For Today’s Fiction Friday, I wanted to Wish my Inkspell Publishing colleague and friend, Stephanie Lawton, a Happy Book Birthday for her second book, Shrapnel.

Lisa Voisin

It’s my pleasure and delight to share with you the cover reveal for Stephanie Lawton’s latest novel, Shrapnel.

About SHRAPNEL:

It’s been six years since Dylanie and her family visited a Civil War site and the place came alive with cannon fire. Problem was, no one could hear it but her.

Now she’s sixteen, her dad’s moved out, her mom’s come out of the closet and Dylan’s got a spot on Paranormal Teen, a reality TV show filming at historic Oakleigh Mansion. She’ll spend a weekend with two other psychic teens—Jake and Ashley—learning how to control her abilities.

None of them realized how much their emotional baggage would put them at the mercy of Oakleigh’s resident spirits, or that they’d find themselves pawns in the 150-year-old battle for the South’s legendary Confederate gold. Each must conquer their personal ghosts to face down Jackson, a seductive spirit who will do…

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YA Fiction – What About it?

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Considered the fastest growing genre in the literary industry, Young Adult (or YA) fiction is actually an open genre, containing everything from literary fiction designed for teens to fantasy, science fiction and the paranormal. In the bookstores, genres like Mystery and Romance are for adult novels. Yet, for Young Adults, there’s only the YA section. In the future, this may change as well. But for now, it offers a lot of room for genre cross over. In a YA novel, you can have a Mystery that is also Sci-Fi. You can have a Romance that is also and Urban Fantasy. Without these genres classifications, opportunities exist for even more creativity in YA fiction.

So what makes a book YA? Here are some of the things I have learned:

  • Protagonist is under 20 (some may argue that the main character is under 18).
  • Age of reader ranges from 13 – 21, with the reader being about 2 years younger than the protagonist.
  • Main character has autonomy from their parents – either the parent is absent, or dead,  or not in the picture because of disagreement with protagonist, etc.
  • Main character embarks on a journey which has to do with coming of age or some sort of rite of passage.
  • Identity is a key component – who am I right now? (Character has to overcome obstacle to find out who they are) with a high sense of importance placed on character’s  peer group – it’s about self and society.
  • Ending – has to have feeling of hope (can be poignant/witty, can have sense of grief, but hope must prevail). Often there is a revelation at the end, a sense of life carrying on.
  • Everything centers around action and story – use of scenes.
  • Story often follows a chronological structure with less backstory, sense of story happening “Now”
  • There are fewer subplots and a greater sense of a unified story.
  • Novels are generally shorter  < 100,000 words (with many exceptions, of course).
  • There is often a moral component to the story without preaching.
  • Voice for this genre is important. Readers need to feel they can relate to the characters without being talked down to.

One last thing to keep in mind when writing YA fiction is the role of parents, teachers and librarians who act as sort of Gatekeepers to books sold and distributed in this genre.

The Journey: From Anne Rice to Twilight

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This blog is here to talk about some of my favorite fiction. I am a fan of the teen paranormal romance genre, and I have a lot of authors to thank for this. First is Stephenie Meyer for her successful Twilight series. Reading that series opened the door to a whole genre of fiction that I loved and didn’t know the name of.

First of all, let me start of by saying that I’m not a teen. I’m an adult. Actually, I’m probably old enough to have teen children–but I don’t. I’ve been reading paranormal fiction for almost two decades. The first one that drew me in was Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. Then, after a brief journey into fantasy novels, I found the Anita Blake Vampire Series by Laurell K. Hamilton. These authors inspired a love of good Vampire fiction that wasn’t too gory and leaned towards romance.

Since then, the genre has developed. While there are many types of paranormal romances now, my favorite is the stuff written for teens. I also love the way the genre has changed and grown from L.J. Smith’s “Vampire Diaries” series to Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy books and Melissa Marr’s world of faeries in Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity.

In this blog, I’m going to talk a bit about these books and what I love about them. If you are a fan of paranormal romance, I’d also love to hear from you. Leave me a comment. Tell me your favorite teen paranormal romance. let me know there are indeed other people out there who love these types of books as much as I do!