How to Be Brave blog tour excerpt

How To Be Brave: A Novel

By: E. Katherine Kottaras
St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: November 3, 2015
Hardcover: 9781250072801 / $18.99 USD
eBook: 9781466884670 / $9.99 USD

How To Be Brave

ABOUT THE BOOK
An emotional contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and having the courage to chase the life you truly want.

Reeling from her mother’s death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave – all the things she’s wanted to do but never had the courage to try. As she begins doing the things she’s always been afraid to do – including pursuing her secret crush, she discovers that life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But once in a while, the right person shows up just when you need them most – and you learn that you’re stronger and braver than you ever imagined.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

E. Katherine Kottaras CREDIT Emily Mae Marie

E. Katherine Kottaras is originally from Chicago, but now she writes and teaches in the Los Angeles area. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine and teaches writing and literature at Pasadena City College.  She is at her happiest when she is either 1) at the playground with her husband and daughter and their wonderful community of friends, 2) breathing deeply in a full handstand, or 3) writing. She now lives in Los Angeles where she’s hard at work on her next book.

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Praise for How To Be Brave

“This is a solid story of loss that fits in well with other recent stories of grief in the face of a parent’s death, like Jennifer Castle’s The Beginning of After (2011) and Jennifer Brown’s Torn Away (2014). The book’s strongest sections are the lyrical flashbacks that tell the story of her mother’s life and death, but Georgia’s struggles with weight and body image are also handled with care. A perfect book for anyone trying to figure out what they want their life to look like, and how to be brave enough to make that life a reality.” —Booklist

“Georgia’s realistically profane voice aptly captures her personality, carrying the novel; her traverse through grief and experimentation make for a believable and satisfying character arc. A thoughtful exploration of grief and life.” —Kirkus

Reviews

“Georgia’s Greek-American heritage offers a distinctive backdrop for the novel’s themes of emotional healing and self-discovery, while Georgia herself emerges as a realistically flawed and genuine protagonist.” —Publishers Weekly

“How to Be Brave is a celebration of life, from the captivating open page to the emotional ending. Kottaras acutely and poetically depicts the painful struggle of re-finding yourself after a defining loss-and the stark effects of both success and failure along the way-in a lovely, heartfelt debut.” —Dahlia Adler, author of Behind the Scenes

“Just enough sass, just enough heart, and a narrator to root for. How to be Brave  ushered me into another yet familiar world.  Come along for the ride.  You’ll be glad you did.” —Ron Koertge, award winning author of Coaltown Jesus “Powerful and rare, How to Be Brave is a wonderfully told story with gleams of humor and wit that will inspire readers to live their lives for real.” —Robyn Schneider, bestselling author of The Beginning of Everything

“How To Be Brave does a cartwheel in your heart. It artfully reminds us that bravery forges a path through fear and grief.” —Courtney C. Stevens, author of Faking Normal

Where to purchase How To Be Brave

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
Google Play
iBooks
Kobo
Indigo

HOW TO BE BRAVE by E. Katherine Kottaras.  Copyright © 2015 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.

This is what it was like:

I didn’t want you to come. I didn’t want you there.

The day before school, the very first year,

we waited in line for my schedule.

They stared. Those in line around us—

the other girls and their moms,

the ones who were my year,

who were never my friends—

They saw how you were big, planetary, next to them.

Next to me.

The girl in pigtails, someone’s sister,

asked:  Is there a baby inside?

Her mother, red now, whispered in her ear.

But the girl didn’t mind:

Oh, so she’s fat.

The other girls, the ones who were my year

who were never my friends—they laughed at you, quietly.

At me.

Her mother said she was sorry, so sorry,

And you said: It’s fine. It’s fine.

But it wasn’t.

You squeezed my hand, and then to the girl in pigtails,

you said: I am big, yes. But I am beautiful, too.

And so are you.

Her mother pulled her child away.

She left the line and let us go first.

I didn’t say: You shouldn’t have come.

I didn’t say: I don’t want you here.

But I also didn’t say: I love you.

Or: Thank you for being brave.

Later that night, I cried:

I don’t want to go. I don’t want to face them.

And every year after.

You’d look at me like I was that girl,

and you’d say, as though it were true:

You are possibility and change and beauty.

One day, you will have a life, a beautiful life.

You will shine.

I didn’t see it. I couldn’t see it,

not in myself,

not in you.

Now, it’s not like that anymore.

This is what it’s like:

It’s quiet in our house. Too quiet. Especially tonight. The day before my first day of senior year.

The A/C hums, the fridge hums, the traffic hums.

I’m standing at my closet door, those old knots churning inside my stomach again.

I don’t want to go tomorrow. I need to talk to her.

Instead, I’ve done what she always did for me the night before the first day of the school year. I’ve picked out three complete outfits, hung them on my closet door.

It’s a good start, I guess.

Outfit #1: Dark indigo skinny jeans (are they still considered skinny if they’re a size 16?), drapey black shirt, long gold chain necklace that Liss gave me, and cheap ballet flats that hurt my feet because they’re way too flat and I hate wearing shoes with no socks.

Outfit #2: Black leggings, dark blue drapey knee- length dress (draping is my thing), gold hoop earrings that belonged to my mom, and open-toed black sandals, but that would mean a last-minute half-assed pedicure tonight. A spedicure, if you will.

Outfit #3: A dress my mom bought for me two years ago. The Orange Dress. Well, really more like coral. With embroidered ribbons etched in angular lines that camouflage my flab. Knee-length (not too short/not too long). Three-quarter-length sleeves (to hide the sagging). It’s perfectly retro. And just so beautiful.  Especially with this utterly uncomfortable pair of canary-colored peep-toe pumps that belonged to my mom.

I begged her for the dress. I made her pay the $125 for it. I knew my parents didn’t have the money, but I couldn’t help crying when I saw myself in the mirror. It fit (it’s a size 14), and I think she saw how pretty I felt because I did feel pretty for the first time, so she charged it.

But I’ve never worn it.

The day after, she went into the ER, her heart acting up again. She needed another emergency stent, which meant more dye through her kidneys, which meant dialysis a few weeks later, which meant the beginning of the end of everything.

I never put it on after that.

It’s just so bright. So unlike everything else I wear.

I could wear it tomorrow.

I could. And if she were here, she would tell me to.

I really need to talk to her.

It’s just so quiet in this house.

Don’t Get Caught: Cover Reveal and Giveaway

DON’T GET CAUGHT Cover Reveal and Sneak Peek

Don't Get Caught Don’t Get Caught

                                                     Author:  Kurt Dinan

                                                     Release Date: April 1, 2015

                                                     Publishers Sourcebooks Fire

Debut author Kurt Dinan reveals the cover of Don’t Get Caught, and gives readers a first-time sneak peek:

 Describe your book in 140 characters or less?

A high school nobody recruits a crew of misfits for heists and pranks to get revenge on the mysterious Chaos Club. #DontGetCaught

How did you come up with the idea for Don’t Get Caught?

Look, who hasn’t wanted to rob a bank?  Or at least hasn’t thought about it?  I can’t be the only one, right?  Right? So, I suppose Don’t Get Caught is my way of robbing a bank without risking actual jail time because, let me make this clear, I would not do well in prison.  I love capers, heists, and schemes, and while the crew in this novel aren’t robbing banks, they are satisfying my criminal thoughts by doing the teenage equivalent of bank robbery–wrecking havoc in their high school.

 Tell us about the main character.

Max is a high school nobody, a kid who’s smart enough and nice enough to get by, but who doesn’t really fit in anywhere.  So basically, he’s me at sixteen.  But what Max has that I certainly didn’t have is a genius-level ability to scheme and a newly discovered gift for leading misfits.  He’s underestimated by everyone, a fact that works to his advantage when he decides it’s time to write his name in the wet cement of the universe by destroying a forty-year-old secret society.

Did your class in high school pull any memorable pranks? Or is there one you wish you had pulled?

My prank life didn’t begin until college when I helped mastermind a promotion for a fake campus concert that almost led to my arrest.  But in my final year of high school, the six-hundred members of my senior class were crowded onto bleachers for an all-class picture.  I look at that picture now and see an opportunity for chaos.  I mean, how much would it have cost to hire an airplane to drop a hundred gallons of water at the precise moment the picture was taken?  Or to organize a group of kids to all wear neon shirts and arrange themselves into something profane within the crowd?  It’s missed opportunities like this that keep me up at night.

 What books formed your thinking or reflected who you were as a child and teen reader?

I read a lot of early Stephen King probably before I was old enough, and then through high school it was mostly comic books and classics.  I do specifically remember reading Helter Skelter during my junior year, dragging that non-fiction monster around with me for a month or so.  Looking back on it now, that’s probably all of the evidence needed to explain why I didn’t have a girlfriend in high school.

About Don’t Get Caught:

17-year-old Max Cobb is sick of being “Just Max”—the kind of guy whose resume boasts a measly 2.5 GPA and a deep love of heist films. So when an invitation appears in his locker to join the anonymous, untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, Max jumps at the opportunity to leave “Just Max” in the dust.

Except that the invite is really a set-up, and Max—plus the 4 other kids who received similar invitations—are apprehended by school security for defacing the water tower.  This time, Max has had enough. Time for Heist Rule #6:

Always Get Payback.

Let the prank war begin…

About Kurt Dinan:

 Kurt Dinan is a high school English teacher. He’s had several short stories published, including one in 2010’s The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife, three young sons, and baby girl. Don’t Get Caught is his first novel.

Excerpt from Don’t Get Caught:

 I may not be a fan of heights, but I especially hate ladders. I always think the rung I’m on is going to break away and send me plummeting. So climbing the water tower ladder in the dark, the rungs sticky for some reason, only worries me more. But despite that, I’d be lying if I didn’t say how awesome this was. The higher I climb, the harder my heart pounds from the adrenaline. I feel like a jewel thief scaling a skyscraper at midnight on his way to stealing the Hope Diamond.

Up ahead in the darkness, Wheeler goes into a mock newscaster’s voice announcing, “Five Asheville High School students fell to their deaths last evening when—”

“Shut up,” Malone says.

The climb takes only two minutes but feels like an hour when the ladder ends at the base of a metal grating no more than four feet wide. If a strong wind blows, a waist-high railing is all that’s there to keep me from hurtling to my death.

“Wow, this is higher than I thought,” Ellie says, looking out over the lights of the town.

Malone, recording everything with her phone, says, “I wish I had my climbing gear. I’d love to repel off this.”

“What was it Jesus said, Ellie?” Wheeler says. “‘I think I can see my house from up here’?”

And me, I want down. And not just down, but to roll in the grass and kiss the earth. Then, as I’m about to wuss out, Ellie’s hand is in mine and she’s leading me along the platform.

“Come on,” she says. “Let’s look for the next clue.”

Her hand is soft and warm, and if the platform gives away right now, I can die a happy man.

“You get to open the next envelope if there is one,” Ellie says. “Or maybe it’ll be like in the movies, and there’ll be a cell phone that rings and—”

My foot kicks something metal sending it clanking and skittering across the platform before dropping into the night.

From the other side of the tower Malone says, “What was that?”

I look down at my feet and see four more of what I’ve just booted—spray paint cans.

And in one horrifying moment, I realize why the rungs were sticky when we climbed.

Red paint covers my hands.

Oh shit.

I lean back for a better view of the water tower to see what’s been spray-painted there. The wet paint trails down from certain letters like red teardrops.

Double shit.

Heist Rule #5: When in doubt, run.

But we don’t get that chance.

Suddenly, the water tower lights blaze to life illuminating the newly painted message for the entire town to see.

Assville High School, Home of the Golden Showers.

Both Malone and Wheeler say, “Shit.”

Ellie says, “Wow.”

Adleta says nothing.

And then a voice booms from a bullhorn below where red-and-blue lights flash in the parking lot.

“This is the police. Come down immediately.”

So much for Don’t get caught.

 

Pre-order Don’t Get Caught  

 Enter to Win An Advance Copy of Don’t Get Caught By Kurt Dinan:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Holly Schindler’s Spark cover reveal!

                                                                     Holly Schindler’s Spark:

When the right hearts come to the Avery Theater—at the right time—the magic will return. The Avery will come back from the dead.

Or so Quin’s great-grandmother predicted many years ago on Verona, Missouri’s most tragic  night, when Nick and Emma, two star-crossed teenage lovers, died on the stage. It was the night that the Avery’s marquee lights went out forever.

It sounds like urban legend, but one that high school senior Quin is now starting to believe,  especially when her best friend, Cass, and their classmate Dylan step onto the stage and sparks fly. It seems that magic can still unfold at the old Avery Theater and a happier ending can still be had—one that will align the stars and revive not only the decrepit theater, but also the decaying town. However, it hinges on one thing—that Quin gets the story right this time around.

Holly Schindler brings the magic of the theater to life in this tale of family ties, fate, love, and one girl’s quest to rewrite history.

“In my hometown, the restoration of a former movie theater on the town square provided the genesis for my new YA novel, SPARK. Who among us hasn’t dreamed of seeing their name in blazing neon across a gigantic marquee? Let me invite you to dim the lights and draw back the velvet curtains—let your imagination run wild as you enter my fictional Avery Theater, where literally anything goes…”  —Holly Schindler

Holly Schindler

Holly Schindler is the author of three previous YA novels: PLAYING HURT as well as the critically acclaimed FERAL (starred PW review) and A BLUE SO DARK (starred Booklist review, ForeWord Book of the Year silver medal, IPPY gold medal). A writer of books for all ages, Schindler’s MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, has made the master list for children’s book awards in Illinois, South Carolina, and Alabama. She is also a hybrid author, having independently released comedic women’s fiction (FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS) and the forthcoming PLAY IT AGAIN, her adult follow-up to her YA PLAYING HURT. She can be  reached through her author site: hollyschindler.com, and hosts special sneak peeks and giveaways for subscribers of her newsletter: tinyletter.com/hollyschindler.com.

Spark Premiere Graphic

Spark “Premieres” May 17, 2016, but you can buy your “tickets” now. Links to pre-order –

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Spark-Holly-Schindler/dp/0062220233/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443300868&sr=8-1&keywords=spark+holly+schindler

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spark-holly-schindler/1122566794?ean=9780062220233

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780062220233

Add to your TBR list –
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26155766-spark

 

Linked: Cage of Lies Book Two Cover Reveal!

Hey everyone! I’m Kelley, and I’m filling in for Tanya today to launch Linked‘s cover reveal!

In a world she never knew existed, Maya is coming to terms with how much her life has changed. Danger lurks around every corner, nothing is as she expects and she’s never felt so alive. But the choices she makes could change everything and jeopardise the things she cherishes most. There is so much to learn and so much to love but her heart is pulling her back. The Guardians are hiding in the shadow cast by their Wall, concealing the truth from the people inside. It’s a shadow that darkens her happiness and she can’t stop fighting until the truth comes to light. It would be easier to walk away but Maya has never run from anything and she’s not about to start now.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B015NDMX3U/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/SusanneValenti
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Valenti.Susanne

Extraction Series E-book Sale and Contest!

Extraction - Rebellion e-book promo

GIVEAWAY:

Stephanie has launched a special giveaway to coincide with the e-book sale. Help spread the word about the sale on social media and you will be entered to win:

ONE GRAND PRIZE:

– (1) signed hardcover copy of Evolution,

annotated with behind-the-scenes facts and series secrets

– (1) limited edition LEGO Clementine model

– (1) limited edition LEGO Logan model

– signed swag

Extraction e-book promo prize

This contest is open internationally. How do you enter to win? There are several ways (Yes, you can earn more than one entry, but no more than 1 entry per option):

On Instagram:

Post the Extraction series e-book sale picture (see above), link to the Instagram account @StephanieEDiaz, and

tag it #BookBargain and #YAReads.

Alternately, you can re-gram Stephanie’s Instagram post from here.

On Tumblr:

Reblog this tumblr post.

On Twitter:

Tweet the following message: DEAL ALERT! Grab e-books of @StephanieEDiaz‘s EXTRACTION and REBELLION for only $2.99 each for a limited time! http://tinyurl.com/qbhv893

Alternately, you can retweet Stephanie’s twitter post from here.

On Facebook:

Post the Extraction series e-book sale picture on this page,

link to either http://www.steph-diaz.blogspot.com or one of the books, and tag it #BookBargain.

Alternately, you can share Stephanie’s facebook post from here.

The book sale will last for one month, but I will be selecting one winner for the giveaway on Monday, October 5th to receive the grand prize.

 

Evolution, the third and final book in the Extraction series, went on sale on September 8th! The series is officially complete! You can buy your copy on AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboApple iBooksBook Depository, or at your local indie!

To celebrate Evolution‘s release, the first two books in the series — Extraction and Rebellion – are on sale for only $2.99 each for all e-book formats! This sale will only last for a limited time, so snatch up your copy now! And read on to find out how to win prizes by spreading the word.

Buy Extraction for only $2.99:

Amazon

Nook

Kobo

Apple iBooks

Buy Rebellion for only $2.99:

Amazon

Nook

Kobo

Apple iBooks