Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Writer Wednesday: A New Adventure of Music, Magic, and Myth from Gail Giles and Deb Vanasse

No Returns
Book One of the Battleband Saga

A dead rat and a song about blood sacrifice set off an adventure of music, magic, and myth that pits a boy band against the devil. “The first movement in an ambitious song cycle of a tale,” says Kirkus Reviews.


Becca’s mouth gaped. She shut it, fast, as flies circled her head.
Manny swung at the winged frenzy. Flaco leapt up and beat at the dark, buzzing cloud. I flailed at the horror of insects that wriggled against my skin. Shouts turned to screams as the flies swarmed the stadium, thousands and thousands of crawling feet and glistening wings. Flies climbed the walls. The ventilation system choked and sputtered with them.
Then came Fred.
Flaco jumped over his drums and pitched his sticks straight at his head. Fedora skewed and face bulging red, Fred lunged. I braced for flames.
Manny grabbed the microphone stand and swept it along the floor, knocking Fred’s feet out from under him. He landed with a thump.
 “Run for it!” Flaco screamed to Manny and me. He sprinted to the edge of the stage, opened his arms wide, and dove into the crowd. Their arms went up immediately, catching Flaco in a huge cradle.
Fred scrambled to his feet and grabbed for me with his jeweled fingers. I skidded out of reach. The crowd whooped and hollered like it was all part of the show. Someone hoisted Becca toward the stage. Manny shoved her back. “Get out of here,” he bellowed. She looked stunned as a clobbered fish.
The audience passed Flaco from person to person until he pointed to the ground. On his feet, he swept off his headband and bowed. Manny and I launched in imitation of his leap. Manny was down and running like a fullback while I was still bouncing in the air like a volleyball.
Fred scooted off the platform and began shoving his way through the throng. “Down,” I yelled. “Put me down.”

About the book

Pod does card tricks to prove he’s in control. Flaco is rich and loyal beyond words to his abuelo. Manny is desperate to get out of his Bar Mitzvah. Together, what these middle-school misfits want most is for their fledgling band to get noticed. When their made-up song conjures a strange man in Pod’s ancient barn, fame follows so fast it’s scary. As strange things spew from Pod’s guitar, the boys in the band wonder how much of their success comes from talent and how much comes from a dark power they don’t understand. What will they risk for stardom?

A colorful cast, complex emotions, lively wording, rich allusions, evocative imagery, and multiple layers of meaning add appeal for all ages.

“Brilliant and strikingly new!” says Terry Trueman, Printz Honor Author of Stuck in Neutral. “You’ll be hard-pressed to find three greater kids to root for in this fight against the devil.”

Hunchback Assignments author Arthur Slade says, “Turn this book up to eleven! It puts the buzz in Beelzebub and the power in power chords.”

About the authors

Gail Giles is the author of six young adult novels, including What Happened to Cat McBride and Dark Song. Her debut novel, Shattering Glass, was an ALA Best of the Best Book, a Book Sense 76 selection, and a Booklist Top 10 Mystery for Youth selection. Her second, Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters, was an ALA Top 10 Quick pick and a Book Sense 76 selection. She has over 12,000 ratings and is in the top 50 followed on Goodreads.

Deb Vanasse is the author of more than a dozen books for readers of all ages. Her debut novel, A Distant Enemy, was a Junior Literary Guild selection and is featured inBest Books for Young Readers, as was Out of the Wilderness. Two of her books have been selected as “Battle Books.” Follow her at

You’ll also find No Returns at e-book vendors and through bookstores everywhere.

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

A Writer's Space: Where the Magic Begins
I was invited by the lovely and talented young author, Chele Cooke, to participate in this fun and unique blog tour. This week I'm answering four questions about my writing process. I've tagged three other authors to answer these questions on their blog next week.

1) What am I working on?
Emily's Heart by Natalie Wright
Having recently launched my third book, Emily's Heart (Book 3 of The Akasha Chronicles). I've been spending a lot of time writing blog posts, answering interviews, and generally flitting around the cybersphere. But I'm also gearing up to start a new teen, science fiction series (working title H.A.L.F.). I'M SO EXCITED about this new series!!! Well, it's not so new. I had the idea back in 2010 and actually finished the first draft in the summer of 2012. But I shelved it for a while so I could finish up The Akasha Chronicles. But even though it was "one the shelf", by brain and subconscious were still hard at work on it. I'm stoked about the new direction the story has taken in my brain. It will be like The X-Files meets the T.V. show Roswell with a pinch of The Good, the Bad and The Ugly. I'm in the worldbuilding and character development stage right now, but will be sitting my butt in the chair in March to bang out a (second) first draft. I hope to release Book 1 of the series in the Spring of 2015. Stay tuned ;-)

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The Akasha Chronicles
My first series, The Akasha Chronicles, isn't quite like anything else out there! There are a couple of reasons. First, my writing tends to cross the borders between genres. Take Emily's House (Book 1). It's full of magick and myth putting it in the fantasy genre (complete with a spiteful pixie, a banshee, and magickal powers), but it also has a science fiction bent (time travel and black holes at the Large Hadron Collider). Second, The Akasha Chronicles is about Emily's spiritual journey. On the surface, it's a fun series with lots of action and adventure, a bit of romance and the third book is a dystopian lovestory. But taken as a whole, it's a chronicle of a spiritual warrior's journey. There aren't many books written for teenagers that are about a young person's spiritual journey! It's just about absent from teen literature. But readers (especially the 1.4 million reads on Wattpad) have proven that teens enjoy books that make them think. That make them question. And that give them hope.

3) Why do I write what I do?
Because I have to write what I write! It's as if I don't have a choice. I have lots of ideas but some grab hold and become like an obsession, begging me to give it voice. Those ideas become notebooks full of notes, folders full of research, drawings of characters and scribbled on maps. The ideas that begin to fill a notebook become a novel.
4) How does my writing process work?
My stories typically start with a plot. I often have a story come to me in beginning, middle, end form. I then work from the plot idea and consider characters, worldbuilding, etc. I do not outline per se, but I do write a synopsis hitting the main plot points. I spend quite a bit of time working on character back story and I try to understand the main characters and their motivations, etc. before I begin to write. I try to write the first draft in a short period of time (short for me means 30-60 days), then I let it simmer for a while. Then I go back to the manuscript and read, revise, re-write and repeat. I do that until I'm sick of looking at it and can't think of any way to improve it. At that point, it's ready for initial beta reader/content editor. Then the revision process starts anew. My books generally take about 9-13 months to complete. Now that I'm no longer practicing law, I might be able to produce books more quickly. We'll see ;-)
Chele Cooke
Author of Dead and Buryd
Thank you again to Chele Cooke for tapping me to participate in this blog tour. Please check out Chele at her website and do read her debut novel, Dead and Buryd.

And next week be sure to check out Heather Sunseri's blog for her post about her writing process. Here is a little bit about Heather.

Heather writes young adult science fiction romance (but don't let the science fiction trip you up—it's mostly romance). Born and raised in a small town in Central Kentucky, which can be quite boring at times, she had no choice but to create stories in her head in which she can be anything from an FBI agent to a mad scientist who clones human beings to an actual cloned human with supernatural mind control abilities. You can find out more about the stories Heather writes and her publishing journey at or if you want to discuss other fun life experiences, join her on her brand new experimental blog,

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Emily's Heart Release Celebration and February Book Giveaway

The Akasha Chronicles
by Natalie Wright
As you know, my third book, Emily's Heart, *officially* released on February 1. And what better way to celebrate a new release than with a giveaway? What's up for grabs? How about a copy of Emily's Trial, book 2 of The Akasha Chronicles (*see details in the Rafflecopter below). And a gift card. And a swag bag! I've given you lots of ways to enter and the easiest is to leave a comment here on this blog post. 

And to increase your chances of winning the giveaway, you can stop by other blogs hosting me this month and comment and tweet to increase your odds ;-) I'll update this list all month to add additional blog links, so check back often.

As always, thank you for stopping by my blog. Happy Reading!

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