Tag Archives: Susan Dennard

YA Community – How to Get Involved

I have found the YA book community to be a wonderful sanctuary. I have made many friends (authors and bloggers alike) who have stuck with me since the beginning. However, I find that there is a huge lack of interest from the non-blogging YA readers. One does not have to be a blogger/author/etc to reap the benefits of the online society. It’s not a secret club. I’m going to list a few of the techniques I used at the beginning to get involved.

  1. Twitter. I cannot stress enough how interactive the YA community is on Twitter. This is a great way to start communicating with authors. In fact, I got to know two of my favorite authors (Susan Dennard and Leigh Bardugo) when they were first starting out on twitter. And now they are both NYT Bestsellers, and I still have a contact link with them. Pretty cool! Plus, if you do want to start a blog, Twitter will get you readership. Just tag the author you’re writing about, and they may give you a retweet. famous author retweets you – new readers.
  2. Fan mail – Do not be afraid to send your favorite author fan mail. Chances are, you’ll make their day. Fewer people than you’d expect send authors fanmail, so you have a good chance of a response. I cringe to look bad at some of the fangirly emails I wrote in my early days, but I did get to have conversations with some pretty cool people.
  3. Book conventions – This one is a little harder for some people to attain, but definitely worth it. Book conventions are where a bunch of amazing authors are all in one place for the day, and you typically get to interact with them on a really personal level. Typically book conventions are sponsored by a book store or library. My favorite conventions are TeenBookCon and TweenBookCon both sponsored by the amazing Blue Willow Bookstore in Houston, TX. Just last year I got to spend an entire day with Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) at TweenBookCon (Best day EVER).
  4. Independent Book Stores. Now, I could gush about independent bookstores (Again, Blue Willow Books is the BEST) all day but that can be an entirely different post. Just, go to your indie bookstores. It actually helps out the authors a lot more (as those are the sales that contribute to their NYT Bestselling ranks) and small businesses. Plus, they bring in authors a lot of signings, and are just generally cool people.

Overall, the YA Community is amazing, and easy to get involved in. I recommend checking it out, even if only a little, if you have any interest in reading. Which, if you’re reading this blog, you probably are. Feel free to contact me with any and all questions – I’d love be your first friend in the YA sphere.

 

Strange and Ever After

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In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus…all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.

Firstly, I think we all know, Susan Dennard is one of my most favorite people on this planet. She’s so amazingly kind, and perfect, and just all around awesome. And I totally fell in love with her writing, and her in a totally not creepy way (and maybe a certain character *coughDanielcough*, but we won’t go down that path right now). It’s so bitter sweet to see this phenomenal series end. And despite the fact Strange and Ever After made me ugly cry, I loved it. It was beautiful. It genuinely was. This trilogy needed an honorable end, and it got one. Susan so perfectly captured the essence of the Spirit Hunters. The character development, was so genuine. As cheesy as it sounds, these books leave you changed. I swear, there were scenes where the magic practically dripped off the pages. Just. Go buy it. It’s amazing. And I’m in no way biased.

Never forget; Aim for the Knees.

Maddie

Susan Dennard Video Interview

So, long time no post, I know I know. I apologize. I’ve been trying to upload this video for ages, but I was having some technical difficulties so I apologize. Again. Anyways, here’s the video!

Susan is super awesome. You all should go check out her blog. She is currently working on a fundraiser right now which you all should check out HERE. She also has a forum where YOU can ask her questions, and a marvelous newsletter, which you can check out on her blog http://susandennard.com

Talk to all later!
Maddie

2013 Favorites Roundup

Here are all of my favorites from 2013! In no particular order.

Favorite Stand Alone:

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Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
This. This. Just say the title and prepare for me to ugly cry.

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Taste Test by Kelly Fiore
I loved the unique flare that the cooking theme gave it. It’s one of the many debut authors who I’m discovered this year, and I really hope there’s a sequel.

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The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
I was so emotionally invested in this book, it wasn’t even okay. There were parts that seriously stressed me out, and some that made me uncontrollably giggle.

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Just One Day by Gayle Forman
How could any person ever think its okay to end a book like that. *dies*

Favorite Sequels:

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Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
So, the school in this is basically a steampunk Hogwarts. ‘Enuff said.

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Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
I will never tire of this incredibly imaginative world Ms. Bardugo has created. It makes me so happy. And the Darkling… Coughcough

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A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
Paris. Dan. Food. Dan. Newsboy caps. Dan. That basically sums it all up right there, guys. <3 20131221-211014.jpg

Eternity by Elizabeth Miles
Kind of like a YA Percy Jackson. It’s kind of amazing. It makes me happy.

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False Sight by Dan Krokos
One of my most favorite series ever, with the amazing science fiction flare. I highly recommend it.

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Confessions of An Almost Girlfriend by Louise Rozett
I loved the character development in this, it felt exceptionally empowering, something the YA genre really needs more of.

Favorite Characters:A Darkness Strange and Lovely
Who are we kidding he will never not be my favorite character. That’s no joke. He is so claimed, it’s not even funny.

Celaena Sardothien, Crown of Midnight
She is just an all around fabulous character, I adore her POV.she can just be so sassy.

Favorite Author:

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Susan Dennard… Again, duh.
I mean, she’s kind of the coolest person ever, and will probably always be my favorite. She’s so sweet, and marvelous to work with. I highly recommend her series, but remember, Daniel. Is. Mine.

Have a great new year!
Maddie

A Darkness Strange and Lovely

Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again. When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone

 

Okay, if you haven’t figured out by this point that I absolutely adore Susan Dennard’s books, you probably should go back and read some of my older posts.

Needless to say, I was absolutely ecstatic to receive an ARC of A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard. I completely devoured this book. Mainly because, it was AMAZING.

It has a slightly different feel than Something Strange and Deadly partially because of the different location (it’s set in Paris. Does it get any better than that?), and because the Spirit Hunters aren’t in it at the very beginning (I admittedly counted down the pages until they came into the story…). But, that didn’t cause me to like the book any less than the other one. In fact, I think I liked it more than the first book, which is pretty impressive. Most times for me, I don’t like the sequel to a novel nearly as much as the original (particularly with trilogies) with rare exceptions such as Catching Fire. Yeah, this book was THAT good.

I am in no way exaggerating when I say, at some points reading this book, I was sincerely gasping and generally freaking out along with Eleanor. It had me entranced from the very first line.

I cannot recommend the awesomeness that is A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard enough. I give it 5 out of 5 Stars.

I hope all of you go buy it when it come out on July 23.

Maddie

Susan Dennard Interview + Character Interview + Giveaway

Hey Everyone!

I am VERY excited to give you an interview I recently did with Susan Dennard author of Something Strange and Deadly. PLUS a character interview with her novel’s main characters, The Spirit Hunters (Consisting of Joseph Boyer, Jie Chen, and Daniel Sheridan), plus Eleanor and Elijah Fitt. Plus, at the end of this post, I will be giving away a signed hardcover of Susan’s book!

My conversation with The Spirit Hunters, and the Fitts.

1) If you could do anything you wanted for 24hrs, what would you do?

Eleanor: Eat. I would eat pastries and biscuits and breads. I would eat candies and ice cream sodas (have you seen those? They were featured at the Centennial Exhibition!). I would try foods from every continent and country…and yes, I would not stop eating until my twenty-four hours were up.

Daniel: I’d finally design that mechanical hand I’ve been planning. Assuming I have unlimited supplies and all the proper texts, of course, I bet I could come up with a simple prototype in twenty-four hours…

Jie: I’d go back to China. I haven’t seen it since I was a child, and my memories of it are non-existent, yeah? I’d love to see what it looks like—and see how well I remember my Chinese words.

Joseph: I would also go home. It has been many years since I visited my parents outside of New Orleans, and I imagine they would be as happy to see me as I them.

Elijah: I’d go back to the way things were before. When Father was still alive, Mother was happy, and Eleanor was just that feisty kid-sister I could play pranks on all the time.

2) You’re stuck on a dessert island, but you’ve brought one person, one item, and an unlimited supply of one kind of food. Which would you choose?

Eleanor: I would like to have Daniel with me—

Daniel: Shucks, Empress. *flushes*

Eleanor: As well as my parasol (I’ve heard desert islands can be frightfully sunny) and an endless supply of biscuits.

Daniel: I like what she picked. *flicks Eleanor’s chin with his thumb*

Jie: Ew. They’re gross, yeah? I’ll just take Joseph here, a sturdy stick, and anything with garlic in it. I like garlic.

Joseph: I suppose that means I shall have to choose Jie—

Jie: You’d better. *bares teeth*

Joseph: And I will bring a book on the history of white magic as well as unlimited beignets. Those really are the greatest culinary creation ever.

Eleanor: Amen.

 

3) What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?

Eleanor: Blazes, I embarrass myself constantly…

Daniel: One time, I tried to play cards, and some Chinese brat cheated me—and then beat me up too. *glares at Jie*

Jie: *laughs* One time, I tried to cheat Daniel at cards and wound up knocking him unconscious instead. Oh wait, that’s his most embarrassing moment. Not mine. I have none.

Joseph: What about that time you fell off the roof of that haunted mansion and got stuck by the tail of your coat—

Daniel: And I had to rescue you. *bounces eyebrows*

Jie: That never happened. And I’ll kill anyone who repeats that story, yeah?

 

4) For Daniel: what is the story behind your hat (which is quite attractive on you, I might add)?

Ah, you’ll find out the full story soon enough—I share my tale in the novella, A DAWN MOST WICKED. Suffice it to say, I used to work on a Mississippi steamer, and we all wore hats like that. In fact, if you look the inside the cap, you’ll see some initials—SQ—that used to be blue thread but has long since faded to dull gray.

 

5) For Elijah: When you were reunited with your sister, how much of the brother she knew growing up was left, versus the percentage taken by the dark magic?

There was almost none of the brother she knew in me then. Necromancy has a way of taking over everything—your feelings, your relationships, your goals… It’s a black pit from which no one—not even the people you love—can draw you out.

I…wish things had gone differently.

 

7) So, how did Susan come to meet you and document your story?

Eleanor: Susan dreamt that she was me.

Jie: And Joseph and I were there too.

Daniel: Don’t forget me. I was quite rogueish and charming in her dream.

Eleanor: No you were not. You were cruel and temperamental.

Daniel: *tugs at collar* Maybe a bit temperamental—I’ll give ya that. But I was handsome.

Eleanor: Yes…yes, you were most certainly handsome.

Jie: And arrogant. *rolls eyes*

 

6) You’re all incredibly awesome, I’d love to count all of you *cough*especiallyDaniel*cough* as friends. What do say?

Daniel: I reckon we can be friends—as long as my Empress over there doesn’t mind. *wink*

Eleanor: Of course we can all be friends. *glares at Daniel*

Jie: Can I practice punching on you, Maddie?

Joseph: She jokes, of course.

Jie: No, I’m not—I punch you guys all the time.

Eleanor: *flushes* Eherm. I really do think I speak for everyone when I welcome you into the Spirit-Hunters.

Thank you so much for talking to me, guys! Especially since I am now an honorary Spirit Hunter. 😀

And my interview with the wonderful Susan Dennard:

 

1) What wound you have done in Eleanor’s situation?

Goodness, I probably would have cried, cowered, and then run to the nearest bunch of people who knew what they were doing. Oh wait…I guess that’s pretty much what Eleanor did. 😉

 

2) Which of your characters do you relate to the most?

Daniel is by far the character most like me. He’s a lot more smooth-talkin’ and short-tempered, but I relate to his past and his goal to be better person on a very deep, visceral level.

 

3) Which character did you enjoy writing the most?

Oliver! I know you haven’t met him yet—book 2 will be out soon…ish—but that wily demon is just so complex and fun to write.

As for a book 1 character, I just love Jie. She’s so spunky, so feisty, and so strong—everything I wish I could be. 😉

 

4) If you could live in any other era, which would it be?

Hmmm…The 1920s have always been really appealing to me. Women were starting to really shift in their roles, the clothes were so swanky and glamorous, and who doesn’t want to go hang out at a speakeasy? While I love the idea of Victorian times, the fact that disease was so rampant—as was filth, sewage, and poverty—kinda scares me off from wanting to live in it. 😉

 

5) When did you first start writing?

I started writing when I was 12. I loved reading, I had a million daydreams constantly running through my head, and it just seemed natural that I would start to write some of those stories out (usually during class when I was pretending to take notes—oops!).

 

6) How should teens interested in the writing industry, get involved with publishing?

I think it really depends on what you want to do in the industry. If you want to be a writer, then write! Write whenever you can, and eventually, when you feel brave enough, share your work with other writers, take courses/workshops on writing, and teach yourself the various tools in a writer’s arsenal. If you want to work on the publishing side of things, then getting an education in a publishing-related field (English stuff works well, I think) will help you get started. Then it’s all a matter of making connections, getting the right internship/job at the write place, and moving up. Just like any career!

 

7) If you could live in any fictional world (could be from tv show, movie, video game, comic book or novel) which would you pick?
Oh my gosh, I’m obsessed with Dinotopia. That book was one of my first real, gut-wrenching loves (and also sparked some of my first attempts at fan fiction). I just loved the idea of all the fantastical places, cultures, and creatures. Plus, I wanted a dinosaur best friend! I still do! If you don’ t know the book, I highly suggest you check it out! I still refer to it all the time for inspiration.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Ms. Dennard! It means the world to me.

About Susan Dennard:

Susan Dennard is a reader, writer, lover of animals, and eater of cookies.

She is a writer turned marine biologist turned writer again. Among the traits she shares with her heroine Eleanor are a weakness for Shakespeare quotes, a healthy appetite for baked goods, and an insatiable curiosity. Sadly, Susan does not get to wear a corset or wave a parasol on a daily basis.

She lives in Germany with her French husband and Irish setter, and you can learn more about her crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on her blog, twitter, facebook, or Goodreads. Something Strange and Deadly is her debut novel.

My review of Something Strange and Deadly is HERE.

And now for the giveaway….

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thanks for reading, guys. And good luck in the giveaway!

Maddie

Something Strange and Deadly

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

 

So, I heard about this book and thought zombies aren’t really my thing. But I bought and read it anyways.  This is the one of the most amazing books I have ever read. Even now, over a month after I finished it, I am still obsessed. Seriously, its kind of creepy how obsessed I am with this book. I am a steampunk fan, and though this isn’t full out steampunk, it still has some steampunk elements in it (which I really enjoyed) Also, Ms.Dennard did a wonderful job keeping the book historically accurate. Which, when you’re throwing zombies into 1876 Philadelphia, can be hard. I enjoyed Eleanor’s stubbornness (probably because I am a little stubborn my self. Just a little 😉 ) and her love of food, which you don’t see that often in female YA protagonists.  And, there is Daniel.  I mean, who doesn’t love him. Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who loves strong heroines,  parasols, food and zombies.

I give Something Strange and Deadly 5 out of  5 stars! Now, excuse me while I go find my parasol.

Aim for the knees!

Maddie