Thursday, February 1, 2018

YA Guy... Stops Reading!

YA Guy loves to read. What writer doesn't?

Over the past seven years, as I've launched my career as a YA writer, I've averaged between 50 and 60 novels per year. Many of them were YA, but many were not. I dipped into classics, science fiction, historical novels, whatever struck my fancy (or was related to my own writing project) at the time. So if you add it all up, that's about 400 novels all told, or somewhere in the neighborhood of 160,000 pages.

I've learned a lot from these novels about craft, storytelling, character development, genre expectations, you name it. I've also read some truly great literature (both YA and non-YA), as well as some real clunkers. I've reviewed many of these books--primarily the ones I loved, because I'm not in the habit of writing negative reviews. I dropped my Goodreads account last year, but you can find the reviews on Amazon. And I've tweeted about and otherwise promoted many of the books I read, all in the interest of supporting others who are pursuing this very difficult job called writing.

So overall, it's been a great run. I'm glad, for both personal and professional reasons, that I made a commitment to upping my reading content these past seven years.

But for 2018, I'm taking a break.

Here's the short version of why: I'm beat.

Here's the longer version:

I'm not a fast reader. I average about 30 pages an hour, maybe 40 with YA. So the roughly 160,000 pages I read over that seven-year span represent somewhere around 4000 hours spent reading, or almost 600 hours per year. Which translates, in turn, to almost two hours of reading per day for the past seven years. And that's not counting the time spent reviewing and otherwise promoting the books I've read.

The above numbers might not seem like a lot to some people. But the other things I do during the day include, to list only the most important and time-consuming:

--work a full time job
--spend time with my wife and children
--spend time with my aging parents
--spend time with friends
--attend or otherwise participate in political, cultural, and artistic events
--do chores and other housework
--promote my books, on social media and via live appearances

Again, that's no different from what most writers do. But if I'm spending almost two hours every day on reading, it tends to curtail my ability to do some of the other things. Including, most importantly for me as a writer (if not as a human being), write my own books. This is especially true since I'm an even slower writer than reader, taking an average of six months to complete a draft. And that's not counting revisions and all the other things that are involved to transform a manuscript into a published book.

This year is going to be particularly busy in regard to writing, for at least two reasons: I have multiple projects in the hopper (one of which my agent is currently shopping around, the others of which are in various stages of completion), and I'm contemplating self-publishing another project, thus requiring time not only to perform the necessary actions but to learn a whole new form of publication.

Hence my plan to take a break for a year. I'll read a few things that I absolutely have to--like the novels and other materials I'm teaching, or the occasional 2018 publication I'm so excited about I simply can't pass it up--but for the most part, I'm going to go reading-free for a year and see what happens. Certainly, some 2018 books I'd like to read will pass me by, and I'm not sure I'll have a chance to catch up on them. Possibly, I'll find myself so bored I'll regret my decision. But ideally, I'll be freed to focus for a year on all of those other things in my list, including, most importantly, writing.

Every writer has to figure out how to make all this stuff work. There are only so many hours in a day, a year, a life. Some writers (maybe the ones who read and write faster than I do) find ways to do it all. I'm not one of those writers, and I'm trying to be honest with myself about my limitations.

So if you're putting out a book this year and hoping I'll read it, I'm sorry to disappoint you. If I seem ungenerous and you decide not to read my books in retaliation, that's okay. If all goes according to plan, I'll be too busy writing to notice.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

YA Guy... Visits Schools!

As YA Guy has said before, probably the coolest thing about writing for young people is that I get to visit schools (and libraries). And probably the coolest thing about those visits is answering questions from students, who always challenge me and give me a new perspective on my own writing.

Recently, I visited Shaler Area Middle School (close to the city of Pittsburgh) and talked about FREEFALL, science fiction, and social justice to a group of young readers who'd just finished a unit on segregation. Here are some of the great questions they asked me, with my reconstruction of how I answered them:

Charlotte: Do you believe the society represented in FREEFALL is likely to occur in the future?

YA Guy: Actually, I think it's happening right now. Not only nationally but internationally, we're a people divided by race and class, and in some respects those divisions have worsened despite legislation that was meant to shrink them. That's one of the things with science fiction: though it's typically set in the future, it comments on events that are happening right now, sometimes tweaking those events just the tiniest bit for the purposes of fiction.

Jamin: When you're writing a story, how do you know if your idea is good or not?

YAG: The short answer is that you don't. Or at least, if you mean "good" as in "lots of people will want to read it," it's hard to gauge that while you're writing. So my best advice to writers is to write what YOU think is good--the story that you want to tell (or that you'd want to read). You can't really control whether others will think it's good, so you probably shouldn't waste time worrying about that.

Taylor: Have you ever based a character off your own personality?

YAG: In the largest sense, every character I create is based (at least in part) off of me, because I'm the person whose thoughts and feelings I know best. But sometimes there's an even closer connection. For example, Cam Newell, my narrator in FREEFALL, is a guy from a relatively privileged upbringing whose viewpoint is changed when he comes into contact with people from very different backgrounds. His process of development is quite similar to what I experienced when I went to college, where for the first time my eyes were opened to people, perspectives, and issues that I'd never been exposed to before.

Tiffany: Where did the title FREEFALL come from?

YAG: Sometimes, I don't have a title for a book until I'm about halfway through, when I've finally figured out what the book is about. Other times, a word or phrase just pops into my head, and I decide it would make a good title--but then I have to figure out how it's relevant to the story I'm telling. That was the case with FREEFALL. I liked the word, partly because I knew I was writing an outer space adventure, and I was playing with the ideas of gravity and being grounded (or being thrown out of one's accustomed ground). But I also started to think about how being in love is kind of like being in freefall; it's scary and exhilarating and unpredictable all at once. So since the book has romance elements too, FREEFALL seemed like a good title. Eventually, to make it even more relevant to the story, I named one of the starships the Freefall.

Shahaan: Do you write books to inform or to entertain?

YAG: Many authors will say that the only purpose of writing is entertainment, and I do agree that entertainment is primary. But with a book, we're not talking about random light shows or clown acts, which might be purely entertaining; we're talking about language, which means that there's also going to be information conveyed from author to reader. I don't believe in hitting the reader over the head with a "message," but at the same time, I see nothing wrong with the author having information s/he wants to convey to the reader, so long as s/he leaves it up to the reader to receive and process that information.

Chris: When you use first-person point of view, what's the best way to describe your narrator?

YAG: Well, you probably want to avoid the overused device of having your narrator look in a mirror (or other reflective surface) and describe him/herself. You might ask whether you really need a physical description of the narrator, or you might drop little nuggets of physical description here and there. But if you want a single, sustained description, you should try to find an original way of doing it, such as I tried to do in FREEFALL, where Cam reads his own physical data on the screen of the life pod where he's been in suspended animation for 1000 years.

Logan: Where do you get the names for your characters?

YAG: Lots of places. I'll meet someone with a name I like, or I'll hear something on the news, or I'll create a name from scratch. In the manuscript I'm currently working on, everyone has names from Greek myths, so it was fun researching those names. For FREEFALL, I named the three male leads after my son's favorite NFL players.

Sammy: What was your inspiration for the Upperworld?

YAG: I honestly looked around at the real world and thought about wealth disparity, segregation, and oppression in the here and now, and then said to myself, "What if current trends get worse and worse in the next hundred years?" I'm no prophet, but there are very troubling signs that the world's wealth is becoming more and more concentrated in a smaller and smaller percentage of the global population, and if that keeps happening, we might literally have an Upperworld and a Lowerworld in the next century: an elite 1% with all the wealth and a remaining 99% with none.

Candace: How do you stretch a short story into a novel?

YAG: First, I'd point out that if you're writing short stories right now, there's no need to stretch them into anything other than what they are. Short stories are the perfect length for young writers: you can complete them in a week or a month, and thus feel a great sense of accomplishment, whereas for most teens (including myself forty years ago), tackling a novel is an exercise in frustration--it's just too much, and the likelihood that you won't finish it tends to produce feelings of failure. That being said, I've found that the key difference between a novel and a short story is that in a short story, the narrator or main character has ONE challenge s/he has to face and resolve, whereas in a novel, there will be multiple such challenges, each one yielding to a greater one. But I do want to repeat that for young writers, I think short stories are the best way to go: they give you a chance to hone your skills, and possibly even to gain some publishing credits.

Alexandra: Do you plan your novels out first, or figure things out as you go along?

YAG: I'm what people call a "pantser"--that is, I don't plan much, and so I kind of fly along by the seat of my pants. I'll have a basic idea for a novel--such as in FREEFALL, where the idea was to write an adventure/romance having to do with outer space colonization--but I'll let the rest unfold as I write. The reason I like to do it this way is that I feel as if I make my best discoveries as a writer "in the moment," where one idea will lead to another that I hadn't foreseen. But other writers like to plan out more than I do, and I think it's important for each writer to find the method that works best for her or him.

Maddox: How did the plot of FREEFALL develop?

YAG: This is a perfect example of the process I just described, where one idea leads to a wholly unexpected one. I'd created my main characters, Cam and Sofie, but I felt that something was missing--they were too similar to each other, and thus there wasn't enough tension and conflict in their relationship. But then the idea of Upperworld and Lowerworld popped into my head, which led me to the obvious conclusion that one of my teens would be an Upperworlder and the other a Lowerworlder. Once that idea was in place, the story took off: if they were from different parts of the planet, they'd have to meet somehow, and there would be some kind of conflict when they did, and each of them would have to learn from the other, and so on and so on. I didn't plan any of that when I started writing, but all of it unfolded in a series of discoveries during the writing process.

Emma: What's your favorite part of FREEFALL?

YAG: I think my favorite part is a scene where Cam and one of Sofie's Lowerworld friends are working together to rescue her from the book's villain, and they have a conversation where Cam realizes that, though they have the same objective, they have drastically different motivations. That was an important scene for the story, not only because it leads Cam to question his own motivations, but because it raises the question of whether it's possible to understand the life experience of someone whose circumstances are very different from one's own. I personally think it's possible to respect someone's position even if one doesn't fully understand it, and I hope that's what Cam learns too.

Dante: Have you had any hardships while writing?

YAG: Many. For example, with FREEFALL, my first draft was so horrible I almost gave up on it, but fortunately, I had the experience to know that if I set it aside for a while, I'd come back to it with fresh eyes and be able to make an objective assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. Writing is hard work--though nowhere near as hard as many of the jobs that people perform--and you have to be strongly motivated to persevere in it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

YA Guy Lists... His 2017 Top Ten!

YA Guy didn't read as many books as usual in 2017. In my defense, among the books I did read, several were whoppers, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame (500+ pages), The Sword of Shannara (700+ pages), Dune (900+ pages), and The Count of Monte Cristo (1200+ pages). So when compiling my yearly Top 10--which, true to my name, I try to confine to YA and MG--I didn't have quite as many books to choose from as I typically do.

But I still read some great stuff. Here are the best of the bunch, listed in no particular order. I focused this year's list exclusively on science fiction and fantasy, so some great realist fiction (for instance, Sabrina Fedel's debut LEAVING KENT STATE) didn't make the cut. Most of these are 2017 releases, though a few are from late 2016.

Fonda Lee, EXO. A refreshing take on the alien-invasion narrative, Lee's second novel is driven by ethical and emotional issues rather than by implausible victories over advanced civilizations (in the manner of the Independence Day movies). To give you an idea of how highly I value Lee's work, I nominated EXO for a Nebula Award, and I believe it deserves to win. Oh, and there's a sequel, CROSS FIRE, coming in 2018!

Philip Reeve, RAILHEAD. Miraculous world-building in a galaxy where light-speed trains (yes, trains) cruise from planet to planet and godlike intelligences rule the masses. The character development is a bit lacking, but the worlds (and the trains) are stunning. I haven't yet read the sequel, BLACK LIGHT EXPRESS, but I hope to get to it soon.

Lisa Maxwell, THE LAST MAGICIAN. This New York Times bestseller features time-traveling thieves, a gritty depiction of turn-of-the-century New York, and enough magical razzle-dazzle to keep the pages flipping. There's a sequel coming out (I believe) next year, so stay tuned!

Michael Northrop, POLARIS. The sole Middle Grade entry on this year's list, Northrop's novel is historical science fiction about a Darwinesque voyage to the Amazon that returns bearing a horrific passenger. Particularly notable for its realistic sailing details, which perfectly ground the flights of science fantasy.

Cindy Pon, WANT. This novel, which takes place in a future Taipei that's even more radically divided by wealth than in the present, has a wonderfully realized setting, appealing characters, and a thoughtful message for our own time. The book has made numerous Top 10 lists, and deservedly so.

Paolo Bacigalupi, TOOL OF WAR. The third and, I assume, final installment in the author's Ship Breaker series, this book isn't quite as strong as the first two. But Bacigalupi is a master at rendering the peoples and places of a climate-ravaged future Earth, and his semihuman protagonist, Tool, is one of the great science fiction inventions of all time.

Jennifer Brody, THE 13TH CONTINUUM. When Earth's surface is rendered uninhabitable for a thousand years, a handful of survivors escape into deep space and the deep ocean. Now they're returning--if, that is, the totalitarian societies that have developed during that millennium will allow them. A fast-moving and fascinating dystopian tale, first in a series.

Michael Miller and AdriAnne Strickland, SHADOW RUN. There were parts of this deep-space adventure--the parts set on-planet--that I found less than gripping. But the scenes in outer space, where a small vessel "fishes" for the volatile substance known as Shadow, were full-on awesome. If memory serves, a sequel is due for this one, too.

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, GEMINA. Book 2 of the wildly imaginative Illuminae Files trilogy, this tale couldn't quite match the intensity and physical creativity of the first book, but it came darn close. The final book in the trilogy, OBSIDIO, will be out in 2018.

Joshua David Bellin, FREEFALL. Oh, come on, I can put my own book on my list, can't I? But seriously, I'm a fan of this deep-space colonization novel that features a class-divided Earth, a revolutionary teen prophet from the global underclass, and frightening outer space monsters--both human and otherwise.

Happy reading, everyone! See you in 2018!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

YA Guy is... in the Spirit!

YA Guy loves the holiday season (or the Christmas season, if you prefer). Some of my best memories are of going to my aunt and uncle's house in Cleveland for Hanukkah, then continuing on to my grandparents' house in St. Joseph, Michigan for Christmas. In fact, I think my very favorite childhood memory is of lying in bed on Christmas Eve, listening to my grandparents' cuckoo clock chime the hours, knowing I wasn't allowed to get up until 6:00 (but getting so excited each time the chimes sounded I forgot to count). It's probably not my mom's favorite memory, since it meant I'd wake her every hour from about 1:00 on to ask if it was time, but my own kids paid me back when they were little, so we're all even.

Anyway, the point of this trip down memory lane is to let you know about some of the great things I'm doing this December to celebrate the holidays in a literary way. Here we go!


I've been invited to participate in a panel on "literary firsts" for First Night 2018, Pittsburgh's New Year's Eve celebration. Should be lots of fun, plus I have some goodies to give away (as, I'm sure, do my fellow panelists). If you're in or near Pittsburgh, you should check it out (the link to reserve seats is right here).


Years ago, I had the crazy thought, "How did Santa get all that Elf labor?" As someone who's studied Native American history and religion, the answer was obvious: he colonized the indigenous people of the North Pole. That gave birth to my dystopian Christmas novel, THE PASSING OF BOSS KRENKEL, published under my sometime pen name of J. D. Belyi. Warning: the book's got some pretty horrific elements. But I personally think it's a really imaginative tale, one that spans centuries and cultures and mythologies, as well as one that features a unique narrator, the Aleph (Elf) lore-keeper who alone among his people knows the true history of the northland. If this sounds like your kind of thing, it's available for a mere $2.99 on Kindle.


'Tis the season for parties, and my female counterpart, The YA Gal, has put together a Facebook Christmas party featuring a host of YA authors (with a special appearance by the Elf on the Shelf). It runs on December 17 and is open to all. So come join us for prizes, chats, and general merriment--all without having to leave your couch, clean the dishes, or pry your uncle away from the punch bowl.

Have a happy!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

YA Guy Rants about... Acknowledgments!

YA Guy's pretty old-fashioned. There are some things I think you should keep to yourself: sex, family secrets, religion. I just don't think these are anyone else's business.

But obviously, not everyone agrees. Popular memoirs are full of dirt about parental abuse. Daytime talk shows are all about who fathered which baby. Elected officials vie publicly for the title of Holier Than Thou.

As an author, there's one form of such public displays I find particularly off-putting.

I've noticed a trend in acknowledgments pages--especially YA acknowledgments pages, but maybe that's because I mostly read YA these days--toward thanking the Christian God first (and/or last) for various things, usually not only for the book but for the writer's existence. Here's a recent example:

"First and foremost, I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for leading me through the darkest parts of the wood and bringing me out safely on the other side. You are my peace, my comfort, my strength. Apart from You, I can do nothing."

I've gotta tell you, this kind of stuff irks me. Leave aside my built-in distaste for airing one's religious beliefs to the world. There's a point at which such self-abasing humility starts to sound like boastfulness, as in, "I'm so special--God chose ME!" It rather reminds me of the folks who show up at my front door from time to time, shoving their literature in my face and benevolently telling me that they're here to spread the good word. I'm not polite to these people. I tell them to get the h*** off my porch.

Now, I know the two situations aren't really comparable. The door-to-door evangelists are trying to convert me. The authors of acknowledgments such as the above are (probably) doing no more than expressing their deeply felt convictions on the page, which is something authors do on every page. Still, I find it in poor taste.

If you don't, that's fine. As the headline says, I'm just ranting, not trying to change anyone's mind. Maybe, in so doing, I'm guilty of the same thing I'm objecting to: broadcasting my philosophical (if not religious) beliefs. That's certainly open to discussion.

But from now on, I think I'm going to read the acknowledgments first. A casual thanks to the author's deity probably won't turn me off. If I find a full-out confessional, testimonial, or ecstatic vision, though, I'll likely set the book aside for something more to my taste.

Hey, we all have our sacred cows.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

YA Guy Interviews... Lisa Maxwell, author of THE LAST MAGICIAN! (Plus a giveaway!)

YA Guy's had the good fortune to share a stage with several bestselling YA authors: James Dashner, Kristin Cashore, and others. (Well, okay, maybe I didn't quite share the stage with them; they were the headliners and I was just one of many fellow panelists.) But I've never had the chance to hang out with a bestseller who also happens to be a friend.

Until now, that is. Because the ultra-fabulous Lisa Maxwell, bestselling author of THE LAST MAGICIAN and other magical, marvelous YA tales, is my buddy from way back when we debuted in Fall 2014. And recently, I had a chance to chat with her about her book.

But why stop with a chat? I'm also raffling off a signed copy of THE LAST MAGICIAN, which is simply one of the best YA historical fantasies out there. Don't believe me? Here's my review.

So, let's hear from Lisa first, and then you can enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter thingie below.

YA Guy: Hi, Lisa, and welcome to the blog!

THE LAST MAGICIAN is a bigger book than any of your previous books, not only in terms of sheer length but in the complexity of the plot, the multiple points of view, the historical background, and so on. Do you think this reflects your maturation as a writer? Or was this book something you'd been saving up all along?

Lisa Maxwell: I think it definitely reflects the experiences of writing my first three books. I have one book that’s shelved where I tried to do a multiple perspective, interwoven story, and I think that mistakes I made trying to write that one very much helped me figure out how to write this one. That being said, I didn’t originally start out to write this book as complexly as it turned out. At first, I thought I was just writing a dual POV with Harte and Esta, but the other characters and their stories and arcs were too complex and essential to the main story to leave out.

YAG: I love the historical richness of THE LAST MAGICIAN, and I know that some of the minor characters (e.g., J. P. Morgan) were actual historical figures. But what about the principal characters? Were any of them either real people or based on real people?

LM: Actually, kind of? I took some of my inspiration for Harte’s background from a book called A Pickpocket’s Tale. It was written by a guy named George Washington Appo, who was a pickpocket and common green games runner in the city, who was also literate enough to write his autobiography. Harte isn’t him, of course, but some of his background was an inspiration for Harte’s backstory. Dolph Saunders was a real guy, but I mostly just stole the name since I really loved the way it sounded. Dolph is a compilation of a couple different historical gang leaders. As for Esta and the rest—they’re all mine.

YAG: I also love time-travel narratives, but I know they can be tricky to write. Did you encounter any specific challenges or plot problems with this aspect of the novel? If so, how did you resolve them?

LM: Everything was a problem. Time travel is so much harder to write than I thought it was when I came up with the idea of making Esta a time traveler. Originally, I hadn’t planned on my thief to be a time traveler, but once I settled on the setting, I realized there was probably no way, historically speaking, that Esta could be the person I imagined with the sensibilities I wanted her to have if she were born and raised in the late 19th century. 

The biggest challenges, though, were rules I imposed on myself. I needed her to have limitations to how and when she could travel, or else she could just magically time travel back to the beginning of the Order and solve everything before it starts. But those limitations meant that I had to make sure there weren’t any inconsistencies in the rest of the book. Don’t even get me started on multiple timelines and time travel paradoxes. The whole thing makes my head hurt, and I’m nowhere close to done thinking about it yet.

Though, I will say that I have solved one paradox/multiple timeline issue AND managed to create a twist that I’m really, really happy about for the next book.

YAG: I can't wait to read it! Thanks again for visiting the blog!

LM: Thanks so much for having me!

Readers, if you want to find Lisa on the web, visit her at And for a chance to win a signed copy of THE LAST MAGICIAN, enter below. The contest is U.S. only, and it runs from now through Halloween (fitting for a book about magic)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

YA Guy Participates in... the Fall 2017 YA Scavenger Hunt!

YA Guy's super excited to participate in this year's FALL YA SCAVENGER HUNT! Not only is Fall my favorite time of year, but I've got a brand-new book out, the YA science fiction adventure FREEFALL, which released September 26. So I'm totally ready for the Hunt, and I trust that you are too! (I mean, why else would you be here if you weren't?)

As you can probably tell by all the purple lettering in this post (not to mention the banner at the top), I'm on the PURPLE TEAM, along with the other awesome authors you see below:

The YA Scavenger Hunt is a bi-annual event first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! Add up the clues on each PURPLE TEAM page, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in our team! There are SEVEN contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! But don't delay: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will be online only until noon Pacific time on OCTOBER 8! (My personal giveaway, though, will run a little longer, until October 10.)


Directions: In the author biography below, you'll notice I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the purple team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form to qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally. Anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, October 8, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered. For more information, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Personal Giveaway: In addition to the prizes named above, readers who enter my personal giveaway will have a chance to win a signed copy of my new novel FREEFALL! Like the Hunt itself, this personal giveaway is open internationally. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

Okay, got all that? Then let's meet the author I'm hosting, BRENDA DRAKE!

New York Times bestselling author of the Library Jumpers series, the Fated series, and Thunderstruck, creator of #PitchWars, #PitchMadness, and #PitMad, fueled by 22 cups of coffee and Goldfish crackers (but not together), and represented by Peter Knapp with The Park Literary Group.

To find out more about Brenda, go to her website at

About GUARDIAN OF SECRETS: Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairy tales and secret gardens.

Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Maybe. If she survives.

To buy the book, follow this link!


The Hunt's over, but my personal giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of my new YA science fiction adventure FREEFALL runs until October 10!

About FREEFALL: When the 1% and the 99% clash, the fate of the human race hangs on the actions of two teens from very different backgrounds in this thrilling sci-fi adventure.

In the Upperworld, the privileged 1% are getting ready to abandon a devastated Earth. And Cam can’t wait to leave. After sleeping through a 1,000-year journey, he and his friends will have a pristine new planet to colonize. And no more worries about the Lowerworld and its 99% of rejects.

Then Cam sees a banned video of protesters in the Lowerworld who also want a chance at a new life. And he sees a girl with golden eyes who seems to be gazing straight through the feed at him. A girl he has to find. Sofie.

When Cam finds Sofie, she opens his eyes to the unfairness of what’s happening in their world, and Cam joins her cause for Lowerworld rights. He also falls hard for Sofie. But Sofie has her own battles to fight, and when it’s time to board the spaceships, Cam is alone.

Waking up 1,000 years in the future, Cam discovers that he and his shipmates are far off-course, trapped on an unknown and hostile planet. Who has sabotaged their ship? And does it have anything to do with Sofie, and the choices—and the enemies—he made in the past?

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