Black Flowers, White Lies

4 10 2016

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Today we’re celebrating the release of Yvonne Ventresca’s latest novel with a special giveaway. Be sure to enter in the Rafflecopter below to win. Doesn’t this look intriguing? Be sure to read about Yvonne’s path to publication. Sometimes stories take a long time and a lot of rejections before the magic happens. Kudos to Yvonne for being willing to revise and rewrite.

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The Evolution of Black Flowers, White Lies

By Yvonne Ventresca

Black Flowers, White Lies started as a middle grade mystery about a daughter searching for her mother who recently disappeared. The story was set in Hoboken, New Jersey, where Emma lived and worked in their family-owned bookstore. The premise: Emma was reluctantly psychic, but she needed to use her abilities to rescue her mother, even if she didn’t quite believe in the supernatural.

Over the years, I submitted versions of the story without success, writing a nonfiction biography in the interim. I continued to revise the novel based on feedback from my critique group and from workshopping the story at multiple conferences. I eventually abandoned the psychic angle, making it more of a haunting instead, and I made the cause of the mother’s disappearance less obvious. But despite the many improvements, it still didn’t sell. Some editors questioned the plot. Some questioned the voice. “While the voice is clearly teen, the adventure is middle grade,” one editor said.

After 60+ rejections, I didn’t know how to fix the novel and lost the enthusiasm to try. I put it aside and started something new. With Pandemic, I moved more definitively into the young adult world, in voice, in concept, and in length. After I finished and submitted it, I reread the previous story and realized it was not meant to be a middle grade mystery. Creating Pandemic allowed me to see the novel’s potential as a YA thriller.

Sky Pony Press acquired Pandemic, and the sale bolstered my confidence. I opened a new document and started from scratch. The story remained set in Hoboken, and her mother still owned a bookstore, but Emma got a fresh beginning as Ella. I decided that instead of being reluctant, Ella adamantly believes in ghosts. The mother is no longer missing or divorced—I started earlier in time so that she remarries and goes on her honeymoon, leaving Ella with her new stepsibling. One of my original characters, a charismatic stepsister, became a stepbrother instead. This resulted in another major rewrite, but sparked some creative changes.

In this new version, I focused on the relationship between Ella and her stepbrother, a belief in her father’s spirit, and unexplainable events that make Ella question her perception of reality. I finally found her voice and the heart of the story. Instead of rescuing her mother, the way I originally planned, Ella needs to rescue herself. Over nine years, Black Flowers, White Lies transformed into a journey of strength and self-belief, for Ella as a character and for me as a writer.

 

blackflowerswhitelies_finalcoverABOUT BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES

Her father died before she was born, but Ella Benton knows they have a supernatural connection. Since her mother discourages these beliefs, Ella keeps her cemetery visits secret. But she may not be the only one with secrets. Ella’s mother might be lying about how Dad died sixteen years ago. Newfound evidence points to his death in a psychiatric hospital, not as a result of a tragic car accident as her mother always claimed. After a lifetime of just the two of them, Mom suddenly feels like a stranger.

When a handprint much like the one Ella left on her father’s tombstone mysteriously appears on the bathroom mirror, at first she wonders if Dad is warning her of danger as he did once before. If it’s not a warning, could her new too-good-to-be-true boyfriend be responsible for the strange occurrences? Or maybe it’s the grieving building superintendent whose dead daughter strongly resembles Ella? As the unexplained events become more frequent and more sinister, Ella becomes terrified about who—or what—might harm her.

Soon the evidence points to someone else entirely: Ella herself. What if, like her father, she’s suffering from a breakdown? In this second novel from award-winning author Yvonne Ventresca, Ella desperately needs to find answers, no matter how disturbing the truth might be.

BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

yvonne-ventresca-photo-for-downloadABOUT YVONNE VENTRESCA:

Yvonne Ventresca’s latest young adult novel, BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES will be published by Sky Pony Press in October 2016.

Her debut YA novel, PANDEMIC, won a 2015 Crystal Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. In PANDEMIC, a teen struggles to survive not only a deadly outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons. Ventresca’s other works include the short story “Escape to Orange Blossom,” which was selected for the dystopian anthology PREP FOR DOOM, along with two nonfiction books, PUBLISHING (Careers for the 21st Century) and AVRIL LAVIGNE (People in the News).

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY

Prize pack includes a three panel rustic chalkboard with a $25 Amex gift card, a $25 Sephora gift card, and a signed copy of Black Flowers, White Lies.

Click on the link to enter:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Jen Halligan for hosting the book tour:

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A to Z Challenge: Day E

5 04 2014
Grace and the Guiltless (US)

US Version ~ August 1 ~ Capstone/Switch Press

E is for Erin. Erin Johnson. One of my pen names. People often ask why I have so many pseudonyms, and I have to say it’s because I have so many different personalities. Writers can get away with having a multiple personality disorder by claiming they’re using pseudonyms. They can talk to people who don’t exist and say they’re developing their characters. Non-writers get help for these problems; writers welcome them.

So as part of the A to Z Challenge, which is offering 30 prizes, I’m giving away a copy of the UK version of Grace and the Guiltless, part of the WANTED series…

Have you heard about the A to Z challenge?

Here’s a link to 26 posts about 26 awesome books by 24 terrific YA authors, AND there will be prizes. Yep, most days there are book and/or swag (mostly books) giveaways. There are about 30 prizes to be won in April.

For the fantastic lineup, see the previous post or go here.

 

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And here’s the UK version of Grace and the Guiltless that you can win:

WANTED: Book 1

WANTED: Book 1





A to Z Challenge (30 free YA books)

1 04 2014

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Have you heard about the A to Z challenge?
Here’s a link to 26 posts about 26 awesome books by 24 terrific YA authors, AND there will be prizes. Yep, most days there are book and/or swag (mostly books) giveaways. There are about 30 prizes to be won in April.

Here’s the fantastic lineup:

A is for Aimee Gilchrist Aimee Gilchrist 1-Apr
B is for Breed of Innocence Lanie Jordan 2-Apr
C is for Cry of the Sea Donna Driver 3-Apr
D is for Don’t You Wish Roxanne St. Claire 4-Apr
E is for Erin Johnson (Yes, that’s me**) Erin Johnson 5-Apr
F is for A Flight of Thieves David Bridger 7-Apr
G is for Goodbye, Rebel Blue Shelley Coriell 8-Apr
H is for Heiress PI Amanda Mahan 9-Apr
I is for I Spy Dead People Jennifer Fischetto 10-Apr
J is for Jennifer McGowan Jennifer McGowan 11-Apr
K is for Kelbian Noel Kelbian Noel 12-Apr
L is for Legendary L.H. Nicole 14-Apr
M is for Maureen McGowan Maureen McGowan 15-Apr
N is for Nail Polish & Feathers Jo Ramsey 16-Apr
O is for Of Sea & Stone Kate Avery Ellison 17-Apr
P is for Rebekah L. Purdy Rebekah L. Purdy 18-Apr
Q is for Bria Quinlan Bria Quinlan 19-Apr
R is for Roots Kelbian Noel 21-Feb
S is for Stained Cheryl Rainfield 22-Apr
T is for The Twin’s Daughter Lauren Baratz-Logsted 23-Apr
U is for Undercover with the Hottie Juli Alexander 24-Apr
V is for C.A. Verstraete Christine A. Verstraete 25-Apr
W is for We Are the Weirdos Jennifer Fischetto 26-Apr
X is for The Avery Shaw Experiement Kelly Oram 28-Apr
Y is for Confessions of A 16-Year-Old Virgin Lips Cindy M Hogan 29-Apr
Z is for Zera and the Green Man Sandra Krauf 30-Apr

** Watch for my blog post on April 5, which will explain how you can win a copy of Grace and the Guiltless, part of the WANTED series that I’m writing as Erin Johnson.





Special Giveaway at Geek Girl’s Blog

29 05 2009

Charity and Darcy are hosting an awesome Best Friends Forever contest. Check it out at http://thegeekgirlsguide.com/wordpress/?p=624. If you win, not only will you win a bag, but your BFF will as well.

The bags contain:

An autographed copy of The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading

The new iPod Shuffle

A mix tape (CD) of songs about friendship

DeBrand’s Chocolates

Matching T-shirts

And a few geeky surprises