Field Trip Friday: August 28, 2015


- So this buzzfeed post entitled 'If white characters were described like people of color in literature' is actually from last year but I saw it today and it killed me. 

- This article on writing for kids without having kids resonated with a lot of people. Worth a read, whether or not you agree with all the points made. 

- The New York Times has an article this week that questions whether we sometimes mistake difficult-to-read prose for brilliant prose when it isn't always the truth.


- The BN Teen blog featured the first chapter (and glorious new cover!) of my debut, BLEEDING EARTH. If you are interested in bloody things.

- This tumblr post offers some classic queer lit reading suggestions. 

- Apparently there are some pretty real fun-ruiners out there, and people are having to take down their little free libraries. Everyone's gotta be mad about something I guess...


- You guys it has been almost ten years since TWILIGHT came out?!?! If you are near Forks in September, looks like you can celebrate with Stephenie Meyer herself!


- Our own Kate Hart interviews photographer Meredith Melody as part of her brilliant blog series, Badass Ladies You Should Know.

- I have seen a lot of articles displaying what sort of home you can get for $250,000 in different cities, but I always find it interesting, so if you do too, here's one from CBS

Guest Post by Elissa Sussman: Once Upon A Time...

We all have our favorite fairy tales. Some of us like adventurous stories like Jack and the Beanstalk, some of us are partial to romantic tales like Rapunzel. Or if you’re like me, you tend to prefer the stories with lots of magic.

STRAY is an original fairy tale, but one built on the backs of existing ones, like Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. The world in STRAY (as well as the upcoming BURN) is composed of the themes and imagery pulled from all variations of fairy tales, from the older, darker Grimm’s versions, to the Technicolor Disney stories.

Fairy tales change each time they are told. Sometimes the changes are small (a fur slipper becomes a glass slipper) or sometimes they are large (the villain becomes the protagonist) but each revision reflects the world or perspective of those telling it. Fairy tales can be a reflection of the current world or a wish for what it will become.

STRAY is both. The world it portrays is not that much different then our own, one that punishes young women for something that is part of them. Magic, to the inhabitants of the four kingdoms, is a curse that befalls only women and is something that must be controlled. One either follows The Path, a belief system that dictates how society should behave, or one becomes a stray.

Aislynn, the protagonist of STRAY is a young princess who wants nothing more than to follow The Path. She wants to marry a prince and live happily ever after. Yet, she finds it difficult to control her magical abilities. Her only other choice is to become a fairy godmother, indentured to another princess for the rest of her life. The transformation she undergoes during the story is one that mirrors most fairy tale stories – where a young woman discovers who she is and who she wants to be – while tasked with the daunting possibility that she will lose everything she holds dear if she makes the wrong choice.

Fairy tales mean different things to different people and each version tells us something new about ourselves and the world we live in. They are a part of us, in the way we communicate and the way we grow.

Thank you, Elissa! Find Elissa Sussman at her website, on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

The STRAY ebook is on sale for $1.99

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON by Samantha Mabry

“There is something truer and more real, than what we can see with the eyes, and touch with the finger.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Rappaccini’s Daughter.”

“What is truer than truth? The story.” –Isabel Allende

From Samantha:
I have been to Puerto Rico only once, as its far, far-removed granddaughter.

So, how then did I go about writing a story about it?

I made one of the characters a boy who is desperate to solve a mystery that may or may not be his to solve. He loves the island even though he's not from the island, which means he's a stranger despite his best efforts not to be. Another character is a proud girl –she is the island. Its history hisses in her organs and floats through her blood. She doesn’t know why she is the way she is. Well, she does, and she doesn’t. The boy and the girl argue with one another, but also comfort one another. You know how those things go.

I made certain that some of my very favorite things are in the story: big storms, ghosts, love, sacrifice, plants. There may or may not be magic. For sure, though, there’s a strange house. The house holds its secrets close, so all the characters make up stories about it. It makes sense then, that this is how the book starts: The house at the end of the street is full of bad air.

I found a title for my story, a phrase plucked from its inspiration – A Fierce and Subtle Poison. The words refer to the girl who lives in the strange house surrounded by her strange plants, the girl who is the island.

I have been to Puerto Rico only once, but my grandmother, who was raised there, put the island into my bones. She died when I was very young, so I can only thank her here, and through the pages of my book. There are so many other people to thank: my teachers; the many people who have worked on this book, have read it, or will read it; Allison Colpoys, who designed this gorgeous cover; Isabel Allende. Allende started one of her novels with the line, "Listen, Paula. I want to tell you a story so that when you wake up you will not feel so lost." This is what a story does, I think: gives us a center when we feel like we're unraveling, helps us not feel so lost in the forest of life.  

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Learn more about A Fierce and Subtle Poison at Samantha's website and follow her on Twitter at @samanthamabry.

Cover designed by Allison Colpoys
Author photo by Laura Burlton

Field Trip Friday: August 21, 2015


- The New York Times is tweaking the Children's best-seller lists, separating hardcover middle grade and young adult titles from paperback and e-book bestsellers. The hardcover lists will appear in print, and the paperback and e-book lists will be available online. Hallelujah! New list looks like this:


- Writing professor Aruni Kashyap has a beautiful piece about the prevalence of writing cariactures, rather than characters, when creating diverse works.

- Justina Ireland also wrote a piece about crafting characters that are different from you.

- Nerdist has teamed with InkShares to host a Sci-Fi and Fantasy writing contest!


- Friend of the blog Brandy Colbert rocks this week's Dear Book Nerd podcast! (and you can listen to her First Draft podcast interview, too!)

- Emily St John Mandel writes about the prevalence of THE ________'S DAUGHTER titles and comes to some surprising conclusions -- apparently they make for titles that readers don't forget.


- We spy our very own Kaitlin Ward and her forthcoming debut, BLEEDING EARTH, in this PW write-up of Adaptive Books!


- The new This American Life tackles public school education in the U.S. and is a deeply troubling, but necessary, listen.

- NPR producer Rachel Ward discusses life two years after her husband's death.


- Our own Kate Hart got a puppy and it is giving the very internet life.

- You guys, this is my high school! I had no idea they were capable of being so cool. 

Field Trip Friday: August 14, 2016

The Week In Writing

One year after the death of Michael Brown, Zinzi Clemmons compiles writings by young black authors.

There's a hole in their HP argument (Neville's grandparents), but still The Guardian asks where are all the grandparents in kidlit?

"Kids books...are the actual best thing ever." Author Will Taylor writes a love letter to Middle Grade.

"I focused on keeping a gauge on my energy levels and lean on my family and author friends when I’ve been stressed out." Lydia Kang talks with Mindy McGinnis about how important it is to have downtime between novels.

The Week In Reading

Bookriot lists a few podcasts run by authors. Definitely don't miss our own Sarah Enni's First Draft and Kate Hart's Badass Ladies You Should Know.

36 Eggs makes recipes from books. And it's not just the food; many of the posts talk the extensive research that went in to making sure the recipes are authentic (for example, the Anne of Windy Poplars 36 Egg pound cake that the blog is named for).

Teen Librarian Toolbox posted their Sexual Violence in LGBTQIA+ YA Literature Project Index today, listing contributors and topics for the project that began August 3rd. It's part of the so very important ongoing Sexual Violence in YA project TLT launched some time ago.

The Week in Publishing

Your first book is amazing and a sure bestseller and would make a great movie and you'll be rich, right?!?!? Actually, most authors don't get published with their first book.

Marvel announces their newest superhero and we can't wait for her: Moon Girl.

The Week In Other Stuff

I laughed so hard at this delightful troll (who ever thought I'd put THOSE words together!) who posed as Target customer service and took down ignorant comments.

Rose McGowan: Woman Crush. The actress and director takes Hollywood to task for basically being a bunch of sexist assholes.

The Week In Random

Authors examining a new plot bunny like

Happy Weekend, Everyone!

Field Trip Friday: August 7, 2015

Hey, it's Friday!

The Week In Writing

Author Zoë Marriott breaks down the psychology behind literary tropes while encouraging writers to examine their own unconscious biases in order to challenge the status quo.

At NPR, Louis Sachar discusses writing scary stories for younger readers and whether readers have changed over the last forty years.

A fabulous interview with Matt de la Peña in which he discusses the literary/commercial divide, "quiet" books, race, class, and music. 

Author Emma Pass discusses finding inspiration in the news. 

Does author gender make a difference while querying? Catherine Nichols reports what happened when she sent her novel out under a male name. 

Ta-Nahisi Coates on writing, stress, failure and breakthroughs. 

The Week In Reading

Members of the romance community (and others) having been speaking out against the dual RITA-award nomination for Kate Breslin's For Such a Time, a novel that features a relationship between a concentration camp prisoner and a Nazi officer. Please read both Jennifer Anne's and Sarah Wendell's letters to the RWA board, as well as author Katherine Locke's important response to the book, its reception, and community apathy toward anti-Semitism.

This is awesome: the Sacramento Public Library has come up with a display that gives teens the information they need to find books on important, but potentially sensitive, topics. 

Leila Roy at Book Riot has put together a primer on censorship.

The Week In Other Stuff

Ebony's put together a list of eight companies that are dedicated to breaking down the digital divide and encouraging diversity in technology. 

There's now a national guide to help schools support transgender children and foster safe environments.

A great read: Mindy Kaling on confidence.

The Week In Random

Weekends are for binkies. Have a good one all!

Field Trip Friday: July 31, 2015

The Week In Writing

- The Manuscript Wishlist gets a facelift. If you're looking to build a list of agents to query, it's a good place to start!

- Beloved SFF author Ursula Le Guin debuts an online fiction workshop

The Week In Reading

- West Ashley High bans Courtney Summer's Some Girls Are and sparks an outcry. 

- Tumblr users speculate, 'how would Harry Potter be different if a Slytherin took Cedric Diggory's narrative place?'

- Naomi Novak recommends five books about monsters over at

- Bookriot gives you nine diverse fantasy books to challenge your idea of fantasy.

The Week In Other Stuff

- Our own Sarah Enni interviewed Sarah McCarry for her FirstDraft podcast series. It's pretty cool!