26 July

Blink Authors: Favorite Summer Activities

Curious what the Blink authors enjoy doing in the summer other than reading and writing?? Keep reading for the full scoop!

Besides writing and reading, what are some of your favorite summer activities?

Lorie Langdon: Hiking, Going to Festivals, cook-outs with friends.

Evangeline Denmark: taking my foodie son to farmer’s markets

Jonathan Friesen: Car washes. I absolutely love car washes. No touch, of course. I could sit in my car in a car wash for an hour, watching the sudsy, foamy soap and the fierce sheets of warm water race up my windshield. And the power driers? Almost a religious experience.

Luke Reynolds: Running, bike riding, pancakes, and dancing.

Carol Lynch Williams: I love to work in the yard as long as it’s not too hot. I love to visit with my friends. I love to sing karaoke with my daughters and dance with them, too.

22 July

Blink Authors: What has been inspiring you lately?

Summer break may be halfway over but we still have more summer fun with our Blink authors! Curious what has been inspiring them lately? Keep reading!

Lorie Langdon: Music…always music. Some of the songs on my current writing playlist that are inspiring me are: If I Can’t Love Her by from the Beauty and the Beast Broadway production. Love’s To Blame by for King & Country. Lost Boy by Ruth B.

Jonathan Friesen: Tattoos on the Heart. It’s a series of stories from the gang-filled streets of LA. I read out of this book almost every day. It is so real, so authentic, so painful, so heartwarming … just buy it and read it.

Carol Lynch Williams: I’ve been watching you have television show that I quite like. That’s dark and all murdery. I’ve wanted to write a murder mystery for a good long time and I finally, finally have an idea. This television show has sort of inspired me on a way to write this newest novel.

Evangeline DenmarkMusic! Lately it’s been Night Riots, The Fray, and Fall Out Boy. Teens! I’m often inspired by the teens I know and meet. I’m amazed at the level of creativity young people seem to have. Wish I could make it into a magic potion!

Luke Reynolds: My 7th grade students. Ice cream. Great movies.

Share what is inspiring YOU with us on Facebook!

19 July

What Does an Editor Do All Day?

Once upon a time, I believed that there was only one kind of editor in the world. The kind that looked good in turtlenecks, drank black coffee, and always had a red pen in hand. They read manuscripts all day from a tiny studio apartment in New York…and they got paid for it.

Fast forward a couple of years, and contrary to popular belief, I don’t sit around with a red pen, a cup of coffee, and a manuscript from 8-5. The good news is, I also don’t have to wear turtlenecks or live in a tiny studio apartment. The even better news is, I get to read for a living, but I also get to do a lot of other awesome stuff. Here’s a look at what an editor really does all day.

What you would expect…

  • Edit manuscripts. As an acquisitions editor, I mainly work on the macro, or big-picture, edits. That includes developing characters, plot, and pacing in addition to looking at grammar and sentence structure. These days, instead of paper and red pen (eek! the trees!) I use Track Changes, or in rare cases, a handy dandy blue pen.
  • Read submissions. One of the most fun parts of the job is searching through the hundreds (or thousands) of submissions to find a diamond in the rough to publish. Submissions come in from literary agents or authors, and with the help of the editorial team, we decide book is a good fit for me to acquire. Yes, this involves saying no to a lot of people—one of my least favorite tasks—but it also means I get to read a lot of wonderful, brand-new material!
  • Make deals. Every so often I get to offer an author a book deal, and it’s always a great day when I can bring a writer a home to Blink. This process can require some negotiation, but nothing is better than when we get to rain down the celebratory confetti! (Though alas, I must usually do that virtually. I would, however, love to have a giant confetti cannon that could reach authors all around the country. #wishlist)
  • Work with authors.  Authors are the reason I started in publishing. It’s like working with rockstars, minus most of the drama and plus a lot of fabulous reading! I’m so lucky to be able to work with talented writers and help them bring their books to life.
  • Drink tea. Many editors may fit the black-coffee stereotype, but trust me, you don’t want me operating on that much caffeine. Thus, I compromise with tea. I have at least three mugs at my desk at any given time, and I have developed an extremely scientific theory that the literary cortex of your brain is stimulated by tea. Without it, we would never have made it past hieroglyphics. (Check out this article from the New Yorker for proof!)

What you might not expect…

  • Help develop covers. While I’m not an artist of any kind, I love helping to create a cover for a book. I meet with our design team to hash out ideas, and then they take my descriptions and painfully pathetic stick drawings and turn them into a beautiful, glorious cover fit for the world to see.
  • Research. I’m pretty sure my most-visited website is Goodreads. It’s one of the most searchable sites to find books in various genres and to get a quick idea of how readers are responding to stories. I spend a lot of time seeing what is trending in the market, from content to covers to typefaces. It is important editors know what readers want so they can go acquire it!
  • Craft presentations. I have to present to our editorial, creative, marketing, or sales boards on a weekly basis. Each day I spend time honing pitches and creating PowerPoints to showcase the titles I am excited about. Sometimes I even present at events or conferences on topics related to children’s or YA publishing. This means I had to learn how to be an extroverted introvert—it’s a thing, I promise!
  • Attend conferences. There are dozens of book conferences across the country each year, whether they are for writers, librarians, booksellers, or publishing professionals. Those are perfect places to meet and network with other book lovers and share excitement about upcoming titles.
  • Keep reading. Even when my eyes are tired from staring at words all day, I go home and keep reading. From my library card to my B&N membership to the free copies I grab at conventions to the submissions in my inbox, there is literally no end to my TBR pile. But the best thing an editor—or a writer, for that matter—can do is read. The more we read, the more we understand the importance of voice and characterization and unique twists of plot. And besides, I love to say I really do read books for a living.


13 July

Blink Authors: Coffee or Tea??

The summer fun continues! When it comes to their summertime favorites, the Blink family definitely has their preference coffee or tea. Keep reading to learn more!

Share with us which is your favorite on the Blink Facebook Page!

Lorie Langdon: I like both, but a favorite in the summer is iced green tea with mint and honey.

Denise Grover Swank: Coffee!

Jonathan Friesen: Coffee. I don’t think anybody really likes tea. They say they do, but honestly, it’s heated, flavored water. I think people like the THOUGHT of liking tea. They like the SOUND of, “I’ll have some tea, thank you.”

Luke Reynolds: Coffee with WAY too much cream!!

Evangeline Denmark: Coffee.

Carol Lynch Williams: Probably Coca-Cola

11 July

Blink Authors: Favorite Childhood Memories

We asked some of our Blink authors about their favorite childhood memories of summer break! Keep reading below to see their memories, and share yours with us on the Blink Facebook Page!

What is your favorite childhood memory of summer break?

Lorie Langdon: Walking to the library with my mom and then getting popsicles at the convenience store across the street. I couldn’t wait to get all my books home, spread them out on the floor and put them in order of importance. Sometimes I’d start with something new and other times I’d reread an old favorite.

Denise Grover Swank: Going to Colorado when I was eight. I’d never seen the mountains before and I loved them.

Jonathan Friesen: My buddy and me used to sneak onto the golf course near my home at night and go wading for golf balls. We’d wade around in the water holes until we felt something smooth beneath our toes; then we’d dive down and bring it up. Those ponds were filled with leeches and muskrats, and we’d feel those hairy buggers skim our legs. Freaky. But when it stormed, it was the best. For some reason, when it poured and lightning flashed, we just had to go wading for golf balls. Then the next day we’d head back to the course and sell the balls right back to the pathetic golfers who knocked them in the day before.

Luke Reynolds: My four brothers and I always built the BIGGEST sandcastles we could, and then passionately worked to try and prevent the incoming tide from washing them away. (The tide always won, though.)

Carol Lynch Williams: My very best friend was my cousin Kelly (she actually is a character in my first novel KELLY AND ME.) Kelly and I would play kickball with our siblings. We were older, stronger, faster. We won every game.

If we played Monopoly against them, we cheated and won.

There were summers when we would explore parts of old Florida that was filled with rivers and streams. We collected frog eggs and hatched them in the carport. We climbed massive oak trees and would go swimming in the lake on our property. We built a massive raft and floated over the lake. Went fishing. Road bikes.

08 July

Dark, Milk, or White Chocolate?

Dark, Milk, or White Chocolate?

Richness in the Complex Flavors of Literature

This seems like a pretty basic question, really. You choose chocolate based on your preference for smooth and creamy, light and sweet, or deep and rich. Three kinds of chocolate—a simple decision. But what if we throw in some extra flavor? Perhaps we add toffee, caramel drizzle, chopped macadamia nuts, coconut sprinkles, coffee beans, or some fantastic combination of these. The choice gets more complicated.

For me, this is the world of YA literature. When I first started reading novels, I kept my genre choices simple to get a feel for storyline and character development—romance, mystery, science fiction, fantasy. But then I started to taste test the rich flavors of variety. Speculative historical, Otherworld fantasy time travel, paranormal romance thriller, contemporary dystopian tragedy. And I have to say, I love to hear terms created from these crossovers—histopian, technothriller, postcyberpunk, mythopoeia, mannerpunk, and the list grows.

But then my taste became more complex. As an avid movie lover, I believed that sticking to my favorite film genres would lead me to the perfect books. And while I loved Warm Bodies, a sweet, yet disturbing, movie about zombie romance, I could not get into any zombie-themed novels. While I can’t watch slasher or horror movies—The Shining, Scream, and Dale and Tucker vs Evil are about my limit—I’ve found that some of my most memorable reads have been suspense thrillers.

All this to say, don’t let yourself get stuck in a one-genre world. Open a box of chocolates, close your eyes, and take a big bite of the unknown. Venture into new worlds of literature. Enjoy. You may find yourself with a mouthful of mystery sugar-goo; or, you may also find a book you can’t put down.

Write and tweet about your new flavor discoveries #loveYAflavs @BlinkYABooks.


06 July

Blink Authors: Tips For Young Authors

Our “Summer Fun” series continues this week! Curious about the best tips from the Blink authors for young authors? Keep reading to learn their hints and secrets!

Tips for young authors hoping to spend some time writing this summer?

Lorie Langdon: Set a daily word count goal, write first thing in the morning, and don’t do anything else until you reach your daily goal. Some days you might even blow your goal out of the water!

Denise Grover Swank: Write every day. Make writing part of your routine. Make it so that it feels like something is missing when you haven’t written for several days.

Jonathan Friesen: Get outside. Live a little. Do something you never thought you could. Be bold. I know a lot of talented young authors, and many write better than I do. Thing is, they haven’t lived much. They haven’t had the type of grand failures and miserable successes that become food for stories and books. So, if you want to write, stop writing and live a little.

Evangeline Denmark: Just start somewhere and then keep writing, even if it’s just a little bit every day. Don’t worry that it isn’t perfect or that you’re not writing as much as you want to. It’s just like training for a marathon. You make progress little bit by little bit every day.

Luke Reynolds: Don’t wait for a “good” idea. Write EVERYTHING THAT COMES TO YOUR MIND. Writing through what may seem like “bad” ideas can actually lead to brilliant ideas.

Carol Lynch Williams: By the time that I was 16 years old I was writing the stories would wind up in my first novel. If you really want to write you have to do just that, write.

One of the wonderful things about writing is that reading is your best teacher. So read like crazy. Read everything you can get your hands on.

And then set aside time each day that is dedicated to this one thing you want to do: write. Don’t give yourself a time limit. It’s easy to play on the computer or search the Internet or watch YouTube. Instead give yourself a word limit.

If you write one page a day (which is about 250 words), at the end of the year you will have 365 pages. That’s a nice sized young adult novel.

Sometimes we think that the things we love the most don’t deserve the time that regular chores or duties require. But writing is work. So let yourself do this job.

01 July

Book Brag! Gilt Hollow

Hello, readers!

Blink YA Books and Editor Sara Bierling are pleased to bring you Gilt Hollow by Lorie Langdon. This is a heart-fluttering romance and a thrilling murder mystery with a swoon-worthy hero.

Here to talk about her book and her writing process is author Lorie Langdon. Lorie co-wrote (with Carey Corp) the wildly popular Doon series from Blink YA Books. Doon, Destined for Doon, Shades of Doon, and Forever Doon have garnered a cult-like following of readers pining for a fantasy world out of time.

SB: Welcome, Lorie! Now that the book is written and we’re getting ready to publish, I’m excited to sit back and talk to you about writing a bit. Your previously-published novels have been a mix of fantasy and contemporary but this one is solidly contemporary. Why did you feel compelled to tell Willow and Ashton’s story?

LL: The idea for Gilt Hollow was sparked by a news story I saw about a teenage boy who was on trial for killing one of his friends. Which made me ask the all-important ‘what if’ questions. What if the boy was innocent, but took the fall for the crime and spent his formative teen years in juvie? How would it change him? What if he lived in a small town and the girl who’d been his best friend most of his life was ostracized after his conviction? How would that change her? And what would happen when the boy returned to the hometown after serving his time, seeking revenge against those who testified against him?

The ‘what ifs’ kept coming. I tried to ignore them, because as you pointed out, contemporary suspense was new territory for me. But this story would not leave me alone. It had to be told!

SB: Your male hero, Ashton, is a bit of a troubled soul with a strong physical presence. Why do you think this kind of character is so appealing, especially in a romance?

LL: Heroes with a powerful physical presence and a bit of a dark side are my kryptonite. I seriously can’t resist them and I don’t think I’m alone! J

As a writer, in order for a hero to hold my interest for an entire book, they need to have deep layers—secrets and sides to their personality that I don’t even know until I start telling their story. Ashton starts out tortured and angry, but he surprised me with his emotional intelligence and selfless heroism. I love the positive changes he makes over the course of the book.

SB: Character is so important in a romance because female readers want to picture themselves as the romantic heroine and to imagine their ultimate partner in the male character. In what ways is it challenging to describe and craft your characters in a way that appeals to many readers?

LL: I believe it’s important to give your heroine weaknesses and personality quirks. No one makes the right choices all the time. Perfect heroines are not relatable.

For example, Willow is smart, pretty, and loyal, but she also has anxiety issues which manifest in panic attacks at inconvenient times, and she retreats into extreme organization mode when she’s stressed. These idiosyncrasies allow readers to see parts of themselves in the character’s faults.

SB: The town of Gilt Hollow is so well-drawn that it almost feels like a character in the novel. There’s a prominent college scene, with students yarn bombing light poles and park benches. Even Willow’s mom is a bit of a hippie. What was your inspiration for this quirky setting?

LL: I adore Gilt Hollow! It was inspired by the intimate, small town feel of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls and Yellow Springs, Ohio, which is an eclectic town about ten miles from where I live. There are street musicians and holistic healing shops and even a little record store on the second floor of a vintage clothing shop. And yes, Yellow Springs does have yarn bombers!

SB: This story is full of romance and mystery but it also has a lot to say about personal connection. Ashton and Willow are first and foremost friends. Why do you think this is so vital to their connection and eventual romance?

LL: Willow and Ashton don’t know it at first, but they need each other. Willow’s regimented life needs a shakeup of adventure and Ashton needs Willow to help him see that second chances are possible. Without the trust they’d previously established as friends, I don’t believe either of them could’ve let their guards down enough to learn from each other, and develop a deeper connection.

This was fun! Thanks so much the great questions, Sara!

SB: Thanks so much, Lorie! Readers, be sure to preorder Gilt Hollow at:




And you can follow Lorie here: