Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book Review of Captivate by Carrie Jones

Captivate (Need, #2)Captivate by Carrie Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Captivate left me cheering for Zara. Her near neurotic obsession with phobias kept things light, while her relationship with Nick sizzled. The twists and turns in the plot will leaving you wondering who she should trust, if anyone. Stellar!



View all my reviews


Although this is a photograph of another book in the series. The excitement in my daughter Zoe's eyes speaks volumes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Review of Graceling, by Kristin Cashore


I received an ARC of Fire by Kristin Cashore at Comicon in 2009. I was immediately drawn to her characters and the world she created in the prequel to Graceling. Now, two years later, I’ve taken the time to enjoy Graceling and I’m sorry I waited so long.

In Graceling, Kristin Cashore paints a strong main character in Katsa. A fiercely independent and determined young woman, graced with “killing.”  In Katsa’s world, certain people have Graces, evident by their mismatched eyes (in her case, one green and one blue). She is controlled and ruled by her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, who utilizes Katsa’s abilities for his own by making her an assassin.  She is asked to torture, kill and injure those who defy the King.

But Katsa, disgusted with being Randa’s henchman, is part of a secret Council that watches over the seven kingdoms and brings justice to its people. A new mission introduces Po, a Lienid prince Graced with combat skills, and Katsa is matched in skill for the first time. As their friendship grows, they begin to investigate a mystery with deadly consequences and face a truly terrifying enemy. King Leck of Monsea is a sadistic, twisted villain, determined to regain custody of his daughter, who Po and Katsa are protecting from the King’s sinful intents.  In all honesty, King Leck of Monsea made my skin crawl in this book, just as he did in Fire.

Katsa and Po’s relationship grows naturally and isn’t overwrought with phony star-crossed lovers syndrome. Nor are they soul mates. They come together naturally overtime through mutual respect and admiration. Refreshing.  However, the sexuality in this book is definitely more suited to those on the older side of the YA audience. This is a stunning debut novel, in true fantasy style. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rejection Can't Stop This

I don't remember where this image came from so I apologize for the lack of credit.

























In the last two years, I’ve written two books attended, two conferences, and I’m on my way to Big Sur for one amazing writing workshop to round out the year. More than a handful of agents have rejected my YA Paranormal Mythology, but that hasn’t stopped me. It’ll take a team of gryphons to slow my chariot. Because this year, I made incredible connections with instructors, agents, and writers who have opened their hearts, and their minds, to me on many occasions, and I won’t let them down. I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much. There were times when I felt I’d burst from trying to keep so much in my head. 

Some of the agents, who rejected my work, were people I met at conferences. One was a lucky star I reached for after securing a spot on The Secret Agent Contest on Miss Snark’s Website. And the others were researched and hand chosen for their likes, dislikes, and online presence—carefully, methodically, and in a comprehensive spreadsheet. Moving their row of cells from the Sent spreadsheet to Rejected spreadsheet made me feel like Dead Women Walking. Every time. Without exception, and this is why—

Rejection sucks. It is that simple.

I’ve cried many an afternoon at my desk. Man alive, I’ve woken up in the middle of the night crying my way out of a deep sleep. But let me tell you something else—a few of those agents actually took the time to give me feedback. Real feedback. The “you don’t suck as a writer, but need to work these problems out in your story,” feedback that we all so desperately want.

One awesome lady came right out and told me “editors don’t want this type of story right now.” Basically, she didn’t think she could sell it. Well, Hallelujah! Thank you for telling me that. That is huge. That is something that happens to published authors as well, because this is a business. Something writers, whether published or aspiring, must wrap their head around. I never doubted the business side for a minute. Having my butt handed to me for two decades in corporate America may have helped make the whole business side of publishing a palpable reality for me, and I’m thankful for the experience, as well as the reality check.

But here’s the thing; I am not so disillusioned that I believe all or even most agents have the time to write individualized feedback. I can’t even imagine how busy they must be, day in and day out, looking at query after query, manuscript after manuscript. But to those agents who did send feedback to me, personally, that has made all the difference in the world to my writing, and my perseverance.

Without going into full disclosure, I’d like to thank Laurie, Elena, and Victoria for reminding me, an aspiring author, that you care, you have compassion, and you believe in us. 

The publishing industry is changing quickly. I think about Indie Publishing every day. I think about e-publishing every day. And then I think about those agents, the ones who reached out. The ones who believe there’s still a market for aspiring authors in traditional publishing in tandem with the new paradigm—

And I just keep writing. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

HOW I GOT MY AGENT

Fine. I didn't really get an agent, but I did get this awesome letter of representation from my nine-year-old daughter Ava. 




At dinner one night, she asked in all seriousness, “Why can’t I just look up some publishing houses on the Internet and tell them I’m your agent?”

—Um, she’s NINE.

Can any one of you imagine this powerhouse when she’s twenty? I can. And so can Agent Laurie McLean who got a kick out this letter when I emailed it to her. She said to have Ava call her when she’s ready to come to work for her, and you know what...Ava asked me if there were any good colleges in San Francisco, so she could work for Laurie and go to school. She’s the very definition of go-getter.

The kid’s got moxie.

She even painted herself a sign for her office, which tells me she’s an agent who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. 


Hell, she may be my best shot.

Let’s take a look at the PRO’s.

1. She’s actually read the entire manuscript. That’s a start.
2. She asked if she could dress up as the main character for Halloween. She’s truly invested in the main character.
3. She young, tenacious and hungry for the win. I mean, if she shows this much enthusiasm at a Green Day concert, can you imagine what she’d do with negotiating royalties? No fear.



4. She isn’t afraid to put herself in front of the camera at publicity events.



5. She truly loves books. Ava won the award for the most pages read in her entire elementary school for the Read-A-Thon and received this sweet, monogrammed bag as her prize, which she’ll bring to future Book Expo’s.


6. Her letter was professional, courteous, and individualized. See the transcription below.


Dear Mrs. Brodsky,

I loved it. It’s the book for me. I wish to represent you.
I hope you say yes, even though I am very inexperienced.

Sincerely, 

Ava’s Agency.

Here's the CON’s:

1. She is inexperienced.

Well la-dee-dah. Aren’t we all. I can live with that. This is a changing industry in a volatile market. All I can say is shine up your query letters, folks, because this little go-getter is ready to take on some hot clients. I, for one,  think we should get in at the ground level, don’t you?


Sunday, September 25, 2011

COFFEE MUG AS WRITING PORTAL

I have a coffee mug obsession—just one of my many writing idiosyncrasies—or so I'm told. Not that I have a huge mug collection or anything (okay, it is rather large). It’s just each one was chosen or given to me for a specific reason, making them all dear to me.

For example, I picked out the Austin mug in an airport at the last minute when I was flying back from the YA A to Z conference. Now, every time I’m going to read or critique the work of someone I met at the conference, or I’m going to be tweeting or chatting with them on Facebook, I use the Austin mug.

The We Are Happy to Serve You mug—a classic NYC icon—is very special, if a bit small. I only use that one when I’m feeling the need to inject some of my east coast upbringing into my writing. Usually when I’m writing a particularly loquacious, sassy, or outgoing character. New Yorker’s know this paper mug well, though mine is the ceramic version of the classic.

My Reincarnate and Reinvent mugs are specific to my my manuscript, FATAL THREADS. Since my main character, Onyx, is the reincarnation of the Goddess Nyx—the goddess of night—I used the Reincarnate mug the entire time I wrote the manuscript. When I went into editing mode, I switched to the Reinvent mug. Although Reincarnate makes frequent guest appearances, or whenever I think Onyx isn’t getting the attention or recognition she deserves. Kooky? Maybe. But I don’t care.

The Pink Love mug full of foam? Yes…I have mastered foam at home. I use an Italian Frabosk Cappuccino Creamer. I pump that whipped-up deliciousness by hand when I feel chipper about the job I did on a painful edit. The  little red heart at the bottom of the mug provides satisfaction when I reach the end.

But truly, this idiosyncrasy must be in My Blood.


Idiosyncrasy: from Ancient Greek (you see! Right there—Greek)
ἰδιοσυγκρασία, idiosynkrasía, “a peculiar temperament”, “habit of body” (ἴδιος, idios “one’s own”, σύν, syn “with” and κρᾶσις krasis “mixture”) is defined as an individualizing quality or characteristic of a person often used to express eccentricity or peculiarity.

My grandmother (Yai Yai) was an expert coffee fortune reader. And watching her swirl the coffee grinds in the bottom of demitasse cup prior to a reading is a fond memory.

Maybe to someone else a mug is just…a mug. But I don’t see just a mug. I see a portal full of possibilities. A portal that transports me into my mind where the writer in me lives. And quite frankly, I’d drink out of flowerpot if that were what it took to get from here to there on a daily basis.

So, I raise my mug to you, fellow writers, readers and lovers of YA literature. Next time you reach for that morning cup of joe, think of me. Choose your portal wisely and escape in peace!

Monday, September 12, 2011

WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD

FORTITUDE noun

Definition of FORTITUDE
Strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage



Becoming a writer has everything to do with perseverance. But sometimes, the road to publication brings us down. Sometimes, it brings us right down to our knees, and we’re forced to examine our fortitude. And that’s where the rubber meets the road. 

Reggae music has been a huge part of my life for decades. I met my amazingly supportive husband (Mike “Poppy” Brodsky) when he was playing tenor sax in a Reggae band. I watched him travel all over the United States, and then to Jamaica, and as far as Japan. And I can tell you this with a fair amount of certainty—the road is hard. It’s as hard at time for those on the journey as it for those who are there to offer their undying support.

My husband taught me a valuable lesson, as an artist, which I won’t soon forget. He plays his horn today for the exact same reason he played it then, and as a child. He loves to play—it’s that simple. He plays, because his body and his brain remind him that it’s as necessary to him as oxygen if he wants to live a happy, fulfilled life. He is an inspiration, a truly talented artist, and a great friend (for putting up with my defeatist mentality at times).

One Reggae song has remained a constant source of inspiration and motivation in my life. So when rejection comes knocking on your door, or when life puts up a block and you don’t think you can write another day, remember this—

“You can get it if you really want. But you must try, try and try,
try and try. You’ll succeed at last.”

Hang in there my fellow aspiring authors, my friends; we are in this for the win. This one’s for you. 



You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you'll succeed at last

Persecution you must bear
Win or lose you've got to get your share
Got your mind set on a dream
You can get it, though harder them seem now

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you'll succeed at last
I know it, listen

Rome was not built in a day
Opposition will come your way
But the hotter the battle you see
It's the sweeter the victory, now

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you'll succeed at last

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you'll succeed at last

You can get it if you really want - I know it
You can get it if you really want - though I show it
You can get it if you really want
- so don't give up now




Lyrics by Jimmy Cliff

Thursday, September 1, 2011

STEPHANIE PERKINS: WHY SHE WRITES FOR YOUNG ADULTS


Stephanie Perkins is the author of Anna and French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Isla and the Happily Ever After (slated for release Fall 2012)

Q: Demetra at WHY I YA: Stephanie, why do you write books for young adults?

A: Stephanie: When I was a teenager, I read adult novels with some middle grade thrown in. I wasn't really aware of young adult literature. Things changed in college when a friend convinced me to watch Disney's The Princess Diaries. I loved it. It spurred me to buy a copy of Meg Cabot's first Princess Diaries book, which, of course, I found infinitely more delightful. I couldn't put it down, and I couldn't remember the last time I'd had so much fun reading. After that, the ONLY thing I wanted to read was teen literature. It was natural that once I became serious about writing, it was what I gravitated to.
ABOUT STEPHANIE:
I'm Stephanie Perkins, and I write novels for teens (and for adults who aren't afraid to admit that teen books are awesome). I was born in South Carolina, raised in Arizona, attended universities in San Francisco and Atlanta, and now I live in the mountains of North Carolina amidst the waterfalls and wild blueberries.
My best friend is also my husband, Jarrod, and he's the most wonderful person I know. Every room of our house is painted a different color of the rainbow. We share it with two elderly pups and a pesky cat named Mr. Tumnus.
I spend my weekdays reading and writing. You can find me at my desk, drowning in tea cups and coffee mugs, staring blankly at my laptop. On weekends, you'll find me curled into the seats of movie theaters, hoping for the actors to kiss. I believe all novels and films should have more kissing.
It's difficult to pinpoint the moment I decided to become a writer. I've always loved telling stories, but it took years before I tried to make it my living. Even after I received a degree in creative writing, I worked hard to convince myself to do something else. To get a REAL job. I'm thankful the writing gods persisted. Still, I've always worked with books—first as a bookseller, then as a librarian, and now as a novelist. I love the way they smell, the weight of their pages in my hands, the Once Upon a Time of escape. I cannot imagine a life without literature.
VISIT STEPHANIE: http://www.stephanieperkins.com/
TWITTER: @naturallysteph
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/stephanieperkinsbooks

BOOKS by STEPHANIE PERKINS:

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

Synopsis: Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR

Synopsis: In this companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, two teens discover that true love may be closer than they think.

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket—a gifted inventor—steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Thanks for chatting with me, Stephanie. I know readers out there will enjoy the peek into your world and your books. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Book Review of The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

The Summoning (Darkest Powers, #1)The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The characters in the Darkest Powers series are believable, if not always likable. I found myself drawn to Derek, more than Simon—I guess I am a Team Werewolf person, after all—an opinion that stands in sharp contrast to my 15-year old Daughter—a true simon fan. The boys in the novel stick together through everything, but let main character Chloe into their private world, allowing things take off from there. With the addition of Chloe's roommate Liz (in ghostly form) and Tori, a stuck-up, overprivileged brat, I found myself more and more engaged in the characters. Who doesn't love a little necromancy? The book is action packed with just the right amount of creepy spiraled through the pages. Start with this one and you'll want to read the entire trilogy.



View all my reviews

Thursday, August 25, 2011


BLOG AWARDS

I have recieved an award for my blog! 
Thank you Neha Shah (to check out her blog, click here)


 

Blog awards are a pay it forward kind of thing. So in the spirit of giving, I've chose the following 5 bloggers for the Liebster Award:

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the giver and link back to their blog:

Thanks Neha for giving me this award. I appreciate that you thought of me. 

2. Leave your top 5 picks for the award and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog:

  1. Amy Rose Thomas @ Word Luster
  2. Tori Scott @ Tori Scott YA 
  3. Anne-Mhairi Simpson @ Anne-Mhairi Simpson
  4. Christin @ Christin Mowery
  5. Tymothy Longoria @ Aspire no more

3. Copy and paste the award to your blog if I picked you.

4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

5. Most of all: support each other and have lots of fun!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

THE SUMMER MYTH SPECTACULAR 
WITH GODDESS AUTHOR JOSEPHINE ANGELINI


With this final post, my wonderful Summer Myth Spectacular will come to a close. *sad face*

I was very fortunate to receive a signed ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of STARCROSSED from the author—the wonderful and sweet, Josie Angelini. She generously sent me her last signed ARC, and although she doesn’t know this, I did give a little whoop of delight. It was my first ARC, after all. Now, truthfully, I don’t go looking for arcs and I’m not sought out as someone to send them to. I write books, and I blog about them. In fact, I don’t see my blog as a book review blog. Well, maybe it was this summer, but that’s only because so many cool books based in Greek myths were all around me, and I just had to review them. It’s okay that Meg Cabot’s people never got back to me *sob* —no, really, it is—*sob* 

The authors who agreed to be a part of the series (P.J. Hoover, Tera Lynn Childs, Aimee Carter, and last, but not least Josie Angelini) were so enthusiastic and generous with their time that I had a blast putting these posts together. I also got to know some of them a little better—bonus—and know I'm a very lucky aspiring author.

But back to this ARC, and how I scored.

I sent Josie an email to tell her about the Summer Myth Spectacular, but also to let her know how her own personal journey to publication kept me inspired. I poured my heart out to her, telling her that I, too, had been laid-off from my job, turned to writing, and the unemployment checks were running out. She returned my email, right away, with one full of encouragement, kind words, compassion, empathy, and wishes for a bright future and fortuitous publishing outcome. I cannot thank her enough. Because her kindness came at just the right time, I was inspired to persevere and continue toward my dream of becoming a published author at a time when all hope seemed lost.

Now, maybe, just maybe, Josie took a shine to me because I’m also a girl from Massachusetts—wicked! Or maybe it was because I wrote a novel based in Greek myth. It could even be because she understood; based on her own personal experience, what juncture I was at in my life. I like to think it was a combination of all of those things. Whatever it was, fate brought us together, and she’s been hugely supportive of me since.

And, now, about those ARCs, if anyone wants to send one my way for a review, I’m definitely up for it. You can contact via twitter @demetrabrodsky or facebook.

JOSIE’S STORY:



SYNOPSIS:

Helen Hamilton has always tried to hide how different she is—no easy feat on an island as small as Nantucket, and only getting harder as she finds herself haunted by hallucinations and vivid nightmares.

It’s not until she crosses paths with Lucas Delos at school that Helen’s true heritage is finally revealed. Yet even as Lucas helps her awaken to her startling powers, they can never be together—not unless they can break free from the tragic destiny the Three Fates have in store.

STARCROSSED TRAILER:


MY REVIEW:

Told in stunning detail, this breathtaking foray into the world of demigods will leave you staring at the new boy in your town, wondering whether or not he harbors hidden talents, and hoping he’ll choose you to help him explore them.

Josie puts a unique spin on the Greek myths in her debut novel STARCROSSED. In an ambitious undertaking, she manages to weave the Iliad with Romeo and Juliet (heavy weights in the world of myth) to create a unique story that will keep you turning the pages, anxious to see how the story will unfold.

From sexy Lucas Delos—and his entire beautiful family of demi-gods known as Scions—to the extraordinary Helen Hamilton—a girl who doesn’t know the truth of her ancestry—you’ll fall in love with these characters.

What I appreciate about her take on the myths the most was the absence of The Olympians. Been there; done that. STARCROSSED is all about the descendants of the gods, separated into houses, and the rivalries they’re left to deal with over centuries. Twists and turns in the plot will give you both the “ah ha” moment most of us long for, as well as the “oh no” don’t do that, heart-stopping thrills that make a story worth reading to the end.

And Helen’s mother…I can’t even get into that or I’ll ruin the one-two, knock out punch that makes the ending so spectacular.

INTERVIEW WITH JOSEPHINE ANGELINI

WHY I YA: How did you come up with the idea for Starcrossed?

JOSIE: I had a nervous break down? No, seriously, it was a very fortuitous accident. I was pitching a different idea for a supernatural YA series to my husband, who is a screenwriter. For the life of me I couldn’t spit out a logline or sum up that other series is two or three concise sentences. He gently told me that maybe it would be better for me to start with a simpler idea for my first book—just to get my feet wet.

I bawled like a two-year-old throwing a fit in the grocery store. I sucked, and there was nothing I could ever do to stop sucking. Then about ten minutes later I saw a copy of Romeo and Juliet sitting next to The Iliad on my bookshelf, and I stopped crying immediately.  

I asked my husband, what if I took Homer amazing characters and set it up so that if two teenagers fell in love they would start a war? It’s Romeo and Juliet, but set in modern day on a Greek backdrop.

He told me it was a brilliant idea. Suddenly I no longer sucked.

WHY I YA: Have you always wanted to write a book for young adults?

JOSIE: I wanted to write fantasy, or sci-fi, and I found that my idea fit best in Supernatural YA. I think my voice is just suited to this genre. Maybe that will change someday, but so far I feel very comfortable here.

WHY I YA: What drew you to Greek mythology?

JOSIE: I’ve always been a fan of any kind of fairy tale, fantasy, myth, or tall tale. I love anything that has gods, magic, and danger in it, and that pretty much sums up Greek mythology. I started reading mythology when I was very young and the stories just stuck with me. And I studied all the Greek plays in college as a classical theatre major. What can I say? I like dudes in togas.

WHY I YA: Who was your favorite character to write and why?

JOSIE: Claire!  She has some of the best lines. I wish I were the kind of girl who could think up come backs like she can, but I need time and a laptop to mull over anything clever. Hector was pretty fun, too. There’s something about being a girl and writing such a dick of a guy. I like his swagger.

WHY I YA: What ran through your mind the first time you saw your book in print (or the cover for your book?

JOSIE: I was expecting to be all bouncy and squealy, but I wasn’t. I didn’t get choked up or anything, but it was a thick moment for me. I took a second and really thought about all the stupid choices I’ve made in my life—really just dumb stuff I’ve done—and I was humbled.

My father’s always told me I’m the kind of person who runs around the block to get across the street. I may have taken a bunch of wrong turns, but I must have figured something out along the way because I accomplished something, and there were times when I seriously doubted I ever would. I’m very fortunate.

WHY I YA: How long did it take for you to write the book, and how many rounds of revisions did you go through?

JOSIE: It took me one month to outline and eight months to write Starcrossed. Revisions… well, revisions go on until the printer tells you that if they don’t lock the manuscript, you won’t publish in time. I’m serious. Writing is rewriting, and you can tinker with a story forever.

WHY I YA: What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

JOSIE: Write every day-- even when you don’t want to. Writers write, so write. My husband told me that, and then to back it up, he told me to quit my job so I had the time to write. It was simultaneously the best advice I’ve ever gotten and the most generous thing anyone has ever done for me.

WHY I YA: How do you deal with negative criticism or reviews (if any)?

JOSIE: I don’t read reviews. I know that sounds like a bunch of baloney, but that’s one of the many joys of being married. My husband reads the reviews and he only lets me see the good ones.

Look, here’s the thing. By the time reviews come out, the book is already written. No criticism, no matter how insightful, is ever going to change a book after it’s gone to the printers. By that point, it’s out of the writer’s hands, so there’s no point in any of us reading a negative review. My reviews (the ones I see, anyway) are all unicorns and lollipops!  J

WHY I YA: What’s next from Josephine Angelini | What can your fans look forward to?

JOSIE: Well, I finished Dreamless, the second book in the trilogy. It’s in copy-editing now, so that means all the major revisions are done. I’m so happy with how it turned out. I can’t wait for you to read it!  *giggles* And I’ve already started book 3, so my plate is full for another year or so.

AUTHOR BIO:


Josephine Angelini is a Massachusetts native and the youngest of eight siblings. A real-live farmer's daughter, Josie graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

IN HER WORDS:

I was supposed to be a boy.

At least, my mother was convinced I was going to be a boy when she was pregnant with me. She claimed that I "carried" like a boy, but since I'm the youngest of eight, and I have six sisters and only one beloved brother, it is reasonable to assume that my mother was simply suffering from a massive case of wishful thinking. Whatever the reasons, my parents were so convinced I was going to be a boy they had even decided on a boy name for me—Joseph.

But I'm a girl.

My mother, always a frugal woman, figured, why throw out a perfectly good name just because the gender's wrong? She put a handy “ine” on the end of Joseph, and I'm rather glad she did. I like my name, or at least I realize it could have been much worse. They could have been planning on calling me Ralph or something. Not much you can do with Ralph.

I grew up surrounded by women.

And not just normal, average women, either. My sisters are, without exaggeration, a pack of Amazons. They are all tall. They have masses of thick hair, gigantic smiles, ringing laughs, and unfortunately for me, they all have fiery tempers. You see—I'm not only the youngest, but the smallest as well. I also happen to be a natural wiseass. Not a healthy combination.

Lucky for me, I'm fast.

STARCROSSED is the first in a trilogy from Josephine Angelini, with the follow up novel, DREAMLESS slated for release in May 2012

An enormous thank you to all the authors who participated in these interviews. Your generosity with your time, your encouragement of me as a writing, and your outstanding example of professionalism has made the last few months SUMMER MYTH SPECTACULAR.