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Libby Heily

Author of YA, Science Fiction, and Contemporary Fiction

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libbyheily

I'm an author and an improviser based in Raleigh, NC. It's nice to meet you.

Grape Merriweather – Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop

Today is the Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop – a celebration of strong females in young adult literature. I’m honoring the heroine of Welcome to Sortilege Falls, Grape Merriweather.

SortilegeFalls-frnt

Because I love you all and I know that Grape’s name is unusual, I’m posting the portion of the novel where she explains the origins of her name. This is from a conversation where Grape meets Mandy, one of the Models in Sortilege Falls:

“It’s not really a great story.  Basically, my dad was really nervous when I was being delivered.  To keep himself busy, he kept buying and drinking sodas from the vending machine.  But he doesn’t really like soda.  So he kept buying the only one he enjoyed.”

“Grape?”

“Yep.  By the time I was born he was in the midst of a huge sugar high.  They almost had to hospitalize him.”

So you see, her dad named her after soda. There are worse things to be named after. I’m named after my grandmothers and my sister is named after nametags my parents read and liked at Disney World and on a game show. We all have our stories.

I started writing this WTSF years ago, when Twilight was a huge hit. You remember that time, right? When everyone wore their “Team Edward” T-shirts and talked about the sparkling vampires? I actually wasn’t a fan of the books but I was interested in the debate it sparked. At a book club meeting, one reader mentioned how she had to explain to her daughter that Edward watching Bella sleep wasn’t romantic, it was stalking. On Goodreads, people were furious with the insta-love, the love triangle, and with Bella being weak.

When I started WTSF, I was actually poking fun at the YA tropes that were popular at the time, but then I got involved in the story and it took on a life of its own. BUT, there was one element of Twilight I couldn’t help making fun of, the stalking as love scenes. So, I will leave you with the scene where Grape first shows us she’s a true bad ass and my answer to Edward watching Bella sleep at night. As the scene opens, Grape is watching her brother disappear into the forest. It’s late and it’s dark outside.:

Grape watched Brad head into the woods.  He didn’t hesitate, just traipsed right into the thick underbrush.  Peering into the dark, she thought she saw movement at the edge of the woods.  It looked as if something shook the leaves of one of the far bushes.  Was that a tail?  No.  She was tired, that was all.  Still, she took a few steps closer to get a better look.  She must have been exhausted because next she thought she saw a small animal wearing a tiny red hat run into the woods in the same direction as her brother.  That was one of the reasons she didn’t like the dark, it was too easy for her eyes to play tricks on her.

“Fancy meeting you here.”

Grape screamed.

“Calm down,” the vamp kid from school said, his hands raised in the air like a victim.  He had switched his purple shirt for a black one and slicked his curly hair back as well.  “It’s cool.  It’s just me,” he said and reached out to grab her shoulder.

Grape pushed him hard in the chest, making him stumble backwards.  “Don’t touch me.  What are you doing here?”

He regained his balance and rubbed his chest where she’d shoved him.  “I wanted to see where you lived.  That really hurt.”

She slit her eyes at him.  “I’m glad it hurt.  It was supposed to.”

“That’s not very nice.”

Grape grabbed the lawn chair and held it above her head.  “Are you a stalker?”

“No.”

“You’re sneaking around my house at night wearing all black.”  She readied herself to swing the lawn chair.  It was pretty light and wouldn’t do much damage so she decided to aim for a vulnerable spot: his face.

“No.  I just thought…  I don’t know.  I thought you looked nice.”

“Do I look nice now?”  She gave the chair a swing, missing his nose by inches.  She hopped back a little and held the chair up high again.  He got one warning shot, that was it.  The next swing would break his nose.

“I’m sorry.  I thought this would be romantic.”  He reached into his baggy pants pocket and pulled out his iPod with a little set of speakers attached.  “I was going to play a song for you.”

“Totally creepy!”

“No.  Really, listen.”

He pressed ‘play’ and an unholy mix of instruments blasted out in a tinny blare.  He shut it off quickly.  “Wrong song.  One second.”

“Leave.”

He looked up at her with heartbreak in his eyes.  “I just need one second.”

“Shoo!  Go!  Off with you!”  She shoved the chair at his chest, driving him backwards.

He gave her one last dejected look and walked around the corner of the house toward the street.

Grape carried the chair back into the house with her.  She locked the door.  If Brad didn’t have his key, then he’d just have to knock and risk alerting their mother to his late night shenanigans.  She was not leaving the door unlocked for that boy to break in and serenade her.

WHAT A BADASS!!!!

If you want to learn more about Grape, then you’re in luck! Welcome to Sortilege Falls is on sale now for 99cents!

Amazon

Smashwords

Nook

iBooks

Share with me interwebs, who’s your favorite YA heroine?

 

VISIT THE THE OTHER BLOG HOPPERS!

16.

Blog Hop, Sale and a Free Ebook!

We’re half way through the Kick Ass Girls of YA celebration month! So far, we’ve had two twitter chats and a lot of good discussion. There have been posts on Instagram, FB and blogs as well. So what’s up for this week? So Much Stuff!

FREE EBOOK!

We are releasing our Kick Ass Girls of Fire and Ice Short Story Collection. Several authors from Fire and Ice YA Publishing contributed short stories starring our kick ass heroines. I decided to go with Moya, the angriest model from Welcome to Sortilege Falls. This is the tale of how Moya came to quit modeling.

KickAssGirlsOfFIYA.jpg

Get your free copy today:

Smashwords

Kobo

Nook

Amazon – currently listed at 99 cents but we’re hoping to price match it to free shortly.

SALE!

All these great books are on sale all week for 99 cents each! This means, you can get Welcome to Sortilege Falls and many others for only a few bucks!

There’s too many links to share but here are the ones for Welcome to Sortilege Falls:

Amazon

Smashwords

Nook

iBooks

Info on the other books click here.

Sale

BLOG HOP:

The Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop – April 19th

I am so proud to be hosting this blog hop! How does it work? It’s super simple. Sign up using the linky tool below. On April 19th, write a post about a strong female YA character on your blog, then visit the other blogs on the list. Be sure to leave comments and enjoy the discussion. What can you post? We’re leaving it pretty open. You can write about a character you’ve created or a character you’ve enjoyed in a young adult novel. Maybe you’ll write a post about a character you’d love to see or what you hope young adult fiction will be like fifty years from now. As long as it involves young adult fiction and strong female characters, then you’re good!

Feel free to post the linky tool on your blog as well! We’d love to start a discussion throughout the blogosphere on this important and fun topic.

Enter the Blog Hop for April 19th. The link will take you to the sign up and will also let you copy and paste the code:

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Giveaway:

We’re doing a Rafflecopter Giveaway this week for multiple Fire and Ice ebook titles! The Rafflecopter starts March 27th and runs for one week. There are six ebooks up for grabs.

Here’s a link to the Rafflecopter:
Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Join us for the rest of April and celebrate the girls of YA who rock!

Learn A Word in 100 Words

Today, we’re discussing independent author, Patricia Josephine. She’s releasing a collection of flash fiction entitled Learn A Word in 100 Words.

A bit about the book:

A collection of flash fiction inspired by unusual words. Each tiny tale is crafted around a word that is unique or no longer in use. Read them while waiting in line or before bed. They range from sweet and lighthearted to dark and disturbing. Look out for the supernatural, but don’t turn your back on the average human. A killer might be lurking underneath. Expand your vocabulary, and get some inspiration of your own.

Drabble Book Cover

Where to buy:

Smashwords

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

PatriciaLynneAuthorPic2

A bit about Patricia:

Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was more of an art and band geek. Some stories are meant to be told, and now she can’t stop writing. She writes Young Adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Where to find Patricia on the Net:

Twitter

Google+

Website

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

Smashwords

KICK ASS GIRLS OF YA:

And don’t forget to sign up for the #KickAssGirlsofYA blog hop on April 19th! Sign up using the linky tool below. On April 19th, write a post about a strong female YA character on your blog, then visit the other blogs on the list. Be sure to leave comments and enjoy the discussion. What can you post? We’re leaving it pretty open. You can write about a character you’ve created or a character you’ve enjoyed in a young adult novel. Maybe you’ll write a post about a character you’d love to see or what you hope young adult fiction will be like fifty years from now. As long as it involves young adult fiction and strong female characters, then you’re good!

Feel free to post the linky tool on your blog as well! We’d love to start a discussion throughout the blogosphere on this important and fun topic.

Enter the Blog Hop for April 19th. The link will take you to the sign up and will also let you copy and paste the code:

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Giveaway:

To kick it off, we’re doing a Rafflecopter Giveaway this week for multiple Fire and Ice ebook titles! The Rafflecopter starts March 27th and runs for one week. There are six ebooks up for grabs.

Here’s a link to the Rafflecopter:
Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Piper Morgan Makes a Splash!

I’m so excited to be sharing the release date information for Piper Morgan Makes a Splash by Stephanie Faris. If you’re not familiar with the series, you should be. This is the fourth Piper Morgan book and, isn’t this adorable, it’s available on April 4th!

4-Piper Morgan Makes a Splash

About the Book:
Piper Morgan tries her hand at acting in the fourth book of the charming Piper Morgan series.

Piper’s mom is helping out at a local pool shop, and the owner wants to shoot a commercial for his store. Piper thinks it’s the PERFECT opportunity to get in front of the camera and experience a little bit of showbiz. But will Piper’s contribution to the TV commercial make a splash—or will it go belly-up?

Where to buy:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Indiebound

 

headshotsf
About Stephanie:

Stephanie Faris is the author of the middle grade books 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the Piper Morgan chapter book series. An accomplished freelance writer, her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Pacific Standard, Mental Floss, and The Week, among many others.

Want to visit Stephanie on the web? Well you can! Here is where you can find her:
Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram 

Enter to win a Signed Copy of Piper Morgan Makes a Splash! Just click on the link below:

Piper Morgan Rafflecopter giveaway

 

In unrelated news:

Don’t forget to sign up for the Kick Ass Girls of YA blog hop!

The Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop – April 19th

I am so proud to be hosting this blog hop! How does it work? It’s super simple. Sign up using the linky tool below. On April 19th, write a post about a strong female YA character on your blog, then visit the other blogs on the list. Be sure to leave comments and enjoy the discussion. What can you post? We’re leaving it pretty open. You can write about a character you’ve created or a character you’ve enjoyed in a young adult novel. Maybe you’ll write a post about a character you’d love to see or what you hope young adult fiction will be like fifty years from now. As long as it involves young adult fiction and strong female characters, then you’re good!

Feel free to post the linky tool on your blog as well! We’d love to start a discussion throughout the blogosphere on this important and fun topic.

Enter the Blog Hop for April 19th. The link will take you to the sign up and will also let you copy and paste the code:

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Kick Ass Girls of YA Events

I’ve had to keep this under wraps for nearly two months. For the record, I am not good at keeping secrets. I have to regularly warn friends not to tell me anything in confidence. It’s embarrassing. And yet, I’ve managed to keep this one!

KickAssGirlsCALENDAR-sm

I’m excited to announce that my publisher for Welcome to Sortilege Falls is hosting a series of events in April to celebrate strong female characters in young adult fiction. Strength comes in many forms. We’re not only celebrating the super girls who are able to slay dragons or defeat alien invaders (though we love them and will definitely gush over them), but also those who possess a quiet strength that often goes unnoticed: the girl who stands up for her friends, the girl who has the inner strength to walk away from a bad relationship, the confident girl who works hard to make a better life for herself.

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I started writing Welcome to Sortilege Falls in part for fun, and also because I wanted to develop a main character who was awkward and unsure of herself but always tried to do the right thing. I love reading about strong women. Our readers deserve strong female characters who have flaws, but also possess a sense of self-worth and a determination to be taken seriously. And now, we have  an entire month to celebrate them!

Here are the fun events we have planned:

Sale – Fire and Ice is putting roughly a dozen titles on sale from April 17 to the 23rd.
Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop – April 19 – Details and sign up below!
Facebook Event – April 22nd  – Events will be throughout the day!
Twitter Discussions on the topic of Strong female characters in YA fiction – Friday nights in April, 9-10 pm EST (April 7, 14, 21 and 28) Use the hashtag #KickAssGirlsofYA
Instagram Event – April 8th lasting for one week – more details to come

Free Short Story Collection – From the Fire and Ice authors – to be released April 15th!

We’ll have author interviews on the Fire and Ice blog throughout the whole month of April as well!

Giveaway:

To kick it off, we’re doing a Rafflecopter Giveaway this week for multiple Fire and Ice ebook titles! The Rafflecopter starts March 27th and runs for one week. There are six ebooks up for grabs.

Here’s a link to the Rafflecopter:
Rafflecopter giveaway

The Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop – April 19th

I am so proud to be hosting this blog hop! How does it work? It’s super simple. Sign up using the linky tool below. On April 19th, write a post about a strong female YA character on your blog, then visit the other blogs on the list. Be sure to leave comments and enjoy the discussion. What can you post? We’re leaving it pretty open. You can write about a character you’ve created or a character you’ve enjoyed in a young adult novel. Maybe you’ll write a post about a character you’d love to see or what you hope young adult fiction will be like fifty years from now. As long as it involves young adult fiction and strong female characters, then you’re good!

Feel free to post the linky tool on your blog as well! We’d love to start a discussion throughout the blogosphere on this important and fun topic.

Enter the Blog Hop for April 19th. The link will take you to the sign up and will also let you copy and paste the code: 

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Read and Review Group

Hi All! As you may know, my publisher, Fire and Ice, runs a Facebook page that gives fans and book reviewers an opportunity to download free copies of new releases in exchange for honest reviews. It’s an awesome system. You get free books, we get reviews. No hassle.

From the FB page:

INFO FOR NEW MEMBERS:

WHO WE ARE:
Melange Books, LLC is an independent small press publisher that was founded in 2011. We have since opened two imprints, Satin Romance, and Fire & Ice YA Books

Check out our websites here:

www.melange-books.com
www.satinromance.com
www.fireandiceya.com

WHAT: Read a free e-book in exchange for an honest review.
With the ever growing book market it can be hard for authors to get reviews for their books. We are offering a free e-book copy to readers who are willing to leave a review at at least one vendor website.

HOW: Join the group, comment on a book post to request a title you are interested in and fill out the linked Google Form.

IMPORTANT:
Books will be sent directly to your Kindle account. You need to add Caroline@melange-books.com as an approved sender in your Amazon settings. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle reader to your phone or other tablet. Easy! (Not sure how, just ask!)

RULES:
(subject to change)

1. You may have 2 books at a time

2. You will not be approved for another book until you’ve submitted a link to your review (Amazon preferred, multiple sites encouraged!)

3. All reviews must have a disclaimer stating that you received the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

4. Repeat.

* If you share your reviews on social media be sure to tag us! We’ll re-tweet or share! *

 

 

That’s all great, but they’re also offering a new contest to encourage more reviewers to sign up. If you sign up now, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free print book from one of the new releases!

My new book comes out in September. Sign up now and you can get a free copy of my book, Wrong Side of the Rift, before it comes out! Happy Reading. 🙂

Read and ReviewO

 

Love Not Given Lightly and They Psychopath Test

I’ve been reading up a storm in 2017 and it feels great. I’ve read/listened to 20+ books so far. Some of the books have been short, which helps boost the numbers. Also, I’ve been training for an 8k and I listen to audiobooks while I run and since I’m incredibly slow right now, that means a lot of extra listening time.

There are two books I’ve devoured recently that I wanted to share. Both are non-fiction and each is part memoir: Love Not Given Lightly and The Psychopath Test.

Love Not Given Lightly is part essay, part memoir penned by writer, filmmaker, and former sex-worker Tina Horn. I read this book in one sitting. While it is salacious, of course, there are also a lot of nuts and bolts pragmatic retellings of life in the sex trade.

The stories were very personal and several came from largely ignored voices (ie – Female to Male Trans porn star and hairy female kink sex-worker). The book didn’t stray from giving an account of when sex-work goes bad and the need for self-care and emotional protection in what is, ultimately, a vulnerable profession. The stories were deeply human and allowed a boring writer like me into a world I usually only visit in transgressive novels (which usually only show the worst parts of sex-work). Definitely a good read for anyone interested in the topic or doing research in the field for a future novel.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson is another good read. I don’t know what I was expecting from this book. I thought it would either be a dry retelling of psychopaths throughout history or it would be an over-hyped, everyone-is-evil tabloid type read. What I got was the story of Jon Ronson learning about the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, meeting probable psychopaths and probable mis-diagnosed psychopaths, and trying to make sense of the world through a different lens.

If you’ve ever spent some time on Web MD and discovered that you have ALL the diseases, then you will completely understand Ronson’s journey once he starts to use the Checklist. Now, Ronson does meet a good bit of actual psychopaths including a former leader of a Haitian death-squad, but he also tries to use the Checklist on himself and those around him.

Throughout the book, we meet an interesting cast of characters, view life in a mental institution, revisit a murder investigation, and spend time with Scientology. It’s all fascinating and the book really does touch on many areas of life. I found it more an interesting retelling of a journey than an in-depth learning about psychopathy.

Any good non-fiction reads you’ve been burning through?

Non-political

For years, I refused to discuss politics in my blog. I didn’t post anything political on my Facebook feed, Twitter or Instagram accounts. It wasn’t that I was devoid of opinions, but that I wanted to remain neutral as an artist. Maybe that was cowardice or just an eagerness to succeed in an already difficult business. But no matter what my motivation was, neutrality is no longer an option.

I’m not sure there’s a way to be a non-political writer right now in America. In today’s climate, even silence is a statement. I don’t want to be silent anymore.

I am a writer. I write in many genres. I write strong female characters. Female strength does not equal male weakness. I do not agree with the ban on immigrants and refugees and I find its implementation to be sloppy and ill-planned. I was at the Women’s March. I have been calling my senators because I think DeVos and Carson are unqualified for their positions. I stand with Standing Rock and Planned Parenthood. I think Black Lives Matter and that science is amazing. I believe in climate change. LGBTQ rights are human rights. I’m fine with the repeal of Obamacare as long as there’s a replacement that’s worth a damn. I believe in people. I believe there’s good in the world and that good is worth fighting for. I believe in respectful, thoughtful discussion. I believe in ideas. I think sex workers should have rights. I think people should be able to do what they want as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else. Watch dogs are necessary for both government and private institutions. I think Trump is bad for America. I believe in your right to think differently than I do about anything.

My blog is not a political blog. I will not spend many posts on my ideas or what I think the government should or shouldn’t be doing. This is a space for writing and books and stories and opinions about those topics. But nor will I be silent.

On The Brink

This is an important YA piece of fiction. I was wondering what to write about this but then realized, I’d already written a review so why not just share it?

girlonthebrinkcover

From Goodreads:

Contains Spoilers.

Full disclosure, Christina Hoag and I have the same publisher.

All the feels. I read this over the course of one day while battling a cold. I was stuck on the couch and I thought, “I’ll knock out a few chapters.” That turned into a six hour reading marathon.

I love how this story starts. Chloe is doing a journalism internship. We get to learn the process with her, the good and the tedious. We don’t get mired down in the minutia but we do get to see Chloe learn the very basics of what might become her future career. I could see revisiting this character in her late twenties as a veteran reporter in a new adventure. Chloe is capable, willing, a fast learner and aware that she’s lucky to be able to afford to do an internship as well as lucky to land it. There is nothing about this position that is glamorous–it felt very real and I loved that.

The relationship with Kieran. UGH. There are so many YA stories that are about abusive relationships where neither character seems to know the relationship is abusive and it’s passed on as “normal” to the readers. I hate that. But that’s not what this story is about. We watch as Chloe falls for a charming, if corny, young man who is just thrilled to date her. She’s never had a serious relationship, her home life is a mess and she’s ripe to be taken advantage of because she gives a damn about people. We watch as Kieran has a fit and Chloe explains it away, as Kieran has a violent fit and Chloe is upset but explains it away. Kieran keeps her from her friends, insists on meeting her family, gaslights her frequently and insists that their problems are her fault. The relationship is built wonderfully because it all happens in increments. There are moments where you will want to scream at the book, scream for Chloe to stay away from him, to get help. But she continues and we watch in horror.

What I think Hoag does extremely well is to show us how this type of relationship can happen and then let us continue the journey with Chloe as she breaks up with Kieran and stays strong. I was so afraid this book would end in one huge scene where there’s a violent outburst and Chloe has to kill Kieran to survive. That type of story would have been emotionally gratifying but it was so much more engaging to watch the true aftermath of that situation. Chloe heals slowly. She repairs her friendships and goes to therapy and meets other women who have struggled or are struggling with abusive relationships. This is SUCH an important book for teens to read. One of the characters in the support meeting makes a great point about how were they supposed to know their relationship was going to be bad, no one had ever taught them to look for red flags or had even discussed red flags. Hoag also has Chloe’s friends make excuses for Kieran’s poor behavior early in the novel because people who are compassionate tend to empathize and it’s such a true moment.

The journey was my favorite part and this story is all about journeys. Chloe’s mother has one of her own as she heals from heartbreak. I like this character for two reasons. Often times in YA we forget that the parents are real people and that their emotional states can vary just like the main character’s can. I loved that the mother was devastated, heart broken, but managed to pull herself together and be there for her daughter.

Overall, great read. Upsetting, but great.

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