Archives For Favorite Books and Authors

At the dual book launch party this past weekend for my friends Austin Aslan and Amy K. Nichols, I happened to come away with two audio book codes for Austin’s novels: The Islands at the End of the World and The Girl at the Center of the World. Since I already own the books, I thought I’d pass them on to two of my newsletter subscribers. My newsletter generally goes out the second Tuesday of each month, so I’ll announce the winner in the September newsletter. All you have to do to be entered in the giveaway is be a newsletter subscriber…and live in the USA. (Sorry, internationals!)

I’ve done a lot of events with Austin and Amy this past year as all three of us debuted within months of each other, and we’ve been having such a fun time learning the “biz” together. Last year I interviewed them over Google Hangouts for my YouTube series Coffee With Authors (check out the video tab above.) Their second books are now out and I encourage you to check them out.

**If you aren’t a subscriber yet, the sign up is over there on the sidebar.**

Here is a little bit about their books:

Book 1

In this fast-paced survival story set in Hawaii, electronics fail worldwide, the islands become completely isolated, and a strange starscape fills the sky. Leilani and her father embark on a nightmare odyssey from Oahu to their home on the Big Island. Leilani’s epilepsy holds a clue to the disaster, if only they can survive as the islands revert to earlier ways.
A powerful story enriched by fascinating elements of Hawaiian ecology, culture, and warfare, this captivating and dramatic debut from Austin Aslan is the first of two novels. The author has a master’s degree in tropical conservation biology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo

Book 2

In this fast-paced, exhilarating sequel to the acclaimed The Islands at the End of the World, Leilani and her family on the Big Island of Hawai’i face the challenge of survival in the world of the Emerald Orchid, a green presence that appeared in the sky after a global blackout. As the Hawaiian Islands go back to traditional ways of living, people must grow their own food and ration everything from gas to bullets. Medicine is scarce; a simple infection can mean death. Old tensions and new enemies emerge. And one girl, Leilani, is poised to save her world.

And here are Amy’s books:

Book 1

In a parallel universe, the classic bad boy falls for the class science geek.
One minute Danny was running from the cops, and the next, he jolted awake in an unfamiliar body–his own, but different. Somehow, he’s crossed into a parallel universe. Now his friends are his enemies, his parents are long dead, and studious Eevee is not the mysterious femme fatale he once kissed back home. Then again, this Eevee–a girl who’d rather land an internship at NASA than a date to the prom–may be his only hope of getting home.

Eevee tells herself she’s only helping him in the name of quantum physics, but there’s something undeniably fascinating about this boy from another dimension . . . a boy who makes her question who she is, and who she might be in another place and time.

Now That You’re Here (Duplexity, Part I)

Book 2

An artist without a cause meets a rebel without a clue.

Eevee is a promising young artist and the governor’s daughter in a city where censorship is everywhere and security is everything. When a fire devastates her exhibition—years in the making—her dreams of attending an elite art institute are dashed. She’s struggling to find inspiration when she meets Danny, a boy from a different world. Literally.

Raised in a foster home, Danny has led a life full of hurt and hardship until a glitch in the universe changes everything. Suddenly Danny is living in a home he’s never seen, with parents who miraculously survived the car crash that should have killed them. It’s like he’s a new Danny. But this alternate self has secrets—ties to an underground anarchist group that have already landed him in hot water. When he starts to develop feelings for Eevee, he’s even more disturbed to learn that he might have started the fire that ruined her work.

As Danny sifts through clues from his past and Eevee attempts to piece together her future, they uncover a secret that’s bigger than both of them. . . . And together, they must correct the breach between the worlds before it’s too late.

While You Were Gone (Duplexity, Part II)

You all know I get excited when I learn about new Cinderella inspired books, and there is another one coming out! I love so much about this novella already, and am eager to read it. From the title: A Wish Made of Glass!!!! [exclamation points are mine because it’s such a great title] to the storyline about the stepsister, I cannot wait.

The author, Ashlee Willis, and I are swapping websites today. I interviewed her and she interviewed me on her blog (where I talk a little bit about the making of Cinderella’s Shoes for the first time!) Check it out here: Finding the True Fairy Tale

About the book:


Deep in a forest glade, the fey folk dance with Isidore, a young human child. Their kinship is the very fabric of her childhood. When her mother dies and her world darkens with sorrow, Isidore finds her belief in the fey folk wavering.

The love of her new step-sister, Blessing, proves an unexpected gift in her time of need. Yet even as their friendship blooms, Isidore begins to see that Blessing is everything she herself has always wanted to be, but is not. Jealousy grips Isidore as she watches this beautiful new sister steal away all she holds dear.

Driven to desperation, Isidore turns to the fey folk once more. She has only one wish to claim from them, one chance to make things right. But she must tread carefully. For wishes, like hearts, are easily broken. And obtaining the one thing she desires could mean destroying the one thing she truly needs.

Author Interview:

What was the story spark that captured your attention and led to this book?

There actually was no spark in the beginning. Cinderella has never been one of my favorite fairy tales, to tell you the truth. But I’ve always loved reading books told from the “other side” of the story – the darker side, I guess you could say. Not because I enjoy that darkness, but because I’m intrigued to see how characters we’ve stereotyped actually became who they are. There’s always a reason. So I thought it might be interesting to tell Cinderella’s story from the point of view of the step-sister (in A Wish Made of Glass there’s just one step-sister). I think it was from the moment I decided to write it from that angle that I began really getting interested in writing this story. I thought “Oh, a deeply flawed person! Now that’s a point of view I can write from!”


Where does your story veer off from a more traditional telling of Cinderella and why did you choose to go that direction?

It veers off in a lot of ways. Though I’m calling my story a Cinderella retelling, I don’t like to compare it too much. It is so loosely based on the original that some readers may end up being disappointed. I hope not – but they might! Especially if they are looking for a singing-mice-feel-good type of story! My story is darker than the original Cinderella, certainly. My main character, being a step-sister and in whose character I tried to delve more deeply, is very troubled and angry and hurt. In some ways it’s very sad story. I chose to go that direction because, basically, those are the types of stories I like to read. There’s nothing I enjoy more than watching, and connecting with, characters who have depth. Characters who have deep issues, but must grow in a very real and sometimes even painful way in order to overcome those issues.


What is one symbol (like the fairy godmother, pumpkin coach, glass slipper, etc.) that you used in your story, and how did you use it?

As you can probably guess from the title, I do use the glass slippers in my story. Every fey creature (the fey folk are a different type of creature than humans) wears slippers made of glass – even the males have glass soles on their boots. Isidore’s (the main character) mother tells her a story of how the fey folk keep their hearts within their shoes, so that every step they take they are reminded of how fragile and precious their hearts are. This symbolism continues throughout the story in regard to the glass slippers . . . although it ends in a way that ended up surprising even me.


What factors led you to self-publish this one after going on a more traditional route for your debut?

Impatience 🙂 I do plan on having my agent submit future work to traditional publishers, but for this book (especially with its being a novella), I just wanted to get something else out there for my readers. I’ve always heard that an author who has just one book out isn’t going to get as much attention as an author with multiple books. I’ve had this story sitting on my computer for the past two years, and I had an author friend who had read it contact me and say, “Hey, have you thought about self-publishing that novella? You really should while you’re writing your bigger books.” So I went in and did some pretty heavy revising to the story, then hired a professional editor to make sure it was as polished as it could be.

I also feel that in this market it’s hard to find a traditional publisher. Things are really competitive and people are self-publishing more and more. Just because I’ve been traditionally published once is no guarantee that I will be again. If that’s how it ends up, I’m perfectly happy with that. And I thought that if there was a chance I might indie publish someday, doing a smaller project like this novella would be a good way to get my feet wet and learn the ropes.


To learn more about Ashlee and her books:

Twitter: Ashlee Willis
Website: Finding the True Fairy Tale
Goodreads: A Wish Made of Glass


If you are a fan of fairy-tale retellings, you probably already know about Melanie Dickerson. She’s been writing retellings with an historical take for several years. She created her own kingdom for her story world, and several of her characters make cameos in other books. It’s fun to keep an eye out for them as you are reading.

I’ve been wanting to sit down and chat with her for a while, and today was the day. I loved her explanation of what led her to her Cinderella retelling. I’m sure you will, too.

Introducing a Special Edition of The Cinderella Interviews! Marissa Meyer came to town on tour for her latest release in the Lunar Chronicles, Fairest.

To celebrate, Changing Hands Bookstore put on a special Lunar Ball event complete with dancing and a costume contest.

I was able to sneak backstage to ask her a couple quick questions about Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles while she was getting her glamour applied.

Then I chatted with four wonder young ladies who dressed up as four different characters from the novel. Add in a couple photo bombs and it was a fun night. Enjoy:


This latest Cinderella interview was so much fun. Five Glass Slippers is a collection of Cinderella stories by five authors. When author-turned-editor Anne Elisabeth Stengl and Rooglewood Press posed the challenge to write a Cinderella retelling, the stories came flooding in from around the world. The winning entries are all so different, and it was a delight to read them back-to-back and spot all the different ways they used the symbols from the classic stories. (FYI: More collections are in the works. The deadline for Beauty and the Beast stories has passed, but stay tuned for the next contest.)

The authors of Five Glass Slippers are: Elisabeth Brown, Emma Clifton, Rachel Heffington, Stephanie Ricker, and Clara Diane Thompson.

In my first ever group hangout, I got to talk with all of them about the making of this collection. Given that it was my first group hangout, we suffered the inevitable first-time glitches, but with the magic of editing, got everyone all together in one fun video. We have a great time getting to know one another, and I look forward to more wonderful stories by these authors. Enjoy the interview:

Amy K. Nichols is a 2014 debut author. We met almost a year ago at a YA event and immediately clicked. We have so much in common, and Amy was a rock to lean on during those nerve-inducing public events that shy, introverted writers like me suddenly find themselves participating in.

She taught me the ins and outs of Comicon, helped me NOT get lost in Vegas, and smiled at me during my launch party speech. What more could I ask of a writer friend?

Recently, she sat down to video chat with me about her debut novel, Now That You’re Here (Duplexity, Part I), a fantastic parallel universe novel that came out in December. The flip side of the story comes out this August, so get to reading now, and you’ll be ready for it.

Here’s our chat:

The Cinderella Interviews is a YouTube video series where I talk with other authors who have written Cinderella fairy-tale retellings. I am so excited about this project, I can’t even tell you.

There will not be a particular posting schedule. The plan is to fit in the interviews as authors are available. Subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss out on any.

*Giveaway! And to help kick off the fun, I’ll be giving away a copy of The Stepsister’s Tale to one of my USA subscribers.* Newsletter goes out late Tuesday night, so sign up quick!

My first interview is with Tracy Barrett, author of The Stepsister’s Tale. This was my first time meeting her, and she was so gracious throughout all my tech issues. I didn’t know it, but The Stepsister’s Tale is her 20th book. It came out the same month as my Cinderella spin-off book did, and had I known ahead of time another Cinderella themed book was coming out the same time as my debut novel I probably would have panicked! (Debut authors get nervous like that.)

Tracy has also written one of my kids’ favorite books, The 100-Year-Old Secret (The Sherlock Files) so it was fun to talk to her a bit before we started the recording.

Here is where you can find her online:

And here is our interview!

There are two other new authors I’ve had the privilege of walking this debut year with. We’ve been thrown together for several events and dinners, and I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know them. Austin Aslan’s book just came out last week. Amy K. Nichols is still counting down until December for hers.

Today I sat down with Austin via Google Hangout on Air to find out how his debut is going. This is what he had to say:


Meet Chris Cannon, author of the YA novel Going Down in Flames (A Going Down in Flames Novel). She is one of my publishing housemates (is that what we call one another?) at Entangled Publishing. Her book came out his month and she was game to try a Google Hangout on Air with me (and our dogs!)

Want to learn more?
Twitter: @ccannonauthor

Friends #atozchallenge

April 7, 2014

FIn the midst of this A to Z Blogging Challenge I have been tagged on another blog challenge from one of my new writing friends for the “My Writing Process Blog Tour,” which, I suppose would be the title of my blog post today, were it not for the fact it doesn’t start with F and I need an F theme.

Writing with the hopes of publication can be a lonely, disheartening, tear-your-hair-out, why-don’t-you-give-up-now kind of occupation. Writing friends will “get” you in a way not even your best friend can understand.

My new writing friend, Amy Nichols, is debuting her novel Now That You’re Here (Duplexity, Part I), a YA science fiction thriller, on December 9, 2014. We’ve only met recently, as the newbies invited to hang out with the already-published YA authors in Arizona. (I knew there was a secret club!!!)

The other night we were all gathered around with our burgers and salads and chicken sandwiches, and Amy looked at me across the table and mouthed something like, “Can you believe this?” Yes, it’s a crazy debut year for the two of us and I’m glad we’ve met so we can talk each other off the cliff if need be.

How this works, is I answer the following four questions and then introduce you to some authors who will pick up the tour next week.

1) What am I working on?

Believe it or not, I am still working on my debut novel, Cinderella’s Dress (Entangled Teen), that will be out in less than two months. LESS THAN TWO MONTHS!  As I type up this blog I am waiting to hear back from my editor with notes for my line edits. We like living on the edge at Entangled Teen; it keeps us young and in tune with our target market. I may be pulling an all-nighter or two.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

There are so many fabulous authors out there writing fairy-tale retellings. I wanted to do something other than a basic retelling. So, I took the backstory of Cinderella, borrowed her dress and her servant (she had to have one or two after she married the prince, don’t you think?) and moved up the timeline to the 1940s where the descendants of all the players are still fighting over the dress. Perhaps, instead of classifying my book a fairy-tale retelling, it might be more of a historical magical realism tale. (But that is such a mouthful when trying to tell someone what my book is about!) Maybe a Cinderella spin off?

3) Why do I write what I do?

I love fairy tales.I love historical novels. Why not combine them?

And why do I write for the age groups I do? As a reader I am so grateful to the authors who came up with such brilliant stories to entertain, and give courage to a shy girl like me growing up. I want to contribute in any way I can, to give kids today the kind of imagination-filled growing up that I had.

4) How does my writing process work?

I write in spurts, but pretty consistent spurts. Most of my novels were started during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). When it comes time to actual drafting, I need quiet and alone time. Sometimes that means I have to pop in some earbuds to block out the ambient noise (ie children). Fortunately, my kids love NaNoWriMo for Students, too so we all buckle down in November and get lots of work done.

Where next for the  My Writing Process Blog Tour? Next Monday, April 14 check out:

AJ Pine writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend them with a happily ever after. When she’s not writing, she’s deciding between team Stefan or team Damon. Jury’s still out on that one. Pine’s debut New Adult study-abroad romance, IF ONLY, just released with Entangled’s Embrace line.






Sandi Greene is a college English professor and YA author. She lives in Arizona with her two children. You can find out more about her and her books at:

A is for AutographWith my book launch looming (T minus 2 months, 2 days) for Cinderella’s Dress, I’m analyzing what other authors do for book signings. One of my favorite fan-girl moments is seeing the unique ways in which authors autograph their books. Some have specific sayings for specific books. Others just sign their names and add the date. And still others–those with artistic bent–

J S Lewis AutographJ S Lewis Autograph drawing

draw a little picture (or a big one, if they have time.)

While something like the above is a super-cool autograph to have as a reader…it puts a lot of pressure on a debut author. *thanks guys*

And so, I sit and mull over how I will sign books. (I know, aspiring authors, this is a good problem to have, and one day you will go through it, too. Better bookmark/pin this page for ideas.)

So far, in preparation for my signing events, I’ve attempted to come up with a dress doodle I can add to my title page. But I’m not consistent, and if I draw too quickly, it looks more like a scribble than a doodle. I’m thinking of getting a dress stamp from the craft store instead.

I also need to come up with a good catch phrase related to one of the themes or characters in the book.

And lastly, I need to decide if I’m going to print or write my name. Why am I even thinking about this? Well, back in junior high, several of my friends decided to fancy up our cursive. I went from having the standard cursive “S” to a letter that looks a bit like a cursive “D.” The trouble is, when I think about my signature too much (like when writing checks) I sometimes forget how to write my initial letter. Since I have an “S” in both my names, I’m liable to choke twice. (Yes, Sumita, if you are reading this, my autograph angst is all because of you and your cursive influence!)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these samples of author autographs my family has collected over the years. We have enjoyed standing in the signing lines, waiting to tell the authors how much we like their books, and then walking away while peeking inside the cover to see what they wrote.