27 June

Blink Authors Loved ALA

Blink was excited to have a booth and authors participate in ALA Annual. From panels, to author signings, it was our pleasure to have the chance to meet so many wonderfully passionate book people!

Here’s what our authors thought about ALA:


“The most heart-wrenching part of ALA was when a blogger told me NO PLACE LIKE HERE made her cry because it reminded her of how she grew up. I was touched that a character I wrote made her feel something so strongly. I also loved meeting other wonderful writers, including the Blink crew, and the amazing Julia Whelan and Raina Telgemeier. A great experience all around!”  –Christina June, author of NO PLACE LIKE HERE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE

“Being the first ALA Conference I’d attended, I was blown away by everyone’s enthusiasm and camaraderie. My favorite part of the conference was connecting with so many librarians, teachers, bloggers, and readers over our shared passion for good books and making them accessible to all readers. And of course, I loved hanging out with the Blink team and fellow authors—a fun and genuine group of people I felt honored to be among.”  -Kimberly Gabriel, author of EVERY STOLEN BREATH releasing on November 5, 2019.

“The ALA Annual Conference was an amazing experience! It was a weekend filled with incredible panels, wonderful speakers, and meeting fantastic teachers, librarians, students, and readers. It was truly inspirational to be among such passionate, insightful, and creative educators. I loved every minute of it!” -Lauren Mansy, author of THE MEMORY THIEF releasing on October 1, 2019.

“Between hanging out with fans and being on a panel about Fierce Females in YA literature, I loved attending ALA and interacting with librarians, bloggers, and others who are working tirelessly to get books into the hands of readers.” – Annie Sullivan, author of A TOUCH OF GOLD and TIGER QUEEN, releasing on September 10, 2019.

A special thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth and left with an ARC (to two)! We hope you enjoy the books. Remember, you can pre-order TIGER QUEEN, THE MEMORY THIEF, and EVERY STOLEN BREATH now!!

24 June

#BookBrag – Wardens of Eternity

Wardens of Eternity by acclaimed author Courtney Moulton is an action-packed fantasy that blends history, mythology, and magic. In the days leading up to World War II, Ziva Ellison must rely on her wit and magic to outmaneuver Nazis and ancient Egyptian gods to prevent global destruction. Wardens of Eternity goes on sale January 21, 2020.

Wardens of Eternity book cover

Ziva Ellison has one memory of her parents, made the day they abandoned her on the streets of New York City when she was three years old. They left her with only a fleeting memory and a hint that she has a great and terrible destiny. Fifteen years later, Ziva discovers that destiny includes powers that she doesn’t understand and can barely control. Her magic attracts vicious, supernatural monsters, and eventually compatriots to help her fight them. Sayer and Nasira know the secrets Ziva doesn’t; that Ziva is descended from Egyptian royalty and in possession of ancient magic passed down from the time of the gods. They promise to teach Ziva to control her magic and to give her the family she’s always yearned for. But trouble is brewing in the world around them; darkness is descending on Hitler’s Germany, threatening World War II. As Ziva navigates her newfound abilities and her connection with powerful, otherworldly  gods, she must decide whom she can trust and where her loyalties lie if she is to save herself and the world.

Hannah VanVels: Hi Courtney! We are so excited to talk history, Egyptian mythology, and magic with you. Your upcoming book, Wardens of Eternity features all of those things and more! Can you share a bit of the inspiration behind the story?

Courtney Moulton: My inspiration for Ziva’s story came from my own struggle as a woman of mixed Mediterranean ethnicity. In search of where I came from and why I looked uniquely different from the other kids, I developed a lifelong fascination with Ancient Mediterranean civilizations. I’d always wanted to write something inspired by Ancient Egypt and spent several years trying to find the right story to tell. My agent, who knew what a history geek I am and being a lover of classics herself, suggested I set the story in the early twentieth century. The first image that popped into my head was of Nazi soldiers coming face-to-face with ancient gods and I knew I had to make that happen. But first I needed a heroine whom readers would root for with a story they could relate to.

Hannah VanVels: I studied the ancient Near East fairly extensively in college and graduate school, and it’s so obvious that a TON of research went into this novel. Can you say a bit about your research into the history and mythology that went into writing this book? How did you go about blending all this fact-based research with a fantasy story?

Courtney Moulton: One of the greatest challenges any fantasy author faces is to figure out how much of their worldbuilding and knowledge is needed to create a great story. I had a lot of knowledge of history and mythology already available to me, but was given the added task of creating my own world from that existing information. It was a lot of fun! I told myself, less is more when it came to information and was careful to spread out what information was given to the reader—to let the world unfold with the story, rather than dumping it all on the reader’s plate and overstuff them. My first draft was fairly conservative when it came to worldbuilding, but I added more and more with every draft to fill out the setting and establish the world’s rules.

Hannah VanVels: The main character, Ziva, is so fierce and knows her way around some serious weapons. And she is also kind, honest, and good. What was it like writing a character like her? Why is it important to see heroines like Ziva in books?

Courtney Moulton: I wanted to write about a heroine is a truly good person, who wants to do right by people. She’s also a girl who wants more than anything in the world to know where she came from and where she’s going. A lot of young people can relate to the search for their identity, especially people who don’t see themselves represented in the media they consume like everyone else does. Girls with curly hair and brown skin deserve to see a girl like them given amazing powers and get to do amazing things. Ziva is relatable in other ways, too. She hasn’t had many close relationships and she has to figure out how to give enough of herself in order to trust and grow close to others. She isn’t only tasked with figuring out her own magic and past, but she always has to learn the meaning of family and love.

Hannah VanVels: The sassy banter between characters in this book is amazing! Tell us a bit about how the dialogue reflects the characters’ unique relationships with one another. How do you bring out character personalities with dialogue?

Courtney Moulton: Many writers I know describe the unfolding of a character’s personality as a natural thing and it’s the same for me. I try to keep the process as organic as possible. When I create a character, I have an idea of what kind of person they are and what they want, but I let their voice flow and I feel it out. Writing banter is a lot like arguing with myself inside my head, so I have to be mindful of keeping the dialog in character. A line might come easily to me, but I have to ask myself, “Would this character really say that?”

One of my biggest goals when I started to write this book was to humanize the gods. That might sound like it wouldn’t work well in the story, but I felt that their very human problems and motivations added a lot of heart to their characters. Anubis and Seth really came to life once I stopped imagining them as cosmic forces and paid closer attention to the stories told in the mythology. I found very relatable narratives in those myths and origins.

Hannah VanVels: A Nile Queen. The Lost Heir. And the Medjai’s Blade. What. A. Tagline. Tell us more!

Courtney Moulton: Wardens of Eternity is about a girl named Ziva who is an orphaned immigrant living in New York just as World War II breaks out. She possesses powers that attract vicious, otherworldly monsters and a strange brother and sister with abilities like hers. They promise to teach her how to control her magic and give Ziva the family and home she’s always yearned for.

The last heir of a revered Egyptian queen, Ziva is the possessor of ancient magic passed down from the gods and the only one with the power to prevent another costly global conflict. As Ziva navigates her newfound abilities and makes a connection with Anubis and other Egyptian gods, The Nazis hunt for the ultimate weapon and Ziva has caught their interest.

Hannah VanVels: Wardens of Eternity is a dieselpunk novel, a genre we haven’t really heard a lot about. What is dieselpunk? How did this genre influence the worldbuilding of the book?

Courtney Moulton: While dieselpunk media is certainly out there, I think a lot of people don’t recognize it as easily as they do steampunk. World War 1 generally marks where steampunk ends and dieselpunk begins, setting-wise. The narrative is controlled more by its aesthetics rather than its themes, although there are some recurring themes. A dieselpunk setting is filled with zeppelins and other air travel, Art Deco architecture, wartime propaganda and radio shows, loud engines and black smoke, and oftentimes the supernatural. Captain America: The First Avenger and the Indiana Jones films are popular examples of dieselpunk in science fiction. I was very excited by the idea of tanks and machine guns pitted against unstoppable supernatural and cosmic forces. I couldn’t think of a more fun thing to write.

Hannah VanVels: Give us your favorite line from the book!

Courtney Moulton: I have a ton of favorite lines, but during one of my most loved scenes when Ziva comes face-to-face with the god of chaos, Ziva’s strength really shines. The god orders her to bow before him and she replies, “You will find to your sorry, I kneel to no one.” His anger quickly turns to fascination at her fearlessness. This is the start of an interesting relationship between them that I really enjoyed exploring.



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About the Author

Courtney Allison Moulton lives in rural Michigan with her family, horse, donkey, and a flock of spoiled sheep. When she isn’t studying ancient civilizations or writing about magic and monsters, she’s busy with farm chores. Her critically acclaimed debut novel Angelfire was published when she was just 24 years old.

20 June

Blink Author Signings at ALA Annual

Blink YA Books is thrilled to be back at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., June 21-24. Blink will have five authors participating in the conference, all of whom will be signing. Additionally, we’ll be handing out some advance reader copies (ARCs) you won’t want to miss!

On Friday night, we’ll be handing out ARCs for The Silence Between Us, an #OwnVoices novel from Alison Gervais. This book is poignant and extremely heartfelt as it shines a spotlight on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and incorporates American Sign Language beautifully in the text. Publisher’s Weekly says, “Gervais adroitly pulls readers into her world—conveying ASL through all caps and spelled-out words” and Midwest Book Review says the book is “compelling and thoroughly entertaining”.

On Saturday, two authors will stop by the Blink booth to sign ARCs. Christina June will be signing final copies of No Place Like Here from 11 a.m. until noon. No Place Like Here is a contemporary retelling of Hansel and Gretl and reminds us life leads you to unexpected places, but it is love that brings us home.

Kimberly Gabriel will be signing copies of Every Stolen Breath, a fast-paced and immersive thriller that shows just how hard one girl will fight back, knowing any breath might be her last, from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m. The story is inspired by the real-life “flash mob” violence that has plagued Chicago since 2011.

Finally, Kwame Alexander will sign Swing and How to Read a Book at the HarperCollins Booth 1219 at 2:30 p.m. Swing is a lyrical story about hope, courage, and love that speaks to anyone who’s struggled to find their voice. And the surprise ending shines a spotlight on the issues related to our current social divide, challenging perspectives and inspiring everyone to make their voice heard. When America is not so beautiful, or right, or just, it can be hard to know what to do. Best friends Walt and Noah decide to use their voices to grow more good in the world, but first they’ve got to find cool. How to Read a Bookis a picture book which tells a poetic and beautiful journey about the experience of reading.

Sunday is another busy day for our authors. From 9:15 a.m. until 10 a.m., Lauren Mansy, debut author of the fantasy novel The Memory Thief will sign in the booth. In addition to a beautiful cover, thievery, rebellion, and a strange magic will captivate readers in The Memory Thief. This fantasy novel brings readers on an unforgettable journey through the city of Craewick—a city where memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and “Gifted” individuals can take memories from others as they please.

Also on Sunday, Annie Sullivan, author of A Touch of Gold (2018) and the soon-to-release Tiger Queen, will be at the booth signing from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tiger Queen is a fantasy retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story “The Lady, or The Tiger?”. It’s full of secrets, suitors, thieves, and a fierce desert princess as she answers the question of which door, and what is behind the door. As Annie says, “she gives it the ending she always thought it should have”. What is it? You’ll have to pick up a copy to find out!

And, on Saturday and Sunday, we’ll be handing our ARCs of Wardens of Eternity from Courtney Moulton, author of the acclaimed Angelfire series. Wardens of Eternity is an action-packed YA fantasy novel that blends history, mythology, and magic. Ziva Ellison has one memory of her parents, made the day they abandoned her on the streets of New York City when she was three years old. They left her with only a memory and a promise that she had a great and terrible destiny. Fifteen years later, Ziva discovers that destiny includes powers that she doesn’t understand and can barely control. In the days leading up to World War II, Ziva must rely on her wit and magic to outmaneuver Nazis and ancient Egyptian gods to prevent global destruction.

Be sure to stop by the Blink Booth—we look forward to seeing you!

17 June

#BookBrag – A Touch of Gold

Throwback to the book brag on A TOUCH OF GOLD with Annie Sullivan. The softcover just released. When you order a copy of this, be sure to pre-order a copy of her coming release TIGER QUEEN, the fantasy retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story “The Lady, or The Tiger?”. 

Blink readers, I’m so excited to introduce you to Annie Sullivan, a debut author with an AMAZING book. A Touch of Gold tells the story of Kora, the daughter King Midas turned to gold. Ten years have passed since her father gave up The Touch, but Kora has powers of her own she’s desperately trying to keep secret. When a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down, but she’ll have to face pirates, deadly sirens, and a battle or two along the way.

Annie’s here to talk to us about the inspiration behind the story, her extensive world traveling, and the insanely gorgeous cover for this book.

JM: Hello, Annie! We’re thrilled to be introducing readers to A Touch of Gold. Tell us a little bit about the book and about our main character, Kora.

AS: Hello! I’m so excited to be sharing this book with you because I love this world and these characters, and I hope you all will too. A Touch of Gold is a really unique retelling of the King Midas myth that focuses on his daughter, Kora, who thinks the only thing worse than being turned into a golden statue as a child is being turned back into a living, breathing, cursed human being. Kora isn’t your typical princess. She longs to escape the palace where she’s been locked away for her safety—and for the safety of others. And when the other objects King Midas turned to gold get stolen, Kora finally gets her wish. Only, the outside world is far more dangerous than she ever imagined. I think readers are going to love going on this adventure with Kora. It’s a little bit of Pirates of the Caribbean, Princess Bride, and Tangled all rolled into one!

JM: You draw heavily on mythology in A Touch of Gold. How much research went into this novel?

AS: A lot! I feel like I’ve been researching my whole life. My mom introduced me to fairytales and Greek mythology (like through the movie Jason and the Argonauts) when I was kid. So some of the knowledge has always been there, but I also did research on things like the Greek gods, Greek names, and ship layouts. I think the key with a retelling like this is having the mythology not only feel authentic, but also unique so the reader gets unexpected surprises along the way.

Of course, my favorite type of “research” for this was traveling. I feel like, as a writer, the more I see of the world, the more creative my landscapes can be. So having been to many countries helped me to shape these settings into something that feels real but magical.

JM: Despite being a princess of a mythological kingdom, Kora deals with a lot of the issues real-life readers face—anxiety, family problems, and low self-esteem. How do we see her address these issues as the book progresses?

AS: Kora is definitely “real” in the sense that she does face real problems, problems that many readers face in their own lives. And what I love about Kora is that she doesn’t let her fears and anxieties hold her back. She has to continually face them over and over again, and as she does, she realizes she’s stronger and more powerful than she ever imagined—that she’s more in control than she thought she could be. The same goes with her family relationships. Obviously, being turned to gold by her father puts a strain on that relationship. Communication is key there, and Kora realizes you can’t ignore problems and expect them to go away.

JM: Arrrrr, me hearty, there be pirates! (Yeah, okay, I would make a terrible pirate.) What can you tell us about pirates in the story?

AS: First of all, don’t mess with pirates—they’re scary! Kora has to go up against Captain Skulls, a pirate who’s not only ruthless and greedy, but who collects the skulls of his victims to put on display. Yuck!

JM: Let’s talk about the cover for a second—what did you think when you saw it for the first time?

AS: WOW! Right away, I loved all the gold raining down because it’s such a perfect representation of what’s inside the book. Then, you get down to that golden hand, and it sort of calls out to you to come closer, to enter the book, to find out about a girl who has golden skin! It’s mysterious and intriguing all it once, and the way the gold and black play off each other really highlights some of the themes of the book. I also love that the hand is holding a rose. The rose is something that holds a lot of significance for Kora…but to find out why, you’ll have to read the book.

JM: Last but not least, you’ve traveled all over the world. Top five places…ready, set, go!

AS: Ahh!!! This is such a hard one, but here we go…(and yes, I know I cheated and have 6 instead of 5, but asking someone who travels their 5 favorite places to visit is like asking a reader what their 5 favorite books are—they’ll always have more than 5):

  • Antarctica—there’s nothing like walking amongst penguins in the wild or taking a polar plunge in absolutely frigid water.
  • Grand Cayman—this was my grandpa’s favorite island to visit, and so it always reminds me of him. Also, the beaches are amazing.
  • The Galapagos Islands—these islands are stunning, and the variety of landscapes you can see so close together just spurs the imagination.
  • Ireland—I was lucky enough to study abroad here in college and travel all around. As you might guess from my name, I have Irish roots, and nothing compares to the green hills of Ireland.
  • Budapest—the city skyline has so many beautiful spires, and the hotel where we stayed overlooked the Fisherman’s Bastion—so it felt like there was a fairytale castle right outside my window!
  • South Africa—not only did I get to go cage diving with great white sharks, but going on animal safaris was just stunning!
13 June

Round-Up: No Place Like Here

Have you read Christina June’s new release No Place Like Here? We are so thrilled to share a few great press features about her book.

Thanks to Shelf Awareness and Bustle for highlighting No Place Like Here.

Shelf Awareness “Reading With…Christina June”

No Place Like Here featured in BUSTLE list “11 YA Fairy Tale Retellings That Are Way More Relatable Than The Original Stories” 

CLICK HERE to get more info or purchase your copy of No Place Like Here.

10 June

#Book Brag: Every Stolen Breath

We are excited to add a new YA thriller to the Blink lineup this fall, Every Stolen Breath by debut author Kimberly Gabriel, a fast-paced and suspenseful mystery that shows just how hard one girl will fight back, knowing any breath might be her last. Every Stolen Breath goes on sale November 5, 2019. We sat down to talk with Kimberly to get a behind-the-scenes look at the book!

The Swarm is unrecognizable, untraceable, and unpredictable—random attacks on the streets of Chicago by a mob of crazed teens that leaves death in its wake. It’s been two years since the last attack, but Lia Finch has found clues that reveal the Swarm is ready to claim a new victim. Lia teams up with a teen hacker, a reporter, and a mysterious stranger who knows firsthand how the mob works. Together, they work to uncover the master puppeteer behind the group. Though if Lia and her network don’t stop the person pulling the strings—and fast—Lia may end up the next target.

Hannah VanVels: Hi Kimberly! Every Stolen Breath was inspired by the real-life “flash mob” violence that hit Chicago in 2011. *goosebumps* Can you tell us a bit about how Every Stolen Breath began to take shape?

Kimberly Gabriel:Hi Hannah! I *still* get goosebumps thinking of those attacks from 2011. I was a new mom living in the city and pregnant with my second child when a series of flash mob attacks broke out near our home. Stories of these teenage mobs dominated the news. Involving up to twenty participants, teens would emerge from a heavily populated area and descend on a single victim to mug and attack. I remember being terrified by the random and sudden nature of the attacks in a proclaimed “safe” and crowded area. Throughout the next several years, I read about similar occurrences throughout Chicago and other cities, my fear of them led me down the “what if” path. What if the attacks became an epidemic? What if they got bigger? What if they grew worse? What type of person would stand up against that kind of violence? From those questions emerged the Swarm, a dark and unpredictable threat, and Lia, the unlikely hero to fight back against it.

Hannah VanVels: A former Chicagoan myself, I was excited to see places I recognized in Every Stolen Breath, and I loved that the book began at Navy Pier! How does setting factor into the story? How did you decide where to set some of the major beats of the story?

Kimberly Gabriel:I loved featuring Chicago in this story! I had just moved to the suburbs when I started drafting Every Stolen Breath, and at first it was all about nostalgia for me. I started throwing in places that I loved or visited frequently, mostly because I missed them. Obviously, I *had* to have a scene at the Harold Washington Library. Then I also included or mentioned the Chicago Theater, the Water Tower, Michigan Avenue, Shedd Aquarium, the Peninsula, Millennium Park. There’s a restaurant that Lia and her best friend eat Thai at which is modeled after Penny’s, one of my favorite Thai places. Even Lia’s school was modeled after this old, beautiful brick school we used to live near. Of course, Lia’s Chicago has a difficult political climate, and I altered the geography slightly because of it. In the backstory for Every Stolen Breath, the mayor repealed a city ordinance from 1919 protecting the park land along Lake Michigan and sold it off as private real estate in order to save the city from its debt. This means Chicago’s public beaches, harbors, and running path—some of the best parts of the city—have been replaced by private beaches and homes deemed the “Millionaire Mansions.” The lakefront is one of my favorite features of the city, so it wasn’t easy destroying it in Lia’s fictional world. But without spoiling anything, worse things than that happen in this book. 😉

Hannah VanVels: One of the things that we love about the main character, Lia, is that she feels so authentic. She has asthma. She struggles with mental health issues. Tell us a bit how Lia came about and why it’s important for readers to meet characters like Lia.

Kimberly Gabriel:It was important for me to have a strong heroine, but with the Swarm killing people by exerting their physical strength, I wanted Lia’s strength to be internal and also realistic. Some of the strongest, most determined people I’ve ever met have become so by battling their struggles, and I wanted Lia to reflect that. To me, that’s what real strength is. Lia has asthma, anxiety, and PTSD—perceived weaknesses she must push through to fight back against the Swarm. I’m hoping readers can connect to her because of it and perhaps even realize that our struggles don’t define how strong or brave we are. Instead, our character is more often formed by the way in which we face them.

Hannah VanVels:  Our hearts were racing through this whole story! In terms of writing, what goes into building such great suspense and tension? How do you balance these kinds of emotions with, say, romance?

Kimberly Gabriel:As a reader, I LOVE tension in all shapes and sizes, especially the romantic tension, which is my favorite in any story. One of my big aims was to keep the tension thick and layered in Every Stolen Breath, and a huge part of that was by including romantic tension and slow-burning chemistry between Lia and a mysterious boy, whose motives we’re not really sure of. So whether Lia is running for her life, which happens multiple times, or we’re waiting for her to kiss the boy already, which also happens multiple times, there is something that keeps the reader turning the page.

Hannah VanVels: The cover of Every Stolen Breath is so moody and atmospheric! Can you unpack this amazing cover for us?

Kimberly Gabriel:I’m so in love with this cover, and I’d be delighted to talk about it. My main character, Lia, has lost her father to the Swarm and is now hell-bent on discovering who they are and dismantling them. While Lia is strong, resilient, and determined in her pursuit, she also has debilitating asthma and PTSD, which sometimes leaves her with a tenuous hold on reality. This is reflected in the upside-down city, which *might* be my favorite part of the cover. Lia’s stance gives the reader a sense that she might be caught unaware of an attack and creates a sense of unexpected doom. The blurred people make this crowd look overwhelming and anonymous, and possible ridden with Swarm. Because the Swarm—a mob of crazed teens—begin their attack by blending in with the crowd, it suggests Lia might get attacked at any moment.

Hannah VanVels: Any spoilers that you can share?

Kimberly Gabriel:Ooh—spoilers!! How about this—because my favorite type of tension is the romantic tension, I include several slow-burn scenes between Lia and Ryan, which leads to at the very least one kiss between them.

Thanks, Kimberly! We are so excited for this book to come into the world in November!



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About the Author

Kimberly Gabriel is an English teacher who writes every chance she gets and struggles with laundry avoidance issues. When she’s not teaching or writing, she’s enjoying life with her husband, her three beautiful children, and a seriously beautiful boxer in the northern suburbs of Chicago. You can find her online at kimberlygabriel.com, on Twitter @KT_Gabriel, or on Instagram @kimberlytgabriel.

06 June

#BlinkBlog Author Round-Up: Summer Goals

As summer sets in, we asked some of our Blink authors to share their goals as well as what they are looking forward to the most this time of year. Read their answers below!

Did you set any reading or writing goals for the summer?

Annie Sullivan: My writing goals stay pretty consistent year round. I try to write a minimum of between 500-1,000 words a day depending on what else I have going on. Summer is no different.  As for reading, I don’t typically set goals because I spend more time writing now than ever, and that has to be my priority. But I do love being part of my library’s summer reading program and helping my niece and nephews reach their goals by reading to them!

Christina June: My goal has been the same all year–reclaim the joy of writing.  I’m experimenting with new ideas and excited to keep it up when school gets out and I have more time to devote.

Courtney Moulton: My biggest goal this summer is to finish a new book set in an entirely new world for me. I’m so excited about it!

Heather Hepler: I decided to focus on nonfiction for reading this summer. Mostly books about how to do something – brew kombucha, raise bees, make bread, and bench my body weight. (Ha! That last one is proving really difficult.) My writing goals include finishing the manuscript I’m working on and working on a screenplay.

Kimberly Gabriel: Yes! I live by goals and deadlines. This summer, I hope to finish drafting my current WIP—something I’m very excited about. I also hope by balancing audiobooks and ARCs, I’m able to finish five books, including THE MEMORY THIEF by Lauren Mansy.

Lauren Mansy: Summertime is my favorite time of the year for both reading and writing! For me, there’s nothing better than taking long walks to brainstorm new ideas and reading out on my deck as the sun goes down 🙂 It’s been a very long winter here in the Midwest, so I’m thrilled that summer has finally arrived!

Maureen McQuerry: I have two writing goals. Finish edits on a new manuscript The Poem at the Center of the Universe that includes a little magical realism, the Three Fates and cryptozoology, and complete a draft of a near future manuscript that’s set in Seattle and involves two teens connected in a thought experiment.

How would you encourage Blink readers to set reading goals and stick to them?

Annie Sullivan: First, figure out what you have time for. Don’t commit to reading a book a week if you realistically know that between all your other commitments you only have a few hours free a week. Look at your schedule and see what you can fit in where. Then, find a system that works for you. Is that a buddy read with a friend? Is that a book club? Having that accountability will increase your chances of sticking to your goal. Does your library have a summer reading program? Sign up! Winning prizes for reading can be very motivating. Most of all, don’t treat reading like a chore—otherwise it will feel like one. Just enjoy what you’re reading, and if you don’t meet your goal, don’t beat yourself up. Reading is all about finding stories you love!

Christina June: Find an accountability buddy and check in regularly.  Camp NaNoWriMo in July is a good way to do this.

Courtney Moulton: I find starting a book to be really easy, but I get busy and forget to finish reading. Since it’s summer, I’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors, so my advice is to grab that book and find a tree with some nice shade and read!

Heather Hepler: Making a list at the start of the summer helps me. That way when I finish one, I have one waiting. That also allows me to put books at the library on hold. (Even if the wait time ends up being months instead of weeks!) I also listen to audio books in the summer. That way I can be outside and moving around.

Kimberly Gabriel: This is a judgement free zone, right? Because I have a color-coded spreadsheet that tracks my reading, and I love it so much. I’m not sure I’d recommend it (unless you love tracking your progress as much as I do), but I would recommend Audiobooks! I bought a subscription to Audible, and I love listening to my favorite books while folding laundry.

Lauren Mansy: I’ve recently started a reading journal, which has been fun! I’ll jot down a few notes about the story, and I’ve loved “reliving” those books as I write about them. I’d encourage anyone to give it a try!

Maureen McQuerry: I absolutely love book clubs or reading partners.This spring I spoke at three book groups about Between Before and After. One was a mother /daughter book group and one group meets for dinner and book discussions monthly.

My book club introduces me to books I might never pick up on my own and then when we’re done we discuss our favorite parts or places we have questions. Our most recent read was The Library Book, a great non-fiction story about the L.A. library fire and the place of libraries in our country that reads like a mystery. I rarely choose non-fiction, but I’m so glad I read this. I first read Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You, in my book group. Start a  teen book club or join one at your local library!

What are you looking most forward to this summer?

Annie Sullivan: This summer, my parents, my sister and her family (including 4 kids under the age of 7), and myself are all going to Disney World together. I haven’t been since I was around 5, and I don’t remember the visit at all. So as an author who writes fairytale retellings and cosplays as Belle, this is a dream come true! I can’t wait. I’ve even booked some meet and greets with the princesses for my niece…and for me.

Christina June: I’m road-tripping to Canada with my family, so that should be fun.  I’m also teaching a workshop at the Richmond Young Writer’s program and heading back to the the Pittsburgh area for a signing in July.

Courtney Moulton: I’m looking forward to sunshine, warm weather, and trips up north to the lake!

Heather Hepler: I love traveling any time of the year, but summers offer me the time to go for a bit longer. I also love going to farmers’ markets and growing my own fruits and vegetables.

Kimberly Gabriel: I’m looking forward to attending my first conference as an author this summer and preparing to launch EVERY STOLEN BREATH in the fall. I’m also looking forward to hanging out with my three kids. As a teacher, I treasure my summers and spending quality time with my favorite people.  

Lauren Mansy: I have a few trips planned for this summer to both the East and West Coast, and I couldn’t be more excited about them. Between family reunions and family weddings, it’s going to be a family-filled kind of summer, and I’m so looking forward to it!

Maureen McQuerry: Oh, this is a big summer for us. We’re moving! We’ve lived in our house for twenty-one years and have loved being here. It was the house all the high school kids hung out in. The school drama parties were here, youth groups met here, our kids and all their friends got dressed for prom here and had glorious dinners on our back porch. Our grown kids came to say good-bye to the house and we shared our favorite memories from each room. Bittersweet. And the thing is we don’t know exactly where we’re going next! Will we stay in eastern Washington or move west to be near our  three year old grandson (and his parents too). And surprise! Another grandbaby is on the way and arriving for Christmas. Stand by to discover our final decision.

03 June

Blink at BEA and BookCon!

If you’ve never experienced BookExpo or BookCon, you should try to get to one. Blink was happy to participate in the 2019 Expo with a number of our authors.

Annie Sullivan, Lauren Mansy, Alison Gervais and Laurie Boyle Crompton all attended BEA and some even made it to BookCon! Each one enjoyed the opportunity to meet readers. Thank you to everyone who waited in a signing light. We enjoyed seeing you! Each author participated in ARC giveaways/signings.

Here are some photos of our events. If you attended, what was your favorite part of BEA?