Thursday, November 14, 2013

Leap Authors Are Winners in Contests

We’ve had some amazing news from our Leap Books authors for October. Author Judith Graves won first place in the Surrey International Writers’ Conference 2013 writing contest (writing for young people category).

Also, INHABITED, the thriller stage play she cowrote debuted on October 30. It made the local news. Here's a trailer for the show:

Watch for a new book release from Graves in November, KILLER’S INSTINCT, cowritten with Dawn Dalton. This dark tale of teen monster-hunters comes highly recommended by Jacqueline Mitchard, author of What We Lost in the Dark and The Deep End of the Ocean, who said:

"What could be creepier than hunting down your own zombie mommy? And what could be more psychologically satisfying to a teen because … it's just pretend? Isn't it? I wanted to squeeze my eyes shut tight and turn away from the sublimely dark and smart Killer's Instinct. But how could I? A single page in, I was hooked."

And by Gary Braver, bestselling and award-winning author of Tunnel Vision:

"Killer’s Instinct by Dawn Dalton and Judith Graves is a clever and fast-paced thriller that raises the bar for monster-hunting tales. Nuanced and well-crafted, this novel is told from the points of view of four distinctly defined young characters—Hyde, a hulk in sheep’s clothing; Kain, the wild card, Caddock, the unit jock, and Hope, both gifted and cursed with a sixth sense. Hope's inner strengths and compassion make her a fitting role model for teenage readers, yet her vulnerability renders her a satisfyingly sympathetic heroine. Killer’s Instinct is going to knock other YA monster-battling books off the shelves."

Cover designer: Gaetano Pezzillo
Photo: Siiri Kumari
Model: Johanna Taiger


Where there is NO life – there’s Hope…

Hope has always been a bit of a freak. But when her mother crawls from her grave and her undead corpse goes MIA, Hope’s last thread of normal snaps with a vengeance.

Enrolling in a militia-style school for monster slayers seems the only course of action. And the best bet at tracking her mother down.

Author Maria V. Snyder took first place in the Golden Leaf Contest for her paranormal novel, Scent of Magic. This award, given by the NJ Romance Writers of America, is presented for excellence in romance fiction. Because this is Maria’s third win in this category, next year she’ll be inducted into the NJRW Hall of Fame.

Maria Snyder’s latest release with Leap Books, STORM WATCHER, debuted on October 25. The book stars Luke, the youngest son in family of search-and-rescue dog trainers. He has to face his deadly fear of storms to prove that he and the dog he's training belong in the family business.

Watch for the e-book release on December 15. Maria's first contemporary novel for middle grade has been praised by Kirkus:

"Intertwining family relationships, weather science and search-and-rescue dog training, this coming-of-age story relays themes of friendship, grief, challenge, fear and responsibility without didacticism or melodrama.
A welcome addition to the middle-grade library."

Additional praise for the book:

“STORM WATCHER is a brilliant and beautiful tale of how the simple, honest love of a dog can help a lonely boy find his way out of the darkness. Subtle, powerful and highly recommended.”

~ Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Fire & Ash and Rot & Ruin

"Best-selling author Maria V. Snyder’s debut novel for young readers, Storm Watcher, is a thrilling, heart-warming canine caper. Thirteen-year-old Luke loves dogs and is fascinated with weather data—but storms terrify him. With lightning quick action, humor, and lots of dogs, Storm Watcher will delight readers. Also the scientific and math insights into weather will appeal to educators and inspire readers to create their own weather science projects. Highly recommended!

~ Linda Joy Singleton, author of THE SEER and DEAD GIRL series

"Snyder's lightning strikes again with STORM WATCHER's tale of ordinary people fighting to become heroes in the face of things they fear most. Luke's story is by turns funny, touching, and achingly real, as Snyder harnesses a lifetime of expertise about meteorology, dogs, and life in small towns."

~ Morgan Keyes, author of the Darkbeast series

Be sure to check out Maria’s special website, Storm Watcher Kennel, to learn more about the book, strange weather phenomena, and take a quiz to see what kind of a storm you are.

Both books -- Storm Watcher and Killer's Instinct -- were selected for the Children’s Book Council’s Hot Off The Press listings and are featured on the CBC homepage.

Leap Books extends mega-congratulations to Maria and Judith on their awards and latest releases.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Meet Author Tina Bustamante

Author Tina Bustamante has flown in from Chile to launch her debut YA novel, As Waters Gone By. She'll be touring on the West Coast during the month of November.

The launch begins at:

Northshore Baptist Church
10301 NE 145th St. SE
Kirkland WA 98034
November 8, 7:00 pm

Tina will also appear there again on 11/13/13 at 7pm.
She can also be seen at schools, colleges, bookstores, retirement communities, and book clubs. A full schedule of her appearances is attached.

We asked Tina a few questions about herself, her writing, and her teen years. Here are her answers:

What did you want to be when you grew up?

As a child, I loved drama and acting. I wanted to be an actress. Although, I do remember writing stories and wanting to write novels.
As a teen, what were you most anxious about?

I worried about how I looked, if boys liked me or not, if I fit into the crowd, and unfortunately we struggled with money so I worried if we’d have enough for everyone’s needs, if we’d have enough food.

In high school what were your finest and worst moments?

I went on a two trips to Mexico and built houses in Tijuana – those were great trips. I went hiking and loved backpacking on the Montana/Idaho border. During one trip to Mexico, I breathed in the dust of chicken feces and ended up in the hospital with a terrible illness – in the middle of Montana while my mom was out of the country. My parents also got divorced during my junior year of high school, and that was a hard time for me.
Because As Waters Gone By has romantic elements, can you describe your best or most romantic date ever?

Best date ever … was with my husband. We met in Curacao, started dating in the Mexico, got engaged in Chile, and married in Seattle. We went on some fun dates in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. We used to hunt down the best street food in the city. And to this day, I love good Mexican food. 

Now that we've heard about the best date, what was your worst date ever?

Oh goodness. I remember one date with a guy that I wasn’t sure was a date. And so I stood at the ticket counter wondering if he would pay for the movies or if I was supposed to pay for myself. I lingered too long and he stepped up and paid, but I’ve always wondered if he was annoyed. We never went out again.

What hobbies and interests did you have as a teen?

I loved to hike, mountain climb, hang out with friends, and I loved to read. Always.

Your main character Ellie has a unique sense of style. As a teen, were you a fashionista?

No. I wish I had Ellie’s sense of style.

When did you first start writing?

My friend and I wrote the beginnings of a novel when I was in seventh or eighth grade, and then again, when I was eighteen, I started a novel. But it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I decided to take writing and my own writing journey seriously.

What made you write Ellie’s story?

It’s interesting, because I had just gone through a year of rejections for a middle grade novel that I wrote, and I was utterly despondent and discouraged. During that time I wrote in my journal that I wanted to write a story of one girl’s healing journey. A few months later, I saw in my mind’s eye a picture of a lighthouse, a dog, and a girl with dark hair, and I wanted to know her story. I started digging and digging and began putting thoughts to paper and eventually Ellie’s story emerged.

How does your life compare with your characters’?

Some things were similar. Some things very different. I know what’s it’s like to work for what I need, and to worry we won’t have enough. I know what it’s like to feel like parents just don’t get it and to wish my mom and dad still were married and still loved each other. And to wish things could be different. I never lived with an aunt, and both my parents are alive and well, and are really great people who love me very much.

What is one thing you hope readers will take away from your book?

That you have to accept your story. The good, the bad, and the ugly – even the boring. It’s your story. No one else will ever live your one life, so embrace it and be honest about it. All of it.

Can you tell us a bit about your life and writing schedule?

I wake up early in the morning to write. I live in Chile, and the education system didn’t quite work for my kids … so I’m schooling them at home right now. Crazy. And it’s busy and hard. So I get up super early to write, and then I edit after school. We’re developing twenty-seven acres of land, so I take the kids to see the progress. We visit friends, eat lots of good Chilean food, and go to sleep late. It’s a rich and good life.

If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?

 - I would really like to see the girls that I love so very much who live in a girls home I visit near my house in Chile (orphans, abandoned children, very risky lives) live in good homes and have a future filled with hope and life and love.
- I’d like airline tickets to go down in prices so I could see my family more often. (I have a sister in Australia and family all over the world.)
- And I’d like to get good books into really hard-to-reach places and teach kids how to read, and for everyone to understand how important stories are for our survival.

What is something most people don't know about you?

That I have been to thirty-five or forty countries. I love the hurting and the marginalized. And I love speaking in Spanish. Love it. I like to read fiction in Spanish.

What advice do you wish you could give to your younger self?

Honestly, I wish I could go back and tell myself it’ll all be okay. That I don’t have to worry about the boys liking me, or the girls liking me, or fitting in, or being skinny, or what I looked like so much, or making a boy happy so he’ll like me. It will all pass and things will ALL even out and in the end. You really have to like yourself.

Now for some JUST FOR FUN questions:

Where did you go on your last vacation?

We went to Chile and ended up moving there! So be careful where you go on vacation. Before that we went to Disneyland and Barbados with the kids.

Have you ever climbed into or out of a window?

Um … oh yes. When I used to sneak out of my house in high school to toilet paper people’s yards (mainly the boys we had crushes on) … Oh yes. Many windows. Many Friday nights.

What super power do you wish you had?

I’d love to apparate.

That would certainly come in handy to get you from Chile to the many different places you want to visit. Is that how you got to your West Coast book tour?

No, I flew (in an airplane). A long, long trip.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a novel idea that deals with dreams and how our dreams impact reality, that dreams are strange and don’t always make sense - but are sometimes more true than what we live in our physical lives. And I’m tinkering around with the sequel to Waters … We shall see what surfaces the most quickly.
Where can readers find out more about you?

They can visit my website, connect with me on Twitter (@tinabustamante) and Facebook, where I have a facebook page, and a writer’s page.

Here's more about Tina's book:

 When Ellie moves in with her aunt on Orcas Island after her mother’s death, she doesn’t expect to have one of the most incredible summers of her life.

She doesn’t expect to restore a mysterious lighthouse that holds the truth about her family, or to rehabilitate a crazy dog, or to see a strange man who may or may not be a ghost. And the last thing she expects is to meet Will Larson, who flips her summer upside down.

But, when Will’s past and her own collide, will their relationship survive the secrets they both conceal, or will these unshared secrets tear them apart? Can Ellie gain the courage to uncover the truth of who she really is and finally find a place where she belongs, or will she choose to remain an outsider?

And here are some reviews:

"If you love getting lost in a story, this book is for you. With a gripping plot, vivid descriptions and characters you will soon be rooting for, this is one of the books that lingers inside your heart and mind long after you have finished the last page." ~ Deanne Welsh (read more at Eclectic Waters)

""Tina Bustamate knows how to tell a turbulent and heartwarming coming of age story. Awash with emotion, As Waters Gone By swept me away -- be sure to catch this wave." ~Judith Graves

Tina Bustamante's Appearances