Four Lessons From My “Desert Friends”

Hi Friends,

I hope you had a wonderful end to 2017 and a better beginning to 2018! A few of you wrote to me with your “one word themes” for the year, and there were some great ones out there. Focus. Fitness. Courage. Finish. No matter what your heart is set on this year, today is the first page of a crisp white notebook. May you fill it with the story of your dreams!

One of the really fun parts of starting a new year is when you get to ceremoniously let go of something ugly, or take a look back at the good and understand how much you’ve grown, how much you have to look forward to, and who has been there along the way.

Tonight I went to my mom’s for posole, and she was waiting with stacks of goodies for my sister and I. My sister got to open a time capsule she made years ago as a school project, and it turned out that my mom had been saving some fun stuff from my elementary school days as well. I now submit this evidence that I should have been a Studio Art major, with an emphasis in illustration:

I know, right? Eat your heart out, Picasso!

These were picture books I made as school projects 20 years ago. I’m only showing you two, but my mom had books I wrote all the way through the 6th grade, and then a series of papers I wrote for my classes. So, over the course of a little less than an hour, I got to see my progression from THE DESERT FRIENDS FIND A NEW HOME to one of the research papers I wrote in the 10th grade. All of these sort of make me cringe, but there were lessons and things I learned about myself as I traveled through time, especially reading Desert Friends:

  1. Jake the Snake, Carl Coyote, and Randy Roadrunner were all best friends with a tarantula, so I wondered if I had some level of sympathy for spiders at one point. The poor coyote even gets injured by a car running around by “A” Mountain whereas the tarantula crosses the street unharmed. Why is the spider faster than the tarantula? Because I liked the spider more? Nah, I think it’s because spiders are evil and the little devil probably teleported. I learned that my fear of them has always gone beyond the natural. Carl Coyote deserved better.
  2. I’ve always had mad love for family. I dedicated all these picture books “to my little sister Ciara,” who was barely even about to become a person at all.
  3. I’ve always enjoyed good, darkly epic villains, especially if they have sarcastic or biting dialogue. I’ll leave you to debate who the villain of DESERT FRIENDS is: the sun who laughs maniacally as he fries the paloverde tree, or the guy who bulldozes through the desert and tells the friends “I don’t care.”

Fourth and absolutely the most important: my mom has always been the most supportive person in my corner, because she took these projects seriously and made sure I did too. She, along with my teachers, found the author in me and made sure he loved what he was doing. I can remember how much fun I had making up stories as a 7-year-old. At 27, I still feel that same unfiltered joy even as I write for career purposes rather than grades. I’ve never looked away, and neither has my mom.

This year, I challenge you to do more of what you love, whether it’s a hobby, a career, something in between, or something far off the rails. If you’re still looking for that, ask what you loved to do when you were seven. There are clues there!

Hold that passion, give it a big hug, and thank the people who always believed in you.

Happy New Year!

Jacob Devlin Logo Small

The Year of Calm

Hi Friends!

I wanna start off with a request: Stand or raise your hand if 2017 was a 10 out of 10 for you.

I see three people! Good job, three. You’re the most optimistic people I know. For all of you still sitting, I’m right next to you! This was a weird, weird year, and I wasn’t totally in love with it. I don’t have to describe it all to you. We know our news feeds have been trash fires almost every other day–so much that I took a “Facebook detox” for about three blissful weeks just to get away from some personal negativity.

And I also know that there’s been a lot of good. I hope you can agree and that you’ve pocketed some really great memories this year. Having celebrated my niece’s first birthday and been invited to serve on my first author panel recently, I’ve definitely had my “10/10” moments. But I won’t call it a 10/10 year. Not by a long shot.

I want to share my goals for 2018 and my “one-word theme”:

  1. Add my current novel-in-progress to my publishing contract.
  2. Complete one novel and one short story.
  3. Go somewhere I’ve never been before.

So here’s my one-word theme: CALM.

Let me clarify. I want my life to be full of exciting new adventures, and I don’t want 2018 to be the exception. I hope it’s filled with places I’ve never seen, things I’ve never done, and new opportunities. I hope I see many new faces. That is something I thrive off of.

It’s on the inside that I need to do some maintenance. I know it sounds cheesy! But I’ll share that sometimes my ambitions and my anxiety get in the way of a healthy mindset, and in turn, a healthy body, and sometimes at the expense of great opportunities. I sometimes worry that the world will open up beneath my feet if I don’t get x amount of words on a page or 50 hours into my work week, and then when I accomplish these goals, I ask “Did I do enough? Are these words strong enough? Will people actually like this?”

As an example, my family recently discussed the option for me to travel to Hawaii with them sometime in the new year. I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii, but without hesitation, I shook my head and said, “There’s no way I can make that happen right now.” My mind was already spinning before I could sit and process it. What about my schedule? Am I on any deadlines? Will so-and-so let me?

But if I can sit, calm down, and be present for a minute, and be okay with taking ten minutes of not doing something, the bigger picture comes clear. I have enough vacation days stored up for this. I’m not going to forget how to write if I sit down on a beach. I can scribble notes on an airplane if I’m really worried about forgetting them.

So 2018 will be the year of CALM. (Literally, I’m going to use the CALM app on my iPhone and hope to meditate around three times a week!) Sometimes we make the best progress by stepping out of the hustle-bustle and off our Facebook feeds, taking a deep breath, and allowing ourselves to recharge. I know that’s what I’m going to do.

Do you have a one-word theme for 2018, any goals, or something you hope to accomplish? (Or any books you can’t wait to read?) Feel free to share ’em with me and I’ll cheer you on! Whatever that is, I want to wish you the best as we close up shop in 2017 and get ready to start a brand new chapter on the calendar!

Happy reading,

Jacob Devlin Logo Small

New Short Story Coming Soon!

Hello warriors!

I’m excited to announce that at the end of this month, I’ll be releasing a very special story from the Florindale universe!

This story will be exclusive only to my newsletter subscribers with no current plans to release it beyond the December newsletter, and that’s what makes it so special! It’s one that’s been on my mind for years, and it’s near and dear to my heart. So I’ll give you just two hints on what to expect:

  • Chronologically, it takes place before the events of The Carver, but can be read at any point in the canon whether you’re brand new to the series or salivating for The Hummingbird. It is truly a standalone story.
  • The focus will be on young Pinocchio and his puppet days. But you’ll see a few other characters you might know and love as well 🙂

If you want to give it a read, all you have to do is be subscribed to my newsletter. This is the perfect time to subscribe, as 2018 is shaping up to be a jam-packed year! I’ll be sending this edition with the short story out on Christmas Eve, and THE HUMMINGBIRD will follow on February 20th!!!

Wishing you a happy Wednesday, and I hope to see you in Florindale soon!

Happy reading,

Jacob

Taming the Dragon (Or: The Art of Revision)

Happy December!

In Jacob news, I saw Coco recently and I wanted to recommend it to anybody who’s down to cry. I have this theory that Pixar uses our tears to water their gardens and that’s why Disneyland is so green and beautiful. But we love them for it, right?

In all seriousness, it’s a beautiful movie. The story, the themes and messaging, the graphics, and the representation of the Latino culture made me happy even if I walked out a little red-eyed! I couldn’t help but wonder about the writers and the process they took to develop the story. How many times did they go back to the storyboard? Did they write somebody out? Did those twists come to them naturally? How many lines were deleted and added after the initial draft?

We have to remember that writing is a fluid and ongoing process and not a one-and-done deal. Recently, we talked about Stephen King and how he nearly destroyed the original manuscript for Carrie. But what happened between the time his wife dug it out of the trash and the first time it was bound into a book? I can’t profess to know much time passed for him, but I can imagine there was quite a bit of work in between, just as the screenplay for Coco probably had to undergo its own share of narrative revisions.

I love when people ask me what my own revision process looks like, because it’s honestly my favorite part of the cycle. Everybody does it differently. Some swear by a three-draft method where it should only take three major revisions to get your manuscript market-ready. I’ve seen a checklist that goes through somewhere around 30 passes. I see merit in both, because you have to use what works for you! For what it’s worth, here’s what do:

  • After I type “THE END”, I put the manuscript into a different font than what I wrote in and then format it to my own liking, usually double-space and Garamond or Times New Roman. Then I save a PDF and pay to have it printed, spiral-bound, and shipped to me. Seeing it bound and spanning a thick stack of paper gives me that happy boost–a tangible sense that I’ve accomplished a major step already. Plus, I really recommend paper as opposed to the machine for that first revision (call me a Luddite if you must!) There’s something almost cathartic and valuable in taking an actual red pen, post-its, highlighters, and marking that bad boy up!
  • The first pass is just me reading for glaring big-picture issues: plot holes, continuity errors, major lapses in characterization, and pace issues. When I see something that needs a change, I slap a post-it on the page. In fact, I slapped one on page one of my current WIP: “rewrite in 1st person POV.” Naturally, this means the first revision takes the longest and requires the biggest changes!
  • Once I make these major changes, I feel ready to show it to betas who can help me assess the big picture. It’s crucial to get outside feedback. Have you ever played Cranium, where it asks you to do something like sing a simple and well-known song using only the syllable “doo”, and suddenly you’re frustrated that your buddy can’t tell you’re “dooing” Happy Birthday? “How can you not know this?” you ask. Of course he’s heard the song a million times, but he’s hearing it in a brand new context and all the info you need is at the forefront of your mind. When you reread your own work, you’re listening to yourself “dooing” Happy Birthday, so of course it makes sense. But other people have to understand you, too. So you ask for feedback. I usually get a couple friends I trust, plus an equal amount of people I’ve never met before, like a professional beta reader who is not invested in my emotional well-being or obligated to be nice to me. When the feedback comes in, I start taking notes and figure out where it all converges. That’s where my attention needs to go in the next draft. I always have to remember to take it with a grain of salt, because it’s not going to come back perfect! 🙂

  • You may have to do this a couple times or find somebody who’s willing to reread your changes, but over time, you’ll start to close all those big gaps. Your manuscript only gets better! Once all those gaps close, the next drafts are about sentence fluency and the flow of the book. I recommend reading aloud. It’ll take a long time, but it’s the best way to catch those places where somebody else might stumble! The sand castle can stand on its own now, but you want it smooth, right? Take your shovel, pat it down, shave off those lumps, and make the words sing.
  • Crutch word time! I run the whole manuscript through a word analyzer and figure out what I’m saying too often. It’s usually a lot of just, so, very, suddenly, was, and even. Find your crutch words, cut them out, and that will usually bring your word count to a submittable length.
  • After this, I close my eyes and hit send. This is right about where I was when I submitted THE CARVER, THE UNSEEN, and THE HUMMINGBIRD. Of course, once the publishers get involved, that kicks off another couple rounds of work, but if you land somebody great, they’ll help you and tell you exactly what they’re looking for while also keeping true to your vision.

Again, none of this is set in stone. It’s different for everybody. While this process has worked well for me, I definitely wonder what kind of work goes into Coco or my own favorite books!

Does your process look any different? Let me know in the comments if you have a revision ritual you want to share!

On starting new adventures . . .

I’m full.

Like, still full. There are still leftovers in my fridge, and I’m desperate to scarf them down before they go bad.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It was hard to go back to work today, but I’m still basking in that family time and the opportunity to reflect on things I’m grateful for: my first year of unclehood, my career, my health, my family, and all of you who have taken part of my storyteller journey!

It’s hard to believe I first signed with Blaze Publishing almost two years ago. THE HUMMINGBIRD is hovering in those terrifying proofing stages that scream “Last chance to find typos!” It’s always a little scary, because I’m reaching that point of no return where I’ll have a full trilogy in the world and there will be no more revisions! My thoughts are a beautiful jumble right now, but I’ll share more with you when February 20 gets closer 🙂

Because this post isn’t about THE HUMMINGBIRD. This is about the infamous question heard by every high school senior, soon-to-be college grad, and author who is about to release the last book of his trilogy and graduate to new waters: “What’s next?”

I can’t tell you for certain what I’m going to publish next or when it’s going to happen, but I can tell you that I recently finished a middle grade project and will start hacking away at it in December to make it readable for my trusted beta team!!!

“WHAT?” you say. “Tell me MORE!”

Mkay.

So for over a year I’ve referred to this only as “the dragon project,” teasing it on social media and barrel-rolling away with no further explanation of what this project entailed. I can tell you that I put the first bricks down just a little before NaNoWriMo 2016, walked away for a bit, then spent the past year straying on and off the path while I worked on HUMMINGBIRD. There were weeks where I was on fire and wrote ALL the words every single day. There were months at a time where I didn’t even look at it, but I kept a storyboard on my desk and printed some artwork that inspired me. I thought of it often, but I was afraid to stray from my comfortable desk in Enzo’s mind, where I sat for three years. But no matter how much time I spent away from the dragons, something always called me back and begged me to finish. After working hard during NaNo 2017, I finally have all the framework down! Or, to use my metaphor from my last post, all the sand is in my box now. Soon I can start shaping the castle!

I hesitate to say too much because there are so many factors that can change when I start revising, and then again when I submit it for publication, but I’ll give you this:

  • There will be echoes of THE ORDER OF THE BELL. I promise you won’t feel left out or in the dark if you haven’t read the trilogy, but if you have, you might see a couple names you recognize. Like my beloved MCU, these books share a universe!
  • The main characters will be brand new: a brother and sister, and their uncle!
  • The weirdest question I had to Google for this project was, “Do krakens have tonsils?”
  • I got to draw (very loosely) from my Italian Studies degree again! The events in this story follow a legend that exists in the background of this particular world . . . a kind of bedtime story they share in Florindale. (I know, right? Bed time stories for fairy tale characters?) That mythical figure is mentioned in THE ORDER OF THE BELL at least once per book, but you probably never thought twice about it! (Hint: Leaf through a tarot deck!)

I should confess that the title changes about once a month . . . for a while it was THE FINCH IN THE DRAGON’S DEN. Then I decided I wanted it to be THE MONSTERS OF KESTERFALL, but I was like, nah. Then it was FLAME AND FORTUNE, FIRE AND FORTUNE, and so many other variations of the phrase. But when I decided that I wanted this to be MG, and when I nailed down my characters, things fell into place. Disclaimer: It could always change again, but until the powers that be deem that necessary, I’m so excited to let you in on the working title:

IMG_3449

So what do you think?!

There isn’t much more to say right now, but I look forward to taking the red pen to my manuscript and going to work! It’s not even beta-able or halfway readable yet, but I look forward to sharing it with my circle and giving you all updates from time to time. *claps hands with glee*

In the meantime, I hope you’re getting excited about THE HUMMINGBIRD. It’ll be here soon! Keep your eyes on the skies!

Enjoy your holiday season, and stay warm out there.

-Jacob

Sandcastles

Forgive me in advance for getting rambly. It’s 11:30pm, I’ve just written so many words, I’m craving midnight snacks, and I’m very red-eyed right now.

I want to tell you about an alternate reality and a universe parallel to the one we’re in right now. The difference is so minor that you probably wouldn’t even notice anything is different about it, but this alternate reality is just a little more boring than the one we’re in right now. And in this alternate reality, I would have zero reason to write this blog post!

Like so many writers in the world right now, I made the commitment to dive into NaNoWriMo and celebrate National Novel Writing Month. For those who don’t know, this happens every November, and writers make a commitment to get as close as they can to writing a full novel between November 1 and November 30. The ultimate goal is 50,000 words, and the preference is to do something fresh in between. Well, I’m here to tell you that I’m also a rebel. While I’m fully immersed in NaNoWriMo, I use the month as motivation to complete an unfinished novel, regardless of how many words I have left, and usually get a new project rolling while I let the first one cool off. So this month, I’m writing all about a train crash, a reality TV star, and a dragon. I’ve been writing about them in short little bursts for about a year now. In fact, I started this during the last NaNoWriMo after I finished the first draft of The Hummingbird!

So, with NaNoWriMo as my saddle, I took this dragon project by the horns and I wrestled it into submission and slapped the last remaining 20,000 words on the end with the enthusiasm of a five-year-old in a Disney park! Right?

Wrong!

Yes, I’ve made progress in the first week. Yes, I’m proud of that progress. But when you come close to the end of a project, there’s a slump where you feel like A) you might not ever finish the manuscript and/or B) you shouldn’t finish the manuscript. It’s garbage. Why did you even start? Hack up every single word and burn the letters! I had that day yesterday. I started to identify all the inconsistencies, plot holes, pacing issues, and absurdities that I don’t want in my book. And the idea of going back to clean them out and fix it right now was all too daunting. I can’t even look at this anymore! I thought. Oh, the horror!!!

And then I took a deep breath, put on my Spotify, and said, “Just finish the damn book, Jacob.”

And then I wrote 491 words.

I’m no math wizard, but I do know that’s less than 1% of the target goal for NaNoWriMo. But I also know that it’s 491 words more than I had on November 4th. Progress!

Today, I came home and wrote 1200 more. That’s 2.4% of the target goal, and so much more than I had on November 4th or 5th! PROGRESS!

I’m gonna pat myself on the back for that one, especially because there was something I remembered. First drafts always suck. It’s a shapeless blob of molten iron, still too hot to play around with while you’re still pumping it out, but once you have it all in one place and give it a few minutes to cool, it’s yours to hammer and forge into a sword. The first draft is all sand. The third is a sandcastle–or at least, something closer to it than it used to be. 🙂 These past couple of days, I’ve been looking at that sand, daunted by how much water it’s going to take to shape it later, but thrilled and enthused by how beautiful this castle can be sometime after I’ve shoveled all that earth into a box and taken the time to let it settle. I got back to my playlists, my “fan casts”, my outline, and I set that goal to type THE END while NaNoWriMo is here to challenge me.

So, what about this “alternate reality”, you ask? One of the top selling authors of all time almost didn’t let one of his best works see the light of day. There’s a parallel universe somewhere where a top-selling novel lies in shreds, covered in hot garbage juice and never to be seen by human eyes, and I find that utterly heartbreaking. I refer, of course, to Stephen King’s Carrie, which he actually threw in the garbage because he was so appalled by his first draft. Had his wife not dug it out of the trash and forced him to keep working, Carrie never would have seen the light of day. How strange is it to think about a world without the teen psychic horror classic? For one thing, I would have had far less nightmares as a kid, but I digress. I guess it’s just good to know we all have our ups and downs!

Anyway, whether you’re noveling in November, trudging through your classes, trying to get a business going, wondering how you’re going to cook the biggest Thanksgiving dinner ever for forty people, or just trying to get to December with as little hassle as possible, allow me to tell you that you’ve got this. The world needs your sandcastle, and it’s yours for the sculpting.

Cheers!

-Jacob

My Creepiest Moment

In honor of Halloween and the premiere of Stranger Things 2, I’m going to tell you the creepiest thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m no Stephen King–I don’t write horror and I’m kind of a chicken–so let’s build a campfire and roast some marshmallows and keep it chill.

Okay, maybe not that chill. Can we ditch the instruments please?

Ok go.

It hadn’t been so long ago that I had started college, so I was probably eighteen years old? That means this happened almost ten years ago, and still it’s burned into my brain as if it just happened last night. I was pretty grounded in reality by then–well, as grounded as I’ll ever be. After all, I am a writer! It’s my job to keep my head in the clouds at least part of the time. But I also have a degree in psychology and make every effort to poke holes and explain the illogical when it happens right in front of me. With that said, everything I’m about to describe happened exactly the way I perceived and continue to remember it. The most logical thing I can come up with is that it was a night terror, but even that doesn’t quite add up because I hadn’t fallen asleep yet.

All I know is I was ready for bed. It was an ordinary night. It wasn’t stormy, cold, blizzarding, or ominous in any traditional way. C’mon, this is Tucson. The only thing we have to fear is heatstroke.

The first thing I remember was being settled into bed but not quite ready to drift off yet when I felt a tap on my foot. That’s what started it all. I always kept my bedroom door locked, and nobody was in the room with me, but something tapped me on the edge of the bed. Sure, I was a little spooked. I turned the light back on, sat up for a while, and watched some TV. I got over it a few minutes later, shut everything off, and made a second attempt to sleep.

My eyes hadn’t been shut for long when I heard a sound on the roof. Onomatopoeia isn’t going to cut it here, so stay with me:

For the most part, it sounded like somebody was running, but so much faster than any human could run. Think about a helicopter and the individual beats you sometimes hear when the blades are spinning. You might also imagine a woodpecker, or a jackhammer, and that’s how little space there was between each footstep.

“It was a cat!” you say. “Or a dog jumped up on your roof and got startled!”

No. Not unless this cat or dog weighs about three-hundred pounds. I’d heard my stepdad walking around on the roof before, and not even he was as loud as the sound I’m trying to describe to you. So imagine these LOUD, extremely rapid footsteps starting in one corner of your room and zipping all the way to the other corner until it’s just above your head. Now imagine that whatever the source of the noise was, it tripped and fell when it was over your bed. BAM!

All of this happens in less than two seconds. So I snap my eyes open, my heart going at least the same speed as that jackhammer I described to you, and just like that, everything’s quiet again. My fan’s still going, but that’s it. There’s nothing on the roof, there’s nothing outside my window, and Scrappy the family boxer puppy isn’t barking.

But there is a shadow in my room. It doesn’t have any particular shape, but it seems to be oozing in like water in the very corner, and it’s a different corner than the sound came from. Mind you, my room was already dark, but if you can imagine a hole growing in the darkness, or a sort of “negative space” that makes shadows even darker, that was pouring into my room and expanding like a cloud.

I’d had enough crap for the night, so I jumped out of bed, punched the power button on my TV, and let that glorious static glow fill the room. The shadow was gone.

*cue Stranger Things music*

I can’t say anything like that ever happened again, but to be fair, I usually have the TV on now . . .

What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you? And do I really want to know? Comment if you have something!

Watch for The Hummingbird

“To aid you in your quest,” Violet added, “I offer you these powers. Peter Pan, the young at heart, may your spirit forever maintain its levity. I offer you the gift of the hummingbird . . . . Do not be angry when your shadow eludes you. After all, shadows are born from the light.” THE CARVER, p. 65.

Is it all starting to make sense now, why I titled these books the way I did? It all started with these three kids who decided they were tired of not being taken seriously, tired of being looked at as “the scruffian”, or tired of being told what to do. When I wrote those words about three years ago, I already knew how the story was going to end for Peter, Pinocchio, and Alice, but I didn’t know everything that was going to happen to them along the way . . . and to me. They had lifetimes of adventure, love, family, and a little bit of danger. Me? I had a wish granted. I got to see their stories come to life, and one of the most magical parts of the process is dreaming up the cover–the door that the characters get to live behind for your enjoyment.

Trilogy

I’ll save the sap for release day! You’re here because you wanna see what goes in that blank space, don’t you? Your wish is granted! However, I’m going to ask you to do just a little bit of work by clicking the link below. Don’t worry. It only took me seventeen seconds to figure it out! You’ll probably beat me 😉

WATCH FOR THE HUMMINGBIRD

When you’re done, comment a GIF of your reaction! Mine was somewhere along the lines of:

One commenter just might get a surprise from me!

Happy puzzling!

Jacob

YA Scavenger Hunt (RED Team)

Hello World!

And welcome to the 2017 Fall YA Scavenger Hunt. Jacob Devlin at your service–a YA fantasy author who has been accused (rightfully, mind you) of writing the ORDER OF THE BELL TRILOGY, soon to be complete in February of next year! Three quick facts about me:

  1. When I was a kid I wanted to be either a detective or a magician. I suppose writers are sort of like both!
  2. You can usually find me wandering at a Comic Con.
  3. My first real job was at a movie theater, where I watched the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie five times during my first few weeks on the job!

But enough about me!

You, my friend, are hunting for the RED team of the YA Scavenger Hunt, in which you have the chance to win many books and prizes and discover best-selling authors who can feed your head with tons of fun stories! Here’s how this goes. Somewhere on this blog post, I have hidden a secret number (hint: you want the one in red!). While you learn about my friend E. Katherine Kottaras, keep your eyes peeled for that number, write it down, and I’ll direct you to the next stop! Repeat, add up your numbers, and once you’ve met all of us on the Red Team, be ready to plug all those numbers into the ENTRY PAGE for a chance to win all the things!

Now let’s meet E Katherine Kottaras!

E. Katherine Kottaras is originally from Chicago, and now she writes and teaches in the Los Angeles area. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine and teaches writing and literature at Pasadena City College. Katherine is interested in the stories we tell, the stories we are given, and the ways we can redefine our worlds by discovering which stories are true.

Let’s learn more about her newest book, THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER:

ADVENTURELAND meets SAY ANYTHING (as though from Diane Court’s POV), THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER is the story of Viviana who is a driven honors student and the daughter of a Russian-Jewish immigrant mom and an American engineer dad who have extremely high academic expectations for her. As a result of both these expectations and an exposing mistake Viviana made in sharing a nude photo with her boyfriend (who proceeded to send it to the entire school), Viviana suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks. She knows that she didn’t do anything wrong in sending the photo to him – she trusted and loved him at the time – but world still blames and shames her for it. 

Set at her summer job in the middle of Chicago, Viviana is finally able to escape the judgmental eyes of her school, but she soon becomes the odd vertex of a love triangle; her childhood best friend, Sammie, has a crush on the outgoing, college-aged lifeguard, Evan, but he seems to be more interested in Viviana. Against her better judgment, Viviana falls for him, thereby damaging yet another important relationship in her life and disappointing herself. Soon after, when her father finally returns from his mysterious six-month long business trip, Viviana discovers some deep, dark truths about him that force her to question all of her ideas about love and trust and the control she has over her life.

I was such a fan of Adventureland! Intrigued yet?

I’m excited to give you a peak at E Katherine’s vision board while you’re here. Here’s a series of images that relate to her story:

The Best Possible Answer

She also wanted to share this printed poster for her first book! Send this puppy to the printer and display it proudly! Then, be sure to pick up her book on Amazon.

YOU KNOW. black background 8.5x11

Side note: Speaking of the best possible answer, isn’t there a number that’s supposed to be the answer to everything? The meaning of life and all that? Isn’t it like 32 or something? I can never remember!

But I digress.

I have one more thing for you before you go: a chance to score some prizes! I’m giving away a paperback, some eBooks, and some Amazon credit while the hunt is on. Just click the link below:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

When you’re ready, jump on over to visit ROSALYN EVES for your next clue! Thanks for hanging out today. Happy hunting, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

YASH is Coming!

For all of you who love finding new reads, I have just the thing for you. The YA Scavenger Hunt is coming back! I had a blast being a part of this last fall, and I’m so excited to jump back in as a featured author on the RED team. If you’ve never heard of this, the hunt runs twice a year in the spring and in the fall. During the hunt we showcase new and upcoming YA releases, give out tons of prizes, and release special bonus material. Sound interesting?

This spring we will have one hundred forty authors split into seven teams of twenty. Each team is assigned a color. The blog hop begins Oct 3rd and runs through Sunday, Oct 8th. It’s easy to play. All you have to do is either start on my blog or head directly over to the YASH website. There you’ll find a list of all the authors participating as well as an answer sheet you can print off to gather the info you’re hunting for and to keep track of any bonus contests you may have entered.

Are you ready to see all the books featured this season? Here they are!

Which books look the most interesting to you?