Walking the Line – Sex in YA

c118acd3c2a99fb465af4dff36bbc17dIf you have ever kicked around on YA blogs, inevitably you come across posts about sex in Young Adult novels. Nine times out of ten, the post will say something about how books portray these moments, whether accurate or inaccurate, fade to black or way too much details.

I’m going to address the top three myths I see about nookie and YA, because quite frankly, there is a whole variety of what can be deemed as accurate in portraying sex.

Argument 1: Too many YA books paint first time sex as a beautiful experience, when it really is kind of . . . awkward.

My thoughts: True, but this seems more likely if both characters are inexperienced. tumblr_n0jrngdlbv1rizz8go1_1280It doesn’t have to always be portrayed as messy, or clumsy. Sex between characters should be a reflection of who they are as people and as partners. What they do between the sheets (IF they do anything between the sheets, because sex should only appear if it is accurate for the characters), should mirror their lives with one another. I’ve seen it done really well in YA books, and other times I wanted to scream (and not in a good way). Should it be an accurate reflection of real life? Absolutely, but such truths should be echoed in who the characters are without sex, and whether or not one is inexperienced or not. Sex between YA characters can be beautifully drawn, but should be honest. The Gossip Girl do-it-on-the-staircase-stuff I’d avoid. I mean come on . . . those wooden treads would suck!

Argument 2: Fade to black is a cop-out in YA. If your gonna write it, write it!

My thoughts: While some writers give a real play-by-play of sex scenes, I find myself far more impressed by those who show alot without showing alot. Plus – I have a teenaged daughter, and while she is fully aware of “stuff” (and heaven knows the stuff that is shown on TV and film now-a-days) I would rather she not read some graphic scene (not yet anyway). An intimate scene between characters can be portrayed vividly, while maintaining a PG / PG-13 rating.

2120642dcf55ac09bd2160fa5551f531Argument 3: All the girl characters become mindless idiots once kissed, and all the boys are dying to peel their love interest’s clothes off like a tangerine.

My thoughts: Bullcrap. You’re just not reading a wide enough variety of YA to realize that some writers deliberately put their female characters in the driver’s seat when it comes to sex. They are also careful to write both the bad boys that don’t give a damn about consent, along with the ones who make sure their girl / guy are in total control of the situation. Both these issues (girl power in the sack and males who boost the control of their love interests) are a critical part of the Undertow series. I wrote the contrast because I wanted the girls who DID read the series to see and understand what true love looks like (and what it doesn’t, in the case of Ana Lane’s father), and what strong females sound and act like. I’m not the only author who is a “girl power” writer – there are many of us (Sarah Maas, Eva Darrows, Jennifer Armentrout, Mary Pearson, and Holly Black to name but a few). So don’t buy the BS that sex in YA is all “boy he-man, girl fair princess.” Some of us write the warrior chick, right down to the marrow of her bones (and her hormones).

Argument 4: Sex is YA is inappropriate.

My thoughts: Maybe – it depends on the story. It depends on the characters and what the author, editor, and about nine other people who are involved in the book’s evolution believe. At the end of the day, however, the choice between characters on whether to do the deed or not reflects entirely on who they are at that moment in time in their lives and whether or not that moment actually occurs in the time span of the book. Like all choices characters make within the story, sex must be a reflection of who they are, as people (or, uh, monsters), where they came from, and how they see and trust one another.

And sometimes, when we view sex in YA, we simply need to remember what it was to be in love for the first time.







Inside the Concepts of a Killer Nightclub

inside_engsThey say news comes in two forms: Good and Bad.

The Good: I’m working on Last Light.

The Bad: It’s gonna be huge and my fingers are bleeding.

Sometimes I’m stalled in my writing by simply needing to come out of the story to do research so I can feel my way through a setting or scene. And, if you’ve ever read my stuff, you know I’m a big setting addict. I literally want the setting to become its own character, and to pull that off, I need to be eyeball-deep in concept photography and art.

I thought, since y’all are being so patient, that I’d share some concept photos for triceratops_demon_by_sanggene-d4dcvvj
Faust, which is once again a big player in Eila Walker’s life. The monster models & drawings showbanen here were ones I used when developing the Lessers, including Bane (drawn as a human on the left), who works for Faust. Though I modified the monsters pictured here, it was a starting point for me.












So sit back and scroll through some of the photos
and graphics I use to keep writing.

This is Faust:

images orpheum_theatre_new_bedford_details il_340x270-674810594_6b3o 4e7fb326e0a9030a18388f84e8089827 images-4 11680038323_0beac7d00f_b gargoyle-2 fdf33a026c209e7262c6b3a59b5ebe3c tumblr_nb4zpmps5q1s3hp12o3_1280 s-l1000 11680038323_0beac7d00f_b ch1042-thakara-dragon-fixture-23 a48c112b88b4bcccf56f591836945dcd 78a0cca83993a5d7e6707c587250d113 enigma-cafe-cluj-design-interior-11 f603f8464dae39626b61347cce11bf39 whp-shore-street galleries_items_8224 cross_4 images-5our-famous-bar roundhouse-3 roundhouse-1 round-house-6 camden-engine-house-c1850



Got a Kindle for Christmas

undertow-free-kindle-dealSo, you asked for a Kindle for Christmas, eh? Maybe an iPad too, ’cause, “what the heck,” right?

As you wait to see whether Santa brings you those items from your list (and whether or not the Elf will rat you out to the Big Guy or not), I wanted to point out that Undertow e-book will be FREE on Amazon from December 25-29th.

Happy Holidays!

Author Blog Hop with Beth Rodgers

Author Blog Hop with Beth Rodgers


6824040I am thrilled to share that my second novel, ‘Sweet Fifteen’ – the sequel to ‘Freshman Fourteen’ – is available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle! The release date is Wednesday, December 7th! Check out the cover and a link to the pre-order page below!

Also, if you’re looking for an AWESOME Cyber Monday deal, check out this one: http://amzn.com/B00PIWYU92 – follow that link to pick up your FREE copy of ‘Freshman Fourteen’ on Kindle – FREE today through Friday, December 2nd! Get a head start on being ready for ‘Sweet Fifteen’ by getting up to speed on main character Margot’s ninth grade year! Share the link with friends and family!

The pre-order link for ‘Sweet Fifteen’ is: http://amzn.com/B01MTSHL0H

15228040_10107418612213473_1923359895_nSophomore year starts off on a positive note, with Margot Maples enjoying a circle of new friends, an influx of confidence, and the attention of the oh-so-cute new basketball player, Kirk. But she quickly finds herself stuck in a rut, battling mean girls, and getting caught up in Kirk’s past. Margot’s friendships, heartaches, and presidential campaign lead her on a path to self-discovery, making sophomore year one to remember.

Come along on Margot’s journey in this sequel to Freshman Fourteen that has new faces, backroom politics, and a few twists and turns along the way.

Book Heist 2016



This is such a cool giveaway and EVERYONE is a winner! Nineteen Young Adult authors are offering up their books (ebooks) plus some paperback and swag. One lucky winner will run away with a freakin’ KINDLE!!

Why, WHY wouldn’t you enter!??!?!


Here are the books up for grabs! Click a title to be zoomed over to the author’s site!













Cover Release and Interview with J.A. Culican

Today my blog is being visited by  Young Adult fantasy writer J.A. Culican, whose book The Keeper of Dragons: The Prince Returns, just got a reboot with a new cover. I thought I’d pick her brain and offer up her answers here on my site, so read on!


1. Give us your stalking deets – where people can find you online . . .

2. What inspired you to write your first book? 
My kids! They love all things magical.
3. Do you have a specific writing style and do people compare you to someone, and if so, who?
I get Robert Jordan a lot! Which to be compared to any other author is a huge compliment in itself, but to be compared to him!!!! OMG!
4. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 
TIME! I work full time as a teacher and have four young children.
5. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? 
J.K. Rowling for sure! You can get lost in her books. She makes it so you feel as though you right there a part of the story.
6. Playlist? Do you have one?
I do. I always have it playing in the background as I write. One Republic, The Fray, 30 Seconds to Mars, Adele…I am all over the place.
7. What book(s) are you reading right now?
I just finished A Bond of Venom and Magic by, Karen Tomlinson. I was actually gifted an arc…and it was AMAZING! Comes out October 12th.
8. Any other cool facts you’d like us to know?
I am also the President of Puzzle Peace United which is a non-profit that works with families who have a child or children with Autism. www.puzzlepeaceunited.org

Moving, Madness, and other Brain-Frying Activities.

There’s a trend among young people right now to dye their hair gray. And if you’re dark haired, it takes a ton of work to get that perfect combo of seaside overcast / silver tarnish to shade your locks. By the time you’re done perfecting this “hey I’m old as dirt, but not really” look, you could probably have paid for a 5-day trip to Disney World.

BUT, there is a faster way to go gray! It’s called “moving.”  In fact, it’s probably the surest way to an early grave, so you can perfect that whole “I’m gray AND dead” look.

But here’s the thing: buying and selling homes does not have to be a free pass to the nut-house IF you have Wonder Woman on your side. Ours was blonde, about 5’5”, with a sweet smile that hid a total Thor-like determination. And though she didn’t have a fancy, alien-esque hammer or fiery-whip, she did have a “sold” sign tucked in her trunk and she was determined to sink the sucker into our lawn like a meteor.

Jamie setting up an Open House at our old home.

Truth is, Jamie Derouen of Upper Cape Realty, entire changed our lives. She knew, from day one, what was at stake for us in selling our home – a home we had loved and cared for, for nearly 20 years. She knew why we were selling and how much we were relying on her to get us out of an extremely stressful situation.

She also knew that there was only ONE house in ONE area that fit us. ONE. She knew how much we wanted it – she knew I’d watched it for years, praying someday I’d own it. She knew that the new house represented peace and happiness for my family – a chance for our children to grow up among their friends and walk to the beach every night. She knew that we needed a huge garage to replace the one we had and she knew that NOT selling our house wasn’t an option. On top of all that, she knew that we had 60 days to not only get our home ready to go on the market, but also get it SOLD. Nailing Jell-O to a tree would’ve been easier.

Jamie managed to broker the deal to buy the house of our dreams contingent on selling 14292377_10209896792154403_249266799937624142_nthe house we had loved for years, all while dealing with the same tough situation that we’d been caught in for nearly a decade (and getting the deal done on a tight time frame). On top of that, our home was part of a multi-home deal that required an army of attorneys and realtors, buyers and sellers. She kept in contact with them ALL to make sure our deal – the last of the deals – went through seamlessly.

She was such a blessing to us. I have NO DOUBT that any other realtor would never have been able to get the job done. She got us the price(s) we needed, the contingencies we wanted, and she constantly, constantly was in touch with me every step of the way. In fact, I think we shared more texts (and memes) over those months than my husband and I did in a year. For every set-back and unseen hurdle, she’d reply “Don’t worry – I’ve got this,” and she always did. Without FAIL, she fixed it, tracked it down, got it done, and was on the ball.

14264804_10209847546723298_7671049601953597755_nOur new home is everything we wanted – it has a heartbeat that welcomes us, it has the flow and breezes we adore. We breath freely here, we smile more and laugh all the time. The weight that crushed us at our old home is gone, replaced by a contentment and happiness that we didn’t think we’d ever get back.

We owe so much to Jamie – more than words can say or a simple review could ever convey. She changed OUR LIVES. Not just addresses, but our very well-being, and for that, we are eternally grateful.

She’s more than a Realtor – she’s a superhero.




Super Cool Apps and Toys for Writers

Typed-WriterSo, I’ve been teaching this week at the Young Writers Workshop (which is part of the Cape Cod Writers Center Summer Conference) and I’ve gotta tell ya – my class of crazies totally rocks.

I have eight of the brightest, wildest teen writers this side of Hogwarts. They are tackling everything from twisted retellings, to high fantasy dragon shifters and dream thieves, to awesomely wicked horror and family murder and magic, to bookworms-turned-assassins, to glorious contemporary dramas. I look at my class and each writer there is dedicated to their story, their characters, and (amazingly), one another.

Thank heavens there isn’t a story-slam at the end of this because my clan of teen writers would wipe the floor with ya!

In just a couple of days, they have joined forces to pull the best stories and voice from each of their manuscripts, offering twists and turns and solutions to one another that the creator never saw coming. I’m showing them my personal tricks of the trade and they are intent on getting it right. They are determined. Fearless. They are true story-crafters and can write circles around many adults.

Because all writers should indulge in a few tools of the trade, I am listing a couple awesome apps and toys for my class here on my website. Of course, you TOO can steal a peek . . .



Lists For Writers: http://thinkamingo.com/lists-for-writers/

Evernote: https://evernote.com

Index Card: http://www.denvog.com/app/index-card/



Aqua Notes

Fisher Space Pen

Laptop Cooling Pad

Neo2 Alphasmart

Storiarts clothing

Woodlands End Table

Dragon Speech-to-text software

iworkz Foldable Keyboards (for writing on the fly)


Finding Inspiration: an interview with Siobhan Quinlan.

A fabulous post about the strength of the human soul :)

YA Author Rendezvous

Margaret Mead Quote - Young Adult Author RendezvousFinding Inspiration: an interview with Siobhan Quinlan.

Interview by Michelle Lynn

A lot of awful things are happening in the world right now. We see them every day. No matter where we live, no matter who we are, we are being continually touched by tragedy, our worlds dimming each time. There’s not a lot we as individuals can do to fight these bigger problems and we all deal with them in different ways. As writers, most of us here at the YA Author Rendezvous use our words to try to make a little sense out of all the madness.

Despite a feeling of overwhelming darkness that sometimes seems to be covering our planet, this past week has reminded some of us that maybe we can still make a difference. Most of us will never be on the front lines fighting terrorism or saving babies from burning buildings, but this week…

View original post 1,245 more words

Berkley Massachusetts, here I come (unless I get lost).

specialeventaheadGreetings fellow weirdos.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 12th for those of you seriously upping your “Summer Brain” game and no longer understanding the ebb and flow of time) I will be at Berkley Library with two additional weirdos: Trisha Leaver and Kristy Acevedo.

Trisha writers horror that corrupts your sanity, as well as contemporary that requires you to ingest copious amounts of sunshine after reading or you will melt into the pavement in agony. She also writes a bit of “what if” Sci Fi that makes me seriously question what brand of glue she sniffed as a child. Her books are: The Secrets We Keep, Sweet Madness, Creed, Hardwired, and I See Reality

Kristy has hit the ground running this year with her debut Sci-Fi novel, Consider, which translates loosely to a tale about a panic-attack prone kid who is thrown into a “Crap, we’re doomed to die and screwed either way thanks to the creepy holograms” scenario. Kristy obviously enjoys torturing emotionally frayed characters and her readers happily scream for more.

And then there is me. The sane one. Sorta. Well . . . kinda.

Oh screw it – I’m the most warped of all. I just dyed my almost 8-year-old son’s hair green, but more or less skimmed the instructions, resulting in what looks like a cross between a hairy map of the continents and Mikey the Ninja Turtle after a bender. Luckily, my son loves it (crooked mohawk included) and school doesn’t restart until late August. His hair should grow out by then and the staining to his skin should fade. Hopefully. Eventually. Meh, whatever. My books are Undertow, Stormfront, True North, and Cruel Summer.

Come find me! I have leftover green dye!


berkley library


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