your soul.


your story.


new worlds.


outside the lines.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

LOVESTRUCK SUMMER (HarperTeen; May 5, 2009; $5.99) is the story of Quinn, an indie rock girl who came out to Austin, Texas for a music internship. She also plans to spend long, lazy days in the sun at outdoor concerts--and to meet a hot musician or two. Instead, she’s stuck rooming with her sorority brainwashed cousin, who now willingly goes by the name “Party Penny.” Their personalities clash, big time.

But Sebastian, a gorgeous DJ, definitely makes up for it. Sebastian has it all: looks, charm, and great taste in music. So why can’t Quinn keep her mind off Penny’s friend cute, All-American Russ and his Texas twang?

Sebastian is the kind of guy Quinn wants, but is Russ the guy Quinn needs? One thing’s certain: Quinn’s in for a summer she’ll never forget!


A former editor at ELLEgirl and Seventeen magazines, Melissa Walker knows her indie rock. She hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. She loves talking about books, fashion, magazines and all kinds of pop culture. Visit her at or on


ISBN: 9780061715860

Ages 14 up


On sale May 2009

In my debut novel, SISTERS OF MISERY, the main group of mean girls call themselves the Sisters of Misery since they take part in orientation rituals on Misery Island. Here are some questions for you about your own cliques (hopefully they aren’t as mean as the ones in my story!) .

Do you (or did you ever) have a writing group? Who are the first people to read your book once it’s completed?

I haven't ever had one! For Lovestruck Summer, my boyfriend read it first, along with my agent. They both made me feel good about it, which I appreciated. I was way scared about writing something that was not a Violet book (my earlier series).

What writers do you consider your “sisters”? Are there any published writers that you hang out or tour with a lot? Call? Email? IM?

I've met a lot of writers, and when I need good advice I know I can always turn to Elizabeth Scott, Carolyn Mackler, Kristen Kemp, Michael Northrop, Sarah Grace McCandless, Jolene Siana, the ladies at, the divas at wow, I think I could keep going on and on! Writers are so COOL. Seriously, 99% of people who write YA books totally rule.

Who do you find yourself being compared to or are often put together with in reading lists or book clubs?

With Lovestruck Summer, I'm expecting to share space with Catherine Clark and Rachel Hawthorne who've written a ton of amazing Beach Reads for HarperTeen. So much fun.

Finally, what can you tell me about your book? Give me a quick run-down about why I’d want to pick it for my own book club.

Let's see: Indie Rock Girl meets Texas Cowboy. Is not impressed. Falls hard for hipster DJ. But when Texas Cowboy makes her a mix, she can't stop humming his tunes. Get ready for a hot summer in Austin.

PS-For a chance to win Lovestruck Summer, plus 3 other great beach reads, your readers can go to

Sunday, May 10, 2009

From Good Kid to Gunman...What Happened to Stephen Morgan?

Just like many people across the country, I was shocked when I heard about the recent tragedy at Wesleyan University when a 21-year-old girl was shot at point blank range seven times by a 29-year-old man. What shocked me even more was that I knew the man, Stephen Morgan, and I know his family very well. I grew up in the same town of Marblehead and graduated in Steve's older sister's class at Marblehead High. We also belonged to the same beach club. Our families are friendly and we share many mutual acquaintances. I see Stephen's mother--even though I'm in my thirties, I still call her Mrs. Morgan-- at the local grocery story, the health club, walking on the beach. She always has a huge smile on her face and has a kind word for everyone she greets. The family is strong, loving and supportive. The Morgans are friends to all people in Marblehead, Swampscott and the surrounding towns--to people from all backgrounds and all religions.

So, it was with great shock that we all learned about the tragic events that took place on the Wesleyan campus this past week. Not only because it was a heartbreaking story--to discover that the life of a beautiful, intelligent and vivacious girl was tragically taken. But to learn that the shooter was the same little boy that I saw summer after summer, playing with my siblings, dressing up as a cowboy for the Fourth of July parade, having cookouts by the beach. What lead this boy, little Steve Morgan, to write hateful things about the Jewish community, to allegedly plan a "Colombine-type" shooting on a well-respected college campus and and to kill a beautiful girl on a bright, spring day in Connecticut?

It begs the question, how well do you know anyone? Would I have ever imagined that someone that I grew up with, a child who shared many of the same friends, acquaintances and childhood memories could commit such a crime? I never knew Steve on a personal level. He was just the little brother of a high school friend. He was Mrs. Morgan's son. One of the Morgan boys. I'm sure everyone has a kid from their past that they knew, that they remember, that they would trust if they ran into them again. Your parents' friends' kid. The younger brother of a high school chum. A nice boy who comes from a good, strong family who grew up a few streets over.

But then one day, you turn on the television and you see that the same little boy, the one that you watched chasing the ice cream truck with your little brother and sister, the one playing in the sandbox with his little sister, Diana, the one running around the pool in diapers, has been arrested for a heinous murder. And you can't understand what went wrong. How did he get from point A to point B?

Obviously, all of the facts haven't come out in this case, and the small town that I grew up in is anxiously awaiting the rest of the story. Did something happen when he went off to the Navy or when he moved to Colorado? These things will all be revealed eventually, and perhaps will explain how a good kid next door can turn into a gunman. But until then, we need to pray for the poor, defenseless Johanna Justin-Jinich whose life was cut short in a senseless crime. For her family who believed that she was safe at school in Connecticut--probably felt that she was safer there than when she was living in New York City a few summers ago. For the Jewish community that felt that they needed to protection during a nationwide manhunt.

But we also need to pray and have sympathy for the family of the shooter--the Morgans. A wonderful family--strong, supportive and well-liked-- a family who, for as long as I've known them, have never been filled with hatred or dislike for any person or groups of people, never raised their children to hate, never spoken a bad or hurtful thing about anyone. A family who did nothing wrong, but who must now pay for the devastating actions of their son.

As a suspense writer, I have to make up killers and madmen to put into my stories. I've been speaking to kids about bullying and about accepting others and not hurting each other--physically or mentally--especially in the formative school years. Was Steve Morgan harassed at school? I don't know. He was called a loner by his own family, but that doesn't automatically make someone a bad person. Perhaps he was shy. I only have memories of him as a cute, little boy--harmless, sweet, unassuming. Perhaps he had anger issues. Obviously he needed help.

Now, as I come up with new characters for my books, I need to understand (and I need to explain to my daughter) that the bad man isn't always the scary-looking man. He isn't always the "other." Often times they don't look or act that much different from you and me. And that's the scariest thing of all. You can't tell from looking at them. You can't even be sure about them if you know their family and friends. You just never know who the "bad guy" is:

He's the clean-cut medical student who goes onto Craigslist to find his victims all while planning his wedding to his college sweetheart. (Philip Markoff)

He's the father who guns down his wife and baby while they're asleep in the home that he can no longer afford. (Neil Entwistle)

She's the young mother who decides it's more important to party than it is to take care of her little girl, so she stuffs her in the trunk of a car with duct tape over her mouth. (Caylee Anthony)

He's the friendly and attractive college student who you meet on spring break on an island who invites you to take a walk on the beach. (Joran van der Sloot)

She's the mother of your daughter's playmate (a Sunday school teacher, no less). (Melissa Huckaby)

And now he's the boy you grew up a few streets away from, the kid brother of a high school friend, the one whose mom you see and who always has a big smile on her face and is just the nicest woman you'll ever meet. The boy who shot a girl at point blank range and seemed completely confused about the tragedy that he had caused--the lives he has forever, irrevocably changed.

Stephen Morgan, what happened?

If you can't trust the boy next door, who can you trust?

GCC Tours Lucienne Diver

Again, I'm super late touring one of my GCC members and I am so sorry. But I encourage everyone to go out and buy multiple copies of VAMPED, a fun, fast read from Lucienne Diver--it's sure to suck you in! :) (pun fully intended!)

From “Valley Vamp Rules for Surviving Your Senior Prom” by fashionista Gina Covello

1) Do not get so loaded at the after prom party that you accidentally-on-purpose end up in the broom closet with the surprise hottie of the evening, say the class chess champ who’s somewhere lost his bottle-cap lenses and undergone an extreme makeover, especially if that makeover has anything to do with becoming one of the undead.

Gina Covello has a problem. Waking up a dead is just the beginning.

There's very little she can't put up with for the sake of eternal youth and beauty. Blood-sucking and pointy stick phobias seem a small price to pay. But she draws the line when local vampire vixen Mellisande gets designs on her hot new boyfriend with his prophecied powers and hatches a plot to turn all of Gina’s fellow students into an undead army to be used to overthrow the vampire council.

Hey, if anyone's going to create an undead entourage, it should be Gina! Now she must unselfishly save her classmates from fashion disaster and her own fanged fate.

Do you (or did you ever) have a writing group? Who are the first people to read your book once it’s completed?

I had a wonderful writers group in NY, made up of authors, editors and former editors – talk about tough! When I moved, we tried for awhile to do virtual meetings, but it didn’t work out so well. I now have a critique partner and a few first readers I trust to tell me whether or not something sucks and to cheer me on if it doesn’t. When I go through those periods of self-doubt all authors experience, my cheerleaders are vitally important!

What writers do you consider your “sisters”? Are there any published writers that you hang out or tour with a lot? Call? Email? IM?

I started and stopped typing on this question at least three times because it’s a tough one. I’ve been writing for years but have only just recently started doing it under my own name. Before that I had a pseudonym because I’m also a literary agent and very dedicated to my job. I didn’t want anyone to think that I might leave to become a full time writer or worry that I’d spend my business hours on my own career. The latter is why I have an agent who isn’t me…so that during business hours, I’m focused on my authors and leave my career management up to her. Also, she has a great editorial eye and makes me a better writer. All this is to say that until recently, I kept that whole creative side of myself hidden, and it was very hard for me, almost as though I were living a double life. I’m so glad that with Vamped I’ve decided to write under my own name. I feel that I can be more myself, though, oddly, I’m more comfortable in my agent roll – less exposed. I’m so pleased now to be able to talk shop with so many fabulous writers.

Who do you find yourself being compared to or are often put together with in reading lists or book clubs?

Well, let’s see, my heroine has been compared to Cordelia from Buffy and to Betsy Taylor from Mary Janice Davidson’s wonderful Undead and Unwed series, which tickles me! When I look at Barnes & Noble and, they put my books together with those of Rachel Caine, Nancy Collins, P.C. and Kristin Cast, Richelle Mead, Chloe Neill. Good company!

What writers do you wish would be in your “clique”? (It doesn’t have to be in your genre….doesn’t even have to be living! For example, I’d pick Alice Hoffman, Jodi Picoult, Sarah Dessen, Oscar Wilde, Stephenie Meyer, Meg Cabot, Stephen King and Joan Didion).

Christopher Moore, Janet Evanovich, Sarah Strohmeyer, Meg Cabot, Sharyn McCrumb, Joshilyn Jackson.

If someone was going to join your book club, what would be a “must read” in order to join?

I’m a huge fan of voice. Joshilyn Jackson, who I mentioned above, is a fantastic example, her Gods of Alabama, particularly. In that novel, she alternates fun chapters from the present with darker chapters from the past and manages to make it all work amazingly well. Sharyn McCrumb is amazing because she writes such wonderfully literary novels with her Ballad series and such laugh-out-loud funny books with her Elizabeth MacPherson mysteries…I’m just in awe of anything she does.

What was your “initiation” to writing?

My fifth grade teacher, Mr. Hart was awesome. I think that English was where his heart really lay, because he divided the whole class into writing groups that we sat in full time. Every day he gave us a free writing assignment, and for fifteen minutes our pens were not allowed to stop moving, even if all we had to say was, “Nothing at all.” Then he’d often randomly chose stories to be read aloud or break us into our groups to read and critique. It was fascinating to see how differently each of us would spin off from the first line or topic he’d given us. It was also really good training for a future writer, because you learned how to both take and offer advice and how to revise.

When did you first feel that you’d officially joined the “published writers’ club”?

I worked on our high school literary magazine and had some pieces published in there, but that never felt truly real to me. It wasn’t until I sold my first short story and actually held a check in my hand (only $25, but still) that I felt like an official, published writer.

What was your best/worst memory of high school?

You know, junior high was way worse for me. I think that by high school I kind of had the hang of things. Oh, wait…moment of self-delusion has passed. There was the time that my Shakespeare class was doing a performance and despite the fact that I had a big role I forgot to show up because I was too busy mooning over a guy who didn’t like me nearly as much as I liked him. The teacher ended up reading my lines straight out of the book. She wasn’t amused. The aftermath was way worse than those running after the bus in your skivvies dreams.

In SISTERS OF MISERY, the last place new members want to go to is Misery Island. But if you had the choice, what island would you go to and what would you take with you?

The Galapagos Islands with environmentally safe insect repellent, my husband, my son, a huge sack of books. Oh yeah, and we’d probably need a tent and food and all that, but I’d let my guys (boy scouts both) take care of the packing!

Why should we pick this as a book club read?

I’ll admit right off the bat that this is a popcorn read. I was aiming for fun, though the book does, I hope, have hidden depths. Mainly, I hope that it will make people laugh and fall deeply in love with the characters, as I did. I’m not sure there will be any scholarly discussion over Vamped, but that’s okay. Sometimes, girls just want to have fun.

About Lucienne Diver

Lucienne Diver is a long-time book addict who went to work for NYC’s Spectrum Literary Agency fifteen years ago to feed her habit. Recently, she traded in her high-rise for a lake view. She now lives in Florida and works for The Knight Agency ( Through various play-dates and in various coffee bars, on the backs of envelopes, carry-out bags and anything else within reach, including, sometimes, her checkbook, she's penned the serio-comic tale of what happens when a young fashionista goes from chic to eek.

What people are saying:

"VAMPED is a total delight! Diver delivers a delightful cast of undead characters and a fresh, fast take on the vampire mythos. Next installment, please!" Rachel Caine, New York Times bestselling author of the Morganville Vampires series

"I really sunk my teeth into Lucienne Diver's VAMPED. A fun, frothy, teenage romp with lots of action, a little shopping, and a cute vampire guy. Who could ask for more?" — Marley Gibson, author of GHOST HUNTRESS: The Awakening

“This book rollicked along, full of humor, romance, and action. Gina is a smart-aleck heroine worth reading about, a sort of teenage Besty Taylor (Undead and Unwed) with a lot of Cher Horowitz (Clueless) thrown in. Fans of Katie Maxwell will devour "Vamped." — Rosemary Clement-Moore, author of the Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil series

"Move over Buffy! Lucienne Diver transfuses some fresh blood into the vampire genre. Feisty, fashionable and fun--Vamped is a story readers will sink their teeth into and finish thirsty for more." —Mari Mancusi, author of The Blood Coven Vampires series




Author blog:

Friday, May 1, 2009

GCC Tours Linda Gerber's Death by Denim

I am so late touring Linda Gerber this week and I'm so very, very sorry because Linda is an extremely talented writer and an all-around great girl. I've been dealing with my own publishing problems (namely, no ARCs for my latest book, THE LOST SISTER). But, I'll get into that in a later post. Right now, I want everyone to go out and get the third book in the "Death by" series by Linda Gerber. This third book, Death by Denim, is sure to be a hit. Plus, don't forget to stop by Linda's website for her blog launch party on May 14th thru 16th.

Aphra Connolly is being chased by some very dangerous people. She knows her survival depends upon staying far away from love interest Seth, and listening to her mom’s lectures on the finer points of anonymity and survival. But how is a girl supposed to live under the radar and not think about her boyfriend when she’s in Paris—the most romantic city in the world? When her mom’s contact in Paris is found floating in the Seine with a deadly message stuffed in his mouth, Aphra realizes that she will never be able to stop running unless she confronts the situation head-on. Sneaking away from her mom, Aphra tracks down the criminal mastermind in Italy, only to unwittingly reveal Seth’s location. And her mistake has just put them both in mortal danger. . . .

Early praise for DEATH BY DENIM:

“Starting with a heart-pounding chase scene… Gerber weaves in some major cultural landmarks as Aphra races through Paris and then Italy on a mission to expose the would-be assassin and rescue her love interest, Seth. Taut suspense… along with interesting tips of the espionage trade, will propel readers to the neat ending.” - Booklist

“Death by Denim, the third book in Linda Gerber's fun, action-packed, and suspenseful series, is just as riveting as its prequels. Gerber's style is not only modern and down to earth, but cunning and intelligent as well… Aphra is an engaging and lively narrator whose bravery and smarts readers will admire. Equal parts action, romance, and mystery, Death by Denim is a fun-filled and engrossing read that will appeal to fans of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series.” – The Compulsive Reader

“Gerber does not disappoint with this exciting novel from her Death by… series. Gerber’s strength is by far in creating such a thrilling and fast paced plot that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. …Death by Denim is a wholly enjoyable read, full of action, romance, and international flair. Fans of Death by Bikini and Death by Latte, the earlier installments in this series, won’t want to miss Death by Denim. Teen girls in particular looking for a fast and fun mystery to devour will enjoy Gerber’s Death by… series.” - The Book Muncher

“Nancy Drew meets "Alias" in the latest fast-paced, murder-mystery romance.”
- Paddyfield

*** Top Choice Award - Flamingnet Book Reviews ***

Praise for the series:

“Will capture mystery fans.” – Booklist

“Strong writing and plenty of plot twists.” -The Providence Journal

“Fast-paced, fun, and maybe just a little scary.”-YA New York

Just “the right amount of intrigue, suspense, humor and romance.”-Flamingnet Book Reviews

“Five enchantments.”-Enchanting Reviews

“Refreshing read.”-Simply Books

Linda Gerber recently returned to life in the Midwest after four years in Japan, where she served as the Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Her books include SASS: NOW AND ZEN, SASS: THE FINNISH LINE and the YA mysteries DEATH BY BIKINI, DEATH BY LATTE and DEATH BY DENIM. She currently lives and writes in Dublin, OH, blissfully ignoring her husband, kids, and one very naughty puppy.

You can find Linda online here:

by Linda Gerber
Penguin Books for Young Readers
May 14, 2009
ISBN 978-0142411193