The Redpoint Crux
By Morgan Shamy
Publisher: The Parliament House
Release Date: June 9th 2020
Fans of The Phantom of the Opera and Black Swan will enjoy this thrilling debut.
About the Author
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By Morgan Shamy
Publisher: The Parliament House
Release Date: June 9th 2020
Fans of The Phantom of the Opera and Black Swan will enjoy this thrilling debut.
by Lexa Hillyer
Release Date: March 17th 2020
For as long as I can remember, I have loved books about sisters. From Ramona and Beezus to the Sweet Valley twins, from Caroline and Sara Louise of Jacob Have I Loved to the March sisters, from Jane Austen’s Dashwoods and Bennets to Jeffrey Eugenides’ Lisbon sisters. I have two younger sisters plus a little brother, and my mother has always been close to her three sisters, so I grew up in the midst of that closeness and competitiveness, that circle of love fraught with feuds and tears and shared memories. Unlike friendship or romance, sisterhood is something you don’t choose; often, siblings are so different from one another, yet they’re bonded by the intimacy of youth, and the mutual responsibilities of family. This creates such an intense and interesting dynamic. Usually within sibling hierarchies, roles emerge that can completely define the kind of person you become: eldest sibs are often leaders or nurturers but secretive when it comes to their own emotions, youngests tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves, and middles are known to channel their desire to be noticed through over-achievement and competition. On top of that, siblings are often the people who know your weakest parts; they’re often the ones who can hurt you the most. But sometimes when terrible things happen, those are the only relationships left standing; these are the people who pick you back up when no one else is around. That makes the relationship between sisters full of angst and vulnerability, tenderness and uncertainty. It’s a powerful mix of emotions, and has such a strong hold on how we self-identity. For all these reasons and probably many more that I can’t quite articulate, I find myself drawn again and again to writing about sister relationships. My fantasy duology, Spindle Fire and Winter Glass reimagine fairytales (Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, respectively) as if the two heroines are sisters—Aurora and Isabel. In my most recent novel, Frozen Beauty, there are three sisters: Kit, Tessa, and Lilly Malloy. As much as Frozen Beauty is a mystery/thriller, it’s truly a tale of the bonds between young women as they navigate the sometimes rocky path to adulthood and truth. Boyd, the boy next door, describes the secret world of the Malloy sisters as Narnia or Terabithia, a magical terrain that’s tantalizing close, yet impossible to enter unless you are one of them.
I wanted to write about what it was like to be inside that bubble… and how easy it can be to take that special access for granted until it’s shattered.
Lexa Hillyer is the Founder and President of Publishing at Glasstown Entertainment, an all-womxn creative development and production company located in New York and Los Angeles. She is also the author of Frozen Beauty, Spindle Fire, Winter Glass, and Proof of Forever, all young adult novels published by HarperCollins, as well as the poetry collection Acquainted with the Cold from Bona Fide Books. Acquainted with the Cold was the 2012 gold prize winner of the Foreword Book of the Year Award for Poetry and received the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize. Her work has been featured in a variety of journals and collections including Best New Poets 2012, and she has received several honors for poetry. Lexa earned her BA in English from Vassar College and her MFA in Poetry from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. She worked as an editor at both HarperCollins and Penguin, before founding Glasstown Entertainment along with New York Times Bestselling author Lauren Oliver. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter and their very skinny orange tree.
By Maureen Johnson
Release Date: January 21st 2020
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson delivers the witty and pulse-pounding conclusion to the Truly Devious series as Stevie Bell solves the mystery that has haunted Ellingham Academy for over 75 years.
The Art of Writing A Murder
I was on a panel recently answering a very similar question: how do you write a good murder? I went into my explanation, some of which I will give in a moment. The gist of it, though, is that a good murder mystery is a game. The man sitting next to me, who had just written his first book, was shocked and horrified that I said murder was a game and he would never treat it as such. This seemed odd to me, as he had spoken at length about his love of Sherlock Holmes—the same character who said, “The game is afoot!”
Murder is not a game. Murder is terrible and ugly and the rightful object of horror. Murder mystery novels—at least the kind I prefer—are not about any of that. I like them classic. I like a mansion, a locked room, an island, an English village, an amateur detective, and a lot of suspects. This kind of book is a game, a puzzle, and if done well, one that a reader has a chance of solving if they pay attention. The author has to play fair—this means no introducing the murderer so late in the game that the reader doesn’t have a chance to know them. You have to hide many things from the reader, while pushing others just into sight.
This is how I approach it: I start with the general kind of murder I want to write. By this, I mean a type, a setting. For the Truly Devious, I wanted the remote mansion and a cold case. Then I started with why. Why did an event occur? You actually need to know why before you can know who. From there, I build the event out, making sure I understand everything at the center of this mechanism. The murder is like the eye of the hurricane, with winds blowing all around. Those winds blow out the clues, the flotsam and jetsam that lead to the solution. The footprint. The scrap of paper in the fireplace. The broken vase. The bump in the night. We start the story on the outer edge, picking up these weird little objects, trying to make sense of them. As we get closer to the event, we get more and more. The velocity increases.
This is how I picture it anyway. It also involves a lot of charts, notes, and the occasional spreadsheet, because you have to know where everyone was, what they were doing, what they could have seen or heard or found or done. It’s a really good excuse to crack out the sticky notes and fill a wall.
Maureen Johnson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several YA novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, The Name of the Star, and Truly Devious. She has also done collaborative works, such as Let It Snow (with John Green and Lauren Myracle), and The Bane Chronicles (with Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan). Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, and she has also served as a scriptwriter for EA Games. She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City.
by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Release Date: August 1st 2019
Prize: Win (1) of (3) copies of ALL THE BAD APPLES by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Starts: 22nd August 2019
Ends: 5th September 2019
Click here to enter.
Hi Beth! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
Award winning author, Beth Barany writes in several genres including young adult adventure fantasy, paranormal romance, and soon science fiction mysteries. Inspired by living abroad in France and Quebec, she loves creating magical tales of romance, mystery, and adventure that empower women and girls to be the heroes of their own lives.
For fun, Beth enjoys walking her neighborhood, gardening on her patio, and watching movies and traveling with her husband, author Ezra Barany. They live in Oakland, California with a piano, over 1,000 books, and their cats.
When not writing or playing, Beth runs her own company helping novelists as a book coach, speaker, and teacher to help them write, market, and publish their books to the delight of their readers.
“Inspired by living abroad in France and Quebec…” If you could, set the scene of a memory where you knew it had to be incorporated into a story.
I spotted a cathedral spire from the distance. I was on a bus to a French town north of Paris to spend the night, feeling glum, because I had missed my flight to Italy from France. For some reason the spire gave me hope. Maybe the accidental layover wouldn’t be so bad, and I’d get to my destination just fine. Once I arrived in town and settled into the little hotel, I took a walk to find the cathedral.
It was mid afternoon. The fall air was balmy with a hint of the crisp evening to come. I approached what looked like to be the front of the cathedral. There were stairs leading to a plain wooden door, not even a double door. No figurines lined the lintel. No angels, no bishops, no fabulous creatures marked the door as important. How odd. A front door that wasn’t a real cathedral front door.
Because this was a cathedral, most likely build in the Middle Ages. I’d seen the tall spire from miles away.
I walked around the grand building, passing a gated manor house and came to the back of the church. A small vegetable garden nestled up against the back door.
The back door was a double door — decorated with stone lizards and monks, and even a dragon carved on the sides and arch of the door.
I’d found what once had served the front of the cathedral, but now only faced a garden and renaissance-looking housing—all red walls and tall pointy black sloped roofs.
By itself on a wall, only a few feet from the ornate back door was a gargoyle standing by his lonesome.
I was in love. I had to know about this gargoyle. I had to know about this odd cathedral with its decorated back door. I had to write a story about this small town of Beauvais, north of Paris, I’d stumbled into by accident.
And I did. This location and my discovery of the gargoyle became the basis of my novella, A Touchstone of Love, the first in my Touchstone series. (https://author.bethbarany.com/books/touchstone-of-love-romance/)
Novelist, book coach, speaker, and teacher. Do you find it difficult to juggle the many hats you wear in a day? To keep order, do you have set schedules for writing, your business, and your personal life?
I do find it difficult to juggle the many hats I wear in a day. But I have developed some systems to keep order, to stay focused, and to get work done.
One of the things I’ve done is devote the lunchtime break to writing, usually at one of my local cafes or at the local diner. I’m a midday writer. I have the most energy and enthusiasm to do creative work from about 11:30am to about 2:30pm. This type of lunch break works well when I am working on first draft material.
When I’m editing as I am doing now, I still can edit in the middle the day, but I’m finding that I am fitting in editing wherever I can. I prefer the quiet of my home for this type of editing work. Editing takes me a lot longer than writing the first draft, so I need to be able to work on it anytime and just about any place. Although I don’t usually work my books late at night.
For the business, I usually take care of administrative details in the morning. In the afternoon I usually take care of client appointments and meetings. If I don’t have appointments and meetings, I focus on business marketing.
I generally devote a few hours on Saturdays to marketing my fiction. I try to create schedules and systems even for fiction marketing, so that I can get to work on the things that need my special touch.
If you could write a story – a fanfiction really – for a world already written, where would it be and why?
I’m really quite enameled with “SG-1,” the long running TV show based on the movies, “Stargate.” I’d write fan fiction for that. I’m especially curious to write (or read, LOL) a story written by the Daniel Jackson character, the archaeologist.
In fiction, I’d write far future fan fiction in Elizabeth Moon’s science fiction Vatta world.
What is your favorite cliched romance trope?
I like friends-to-lovers. I also really like second chance romances.
What is the weirdest topic you have ever researched for one of your novels?
Don’t cringe—I researched what a body looks like dead for my science fiction mystery series, forthcoming.
Maybe also weird is how to build a space elevator; how brain-computer interfaces could work; what the future of coffee cultivation could look like in 100 years; and nanomaterials for clothing; and what the constellations look like from high-Earth orbit.
Those are just some of the weird things I’ve been researching lately.
Was there any scene or character you had to cut in one of your novels that you kept because you couldn’t part with it (them)?
I can’t think of anything. My critique partners have been great at convincing me of scenes or partial scenes to cut where there wasn’t enough conflict.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
Readers can sign up for the 1st chapter of my YA fantasy here: https://author.bethbarany.com/free-excerpt-to-henrietta-the-dragon-slayer/
For my paranormal romance, they can check out the 1st book in the series (the one about the strange cathedral and gargoyle) here: https://author.bethbarany.com/free-romance-story/.
by Chelsea Pitcher
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: December 11, 2018
Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?
“This wasn’t a fairytale. This was real life, and in real life, puppets didn’t turn into boys. Sleeping princesses didn’t wake with a kiss.”
– Chelsea Pitcher, The Lie Will Kill You
First off, let me admit to apprehension when beginning this book. I’m not a huge fan of changing POV chapters and have struggled lately with contemporary fiction. My intrigue was caught upon the prologue then drifted a bit for the first introductory chapters. Suddenly – “Tell the truth. Or face the consequences” and hello no sleep. I binge read to my heart’s content up until the very last page. I was in a game of Clue and I wanted to know who did it; who was lying.
Now let me tell you why.
Meet the suspects: Ruby, Gavin, Brett, Parker, and Juniper. Each character has a role to play in a murder that happened a year ago. One lie – two lies – three lies – four lies, I’m sure you get where I’m going with this. Looking beneath their cliched high school personas – from the brain to the jock to the beauty, the real beneath each of them is so raw, so true. The connection is established, old friendships and rivals taunted to the surface, and the game comes into play with a murder mystery dinner that offers the winner a scholarship to a school of their choice for fifty-thousand dollars. The event to take place the date it all began. The costumes arrive – each fitting their actor/actress of choice, the suspects attend, and the madness begins. Each act is different, each reveal opens up more questions, and oh how the lies become shreds.
I cannot say much without giving away spoilers, much to the frustration of myself for wanting to rave and likely your frustration of wanting more clues – more answers. But I will say you will not be disappointed by the end after the game’s finale, the closing act, and the conclusion that leaves you out of breath.
I highly recommend This Lie Will Kill You with a 4.5/5 rating.