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Book Blitz and Giveaway/ The Fever King

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The Fever King
Victoria Lee
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: March 1st 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

About The Author:
Victoria LeeVictoria Lee grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent twelve ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering that spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s been a state finalist competitive pianist, a hitchhiker, a pizza connoisseur, an EMT, an expat in China and Sweden, and a science doctoral student. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whiskey.

Lee writes early in the morning and then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her border collie puppy and make her experiments work. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her partner.

For exclusive updates, excerpts, and giveaways, sign up for Victoria’s newsletter at https://victorialeewrites.com/newsletter/ 

Follow Victoria Lee:
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Interview with author Shari Green

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Shari Green is an award-winning MG author who lives on Vancouver Island in Canada. She was also my Pitch Wars mentor for 2017 and I am in awe of her generosity and insight. Her third novel, Missing Mike, is being released in the U.S. on September 14, 2018. Canada already had the pleasure this past spring. Below is an interview so you can get to know her better before you buy her book(s).

Could you please give a brief overview of your writing journey?

After dabbling in nonfiction for several years, I heard about NaNoWriMo* late in 2005 and dove into fast-drafting my first fiction manuscript. I was hooked! I wrote a couple more novels (all YA), attended conferences (SiWC) to learn more about writing, started a critique group, met amazing writer-friends, and rode the publishing roller coaster. In 2014 my first MG manuscript was selected for PitchWars. I worked with a terrific mentor, and the book eventually sold to Pajama Press and was published in 2016. Since then, I’ve published two more MG novels with Pajama Press.

(*NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, when writers try to complete a 50000-word first draft in 30 days. Crazy-making, fun, and possible!)

Do you remember what prompted you to write Missing Mike?

I’d been wanting to write a dog story for a while, and last summer, I was daydreaming possible storylines, but meanwhile, British Columbia (my home province) was having its worst-ever wildfire season. Fires were bad in Alberta, too, and in California. Every day the news had stories and images of the fires, and of course I was impacted and influenced by that. My story became the story of 11-year-old Cara, whose family is evacuated due to wildfires, and her dog Mike, who gets left behind.

MissingMike_Website

Do you consider yourself a dog person? Or do you like cats the same amount?

Absolutely a dog person. I like cats, too, but I’ve never had one in my family – it’s always been dogs.

Tell me about the dog that informs the character of the dog in your book.

Mike’s sweet, loyal nature is a reflection of my dear Mac – a Brittany Spaniel who owned a big piece of my heart for all of his 13 years. But the similarities end there, really. Mike is fictional. He’s a rescue dog, a mutt that was injured in a fight with coyotes. He had a loving family once, and after some time building trust, he and Cara fell madly in love. (That love part? That wasn’t hard to imagine. 😊)

Is Missing Mike the original title of the book? Or did you have a different working title?

My working title was One Hundred Words for Home, which stuck until final edits.

Have you ever experienced an uncontrolled fire? 

No. The BC wildfires weren’t particularly close to where I live, although my family has a tiny cabin in the central BC wilderness, and as we kept tabs on the fires last summer, we knew we might lose it (we didn’t). Since I fortunately didn’t have first-hand experience to help make Cara’s story realistic, I relied on the stories of others who went through evacuations and loss.

Pajama Press is a Canadian publisher, so it’s only fair that Canada gets to have Missing Mike sooner than the U.S. Is there another reason for the later U.S. release? Are any of the words changed?

No changes! 😊 As for the release date, my understanding is that the U.S. publishing machine just takes longer because it’s so big. So while Canada was ready to roll out the book for Spring, the U.S. team required a longer lead-up for promotion, catalogs, reviews, etc., so it was planned as a Fall title there. (This may be a not-quite-accurate explanation, lol.)

Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next?

It’s still in the early stages, so I don’t like to say too much, but I can tell you it’s a contemporary middle grade novel that includes friendship and hockey and mental health issues and… Never mind, that’s all I’m saying, haha.

What are some of your favorite books from your growing-up years?

I loved Anne of Green Gables (still do!). I read all the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew and Little House books. I loved A Wrinkle in Time and Narnia and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and I loved The Diary of Anne Frank, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Outsiders. So many good books!

How do you have time to be an author who’s put out three books in three years and also be a nurse, a mother, a wife, a friend, a mentor? (Because I think that’s amazing…!)

I kind of can’t believe the three-books-in-three-years part. It’s been a whirlwind! I think there are a number of factors that help make it possible for me to keep writing at this pace. First, I’ve got a supportive partner. (And further to that, I’ve got a wonderful network of writer-friends. Find your tribe, people! It makes all the difference.) Second, I’m fortunate to only work my “day job” half-time. (I love being a nurse, but it’s a demanding profession, for sure – working half-time still helps pay the bills, while allowing me the energy and time to write.) Third, as a mom of four now-grown kids, I learned over the years to make use of snippets of time between kids’ activities, nap time, etc., and to work in less-than-ideal surroundings (noise, clutter, and interruptions). And finally, deadlines! Whether self-imposed or contract-imposed, deadlines help me get the work done.

I think we all need to find whatever helps us actually write, whether it’s bribes, rewards, deadlines, losing the wifi password, writing dates at a coffee shop, an accountability partner, goal-setting, vision boards, or what have you. We have to do what it takes. That being said, I also believe in giving ourselves grace – instead of beating ourselves up when our writing is lagging or we fail to reach a goal, we need to forgive ourselves, pick ourselves up, and try again. Mostly, we need to keep showing up.

Such great questions, Judy! Thank you so much!

Thank you, Shari!

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If you’d like to pre-order Missing Mike, Shari encourages you to order from your local indie book store. It’s also available on Amazon, and you can review it on Goodreads here. (Clicking on any highlighted words will connect you to links telling you more about each subject.)

 

Not a New Year’s resolution

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After the intensity of Pitch Wars, I need to refocus on new writing.

I’ve started a new middle grade novel that may be cast as The Borrowers meets non-fatal Romeo and Juliet. I’m barely into the actual writing. But I made a decision today to get back on the horse of the sequel to Serendipity & Me as well. I’m going to do it by applying the magic of discipline.

When I was preparing for my senior recital at college, practicing the piano regularly was no longer just important, it was imperative. Somehow the discipline of practicing became easier the longer I did it. The discipline itself became enjoyable. So when I decided to start exercising regularly, I put the same idea into motion until exercising became enjoyable and something I didn’t (and don’t) want to miss.

I am ready to implement Project Discipline onto Serendipity & More. No matter what else I’m writing. I plan to write one poem a day, five times a week, to add to the manuscript. Surely this will move the novel into readiness. I’m sorry, readers-who-have-been-waiting, that it’s taken me this long to get this novel written. I vow to do better.

Feel free to check up on my progress. Accountability is a good thing.PICT1774

 

Changes

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Although I’ve continued to work on fiction, I haven’t posted much here in the last year, other than a few poems. My life has felt different ever since last July when my mother entered the ICU and almost didn’t come out. She was there for 5 weeks; intubated for twice as long as is normally acceptable. I live over 2,000 miles away from my parents, so in the beginning, every day was shadowed and marked with a much-needed update on her condition. There wasn’t room in my brain for a lot more.

My first 10-day visit almost hollowed me out. But by the time I left, she was in an almost-normal hospital room. It felt miraculous, but still tenuous.

My second visit, her first week home, was a different kind of gut-wrench. To see my lively, capable mother so distressed felt equally distressing. (Although I’m sure it wasn’t.)

Then to see how remarkably she’d progressed by Christmastime was a full-out joy.

During this whole time and before, my brother–in-law had been battling cancer. He fought bravely and well for two years, but his last few weeks were devastating. He went Home a day before Valentine’s. His passing has left an enormous hole.

And now it is spring. The day before yesterday we celebrated Easter. I have a first grandchild on the way. I am recounting this now because life is ahead. But I will be forever altered by the last nine months.

Valentine Dragon Story

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An homage to these guys (and for the Valentiny Contest):

dragons four

Part of an illustration by Pascal Lemaitre.

Dragon Hearts, by Judith L. Roth (214 words)

 

I hear their hearts beating. Dragon hearts.

Blue’s heart beats like a tambourine because he’s flashy.

Green’s heart beats like a drum. So steady.

Yellow’s is bouncy like tap shoes.

But Red’s is grumpy. Today, Red’s heart is like a sad tuba with nothing happy to say.

What’s the matter, Red? I ask.

Red turns away. He stomps on each flower he passes.

A smash-flower bouquet? I ask.

Red turns away. He picks up stones and flings them into the stream.

A rock-skipping dismal day?

Red turns away. He bats at each redbud leaf he passes. Then he snaps one off, holds it high, and scorches it.

I finally notice. Each flower bud, each stone shape, each redbud leaf is a heart.

Valentine’s Day has come to the forest, and no one has given Red a valentine.

I race back to the others. Blue sprinkles Green and Yellow with flowers from a bleeding-heart fern. Green plants a heartful seed-pod in the dirt. Yellow serves up a dish of strawberry hearts.

Red has left too soon.

I call him with my beating heart. Come, tum-tum, and see.

            Blue, Yellow and Green join in. Come, tum-tum, to me.

            Red rumbles back, paws full of nature’s gifts–unsmashed, unflung, unscorched.

The best kind of hearts. Dragon hearts.

Serendipity & Me launched

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Thanks to all the family and friends who helped make the book launch party a success. My sister-in-law, Nancy, is queen of the kitchen on these events. My husband’s band, Re/Issued, makes it a party. These great guys learned Needtobreathe’s song, “Something Beautiful” for me, even though it was outside of their comfort zone. Thanks to all for making the night something beautiful for me….

Re/Issued playing at the Serendipity & Me book launch party

Re/Issued playing at the Serendipity & Me book launch party

Love Songs for Valentine’s Day

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In Serendipity & Me, Sara’s parents are brought together through a book of poetry called Love Songs, by Sara Teasdale. Sara is then named for this early 20th century American poet.

I hope this doesn’t embarrass my editors, but neither of them recognized Sara Teasdale’s name. One of them thought we’d need to write her to get permission to use her words (but her words were quite old enough to be in the public domain); the other thought this made-up poet should be writing poetry more suited to an adult.

Apparently Sara Teasdale is no longer a part of American Literature curriculum. Which shows my age that I know who she is, I guess.

It seems a loss, to me. So here is a page from my 1926 copy of Love Songs, (which I found online especially to use for Serendipity & Me). Consider it my valentine to you.

from Love Songs, by Sara Teasdale, (The MacMillan Co., 1926)

from Love Songs, by Sara Teasdale, (The MacMillan Co., 1926)

Goodnight, Dragons giveaway

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In celebration of Children’s Book Week, I’m giving away a copy of my picture book, Goodnight, Dragons.

To enter the drawing, mention this giveaway and my website somewhere on the web. Then tell me in the comment box where you mentioned it. The drawing will run until midnight on Mother’s Day (West Coast time, in a nod to my California friends and family).

To get an extra entry, comment on Pascal Lemaitre’s wonderful illustrations so I can send some appreciation his way.