No Return is now available!

No Return B3

No Return
The conclusion to the Internal Defense series

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | paperback

Every dissident knows about Becca Dalcourt.

They know about the lives she’s saved. About the prison break she carried out against impossible odds. They know she turned a dying resistance into the first real threat Internal Defense has faced in a long time.

And even now, with the resistance under attack from the inside, they know Becca can save them.

They’re wrong.

The conclusion to the story that began with The Torturer’s Daughter and Necessary Sacrifices, No Return explores what happens when an ordinary person becomes a legend – and how to choose between who you are and who the world needs you to be.

Mary Hades: a new release from Sarah Dalton

Fellow Shattered Worlds author Sarah Dalton just released her new book, Mary Hades, last week. The book is based on her bestselling Kindle Single “My Daylight Monsters,” and already has some great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I admit I can’t read this one myself, because I can’t read horror, but if you’re a fan of YA horror, be sure to check this one out. 🙂

Mary HadesAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play

Not many seventeen year old girls have a best friend who’s a ghost, but then Mary Hades isn’t your average teenager.

Scarred physically and mentally from a fire, her parents decide a holiday to an idyllic village in North Yorkshire will help her recover. Nestled in the middle of five moors, Mary expects to have a boring week stuck in a caravan with her parents. Little does she know, evil lurks in the campsite…

Seth Lockwood—a local fairground worker with a dark secret—might be the key to uncovering the murky history that has blighted Nettleby. But Mary is drawn to him in a way that has her questioning her judgement.

Helped by her dead best friend and a quirky gay Goth couple, Mary must stop the unusual deaths occurring in Nettleby. But can she prevent her heart from being broken?

The first in a series of dark YA novels, Mary Hades follows on from the bestselling Kindle Single My Daylight Monsters. A spine-tingling tale with romance, readers will be shocked and entertained in equal measure.

No Return Cover Reveal

The third and final book of the Internal Defense series will be here soon, and I finally have the cover to show you! (…Okay, the cover has been done for a while, but I didn’t want to share it until I had an actual release date for the book.) This was a difficult cover to design – it had to look right with the covers of all the other books in the series, have the same theme as the other covers in the series (namely, an important concept in the book represented in a figurative way, with a strong central image), and fit the book itself. I had the Necessary Sacrifices cover figured out long before I had finished the first draft (that seems more industrious than it is – I tend to use cover design as a way to avoid writing while still feeling like I’m accomplishing something 🙂 ), but for this book it took me until I was well into the revision.

But thanks to my many hours of browsing stock photo sites, many Photoshop-induced dents in my skull, and the comments of several beta readers who told me (all independently of each other) that a certain location was the most vivid and meaningful in the book, the cover is here! Enjoy:

 

No Return B3Every dissident knows about Becca Dalcourt.

They know about the lives she’s saved. About the prison break she carried out against impossible odds. They know she turned a dying resistance into the first real threat Internal Defense has faced in a long time.

And even now, with the resistance under attack from the inside, they know Becca can save them.

They’re wrong.

The conclusion to the story that began with The Torturer’s Daughter and Necessary SacrificesNo Return explores what happens when an ordinary person becomes a legend – and how to choose between who you are and who the world needs you to be.

No Return will be released on May 21st, 2014. You can add it to your Goodreads TBR list here.

My Writing Process Blog Tour

I’m following Megan Thomason, fellow Infinite Inkling, in this blog tour about authors’ writing processes. Visit her website here: http://www.meganthomason.com.

What am I working on?

Right now I’m finishing up the last of my edits on No Return, the final novel of the Internal Defense series. I’m looking forward to getting this book out there and wrapping up the series, and yet at the same time, it’s a strange feeling. I’ve been writing about these characters for so long that it’s going to be hard to let go.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Most dystopian novels focus on creating an exotic world very different from our own, and then telling an epic story about fixing that world. I wanted to do something different with the Internal Defense books. As I said when asked to explain the motivations behind my books for the recent launch of Infinite Ink Authors, I wrote this series because I wanted to create a more realistic-feeling dystopia. Most dystopias are larger than life, both in terms of whatever is wrong with the world and in terms of the heroes who are trying to fix it, but there are plenty of real-world governments, both now and in the past, that could be classified as dystopian. I wanted to combine that kind of atmosphere with contemporary American culture, and show what that world would look like from the perspective of someone who has never known anything else – and then turn that ordinary person into a hero.

Why do I write what I do?

That’s a hard question to answer. The simplest explanation is that I write what I do because these are the stories that come to me. But I suppose I love both speculative fiction and the YA category because I’m endlessly curious. I love to explore what makes people who they are, and YA is the perfect place to do that because the characters in YA are often learning about who they are and deciding who they want to become. And I love to explore new possibilities and ideas. I like to ask “Why?” and “What if?” and “What makes things this way?” There’s no better place to do that than in speculative fiction.

As for who all my stories end up being kind of dark (okay, maybe more than kind of)… it sounds strange, but I think it’s actually because I’m a huge idealist. And idealism doesn’t mean as much in a happy world. It’s easy to believe in hope when everything is going well, and it’s easy to do the right thing when your choices are black and white. That’s not what interests me. I like to write about people who do the right thing even when it costs them everything, who believe in a better world when things are at their darkest, who fight for what they believe in even if they know they can’t win.

How does my writing process work?

It’s different for every book, and is always changing as I learn more about the craft of writing and about how my own mind works, but these are the steps I usually go through:

– I come up with an idea.

– I noodle around with the idea for a while, scribbling down notes and getting a sense of the shape of it. This is usually where I figure out what my main character is like, the basic trajectory of the plot, how I want it to end, and what themes the story will focus on. It’s also where I start getting ideas for specific scenes.

– I take the scene ideas I’ve already come up with and fill in the gaps between them, until I have a basic outline that takes the story from beginning to end with no missing pieces.

– I outline each of my scenes in more detail, using a process similar to this.

– I write the first draft. This usually goes pretty quickly – a few weeks on average – because I already know where I’m going.

– After putting the book aside for at least a few days, I reread it and figure out what I need to change. While writing the first draft, it’s hard to see the big picture; this is where I can finally step back and see the book as a whole. I look at how each scene fits into that larger picture, and what I need to do to make all the parts of the story fit together seamlessly. I write notes for each scene – creating a new outline, in a way – laying out what needs to be changed, what needs to be added, and what needs to be removed.

– I start the actual revision. The revision process always takes at least twice as long as the first draft, sometimes much more than that. Not because my first drafts are that messy – I actually write pretty clean first drafts – but because it’s just a slower process. In my first drafts I go down every path I see, following every tangent, especially in terms of what my characters are thinking and feeling. In the revision, I prune away everything that isn’t necessary. I’m ruthless. If something doesn’t serve the story, out it goes. It’s normal for my books to lose at least ten thousand words between the first draft and the second. No Return lost more like fifty thousand.

– After the second draft, the book is basically done. I don’t do five or ten different drafts – I do a single revision, but I make it massive. By the time I’m done, I know I’ve turned the book into the story I want to tell. All that’s left after this is my final line edit and proofreading pass – and then publishing!

Following me next week on the #mywritingprocess tour are:

Katie French, YA dystopian author and fellow Infinite Inkling: http://www.katiefrenchbooks.com

Ariele Sieling, YA sci-fi author: http://www.arielesieling.com

Christopher Kellen, fantasy and science fiction author: http://www.christopherkellen.com

Shattered Worlds Release

Shattered Worlds Final Cover Small

The Shattered Worlds boxed set is available now! Get six full-length dystopian novels, including The Torturer’s Daughter, for only 99 cents. And if you want to follow along on our blog tour, you can find the schedule here.

Have you entered the Shattered Worlds giveaway? If not, there’s still four days left – enter here to win copies of all the books in the set plus their sequels, copies of the sequels only, or a $60 Amazon gift card!

Get the ebook:
On Amazon
On Barnes & Noble
On Kobo
On Smashwords

 

Snuggle Up and Read Giveaway

Remember Through a Tangled Wood, the fairytale anthology my Beauty and the Beast retelling was published in a couple of months back? (If you haven’t read it, what are you waiting for? It’s free!) This week, all the authors from the anthology are teaming up to giveaway a whole bunch of free books. If you’re looking for a book to hide under the covers with during the next snowstorm, enter the Snuggle Up and Read Giveaway here:

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Shattered Worlds: Announcement and Giveaway!

 

Shattered Worlds Promo Small

 

The Torturer’s Daughter is one of six complete novels included in Shattered Worlds, a new YA dystopian boxed set. Shattered Worlds will be released on February 26th and will be available for a limited time on all major ebook retailers. To celebrate the release, we’re giving away three prizes, including an Amazon gift card and all the books from the boxed set plus their sequels:

Shattered Worlds Giveaway

Second Prize Third Prize

Enter the giveaway below, and add the book to your Goodreads shelves here!

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Book Release: The First Unforgivable Thing

The First Unforgivable Thing, my contribution to the Darkest Worlds charity anthology, is now available on  its own! This story is set in the world of the Internal Defense series and takes place between Necessary Sacrifices and No Return, but can also be read on its own. For this one I took a break from Becca’s perspective to show the story of someone else working for the resistance – someone who will also make an appearance in No Return – and I’m very happy with how it turned out. (Which is saying something, really – I usually have to be convinced my writing is any good. I actually like this one.)

 

The First Unforgivable Thing

 

The First Unforgivable Thing

When a dissident working undercover as an interrogator is ordered to torture a confession from the only girl he’s ever loved, he chooses to defy both the totalitarian regime and the resistance by helping her escape—but she has an agenda of her own…

Get it on:
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Book Release: Through a Tangled Wood

My short story “Flight,” a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, is now available in the anthology Through a Tangled WoodThrough a Tangled Wood is an anthology of unconventional fairy tale retellings, from a post-apocalyptic Hansel and Gretel to a look at Snow White from her stepmother’s point of view. The anthology is free on all the major ebook stores, so go grab a copy! Or if you’re not convinced, scroll down to read descriptions of all the stories.
Through-a-Tangled-Wood

Through a Tangled Wood

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A variety of writers come together to twist traditional fairy tales into unusual and mysterious stories. From Beauty and the Beast, to Hansel and Gretel, to the Ugly Duckling, these stories will be sure to pull you into a fantastical world of princes, romance, and maybe a little science fiction.

“Plan B” by Katie French. When Nolan is selected as one of the few candidates to work in the Breeders’ hospital, he thinks all his troubles are over. Now he can afford precious medicine to save his ailing father. He’s heard of the Breeders’ cruelty, of their inhuman experiments, but he’s sure they’re fabrications. Then he stumbles into the Plan B room and learns how truly awful the Breeders can be.

“Tailless” by Ariele Sieling. A retelling of the Ugly Duckling, set on a far away planet in an unknown galaxy. While fighting a war with her people’s biggest enemy, young Bode struggles to understand why she feels out of place in her community, and why she, unlike her comrades, was born without a tail.

“I Am the Maid” by Sarah Dalton. A hostile zombie killing Maid Marian meets an ill-behaved ex-soldier Robin in this post-apocalyptic retelling of Robin Hood. When a young girl falls deathly sick, the two are forced to join forces in order to outwit the Sheriff, and the mysterious Guy Gisbon.

“Three Wishes” by Marijon Braden. When Aladdin rubbed the magic lamp, things went pretty well for him. But a few thousand years later, the world has changed and the genie is old, cranky, and doesn’t play fair. Young Alison thinks she’s found the answer to all her prayers, but instead finds that having wishes come true isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

“Killing Snow White” by Jamie Campbell. A magical retelling of the story of Snow White, told entirely by the Evil Queen who supposedly tried to poison her. Think Snow White is innocent? Think again.

“A House in the Woods” by H.S. Stone. At the conclusion of a scavenger hunt for Old World artifacts, Hansel and Gretel find themselves lost on the outskirts of the city after dark. They stumble upon a house in the nearby woods, hoping that they will find help inside, but the house’s inhabitant has other ideas.

“Flight” by Zoe Cannon. A retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Dragged to the palace at swordpoint, commanded to cure the cursed prince with a kiss, Lucia wants nothing more than to return to her solitary world of books and magical study. But she soon discovers that she and the prince share more in common than she could have imagined… and that the truth behind his curse could destroy—or save—them both.