30 August

Book Roundup – Solo, Thing with Feathers and In 27 Days

Solo by Kwame Alexander

New York Times bestseller!

“A contemporary hero’s journey, brilliantly told.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“…a rhythmic, impassioned ode to family, identity, and the history of rock and roll.” Booklist, starred review

“… many readers will identify with Blade’s struggle to find his place in a family where he feels like an outsider.” — PW (Publishers Weekly)

“the authentic character development and tone will strike a chord with young adults.” – School Library Journal

Learn more!

The Thing with Feathers by McCall Hoyle

“[Readers] will swoon over the dreamy Chatham and root for Emilie to come out of her shell.” Kirkus Reviews

“Filled with poignancy, sparkling wit, and Southern charm, The Thing with Feathers made my heart absolutely soar! It’s everything I love in a YA contemporary.” Darcy Woods, award-winning author of Summer of Supernovas

“The inspiring story of one girl’s struggle not to be defined by her illness, The Thing with Feathers soars as it explores what it means to live—and love—without fear,” Kathryn Holmes, author of How It Feels to Fly

“Heartfelt and affecting. Hoyle tells a familiar story, but does so in a voice that is rarely heard, and that makes all the difference.” Leah Thomas, William C. Morris Award finalist and author of Because You’ll Never Meet Me and Nowhere Near You

Learn more!

In 27 Days by Alison Gervais

“An emotional, heartfelt story. Vivid characters instantly draw the reader in, and the life-or-death suspense never lets up as the chapters count down from twenty-seven days to none. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!” A.V. Geiger, author of Follow Me Back

“Alison Gervais’ smart twist on the second-chance plot makes In 27 Days a must-have for your bookshelf.” Patty Blount, award-winning author of Some Boys

“An addictive, fast-paced read … this paranormal tale will have readers turning the pages to see if Hadley stops Archer from making a tragic mistake.” YA Books Central, four-star review

“Heartwarming and authentic, In 27 Days is an emotionally gripping novel about second chances, falling in love, and the lengths we will go to in order to save the ones we care about.” Trisha Leaver, author of The Secrets We Keep

Learn more!

18 August

BLINK BLOG: End Of Summer

The end of summer is here… and we have one final installment in our Summer BLINK Blog series! Keep reading below…

What advice do you have for young authors trying to stay focused on writing over the summer?

Alison Gervais: Don’t force the story! If you have to take a break, take a break! Go easy on yourself. Sometimes the words flow easiest when you’re least expecting it.

Christina June: Sign up for Camp NaNo, designate time everyday for writing or something writing-related, and READ!

Jonathan Friesen: Focused?

Lorie Langdon: This is the first summer in four years I haven’t had a publisher deadline, so I’m struggling with this myself. My best advice is to write in the morning. Have a word count goal each day and don’t do anything else until you’ve hit that goal. If you have to be at work in the a.m., get up an hour early and knock out your word count. You’ll feel accomplished and keep your head in your story. Then you can have the rest of the day for fun!

McCall Hoyle: Put your behind in the chair at a set time every day. Commit to sitting there for a set period of time. Stare at that blank screen long enough and something will happen. I promise.
And, of course, write what you love. Write from your heart, and write what you’d like to see on bookshelves and in libraries.  

Stefne Miller:  The best way to stay focused on your writing is to write something that’s exciting to you. Fall in love with your characters to the point that you can’t wait to see what happens to them. Consider it like you’re hanging out with friends and you’re simply spending time writing so you can get to know them better – and because you love their company. If I write to write, I procrastinate. If I write to discover or to spend time with “friends”, I can’t wait to start.

Stephanie Morrill: For many, summer brings about a change of routine. Those who are normally in school might have a wide open schedule, while others may find their schedule overrun with visitors and vacations. What’s worked well for me to build consistent times that I can write. Even if it’s just thirty minutes or an hour each day (or most days), being faithful to getting words on the page during that dedicated time can really add up.

If you could travel anywhere in the world this summer, where would you go?

Alison Gervais: I would definitely travel to Hungary if I could. My grandpa’s family comes from Hungary, and I would be honored if I could be the first in my family to visit the country since my great-grandparents emigrated in the early 1900’s.


Christina June: I’m doing it – Disney World!  We’ve also been dreaming about Costa Rica lately.

Lorie Langdon: I would go to Hawaii. I’ve never been, but I’m pretty sure when I go I’ll never want to leave!  


McCall Hoyle: Okay, this may sound strange, but I’m obsessed with bears—black bears, grizzly bears, you name it. They’re fascinatingly powerful animals. I’ve seen my fair share of black bears in the Eastern United States but have always dreamed of seeing a grizzly bear in the wild. Since I’m also fascinated by wild places, I would pack up the mosquito spray and hiking boots and head to Alaska to see a grizzly in the wild. The moose would be pretty cool too.

Stefne Miller:  I would love to visit Alaska (while it isn’t freezing cold). It would be wonderful to have the opportunity to explore with my family for a week… and then send them back home and stay behind so I can hide away in a beautiful place and write. Any time my mind daydreams about taking a trip, it always involves beautiful, inspiring views and a quiet place to write. That’s heaven to me.

Stephanie Morrill: Italy. My husband and I have been planning a trip to Italy for three years, but it keeps getting pushed off because of our kids. Hopefully in the next year or two we’ll get to dust off our plans and see Venice!

What has been inspiring you lately?

Alison Gervais: Ever since I started my new job last October, I’ve been able to look at things with an entirely different lense than before, and I’m very thankful for the new experiences.

Christina June: Everything?  I know, cop out answer, but I tend to steal from everywhere, so it’s actually true.

Jonathan Friesen: Raspberries. We have about thirty raspberry bushes growing near our curb, and they are producing like gangbusters. The entire neighborhood takes, oh, fifty walks per day and everyone just wanders onto my lawn and starts eating my raspberries. No “May I have some raspberries?” or “Do you mind if I take a handful?” I come home each day to strangers talking to each other, standing on my lawn and eating raspberries. They smile and wave crimson-stained hands and keep eating. I guess I’d like to be a little more like one of those raspberry plants and less like the thorny rosebush I tend to be. You know, approachable.

Lorie Langdon: I was hugely inspired by the Wonder Woman film! Watching her come into her power while staying grounded in grace and love made me want to not only write a heroine like her, but emulate her in my own life. If we can embrace our own strengths and gifts while loving and inspiring others, I can’t think of a better definition of success.

McCall Hoyle: I’m always inspired by the vast awesomeness of the natural world, but I’m also really inspired by human beings. There is a lot of ugliness in the world if you watch too much news. But if you spend time getting to know people one-on-one, you realize there are a lot of good people doing good work but flying under the radar. I believe Anne Frank’s words are as true today as when she wrote them in her diary in 1944, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.

Stefne Miller:  I had the honor of traveling to Chicago for the ALA Conference. Prior to the trip, I’d been struggling with finding inspiration to write, but being around so many amazing writers that seem to have no fear and continually write and reach for their dreams was a true inspiration for me. I came home ready to jump back onto the computer and start creating again. I learned a great lesson through that trip: when you’re struggling to be inspired, surround yourself with inspiring people. They’ll help relight the creative fire within.

Stephanie Morrill: The podcast Stuff You Missed In History Class. Every show teaches me about people and perspectives that I was unaware of, which is so valuable as a writer.



06 August

BLINK BLOG: Summertime Favorites

The BLINK Summer Blog fun continues! Keep reading below…

Are you working on an new material this summer (Writing a book? blogs? Etc?)

Alison Gervais: You betcha! Can’t share what it is just yet though…

Christina June:  I’ve got a few supersecret projects I’m hoping to make some progress on.  I’m working on a blog post for Teen Librarian Toolbox, as well as an article for the SCBWI Highlighter magazine with my CP, Katherine Locke, that will appear in the winter issue, so keep an eye out!

Lorie Langdon: I’m currently working on an epic fantasy adventure novel that I call Sleeping Beauty meets The Hunger Games! If I’m being real, I have a bit of writer’s block with this project. Epic fantasy, I’m finding, is not something that can be written quickly.

McCall Hoyle: Yes! I’m working on a story about two teenagers trapped on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the face of an oncoming hurricane, and I love it because it includes wild horses, the beach, a swoon-worthy guy, an adorable kitten, and as many twists and turns as a powerful storm.

Stefne Miller: I am currently working on finishing up a YA trilogy that I have been writing for several years, and two pilots for television series ideas that I have rumbling around in my head. The great thing about having multiple projects going at the same time is that when you get stuck in one, you can jump to another. It keeps my imagination running wild and my curiosity peaked.

Stephanie Morrill: Summer is the hardest season for me to write, but when I can, I’m working on a WWII era story that will come out with Blink in early 2019. It’s about an Italian-American girl who’s in love with a Japanese-American boy, and their struggle when he’s taken away to a concentration camp.

What is your favorite summertime activity?

Alison Gervais: When my family still lived in California, it was going to the beach in Carlsbad! Now it’s going camping with most of my extended family for a few weeks in July, where there is hiking, river rafting, and many, many s’mores.

Christina June: Having no responsibility?  I love catching up on my reading, working on writing projects, and binging on all the Netflix I missed during the school year.  We’re working on GLOW right now, and I’m also rewatching the original 90210 from the beginning.

Jonathan Friesen: Walking out the door each morning without a coat. It sounds like nothing, but I dream about that experience throughout the Minnesota winter, and it makes me smile each day.

Lorie Langdon: I love attending street fairs, walking in nature, and reading (of course).

McCall Hoyle: Because I’m a full-time teacher and spend a lot of time writing. I don’t have as much time as I would like to read for pleasure during the school year. So reading anything I want is definitely one of the high points of summer.

Stefne Miller:  Staying inside and out of the intense Oklahoma heat. 🙂 I’m a bit of a recluse anyway, but during the summer months my reclusive tendencies tend to go into overdrive. I’ll come out of hibernation in the fall.

Stephanie Morrill: Going to the library with my kids. My kids are nine, seven, and 18 months, so it’s one of the few places where we’re all equally happy.

Favorite ice cream?

Alison Gervais: Honestly? I have no idea. Chocolate chip cookie dough ranks right up there.

Christina June: Lately I’ve been into Yasso Greek yogurt bars – the salted caramel is to die for!

Lorie Langdon: This changes with the season. Right now, my favorite is Pistachio.

McCall Hoyle: Chocolate chip cookie dough of course. I mean really, what other flavor encompasses the perfect combination of sugary goodness, textures, and simplicity?

Stefne Miller:  Rocky Road or German Chocolate

Stephanie Morrill: Anything with chocolate and peanut butter!

What music have you been listening to lately?

Alison Gervais: I would say I have a very eclectic taste in music, but this summer it’s ranging from 2Cellos, Mandy Harvey, Tori Kelly, and ARCHIS.

Christina June: My current playlists include Frances Cone, The 1975, Bay Ledges, The xx, and anything 90’s.

Jonathan Friesen: Bethel Worship, Adele, The Rolling Stones, Prince and James Taylor. It’s been a very odd summer.

Lorie Langdon: I’ve been into DNCE and Bruno Mars. I always have one song that defines that summer for me and this year, it’s “Malibu” by Miley Cyrus. While writing, I’ve been listening to the Wonder Woman soundtrack on loop!

McCall Hoyle: My music tastes are all over the place depending on my mood. I might be on the front porch listening to classic country like Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty, or Merle Haggard. I might be barreling down the highway belting out a favorite praise and worship song by David Crowder or Chris Tomlin. If I’m feeling adventurous, I might embrace the classics of my high school and college days and turn up some R.E.M. or U2 or maybe even Def Leppard.

Stefne Miller: I listen to the most random stuff ever. My tastes range from Praise and Worship, to 1980s hairbands to contemporary pop. Lately, however, since I’ve been writing a lot I listen to playlists that I’ve created specifically for the type of scene that I’m writing. My playlists include: Heartbreak; Fight Songs; Love Songs; Inspiring; and musical scores. It’s amazing how songs can influence a particular scene and inspire me to take a story a particular direction.

Stephanie Morrill: Dig Down by Muse. I saw them in concert in June, and that’s what they opened the show with. I swear it’s been on a loop in my head ever since.