Friday, April 27, 2012

Megan Shepherd Takes the Truth

Hello! I am excited to be back and tackling another entry for the blog. This week I chose a truth from Joan Stradling that has been a question I’ve been getting more and more recently:

Tell us at least one thing you added to a character in your upcoming work that is based on your personality (or that of someone you know).

This truth made me think of a lunch recently I was having with a writing friend who claimed that in one way or another, all novels are autobiographical. I had a hard time agreeing with her, so I tried to draw any parallels in my own work. I mean, here’s the gist of my book:

16-year-old girl travels to her estranged father's island and finds murder, madness, and a love triangle with an enigmatic castaway and her father's handsome young assistant.

Here’s the gist of my life right now:

29-year-old writer travels to the kitchen for another cup of tea and finds hungry cats, dirty dishes, and a husband with an enigmatic desire for Spam.

If The Madman’s Daughter really were autobiographical in even the vaguest sense, I’d probably be locked away in an institution somewhere. I’ve never been involved in dark scientific experimentation (OK, I did participate in some psych studies in college, but that was just to earn money for beer). In real life, my dad is the most zen, calm, sane person I know. I mean, he’s a bookseller. The craziest scientific experimentation he would do is to move a book from sci-fi to mainstream fiction and see if anyone notices.

But here’s the thing. Even though the facts of The Madman’s Daughter are entirely fiction, many of the emotions and themes are borrowed from my life. I know what it feels like to be walking alone at night and feel afraid you’re being followed. I know what falling in love feels like. I know what disappointment, anger, and hope feel like, too. And those aspects of the book are absolutely taken from the emotional impact of real experiences I had.

And there are some fun smaller details taken from my daily life. A dog in The Madman’s Daughter sequel is modeled after my neighbor’s dog. I haven’t told them that yet, which I should, because they’re probably wondering why I keep staring at their dog and then taking notes. I am using a friend’s last name for a particularly devious villain, but luckily she took that as a compliment. And one of my favorite lines in the book, which shall remain a mystery for now, is something my husband often says.

Thanks for submitting such a great truth, Joan!

Alexandra Duncan will be doing the next Truth or Dare on Tuesday, May 1. Be sure to leave a question for Alexandra on the Truth/Dare page, because it’s her first one!


Megan Shepherd is a young adult writer living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her debut novel, The Madman's Daughter, comes out in early 2013 from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins, and is the first in a Gothic thriller trilogy. She’d love to hear from you at her blog, Twitter, Facebook, or on Goodreads.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Introducing our Fourth Mystery Author!

Ahem, drumroll please...

We Friday the Thirteeners are very very very excited to introduce our fourth Mystery Author:

Alexandra Duncan

Alexandra is a librarian by day and writer by night. Her debut novel, SALVAGE, is coming in 2013 from Greenwillow/HarperCollins.

SALVAGE is young adult science fiction with a feminist slant. Ava, sixteen, has spent her whole life aboard the ship Parastrata, where polygamy, hard labor, and illiteracy are the norm. When she receives the news that she is to be married, she holds out hope that her childhood friend, Luck, will be her future husband. But what starts as an innocent mistake causes Ava’s people to turn against her, and she must run for her life. She barely escapes to Earth, where she finds refuge in a floating city of trash and debris. India has become the heart of this future world, yet life beyond the country’s borders and on its social fringes is rife with violence and danger. Can Ava find a way to survive outside the insular world of her youth? Will she ever see Luck again? And is what she has been told about her own past the whole truth?

Sounds so cool! We're sure you can't wait to read it, just like us. You can also connect to Alexandra on her blog or Twitter.

Alexandra will be tackling her first Truth or Dare on Tuesday, May 1. We know you are dying to get to know Alexandra, and there's no better way than a little soul-searching public humiliation. So leave Alexandra a special truth or dare on our Truth or Dare page.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kasie West Takes the Truth

In case you haven’t learned this about me yet: I love to laugh. I often tell people that I married my husband because he made me laugh more often than anyone else ever had. He still does. So when I read the truth by Martha Flynn and laughed out loud, I knew I had to answer it. The question is:

If you were stuck in the woods at a camp (and you’ve been making out with boys, naughty you) and some hockey-faced wearing freak started terrorizing you with a chainsaw…which Friday the Thirteener would you trip so you could make a clean getaway?

This is a very good question. And although I laughed while reading it, I take my answer very seriously. Chainsaw-wielding masked freaks are a scary possibility and should be planned for accordingly.

So who would I sacrifice to save my own life? I better analyze this.

Shannon has huge brains. Come on, the girl is putting out two books in a year (a middle grade AND a young adult), she has a lot going on up there. Erin is also big in the brain department. I mean, most of the cool stuff on this blog is her doing. Smart girl. So either one of them might be able to think up a way to get away from a masked man should I trip them. And if they can’t, let’s face it, their big brains will take longer for the chainsaw to get through thus giving me more time to run away.

Ellen could probably beat the crap out of the masked man. I’ve heard she’s had several practice fights to prepare. So I might pick her because she might actually survive if I tripped her.

Natalie on the other hand has this one stare that can be quite unnerving. She might be able to stare him down. And if that doesn’t work, I hear she’s a ninja. But she is pregnant right now, so that might make me feel really guilty. I don't like to feel guilty.

Megan wrote a book about a madman’s daughter. That in and of itself should qualify her to deal with all sorts of madmen. Plus she got to be on the set of The Hunger Games so she should be able to….wait there were no chainsaws in The Hunger Games, but still, it should give her some sort of survival skills. She probably pushed a few people over to get to Liam Hemsworth (I know I would).
Is the masked guy Liam Hemsworth by any chance? Because if that’s the case I might be willing to sacrifice myself for the greater good.

Elsie is this tiny little thing so even though I hear she can hold her own in a fight, if worse came to worse, she wouldn’t be able to keep the chainsaw occupied long enough for me to get away. But she does have kids so she’s probably really good at getting a crazy person to do what she wants him to do.

April is hilarious (sometimes in a wildly inappropriate way). She might be able to tell some jokes and keep the guy entertained. But after one of my friends is hacked, I’ll probably need her to tell a few jokes about it to get my mind off of the horror.

Mindy is also super funny, but her jokes are very dry so mask-guy might not know she’s kidding. This might anger him further. But, she is involved with a million blogs. So maybe chainsaw freak would be struck dumb by her star status.

So my answer? Why not trip all of them? That's my best chance. It’s all about survival, right? Love you, girls.

Thanks for the fun question, Martha!

Up next Friday: Megan Shepherd. Don't forget to leave her some truths or dares here.
And tune in this coming Tuesday when our next mystery author will be revealed!!


Kasie West writes YA paranormal. She graduated from Fresno State University with a BA degree that has nothing to do with writing. She earned her masters in Junior Mint eating (which is awarded after eating your millionth King Size box....and is now working on her PhD). She loves sappy alternative rock ballads and reading way past her bedtime.
Her debut novel PIVOT POINT will be out with HarperTeen in the Winter of 2013

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sara Walsh Takes The Truth AND The Dare

This week April Tucholke dared Sara Walsh, author of The Dark Light (out Aug. 28, 2012), to serve herself afternoon tea in a public place--but Sara went and upped the game by also taking Elodie's truth: What book did you secretly read and enjoy? Here we go:

Sara Walsh is an expat Brit and author of The Dark Light, a YA fantasy that debuts August 28, 2012, from Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster. When not writing (rarely), Sara is usually reading, drowning in tea, or frolicking around town with the world's cutest St. Bernard. You can follow Sara on Twitter @saraleighwalsh.

The Dark Light
is available for pre-order here and here, or you can add it to your shelves at Goodreads.

Next up: Kasie West. Send her truths and dares. If you are a published (or soon to be published) author, sign up to guest post with us.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Friday the 13th!

Hooray! It's the second Friday the 13th of 2012 and we plan to celebrate with prizes (for you) and short stories (written by us)! Remember a few weeks ago when we asked you guys to vote on a genre to get us started? Well the results came in and the winner was...


So us Thirteeners each wrote three sentences of the following fantasy tale before passing it along to another member of the group. Without further ado, we give you...

Game of Rouge

       After Breaking Into Song for the fifth time that night (o ‘twas full of dwells, plodding journeys, and much exclamation, to be sure!), Allandra chugged down the last of her EarthBalance Beer. She belched loudly behind her bell sleeve and shoved her royal fascinator back onto the top of her head.
       Over the boisterous noise of the Arcs still yodeling away in the castle’s Pit Pub, Allandra suddenly heard the sound of footsteps rushing up behind her, and she fumbled for her Bedazzled Sword amongst the pink froth of her gown.
       “Since when do you wear dresses?” Gilead, her fellow assassin and therefore competition, asked, unfazed by the knife she’d placed at his throat.
       “Do not blow my cover. Or I shall add you to my hit list tonight,” she replied.
       Gilead smiled and quirked one of his red eyebrows at her. “Which one?”
       “Please. I’d have to be drinking Earth UNBalance Beer to even consider it,” Allandra said, breaking the bottle over his head to prove her point.
       Just then a group of assassin cheerleaders twirled into the Pit Pub and formed a 19 person pyramid and then somersaulted their way into a murderous spree with razor embedded pom poms. Not to be upstaged by the viciously perky cheerleaders, the ballerina posse released their switchblade tutus and pirouetted their way toward the cheerleaders, slicing innocent bystanders to shreds. One very resourceful male ballerina pulled from his tights a long chained meteor hammer that had two large over-sized iron balls at each end of the chain, disappointing a number of his starry-eyed fans.
       Allandra eyed Gilead’s unconscious form on the floor, thinking perhaps she should have let his debauchery go unpunished just this once because he might’ve been useful against the well-known and very much feared Bad Theater Brigade. If she was rounded up with the other Pub patrons and couldn’t watch the official show from the mezzanine, her mission would be thwarted, the stupid dress she wore useless. How would she kill the lead actor and save the world from Bad Theater?
       Clearly, she had to revive Gilead. Allandra twirled an antique ring on her finger, summoning Rouge, an ill-tempered old barn cat with the uncanny ability to both wake and sedate humans at the sound of his mew.
       “You’ve pulled me away from a delectable saucer of warm milk, so this better be important,” said the cat, his orange tail flicking with irritation as he appeared.
       Allandra pointed to Gilead’s prone form and Rouge rolled his yellow eyes and uttered a disdainful, “Mew.”
       “Honestly,” the cat hissed as Gilead groaned toward consciousness, “you’re surrounded by cheerleader assassins and ninja ballerinas, and instead of asking me to sedate them, you ask me to revive the half wit?
       Gilead pulled himself to his feet, hooking his arm through Allandra’s as he said, “That’s because she has a thing for me—and because I’m the only one who knows the password.”
       Allandra slid her knife up Gilead's torso and stopped again at his throat--she needed that password to get past the Shadow Guards at the House of the Seven Sins, and he knew it.
       A password for a kiss, Gilead said, tossing his red hair and grinning, for that is the going rate and I'll take no less.
       I'd rather die, Allandra whispered, bringing her lips to his while sinking her blade into...
       ...the rough wooden wall behind him, a hair’s breath between his legs.
       With a gulp, because he didn’t doubt her threat to rob him of the chance to have little red-headed assassin babies one day, Gilead mumbled, “Sassafras.”
       “Mew!” Rouge the cat cried magically, and as Gilead, Allandra, the ninja ballerinas, and cheerleader assassins all slumped to the ground unconscious, the cat trotted over and picked up Allandra’s ring with a triumphant smirk and said, “What a stupid girl, except for her exceptional taste in puffy sleeves…and now, with the secret password and the sacred ring, so begins the dawning of the long-prophesied Age of Calico, hiss hiss!”


So? What do you think? We had far too much fun writing this sucker! (And we must admit -- For an exquisite corpse writing exercise, it came out better than we expected.)

And now, to celebrate this (un)lucky day, we're hosting a giveaway.

Sections of the story are highlighted above in distinct colors. Correctly guess which Thirteener wrote each passage, and you'll be entered into a drawing to win the grand prize listed below!

Here are some clues to help you sort things out:
  • Red Thirteener's book features doppelgangers.
  • Dark Blue Thirteener's book features mutants, Taco Bell burrito-eating contests, running from problems, and vintage eyeglasses.
  • Gold Thirteener's book features water, target practice, and peeps being kick-ass.
  • Green Thirteener's book features smelly demons, a kick-ass girl warrior, waterfalls, and mountains.
  • Light Blue Thirteener's book features mind powers, alternate futures, and cute boys.
  • Purple Thirteener's book features brothers, a wall, secrets, and crows.
  • Pink Thirteener's book features a snarky boy, a sweltering desert, and one amazingly delicious In-N-Out Cheeseburger.
  • Teal Thirteener's book features cemeteries, a rotting mansion, a stranger, a knife, a glow.
  • Gray Thirteener's book features corsets, dramatically smashing wine glasses in fireplaces, and "manimals."

Not sure you can guess correctly? No worries. We're randomly selecting two winners from the comments (regardless of guessing accuracy) to win the runner-up prize! And if no one guesses correctly, we'll hand-select a grand-prize winner from the commenter who comes closest!

Entering is easy: make sure you are a follower of our blog (click "join this site" over in the sidebar) and leave your Color/Thirteener guesses in the comments. That's it!

Grand Prize (1 winner)
$13 gift card to Amazon or B&N (your choice)
3 of our favorite YA novels

Runner-Up Prize (2 winners)
$13 gift card to Amazon or B&N (your choice)

Giveaway is open now through midnight (EST) on Friday, April 20th. Please note: the books for the grand prize winner will ship to US ADDRESSES ONLY.

That's all for now, folks. May you day be free of black cats, broken mirrors, and ladders under which you accidentally pass. We'll see you again next week!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Emma Pass Takes the Dare

As anyone who follows me on Twitter knows, I am the minion to proud owner of an ex-racing greyhound, AKA The Hound, who takes his retirement very seriously. So when the Thirteeners’ very own April Tucholke dared me to draw a comic strip about him, I couldn’t resist. Without further ado, I present to you… a guide to building your very own Hound!

If you’re interested in having a Hound of your own, why not check out the greyhound project. (If you’re in the UK, check out the Retired Greyhounds Trust. Or, if you happen to live in Oregon, by chance, go to Homes for Hounds.)

Emma Pass grew up at an environmental studies centre near London, went to art school in Cornwall and now lives in the North-East Midlands with her artist husband, where she has a day job at her local library. She is represented by Carolyn Whitaker at London Independent Books and her YA dystopian thriller ACID is out from Random House Children's Books in early 2013. You can find her blog here, and catch her procrastinating on Twitter here. She also blogs over at The Lucky 13s.

Next up: Us. We're doing a special Friday the 13th thing on April 13th. There will be cool prizes.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Erin Bowman Takes the Truth

It's that time again -- truth or dare time! Elodie had asked: Who is your secret crush from YA lit? Well, Elodie, you may have gotten more than you bargained for because I have far more than one. I'll let the vlog take it from here:

Huge props to Elodie for such a great question! As a thank you, I'm giving you a $13 amazon or B&N giftcard (your choice) so that you can buy one of these novels and fall in love with the characters just like I did! Just email me via our Thirteeners account -- fridaythethirteeners[at]gmail[dot]com -- so I know where to send your prize.

And to everyone else: Perhaps you would like to submit some more truth and dares for us? In the video I said we'd answer one next week, but I actually lied. It will be TWO weeks before you see another truth and dare because next week is Friday the 13th! We have a special post planned (complete with giveaway items!) so be sure to check back!


Erin Bowman is a YA writer, letterpress lover, and Harry Potter enthusiast living in New Hampshire. Her debut novel, TAKEN, comes out from HarperTeen in Winter of 2013. You can visit her blog (updated occasionally) or find her on twitter (updated obsessively).