YA lit

AT LAST, THE SERIES IS COMPLETE

Torch Rock Teaser - Copy

I sit before my computer in a confusing state of satisfaction and sadness. The earliest files in my hard drive for Reflection Pond date back to early 2012, though I think the actual writing started in 2011. There are dozens and dozens of files, if not hundreds. In the grand scheme of writing, four or five years for three books is not a long time, I realize that, but those years defined who I am as a writer. I began the series scared, uncertain of my own capabilities, and I’ve emerged from the other side more confident, more sure of myself and the risks I’m willing to take in my stories.

Today is the release day for Torch Rock, Book 3 in the Reflection Pond Series, the final installment of Callie and Rowan’s story. Much like me, the characters have gone on a journey to find their strength, to heal, and I’m deeply satisfied with this ending. I hope you, my readers, find it just as enjoyable as I do. I’ve already been asked if I’ll ever return to Callie and Rowan’s world, to expand on the secondary characters in the story, to follow the seeds of possibility I left strewn throughout the final novel. The truth is, I don’t know. I do have some bonus content, deleted scenes and such that may become available at some point. But right now, the end is justified, and I like the idea of readers creating their own possible futures for Rowan and Callie. The characters we love live on inside of us, and I hope some parts of Callie and Rowan live on in each of you.

To celebrate the release, I’ve made Reflection Pond free for today! On May 7th, the series will tour with Brook Cottage Books. You can still sign up for the promo day HERE.

I want to thank everyone who has stood beside me as I completed these books, especially those who encouraged me and listened to my issues (over and over again for weeks, months, and years). You know who you are. Thank you to the bloggers, reviewers, and every fan who has contacted me. Your support and enthusiasm always puts a smile on my face. Huge thank yous to my early readers, ARC reviewers, and everyone who has been cheering on Callie from the beginning. A big thanks to my designer Julia at Bioblossom Creative, who always, always exceeds my expectations with her beautiful covers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The entire series is available on Amazon. If you want some music to read to, check out the playlists I’ve created for Reflection Pond and Torch Rock. And when you’re done reading, please leave a review, even if it’s just an I liked it!

Reflection Pond

Amazon Goodreads Playlist

Poison Tree

Amazon Goodreads

Torch Rock

Amazon Goodreads Playlist

STEPPING STONES IS HERE!

Stepping Stones - FinalIt’s finally release day for Stepping Stones. If you’ve been following along you know how excited I am to share this book. It’s my baby…I absolutely love this story, especially how it’s progressed over the years and grown into something I’m so proud of. This is only the beginning of Everett and Onna’s story, they still have a long way to go.

So, what are you waiting for? Go grab your copy and please, please, PLEASE leave a review when you finish. (And remember to share it with your friends!)

Amazon Paperback * Kindle * Nook – Coming soon * Goodreads

Stepping Stones by Kacey Vanderkarr

YA Contemporary Fantasy

Onnaleigh Moore is part of a plan—and it isn’t hers. When her brother dies in a car accident, Onna is desperate to preserve the tatters of her family. Any hope of finding normalcy vanishes when her mother runs off and her dad turns to booze to numb his pain. Onna’s grief is crippling, but the boy who showed up just when she needed him is helping her cope.

Everett’s presence is comforting, though he knows things—Onna’s name just before they met, where she lives, and sometimes he comments on thoughts she doesn’t say aloud. She pegs him for a stalker, or maybe psychic, but the truth is deadlier than she imagines. As their feelings for one another deepen, Everett confesses a horrifying secret: Onna’s brother is only the beginning of the plan, and some fates are worse than death.

Follow along next week when Stepping Stones goes on tour with YA Bound Book Tours.

August 31st

Adventures in Bookland http://adventuresinbooklandblog.wordpress.com  Review

Reader Girls   http://www.readergirlsblog.com   Review

Desert Rose Reviews   http://desertrosereviews.blogspot.com     Promo Post

Kats Reading Corner    www.katsreadingcorner.blogspot.com   Promo Post

Writing Pearls   http://www.writingpearls.com   Review

Geeky Chiquitas   http://geekychiquitas.blogspot.com    Review

Rambling Reads   http://rambling-reads.blogspot.ie/    Promo Post

Princessica of Books  http://princessicaofbooks.wordpress.com   Promo Post

September 1st

Behind Closed Covers   http://behindclosedcovers.blogspot.com   Review

Mythical Books   http://www.mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/    Promo Post

Mom With A Kindle    http://momwithakindle.blogspot.com   Promo Post

Booky Thoughts and Me   http://www.bookythoughtsandme.com   Review

Part Time Book Nerd   www.parttimebooknerd.wordpress.com   Review

Here’s to Happy Endings   http://www.herestohappyendings.com   Review

Andrea Buginsky, Author   http://andreabuginskyauthor.blogspot.com/    Promo Post

Bibliobibuli YA    http://bibliobibuliya.com/   Promo Post

undercover book reviews – http://undercoverbookreviews.blogspot.com/ – Promo Post

3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – http://3partnersinshopping.blogspot.com – Promo Post

Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books – http://archaeolibrarianologist.blogspot.de/ – Promo Post

September 2nd

Reading, Writing, and What Not   http://pixiescanread.blogspot.com/    Review

I’m Lost in Books  http://imlostinbooks.blogspot.com   Promo Post

The Moral Of Our Stories   www.themoralofourstories.com   Promo Post

Star-Crossed Book Blog    http://starcrossedbookblog.com/    Review

Literary Musings    http://literarymusing.weebly.com/  Promo Post

A Crave For Books    http://acraveforbooks.blogspot.co.uk/   Review

The Moral Of Our Stories   www.themoralofourstories.com    Review

maliha reads   http://malihareads.wordpress.com   Review

September 3rd

Donnie Darko Girl   http://donniedarkogirl.blogspot.com   Review

Crystal’s Chaotic Confessions    https://crystalschaoticconfessions.wordpress.com/     Promo Post

Around the World in Books    http://www.aroundtheworldinbooks.ca/    Promo Post

The SMART Book Club   http://thesmartbookclub.blogspot.com/   Review

My Random Book Thoughts   http://myrandombookthoughts.blogspot.com/ Review

Readiculously Peachy http://readiculously-peachy.blogspot.com    Review

A girl and her books   Www.southernbooknerd.blogspot.com   Review

Flirting with Fiction http://flirtyfiction.net   Review

Reading Addict – http://readingadd.blogspot.ro/  Review

comfort Books   http://paigebradish1996.blogspot.com/  Promo Post

September 4th

Reading, Writing, and What Not  http://pixiescanread.blogspot.com/   Review

Feed Your Fiction Addiction http://feedyourfictionaddiction.com    Review

The Book Lovers’ Lounge    http://thebookloverslounge.com  Review

books are love   http://hello-booklover.tumblr.com Review

In Wonderland   http://www.stephwonderland.blogspot.com Review

Just Us Book Blog  http://justusbookblog.blogspot.com/   Promo Post

The Phantom Paragrapher   www.thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com   Review

The Page Unbound    http://thepageunbound.com   Review

Desert Rose Reviews  http://desertrosereviews.blogspot.com  Promo Post

Mythical Books  http://www.mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/  Promo Post

Stephanie Keyes, Author Www.atephaniekeyes.com/the-blog Promo Post

All the best,

Kacey

STEPPING STONES – A LOOK BACK (PART 2/3)

Stepping Stones - FinalIn anticipation of Stepping Stones’ release on August 25th, I’ve dug out my old manuscripts and, along with some amazing friends, torn them to shreds. I’ve been writing consistently for 6 or 7 years now, and I’ve come a long way. What you see below is progress. Sometimes (READ: ALWAYS) you don’t get it right on the first try. It takes multiple drafts, a lot of heartache, and tons of hair pulling to finish a manuscript. It’s worth it. Learning to write in a way that affects people has no comparison.  I’ll never forget when I read at Flint Area Writers and one of the other authors (who I respect immensely!) turned to me and said, “I hate you.” You can read the piece she loved. It’s in the inaugural issue of Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things. The point is, it took me YEARS to reach that point. And it made all the work worth it. (Getting published certainly helped, too.)

Joining me today are my partners in crime, Stephanie Keyes (of The Star Child fame) and Hannah R. Goodman (Founder and Editor of Sucker Literary and All the Way YA). These ladies have taken off their gloves and given me their honest opinions and suggestions. When you’re a new writer, you NEED people like this. Grow some thick skin and let’s get down to it.

STEPPING STONES VERSION TWO – 2010 (CATCH UP Read Version One HERE.)

KACEY: I will prequel Version Two by saying that I shared Version One with a few close friends who I love dearly. They, bless them, LOVED it! This bolstered my courage. “I am a writer,” I shouted. “Hear me roar!” Which essentially means I sought out some writers online. Writing groups. Writing websites. Things about *gasp* publishing.

Here’s what I learned between Version One and Version Two:

*Agents won’t look at a YA manuscript that has 125,000 words.

*As a writer, you can’t just ramble on and on for no reason.

*Self-editing sucks, and it’s not something you learn how to do overnight. (HANNAH: Toughest rookie lessons to learn but once you let go of taking anything personally, this is a game changer in a manuscript.)

The first bell rang forcing me into my final year of high school. The last two weeks of summer had passed quickly. My mother moved out and away without a backward glance. My dad and I still reeled from the shock of it. Even though she’d served the divorce papers I’d never really believed she would go through with it. She wasn’t my mother anymore—her entire personality had changed.

HANNAH: Aha! Yes! We are in the moment! Things are HAPPENING! And backstory is given with succinct, action-oriented language. “Moved out” and “still reeled” although simple, get the idea across with a feeling of movement in the wording. Much better!

I should’ve been excited to start the final year. I’d looked forward to it since fifth grade when I realized that school ended eventually. But instead, I thought about my mom and worried about my dad.

KACEY: BEHOLD! The condensed version of the INFO DUMP. At least it’s condensed, but it still doesn’t belong here. Slightly fewer HADS, still FAR TOO MANY.

STEPH: I like this better, but there’s still no emotion in this. Also, it needs to be more active for an opening paragraph. Everything’s still happening to her. Her mom ditched her entire family. How does she feel on the first day of school with that news weighing her down? That’s a big deal. We should feel the weight bearing down on her shoulders from this.

I slammed my locker door and wound my way through the familiar hallway flanked by red lockers. Halfway down the hall Hunter joined me, already talking a mile a minute about the new guy. I’d heard snippets from other students in the halls.

KACEY: Hot guy? What is this? Better yet, WHO is this? That’s right. I discovered that it’s important to introduce BOTH main characters in the first scene. This is a CATALYST. Something needs to happen to the character that gets her story going.

And let me warn you about all the adverbs coming. ADVERBS are like dialogue tags. They should occur rarely, if ever, and only if they’re super special. I have a friend who uses prettily to describe sighs and I’m down with it. I’m sure there are a few in my final version. But adverbs are not our friends. They’re distant relatives that you visited once when you were a kid but can’t really remember.

HANNAH: I will point out the words that improve this…slammed, flanked. Strong verbs that evoke immediate feelings and images. Cliché alert! “Mile a minute”.

STEPH: So what feels familiar about this hallway? How does she feel seeing it and knowing her mother isn’t around? That the last time she was there they were a family? Describe it more fully. What else is there besides red lockers. Are they freshly-painted, chipped, older than God? We need to see this. Also, what does Hunter look like? Can we have dialogue with Hunter talking about the new guy? Describing him?

“And, oh my gosh, Onna!! I cannot believe how hot he is.” She sighed longingly, “If only I wasn’t still with Brody. I would be all over that.” She pulled a tube of watermelon lip gloss from her newly acquired Coach purse and applied it liberally, smacking her lips. “I mean, I love Brody…” She smiled, “Of course I do.”

“Who are you trying to convince?” I asked. Hunter rolled her eyes.

I couldn’t comment on the supposed hot new guy. I hadn’t met him yet, but news traveled fast at Swartz Creek High School. I wondered how long it would take for everyone to know the details of my parents separation.

KACEY: INFO DUMP

STEPH: Most people don’t use one another’s names in casual conversation that often. Hunter is a girl? I missed this! It could just be me, but let’s be clear on Hunter’s gender. A good description of her above would help.

We passed the library. It was empty except for the frumpy librarian who was steadily stamping newly donated books, looking as menial as her job.

I was distracted, thinking about my mom again. She was going to miss my senior year, my senior prom, graduation, all of it. I hadn’t heard from her since the day she left nearly two weeks ago. I was beginning to think that she didn’t even care. The morning she left, I’d woken to pancakes. It was almost a normal day; her heading off to work at the salon, my dad was already gone for the day. We ate breakfast in oppressive silence—not that I’d worried about it. I went school shopping for a few hours and when I returned all of her stuff was gone. I hadn’t seen her pack. She left her wedding ring on the kitchen counter where Dad was sure to see it.

KACEY: So I moved on from HAD and developed a love for WAS. WAS is HAD’s illegitimate brother that always gets drunk at weddings and embarrasses the family. Almost always, WAS sits in front of what could be an awesome VERB. She was going to miss my senior year, my senior prom, graduation, all of it. WAS GOING…so ugly. Simple fix? Mom would miss my senior year… Better fix? Mom abandoned me. ABANDONED. Hits you right in the feels! Also, Onna’s inner monologue makes her sound super selfish, which she isn’t, I promise.

HANNAH: I just wonder if we could skip all the narrative and get to the immediate, present day action.

STEPH: So explain a little more clearly that they are still walking. Where are they going? What’s her goal. YES! I want these thoughts about her mom. I want them sooner. Again, we’re slipping into backstory here. Show this all to me as it’s happening. I’m getting everything after the fact.

“Um, hello. Are you in there?” I forced myself to meet Hunter’s insistent stare, her watermelon lip gloss shimmered on her pursed lips. Her summer blonde hair flounced around her shoulders as she nodded towards the door. “Are you going to go in, or are you just going to stand here looking dazed?”

KACEY: Oh gosh. That description of Hunter’s lip gloss and hair. Less is more, people. Less is more.

STEPH: If you spend that much time on the lip gloss, we’re gonna think it has magical properties. : ) Also, I’m not sure who’s speaking here. Just be clear.

Inside, I could see students milling about, chatting with friends and already looking bored at the prospect of a new school year. I could relate.

The sociology classroom was unusually full, which forced Hunter and I to sit on opposite ends of the room. She blew me a kiss and headed to an empty seat in the back. I had to take the last seat in the front of the room, directly facing the teacher’s desk. I wasn’t a bookworm, but sitting in front of the class wasn’t unusual for me. My grades were important because I wanted to go away to college—not just any college, either. Only a big university would do. But it was all just dreams, even though it was my senior year.

The second bell rang and the teacher bustled into the room. She was intimidating at six foot two. She had a short, no nonsense haircut that left brown strands fringing her face.

“Full house,” she joked, her voice sugary, more fitting to a preteen girl than a forty something woman. “Okay, this is Sociology 304, if this isn’t your class, get out your schedule and we’ll help you find it.” She smiled as five students, including the boy seated beside me, stood up, looking slightly embarrassed. I assumed they were freshman, as lost as an Alzheimer’s patient at Detroit Metro Airport.

KACEY: This is a lot of description for the teacher. She’s not even important to the story. Save your words for people and things that matter. Also, what’s happened so far in this scene? A whole lot of nothing. It’s Onna’s first day of school. There’s a new hot guy. This is normal, boring, everyday stuff. The reader is bored. I’m bored. Somebody please throw this manuscript in the trash.

Just kidding…

Kind of.

HANNAH: I hate to say this, but I agree. I keep waiting for the “something-big-to-happen” and I’m waiting too long as a reader.

STEPH: Inside what? I need more transition so I know their walking to Onna’s first class. Did they have their schedules before they came to school? Wouldn’t they swap schedules? Alzheimer’s patient at Detroit Metro Airport.—love this image.

As she assisted them in finding their respective classrooms, I stared blankly at the wall. I wondered what Mom was doing, and if she was happy. Should I pop in for a visit at the salon she worked at?

I thought better of it. If she wanted to see me, she would come home, or call, even.

Dad was taking it hard. He still went to work, but I’d noticed the dark circles forming under his eyes. When he came home he no longer wanted to watch television or play pool like we used to. He just went into his office and shut the door. We didn’t eat dinner together anymore either.

Though I was capable of taking care of myself, I worried about him. I’d cooked dinner since my mom left; though it used to be something my dad enjoyed doing. Now he wasn’t interested in anything. His portion of the food usually went uneaten, even if I wrapped it up and left it in the fridge. I was at a loss; I didn’t know how to make it easier for him. I cleaned the house, I did his laundry, but he wasn’t seeing anything anymore. He just went through the motions of living, but didn’t feel any of it, like a zombie or a robot.

I could only imagine what he was feeling because he refused to talk about it. He’d slammed his office door in my face one too many times, and I’d lost the will to pursue it. I wanted my dad to be happy, but I didn’t think he was ready to deal with his grief yet.

I didn’t know if I was ready to deal with his grief yet, let alone my own.

The teacher handed out papers about the course and the required project, and I forced myself to take notes. I refused to let my grades slip. I wanted to apply to Yale, and it was a stretch if I didn’t have perfect grades. So I settled into the mundane task of recording every word she said.

KACEY: We spend SO MUCH TIME in Onna’s yet when we’re not yet invested in her story. She thinking about her life, which is code for INFO DUMP. Are you sick of me saying that word? Because I am! There’s hardly any dialogue, nothing to move the scene along. Nothing happens! This makes the opening COMPETELY USELESS. Nobody cares about Onna. Nobody cares that her parents are getting divorced or that she wants to go to Yale. Nobody likes her best friend. INFO DUMPS don’t make friends.  

Moral of the story? ACTION! DIALOGUE! PLEASE GOD LET SOMETHING HAPPEN.

HANNAH: You said it all perfectly for me : )

STEPH: While this is interesting, it’s all told. We aren’t seeing any of this happen. If this is all important enough to mention then the book should start with the scene between Mom and Dad. If it’s so pivotal then show it to us, don’t cheat us. Inquiring minds want to know!

Version Two is in the books…well, sort of. What do you think? Is it better? Did I learn a thing or two those first couple years? Writing is a JOURNEY. It’s a lifelong learning experience. I get better at it every day.

Hang around. The final version is coming!

All the best,

Kacey

STEPPING STONES COVER REVEAL

Stepping Stones - FinalI’m so excited to reveal the cover of Stepping Stones, created by the wonderful Julia at Bioblossom Creative.

Stepping Stones (The Stone Series, Book 1)

Available August 25, 2015

Onnaleigh Moore is part of a plan—and it isn’t hers. When her brother dies in a car accident, Onna is desperate to preserve the tatters of her family. Any hope of finding normalcy vanishes when her mother runs off and her dad turns to booze to numb his pain. Onna’s grief is crippling, but the boy who showed up just when she needed him is helping her cope.

Everett’s presence is comforting, though he knows things—Onna’s name just before they met, where she lives, and sometimes he comments on thoughts she doesn’t say aloud. She pegs him for a stalker, or maybe psychic, but the truth is deadlier than she imagines. As their feelings for one another deepen, Everett confesses a horrifying secret: Onna’s brother is only the beginning of the plan, and some fates are worse than death.  

Add it on Goodreads.

I have so many exciting things planned for this series. I can’t wait to share Onna and Everett’s story with you. What do you think of the new cover and blurb? Leave me a comment below!

ALL THE TORCH ROCK TEASERS IN ONE PLACE

I know I surprised all of you with the news of a NEW book series, but, as a show of good faith that Torch Rock is still happening this year, I’ve compiled all the teasers I can find and posted them below. Maybe I’m biased, but 75% of these are from Rowan’s POV. (No I will not point out which ones!)

Because you’re all loyal blog followers and I heart you, I’ve also included a sneaky-sneak exclusive teaser and a photo, which is an obscure reference to Torch Rock. Obscure? Hmm…

Enjoy! And don’t forget to leave a comment below. I love hearing from you!

“I can’t lie to you, Callie, and act like I haven’t thought about it. I think about it all the damn time.”

She loved this city, but rebuilding it to its former glory felt out of reach, like climbing the stars to capture the moon.

“Your guards won’t save you. I’ll do it just like you did—inch by agonizing inch until there’s nothing left to cut away, until you beg me to die.”

“What if they’re dead?” Ash asked.

His wings blocked out the sun, their usual inky depths stained brilliant blue, the tips alight with flames.

“You’re not afraid of me,” he said, voice full of wonder. “Arol’s children are so uniquely idiotic.”

“We don’t have to map the future with our scars.”

Rowan rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb. “I kept the scars because they remind me of my foster mother. The guilt is—” he shook his head. “It’s an infection. I’ve carried it inside of me for years thinking the only way I can be a good person is if I remember all the wrong I’ve done. And then you came along.” He looked up, giving her a half-smile.
“It’s not your fault,” she said, heart aching for the boy he’d been, for the broken man he became.
“You forgive me so easily I’ve started to think I could forgive myself, too.”

He’d never touched her like this, so unthinking and natural, as if she actually enjoyed it. Something warm unfurled in his chest. When he reached the base of her spine, he wound his arms around her until her back pressed against his front, and lifted the sword into her hands. “Find me, then.”

 

STEPPING STONES (NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT!)

For those of you who pay attention (or creepily stalk me, because let’s be real), you might’ve noticed some super secretive things going on today. As in: I announced a new book on Goodreads!

Stepping Stones, the first book in The Stone Series, will release August 25, 2015.

Onnaleigh Moore is part of a plan—and it isn’t hers. When her brother dies in a car accident, Onna is desperate to preserve the tatters of her family. Any hope of finding normalcy vanishes when her mother runs off and her dad turns to booze to numb his pain. Onna’s grief is crippling, but the boy who showed up just when she needed him is helping her cope.

Everett’s presence is comforting, though he knows things—Onna’s name just before they met, where she lives, and sometimes he comments on thoughts she doesn’t say aloud. She pegs him for a stalker, or maybe psychic, but the truth is deadlier than she imagines. As their feelings for one another deepen, Everett confesses a horrifying secret: Onna’s brother is only the beginning of the plan, and some fates are worse than death.

I’m so excited to share this story with you. I’ve been in contact with my designer and we’re planning an amazing set of covers for the trilogy.

I love everything about this book and hope you will too. Everett and Onna are old friends to me, a story I know by heart, one that begs to be told. August can’t get here soon enough!

To stay updated, make sure you sign up for my newsletter HERE. And don’t forget to add Stepping Stones to your to-read pile on Goodreads!

All the best,

Kacey

(Now, I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t Torch Rock releasing this year? Yes. That is the plan. Torch Rock will (hopefully) be ready for publication in December, just in time for Christmas.)

REFLECTION POND BLOG TOUR

Hosted by YA BOUND BOOK TOURS. They’re awesome, guys, and I’m so excited for this tour. Not only is Reflection Pond featured on dozens of AMAZING blogs, it’s free.

YEP. You read that right, FREE STARTING TODAY. For Kindle, February 2-6. Tell everyone you know. Want to steal a gif and announce it on Facebook or Twitter? Here you go!

Reflection Pond Free Ad

Want a teaser quote?

Reflection Pond Quote 1

Below is the tour schedule. A HUGE THANKS to YA Bound for setting this up.

February 2:

Mom With A Kindle – Promo Post

Musings In Fiction Alley – Review

The YA Club – Promo Post

Once Upon A Time A Review – Promo Post

Fangirl World –  Review

Seeing Double In Neverland – Promo Post

February 3:

kariny’s teen boox frenzy – Review

The Page Unbound – Review

Mythical Books – Promo Post

Sunshine Book Promotions – Promo Post

The Perks of Being a Book Girl – Review

Just Us Book Blog – Promo Post

February 4:

Addicted Readers – Promo Post

Star-Crossed Book Blog – Review

The Written Adventure – Promo Post

Between The Lines – Review

Books and Ashes – Review

February 5:

Clever Girls Read – Review

Pandora’s Opened Box – Review

Curling Up With A Good Book – Promo Post

The Book Rogue – Review

Lovely Reads – Review

February 6:

The Avid Reader – Promo Post

Book Butterfly in Dreamland – Review

Reader Girls – Promo Post

CBY Book Club – Promo Post