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Download the Tor Teen Sampler!

Tor Teen SamplerYOU’RE INVITED

What: To read special excerpts of BRAND NEW fiction from Tor Teen, like Metaltown and Vassa in the Night, plus a deleted scene from Susan Dennard’s upcoming Windwitch!

Where: Delivered right to your inbox!

When: NOW! Sign up for our newsletter and receive the sampler!

Why: Tor Teen wants to celebrate boundary-breaking fiction with you this summer! From the strong bonds of sisterhood in Vicarious and Truthwitch to the kickass heroines of Steeplejack and Vassa in the Night, these powerful books are sure to find a beloved spot on your shelves–and we want to kick the summer off right by sending you excerpts of them first!

HERE ARE THE SNEAK PEEKS YOU’LL GET:

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Riders Swag Sweepstakes

Riders Sweepstakes Prize

Can’t wait for Veronica Rossi’s Riders? Want to receive all the swag from BookTuber Christine’s Riders unboxing video? Here’s your chance, Rossi fans!

One lucky winner will receive the same fiery set of prizes mailed to our BookTubers! This includes a Riders signed poster, cuffs of the Four Horsemen, a Riders pencil set, Riders bookmark, and, of course, a copy of Riders itself.

All you have to do is sign up for our Veronica Rossi mailing list, which will keep you up-to-date on Riders, Rossi’s upcoming books, and more—and you’ll be entered for a chance to win!

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OFFICIAL RULES

Riders Swag Sweepstakes

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING.

  1. To Enter: Submit your entry by fully completing the sign-up form found at https://torforgeblog.wpengine.com/2016/02/01/riders-swag-sweepstakes/ (the “Site”). Sweepstakes begins online at 12:00 PM Eastern Time (ET) on Monday, February 1, 2016 and ends at 12:00 PM ET on Friday, February 05, 2016. Your entry will sign you up to receive emailed news related to Veronica Rossi Author Alert as well as enter you into the sweepstakes.

Limit one entry per person or household. The entry must be fully completed; mechanically reproduced; incomplete and/or illegible entries will not be accepted. In case of dispute with respect to online entries, entries will be declared made by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet Access Provider, on-line service provider, or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address. Entries become property of Sponsor and will not be returned. Automated entries are prohibited, and any use of such automated devices will cause disqualification. Sponsor and its advertising and promotions agencies are not responsible for lost, late, illegible, misdirected or stolen entries or transmissions, or problems of any kind whether mechanical, human or electronic.

  1. Random Drawing: A random drawing will be held from all eligible, correctly completed entries received on a timely basis, on or about Monday, February 08, 2016, by Tor Teen, whose decisions concerning all matters related to this sweepstakes are final.
  2. Notice to Winners: Winner will be notified by e-mail. Winner may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and publicity/liability release within fifteen (15) days of notification attempt or prize may be awarded to alternate winner. Return of any prize notification as undeliverable will result in disqualification and alternate winner will be selected. If an entrant selected in the drawing is a resident of Canada, to be declared a winner he/she must correctly answer,
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  3. Prize: One (1) Grand Prize winner(s) will receive One (1) copy of Riders, One (1) bookmark, Four (4) pencils of the apocalypse, Four (4) bracelets of the apocalypse, One (1) signed poster. Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of the Prize: $41.00.

    Approximate retail value of all prizes: $41.00

  1. Odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries received. If any prize is won by a minor, it will be awarded in the name of minor’s parent or legal guardian. Each entrant selected as a potential winner must comply with all terms and conditions set forth in these Official Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all such requirements. Sponsor makes no warranties with regard to the prize. Prize is not transferable. No substitutions of prize allowed by winner, but Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. Prize is not redeemable by winner for cash value. All taxes, fees and surcharges on prize are the sole responsibility of winner.
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CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEB SITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE SWEEPSTAKES MAY BE A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

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  2. Winner List: For winner information, available after Friday, February 05, 2016, send by Monday, February 08, 2016 a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Winner Information, Riders Swag Sweepstakes, c/o Tor Teen, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.
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Building a Solid Writing Practice One Goal at a Time

Riders by Veronica Rossi
Written by Veronica Rossi

I’m a big believer in setting goals. Personal. Professional. Spiritual. You name it. I firmly believe you stand a much better chance of getting somewhere if you know where you’re trying to go.

Goals have been a huge part of my writing life. I wrote my first published novel, Under the Never Sky, by sitting down exactly seven years ago and planning twelve-months’ worth of targets. Without an editor to establish deadlines, I took on that role myself. I bought a calendar and projected drafting and revision goals that were specific and realistic. I had a good idea by then of my average productivity so I created milestones I felt pretty confident I could meet. And I did. It wasn’t always perfect. Some months I fell behind. Others I surged ahead. But having those targets—and hitting them—was tremendously encouraging. Big things are accomplished in small steps.

My second YA series begins with Riders. It’s a modern-day fantasy about four teens who unwittingly become incarnations of the four horsemen. These poor guys—War, Death, Famine, and Conquest—do not want to be what they’ve become but the only way to change their situation is to complete a mission. With the help of a visionary girl, they must protect a sacred object from some truly bad baddies.

Riders, which releases on February 16th, was written in a similar process as Under the Never Sky. Take out the scope. Focus on the summit. Project distance and elevation. Plan the route. Prep the materials. And go.

If you stick to a plan, you can write a solid draft of a book in a year. Really.

Having written several novels now, my focus as a writer has shifted. I know I can create books so my 2016 writing goals are about digging deeper. And though they’re writing-oriented I think a few might be helpful to anyone pursuing a creative endeavor. Without further ado, here they are:

  1. Answer the “Why” — My husband recently read Start With the Why by Simon Sinek, based on his TED Talk of the same title. Though I’ve only seen the latter, we’ve been having many discussions about the central tenet of Sinek’s argument. Though it’s primarily geared toward business-minded folks, Sinek poses a question that he believes everyone should consider: What’s your Why? Why do you do what you do? In my case: why do I write?I honestly thought it would be an easier question to answer. After all, I’ve been writing seriously for a dozen years now and I love writing. However to truly answer that question requires some honest soul-searching. Do I write to understand myself? To understand the world? To inspire others? What, specifically, is the desire that pulls me forward, book after book?Most writers are familiar with the story premise or logline. Usually a formula that goes something like: Character does X despite facing Y obstacles in order to achieve Z goal. But what’s my logline? Why does Veronica write in the face of deadlines, writer’s block, etc. to achieve novels? I want to understand the true nature of the force that propels me to tell stories. Sinek explains that we attract people who have similar Whys. That is, whatever it is that motivates me is the very thing that aligns my readers with me. So. By having a firm grasp on my Why, I think I’ll be able to write even better stories and more fully enjoy my work. As I said above, when you know where you want to go, you have a much greater chance of actually getting there.
  2. Step Away From the Computer — I took a month away from the Internet last summer and it was glorious. Seriously. It had an undeniable impact on my mood and my creativity. I was more relaxed. My focus improved. Even my imagination. I plan to do another month-long break this year.In addition to that, I’m going to spend more time working in notebooks. Not just journaling, which I already do, but writing. I started this recently and was shocked to find that my hand grew tired after only a page or two! Scary. But I’ve also found that I take greater care in crafting sentences when I put pen to paper. It causes me to slow down, to think. That’s a great benefit. I make my trade by creating good ideas and sentences—so anything I can do to improve on them is absolutely a priority.
  3. Learn! — A dear writing friend of mine and I have been scheming for the past few months about the classes we plan to take this year. Poetry. Screenwriting. Short stories, maybe? Gasp! Perhaps. If we’re bold enough. We both always want to improve as writers so we’ll be taking online classes that push us out of our comfort zones, right into the growth zone!
  4. Expand Horizons — Before I became a novelist, I was an oil painter. I spent a few years painting commissioned works as my profession. While I’m not sure I’ll go back to painting, I do want to bring another outlet into my life—and it doesn’t necessarily need to be creative. I started running last year and that had a strong positive impact on me. Like painting, running provided me with “non-thinking” time with no no room for email, Twitter, daily chores, or anything else.This goal ties in with the social media break I mentioned above. Too much external input can actually bring me to a point where I don’t even hear my own thoughts anymore. Through these “non-thinking” activities, my subconscious mind gets to stand up, stretch, and step into the spotlight for a while. With every passing year I see the importance of this increase. Making a practice of mental “quiet time” is critical for my creative health.
  5. Be Patient — I’ve been writing on deadline for the past five years. Hustling. For five years. Even before that, when I was trying to get published, I felt this tremendous impatience to hurry things along. I wanted the agent so I could get the book deal so I could publish a book so I could be published so I could…?Write! Write more, of course! It’s what I love to do. It’s a circular deal. I didn’t realize that for a long time, but writing is the work and the reward—so why rush? A good friend of mine has a great way of describing it. He says: Writing to get published is a pie-eating contest where the prize is more pie. So, my goal is to take my time. Make a great pie. The best one possible. The writing is the reward.

So, in addition to revising the sequel to Riders, those are some of the things I’ll be working on this coming year. I think they all fall under the umbrella of being more thoughtful and connected to one of the great passions in my life. What are some of your goals, writing or otherwise? What’s your Why?

Preorder Riders today:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

Follow Veronica Rossi on Twitter at @rossibooks, on Facebook, and on her website.

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Making Maps: The Weight of Imaginary Geography

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Written by Susan Dennard

Because I’m currently writing the second book in the Witchlands series (titled Windwitch), I thought I’d discuss maps. Why? Because maps are really, really important in storytelling. I don’t care what genre you’re writing—knowing Where Things Are not only helps the drafting process, but it also helps ground the story.

Even if you’re drafting a contemporary, you want the details of a city to be right. And even if your city is totally made up, you want to make sure it feels real.

Personally, I love making maps. No doubt because they’re great procrastination tool—I mean, I could hardly start drafting my fun murder mystery idea without a fully developed town!MysteryIdea

In case you’re curious, the idea was a sort of Nancy Drew meets Remington Steele tale complete with romance! tension! 1960s fashion! A touch of paranormal mystique! As such, I wanted a cute, contained town with lots of fun—even offbeat—features.

For my Something Strange & Deadly series, I was working with real cities during Victorian times. As such, I had to use historic maps of the area.

For Philadelphia, it was easy! 1876 was the year of the Centennial Exhibition, so not only were tons of maps made for visiting tourists, but detailed guidebooks too.1876-Philly-with-locations

The same could not be said for 1876 Paris. I think the closest I got was 1883. As for Cairo, I never did find a good map. I ended up compiling a bunch of different diaries and guidebooks written in/around 1876 in order to get a good idea of where things were.

When it came time to write Truthwitch, one of the first things I did was sketch out a rough map of the Witchlands continent. Since the empires are loosely (read: very, very loosely) based on the Venetian, Ottoman, and Habsburg empires, I knew I wanted my continent to look roughly European.

And, since most of the action happens in my alternate Venetian empire (at least in the first book), I wanted the area to feel Mediterranean and Adriatic.WitchlandsRough

While I was drafting Truthwitch, I used this rough map to approximate distances and travel times, to figure out the most logical routes to different places—and, perhaps most importantly, to imagine how the landscape all fit together.

Once it was time for an actual illustrator (Maxime Plasse) to step in and reproduce the map “all fancy like,” he helped me tweak some names and he also suggested some new/different landscape elements. For example, he added some more mountains and rivers to make it all feel More Real.

One thing I really wanted for the series’ map was for it to look like it came from the Witchlands—like maybe my characters would have this exact map to travel. Well, Maxime totally succeeded in creating that. I mean, just check out this cartouche. (I LOVE THAT WORD. Cartouche, cartouche, cartouche. I wish I had more excuses to use it in everyday conversation.)
Cartouche

It looks very official, doesn’t it? Ah, and are you interested in seeing the full color version of the final Witchlands map? Well, east your eyes on the glory that Maxime Plasse produced!

The Witchlands
Now that I’m writing Windwitch, I’m relying on my glorious final map a lot—like way more than I did with book one. For some idiotic reason, I left all of my characters are in different places at the end of Truthwitch. Now I must constantly scrutinize the map to figure out where everyone is in relation to each other.

Right now, it looks like most of book two will happen around Lovats, which is the capital of an autonomous nation called Nubrevna. That said, who knows where everyone will end up by the time I finish the book! All I know for certain is that my maps will keep me (and my characters) on course.

Buy Truthwitch today:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

Follow Susan Dennard on Twitter at @stdennard, on Facebook, and on her website.

YA Fantasy Sweepstakes

Truthwitch and Riders

We’ve got some exciting YA titles coming out this winter, and we want to give you a chance to read them first! Sign up for the Tor Newsletter for a chance to win advance reading copies of Truthwitch and Riders. We’ll be giving away three prize packs, and each winner will also get a set of the buttons you see above. Sign up now!
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Book Trailer: A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

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A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

A School for Unusual Girls is the first captivating installment in the Stranje House series for young adults by award-winning author Kathleen Baldwin. #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot calls this romantic Regency adventure “completely original and totally engrossing.”

It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don’t fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts….

A School for Unusual Girls is a great next read for fans of Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series and Robin LaFevers’ His Fair Assassin series.

Buy A School for Unusual Girls today:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

Follow Kathleen Baldwin on Twitter at @KatBaldwin, on Facebook, or visit her online.

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Tortuous Training Devices: A Time Traveler’s Guide to Regency England

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin
Written by Kathleen Baldwin

Part 3

You brave soul—after all my warnings you still want to time travel back to the Regency era. You must really like guys with high starched collars. Okay then, we’ve covered dress, keeping your brains under wraps, linguistic pitfalls, and the danger of fans. Now, it’s time for the all-important lesson on manners.

Pretend you are a super rich teenage girl. Well, maybe you really are super rich, I don’t know. But supposing you were mega-wealthy and lived in the biggest house in town, how would your family expect you to behave?

RichGirlWould you carry a little dog like Paris Hilton and make the rounds at all the trendiest clubs? Would your parents want you to go to college and major in something classy, like renaissance art? Or maybe you would be required to play the violin and study medicine.

Things were different for young ladies during the Regency era.

As we discussed in A Time Traveler’s Guide to Regency England Part 1 and Part 2 keeping your intelligence under wraps was a must. It would be okay to play the pianoforte, but not study medicine. You can have a little dog like Hilton, but you can’t go anywhere unescorted. No late night balls, soirees, or opera houses without your mother or your grumpy Aunt Agatha tagging along to keep you out of mischief.

Do’s and Don’ts, or Else…

If you follow the herd and do what everyone else is doing you’ll probably be fine.

Peggy Ann Garner as young Jane EyreHere are four helpful hints:

First: Mind your posture. Posture was extremely important to Regency high society. So keep that spine straight or else you may find yourself strapped to a torturous device called a backboard.

Backboards consisted of a slab of wood with leather straps tying the young lady into proper position. Such boards were used extensively until the 20th century.

Second: Whatever you do, don’t get cheeky. Corporal punishment was still the mode. Women and children were legally allowed to be whipped so long as the rod used to beat them was not any larger than a man’s thumb. That’s a pretty hefty stick if anyone were to ask me. So, mind your guardians and chaperones, and don’t talk back.

Another common method of reforming a smart-alecky daughter was to lock her in a closet for several days with only bread and water to eat. If that didn’t get results there was always a reform school like the one in A School for Unusual Girls.

FoodForkThird: Table manners. It was the custom to put a little bit of each kind of food on your fork, a sliver of parsnip, a penny carrot, a bite of ham, a tuft of asparagus, a small slice of roast beef. This all goes down your gullet together. Good luck. It isn’t easy. Try stabbing one pea. You may want to practice this task before you pop into your time machine.

Fourth: When a lull arises in the conversation a well-bred young lady may be expected to strike an attitude. How does one strike an attitude, you ask? Are those awful thumb-width whipping sticks involved?

No. An attitude is a pose based on classical Greek art, or historical figures such as Rebecca or Cleopatra. As in charades, guests at the gathering would then guess which historical figure the young lady was impersonating. Some of the attitudes were fairly provocative, for instance Venus or Aphrodite. Young ladies practiced their poses, and even hired tutors to instruct them, all in the hope of performing and impressing gentlemen.

You see, there were fun and games to be had after all. Just stay away from backboards and whipping sticks. Bon Voyage!

Preorder A School for Unusual Girls today:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

Follow Kathleen Baldwin on Twitter at @KatBaldwin, on Facebook, or visit her online.

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Book Trailer: Three by Kristen Simmons

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Three by Kristen Simmons

Kristen Simmons’ fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series continues in Three.

Ember Miller and Chase Jennings are ready to stop running. After weeks spent in hiding as two of the Bureau of Reformation’s most wanted criminals, they have finally arrived at the safe house, where they hope to live a safe and quiet existence.
And all that’s left is smoking ruins.

Devastated by the demolition of their last hope, Ember and Chase follow the only thing left to them—tracks leading away from the wreckage. The only sign that there may have been survivors.

With their high profile, they know they can’t stay out in the open for long. They take shelter in the wilderness and amidst the ruins of abandoned cities as they follow the tracks down the coast, eventually finding refugees from the destroyed safe house. Among them is someone from Chase’s past—someone he never thought he’d see again.

Banding together, they search for a place to hide, aiming for a settlement a few of them have heard about…a settlement that is rumored to house the nebulous organization known as Three. The very group that has provided Ember with a tiny ray of hope ever since she was first forced on the run.

Three is responsible for the huge network of underground safe houses and resistance groups across the country. And they may offer Ember her only chance at telling the world her story.

At fighting back.

Three, by Kristen Simmons, publishes on February 11th.

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