Spotlight Thursday: Author Stacey Lee

Every Thursday we spotlight authors, agents and more! It’s to let writers and readers know there are awesome resources out there! And awesome books!

Today we are excited to have author Stacey Lee joining us!


I LOVE Stacey’s books. Her writing is beautiful and her description so vivid! Not only does she have strong characters but they represent the best Asian characters out there. Hollywood needs to read these books and learn!


Her western book Under a Painted Sky is about two girls posing as boys on the Oregon trail with hot cowboys! HOT COWBOYS! The strength of the book was the friendship and I had all the emotions when I read it! Check out my review of Under a Painted Sky here.

Her new book Outrun The Moon is just as epic and the words just as beautiful! I was lucky enough to receive an ARC and this book is a must read!!!

Enough with my glowing praise for Stacey…to the interview!

Tawney: You have two books coming out this year, Outrun the Moon in May and The Secret of a Heart Note in Dec, how does it feel? Is it more work than having one book come out per year.


Stacey: Yes, it is a bit more work! I have to stay very organized and to accept that I won’t have time for everything. I’m definitely wishing right now there were more than 24 hrs in a day.

Tawney: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Stacey: I was surprised to find such amazing support from strangers. When people (like yourself, Tawney!) go out of their way support my book with tweets, pictures, fan art,  poetry, etc. it really touches and humbles me.  


Tawney: There’s such a great diversity movement going on in the book world and you are a big supporter in We Need Diverse Books, have you seen an improvement and how can others get involve in such a great movement?


Stacey: Yes, I think public awareness is a huge step toward change. I am heartened to see books like Angela Thomas‘ THE HATE YOU GIVE go to auction, and to witness WNDB programs like the Walter Award and the WNDB Internship Programs gain momentum (and btw, if you’re interested in a career in publishing, the deadline to apply for one of the nine WNDB internship grants is May 31). There are so many ways to support diverse books. For readers— buy them, request them at the library, review them, spread the word about them. For librarians and booksellers—make diverse books visible and use shelf talkers (WNDB has a great book talking kit to get you started). For teachers—invite diverse authors to visit, even if just through Skype. Use diverse books in your lesson planning.And keep the conversation going. One day we won’t have to talk about ‘diverse books,’ they’ll just be ‘books,’ imagine that!



Tawney: When you emerge from your editing cave with a book completely finished, what one thing do you always have to do?

Stacey: I mostly definitely book a massage. It is a guilty but necessary pleasure as writing kills my neck.


Tawney: What literary character is most like you?



Stacey: Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. She lets her imagination run wild and it sometimes gets her into big trouble. Check. Also, she loves her friends and family deeply, something I can relate to.


Thank you so much for participating Stacey! We loved having you on the blog and can’t wait until everyone can read Outrun the Moon! 



Stacey is doing a huge giveaway for Outrun The Moon! A trip to San Francisco! Details here

About the Author:

My name is Stacey Heather Lee and I write young adult books. I’ve dreamed of writing books for a living since I was nine, when I penned my first children’s novel. For four years, I labored to type it on the family Smith Corona (that’s a typewriter, kids). Each time I made a typo, I would retype the whole page. By the time I finished, my fingers flew at 120 wpm. The book became a bestseller amongst my stuffed animals, and baby, I was on my way!

But before I could write for the un-stuffed crowd, I had to make several stops in the real world. Hi Mom and Dad! I studied, got degrees, and earned paychecks. In my spare time, I continued writing. Several years later, I got a wonderful agent, and now I write even when I’m sleeping. I hope you will enjoy browsing my website. All are welcome, stuffing and all.

I am a fourth generation Chinese-American.  A native of southern California, I graduated from UCLA then got my law degree at UC Davis King Hall.  After practicing law in Silicon Valley for several years, I finally took up the pen because I wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than moving to Spain.  I play classical piano, raise my two children together with my supportive husband, and write YA fiction.

Follow Stacey on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and her blog!


Love Tawney


Spotlight Thursday: A Torch Against the Night

Today we are excited for Sabaa Tahir’s anticipate sequel to An Ember in the Ashes! We can’t wait to get our hands on this book.


Check out our review of An Ember in the Ashes here. A must read book! But today we are spotlighting the sequel since the cover has been revealed!


It’s gorgeous! Not only has Sabaa released the cover but also a sneak peek of the book! She spoils us.


Let’s take a look at A Torch Against the Night!

ATorchAgainstTheNight_CV 4.14

  • Series: An Ember in the Ashes (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill (August 30, 2016

A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

Buy Links:




An exclusive sneak peek from A Torch Against the Night has been released and it makes us hunger for more. Read the first chapter here!





About the author: Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Follow Sabba on twitterPinterestGoodreadstumblr, and her blog!


It’s going to be a great year with so many hot anticipated books releasing. My wallet may not like it but my bookshelves will! Bring it!


Love Tawney

Spotlight Thursday: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High

The world loves super heroes….who happen to be all men.


But now there seems to be a movement and it’s about damn time! We are seeing more movie and book news out there about heroine!


Random House in participation with DC, is releasing a cool concept of DC Superhero Girls! There are even some cute toys I might have to buy! I’m a Harley Quinn girl so this is fantastic to have all these amazing female heroines together! Check out all the info here.

Let’s take a look at Wonder Woman at Super Hero High!

  • Series: Dc Super Hero Girls
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (March 1, 2016)


This groundbreaking new middle grade series follows DC Comics’ most iconic female Super Heroes and Super-Villains . . . as high schoolers. At Super Hero High, the galaxy’s most powerful teens nurture their powers and master the fundamentals of what it means to be a hero.

Buy Links:



Tawney’s Review: 

I love the women of DC universe. So it’s nice to see a book about their younger selves. Super Hero High is home to the world’s young future heroes and villains. Enter Wonder Woman, who has never left home before, as the new student. Oh the mayhem that follows!

wonder 2

Wonder Woman At Super Hero High is the first book in the new DC Super Hero Girls series by Lisa Yee, which focuses on all our favorite female super heroes and villains in their teenage years. A breath of fresh air in a world dominated by male superheroes.



Yee does a wonderful job at keeping the characters traditional to their older selves, while keeping it age appropriate. It’s nice to see Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Hawkgirl, Katana, and more brought to life with new energy and vigor.There are also familiar male faces such as Beast Boy, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Captain Cold, and more, but this book emphasizes the ladies of the hero universe, which by god we needed!  Yee brings some new excitement into this world for young readers. This is a great book with humor, action, drama and girl power.


It was fun to see Wonder Woman navigate the world of teens and social media with unwanted attention, bullies, the pressure to please parents and more. Lee does a wonderful job at throwing these obstacles together, which all teens experience and can relate too.  One thing that helps Wonder Woman is friendship. Friendship was the heart of the story and the girls around Wonder Woman play a key role in the novel. It was just fun seeing all the characters I grew up with together in one setting. The book ends wonderfully by introducing the next Heroine in the series that makes me yearn for more.

Should you read it? Yes! A fantastic read that takes what we know of the DC world and adds a refreshing new light to the heroines’ younger selves. A super read that all ages would enjoy.



Thank you Random House for sending a copy of Wonder Woman at Super Hero High for review. In no way does this affect my opinion.


Love Tawney

Spotlight Thursday: Kayla

Today we’re excited to spotlight an author who’s book is making the buzz and has a certain actor totally smitten!

sand 2

Every Thursday we spotlight authors, agents and more! It’s to let writers and readers know there are awesome resources out there! And awesome books!

Today we welcome author Kayla Olson to the blog! Her book The Sandcastle Empire  will not be released until next year but…it was opted for film! By none other than Leonadro DiCaprio! Check out the announcement here.

Now to the interview!

sand 4


Tawney:  Your book The Sandcastle Empire doesn’t come out until next year, but you had some big news regarding the film announcement with Leo and Paramount! Leonardo DiCaprioCongrats! How does it feel to be thrust into the spotlight so early before your book comes out? 


Kayla: After sitting on my secret news for so long before the story broke, it was a HUGE relief to finally be able to talk about it! Once the first Hollywood Reporter article went live, the one with the film news, it felt simultaneously more real *and* more surreal—it’s one thing to know your own secrets, and another thing for everyone else to suddenly know. It was the very best kind of whirlwind, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I’m very grateful for all the media attention it’s gotten so far, especially this far out from the book’s release—the only downside is that I’m totally eager to share the book with everyone! The time will pass quickly, though, I’m sure. 


Tawney: I find when I write my feet get cold, do you prefer fuzzy or tube socks? Is there a particular habit you have while writing?

 Kayla: If I had to choose between fuzzy v. tube socks, I’d go tube all the way—except, honestly, I’ve sort of become a legwarmer girl! I found the most excellent pair—pink/purple, knitted in a fair isle pattern—in a clearance bin for $2. They’re basically the best. As for particular habits, I have this one thunderstorm track that I bought on iTunes for 99¢, and I listen to it whenever I sit down to work. I’ve listened to it for so long, now, that it almost instantly puts me in a focused mindset.


Tawney: How did you come up with the idea for The Sandcastle Empire? It’s such a fantastic unique concept! 

Kayla: Thank you so much—that’s so kind of you to say! The very first seed of the idea was the setting, the island. I’ve always loved island settings, shows like Survivor and LOST.



After that initial idea seed, things came together all at once, for the most part—I knew I wanted to have some strong girl dynamics, four girls at the center of the story. I was also very intrigued by the combination of social issues and environmental change, as opposed to focusing on just one of those—like, what if sea level rise caught our country off guard sooner than we expected? What if disasters piled up on top of each other faster than we could deal with them? How would those things affect people’s everyday lives? There’s a lot of fear in this book, and a lot of I just want to survive pressed up against the problem of but my survival might mean you don’t get to.


Tawney: If you were stranded on an island, what three things would you want with you? 


Kayla: Does my family count as a thing? Wanting them with me seems selfish, like, HEY, come be stranded with me instead of hanging out at home with all your Legos! So even though I’d want them with me, I’ll choose three THING things instead. One: a giant package of dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s, even though I’d be disappointed to eat them at island-temperature instead of straight out of the refrigerator (seriously, try that, you guys)(SORRY AND YOU’RE WELCOME). Two: I’d wish for a Havenwater bottle, like Eden has in my book, with its filter that desalinates/sterilizes water from any source. Three: total toss-up between hair products and my guitar. Like, on one hand, my curly hair would be an absolute mess after two days on the island—but on the other hand, it might be nice to have something to do (bonus points: it could break up the endless hours of silence). 


Tawney: What are you working on now? 

Kayla: SO MANY THINGS. (If only I could work on them all at once!) Right now, I’m between Sandcastle revisions, so I’m bouncing between a few new projects at the moment—a bit of plotting here, a bit of drafting there, and tons of general excitement about bringing new characters to life. Writing takes so much patience and perseverance, but at the end of the day, I take so much joy in building worlds with words. I hope to share these new worlds one day, too.


Thank you Kayla for joining us today! We look forward to following you and THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE! 


About the book: 

HarperTeen, Summer 2017

The book is set in 2049, when the Earth is at a breaking point due to climate change, coastal flooding, and overpopulation. A radical faction known as the Wolfpack has overthrown the government and taken control—now, the entire world is at war.

Day after day, Eden Andersen slips down to the boardwalk, watching and waiting until the perfect moment to escape. It’s been two years since Zero Day—two years since the Wolfpack plucked the privileged from lives they loved and shoved them into labor camps. Eden’s lost everything to the war, most notably her father. All she has left of him are the things the Wolves delivered to her after his disappearance: his wedding ring, his field guide full of notes, and a vial of his blood and teeth.

Finally, after countless boardwalk sunrises, Eden has her chance to escape. But it’s not the solo trip she’s dreamed of—three other girls end up on her boat, none of whom share her agenda. One thing they can all agree on, though: they want freedom. Together, they flee to an island in hopes of finding refuge from the war. Along the way, Eden finds clues as to what happened to her missing father—and finds out that she is the key to bringing down the Wolfpack.

Add to Goodreads!

About the Author:
Kayla Olson lives in Texas, and can usually be found in near proximity to black coffee, the darkest chocolate, Scrivener, and an army of Sharpie highlighters.
Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog!



Spotlight Thursday: Jodi Meadows

It’s Spotlight Thursday!

Every Thursday we spotlight authors, agents and more! It’s to let writers and readers know there are awesome resources out there! And awesome books!


Today I had the pleasure to interview author Jodi Meadows. Next week The Mirror King releases, the sequel to The Orphan Queen. We loved The Orphan Queen, check out our review here, and we can’t wait to see where Jodi takes Wilhelmina in this conclusion!


Now to the interview!

Tawney: A lot has happened in the first book Orphan Queen and The Mirror King wraps up Wilhelmina’s story.  Was it hard to wrap up a series in two books?

Jodi: Gosh, yes, it was difficult! There was even a brief flirtation with “what if I had a third book???” because I was having such a hard time fitting so much story into one book. But, as you know, it worked out. Miraculously, and with the help of amazing critique partners, my incredible agent, and my endlessly patient and wise editor, I managed to finish this book without setting it on fire.



Tawney: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way, either growing up or as an adult?

yes   yes   yes

Jodi: Oh several! I really connected with books by Tamara Pierce (fun fact: Tobiah Pierce’s last name is a nod to her!), Robin McKinley, and Garth Nix


Tawney: Sometimes writing can take up your whole day so be honest, how often do you wash your hair?

Jodi: I shower every day! Whether I need it or not! 


Tawney: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Jodi: There was a lot of rejection in my life before getting published (and let’s face it, there’s still a lot, but it’s a different sort), so my relationship with criticism is pretty thick-skinned. But that doesn’t mean I like reading negative reviews! So I don’t. 🙂 


Some of the best compliments have been from people who really identify with my main characters, though. From people who say that my books literally changed their lives. From people who say that if Ana could get through her problems at home, they can, too. Those — the ones that show my stories are having a deeper impact than I could have dreamed — are the ones that stick with me the most.


Tawney: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Jodi: I don’t know if it’s a quirk, exactly, but I love writing about masks. Most of my stories involve masks of some sort — though they’re not always literal!



Tawney: You also have another book coming out this year My Lady Jane, co-authored with Cynthia Hand and Brodi Ashton. What was it like working with other authors?

Jodi: It was great! Not only did we have a lot of fun working together, but we were able to really work to our strengths individually, and our strengths as a team. Brodi is amazing at dialogue and humorous situations, while Cynthia really knows how to dig in to the emotional undercurrents of a scene and make them stand out. Plus, we each write about a third  of a book and get credit for the whole thing! 


Thank you Jodi for joining us!

Let’s take a look at The Mirror King!


  • Series: Orphan Queen (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (April 5, 2016)

In this stunning conclusion to The Orphan Queen, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen. This epic fantasy duology is perfect for fans of Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, and Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

Princess Wilhelmina is ready for her crown, but declaring herself queen means war. Her magic is uncontrollable and now there’s a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. Princess Wilhelmina’s ability might be just the thing to help reclaim her kingdom—or ruin it forever

Order your book today!


jodi About the Author:

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever sinc

she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and a coauthor of the forthcoming MY LADY JANE (HarperTeen). Visit her at

Spotlight Thursday: Sabaa Tahir

Every Thursday we spotlight authors, agents and more who talk about books, authors, and writing! It’s to let writers and readers know there are awesome resources out there!

Today I want to spotlight a wonderful author who not only has a fabulous book, but spotlights new authors on her website too!


Sabaa Tahir has a fantastic book that is getting recognized with award nominations and a fan base that can’t get enough. If you haven’t read An Ember in the Ashes, I highly recommend it before the sequel comes out later this year. I mean read it! You won’t be disappointed.


Every month Sabaa spotlights a debut author on her website. She asks great questions to the authors about their book, their writing and life! As a reader and writer her site is perfect to follow. It helps the reader find a new author and the writer to see into this debut author’s world and what he/she is going through. Check out her wonderful interview of Alwyn Hamilton, author of Rebel of the Sands, or Marieke Nijkamp This is Where It Ends!

I had the pleasure of having Sabaa on my Pre-Pub Adventures where we followed her to publishing her book. I got to meet her in NY for a signing and she is just amazing in person. She was wonderful to all her fans. But she isn’t just wonderful to her fans. She supports other authors! I love when this happens! Sabaa supports so many great authors with shootouts on Twitter or Instagram! The writing community is such a great place.

I highly recommend you follow Sabaa. She is fantastic with words and her website is a great resource for new books and an insight into an author’s world!

Let’s take a look at Sabaa!

an ember

  • Series: An Ember in the Ashes (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill (

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood
and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family eke
s out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Order your book today!


About the Author:


Sabaa Tahir is the New York Times bestselling author of the young adult fantasy AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. She grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family

Follow her:

TWITTER            PINTEREST            GOODREADS            TUMBLR       INSTAGRAM


Sabaa has been nominated for the Children’s Choice Book Awards! Congrats!!


You can go and vote for Sabaa and your other favorite authors here!

Love Tawney

Spotlight Thursday: Susan Dennard

Sometimes authors aren’t just fabulous writers.They also have a wealth of knowledge regarding the publishing world and like to share it! Susan Dennard is one of those people.


Today’s spotlight is on an author of fabulous books but she also has an excellent website with a wealth of knowledge for writers.

Susan blogs about her writing process and loves to share what she is going through in her current writing status. One recent post talked about rediscovering her writing process. She talks about how she forgot how to write and what helps her get back in the groove. She read Deep Work to help her mind discover deep work from shallow work. It was a very insightful post. Check out the awesome post Rediscover the Writing Groove.  She has another great post about unsticking your plot called Emotional Dominos.

Wait. It gets better! Susan also has a forum to connect writers!


It’s a forum for CP/Buddy Matchup. Essentially you can connect with other writers here for critique partners and writing buddies. Check it out here.

Not only does she talk about her writing to other writers, she talks to her readers as well. She posts all new info on her books and tour dates. She is essentially connected to her fans.


I highly recommend you follow Susan because she has such a wealth of knowledge and is just a blast to connect with.

Let’s not forget about Susan’s books! She has the wonderful Something Strange and Deadly Trilogy and Truthwitch. Let’s take a look at Susan’s world!

truthwitchOn a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble–as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her–but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Order your book today!



Sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt’s brother is missing. And when she discovers that the Dead are rising in Philadelphia and wreaking havoc throughout the city, she knows that her brother is involved.

So Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit-Hunters. This motley crew, hired to protect the city from supernatural forces, is after the necromancer who has been reanimating corpses. Their skills can save her brother. But as Eleanor spends time with the Spirit-Hunters, and their handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. Now not only is her reputation at risk, but her very life may hang in the balance.

In Something Strange and Deadly, the first book in a trilogy, Susan Dennard weaves together vividly imagined scenes of action, adventure, and gorgeous Victorian fashion to create an entertaining steampunk tapestry of humor, horror, and romance. Readers who love Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series will be intrigued from the start.

Order your book today!


About Susan

I’ve come a long way from small-town Georgia. As a marine biologist, I got to travel the world—six out of seven continents, to be exacsusant (I’ll get to you yet, Asia!)—before I settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor.

I’m the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series as well as the New York Times bestselling Truthwitch, and if I’m not writing, then I’m busy slaying darkspawn or earning bruises at the dojo.

I live in the Midwestern US with my French husband, two spoiled dogs, and two grouchy cats. Learn more about my crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on the blognewslettertwitterinstagram, or pinterest.



The writing world can be intense.


But you aren’t alone! Social media has wonderful resources and Susan Dennard is one of them! Don’t fret my fellow writers, support is here.

Love Tawney