30 September

#BlinkBlog Author Spotlight: Lauren Mansy (Part I)

To celebrate the release of The Memory Thief, we have a special Q&A with Lauren Mansy! Stay tuned for Part II later this week…

Get your copy of The Memory Thief HERE.

What was it like to write your first book and have it published?

Incredible! It’s been such a wonderful journey filled with many sweet moments. I began writing over seven years ago, and it’s definitely surreal that The Memory Thief’s release date is soon approaching. As of late, there have been quite a few teary moments—and I’m totally not a crier! I’m truly overwhelmed by every kind word, the support, and the willingness to walk alongside me as The Memory Thief has gone from something imagined to a real book. I couldn’t be more excited to soon share this story with readers! 

What was your inspiration behind The Memory Thief?

When I was a teenager, my mom was diagnosed with a heart condition, which led to an unexpected heart surgery. On the way to the operating room, her heart stopped six times, and the doctors warned my family that it was unlikely she’d survive. And if she did, she may not remember us due to the trauma she’d experienced throughout the entire ordeal. 

I was sitting at her bedside when she first began to stir after her surgery, and I slipped my hand into hers and told her that it was me. Then she began to squeeze my hand three times, our signal for I love you! That’s my most favorite memory because I’d never felt such fear suddenly overcome by the most incredible joy. That collision of emotions was the moment which first sparked the idea for The Memory Thief. 

Ever since then, I always struck by how memories make up so much of our identity and influence our relationships with others. It terrified me that my mom wouldn’t remember me, but I’m so thankful to say that she made a full-recovery. Though it was long and difficult process, she never gave up hope that things would one day get better. Her unwavering courage inspired me to want to share this story. 

Why should readers be sure to place The Memory Thief on their “To Be Read” list?

The Memory Thief is a book full of secrets, lies, and betrayal. It’s set in a world where memories are currency, people are struggling to hold onto their true identity, and nothing is quite what it seems. And Etta is a very flawed character. She has a lot of regret and has made many mistakes, yet she never stops fighting to save her loved ones. If any these things appeal to you, I hope you’ll consider adding The Memory Thief to your TBR! 

What is your favorite part about The Memory Thief?

I think my favorite part is the relationship that Etta has with her mother. 

Gwendolyn was one of my favorite characters to write because she’s full of opposites. Because of her coma, she hasn’t spoken a word in four years yet that entire time, she’s been teaching Etta how important it is never to give up, even when all the odds are stacked against you. 

On her journey to save her mother, Etta discovers that Gwendolyn’s story is intertwined with Etta’s in ways that she never imagined. Writing this aspect of the plot was so much fun, and definitely one of my favorite parts of the drafting process, as well! 

23 September

Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrating The Puerto Rican Authors Of My Teen Years

Special Blog Post by Mayra Cuevas, author of Salty, Bitter, Sweet

There are a million and one reasons why I’m lucky to have been born and raised in Puerto Rico. Its beaches, mountains, food, music, culture, people can all be described in one word: magical.

This magic is also manifested in the written word of authors like Rosario Ferré, Manuel A. Alonso, Lola Rodriguez de Tió, Julia de Burgos, Luis Palés Matos, Manuel Zeno Gandía and René Marquéz. Growing up, their work inspired my first few lines of poetry and my dreams of becoming a storyteller and author. They also offered much-needed refuge from the chaos at home, from my parents’ divorce, and a depression diagnosis during my teen years.

As I read their books, I saw myself in Afro-Antillean rhythms of Palés Matos’ Tuntún de Pasa y Grifería. The playful sway of the tu-cu-tú and the to-co-tó read like an island lullaby.

I believed Lola Rodriguez de Tió when she said we should fight for our freedom, because Cuba and Puerto Rico where “de un pájaro las dos alas”– the two wings of a bird. Always the rebel, her call to arms made my heart soar with a revolutionary pride. And to this day my eyes fill with tears when I listen to La Borinqueña, a song full of longing and hope for our patria.

I felt every bit of heartbreak in the pages of Julia de Burgos’ Río Grande de Loíza as well. Her poetry taught me the power of words to connect our hearts on the page. In the moments I sat alone with Julia’s books, we were of one mind.

I left the Island 19 years ago, but these stories have stayed with me. They were a shelter at a time of great turmoil, and for this I am grateful to these authors I’ve never met. (Most had already died by the time I was born.)

Now, as an author myself, I hope I can pass on this story-telling tradition to others. A tradition that celebrates the joys and sorrows of Hispanic people and serves as a mirror to our communities. A tradition that I am proud to be a part of.

Feliz Hispanic Heritage Month!

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Mayra Cuevas is a professional journalist and fiction writer who adores love stories with happy endings. Her debut fiction short story was selected by Becky Albertalli as a New Voice in the Foreshadow YA serial anthology in 2019. She is a TV and digital producer for CNN, where she has worked since 2003. She keeps her sanity by practicing Buddhist meditation and serves on the Board of Directors of Kadampa Meditation Center Georgia. She lives in the colorful town of Norcross, Georgia with her husband, also a CNN journalist, and their cat, Felicia. She is the wicked step-mom to two amazing young men who provide plenty of inspiration for her stories. Follow her on Twitter @MayraECuevas and Instagram @MayraCuevas.

A slow-burn romance in a cutthroat kitchen! There’s more to becoming a top chef for 17-year-old Isabella Fields than just not getting chopped … especially when the chances of things heating up with an intriguing boy and becoming a food star in the kitchen are both on the chopping block.


  • Is a YA contemporary #OwnVoices novel written by CNN producer Mayra Cuevas
  • Features a Latina main character who is trilingual
  • Is inspired by the author’s relationships with food and family
  • Explores complicated family dynamics and relatable themes of friendship, acceptance, and learning to care for yourself


16 September

International Deaf Awareness Month – September 2019

A special post from Alison Gervais, author of The Silence Between Us and In 27 Days.

The month of September is one that brings a lot of opportunities for us to celebrate, with holidays such as Labor Day, and also causes for us to bring awareness to, like National Suicide Prevention Month. Another cause – most likely not as well known – that comes about in the month of September is International Deaf Awareness Month.

Oftentimes it might be easy for some to overlook deafness or being deaf as merely a medical condition or just a lack of hearing, rather than a diverse group with a rich culture and history, their own language. And it wasn’t too long ago where a large portion of the Deaf community were taught that their only option was to conform to the oralistapproach and using sign language was not to be tolerated. Now into the 21st century we’re seeing attitudes changing as more awareness is brought to light about the Deaf community and their history, and this is something I can’t wait to see more of.

It’s thanks to causes like International Deaf Awareness Month and Deaf activists such as Marlee Matlin and Nyle DiMarco, that more information about this amazing culture and ASL is becoming widespread. Some of this knowledge has been here all along and we didn’t even know it; like, we have football players from Gallaudet University – a school built in the 1860s that eventually became a university specifically for the Deaf – for the “football huddle”. This was to prevent the opposing team from witnessing their signing to figure out what their next move was going to be.

I’d like to think I played my own part in helping the cause by writing The Silence Between Us, but it wasn’t my intention to write a trailblazing novel about a Deaf character solely for the purpose of informing the public. I had a story to tell featuring a Deaf main character that also drew on my own experiences growing up Hard of Hearing. But even then, I still hope readers enjoy experiencing the point of view of someone else who’s different than they are. Not everyone experiences the world the same way, and to be able to see that through different lenses – and in a good book! – can be a great way to learn.

If you are interested in learning more—and I sure hope so!—check out some of these resources:

The Silence Between Us is on sale now. You can pick up your copy where books are sold.

11 September

#BlinkBlog Author Spotlight: Annie Sullivan (Part II)

As we continue to celebrate the release of Tiger Queen, we are featuring part two of our “Author Spotlight” with Annie Sullivan!

Get your copy of Tiger Queen HERE.

What do you hope readers take away from TIGER QUEEN?

I want readers to come away from Tiger Queen a little more hopeful that good can win and that they can fight for what they believe in. Sometimes we all make bad decisions or believe things or people we shouldn’t, but we can always grow and change, and Tiger Queen is a great example of that.

How are you reflected in TIGER QUEEN (or, how much of you is reflected in the book)?

Kateri has to fight for what she believes in, and I’d like to think I’m the same way. I would go to great lengths to protect those I love. Kateri also thinks she always knows best, which may not be the case—and for better or worse, I sometimes make that same mistake. I also think as Kateri grows and develops a softer side, that’s me coming through.

You’re know for matching your outfits to your book covers at events. How did this come into being?

Since my first book (A TOUCH OF GOLD) was all about gold, I thought it would be fun to match what I wore to that theme–especially to my launch party. I wore an entirely gold sequin dress, and it was a huge hit. So I just started wearing gold and black dresses to all my A Touch of Gold book events. And then when Tiger Queen was announced, people started asking me if I was going to wear tiger themed clothes, and so I just went with it. I’ve also added a crown to wear for Tiger Queen events so I can really feel like a tiger queen! But now I have to buy a new wardrobe for each new book I write, but it’s a lot of fun looking for outfits that really fit the theme of each book, and it keeps my fans guessing as to what I’ll wear next!

What is your favorite thing to do to promote your book?

I love taking Instagram photos and videos. There’s something so fun about finding the right props, the right angles, and the right pose. There’s just something so wonderful about beautifully decorated book pictures that I love!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned while being a writer?

Writing is hard. Like, really really hard. It can require a lot of long nights and second guessing yourself. But if you stick with it and surround yourself with encouraging people, you really can make your dreams come true.

Any additional thoughts?

I love staying in touch with readers! You can find me at:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/annsulliva

Twitter: https://twitter.com/annsulliva

Website: https://anniesullivanauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnieSullivan/


09 September

#BlinkBlog Author Spotlight: Annie Sullivan (Part I)

To celebrate the release of Tiger Queen, we have a special Q&A with Annie Sullivan! Stay tuned for Part II later this week…

Get your copy of Tiger Queen HERE.

What was your inspiration behind Tiger Queen?

Tiger Queen was inspired by the infamous short story “The Lady, or the Tiger” by Frank Richard Stockton, which is taught in classrooms around the world. It’s infamous because the original short story has a cliffhanger ending. In the story, a princess’s peasant boyfriend has been thrown into an arena (by the angry king), where the boy has to choose between two doors. Behind one is a tiger that will eat him. Behind the other is a beautiful lady he’ll get to marry. Only, that beautiful lady is the princess’s biggest rival, the one she’d never want her boyfriend to end up with. The princess finds out what waits behind each door, and when her boyfriend looks up at her, she signals he should pick one of the doors. He does. The doors open. And the story ends. The reader never discovers what the princess told him to pick. Did she want him to live? To die quickly? To end up with her enemy? It’s up to the reader to decide. And ever since I read that story in junior high, I have always wanted to give it an ending. And now I’ve given it the ending it always should have had. Only my story has a few new twists as it follows a warrior princess who has to fight suitors in the arena to win her right to rule.

What makes this book special/unique, and why should readers be sure to place it on their TBR list?

Tiger Queen is a heart pounding adventure full of secrets that the sands have long tried to hide—and that some people might kill to keep hidden. And Princess Kateri is about to find herself smack dab in the middle of it all. She’ll have to learn not only who to trust, but how to keep herself alive as she fights to win her throne.

What is it about fantasy that makes you want to write in this genre?

I love how fantasy is always a reflection of reality. Tiger Queen follows a princess who has to fight for her right to rule in a very patriarchal society. She has to find where and how she fits in, which I think is something readers are dealing with even today. So I love that you can address real world issues through a fantasy world. Plus, I just love writing about magical creatures and worlds that I get to invent!

What kind of impact did writing Tiger Queen have on you personally?

Since I was finally able to give an ending to the short story I read all those years ago, Tiger Queen was very cathartic in closing a door that I had long left open wondering about the outcome of that story. I gave the story the ending it always should have had—one that readers may not see coming.