I’m so so thrilled to reveal the cover for OMEGA CITY, which will be out from Balzer+Bray in April of 2015.

OmegaCity

Isn’t this amazing! I love love love love it.

Gillian Seagret doesn’t listen to people who say her father’s a crackpot. His conspiracy theories about the lost technology of Cold War-era rocket scientist Dr. Aloysius Underberg may have cost him his job and forced the family to move to a cottage in the sticks, but Gillian knows he’s right, and plans to prove it.

When she discovers a missing page from Dr. Underberg’s diary in her father’s mess of an office, she thinks she’s found a big piece of the puzzle–a space-themed riddle promising to lead to Dr. Underberg’s greatest invention. Enlisting the help of her skeptical younger brother, Eric, her best friend, Savannah, and Howard, their NASA-obsessed schoolmate, Gillian sets off into the ruins of a vast doomsday bunker, deep within the earth.

But they aren’t alone inside its dark and flooded halls. Now Gillian and her friends must race to explore OMEGA CITY and find the answers they need. For while Gillian wants to save her dad’s reputation by bringing Dr. Underberg’s secrets to light, there are others who will stop at nothing to make sure they stay buried…forever. 

Pre-order now:
GoodReads | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks

But wait, there’s more! Head over to kidliterati.com for some behind-the-scenes secrets and the chance to win an ARC. And make sure to check out Middle Grade Minded for an exclusive excerpt! All the fun!

Posted in fabulosity, middle grade, omega city 5 Comments

Guess who got locked out of her website? Oops. Had to fix it though, especially as I gear up to add my Omega City section (cover reveal next week!)

Also, this weekend I will be at Capclave in Maryland, along with YA SFF luminaries like Holly Black, Paolo Bacigalupi, Jon Skovron, Genevieve Valentine, and more. Here is my schedule:

Friday 3:30 pm: “Holy Shuftik!” he cried. (Ends at: 4:25 pm)
Panelists: Paolo BacigalupiTom Doyle (M), Diana PeterfreundLawrence M. SchoenLawrence Watt-Evans
How does an author create a distinctive language for characters in the future or in a different world and keep it understandable to the reader? What’s the right balance between creating language and making sure the reader can figure it out without a dictionary appendix to the story?
Friday 7:00 pm: Dressed for Success (Ends at: 7:55 pm)
Panelists: L. Jagi LamplighterDiana Peterfreund (M), Alan SmaleGenevieve ValentineLawrence Watt-Evans
How detailed should your clothing descriptions be in your story? How well thought out does fashion need to be in your secondary world? Does the clothing have anything to do with the character? Does it describe them or allow them to certain things. Do the readers care or notice?
Friday 9:00 pm: Meet the YA authors (Ends at: 9:55 pm)
Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhailPaolo BacigalupiHolly BlackAnnette KlauseL. Jagi LamplighterJames MaxeyDiana PeterfreundJon SkovronJanine SpendloveMichael A. Ventrella
Last year’s meet and greet YA authors in a casual setting was such an awesome party that we decided to do it again this year!Sponsored by MidAmericon II, the 2016 Worldcon.
Friday 10:00 pm: Meet the YA Authors (Continued) (Ends at: 11:55 pm)
Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhailPaolo BacigalupiL. Jagi LamplighterJames MaxeyDiana PeterfreundJanine SpendloveMichael A. Ventrella
The meet and greet continues, although some people will have to come and go for other programming.Sponsored by MidAmericon II, the 2016 Worldcon.
Saturday 3:00 pm: Interview with Guest of Honor Holly Black (Ends at: 3:55 pm)
Panelists: Holly BlackDiana Peterfreund (M)
Saturday 4:00 pm: E.T. Phone Earth. First Contact and Alien Communication (Ends at: 4:55 pm)
Panelists: Charles E. Gannon (M), Carolyn Ives GilmanDiana PeterfreundChristopher Weuve
What happens when humans meet aliens? How might we communicate with them? What barriers stand in the way? How have different SF stories, TV shows, and movies addressed this situation?
Sunday 1:00 pm: Why So Many YA Dystopias? (Ends at: 1:55 pm)
Panelists: Paolo BacigalupiRobert GreenbergerDiana PeterfreundJon Skovron (M)
From The Giver to the Hunger Games why are so many YA novels presenting a bleak future to our young people? And why do young adults like these books so much?
Sunday 2:00 pm: Young, Adult or Both? (Ends at: 2:55 pm)
Panelists: Paolo BacigalupiHolly Black (M), Annette KlauseWill McIntoshDiana PeterfreundJon Skovron
How does a YA differ from a children’s book or an adult book? How is the pacing, characterization, and language different or the same? Are there things you can do in one and not the other? Are these distinctions needed? And what about series like Harry Potter in which the children grow up?
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CHANGES AND ADDITIONS TO COME.

Title: Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow
Description: Join this motley band of talented(and costumed)authors for an entertaining hour of readings,musical numbers, and more! Door prizes for the first 40 attendees! Giveaways  Galore! FUN FOR ALL AGES!
Time: Fri 08:30 pm Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Hieber, Gray Rinehart, E. C. Myers, Delilah S. Dawson, Mari Mancusi, Diana Peterfreund) 

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Title: Athena’s Daughters Authors Meet & Greet
Description: Meet the talented ladies behind the wildely popular Athena’s Daughters Anthology, featuring heroines of all ages & stories for the entire family
Time: Sat 10:00 am Location: A708 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Janine K. Spendlove, Gail Z. Martin, Jean Marie Ward, Diana Peterfreund, Ronald Thomas Garner)

——————-

Title: Writing for the Young Adult Market
Description: Perhaps the most exciting frontier of fiction is YA. This panel will discuss how to break into that market and strategies for garnering loyal readers.
Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: Embassy D-F – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Mari Mancusi, Cinda Williams Chima, E. C. Myers, Diana Peterfreund, Nancy Knight)

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Title: Buffy Summers and Harry Potter: The Chosen Ones
Description: Heroes journeys, multiple apocalypses, a trio of best friends… what else do they have in common? Dual Panel with YA Lit.
Time: Sat 01:00 pm Location: Chastain DE – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Diana Peterfreund, A. J. Hartley, E. C. Myers, Meagan Spooner)

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Title: Hungry for the Hunger Games?
Description: Let’s discuss the world of the Hunger Games—all three books, the movie adaptations & more.
Time: Sun 01:00 pm Location: Crystal Ballroom – Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: E. C. Myers, Diana Peterfreund, M. B. Weston)

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Title: Packing Just As Powerful a Punch: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Description: Young Adult Urban Fantasy can have just as much visceral and emotional impact as that written for adults, and this group of authors explains why.
Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: Chastain BC – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Delilah S. Dawson, A. J. Hartley, Mari Mancusi, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Alethea Kontis, Diana Peterfreund)

——————-

Title: Autograph Sessions
Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: International Hall South – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)(Tentative Panelists: Jim Butcher, A. J. Hartley, Mari Mancusi, Diana Peterfreund)

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::taps mic:: is anyone there? I know I’ve been a horrifically bad blogger this year. I’ve really taken to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr for my social media, because the sharing and commenting features are so much more natural and organic than WordPress.

I was tagged to join the blog hop by my friend, fellow writer, very frequent traveling companion (seriously, we went on four things together last year and have already done two this year (and are scheduled for at least two more) Mari Mancusi, who writes awesome books about dragons. Here’s the cover of SHATTERED, the one coming this September:

Okay. Here are the questions:

What am I working on?

The other reason I haven’t been blogging much. What am I NOT working on? Self-publishing, which I’ve been doing since November, is quite the enterprise, and takes a lot of time. I’ve been working on my self-published books (promoting the first, guiding the second through the production process, writing the third, and scheduling and planning for forthcoming titles)…

I’ve also been working on the OMEGA CITY series. I’m alllllmost through with revisions for the first novel, OMEGA CITY, and I’ve been working with my publisher, Harper Collins, on the concept art for the cover. Middle Grade novels tend to have drawings on the covers (think Harry Potter), and I’m absolutely thrilled with the artist they’ve chosen and the direction they are going in. It’ll be out in 2015. I’ve also started work on the second in the series, currently codenamed GC.

Other things I wrote this year:

“The Deeper the Thorn”, a contemporary retelling of Sleeping Beauty told from the point of view of Maleficent. Yes, really. It’s dark and it’s gritty and it’s about bullying and slut-shaming and herbalism. It’s coming out this summer in Brazil from Editora Record. This is the beautiful cover:

livro dos viloesI heart you, Brazil.

For those of you not living in Brazil (or not speaking Portuguese) who want to know how to get your hands on a copy of this badass story… um… I’m working on that.

“Huntress Sinister”, a killer unicorniverse short story. This makes, I think, the sixth KU short story I’ve published, after “The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn,” “Errant,” “Hammer of Artemis,” “Last of the Unicorn Hunters,” and the now out-of-print “On a Field, Sable.” Good news: For those who have read “On a Field, Sable” you will recognize some of this short story, because “Huntress Sinister” is about 40% “On a Field, Sable.” It’s about Melissende and the events of Ascendant as seen through her eyes. Even better news: it’s available now, in the collection Athena’s Daughters. (You can also get the e-book from major retailers like Amazon, etc.)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Let’s be honest, I don’t know anyone else who has ever written a series about killer unicorns. ;-) I also like to think I have the best fans out there, because they totally put up with me, whether I’m writing about secret societies, killer unicorns, post-apocalyptic romances, underground bunkers, or soapy dramas. You’re all so versatile and broad-minded, I love it!

Why do I write what I do?

To piggyback on the above, I write what I write because I’m drawn to lots of different kinds of stories. I was never the kind of reader to say “I’m only going to read regency vampire romances,” and so it’s not too surprising to me that I’m not the kind of writer who limits herself like that, either. I had a conversation with my Harper editor recently that although I’ve written in several different age ranges and genres, my books are almost always about “awesome girls doing awesome things”. A book is such an awesomely huge undertaking that I don’t know if I’d be able to make it through without a driving passion to get that story out into the world, so I deeply love all my books and am so glad to have readers who agree.

How does your writing process work?

Long periods of mental marination followed by panicked bursts of great output. I’m not a “write every day” kind of gal. I like to think about things for a long time and get them all worked out and right in my head and then put that all down on paper (or pixel).

And…. speaking of Janine K. Spendlove (a fellow contributor to Athena’s Daughters), I’m tagging her on this post. Janine is a force of nature, y’all. I met her at Capclave last fall and we’ve become really good friends since then. She is the author of the WAR OF THE SEASONS trilogy and one of the owners of Silence in the Library Publishing. And that’s just in her “spare” time. She’s also a Marine pilot and a mom. And she runs marathons dressed as Thor.

Yes, really.

 

Posted in Brazil, other writers, writing life 3 Comments

Wow, have I been neglecting you, poor little blog. (What can I say? I’ve discovered how easy it is to post to Facebook. Darn you, Facebook.) I’m going to be better. I have a whole bunch of releases recently out or about to come out and I need to update my website with them!

What have I been up to? Well, I traveled to NYC for the Teen Author Festival, finally finished the Revisions From Hell, wrote a novella, did proofs for all these releases I’ve been talking about (new short story, reprint short story, non fiction writing book), traveled across the country a few times, took my kid to Florida for Spring Break… I’ll do a big catch up post (with pictures) this week.

But today, I’m doing one more catch up. Yesterday was Earth Day, and thus, the release of my friend Rori Shay’s debut novel ELECTED.

Elected-cover-web

Elected is set in a scary future world where ecological disasters have made the ruling power eschew all technology.

(Sound familiar? You know I love a good techs vs. anti-techs story.)

Aloy, the main character, is the daughter of the ruling family, but she has to pretend to be a boy, because only boys can be rulers.

(And you all know how I love a good gender-bend.)

Rori is a local buddy of mine here in DC, and she’s been through quite the adventure bringing this book to market. After shopping and selling her book to a publisher a year ago, after spending a whole year preparing for her release, going through edits, getting a cover designed, planning all her promotion and marketing… her first publisher shut down, a few weeks before her release!

I can’t imagine. I’d still be hiding under my bed. But Rori wasn’t deterred. She believed in this book and she was determined to get it out by Earth Day, since the book is all about saving the environment. Within forty-eight hours, she’d signed with Silence in the Library, the small independent publisher who is doing the Athena’s Daughters anthology, and they are currently very, very close to funding the kickstarter that will allow her not only an ebook release (like her original publisher) but also a paperback and hardcover version.

Don’t you love a happy ending?

I’ll tell you. Publishing is not for the faint of heart. And neither, apparently, is pretending to be a boy in order to rule a future world on the brink of destruction. So check out Elected today!

 

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vmars

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Still abuzz from the star-studded premiere of Veronica Mars! You guys. You guys… I have lost the ability to form words. It was so amazing. I took all the pictures.

First of all–the flick is great. Go see it this weekend! It was a great follow-up to the show, and Rob Thomas and team do not let you down. All the characters you wanted to know about, a ton of surprises. I mean surprises. We gasped, we screamed, we cheered. At one point Faith, my date, actually jumped out of her seat. It was epic! Lives lost, bloodshed, spanning decades and continents… you will love it.

And the party! Every single person involved in that film is a total class act. They are so committed to their work, so involved, so supportive of and generous to the fans that helped make this movie possible. I am so, so grateful to have been a part of this project.

Highlights from yesterday include, but are not limited to:

  • Getting my first blow-out at a cool hair-styling place called drybar, while I sipped a mimosa.
  • Later seeing the girl across from me at the hair place at the premiere.
  • Having lunch and ice cream with Margaret Stohl at a famous farm-to-table where celebrities do lunch.
  • Driving down Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard, Sunset and Melrose and all the other famous streets in the beautiful LA sunshine.
  • The movie! The movie! The movie!
  • The Chinese Theater, which is GORGEOUS.
  • Meeting Rob Thomas! We met him first, in a big knot of YA authors including Rachel Caine and Mira Grant.
  • Talking to Ryan Hansen about Party Down and Friends with Benefits.
  • Having Enrico Colantoni introduce me to Diane Ruggiero (screenwriter!).
  • Talking to Diane Ruggiero about writing!
  • Meeting Darran Norris at the bar (Cliff!) and Amanda Noret,w ho had the most beautiful black gown on.
  • Doing Charlie’s Angels guns with Kristen Bell.
  • Meeting Martin Starr.
  • Chatting and making friends with so many Veronica Mars fans!
  • Dancing with Chris Lowell (at one point, Faith, Chris, and I made a Piz sandwich).
  • And, oh, yeah. THIS:

dohringed

Posted in fabulosity, party girl, veronica mars, writing life, YA 7 Comments

The Ivy YearsI get a lot of email from fans of the Secret Society Girl series who want to know what they should read next. I often send them along to E. Lockhart’s THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE-LANDAU BANKS, which is about a high school student who takes down an all-male secret society. But it’s a very different kind of story, a sort of YA feminist fable, almost, with an omniscient narrator. Still, fabulous society intrigue, so if you like that aspect of SSG, then you’ll love Frankie. I also often recommend the novels of Stephanie Perkins, because I think she has great, really smart romances (also YA), and if you like the kind of guys I write about,  you’ll love St. Claire and Cricket.

Now I have a book to recommend if you want to read about college life at Yale. THE YEAR WE FELL DOWN, which I had the pleasure to read recently, made me so nostalgic for Yale Eli Harkness (As Sarina Bowen has named her Yale-esque campus). Life in the residential colleges, singing group rush, the athlete scene, the dining halls… you know that song “I Wish I Was Back in College” from Avenue Q? Yeah, that.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the cover reveal. (But don’t worry, I’ll definitely be posting again when the book comes out next month!) And here it is: The Year We Fell Down

She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken.

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else can quite understand.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.

Warm, funny, and often heartbreaking, The Year We Fell Down is New Adult contemporary romance. Contains: hot hockey players, too many pairs of crutches, gallows humor, Princess Bride references, and a slightly outrageous vibrator scene. (Sexual situations make the book suitable for ages 18+.)

The expected publication date is Monday, March 17th, 2014, on all of your favorite e-book websites.

Sarina Bowen writes contemporary romance and new adult fiction from the Green Mountains of Vermont. She lives with her husband, two children, eight chickens and an unwieldy pile of ski and hockey equipment.
Posted in other writers, SSG 2 Comments

8246872325_a982f05fcdThis weekend I’m a guest judge at the Cherrydale Library’s Edible Book Contest. I know, right? It’s like the perfect marriage between a novelist and a food critic. Here are all the details:

What is an edible book?

  • It’s any representation of a book title that is made primarily from edible materials.
  • It can look like a book, refer to a character, be a pun on a title etc.
  • It can be as fancy as a decorated cake or as simple as a bowl of grapes (The grapes of wrath?)
  • Check out some of last year’s entries.8247943602_24ea592286

How does the contest work?

  • Deliver entries to the Cherrydale Branch Library from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 1.
  • Awards will be given out at 3 p.m., and then light refreshments will be served.

Competition categories include

  • Best in Show
  • Best Entry by an Individual (Children under 12, Teens 13-18, Adults)
  • Best Entry by a Family
  • Best Entry by a Group
  • Viewer’s Choice

Start baking! There will be prizes!

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vania-disneyIn the months since the release of ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA, I’ve heard from a lot of readers about loving Persis, loving Princess Isla, Persis and Isla’s relationship, general gender-flippery, and even wanting a star cove of their very own. And I agree on all these things.

But today, while reading an article about stereotypical female characters you never see as males, I started thinking about another of my favorite characters from that book: the villain, Vania Aldred.

I love Vania. I named her after my friend, the talented photographer Vania Stoyanova, because that name is awesome and so is she. When I asked the real Vania if I could name my villain after her, she said, “Hell yes!” When I added that the villain was clever and evil and marvelous and liked to wear capes made of black feathers she was like, “Honey, when you’ve made the sale, stop selling.”

But Vania is awesome. She wouldn’t be a good villain unless she was a match for my heroine Persis. She’s just as clever and ambitious and resourceful… not to mention just as conflicted and damaged by the society she grew up in. In another world, Vania and Persis might have been friends. After all, she was lifelong friends with my hero, Justen.

Why is Vania the villain? All characters have flaws, but in storytelling, the villain is the one who has a fatal flaw — one that they cannot overcome or mitigate in order to find redemption. (We’re not talking about tragedies or anti-heroes here.) It’s a lot more fun when the villain is a real person who you, on some level, sympathize with, rather than a blankly evil, evil-to-be-evil capital E-Evil (see also: boring “First Evil” from Buffy versus Glory, who Just Wants to Go Home).  In Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, there’s a one-two punch with villain Gaston, who actually has the same vain, egotistical flaw that caused the Beast’s own downfall. The Beast learns his lesson (hero); Gaston (villain) does not.

I read an article that said the original concept for Frozen was much more in keeping with the actual Snow Queen story, with the Queen as a villain, but when they presented the song “Let it Go” to the Powers that Be, they realized that a song about empowerment and self-acceptance is not a song for a villain. This is not a song about a fatal flaw (see: “Gaston” “Poor Unfortunate Souls” etc.).

I had fun writing the scenes from Vania’s point of view and exploring the way her father twisted Vania’s beliefs, the same way he twisted the beliefs of the other Galatean revolutionaries. Vania is strong (positive), ambitious (positive), caring of her family and foster siblings (positive), respectful of history (positive), and interested in liberating her people from a cruel overlord (positive). She’s also petty (negative), superior (negative),  casually cruel (negative), bigoted (negative), and, worst of all, she’s unable to see the error of her ways. There are other instances of pettiness, superiority, and bigotry in the book from the “good guys” — because people aren’t perfect. Two other Galatean revolutionary characters, Remy and Justen, spend the book overcoming their learned bigotry. Vania doubles down. That’s what makes her the villain.

 

Maybe I’m thinking about this a lot right now because I’m writing a story ABOUT a villain: about the evil fairy from Sleeping Beauty. She’s in my head. Is she good? Is she bad? Is she redeemable? What makes her tick? How’s it all going to end?

I’ll tell you one thing: she’s fascinating.

Posted in star-swept, writing advice, writing life, YA 2 Comments