it is that he actually liked. The painting was quiet and peaceful. It was the perfect choice for him. The boat was already turned in the water; bow pointing towards land like it already had the town in its sights and was confident it would reach it. That boat was like Will, confident of its course. He’s the only one I don’t worry about when it comes to actually being okay with living underground. He has always seemed content with our path, sure of the future.
            I still had the Andrew Wyeth painting open in my lap, but when it was my turn, I didn’t want to choose it. I couldn’t explain what it was about it that kept capturing my attention. It was so different from the relatively happy paintings that everyone else chose. I slid it off of my lap and grabbed another book. I flipped to the first picture I halfway liked; a Renoir called View from Sacre Couer.
“I like the richness of the colors and the sort of fuzziness of the images. It’s dream-like and kind of fairytale-esque,” I said and everyone nodded, but Pioneer who let his eyes travel down to the Andrew Wyeth book beside me and then back up to my face. There was something in his eyes—not quite anger—mistrust maybe that put a tiny pebble of nervousness in my stomach. I don’t know why. It’s never happened before that day. Sitting here now with the book beside me I can’t help wondering if keeping my true preference from him somehow contributed to the false alarm…but that’s silly. The strangeness of the last few days has to have made me paranoid.
He didn’t say anything out loud when I avoided his gaze. By then it was Stephen’s turn. He picked an Andy Warhol of a Campbell’s Soup can. And the whole group was groaning.
What? I’m hungry,” He said and everyone laughed because we already knew that’s why he picked it. Pioneer patted his shoulder and dismissed us. I slipped the Andrew Wyeth book under my arm and hurried into the crush at the stairwell door, sure that Pioneer would stop me and question me about the book and my painting choice, but he didn’t. I left without looking back, but even now I’m convinced that his eyes were on my back, working to see through me and into that space where Christina’s World had taken hold.

That was the exclusive content! Lovely, right? I could have kept reading for at least 5 more hours!
Now don't forget to enter the contest. And don't forget my favorite number!

Of course I can't let you leave my blog without a chance to win another prize. That's why I'm offering a signed copy of my YA thriller IMPOSTOR (the cover is on the right side at the top and below you can find the cover of its sequel DEFECTOR - which will be published June 26, 2014) as well as some Impostor swag, and GATED swag that Amy offered (owl bracelet and bookmarks). All you have to do to enter is leave a comment for this post until October 6th at noon pacific time. I'll announce the winner October 7th on the blog. The giveaway is international!

Continue the hunt! Check out the next author on the hunt, Lisa Voisin

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cover reveal + title reveal for Impostor sequel!

I'm so excited to be able to share with you the cover and the title of the Impostor sequel today.
Finding the perfect title for a book can be a nightmare. The title for Impostor definitely took a while and many many many suggestions, ranging from corny to unintentionally funny...Anyway I was pretty sure finding the title for Impostor's sequel would be just as difficult, but after a few wrong starts it was suddenly there. The perfect name that not only matched the title of Impostor but also captured the sequel perfectly.
But the title isn't the only thing I'm going to reveal today. No. There's also something shiny and pretty waiting for you! A cover!
Cover and title:

Pub date: June 26, 2014 from Razorbill

What do you think????