Friday, March 28, 2014

Help Isabella come home to her family!

I have a very dear writer friend who I've never met--which isn't unusual, in the online world I navigate in--but love and respect regardless. C.J. Redwine is a fantastic writer, but more is a friend, supporter, cheerleader, and great mom, to her kids both biological and adopted.

Right now, C.J. and her family need OUR help. They adopted a little girl from China already, and now they are hoping to adopt a second one, a little girl who needs extra help.

From C.J.:
Isabella Grace Xiaofang was abandoned beneath a highway overpass when she was four months old. She had severe pneumonia, along with her heart disease and cleft palate, which were both causing her medical difficulty. That says to me that her parents loved her, and they tried for four months to care for her in secret, either to avoid paying the second child penalty fee, which is prohibitive for poorer families, or because they couldn’t afford her medical care, and when they realized she was going to die without care, they put her where she would be quickly found. Highways in China, especially in cities, are much different than ours. They are choked with pedestrians and bicyclists. She was sure to be found quickly. 
A month after she was found, she had heart surgery to repair four different defects in her heart. She was in and out of the ICU for recurring pneumonia during her first year. In her second year, she had two surgeries to repair her lip and palate and to remove her extra thumb. At two years old, she’s still tiny (wearing 9 month clothing size), she’s not walking on her own yet, and she doesn’t have many words yet. Her delayed development is a result, I feel certain, of her constant surgeries and hospital stays. 
The orphanage reports that Isabella is quiet, shy, and loves to smile and grab onto the nannies and play with them. I can’t wait to bring her home! Her brothers and sister are very excited to meet her and love her as well! 
This is where you come in. Because this process is moving so much faster than we anticipated, we need to run a fundraiser to raise Isabella’s orphanage fee of 5k and the 10k we need to travel to China and to stay there for the two and a half weeks it takes to finalize her adoption. When we brought Johanna home, we did an online fundraiser I called Skip a Starbucks day in which I asked my friends to post about it on their blogs/Tumblr/FB and to tweet about it throughout the day. The idea is that if people will skip Starbucks and donate that money toward Isabella’s adoption fund instead, we can raise the money.
Today is a Skip a Starbucks day for Isabella. If you can, please consider skipping a Starbucks (or, in my case, that snack I probably shouldn't have anyway) and donate to C.J.'s family to help bring Isabella home.

You can donate here:

Thanks!! And please spread the word!

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Bright Before Sunrise: One Night that Changed My Life

"One night can change how you see the world.
One night can change how you see yourself."

In celebration of Tiffany Schmidt's fabulous new book BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE, I was asked to contribute a story of one night that changed my life. Most of my stories take place in the day--it's easy to think of a DAY that changed my life. But night? My memory popped straight back to this one.
You can see all the One Night stories on the BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE Tumblr.

As a teen, and through into college, I didn't have a lot of confidence. Probably many of you can relate to that. I was bullied in grammar school and high school, and had a messy family life, and it carried over. I kept to myself—it was safer. Way less painful to never let anybody in than to try and then get slammed down. So I lived in a bubble of my own, drifting through the world, but not really happy with myself.
I still can't quite believe I had enough confidence to apply for a year-long study abroad program in England, much less get through all the interviews and meetings, but I did. My junior year of college I set off for the University of Sussex, to see how I would do in the wider world. The first six months were tough. Living abroad requires a certain amount of sociability, the courage to step outside your comfort zone. At first I didn't do that. I hung out with other Californians, in a very small group, for the most part. I had fun, but I didn't change. I was still in the safe bubble, just a little farther away from home.
Then one night, I met J.J.…still an American, but from New Hampshire. And her friends, who were actually British and Scottish. We sat on the ground at a party, drinking Newkie Brown ale, and talked. 

And clicked. I talked about myself. I let someone in, for the first time in ages, let someone see a glimpse of the real me.

And then we did a road trip east, all of us piled into a little creaky car. I don't even remember what we did at first—all I remember is the feeling, the miraculous feeling of connecting to people and being accepted. Laughing with the jokes. Being part of the group.

We ended up at the seawall, at Eastbourne, sometime in the wee hours. I don't know why. J.J. and I climbed over the wall, onto the round English rocks. The waves crashed at our feet, the spray washing over us, the roar deafening. We shouted, together, into the waves. I shouted all my frustrations, my loneliness, my happiness right at that moment.

And something snapped in me, let go. Nothing dramatic changed, outwardly. I had a wider group of friends from then on, I involved myself more, and when it came time to go home I really wanted to stay. But inside, I was different. From that night I had a renewed confidence in myself, and in friendships, in people. That there were people like me out there—I just had to find them. That I could be myself. That I could shout myself into the ocean, into the world.

Jonah and Brighton are about to have the most awkwardly awful night of their lives. For Jonah, every aspect of his new life reminds him of what he has had to give up. All he wants is to be left alone. Brighton is popular, pretty, and always there to help anyone . . . but has no idea of what she wants for herself. Her seemingly perfect life is marred only by Jonah, the one person who won't give her the time of day, but also makes her feel, well, something. So when they are repeatedly thrown together over the course of one night, anything can—and does—happen. Told in alternating chapters, this poignant, beautiful novel's energy and tension, amidst the humor and romance, builds to a new beginning of self-acceptance and hope.

About Tiffany Schmidt:
TIFFANY SCHMIDT lives in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles. And while she thinks sunrises are quite beautiful, she'd rather sleep through them. Send Me a Sign was her debut novel. Find out more about Tiffany and her books by following her on Twitter @TiffanySchmidt or visiting

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Susan update


It's been a while since I posted anything HERE. Don't worry, I've still been all over the internet--mostly on Twitter  and over at the Fearless Fifteeners blog, and even occasionally on Tumblr. Poor blog, you kind of get the short end of the stick.

Anyway. I thought it time for a quick bloggish update on what's going on over here.

--I got my edits on TUNNEL VISION. And they were totally doable, so I revised and turned them back in!

--All sorts of exciting craziness has been happening in my inbox since. Cover talk, blurb talk, other authors reading my book talk, Real Actual Book Coming out Next Year talk. I have to keep from bouncing constantly, pretty much. Or chair dancing.

That's most of my excitement at the moment. But in addition to that, let's see:

  • The Fearless Fifteeners group is coming along great--I think we're up to 72 members, and going strong. 
  • I'm going to NY for BEA! Woot! Also London for a family vacation late this summer. Planning them both is making me slightly dizzy.
  • I'm back in choir, this time singing a mix of Austrian composers (Beethoven, Schubert, Haydn) and songs from The Sound of Music. Guess which set I like better?
  • Sparkle Girl is in a crazy period too, with a robotics competition this weekend, Future Problem Solvers, clarinet, and a part in Disney Jr. Cinderella. AND she's writing a short story for an American Girl magazine competition, which I'm trying not to be too Mom-writer about.
  • I'm plotting out Book 2. Jake is in my head again, yay!
Yeah, that's probably enough. Please comment...what's going on with you?

Monday, December 02, 2013

Interview with the Amazing Amy Spalding: INK IS THICKER THAN WATER

And the winner is...Krista Van Dolzer! Congratulations, Krista!

Today, I am SO excited to be hosting the Amazing Amy Spalding. (yes, that should be her title, if it isn't officially) Her second book, INK IS THICKER THAN WATER, comes out tomorrow!! YOU have a chance to win a *signed* copy for free. Details at the bottom...but first, a somewhat wacky interview with Amy.

INK IS THICKER THAN WATER is a contemporary YA, already getting major praise for its real-life portrayal of family and relationships. From Goodreads:
For Kellie Brooks, family has always been a tough word to define. Combine her hippie mom and tattooist stepdad, her adopted overachieving sister, her younger half brother, and her tough-love dad, and average Kellie’s the one stuck in the middle, overlooked and impermanent. When Kellie’s sister finally meets her birth mother and her best friend starts hanging with a cooler crowd, the feeling only grows stronger.
But then she reconnects with Oliver, the sweet and sensitive college guy she had a near hookup with last year. Oliver is intense and attractive, and she’s sure he’s totally out of her league. But as she discovers that maybe intensity isn’t always a good thing, it’s yet another relationship she feels is spiraling out of her control.
It’ll take a new role on the school newspaper and a new job at her mom’s tattoo shop for Kellie to realize that defining herself both outside and within her family is what can finally allow her to feel permanent, just like a tattoo.

Everything I've seen about INK talks about how authentic the teen voice is, how it truly feels like it was written by a 16-year-old girl. How do you go back to that place to write a teen so authentically? Are you secretly a teenager? *eyebrow*
I always have conflicted feelings about hearing how authentic my teen voice is. Obviously compliments are wonderful, but also that's just sort of the voice that comes out of me when I write? I never think of going back; it just sort of...happens. Hopefully this means my subconscious is just really gifted and not that I'm emotionally stunted.
 Once when I was telling my life story to an editor, she thought it funny how with my messed-up childhood I choose to write positive, supportive (if complex) families. That seems like exactly the type of family you're writing about here…and *cough* if some tweets are true, your history may not have been all peaches and cream either. Why do YOU choose to write a functional, if unusual, family instead of the dysfunctional ones more typically seen in YA?
Because, honestly, my family was more functional than not, or at least it felt that way. And it seemed to me pretty common among my friends as well. Sure, we fought with our parents, and sure, some people had divorced parents or other drama, but in general it felt like most of us were loved and supported, even if things weren't always easy-breezy.
I also knew I wanted to explore the dynamic of Kellie watching her sister Sara reconnect with Sara's biological mother (Sara was adopted as a baby), and to me that would be more interesting if Kellie's family maybe once looked like The Perfect Family, and now looked like something completely different. After all, families can look like a lot of different things and still be filled with so much love and respect and support.
 In the book I just wrote, my character has a best friend named Kaitlyn who is drifting away due to differing interests. Your book has that too. DID YOU STEAL THAT FROM MY BRAIN? (more seriously, tell me about Kaitlyn and Kellie, and how their friendship changes)
I have been accused before of stealing things from people's brains, and, trust me, if I had that ability, I would get A LOT more done!
As for Kellie and Kaitlyn, I think a lot of us at MULTIPLE points in life go through periods where all of our relationships seem to be shifting. I know in high school there were a couple times where it felt like my friendships were out of my control and people were pulling away from me. Of course in retrospect, a lot of that was just that we all had to figure ourselves out and couldn't always worry so much about each other, but at the time it feels like the greatest betrayal.
When I was Kellie's age, I definitely felt like my best friend was way too cool for me, which is hilarious in retrospect because we were both dorks, just in different ways.
 Let's talk about Oliver. He turns out to be not quite what Kellie thought he was, right? Kelly on Stacked even referred to him as "clingy". Is it true—and if so, are you messing around with gender stereotypes there?
I actually wrote Oliver kind of as a reaction to a lot of the YA I was reading back in 2008 when I wrote INK's first draft. There were so many romances where very quickly a boy would fall for a girl, and it would be intense and world-shattering...and the girls would always be soooo into it. And all I kept thinking was, "Whoa. This would REALLY stress me out!"
So my goal was really to write about a consuming romance kind of in a "real world" setting, and how that would actually go, and maybe what that would stem from. But, also, absolutely to gender stereotypes! Girls are often written as the ones who go overboard with romance, but from my personal experience, I saw just as many if not MORE guys fall for someone in that all-encompassing way. I know guys and girls sometimes act pretty differently, but I think deep down they're more alike than not.
 I understand Kellie writes humor columns for her school newspaper. Can you give us an example of the type of things she writes? 
Here's a little preview of Kellie's first column:
The grounds of Ticknor Day School boast native Missouri plant life immaculately maintained by a hardworking grounds crew. Surrounding our students in such an environment is just one way we at Ticknor strive to not only provide a quality education, but the best setting possible for academic growth. 
So begins the “Campus Grounds” section in the Ticknor Day School promotional brochure, a paragraph those who spend each weekday at T.D.S. might find difficult to take seriously. After all, is the word “immaculate” synonymous with “poop-smelling”? Is “the best setting possible an area that smells like the elephant pen at the zoo?

Amy Spalding grew up outside of St. Louis. She now lives in Los Angeles with two cats and a dog. She works in marketing and does a lot of improv. She has more tattoos than she can count.

Amy would love for you to visit her online at or on Twitter @theames.

NOW, how do you enter to win a SIGNED copy??

Because it's the holidays and we all have a lot to do, I'm going to make it REAL easy for you. Enter by commenting to this post! If you want an extra entry, tweet about the contest and @ me (@susan_adrian). That's it!! The contest will close at 5 pm MST tomorrow, December 3rd, which is Launch Day for INK!

Thanks so much, Amy!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The scoop on Tunnel Vision

Hi all!!

Since I've gotten a couple requests for more information on TUNNEL VISION, I thought it might be good to put the info in one place. Easily accessible and complete.

Weird concept, I know. But sometimes I get these crazy brain flashes, you go.


The Story, short version: 
A teenage boy who has a power he calls tunneling—he can sense where anyone in the world is (and what they’re seeing) by holding something they own—comes under the uncomfortable attention of the U.S. government, and suddenly has to balance normal life with psychic-spy life.

The Story, long version: 
Jake Lukin just turned 18. He's decent at tennis and Halo, and waiting to hear on his app to Stanford. He's also being followed by a creep with a gun, and there's a DARPA agent waiting in his bedroom.

His secret is blown.

When Jake holds a personal object, like a pet rock or a ring, he has the ability to "tunnel" into the owner. He can sense where they are, like a human GPS, and can see, hear, and feel what they do. It's an ability the government would do anything to possess: a perfect surveillance unit who could locate fugitives, spies, or terrorists with a single touch.

If he doesn't agree to help the government, his mother and sister may be in danger. Suddenly Jake's juggling high school, tennis tryouts, flirting with Rachel Watkins, and work as a government asset, complete with 24-hour bodyguards.

Forced to lie to his friends and family, and then to choose whether to give up everything for their safety, Jake hopes the good he's doing—finding kidnap victims and hostages, and tracking down terrorists—is worth it. But he starts to suspect the good guys may not be so good after all. With Rachel's help, Jake has to try to escape both good guys and bad guys and find a way to live his own life instead of tunneling through others.

Who's Publishing It:
Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Press. My editor is the fantastic and super-cool Brendan Deneen.

When's It Coming Already?
Currently scheduled for early 2015! I'm part of the Fearless Fifteeners debut author group. Yes, we are (mostly) fearless. Especially about deadlines and juggling books.

Who's the Audience?
Um, ANYONE WHO LIKES TO READ. It's listed as a YA thriller, but I'm going with that. It's got spy stuff and car chases and guns in a cemetery and video games, but also Rachel-who-will-not-be-left-out, and Jake's disturbingly smart little sister Myka, and Liesel Miller, who frankly kind of scares me.

Who Is Your Agent?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present the amazingly patient and persistent Kate Schafer Testerman of ktliterary. TUNNEL VISION is also represented for film/tv rights by Jon Cassir of Creative Artists Agency. 

What else would you like to know? Let me know in the comments if I left out any burning questions!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The I-Got-These-Books-At-BEA-And-Loved-Them Giveaway!

THANK YOU so much for entering, everybody!! The winner, by random draw, is....


Congratulations, Kristie!! I'll email you today.


It's been a busy couple of months! With vacation, and launching the Fearless Fifteeners, and crazy Sparkle Girl after-school activities...whew.

But writing-wise, it's been a little slow. I'm still waiting on feedback for two different books, so I took some time off to read. (And while I've started writing a new book now, I'm taking it slowly, so still reading too.)

And lo and behold, I had this pile of ARCs from BEA to occupy me!


I've now read a good chunk of these--and you guys, they were ALL SO GOOD. I loved them, in different ways!! I want to share the fabulousness with you. 

But I am NOT giving you my signed ARCs, sorry. I love you, but not that much.

Instead, I am going to *buy* one of you lovelies a copy of one of these books, which are all out now. Hardcover and everything. All you have to do is reply to this post and tell me which one you would want! (and an email address or way to get ahold of you, used only for contacting you if you're a winner) I'll do a random draw and the winner will get the book of their choice.

Here are your choices, in alphabetical order:

ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA by Diana Peterfreund

 From GoodreadsCenturies after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel
, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.

It's THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, reimagined. So very well done--I devoured it.

ANTI-GODDESS by Kendare Blake

From Goodreads: Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god. 

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning. 

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out. 

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

I absolutely loved ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, and this first book in a new series lived up to it. The characterization is amazing.

FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell

From GoodreadsFrom the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

For something completely different...not fantasy, not alternative universe, not thriller. A thoughtful, wonderfully drawn contemporary that I related to tremendously, even though I never wrote fan fiction.

ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein

From Goodreads: While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

 Yes, it's as good and wrenching as CODE NAME VERITY. That's all I knew going in, and that's all I'm going to say.

VICIOUS by Victoria Schwab

Note: this isn't a YA book, it's an adult book. Though I'm not sure ROSE UNDER FIRE is a YA book either.

From GoodreadsA masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

It's tremendously different, and darkly delicious. You'll be surprised who you find yourself rooting for.

Okay, that's it! Five books to choose from. This is a fast giveaway, so you only have until tomorrow at 5 pm Mountain Time to enter. Spread the word far and wide, please!!*

--You must comment on this post with which book you choose (only one!) and your email address, or other way to contact you if you win.
--North American entries only. Sorry!
--Entries must be received by 5 pm Mountain Time October 30th. I'll do a random drawing after that, and contact the winner to mail the prize.
--If the winner doesn't contact me back by Friday, I'll draw again.

*Hidden super-secret extra: if I get more than 50 entries, I'll draw TWO winners. Tell your friends!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Fearless Fifteeners are LIVE!


The Fearless Fifteeners, the inclusive group for 2015 debut MG and YA authors, is OPEN for applications!

I am so, so thrilled about this. We have a fantastic group of admins, all handling various aspect of the group, such as Twitter, Facebook, ARC tours, interviews of the name it. We've all been working hard together to make sure everything is ready for new members to hang out together, commiserate, support each other, and promote each other.

So what can you do?

Follow our wordpress site, here:
     There's a blog there, where we will be doing all sorts of things, including interviews and special features.

Follow us on Twitter, here:

Like us on Facebook, here:

And, if you are a debut author with a book coming out in 2015, check out our membership requirements and apply HERE:
   And then JOIN US!

If you're an editor or an agent, please send your 2015 YA and MG debuts our way. We promise to be a great source of support behind the scenes, in the community, and to readers!

Be Fearless.