Friday, September 27, 2013

Happy Book Birthday to NOT A DROP TO DRINK!

(vid cred for gifs 1, 2, 3 & 4)

I had the chance to read an ARC of Mindy’s NOT A DROP TO DRINK a few months ago, and I still think about it now. It was one of those books I come across far too rarely, the kind that gives me a little thrill as soon as I start reading and never lets up until I’m done. I loved Lynn from the very start, her voice and attitude, the whole entire premise of the book which absolutely kept me riveted. 

When I approached Mindy with some ideas of what to write about for this release-week post, she thought some Q&A about how "possible" DROP could be as a survival story would be interesting. (Let it be noted here that Mindy--being the librarian that she is--also sent me some links to read as prep. Seriously, I love this girl.) 

I'm so very happy to be able to talk about NOT A DROP TO DRINK today! Mindy, huge congratulations on the release of your debut, and thank you so much for writing this incredible book!

Elsie: Did any specific real-life event spark the idea for NOT A DROP TO DRINK? Or was it more of a slow burn of a whole bunch of different scenarios and timing just coming together in the perfect way? 

Mindy: Definitely a real life event, but it was a slow burn. When I was in college I had to take a geology class and there was one paragraph in my textbook about aquifer depletion. (Google it, you'll be terrified). I went to class expecting everyone to be freaking out and nobody seemed bothered (or, ahem, they didn't do the reading). In any case the idea stuck with me, but it recessed until I watched a documentary called Blue Gold which is not about aquifers, but rather the simple math concerning depletion rate of freshwater sources and human population. It was chilling. 

I do have a small pond in my backyard and I went to bed that night ridiculously grateful for it. I dreamt about teaching a young girl how to operate a rifle so that she could help me defend my pond. I woke up and said, "Hey.. I wrote a book in my head just now." 

I had to wonder what kind of person this child would grow up to be... and Lynn was my answer.

Elsie: Does the fact that you live in the midwest have any influence in your decision to go with water shortage as the issue for DROP? For example, where I live, it's mostly earthquakes and floods that we talk about, so when I think of natural disasters, those are the first things to come to mind. Is water shortage an issue with which you were already familiar? 

Mindy: Quite the opposite, actually. It's set in the Midwest because there *is* plenty of water here. Unfortunately, if the taps were suddenly turned off a lot of places in the west would simply... be screwed. (Sorry, westerners). Where I live there are ponds, small streams, a lot of us have hand-dug wells. So, while there IS water here, it's still a limited supply. I thought, "You know, once someone has established a claim on their source, they're not going to give it up." And out of that, comes violence.

Elsie: In DROP, water is highly valued and protected. Did you ever consider adding a dystopian slant to an already pretty plausible post-apocalyptic premise? Such as water becoming a currency, or a way for a government to control its people, depending on how its allotted? 

Mindy: Nope :) I wanted NOT A DROP TO DRINK to be a survival story, pure and simple. One of the most frightening things about where Lynn lives is that there *is* no law, no governing force. It's everyone for themselves, and that brings out the worst in most of us, right away.

Elsie: Do you feel compelled to keep bottled water in the house at all times in case of a natural disaster? What do you think about the human tendency to hoard, most likely at the expense of others?

Mindy: I do drink a lot of water, I'll admit to that! But I don't keep it around, bottled up or anything like my characters do. In that sense, I'm a total poser because I totally rely on my tap. I do have three different capped wells on my property though, so... they're there if I need them.

Hoarding... oh man. Well, its not healthy - I'll say that. I'm actually very anti-hoarding. I go through every room in my house every six months and if I haven't touched it, used it, worn it, watched it, or interacted with it since the last time I did a sweep it goes to Goodwill. There is no point me having something that other people might need.

However... again I am a poser because the exception here is my library. I do weed it every now and then, but I'm not clearing out the shelves every six months!

NOT A DROP TO DRINK is Mindy’s debut novel, a survival story set in a world where freshwater is almost nonexistent. Available from Harper Collins / Katherine Tegen 9/24/13. Find it at your local bookstore, or online at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's, or Books-A-Million!

Mindy McGinnis is an assistant YA librarian who lives in Ohio and cans her own food. She graduated from Otterbein University magna cum laude with a BA in English Literature and Religion. Mindy has a pond in her back yard but has never shot anyone, as her morals tend to cloud her vision.Visit Mindy on her website, on twitter, and tumblr

Friday, September 20, 2013

SALVAGE Cover Reveal + ARC Giveaway

Three exciting things are happening in this post today!

1) We're revealing the final cover and release date of Alexandra Duncan's Salvage (which, by the way, has just been selected as part of the American Booksellers Association Indies Introduce Spring promotion. Woo hoo!) This past June, the preliminary cover design came out on EpicReads, but Greenwillow Books has made some tweaks that make it even better.


And it's coming April 1, 2014! A little more about the book,

Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood.

2) Alexandra's new web site,, is going live! You can check there for updates about Salvage, events, and other news.

3) To celebrate both of these things, we're giving away an ARC of Salvage. Use the widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 13, 2013

It's Friday the 13th and we're full of bad ideas

Writers have lots of ideas. We wake up in the middle of the night to scribble a plot twist on a notepad or write down an incredible character name on the back of a receipt in line at the post office. Some of these ideas are fantastic, like, say, invisible crime-fighting girls or dystopian societies based on death matches.

Some are not so good.

In fact, they're bad.

Okay, they're terrible. Really, really terrible.

Today we're pitching our very worst story ideas to you. Some of us actually started to write the things you're about to read before realizing what we were doing was a horrible idea . Don't judge us. (Well, actually, do judge us, but we'll get to that later.)

First up is Natalie Whipple,

Sixteen-year-old Lily Martel can't live without her earphones and endless hours of music, because when she's not listening to songs all she can hear is the whispering of plants around her. Her worst nightmare comes true when her mother sends her away from New York to live on her father's Napa Valley vineyard for the summer, where she is so surrounded by plants she's sure she'll go nuts listening to all their chatter she can't reply to. But as she settles in, she realizes there's another voice on the air who can talk to the foliage and her as well. Not only that, the plants seem to know things that could put her father's vineyard at risk. Can Lily figure out who the mysterious voice is AND save her dad's business without looking insane? Only the plants can tell.

Shannon Messenger
16-year-old Grace despises Hollywood almost as much as she hates waiting on celebrities at her mom's LA Hot Spot restaurant. So when the cute guys of Mach 5--the latest global boy band sensation--take a seat at one of her tables, she's as unimpressed by their flirting as she is by their cheesy songs. But group heartthrob Ryan can't stop thinking about the first girl who's ever turned him down, and romantic serenades and swoony stunts quickly become a part of Grace's life. So do the paparazzi, whose aggressive tactics force Grace into hiding at Ryan's family home in nowheresville, USA. Ryan seems embarrassed by his humble roots, but Grace prefers this other side of him--more than she'd like to admit. But can she really separate the boy from the fame? Or is she destined to be the story behind Ryan's next tragic love song?

Alexandra Duncan

When fifteen-year-old Kitty Katz's parents die in a horrifying jet-ski accident while vacationing in Jamaica, stranding her alone on the island, she thinks life can't get any worse. That is, until she's kidnapped by pirates. But with a little spunk and her grandfather's key-tar (it's an electric keyboard AND a guitar!), she soon has the pirates singing a different tune. Who knew the pirates were also orphans with a lifelong dream of forming a rock band? Join Kitty and her sea-faring ruffians - including a sexy boy pirate, of course! - as they stop boarding ships and start conquering the waves - the AIRwaves, that is!

Megan Shepherd
When all the bees in Middleburg disappear, the townspeople don't know what to do! Without bees, they can't enjoy honey or jam with their morning toast. Mr. Appleby, the kindly old apple farmer, explains the science of pollinators and colony collapse disorder to the town mayor, who doesn't like honey or jam anyway, so he basically tells him to stuff it. Then the stakes are raised when the other pollinators disappear: flies, bats, and hummingbirds! (direct quote: "bless their tiny wings.") Luckily, with Mr. Appleby's guidance and rambling environmentalist monologues, the townsfolk convince the mayor to plant a bunch of dandelions and the bees come back. They all eat toast and jam! 

J.R. Johansson
When Sophie's archaeologist parents force the family to spend the summer on a dig in Egypt, the last thing she thinks they'll come home with is an ancient disease that makes them faster, fiercer, and slowly depletes their bodies while giving them a monster-sized craving for brains. When the disease starts spreading to other areas of the country, Sophie's family must find out who is spreading it and stop them while striving against the clock to find a cure. When it comes to zombies, the family that slays together, stays together. 

Renee Collins
Ten year old Amelia dreams of traveling the world. Just a girl and her camera, taking pictures for the National Geographic. But that dream is shaken one morning when she wakes up to stunning news: the Eiffel Tower is missing. Gone. Vanished without a trace. Then, the next week, it's the Great Wall of China. The Pyramids! The Washington Monument! Scientists scramble, but no one can understand where these wonders of the Earth have gone. Amelia is determined to figure it out. With the help of her friend Corban, a fervent alien-believer and UFO expert, they'll follow the clues that lead to a truth even harder to believe. Someone collecting these monuments as souvenirs. Someone from another planet. And if Amelia tries to stop him, she'll have a full scale global invasion on her hands. Is her dream worth fighting for, even if it means world war?
Now comes the judgment. In the comments below, tell us who you think had the worst idea. Everyone who votes will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of one of our books from the writer with the winning (or is it losing?) pitch.

ETA: We have a winner!
Cait, send an e-mail containing your shipping address to and we'll send you an ARC of Salvage, by Alexandra Duncan.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Natalie Whipple & The Big Fat Ninja Secret

I've been keeping a big secret for awhile now, but today I'm gonna tell you. You know, if you can get through my blubbering in the video. Even when I'm doing a truth I can't help but embarrass myself, it seems.