May

6

2014

Highlights from the Hudson Children’s Book Festival

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Author Events, Book Signings, Check-it-out, Community, School Visits, Touching the Surface, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I had an amazing time at the Hudson Children’s Book Festival this weekend!!!

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What an amazing group of book loving people. Let me share some of them with you…

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Setting up–the calm before the book storm. <3

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It’s me!!!!

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Signing TOUCHING THE SURFACE for some very special fans.

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Tiffany Schmidt and her amazing books were a teen magnet all day long.

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K.M. Walton and Jennifer Castle hanging out with one of the many fabulous volunteers.

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Jodi Moore and Dragon giving a tutorial on how to make your very own puppet.

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I had the pleasure of sitting next to the extremely talented Hudson Talbott.

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And my fellow Apocalypsie –Tiffany Schmidt

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Made a brand new friend, Bruce Hopkins. Feels like I’ve known him for years.

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Jodi Moore, Dragon and I got to have an early celebration with SCBWI Crystal Kite winner Kit Grindstaff. Congratulations on her win for her debut novel THE FLAME IN THE MIST.

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SQUEE!!!!! MY CRITIQUE GROUP GOT TO HANG OUT WITH THE INDOMITABLE ELLEN HOPKINS ALL DAY LONG!!!! (ALL CAPS INTENTIONAL) And don’t forget  the bonus SQUEE!!!! Megan, Jodi and I got to hang out all weekend together. We hadn’t seen each other in A YEAR!!! Seeing them was the BEST! <3

It was an amazing day. The book lovers in Hudson already feel like family.

I hope I get a chance to see them a lot more often. And I can’t thank them enough for hosting this wonderful event and having me be a part of it.

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May

1

2014

Look at What the Dust Bunnies are Reading on Throwback Thursday!

Filed under: Drafting, In the Wild, Writing, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Everyone thinks that Dust Bunnies don’t like to read. In fact, because they blow all over the floor–a little to the left, then a little to the right–everyone assumes they only excel at dancing. And while they do have a particular fondness for the Cha-Cha and a good country line dance. I’m here to tell you they are also closet reader.

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How do I know this? I have proof. They are the ones who’ve had all my old diaries and journals. I’d been looking for those so ling I thought for sure they’d gotten tossed.

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Those sly little bunnies. Anyway, I’ve always told my readers that TOUCHING THE SURFACE was the first novel I’ve ever written. And I didn’t lie. Phew! But I’d forgotten that I’d started one in 9th grade. And now that the bunnies are done with it, I’m finding myself rather entertained. Part of me is cracking up and another piece is thinking–parts of this (small parts) are way better than I would’ve expected from my teenage self.

Since it is Throwback Thursday and I always take the advice of Dust Bunnies when it comes to reading recommendations, I thought I’d pull this untitled work back out again. Here’s my first “draft” of eleven, single spaced, handwritten (in cursive) pages.

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It goes a little something like this…

(I have left in all typos for your entertainment)

Chapter 1

Here I Come

     “Mom!” I wailed as we approached the school. “They left with out me!” 

     “Heidi, sweetheart, calm down” my mother replied. “There is practically a hurricane going on! “Do you expect everyone to be waiting outside with their luggage in a down pour?”

     I gave it a good second thought and realized she must be right. As we drove up to the front doors of Franklin Jr. High I could see all my friends including my best friend, Amber Bates, sitting standing in the hallway and  It was getting quite dark out but I could make out everyone quite clearly with every fresh bolt of lightening. I grabbed my suitcase and kissed my mother goodbye in one easymotion. As I dased to the doors which Amber was holding open for me. The one thing that stuck in my mind was “what a way to start our big 9th grade class trip

*  *  *

The Highlights:

Best 80′s Quote–“I had brown permed hair hair wich I blew out on top and left curly in the back.”

Best Dialogue– “That was quite and entrance Heidi”

“Don’t you know Tony. Its classy to come someplace fashionably late.”

“Sure it is but fashionably doesn’t mean like a seal in the hundred yard dash.”

“Well Tony, at least I don’t look (like) a seal all the time.”

Best Joke– “He was most famously known for his fig newton jokes. My favorite one was ‘What do you call a fig newton that just got out of the hospital? A: All figsed up!!’”

Best Cliffhanger– “Just as everyone was making a mad dash across the room everything went black and the only sound you could hear was clumsy Nancy Emory falling over someone’s suitcase in the dark.”

 

Are you still with me??? Because after a cliff hanger like that, I decided to skip that whole “write a complete first draft” step and go directly to my favorite part of writing–REVISION! I started all over again. This time with nineteen, single spaced, handwritten pages…

Above me the thunder crashed and with every fresh bolt of lightening my the feeling of anticipation grew inside me. I couldn’t really decide if I liked that feeling or not. As I continued to pack my clothes into the suitcase I finally decided I could sacrifice five minutes of my time to analyze it all again. I mean alot was at stake this weekend but the biggest risk I was going to take was with my feelings. If this last atempt on my part failed I was almost sure I would end up with a full fledge broken heart.

The Highlights:

Best Pep Talk–“If it was your different speaclness (specialness?) that attracted him to you in the first place then the only way you can ever get him back is by being different and special. If he really loved you inside as much as he had said he did then he won’t forget you very easy.”

Best Revised Sentence–DRAFT #1 ” I gave it a good second thought and realized she must be right.”

DRAFT #2 “I gave it a good second thought and started to scold my imagination for being over active.”

Best  Random Sentence–“Instead I followed him back to our group and silently watched listened to Craig Morris do tell us about how on his vacation he accidentally walked int a nudist camp while taking a hike.”

 

And since I can’t top that AND my kids need my attention AND the dust bunnies want their reading material back–I’ll stop torturing you now. LOL! Go look up some of the things your dust bunnies have been reading and don’t forget to share!

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Apr

29

2014

The 6th Annual Hudson Children’s Book Festival is THIS Saturday!

Filed under: Author Events, Book Signings, Check-it-out, Community, Fun and Games, In the Wild, Touching the Surface, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

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Woo hoo!!! I am so excited to be a part of the 6th Annual Hudson Children’s Book Festival!!!!

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I’ll be there with my sharpies signing copies of TOUCHING THE SURFACE!!!

But it’s not just me!

There is an epic ton of amazing kid lit folks on the scene. For the full Author/Illustrator list click HERE.

But I have to SQUEE!

Some of my best writer buds and fan yourself fan-girl worthy authors are going to be there…

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So, come out and visit all of us!!!! We can’t wait to hang out with you <3

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Apr

24

2014

The Power of the Stories Behind the Stories

Filed under: Reading, Writing

Today’s recommendation for writers is to find some of your favorite books and chase down the stories behind them. But I don’t want you to pick the flavor of the month. You need to pick the books that make you want to be a better writer–possibly even a better person. And I’m not saying that they all have to be emotional, literary powerhouses. It just has to be something that you consider well written and it has an impact on you. It’s about the books you think about long after you’re done reading them.

Next I want you to search the blogosphere to find out the back story of that story. What inspired that writer to grow that particularly twisted chain of thoughts in their head and put them on the page? Learn about when the story first started to incubate in their mind. Find out how long it took them to draft and redraft that manuscript.  Every good story behind the story seems to have it’s own emotional and plot arcs too. In my experience, in the really good books, what happens in the mind, heart and soul of the writer is often just as interesting as the published story. There is power in the stories behind the stories.

Why do I think we should do this? Because it reminds us of why we write and how we write. It grounds us in reality–some books that look like overnight successes have really been twenty years in the making. (Laurie Halse Anderson’s THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY) It helps us see  history as something that needs a voice. Without our words we run the risk of repeating our mistakes. (Ruta Sepetys’ BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY and Khaled Hosseini’s A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS) It shows us that embedded within the action there is deep thought and social consideration. (Suzanne Collins’ THE HUNGER GAMES and Veronica Roth’s DIVERGENT) It doesn’t matter how long the book or who is it’s intended audience. (Dr. Suess’ THE LORAX or Anne Frank’s THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK) Someone telling their personal truth resonates.

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Our greatest stories have stories and they leave clear and important messages to the tribe of writers that follow behind. Write what speaks to you and tell that story in your own voice. Write without fear or at least without letting the fear rule your choices. Write to serve yourself rather than an audience–if you speak your own truth there will be someone else that will connect with your words. Writers must write to become better writers, but they also must read to become better writers. It is through hard work, personal revelation and honest connection that we grow. It’s time to unleash the power of the stories behind the stories.

Are there stories behind the stories that have had an impact on you? Which ones–you need to share.

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Apr

22

2014

YOU DO NOT GET TO SIT ON THE SIDELINES OF LIFE AND BITCH ABOUT THE WAY SOMONE ELSE VOLUNTEERS!!!!

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, Pondering

I can’t help it. It seems that no matter how hard I try, I have the same rant about volunteerism every year. Mostly it’s the people standing next to me at a soccer field, a dance recital, a free writing event, a PTA endeavor or a community hoopla that have to hear me bitch about it. But today I decided to take it to the blog. Lucky you. I apologize ahead of time for speaking so loudly, but this one makes me yell…

 

 

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This Rant is Entitled…Don’t be an Ass!

 

 

UNLESS THERE IS GROSS NEGLIGENCE INVOLVED OR DELIBERATE CRUELTY OF SOME KIND. YOU DO NOT GET TO SIT ON THE SIDELINES OF LIFE AND BITCH ABOUT THE WAY SOMONE ELSE VOLUNTEERS!!!! IF YOU DON’T LIKE HOW SOMONE ELSE IS DONATING THEIR TIME AND EFFORT FOR FREE YOU HAVE THREE REASONABLE OPTIONS…

1. YOU MAY BECOME A VOLUNTEER AND DO A “BETTER” JOB. (BE PREPARED BECAUSE SOMEONE IS GOING TO BITCH ABOUT WHAT YOU DO, NO MATTER HOW MUCH OF YOUR HEART AND SOUL AND TIME YOU DONATE.)

2. YOU CAN BITCH, MOAN, WHINE AND COMPLAIN ALL YOU WANT TO IN YOUR HEAD WHERE NO ONE ELSE CAN HEAR YOU.

3. YOU CAN STAY HOME AND WATCH REALITY TV.

As we all crawl out of our winter holes of isolation, I’d like to make a preemptive attempt at saying thank you to all the people who volunteer and make my life better. Your volunteerism usually impacts more than just yourself–it effects your family also. That is so kind of you and your loved ones. You get less sleep, have more stress and your charitable efforts cut into your free time. I know I’m not perfect. Sometimes I think before I speak, but I want you to know that it’s wrong. I know I better. I will remind myself to PUT UP OR SHUT UP!

Please use the comments on this blog to right the karmic balance. Give a shout out to some of the most amazing volunteers you know. And please do your part to stop the madness. Not only should our motto be PUT UP OR SHUT UP, but we shouldn’t stand on the sidelines and allow others to trash those who are stepping up. If speaking up isn’t your thing, you can always use the Jedi Mind trick to gently shame the blabber mouths. Defend the volunteers you must.

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Apr

17

2014

Win, Lose or Ty–I Won’t Give Up

Filed under: Family

Some days blog posts are well thought out. Hopefully instructional or inspirational. But some days they are just the most important thing we have to say to the universe and the people in it.

I was very moved by a recent performance by Christina Grimmie on The Voice. Her mother was a three time cancer survivor. And while it’s completely different, in it’s own way, it reminded me of my 11yo old, Ty. He’s been struggling with the sudden move to a new school. He’s been so brave and centered and beautiful even though it has been a brutally hard experience. Some days I know he feels like a shadow of the person he was a few weeks ago. Lucky for him–I’ve always loved his shadow.

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And while the toughest part of this journey has been on him, the hard part for me has been being unable to fix it–to prevent it. (A Persons a Person No Matter How Small) All I’ve been able to do is be there to lean on. I  tell him over and over that I won’t give up on him. That I’m giving him all my love and hoping that in the end that it’s enough.

 

 

I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you’re still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn’t break, we didn’t burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m not
And who I am

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up
Still looking up.

God knows you’re worth it.

Love you, Ty <3

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Apr

15

2014

Bright and Shiny Lightbulb Moments

Filed under: Pondering

From time to time I have these bright and shiny light bulb moments. Not just one single pop of illumination, but more like Times Square at night. Maybe even bigger than that…

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Not all of these ah-ha moments are brilliant, or even worthy of stopping the presses. But together they bring a new light to my life. What it reminds me is that I am leaving a place of stress, upheaval, insecurity, sadness, fear and unfocus. And now I am moving towards a place where my compass is spinning towards it’s true north.

It’s not perfect. I still have “stuff” going on that I’d like to put behind me. Little black holes that suck up my illumination. I’m tired lately and I need to get more aggressive with getting to bed earlier. I have a couple tweaky body parts that are keeping me from running and dancing the way I like. And even though the weather is getting warmer, putting me in the salad, fruit and veggie, smoothy zone again. I’m also just as likely to be put in the ice cream zone as well. *le sigh* And yes, even though I want to be healthier–I’m counting down the days until the Easter Bunny brings me my Alps Chocolate. So–yeah–far from perfect.

BUT…

The the cascade of bright and shiny lightbulb moments is irresistible none the less. And what I love about a lightbulb moment is that it doesn’t feel forced–like I’m saying something in the secret hopes of trying to convince myself. Nope–this is the good stuff. It’s solid and true and I thought I’d share a bit of it with you. Be warned…they are kind of random. And of course I like it that way.

*EVERYTHING I read makes me a better writer. When I first started writing I only read for pleasure. I never read as a writer–for instruction. Then when I started reading as a writer, to improve my own craft, I found myself a little shell shocked about how much there was for me to learn. I forgot to get lost in the story. But now I feel as if I’ve found my balance. I’m like a person who’s been wearing bifocals long enough to jump effortlessly between perspectives. I’m liking this tremendously.

*There are more adult bullies out there then child bullies. Often they are instructing children how not to be bullies. I’m not sure we can change the adults–but I always have hope for the children.

*REMOVE YOURSELF FROM TOXIC ENVIRONMENTS!!!!! You can call me naive, optimistic, a door mat, pretty damn stupid, evolved, hopeful or even a glutton for punishment. In truth I’m probably a mix of all of them. But despite who I am, I’m not sure what makes me stay so long in relationships that allow people to treat me poorly. But I’ve discovered that whatever my motivations are/were for toughing out a bad situation–I’m happier when I’m no longer in a toxic environment. So yay for making a change, even if it took me way too long to make it in the first place.

*Raising resilient, happy, well rounded kids means sometimes they have to be miserable. If you protect your children from everything–their world will implode the day you’re finally not there to insulate them. Instead of fixing everything–it’s more important to hold up a mirror so they can witness their own strength. Reach out a hand to help them up when they fall. Hug them when things are hard so they know they are always loved. Let them fall down from time to time so they can practice getting back up on their own.

*I just want to write what needs to come out of me. I feel like I should elaborate, but I don’t need to. It’s that simple.

*The only reason I keep unpacking those leftover boxes is because I still have things I need and can’t find. If it weren’t for that…

*Half the battle in anything is showing up. This means sitting down and writing. It also means doing your laundry. It even means relaxing or climbing into bed in a timely manner.

*Homeopathy is the single best thing I’ve done for the physical and emotional health of myself and my family.

*Jealousy is like a fleet of dust bunnies. That dark feeling can hide in small unexpected places. It can be around every corner and blow out of hiding with the slightest breeze. And no matter how well you “clean house,” it can’t be eliminated. The evil dust bunnies must be stared down and wrestled into submission.

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See how scary they are…

*My lap top is not going to live forever. *sobs*

*I am a work in progress. Every bright and shiny lightbulb moment I have today will be seen through a different lens at another point in my life. And that’s okay–illuminated moments of thought are the layers we use to get to more complicated thoughts and emotions.

I’ve got more, but it’s your turn. Are you having any bright and shiny lightbulb moments lately that you’d like to share? I find interesting thoughts breed more and more interesting thoughts…

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Apr

10

2014

Bookanistas Review: BRAZEN by Katherine Longshore

Filed under: Book Reviews, Bookanistas, Check-it-out, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

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Katherine Longshore keeps getting better and better. In my opinion, BRAZEN (The Royal Circle, Book 3) is her best book yet!

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Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?

Kimberly’s Review of BRAZEN:

I’ve never been one to lean in the direction of historical fiction until I started reading Katherine Longshore’s books and BRAZEN is my favorite to date. Her writing just keeps getting better and better. It’s so rare to find a book that is historically educational while also as tantalizing and swoon worthy as a very popular romance. An amazing read.

Mary Howard and Henry FitzRoy are chess pieces in the very real and dangerous games being played in King Henry VIII’s court. But love has a power all it’s own and Longshore gives us front row seats to the danger and intrigue. You do not want to miss your chance to be a part of this. Read BRAZEN–better yet–read GILT, TARNISH and then BRAZEN asap!

 

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You can pre-order BRAZEN by Katherine Longshore here…

*Amazon

*Barnes & Noble

*IndieBound

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Having spent time as a freelance travel writer, travel agent, coffee shop barista, bookseller, ship’s steward, construction company contracts manager and Montessori preschool teacher, I have finally found my calling. I write historical fiction for young adults. I am represented by Catherine Drayton of InkWell Management.

You can find out more about Katherine Longshore and BRAZEN here…

 

*Website

*Twitter

*Facebook

*Goodreads

*YA Muses

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Want to know what other must-reads the Bookanistas have been consuming? You’re in for a treat…

Lenore Appelhans is nuts for NOGGIN by John Corey Whaley

Tracy Banghart swoons for STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood

Rebecca Behrens raves about PUSH GIRL by Bookanista Jessica Love

Christine Fonseca is riveted by SEKRET by Lindsay Smith

Jessica Love sings the praises of OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord

Katy Upperman is crazy for THE SYMPTOMS OF MY INSANITY by Mindy Raf

 

If you could read a historical fiction about any time period in history, what time frame would you like to see between the pages of a good book? I want to hear more about the Berlin Wall and what that felt like for families separated and trying to get home to each other. Okay historical fiction writers–get on that for me.

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Apr

8

2014

What’s on the Nightstand and Some Other Stuff

Filed under: Contests, Reading, Touching the Surface, YA Outside the LInes

Today I’m cross posting because I’m blogging over at YA Outside the Lines. Our topic for the month is our current reading list. Click here to find out about what I’m reading!

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And just a reminder–I’m running a Library Giveaway! Enter to win one of six signed copies of TOUCHING THE SURFACE for the Library of your choice. All the details are HERE!

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It’s easy-peasy to get your library’s name in the hat.

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And I’m also taking random questions today. Anything you want to know about writing and publishing–I’ll do my best to answer.

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Apr

3

2014

Win One of SIX Signed Copies of TOUCHING THE SURFACE for Your Favorite Library!!!!

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, Touching the Surface, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

It’s been a long time since I’ve run a contest for signed copies of TOUCHING THE SURFACE.

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Last weekend one of my dear friends and a fabulous children’s librarian, Cathy Nuding, volunteered her time to come speak to my local SCBWI Shop Talk. It was two hours of amazing. I’d like to recognize Cathy’s awesomeness and help out even more hard working librarians. I’ll be giving Cathy another signed copy of TTS for her library (along with some other goodies) but I’ll also be giving away SIX more signed copies. You don’t have to be a librarian to enter. Just tell me about the library you believe should have a copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE. If Rafflecopter pulls your name–I’ll send a signed copy right to their front door.

 “Soulful and inventive. A thoroughly original vision for what happens next.” –Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds

“This gorgeous, lyrical read will sweep you away.” –Jessica Verday, bestselling author of The Hollow trilogy

“Sabatini creates an exquisitely tangible alternate reality, ordering the cosmos with impressive authorial derring-do, crafting answers to ontological questions with grace, disarming simplicity, and nary a trace of dogma. All while believable teens–teen souls, that is–tangle with affection, selfishness, and doubt. Thought-provoking and romantic, Touching the Surface takes risks with narrative and form, and succeeds on multiple levels.” –RBW (Chronogram)

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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