Black Flowers, White Lies

4 10 2016

bfwl_releaseblitz
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.

bfwl_bday

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:

jhpr_host_badge

Advertisements




Cover Reveal and Swag Giveaway

25 06 2013

It’s always fun when a critique partner has exciting news. Here’s a cover reveal of my CP Tracy E. Banghart‘s YA paranormal novel BY BLOOD.
To celebrate her release, Tracy’s giving away a bunch of swag. To participate in a Rafflecopter giveaway, just click on the link. NOTE: the first set of prizes is for US readers only, but the second prize pack is for international entrants. So wherever you live, you can enter to win. Here’s the list of awesome prizes.

GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY
Giveaway Prize Pack #1 (US only)
Signed paperback copy of By Blood by Tracy E. Banghart along with hardcover copies of:Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Jane by April Lindner

By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Slide by Jill Hathaway

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Giveaway Prize Pack #2 (International)

Signed paperback copy of By Blood + $50 Amazon Gift Card

About BY BLOOD:

For 17-year-old Emma Wong, spending a summer in England should be a dream come true. Gorgeous scenery? Check. Lots of hot guys with accents? Yes, please.

Throw in an estranged mom, annoying new stepdad, and drooling baby
half-brother, and it’s a disaster even her favorite cherry red leather
jacket can’t fix. Even worse, there’s (hot) live-in research assistant
Josh to contend with. The only thing more embarrassing than
drunk-kissing him hours after they meet? Knowing he’ll witness her
family’s dysfunction all. summer. long.

But when Emma meets a mysterious girl who happens to be a Druid, her
vacation suddenly promises to be far more intriguing than she
anticipated. Powerful rituals, new friends, an intoxicating sense of
freedom… and Simon, the sexy foreign stranger she was hoping for. It’s
all a perfect distraction from dirty diapers and awkward family
dinners.

Trouble is, intriguing doesn’t often mean simple. And Emma is about to discover just how not simple her life really is.

By Blood is a novel about the ways that blood can bind us to others – or tear us apart.

About Tracy:

Tracy E. Banghart is a cheesy
movie–loving, fantasy football–playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Army wife who began “practicing” her craft at the age of five, when she wrote her first story. She loves visiting the international friends she met while pursuing her MA in Publishing and spends a portion of every summer at her family’s cabin in Canada, where she finds inspiration and lots of time to relax on the dock. She lives with her husband, son, two lazy dogs and one ornery cat. When not writing or spending time with her family, she is on a mission to bake the perfect cupcake.
 

Tracy’s Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

ByBloodBlitzBanner





Back in the Saddle

11 01 2012

wild west

Image: Witthaya Phonsawat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I began January by submitting the beginning of a YA set in the Old West. I love how my projects dovetail with each other and with my life. The first connection is that the heroine falls in love with a boy who was adopted into the Shawnee tribe. So how perfectly does that fit with the project I just finished–the 5 vol. Encyclopedia of Native Tribes?

But the connections don’t stop there. My father bought a house in an Arizona ghost town near the Sonora desert. That mining town is now being rehabbed, but I got to see it before it came back. The heroine lives in on a ranch outside town, so I feel I know the area. Walking with forked sticks while watching for rattlesnakes, the scorching sun, the saguaro pointing like fingers toward the sky, the smell of mesquite rising from an open fire. I even spent time on a nearby reservation learning to make pottery. It’s wonderful how life experiences can filter into fiction to make it come alive.

Can’t wait to sit down and finish this one. So many ideas are running through my head. What projects have you started for the New Year? And how do they dovetail with your life?