Thursday, October 23, 2014

Who Killed the YA Scream Queens?

Apparently every single one of the YA Scream Queens were recently killed in a series of twisted and highly original ways. 

Which is so cool.

I mean terrible.

Can't it be both?

How about... terribly cool. And tragic. But mostly the first thing.

Which isn't to say that I did it. Even if certain people (Whitney Miller *cough cough*) are trying to point the finger at me.

If you want to find the guilty parties, then you need to find out who has a motive. Any idiot who's ever seen a few Law & Order repeats knows that.

And I don't got no motive. 

Okay, sure, I've been known to complain a few times that I wish the YA Scream Queens could maybe do a little less, well, screaming. But what can you do, it's right there in their name. Sure I might be a little sadder about their passing if they were the YA Whisper Queens, but I wouldn't kill them because of it.

But you know who would? Lisa Maxwell. I hear she's one of those people with super sensitive ears. And lately there's been some thumping sounds ringing in those same ears... sure sounds like your classic tell-tale heart scenario. Seems like maybe she should be moved to the top of the suspect list (and why you're at it, cross me right off it).

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I and Love and You #PitchWars

If you are here checking out potential #PitchWars mentors, then - CONGRATS! - you are in the right place. 

If you are here because the title of this post is an Avett Brothers song and you're looking for info about them - SORRY!- you are out of luck. I just love the song and thought it made for a great intro title.

If you are here and have no idea what I'm talking about at all, but have not yet clicked away because you find this whole #Pitchwars thing intriguing - well then read on my friends!

So here's the deal with #Pitchwars. The brilliant amazing possibly super-powered Brenda Drake organizes this awesome contest that connects aspiring writers with mentors (like me!) and then we work together scrubbing and shining the aspiring author's manuscript until it is so stinking sparkly that agents will fight for the right to call it their own. For more info and to be part of the contest YOU MUST go to Brenda Drake's blog. Sound good?

Okay, so now is the part where I tell you category I'm coaching, which is... 



Yeah, I read YA. I also write YA. 

Things I look for in YA novels I read: Strong often unlikeable protagonists, complicated antagonists, kick-ass girls, romance, depth and darkness, fun, having my heart ripped out, laugh-out-loud moments, mystery, thrills, paranormal elements, realistic elements, cute puppies, and weirdness.

Your book does not need to have all of those elements. Actually, it definitely shouldn't because my head would explode and I don't think that's something any of us want to see happen.

So basically I am open to everything and I never really know what exactly will grab me. I am definitely NOT turned off by language, sex, or violence - in fact, when its a necessary part of the story, I believe its important to include these elements. But your character does not have to drop f-bombs for me to love them.

If you want a good idea of what I like to read check out my Goodreads. I try to keep this updated every few months with what I've recently read. Just glancing over the list some standouts from the past year in YA reading include: COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, WINGER, and THE 5TH WAVE, and I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN.

So that's what I'm looking for. But this is about more than me falling in love, you need to find a mentor that fits into what you need as well. To that end, let me tell you a bit about myself and my critique style.

You could say I have a strong arts backgrounds. Or you could say I have two college degrees of questionable worth. I prefer the former. Anyway, from undergrad I have a BFA in theatre and then, after several years of graduate school, I gained an MFA in film and television production.

I am represented by Alexandra Machinist of ICM. My young adult novel, ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE debuted in 2013 with HarperTeen. This past June my second novel, (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME, was released also from HarperTeen. I am currently at work on my third novel, again with HarperTeen. DOWN WITH THE SHINE (that's the title for now, at least) is due to be released in early 2016.

And here are a few places you can find me online:

Twitter: @katekaryusquinn (I'll be tweeting with the #PitchWars hashtag, so make sure you're following me!)

So what kind of feedback can you expect from me? 

...Actually let me start with what you won't get from me. 

I am not big on correcting grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other things of that nature. That's not to say that these things are not important - they are. I am just not the person to make those elements shine.

I don't expect you to write like me. Or to write your story the way that I'd write it. Instead, I want to help you write the story in your voice and style, and tell it the way you need it to be told. I will, however, occasionally throw different ideas out. In my screenwriting class ages and ages ago (see that MFA does come in handy!) my one teacher used to call the process of throwing different ideas out spitballing. Sometimes you use the spitballed idea, but mostly it just helps get your own ideas flowing.

I will never tell you that your story sucks. Or you suck. That doesn't mean I'll only have positive things to say, ooohhhh trust me I will point out what is not working for me. But I also always make a point of talking about the things that are working oh so very well. Personally, I find the odd "YAY!!" "HEE HEE HEE!" or "LOVE LOVE LOVE!" comments can make an otherwise tough critique go down a lot easier.

Finally, do not expect only a line or two of notes for feedback. As you may have guessed from this blog post, I can be a little long winded at times. And yes, sometimes I do go on and on and on and... Okay, I'll stop now. The point is, I tend it give pretty long critiques with lots and lots and lots of thoughts.  

You can also check out the critiques I did on Brenda Drake's blog in July for an idea of how I work. 

Okay, that's almost it from me except for one more thing... I am currently running a giveaway on Goodreads for a hardcover copy of my book (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME. If you're interested, you can enter below:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

(Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

(Don't You) Forget About Me

by Kate Karyus Quinn

Giveaway ends August 19, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Easy-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


I am so excited to announce that I get to be a part of Brenda Drake's wonderful Pitch Wars contest as a mentor! If you don't know what Pitch Wars is, you can learn all about it on Brenda's blog.

And for those who are gearing up their Pitch Wars submissions and starting to scope out the mentors, then you can get a taste of my feedback methods by checking out a first page crit and query critique I did just today, again through the wonderful and amazing (and tireless) Brenda Drake.    

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


As of June 10th, (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME is officially out in bookstores and available for purchase! For all the details, including trade reviews and buy links, I have all of that on the books page of my website.

In fun book stuff, DYFAM has been around the internets over the past week with some really great posts such as...

DYFAM was featured on the Barnes and Noble blog post, "5 Reasons June is an Amazing Month for YA."

We all know that the title of DYFAM is also a song from the movie, that some of you may have heard of, called, "The Breakfast Club". So on the Savvy Reader blog I did a little post comparing and contrasting this awesome movie and my book. 

I also have a blog post you can check out over at Epic Reads where I make a playlist mixtape for DYFAM.

And finally, if you are interested in DYFAM but not quite ready to buy, you can check out the sample below!

Friday, May 30, 2014


Right now and until June 9th the ebook for ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE can be found for the low low low price of only $1.99 for either your Kindle or your Nook. How cool is that?

Also, my next book (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME releases on June 10th! I honestly do not know where the time has gone between this time last year and now - it just sort of flew by. If you want to know more about DYFAM, check out Goodreads or you can also find snippets from some of the trade reviews that have started to roll in on my website.

Friday, April 18, 2014


Back in January I did my 2013 wrapup. Yes, in January. I was a little behind. Nevermind. That's not the point here. The point is that one of the 'hug these pages and praise the book gods for delivering it to me' very most favorite books of 2013 was Mindy McGinnis's NOT A DROP TO DRINK. So, of course, I have been anxious to get my hands on the companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST. And since I know people, and Mindy McGinnis is one of those people, an advanced copy was sent directly to my doorstep.

So here's the deal with IN A HANDFUL OF DUST. First of all, if you haven't yet read NOT A DROP TO DRINK, this is normally the part where I'd tell you to go away and read it now and not come back until you finished it. And while I do think you should read DRINK (really you seriously should), you don't have to read it to understand DUST.

Unlike most trilogies and duologies and books that are serial in nature, the events in DRINK and DUST are self-contained. You could pick up one book and read it without any knowledge of the other and enjoy the heck out of it. BUT (and this is the fun part) if you read both books, then you get to fall in love with the characters, (and you will fall in love with the characters) and then when you meet them again in the next book, it will be like seeing old friends again. One of those old friends (my favorite character, Lynn) carries a gun, but she won't shoot you cause you're friends now. Well... she probably won't shoot you.

Personally, those are my favorite types of books, where the characters seem so real you feel like they could step off the page and possibly shoot you. And when you finish the book, you want to find out what their next adventure will be and where it will take them.

So, like I said, whether you've gotten around to reading DRINK (which again, you should) or not (yet anyway), you definitely want to get your hands on IN A HANDFUL OF DUST. And lucky you, I am giving away my copy! Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter!

BUT WAIT! That's not all! Act now by going to Mindy McGinnis's blog and you can have a chance to also win my next book: (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME.

I know, you are wondering: What are all these book giveaway shenanigans? Well, Mindy and I are both members of the Class of 2K13 and although 2013 is behind us, we are still excited to celebrate each others new books coming out in 2014! Instead of throwing confetti in the air which is messy and needs to be vacuumed up and if it gets in your mouth yuck... what was I saying? Wait, I got it. Instead of confetti we are doing this giveaway! So yay for us not having to clean up confetti and yay for you getting to win books! It's a win/win because we are giving away two books AND because everybody wins... Well, except for the people who enter the giveaway and don't win books, for them its more of a, "Try again next time!"

The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Writing Process - Blog Tour

So today I am doing this blog tour thingy where writers answer these questions on their own blog and then tag more writers to answer the same questions! It's fun! In theory!

Okay, so I was tagged by the one and only Mindy McGinnis, which pretty much explains how I got pulled into this whole thing. Mindy is one of those people who when she asks "Are you in?", well you just immediately say yes and then later ask, "Um, so what exactly did I agree to?"

So without further explanation here are the writing process questions along with my super awesome answers.

A. What am I working on?

At this exact moment I am working on about four different things and deciding which one I want to focus on next. It is not an easy decision. I have two different futuristic sorta sci-fi ideas. A superhero thing. And a romance thing. I love/hate them all equally. 

B. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Ummm, ergh. Dude, this is a tough question. Okay, well, my debut novel ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE has lots of jumps in time, some scary imagery, a romance between two weirdos, and some paranormal happenings. It's a mystery that needs to be pieced together, a horror story, and a love story. As it straddles so many different genres, it's hard to pinpoint how it's different from all of them. You could sorta describe my next book--another YA standalone also with HarperTeen coming out June 10th!-- (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME in a similar way, although it's a totally different story. 

C. Why do I write what I do?

I just follow the ideas I find most intriguing and that I can get excited enough about to write an entire novel around them. And apparently the ideas I get excited about are the weird ones.

D. How does your writing process work?

Sometimes slowly. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes easily. Sometimes so damned hard that I just want to quit. Sometimes the words flow. Sometimes I have to dig out each one out with my bare hands. 

Or in other words, I sit in front of my laptop and alternate between typing, staring into space, and procrastinating by checking my email for the bazillionth time that day.

So how does my writing process work? Like a junker car that you never know when it's gonna break down on you, and yet for some reason you have such affection for it, you wouldn't have it any other way.


And that's it for the questions! Again thanks to Mindy for including me in this blog tour and now it's my turn to pass the fun on! Next Monday you can look for these three people to answer these questions on their own blogs:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Find Me On Tumblr!

Hey blog-lovers, I will continue to blog here using my current once-in-a-blue-moon schedule, but if you want a place to peek inside my head on a more frequent basis (and if you don't I certainly won't hold it against you, god knows I find it a bit tiresome at times) then look for me on Tumblr. After years of saying I didn't get Tumblr, I finally caved and admitted that I was just too lazy to even figure out what it was all about it. Of course, once I did join the rest of the Tumblr-ing loving world I realized that I had stupidly been missing so much fun and awesomeness. So now I am trying to make up for lost Tumblr time and I hope you'll join me! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Belated 2013 Wrap-Up

Around this time last month, as everyone was getting ready to flip their calendars from 2013 to 2014, bloggers everywhere were posting lists of their favorite reads of the year. I, meanwhile, was eating Christmas cookies. Here's the thing, cookies get stale if you leave them too long. I mean, that's what I've heard, I've never actually left a cookie uneaten long enough to find out if that's true - it's just too risky of an experiment. The Christmas cookies are long gone, the leftover New Year's bubbly has gone flat and been poured down the drain, and I am nearly out of excuses for why I have not been to the gym in several weeks. All that might mean that it is now far too late to write my 2013 wrap-up post, but I decided that as long as I get it up before January was over, I could simply say that I needed that extra time to process and take stock of such a momentous year.

To those following this blog, you obviously know that 2013 was a big year for me. Yes, it was the year that I discovered the awesomeness of the electric toothbrush. It is amazing how after using it, you have that just got home from the dentist clean feeling. I can tell you with maybe just a teensy bit of hyperbole that it is CHANGED MY LIFE. Seriously, I'll never go back to non-battery operated toothbrushes again.

Besides the amazing toothbrush breakthrough, 2013 was also the year that my debut novel ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE was published by HarperTeen. Hmm... it occurs to me that maybe that should have come before the toothbrush thing. But you guys, seriously, stop using those lousy manual toothbrushes - you are missing out! So yes, my debut year was overwhelming and wonderful and scary and amazing and well, to be honest, it will take me at least another year or two before I am able to sort out all the feelings and talk about it in any sort of coherent way.

Also, in 2013: I read some books. Many of those books were debut novels from amazing YA and MG authors who I've been fortunate enough to become friends with through the Class of 2K13 and The Lucky 13s.  

Okay, so this is the part where I am supposed to list the best books I read or favorites or something like that, but I have a really hard doing that because I love so many different books for so many reasons. Some entertain, some make me swoon, others make me think. I get different things from different books and I don't really find one of those things more valuable than any other. So instead, of ranking favorites, I am just going to talk about a few books that I especially enjoyed and why.

Okay, so one of my favorite types of books are ones that focus on survival. As a kid I loved ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS by Scott O'Dell and Jack London's stories that focused on the battle between man vs. nature. More recently I loved THE HUNGER GAMES and LIFE AS WE KNEW IT. So it should come as no surprise that two of my favorite books this year fall into the survival genre: NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis and IN THE AFTER by Demitria Lunetta. 

Both books take place in a post-apocalyptic world. The future in DRINK is scarily plausible with water shortage leading to the disintegration of society as we know it. The story itself focuses on Lynn, a girl raised to be tough and ruthless. I loved reading about the many ways she worked to survive in this harsh world, but even more I loved the journey her character took from the beginning of the book to the end. Speaking of the end, the way the resolution to this book is just so perfect. Even the best books don't always stick the landing, but DRINK nails it.

IN THE AFTER takes place in a world that's been invaded by aliens with bad eyes but amazing hearing, this means that Amy, the heroine of this story, must learn to live in silence. That makes this book so incredibly gripping, that I literally could not put it down. I even read it on the elliptical. I don't want to say too much and give anything away but the action and suspense is amazing and the relationship that develops between Amy and a little girl she rescues and calls Baby, was so true and lovely that it had me completely emotionally invested in both of the characters.

Speaking of being emotionally invested, I usually favor books that end happily or at the very least try not to break my heart. Yet, there are times when I can't resist a book that gives me a case of the sads. My two favorite books that had me fighting back tears were INFINITE SKY by CJ Flood and CHARM & STRANGE by Stephanie Kuehn (which also just won The Morris Award - Yay Stephanie!). 

INFINITE SKY has the feeling of books that I read when I actually was a young adult and that have still stuck with me years later like SAY GOODNIGHT GRACIE, SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER, and BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA. It has the feel of a novel that is timeless and will continue to speak to readers fifty years from now.

CHARM & STRANGE, on the other hand, was unlike anything I've ever read before - in a good way. I kept turning the pages with no idea what was going to happen next. And the ending - I was braced for some terrible revelation, but when it came it was so shocking and terrible that I felt sucker-punched by it. This book literally made my heart ache and I feel fairly certain that I will never fully shake those final horrible images.

There are so many MORE books I want to talk about, just looking through my Goodreads account, I see so many books that I absolutely loved like POINTE by Brandy Colbert, THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black, DIRTY LITTLE SECRET by Jennifer Echols, A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT by Laura Whitcomb, ANGELFALL by Susan Ee, and so many more!!

Since I can't talk about every single book (well I could but to be honest it's a bit overwhelming) I want to focus on just one last one. Besides YA, I read a lot of romance and one book stood out and has earned a spot on my "will re-read and stalk author to see when she has more books coming out" shelf - that book was THE TYPEWRITER GIRL by Alison Atlee. This book would appeal to anyone who reads romance or woman's fiction (it probably fits a bit more into the latter category, but the HEA ending means that romance readers will be happy with it as well) or historical fiction. Honestly, I love this book so much that I was shocked to see that it had any bad reviews - it was one of those books that I loved SO MUCH that I had a hard time understanding how anyone else could not feel the same way. 

Okay, so that's about it for my belated year in review. It feels good to have last year all packed away - and now onto 2014!