Sunday, September 30, 2012

End of Summer Shamelessness

Summer may be over, but it's still hot here in Southern California, and for Inkies around the country who have some hot, hot news to share!

P.J. Hoover's debut with Tor SOLSTICE has a beautiful cover along with a wonderful blurb from Cynthia Leitich Smith!

Piper's world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

An imaginative melding of mythology and dystopia, Solstice is the first YA novel by talented newcomer P. J. Hoover.

Awesome, right? And the blurb from Cynthia Leitich Smith:

“Solstice is one red-hot read—it intrigues, sizzles, and satisfies.” —Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times bestselling author

The fantastic trailer for THE CRIMSON CROWN by Cinda Williams Chima is now live, featuring an original song by Roto. Check it out before you can see it theaters this fall!

Cinda's not the only one with a brand shiny new trailer. Grace Lin's STARRY RIVER THE SKY (which now has 5 starred reviews) is also live!

So amazing. Both of them!

Speaking of reviews, DIVERSE ENERGIES, a multicultural YA dystopian anthology (Tu Books) has a new one. The anthology features short stories by our own Ellen Oh and Cindy Pon, as well as award winning authors such as Ken Liu, Paolo Bacigalupi and Ursula Le Guin. Kirkus gave Diverse Energies a very positive review in their October 1 issue:

As the title promises, this sophisticated science-fiction anthology is diverse in nearly every sense of the word... Readers will find poor children working in mines and factories, a have-not yao boy kidnapping a rich you girl and a girl reeling as the world inexplicably changes around her, and no one else notices. Although many stories imagine bleak futures, their tones are refreshingly varied... Careful, curious readers will be rewarded, though probably not comforted, by the many realities and futures imagined here.
Yep, that's a win!

And last, I announced a new book deal a couple of weeks ago, for 2014 and 2015. Not fantasy, but I thought I'd let you know anyway.

Author of POSSESS, TEN and the upcoming 3:59, Gretchen McNeil's new Don't Get Mad series, GET EVEN and GET DIRTY, pitched as Revenge meets The Breakfast Club, about four girls who form a secret revenge society for bullied classmates which goes well until one of their targets turns up dead, to Kristin Daly Rens at Balzer & Bray, in a very nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown (NA).
And that's all the awesomeness for this week!!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Interview with Jennifer L. Armentrout, author of the Lux series from Entangled Teen and the Covenant series from Spencer HIll Press

Parts of this interview appeared on my blog at 

From Jennifer’s website: Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you've heard about her state aren't true. When she's not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russel Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories....which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is the author of the COVENANT Series (Spencer Hill Press), the LUX Series (Entangled Publishing), and the upcoming YA contemporary mystery/thrillers DON'T LOOK BACK (Disney/Hyperion Fall 2013) and yet untitled book (Disney/Hyperion tentative Fall 2014).

I first heard of Jennifer when I signed with Spencer Hill Press this past February and I was astounded by all of the buzz about her online and the sheer volume of books she had coming out. Since that time, Jennifer’s books have been appearing on best-of lists as well as USA’s Today's best books of 2012.

At this point, I have read nearly every book Jennifer has written, including the two released Covenant titles from Spencer Hill Press (HALF-BLOOD, and PURE) as well as the arc of the soon to be released DEITY. I’ve also read the prequel novella, DAIMON. Additionally, I have read both released books in the LUX series from Entangled Publishing, (OBSIDIAN and ONYX).

I must say, although Jennifer and I are actually colleagues, I am a huge fan girl and not above major gushing. First, I admire the sheer volume of her productivity. In her interview on my blog, Jenn admits to writing ten hours every single day! It’s totally amazing. But first, before we meet Jenn, let me talk a little about OBSIDIAN and ONYX. Yes, I love the Covenant series, but oh—DAEMON—her protag from the Lux series is such an amazing character. In fact, that is the thing about Jenn. She writes breathless YA paranormal fantasy, but with such sharp craft, spot on humor, plot twists you never see coming and depth of character, it is totally impossible not to inhale her books in giant gobbles.

Now, about OBSIDIAN. First, the blurb.
Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth. 

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all.
But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me. You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip.
The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don’t kill him first, that is.

I was a little hesitant to read this at first. The whole idea that an alien romance could be swoon-worthy just didn’t grab me. I was worried it was going to be Twilight with little green men. And then I started reading. And reading. And laughing. And gasping in shock and wonder. I was hooked. And when I finished, I quickly grabbed the supplemental novella, SHADOWS, about what happened to Daemon’s missing twin brother and found it riveting as well as heartbreaking.

So now for the blurb on Onyx, the second book in the Lux series.
Being connected to Daemon Black sucks… Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems. Something worse than the Arum has come to town… The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard. But then everything changes… I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me? No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies… 

Onyx picks up where Obsidian leaves off at a breakneck pace. It’s packed with, yes, romance, but also adventure, mystery and all kinds of action. You never know what twist is coming next. Kat, the mc, is a very likable character. She is outspoken, feisty and no swooning violet when it comes to the smart-alecky Daemon. She doesn’t necessarily want to be involved with him, and certainly doesn’t need him to complete her. Yet, somehow, now that she is in on the secret, there really is no escape.

Now, let’s talk to Jenn.

LA: Tell us about how your life has changed since your first book, Half-Blood was released in November 2011.  
JLA: I don't think my life has really changed that much except I get a lot more emails now and comments on Facebook. I still spend the bulk of my time writing and pretending to write. How did you come up with the idea for the Lux series? Obsidian is the book that almost didn't happen. I had turned in a manuscript to my editor, an adult novel, and she had asked if I'd ever been interested in writing about aliens in high school. That was all she said. My response was to laugh and say no, because seriously, aliens in high school? But after I got off the phone, I started thinking about it and the characters came first-Katy and Daemon and then I got an idea for the plot. I wrote the first three chapters and sent them off to the editor and she loved it. I wrote half of Obsidian having no idea what the aliens really looked like. So it almost never happened.

LA: Was Daemon inspired by a real person? What about Kat? 
JLA:  I don't know anyone like Daemon, not really. He's a product of my overactive imagination. The same with Kat, but I did base her book loving tendencies on the bloggers I talk to.

LA: How many books will their be in the Lux series? 
 JLA: Five books, not including novellas.

LA: Tell us about your world building process. Since this is a fantasy blog, inquiring minds want to know. 
JLA: My world building is very spur of the moment with the exception of the Covenant Series, because I modeled that after ancient Greece. I usually start with an idea and build off of there. When I read through the first draft, I tend to tweak the world to make it stand out more or hopefully do that.

LA: Any fantasy writing tips you'd like to share with the readers of this blog? 
JLA: Write what you want to write about-what you want to read, because then you will enjoy what you're writing. Don't write to trends or what you think a publishing house is acquiring at this given moment. Your writing needs heart and that only happens when its something you're truly invested in.

Great having you stop by, Jenn! Keep rocking the world and keep those books coming!

visit Jenn on her blog:
There you can find out about all things Jennifer and her books, (and her smexy characters!)

posted by  Lisa Amowitz
My book BREAKING GLASS will be released by Spencer Hill Press in July, 2013. 
Keep an look out for a slew of yet to be revealed cover designs I've done for SHP. 

visit me at:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Non-Fairy Tale Retellings

Fairy tale retellings are a constant in the fantasy genre, and here at the Inkpot we’ve talked about them before. But popular as they are, they’re not the only tales that can be retold. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of retellings of stories other than fairy tales, which led me to think about the things various types of retellings have in common… and the things that set them apart.

No matter what the original source, I think the best type of retelling is one that draws upon the power and magic of the original while still delivering something new and interesting. And some retellings – of poems, legends, or nursery rhymes– operate under the same sort of logic as fairy tale retellings: the original is spare, and serves as a foundation to be fleshed out. But what if you’re retelling Shakespeare or Jane Austen? I’ve never tried it, but I’m sure the challenges are very different when you’re reimagining an already fully-realized story.
The category that spurred this post is a recent spate of retellings of nineteenth-century novels, and particularly two stellar examples: Ironskin by Tina Connolly (steampunk Jane Eyre with faeries) and For Darkness Showsthe Stars by Diana Peterfreund (dystopian Persuasion). Others that I haven’t read yet, but am looking forward to, include Jane & Catherine by April Lindner (retellings of Jane Eyre & Wuthering Heights). 
Edgar Allen Poe is another author who seems ripe for being retold, with books like the dystopian Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (you can guess which story that’s based on…) and the forthcoming gothic fantasy Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey (based on Annabel Lee).

Greek myths and legends have long been a favorite, from classical retellings like Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman (Hades & Persephone) to contemporary re-imaginings like the upcoming Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (the Odyssey).

It also seems the category of retold stories will soon be expanding, with a variety of intriguing new retellings coming up. There’s a retelling of Peter Pan, Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, currently in stores; a retelling of an Agatha Christie novel, Ten by Gretchen McNeil, was discussed here recently; an anthology of retellings of Mother Goose rhymes, Two and TwentyDark Tales, is coming in October; and though its publication date is still far away, I’m fascinated by news that a retelling of the Nutcracker, Winterspell by Claire Legrand, is in the works.

What other stories would you like to see retold? Any other new retellings coming up that you’re looking forward to – or past retellings that you want to recommend? Please share in the comments!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Today I am so happy to feature our very own Gretchen McNeil and her brand new book, TEN! TEN just released yesterday. Woot! Woot!

For those of you who have not yet read the book, head to your favorite bookstore pronto and buy it! You don't want to miss it. And trust me, it will keep you up all night :)

Gretchen joins us today to talk about herself, her books, and all the good things in life!

 Hi, Gretchen!


PJH: You’ve just run into an old classmate from high school and you tell them your latest book just came out. They ask what it’s about. What do you say?

GMcN: Ten teens trapped on an island with a serial killer. It's an homage to Agatha Christie's masterpiece And Then There Were None, in a throwback style to the Christopher Pike novels I loved as a teen.

PJH: I'd love to hear about the writing process for TEN? Did you plan a bunch ahead of time? Are you a quick first drafter? Do you spend gobs of time revising? How does the writing mind of Gretchen McNeil work?

GMcN: I write quickly, which came in handy for this book. I had to write the first draft of TEN in ten weeks, due to deadlines for my publisher. So there was literally no room for error. I had a tight outline, which did vary somewhat from the final product, but at least gave me a strong guide to follow. In the end, I wrote the first draft in eight weeks, had some trusted friends read it and give me feedback, spent a week revising and sent it off.

TEN by Gretchen McNeil (Balzer & Bray, September 18, 2012)

PJH: Tell us about the research! Did you seriously research a bunch of killing methods online? Did the FBI come after you? What's the craziest thing you discovered in your research stage?

GMcN: Oh, I'm sure my Google searches have landed me on some sort of government watch list. The trickiest part of TEN is coming up with unique ways to kill people. I realize that makes me sound like Dexter, but it's true! Can't just have the same old, same old.

The craziest thing I discovered is that you can actually electrocute someone using a generator, some jumper cables and a doorknob. That's all I'm saying.

PJH: You are doing an amazing job of marketing this book! It's everywhere. When it comes to marketing, what do you think makes the biggest difference in whether a book is successful?

GMcN: The biggest difference is getting your book in front of people and I've found that word of mouth can really accomplish that. One person who reads and loves your book tells ten others. If only five of them read it and love it, but each tells ten more people, etc. etc. Well, you get the picture.

POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil (Balzer & Bray, 2011)

PJH: What is next? WIPs? Future publications? Please tell all!

GMcN: Next up is my Fall 2013 release 3:59, a parallel universe doppelganger story about two girls who are the same girl but different, who discover that their parallel worlds connect every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. After that, I just announced my next two books, GET EVEN and GET DIRTY, books 1 and 2 in the Don't Get Mad series, for 2014 and 2015. I pitched them as Revenge meets The Breakfast Club, about four girls who form a secret revenge society for bullied classmates which goes well until one of their targets turns up dead.

PJH: Thanks so much, Gretchen!


About TEN:

And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, both of which involve Kamiak High’s most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher. But what starts out as a fun-filled weekend turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly, people are dying and the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?


Praise for TEN:

"TEN is a real page turner! Gretchen McNeil knows how to plot a thriller: Her setup is flawless and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat." – Christopher Pike, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the THIRST series and REMEMBER ME

"Gretchen McNeil's TEN is my new number one! I jumped at every creaking floorboard in my house and on the page. This is sure to be a teen thriller classic!" – Nancy Holder, Bram Stoker Award winning author of THE SCREAMING SEASON

"You want to read this book. McNeil incorporates all the thrills and chills of a horror movie into this fast-paced, gripping tale. With its quippy dialogue, it’s like reading Scream. This reviewer got the willies while reading Ten on a sunny afternoon." – Top Pick in Romantic Times, September 2012

"A scary gorefest of murder and mayhem, not for the faint of heart [...] a breathless read." – Kirkus

"Agatha Christie meets Gossip Girl [...] in McNeil’s (Possess) throwback to old-school thrillers [...] has all the hallmarks of a traditional slasher flick, including imprudent sex, gory slayings, and dramatic revelations." – Publisher's Weekly


Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown. Her YA horror POSSESS debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011. Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – will be released September 18, 2012, and her third novel 3:59, sci fi doppelganger horror is scheduled for Fall 2013. Gretchen's new YA contemporary series Don't Get Mad (Revenge meets The Breakfast Club) begins Fall 2014 with GET EVEN, followed by the sequel GET DIRTY in 2015, also with Bazler + Bray.

Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as "Monday."


P. J. Hoover is the author of the upcoming dystopia/mythology YA book, SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 2013), the upcoming Egyptian mythology MG book, TUT (Tor Children's, Winter 2014), and the middle-grade SFF series, THE FORGOTTEN WORLDS BOOKS (CBAY, 2008-2010). You can read more about her and her books on P. J.'s website or blog.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chinese Dragons, Mermaids, and Unicorns

It's fairly well known that the Western legends of dragons differ greatly from the Eastern mythology. Westerns dragons are evil fire-breathing monsters that tend to covet treasure and fair maidens; and are usually heroically killed. Eastern dragons are awe-inspiring, lucky protectors that can rule the clouds or the sea. However, without a doubt, both creatures are referred to as dragons. The differences that a cultural lens create have always been fascinating to me.

Because it is not only with dragons do the East and West have a common creature with conflicting mythologies.  There are mermaids. In the west, mermaids are beautiful, fish-tailed females that lure men to watery deaths.

In Chinese mythology, there is a famous mermaid and she, ironically, brought men to life. Nu-gua, a goddess with a fish tail, was bored  with the earth having only dumb beasts. So, with a lovely clean batch of mud she began to fashion little beings that looked like her--only giving them legs for fun. She was quite pleased with her little people but it took so long to make them and earth was so large and empty. So, to speed things up she took a rope and dipped it into a large batch of mud that was conveniently located (not that nice, and were three different colors of it, black, brown and yellow). This mud-covered rope she spun over her head, the drips and spatters of mud becoming new people.  These new people were, of course, not as well-formed and refined as Nu-gua's original batch but there were a lot of them. So Nu-gua had the people made from mud-drips into commoners and peasants while her hand-formed people became the aristocrats. Thus, the Chinese class system was formed! Not very politically-correct, but it is a contrast to the languid, lovelorn mermaids of the west.

Another same-but-different mythological creature is the unicorn. The Chinese unicorn or the qilin is a symbol of longevity and good omen, just like the Western unicorn. However, the qilin  has the skin of five colors and scales like a fish. It walks on water and its horn is fleshy, to signify that the qilin is an animal of peace--its horn could never be used as a weapon. Very different from the pure white unicorns that I drew on my notebooks in 7th grade!

Other then curiosity, why does this matter? Well, as authors, our jobs are to write stories with a fresh perspective. In all the stories of the world, they say there are only really two plots (hero goes on a journey or stranger comes to town). All the rest is texture and layers--so why not look at a different cultural fabric for inspiration? For all their differences,  the creatures are the same.

Grace Lin is the author and illustrator of picture books, early readers and middle grade novels. Grace's newest novel, STARRY RIVER OF THE SKY, a companion novel  to her 2010 Newbery Honor book WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON comes out in October! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Interview with Jay Kristoff, author of Stormdancer

I'm pleased to welcome to the Inkpot Jay Kristoff, author of STORMDANCER, a "Japanese steampunk" novel that hits stores on Tuesday. What does Japanese steampunk mean, you ask? Well, that was my first question too...

 From reading the description of Stormdancer, it seems like an anime-inspired fantasy (even to someone like me, who hasn’t watched a lot of anime!) – but then I read the word “steampunk” in the description, and was intrigued! We usually think of steampunk as being specifically related to Victorian times. Can you elaborate on the steampunk elements in Stormdancer?

Surely can.

The technology is powered by a fuel called “chi”, which is derived from a flower called “blood lotus”. Problem is, the roots of the flower kill the soil it grows in, and the exhaust produced by the fuel is destroying the atmosphere.

Wealthy people wear mechanized breathers to filter out the chi fumes (most people just have kerchiefs over their faces). You’ve got samurai clomping about in big chi-powered suits of armor, armed with chainsaw katanas. You’ve got motorized rickshaw, a chi-powered railway system and sky-ships (big hydrogen suspended airships driven by chi engines). And the members of the Lotus Guild, who administrate blood lotus production, are all walking around in mechanized hazmat suits to ensure they’re not polluted by lotus poison.

Aaaaaand, as with any steampunk story, you need to have frackin’ goggles (you get kicked out of the Steampunk Author Club if you don’t include them), but at least I have a reason for them – the atmosphere has been so stripped by the pollution that the sun is bright enough to burn you blind if you look at it with your naked eye.

There is clearly an environmental theme that runs through the book. How much of the story stems from that?

The whole setting springs from it, really. I wanted to draw some parallels between our world and the Shima Imperium. The idea that a country would continue growing this flower that’s driving them to destruction seems crazy, until you look at what we’re doing with our addiction to fossil fuels.

But I don’t want to sound like I’m on some environmental soapbox or anything. First and foremost, I wanted to tell a cool story with interesting characters. I wanted to write about an epic friendship, have exciting battles and tragedy and make people cry. But if readers can get something deeper out of the book, that’s all good too.

Your book introduces a creature unfamiliar to readers of fantasy lore: the thunder tiger. How much about this creature was your own invention, and how much is drawn from Japanese mythology?

It’s all mine – there’s no real equivalent in Japanese lore that I’m aware of. I used a few mythical creatures from Japanese sources, like oni (demons) and sea dragons. But the setting for STORMDANCER isn’t actually Japan, it’s just Japanese-inspired, so that gave me a little more freedom to move (translation: shamelessly steal whatever took my fancy and leave the rest).

Thunder tigers are kinda like griffins, except they’re a fusion between white tigers and eagles rather than lion/eagle. Tigers are just flat-out cooler than lions. I challenge anyone who thinks different to a deathmatch on Guitar Hero 5.

A common problem faced by writers writing non-Tolkienesque fantasy settings is that of convincing their readers that this is, in fact, not a Tolkienesque fantasy setting. Did you encounter that issue? If so, how did you deal with it?

Not rrrrrreally. I don’t think so anyway. I mean Tolkien was totally Euro-centric, and there’s pretty much nothing European about the setting for STORMDANCER. You won’t find any elves or dwarves or wizards here. There be dragons, surely, but Japanese dragons were pretty different beasts to the average Euro-dragon.

That’s one of the cool things about riffing off a Japanese source – their mythology is virtually nothing like European myth, so your reader will hopefully feel like they’ve never seen anything like it before.

In theory, anyways :P

Your cover is very different from most of what we see on the YA shelves. Did you have any input in the cover design?

My publishers asked me for ideas early on in the piece, which I dutifully delivered, all mocked up in Photoshop and whatnot. I got very excited about it.

Thankfully, they TOTALLY ignored those ideas and hired someone who knew what the frack they were doing. I did stipulate that we could, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES, have a pretty white girl in a prom dress on the cover of this book. I think there’s a special place in the hells for publishers who white-wash covers. Thankfully everyone seemed on the same page in that regard J

I wrote a blog post about the creation of the cover here. Enjoy!

Thanks, Jay, for stopping by at the Inkpot! STORMDANCER sounds fascinating.
More information about the book can be found at Jay's website:

Monday, September 10, 2012


Quizzes! Love them or hate them, I find myself unable to not click on them, especially when it looks like I might have a chance at the subject material. And what better chance do all of us fantasy lovers have of knowing the material than some quizzes about fantasy for kids and teens?

So I invite you to waste just a few minutes this Monday morning and have fun with quizzes from some of your favorite books! Come on! You know you want to! And thank you for reading!




For the LORD OF THE RINGS fans out there:


For THE LIGHTNING THIEF fans out there:


For you NARNIA fans out there:




Right, so now you want to see what else is out there, don't you? If you find a great one, please share it back here!


P. J. Hoover is the author of the upcoming dystopia/mythology YA book, SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 2013), the upcoming Egyptian mythology MG book, TUT (Tor Children's, Winter 2014), and the middle-grade SFF series, THE FORGOTTEN WORLDS BOOKS (CBAY, 2008-2010). You can read more about her and her books on P. J.'s website or blog.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Day Late and a Dollar Shameless

I apologize.

Last week, I completely forgot the Shameless Saturday post.  This week, I'm a day late.  Ugh.  My brain is leaking like a sieve these days!

But it's okay.  I'm here.  Now.  And I've got some awesome news to share!!!

Starting off with books that are new on the shelves, the amazing Nancy Holder has a new book in stores. VANQUISHED, the third book in her YA dark fantasy Crusade series, is on sale now!

I love that we get to do cover releases here on the Inkpot and Amy Butler Greenfield is thrilled to finally be able to share the cover for CHANTRESS (McElderry, May 2013). Seriously, people, this cover is freaking GORGEOUS! Cannot wait to get my hands on it!!!

We've got two three set of Inkie appearances coming up.  Laura McCaffrey will be joining Tanya Lee Stone, Sarah Aronson, and Laurie Halse Anderson as faculty for the Children's Writing Intensive at Stone Spirit Farm, offered through The Learning Collaborative of Bethany, CT, on Oct 18-22, 2012.

Bay Area residents, be sure to check out the SF in SF reading with Malinda Lo and Cindy Pon next Saturday, September 15 at 7pm at The Variety Preview Room 582 Market Street at Montgomery (1st Floor of the Hobart Building). Malinda will ready from her latest YA Sci Fi Thriller ADAPTATION and Cindy will read from SILVER PHOENIX and FURY OF THE PHOENIX. Signing following.

I'll also be in SF, in my first official signing for TEN, at Books Inc. Opera Plaza Friday, September 21st at 7pm.  I'll be joining by Michelle Gagnon (DON'T TURN AROUND) and Jessica Shirvington (ENTICE.)  The next day, Saturday, September 22nd, I'll be on a contemporary YA panel at the Sonoma Book Festival with Corrine Jackson (IF I LIE) and Dana Einhardt (THE SUMMER I LEARNED TO FLY) and 11:30am.  Then on Sunday, September 23rd I have my Los Angeles launch event for TEN at 2:30pm at Mysterious Galaxy, Redondo Beach.  Yeah, I'm a slacker.  :D

You can check out these and all my fall appearances on my blog.

Grace Lin is back with a new book.  Her October release STARRY RIVER OF THE SKY has gotten not one, not two but three starred reviews! Check them out on her blog.

In foreign rights news, Korean rights have sold for Jennifer Nielsen's THE FALSE PRINCE, making it the eighth language licensed. THE FALSE PRINCE was also named as one of the Best Books of 2012 on both the Middle Grade and the Young Adult lists at

And last, er, I always get embarrassed talking about my own news.  But I'm finally able to share the book trailer for TEN (Balzer + Bray, September 18.)  Warning: it's creepy.


In addition, I just launched my guerrilla street team The Army of Ten, where you can sign up and win some amazing prizes, including books, swag and a meet and greet with me!  :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Interview with Such Wicked Intent Author, Kenneth Oppel

Congrats to Pica Reads for winning the giveaway! She chose a hardcover copy of Such Wicked Intent. Enjoy the fantastic read, Pica! And thanks to all of you who read and commented!

I'm embarrassed to say that I hadn't heard of Kenneth Oppel (not having read much YA before 2008) until I was fortunate enough to be on a panel with him at ALA this summer. And everything he had to say about his young Victor Frankenstein books got me more and more excited to read them--in fact, I was the first in line to get my own signed copies after our panel. ha! Today, I'd like to welcome Kenneth to the Enchanted Inkpot with an interview and also an international giveaway.

To enter, simply comment in this post. I'll select a random winner next Wednesday, 9/11, and the winner can choose a copy of This Dark Endeavor (first book in the series) or Such Wicked Intent, which just released. Please be sure to leave an email so I can contact you! Winner will be announced in this same post on 9/11. Good luck, everyone!

cindy: Could you tell us the first time you read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and what drew you most to the novel? 

ken: I didn't read it till after graduating university, so I never had to study it, just enjoy it as an amazing literary pleasure. For me it has everything a good story should: a driven hero, a surging plot, a monster, and a rich subtext which poses lots of questions about man's responsibilities for (and to!) his own creations. Franmkenstein poses moral questions that are still very relevant today, about the reasonable limits of scientific ambition -- and the repurcussions of really bad parenting. Mostly though, I enjoyed it as a terrific piece of storytelling. It's sort of the first horror story, the first sci-fi story, the first monster story.

cindy: I never did read Frankenstein, either. But after reading both your young Victor novels, I've got it on my list! I love love gray characters. And we talked a little about writing them on our panel together. As gobsmacked and reviled as I am by some of the things that Victor Frankenstein does and says in your novels, I find him utterly compelling as a character. How was it for you writing a hero (or some might argue, antihero) that was so rash and arrogant? I felt that you walked the fine line between hubris and human foibles so well. 

ken: I loved writing Victor. As a writer I think you strive to create characters that exercsie the full range of human behaviour and emotion -- and often these things are not heroic or noble or attractive. Victor is certainly a larger than life character. He's smart, arrogant, rash, selfish, but also loyal and loving and brave -- in short, he's no more an antihero than most of us on the planet. It's huge fun to let loose a character with a temper, but also with a passion and a plan. I think you sympathize with Victor's sense of inferiority around his perfect identical twin, and any reader would sympathize with someone who tries so hard to be good at things, in the shadow of another. Sometimes envy makes people do rotten things. So Victor's not always nice, but you always want to watch him -- and I think you want him to get what he wants, even if it's a bit appalling. I mean, he's Victor Frankenstein, not Harry Potter.

cindy: I think you created a fantastic character in Victor--and he was one of my favorite things about these books. You mentioned that This Dark Endeavor will be made into a film. How far along are you in the process? Did you write the screenplay? And how have you found the film making business compared to publishing? 

ken: The book was optioned by the producers of Twilight before it was published. So far they've got a great director attached (Matt Reeves, who directed Cloverfield) and a team of screenwriters who are working on a second draft of the script. And that's about all I know. After all, I just wrote the book, so I'm quite unnecessary in the whole process! I did not write the script -- I was busy writing the sequel (Such WIcked Intent) and wanted to concentrate on that.

cindy: These books would be spectacular as films. Really hoping that we'll get to see them in the theatres in the future. What is it that draws you to writing speculative fiction?  

ken: I'm attracted  to stories that take me out of my own world to a world of wondrous possibilities. It's more fun for me to remake the world than to try to capture the one I live in. I know that as a reader I want a story to show me something new, and take me someplace I've never been, and seduce me with a voice I've never heard. For me, I find it easier to create stories that have some element of the fantastic, within a world that feels a lot like our own. I guess it's the idea that there are hidden wonders in our own world, that we might discover if we search hard enough. I've written about the world of bats, and an alternative past with airships and a new flora and fauna in the sky -- and Frankenstein was a way of re-entering a favourite story from a new perspective, and showing readers new things about Victor Frankenstein. 

cindy: I think we are very similar readers, Ken! And perhaps, even writers! Could you tell us a little about projects you are working on now? 

ken: Right now I'm working on the screenplay for a film adaptation of Airborn, and writing the first draft of a new fantasy novel.

cindy: I love how vague you are with this answer. ha! humphs! But I understand some need for Authorial Secrecy. =) And last but never least, what is your favorite pastry? (Anything sweet that must be baked!) 

ken: How about a profiterole: pastry AND ice cream combined!

cindy: I LOVE the way you think! =D 

Thanks so much again to Kenneth for stopping by. Lovely Inkie readers, be sure to leave a comment with an email to enter to win either This Dark Endeavor or Such Wicked Intent. Reminder: to enter giveaway:
+1 if you leave a comment for this post
+1 additional if you are or become follower to
Enchanted Inkpot. (let me know in comment.)

Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. The sequel to Silver Phoenix, titled Fury of the Phoenix, was released in April 2011. Her first published short story will appear in Diverse Energies, a multicultural YA dystopian anthology from Tu Books (October 2012). Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Visit her website at

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

YA Fall Covers, Take Two

In yesterday's post, we admired the way cover designers catch our eye. Today's covers draw us in with hints of what's inside the book, whether it's a stern-faced couple, evil eyes, or a gargoyle.

Once again, these books are being published between July and December 2012. I'm intrigued by the crow-cloak on the MAGISTERIUM cover (I liked that crow action in "Snow White and the Huntsman," too) and I'm absolutely nuts about the beetle in the Jasper Fforde cover.

Which are your favorites?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fall YA Covers: Red to be Read

Happy Labor Day!

Apparently the word's out among cover designers: If you want to want your book to catch a buyer's eye across a crowded (we hope) bookstore, better to be red than dead.

Okay, that's it for the "red" rhymes.

Once again, our roster of fall covers--young-adult fantasies this time--is too big for just one post. Today, we'll focus on designers' choices for drawing potential readers to their books. We'll post a second round of covers tomorrow, focusing more on their content.

Bonus feature: What seems to be this season's favorite hair color? Red on the head, of course. (I lied about no more rhymes.)

These covers are for books published between July and December this year. If there's one we missed, please link to it in the comments.

The red works for me, I have to admit--that skull with the blood drops on a black background would beckon me from afar, and I admire the audacity of the red envelope cover on THE WRAP-UP LIST. Which is your favorite, and why?