Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt!
This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 120 hours!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are five contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all!
I am a part of the GOLD TEAM--but there is also a red team, a green team, a blue team, and a purple team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!
If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've hidden my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GOLD TEAM, and then add them up.
(Don't worry, you can use a calculator!)
Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 7th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Meet Louise Cypress
Today, I am hosting Louise Cypress on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Louise is the pen name for Jennifer Bardsley, the author of GENESIS GIRL and DAMAGED GOODS which were published by Month9Books. She also writes the column “I Brake for Moms” for the Sunday edition of The Everett Daily Herald. She lives with her husband and two children in Edmonds, WA.
Learn more about Louise and her upcoming books on her website or find more about the her latest book, NARCOSIS ROOM HERE!
And Her Book
Sleep for three months and wake up perfect.
Ellie Savage is accustomed to promises. Her dermatologist dad and psychiatrist mom run the Narcosis Clinic, a medical facility famous for ultimate makeovers, where clients' disturbing issues are resolved while they are beautified. Patients like Dean Mathews, the Canadian pop star with a secret to hide, rely on narcosis to heal their deepest wounds.
Ellie is her parents' most ardent supporter--until her dreams become a nightmare. When Ellie becomes a patient and discovers her true self has been shredded by the scalpel, she finds that the only way for her to remember who she is is to forget everything she thinks she knows.
Her mind was erased but her heart remembers. In the battle between narcosis and memory, will true love win?
exclusive content from Louise:
After a roller coaster ride over the past two months with offers from not one but TWO publishers, I'm thrilled to announce The Next to Last Mistake will be published by Light Messages Publishing in Spring of 2019! I can not wait for readers to share Tess's journey across the country from Iowa to North Carolina where, with the help of her friends, she learns to overcome her own prejudices.
This book and everything it represents could not have happened without all of you who have shared this journey with me over the past five years. Thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself and for believing in the power of friendship. It’s the one thing I feel certain will always get us through. Special long-distance hugs go out to the women of Lillian Black who loved me despite it all. I hope and pray this story does our friendship justice and inspires others to open their hearts to one another. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. The Next to Last Mistake is for you.
Chapter 36: The End of the World
Among the Shrouded, the first book of Sevens Prophecy Series began four summers ago as a vague middle-of-the-night outline. Today, the third book, Beyond the Sanctified, releases bringing the series and my vision for it to a close.
The Sevens Prophecy Series was born of my desire to help spread awareness about real-world issues under the guise of a paranormal suspense. I hope long-term fans and new readers alike will enjoy this final installment. Spending so many years with Mia, Thomas, Kate, Jose, Lanying, Salomon, and Donescia was time well spent, and I know my life is richer for having told their stories. For more information on the topics discussed in the series, check out my CAUSES page.
So, who the heck is Amalie Jahn... for real?
Award-winning #YA author. #TED speaker. #HuffPost contributor. #Ironman. Cancer survivor. Laundry folder. Berry eater. Skinny jeans opponent. Here to serve & <3
When Pitch War mentees were asked to pimp our bios here on our blogs, my gut reaction was just to expand on those 140 characters. I mean, they do a super job of reflecting the accomplishments of Public Amalie Jahn, the person who's on display for the whole world to see. The bio's perfect.
Maybe a little too perfect.
The truth is those 140 characters represent the shiniest 8x10 Glamour Shots version of myself. Elegant lighting, mild retouching, and the Mayfair filter. In real life, I am about as far from perfect as one person can get. So maybe that's what I should be explaining here instead.
Who is Amalie Jahn? The Unfiltered Private Amalie Jahn?
Much like my manuscripts, I see myself as a work in progress. I remember when I was younger I assumed becoming an adult meant having All The Answers. When I reached some magical age of maturity I would have it All Figured Out.
I could not have been more wrong.
When I started my publication journey five years ago, I didn't know what I didn't know, but somehow I thought I would be able to lone wolf myself onto the New York Times Bestseller list. That dogged perseverance would see me through.
And I quickly discovered that was never going to happen.
Being an author is a terribly isolating profession. You sit at a keyboard alone, talking only to the imaginary people inside your head. I should not have been surprised when the depression set in.
But I was.
I learned eventually that I needed other authors. And editors. And beta readers. At first, I thought I needed them to make my books better. What I discovered was that I also needed them to make ME better.
So, that's why I'm here doing Pitch Wars. Would I love to land a mentor and even an agent? Absolutely. But over the years I've learned success isn't measured by what you can cram into a 140 character bio. It's measured in growth. Growth of my craft. Growth of my community. If I come out of this with a more polished manuscript and a bunch of really great new friends, I'll be thrilled. Because if I'm ever going to make it in this industry, I won't be doing it on my own. I'll be doing it with a whole lotta help from all of you.
- My name is pronounced A-mal-ya. I'm the fourth generation Amalie in my family which is pretty darn cool.
- I taught elementary school for seven years before my children were born. I learned more from the students than they ever learned from me.
- I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. Germs are my weakness. If we meet I probably won't touch you, but I might ask you to use some of my hand sanitizer. And I swear, it's not you, it's me.
- I have three cats: Felix, Freckles, and Flint. They are grumpy, lazy, and naughty, respectively.
- I married my college sweetheart and followed him around the country with the Army. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Two decades in and we're still fumbling our way through adulthood.
- I'm ridiculously uncoordinated except in the water. Swimming is my favorite therapy.
- I can not cook. I can not bake. Boiling water has presented challenges in the past. It's not really a meal unless my family is scraping off burnt bottoms or cutting around the parts that "aren't quite done." My go-to meal is spaghetti. Yeah, I know.
- I'm a vegetarian. My favorite food is chocolate cake.
- My dad was an industrial arts teacher so I know my way around a workshop. What I lack in culinary abilities I make up for in miter saw prowess. I can also change the oil in my car.
- My greatest regret in life is that I teased my little sister when we were kids. I'm sorry is never enough.
- If I wasn't an author I'd be an interior decorator or a professional organizer. I dream about cleaning your closet.
- The Cure is my favorite band of all time. #RobertSmithForever
- If I had to pick one book I wish I'd written myself it would be I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. It's literary perfection. My favorite children's book is The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman. All. The. Feels.
I'm excited to reveal a reimagined newsletter format for the months to come - Between the Pages!
If you don't already subscribe to my Readers' Group, you're absolutely missing out! Each issue includes not only updates about my work but also deals on books I love, giveaways, and sneak peeks into my life. There's a Get To Know section spotlighting an author I think you should know about as well as What I'm Reading Now feature.
In addition to this blog, I love reaching out to fans this way and hope you'll find something of value in each issue!
Chapter 33: Atlanta School Visit
Chapter 32: Marked By Fate
Chapter 31: #NaNoWriMo
As a distraction from querying my latest manuscript to agents and publishers, I decided to officially participate in #NaNoWriMo for the first time ever. Book three of the Sevens Prophecy Series has been calling to me for months, so although I know I'll never finish the book during the month of November, I'm hoping the community of authors will help me get a few thousand words securely under my belt before December. Fingers crossed and wish me luck!
With that said, I loved writing this book. When I started the series I knew I wanted to shed light on some marginalized topics - human trafficking, domestic violence, third-world poverty, among others. I spend a considerable amount of time with high schoolers, visiting classrooms doing book talks and promotional tours, but what struck me the most when I was out promoting The Clay Lion Series was how uninformed the students were about many real-world issues. It was at that point that I decided to write The Sevens Prophecy Series, blending supernatural elements with these important topics. The release of this second book is a significant step along this path of enlightenment and I'm looking forward to bringing the story arc full circle in the year to come.
As it turned out, the event was tremendous. I had a great time meeting other authors, participating in writing workshops, and I even got to lead a YA round of Pictionary (I knew almost all of the books, obviously!) The best part, of course, was getting to know some new Clay Lion Series fans. There's nothing better than bringing some new young people into the family. Looking forward to next year's event already!
Chapter 28: Phases of Writing
However, the day Kirkus reviewed The Clay Lion was certainly a confidence boost. The review company, known in the industry as "The World's Toughest Book Critics," said the book was "a lovely, tear-jerking tale of time travel, familial love, and sacrifice." Hearing that they consider The Clay Lion to be a "poignant, well-written story" which "puts mortality--and readers'reactions to it--front and center" definitely felt good.
Today, however, it's back to edits for Gather the Sentient and back to the other end of the spectrum. The good news is I know by the time the book is finally published it will be ready for readers to enjoy.
Chapter 27: LA or Bust!
Chapter 24: Taking On Miami
1. Awards are cool. For real.
2. You're never too old to take a walk across a stage.
3. Or pose for a picture with Paddington.
4. For some unknown reason I immediately turn into a 13-year-old girl (squeeee!) when speaking with an author I admire.
And the most important thing of all?
5. At the end of the day the most important parts of any journey are the people you meet along the way. It was a thrill to finally come face to face with many of the authors I've supported online as well those who have mentored me over the years. Not to mention the joy of bringing new friends into the fold can not be beat.
So here it is, my time on the big red dot. Thanks for listening and I hope you are inspired to find ways to incorporate kindness into your daily life.
AMALIE: Six months ago I’d never listened to an audiobook. When I asked the librarian at my local library who the best audiobook narrator in the business was she replied “Lorelei King” without a moment’s hesitation. How’d you get started in the industry, and what do you think makes you one of the best?
LORELEI: Oh dear, I'm blushing that you call me 'one of the best' - there are so many talented narrators out there - but thank you! :)
Librarians are the best - I think more people should take advantage of their expertise. And of course I'm thrilled that your librarian recommended me. Such a lovely compliment!
In the same way that I kind of fell into my acting career, I fell into audio book narration. It was all about being in the right place at the right time with the right accent – but once I recorded that first book (which was a collection of short stories), I knew it was for me. It just felt right.
AMALIE: Well, since you popped up on my radar, I've listened to over a dozen of your narrations. Of all the characters I’ve heard you voice, Lula from the Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series is my favorite. Who’s been your favorite character to bring to life?
LORELEI: I think Lula is my favorite too! There is just something about that girl...
AMALIE: There is something about her, that's true!!! I can see how easy it would be to get into character for someone as ostentatious as Lulu, but you’ve done so many different characters over the years. How do you keep all the voices straight?
LORELEI: In a long-running series, it's surprisingly easy - the characters become like family. I also keep running cast lists with notes about the voices I've chosen for each character. Books that have (literally) a hundred or more characters can be a problem though - and I often find myself cheering when a character dies. 'Hurray! I can recycle that voice....'
AMALIE: So is there a character from a book or series you haven’t recorded that you’d like to try your hand at if given the opportunity?
LORELEI: The book I most regret not having had the chance to narrate is Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Loved it - and it had an extraordinary cast of characters!
As for a series, I would love to record the Oz books - I think my favorite book in the series is The Patchwork Girl of Oz. In fact one of the (many!) things I love about The Clay Lion series is its homage to Oz.
AMALIE: Baum's characters and messages obviously hold a special place in my heart as well as you can tell from The Clay Lion Series. What was your favorite part about recording The Clay Lion?
LORELEI: Thinking myself into the mind of a young girl who loves her brother. As a not-so-young (cough) girl who is an only child, it was nice to be in that world for awhile.
AMALIE: Becoming someone else sounds a lot like acting and I'm sure it's true that a good audiobook narrator is also an actress of sorts. Do you think the time you’ve spent onscreen helps your audio work and vice versa?
LORELEI: Oh absolutely! I have a pretty solid background in radio drama and animation which has stood me in good stead, particularly if a book has a lot of dialogue. (It’s slightly different with non-fiction – you don’t ‘perform’ in quite the same way, but you still use an actor’s skills for pacing, intonation and so on.) And you can learn a lot from audio book narration about characterization - which in turn can help with in-vision and radio acting. But in the end, it's ALL acting. Audio book narration is just one part of the job – but it’s one of my favorite parts.
AMALIE: You asked me in your interview about travelling to the past. Now it's your turn… if you could go back in time to change one thing about your past, what would it be and why?
LORELEI: You know when someone insults you and you think of the perfect riposte three hours later? I would love to go back to one of those moments in my life, deliver my deliciously scathing retort IMMEDIATELY, then turn on my heel, flick my hair, and sashay back to the present.
AMALIE: That actually sounds like an amazing use for a trip! There have definitely been some times in my life when I thought of just the right thing to say... a week too late. But since we are both stuck right here in the present, what new, exciting projects do you have coming up?
LORELEI: I'm continuing to record the series of wonderful authors like Janet Evanovich, Darynda Jones (in fact I'm just about to go into studio to record a novella of hers written from Reyes' POV), Patricia Briggs - and now Amalie Jahn! - and I am also working on a couple of projects unrelated to audio books that have to stay secret for now. More news as we have it! :)
Chapter 21 - Video Transcript
Hi. My name is Amalie Jahn and I’m so glad to have this opportunity to speak to you about my young adult time travel trilogy The Clay Lion series.
The first book in the series, The Clay Lion, is about a teenage girl, Brooke, whose brother dies of pulmonary fibrosis. She lives in an age when time travel has already been invented, and despite laws against it, she decides to break the cardinal rule of time travel… which is of course, never change the past, in order to try and save her brother’s life. Along the way she uncovers truths about love, loss, second chances, and ultimately the power each of us have in shaping our destinies.
The idea for writing a novel about time travel came to me in a dream, as have many of my best ideas over the years! My sister and I were superheros, capes and all, and we were traveling back and forth in time to prevent people from dying. When I woke up, I wrote down as much of the dream as I could remember and while I was jotting down notes, I started thinking about Lauren, a little girl in my daughter’s class, battling leukemia. I got to thinking how it would be for her sister Hailey if she should die and the seed for The Clay Lion was planted.
It gives me so much joy knowing that readers feel a sense of connection to Brooke’s journey. I think all of us have loved and lost, in our own lives, in our own ways. I’ve received many messages from people over the years sharing how the story has touched them in some way. The power of the written word can be so humbling.
Television too can be a powerful storytelling medium and I do enjoy watching my favorites in the evening with my family. We do have a bit of a battle sometimes - my husband enjoys a good hour long drama and I tend to enjoy half hour comedies!
What can I say, I love to laugh!
While I do enjoy The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, my favorites are shows like The Middle, The Goldbergs, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. A recent guilty pleasure happened to be Wayward Pines, which was of course adopted from the novels by Blake Crouch: Pines, Wayward, and The Last Town.
Perhaps one day The Clay Lion series will be adapted into film or screen. Until then readers can enjoy the novels in print or in audio, as the fabulous Lorelei King has recently recorded The Clay Lion for the world.
Here's the press release from the production company who will be producing all three books in the series:
"Creative Content, the specialist digital publishing company founded in 2008 by Ali Muirden and Lorelei King, has signed a 3-book deal with Amalie Jahn, author of the acclaimed YA "Clay Lion" trilogy, to publish audio editions of the series over the next 3 years.Published in 2013 and voted one of the "50 Best Self-Published Books of 2013" by IndieAuthorland, The Clay Lion was followed by Tin Men, the second time travel book in the Clay Lion series, which was released in July of 2014. The final instalment of the series, A Straw Man, will publish in June 2015.
The Plus Side listed The Clay Lion as One of the Best Kids' Books for Blossoming Bibliophiles. Bustle listed The Clay Lion as one of 13 New Books That'll Make You Feel Like a Kid Again and Tin Men was named One of the 50 Best Indie Books of 2014 by Readfreely.
Lorelei King said: "This project is wonderful example of the power of social media to bring content creators together. I was so please to have struck up a relationship with Amalie on Twitter and to have discovered her moving, inspiring series. I can't wait to get into the studio!"
Amalie Jahn said: "I'm thrilled to have Creative Content producing the series and am excited to share The Clay Lion with audio listeners in the coming months. As seasoned veterans of the industry, I know Ali and Lorelei are a perfect match for my series, and I'm looking forward to working closely with them to produce an amazing product."
The audio edition of "The Clay Lion" read by Lorelei King will be published this summer and will be available from all major online retailers.
For more information, contact Ali Muirden at firstname.lastname@example.org"
Chapter 19 - Are You in My Books?
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
These books are constantly at the top of the YA time travel chart with The Clay Lion so I decided to read them to find out why. All I can say is leave your sensibilities at the door and just dive in head first to this crazy world. So very good. Looking forward to book 3 next year!
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
I'm a huge fan of her YA stuff, but Landline is about an adult marriage and as a middle aged woman I could totally relate to so much of this book. Again, the supernatural "landline" connection to the past definitely spoke to me.
Matched by Ally Condie
Fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent Series will enjoy this book, with its own twist on the love triangle / dystopian world. Definitely worth a read.
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
I'm a huge John Green fan and I cried along with everyone else (and Hazel Grace) at the end of The Fault in Our Stars, but I especially enjoyed the male POV and that the main character grew by the end of the book.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
This is a long-time favorite and every time I reread it I love it even more. A perfect homage to what it means to be a teenager.
Chapter 16 - Covers
When it comes to genre, there’s a lot to be said for a cover in terms of its branding. As a young adult author I take into consideration what many of the covers in my genre look like. Thanks to series like Twilight and Beautiful Creatures, there was a shift to black covers for any young adult book with a touch of paranormal. I chose to stick with that theme for my Sevens Prophecy Series, which is in fact young adult paranormal, but gravitated in the opposite direction for The Clay Lion series because I wanted to delineate it from that subgenre.
The genesis of The Clay Lion’s cover obviously stemmed from the title, but the decision to use a pencil sketch was an attempt to pay homage to the main character’s brother who was an avid drawer. I tried to imagine what his vision of the actual clay lion which makes several appearances throughout the story. When Tin Men was published, I wanted to continue the same sketch design while conveying the feeling associated with someone having a mechanical heart. When A Straw Man is released next year, its cover will have a similar design. I chose the sepia contrast to differentiate it from the darker young adult covers since as a coming-of-age time travel series, it exists in a completely different subgenre.
The role of the cover is to draw readers into the story in a way that makes them curious but doesn’t necessarily give too much away. It’s about establishing a feeling more than specifically telling a story. Again, think about Twilight, with its easily recognizable hands holding an apple. There were no vampires, no blood, no specific indication about what the book is about, but there was obvious symbolism with respect to forbidden fruit and the color red. With The Clay Lion series, I wanted the covers to be eye catching but also invoke a sense of wonder. The lion sketch is based off an ancient cave drawing which I wanted to serve as an indication of the time travel. With Tin Men’s steam punk inspired heart, again I was attempting to incorporate a feeling of another space and time.
As far as difficulties are concerned, except for being time consuming, I really enjoy the creation process. It’s another outlet for my creative juices and I love the satisfaction of constructing a quality end result.
If you're thinking about creating your own covers, I suggest spending a considerable amount of time online and in bookstores looking at traditionally published novels in your genre. Pick out what you are immediately drawn to and examine the individual elements closely. Where is the title? What color is it? What is the font like? What is the overall feeling you get from the cover picture? See what the professionals are doing right and incorporate those styles into your own designs. You don’t need any fancy programs either. All of my covers were produced in Microsoft Word. You must be willing to spend the time and effort to learn how to construct the different elements but a beautiful cover is well within your reach.
Chapter 15 - Mrs. McCosh
I lost my English book my senior year in October. I think someone took it because one day it was just gone. I didn’t want to upset her, so I just grabbed another one off the back counter and used it for the rest of the year. Two days before graduation, when we turned in our texts, she came to me and told me that my book was missing. I told her I’d turned it in. I knew I turned in the substitute book but I loved her (and assumed she loved me) and I thought for sure she would let it slide. Boy was I wrong. She made me pay the $28 for that book and she threatened to hold my diploma until she got it! She taught me a lesson I will never forget about trying to take advantage of a friendship. I’ve never done it again. That’s the kind of person she was. The stuff she taught us, the life stuff, she didn’t learn that in her education classes. The fact that she forced me to come clean about that book… I’ll never forget it. She could have let it slide. She could have written it off. But she didn’t. She held me accountable. She made me hold myself accountable. That’s a life lesson that will stick with me forever. I became a teacher and a better person because of her.
The world lost Mrs. Jacqueline McCosh in 2010 to a spinal cord injury caused by a car accident. A tragic ending to an amazing life.
This is were you get to read about what's going on inside my head. I apologize in advance - the place is a wreck.