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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Sharks, Squid and Dolphins, Oh My! Why THE NEPTUNE PROJECT is Literally a Sea Apart

How is THE NEPTUNE PROJECT different from other children’s books? That’s easy to answer. TNP has a very unique setting. Few books for kids take place almost entirely in the sea. Every Sunday night my generation got to watch Jacques Cousteau explore the oceans of the world, but I think this generation of young readers knows very little about the oceans that cover 73% of our planet.

Because I’m an avid scuba diver, I can describe what it’s like beneath the waves. It is a fascinating world, full of beautiful creatures like billowing white cloud sponges, delicate brittle stars and brilliantly-colored corals, and odd ones like plump orange sea cucumbers and funny round pufferfish. Far from silent, the oceans depths are filled with the sound of shrimp crackling, dolphins squeaking and sand whispering.

Marie, one of my young beta readers, said wonderingly, “I had no idea all that cool stuff was down there.” There are all kinds of cool stuff down there, and if you read THE NEPTUNE PROJECT, you’ll get to see that amazing and sometimes dangerous world through my heroine’s eyes.

Oh, yeah, and here’s one more thing TNP has that sets it apart: telepathic dolphins. They are important and colorful characters in the story, too!

Release Day for HOOKED

Happy Book Birthday to Hooked!  Today Hooked gets released into the big, wide crazy world!

*throws confetti*

Virtual sugar cookies with hot pink sprinkles for everyone!

HOOKED Book Cover for sites

When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile…


Kirkus Reviews says, “Not just a Romeo and Juliet story, the book examines the conflicts of white versus Indian and rich versus poor, giving it far more heft than the average romance. Bravo.” (Starred Review)

Publishers Weekly says, “Fichera shows strong storytelling chops as she weaves together plot lines involving class struggles, violence, bullying, and–of course–romance.”

Available in bookstores everywhere!

When you see Hooked in the wild–bookstores, airports, big box stores, the mall, even in your own hands, be sure to email or link your photo to Liz Fichera from any of your social media properties (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+), indicate where you snapped your photo and automatically be entered to win a $25 Visa Gift Card!  Anyone (US/International) can participate!  Winner will be announced on Liz’s blog the week of February 25.

Happy Book Birthday to Hooked, Liz Fichera, and HarlequinTEEN!

45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS): More Story, Less Issue

At first glance, my YA contemporary novel 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS) sounds like a typical weight loss issue novel. Girl feels fat. Girl goes on diet. Girl loses weight (more or less). Girl is empowered. While some of that is true, this story is much more.

  1. My main character, Ann, is not an outcast. She is overweight and always has been, but her struggle is more typical to what average girls experience every day. Her self-conscious, self-deprecating internal dialogue is humorous, yet real. Anyone who’s ever felt fat and inadequate trying on swimsuits or formal dresses will relate.
  2. This is not an ugly-duckling-turns-beautiful-and-gets-a-boyfriend story. This is a girl-discovers-herself journey (even though I find the word journey kind of trite) and has endlessly embarrassing and awkward encounters with a cute, yet imperfect, guy.
  3. The story’s not just about Ann’s weight. It’s also about family and secrets and acceptance. It’s about friendship and fitting in and fending off bitches. And it’s about romance, too.
  4. Ann is not the only character with issues. Her grandmother unapologetically chain smokes and endearingly (and sometimes not so endearingly) calls everyone fat ass, and her step-grandmother Regina gives new meaning to the word intolerable. Don’t even get me started on Ann’s parents! Pretty much the only characters who have it remotely together are Aunt Jackie and her fiancé Chris—that’s Christine, not Christopher. Yes, there’s a lot going on here.
  5. There are also nacho cheese pretzels and deep dish pizza and M&Ms and Mondo Burgers and chicken parm with extra breadsticks, all of which is much more appetizing than the Belly Buster Bars and diet lasagna.

So while the weight issue has been covered before, Ann Galardi’s story is unique. Yet, also familiar, because it’s about imperfect people all trying to figure out where they fit.

ka barson nameplate


The Fingerprint of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS

Three reasons why ALL OUR YESTERDAYS is different from anything else you’ve read, in picture form.


1. There are six prominent characters, but they’re made up of only three people.


2. The main character was inspired by equal parts killer robot from the future and privileged girl who pretends to be mean so long she actually becomes mean.


3. The story was developed using a top-secret plotting formula revealed here for the first time.



Marina has everything. She’s got money, popularity, and a bright future. Plus, she’s best friends with the boy next door, who happens to be a gorgeous prodigy from one of America’s most famous families.

Em has nothing. Imprisoned in a small white cell in the heart of a secret military base, all she has is the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

But Marina and Em have one big thing in common: they’re the same person.

Now Em must travel back four years in time in order to avert the terrible future from which she’s fled, and there’s only one way to do it. She must kill the person who invented the time machine in the first place: someone from her past. A person she loved.

But Marina won’t let them go without a fight.

Apples and Oranges and Another Little Piece

Last time on the blog, I talked about books that are comparable to ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE. I even put together a handy-dandy little infographic.

Of course, comparing any two (or three or four or five or… well you get the point) books is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, which is to say – you’re gonna find both similarities and differences. And that’s why, even though there are many plot elements and characters and situations in ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE that may be similar to other books you’ve read – ALP is also unique and completely its own.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the synopsis:

The last time anyone saw Annaliese, she was stumbling out of the woods. Screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

Now she’s been found—or so it seems.

But the Annaliese who returns has no memory of who she is…. All she knows is that she is not the real Annaliese. Trapped in a body that isn’t hers, she must unlock the mystery of her past in order to escape the horrors of her future.

For me, the biggest thing that sets ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE apart is the mystery and the way that Annaliese’s past is slowly revealed. Throughout the book Annaliese struggles with the question of who she is, who she was, and what she’s done. Then she has to figure out how to fix it…  or if it’s even fixable at all.

Another difference is the handling of memory loss. We all know that while amnesia is rare in real life, it is a condition that flourishes in fictional atmospheres. However, the reason why Annaliese forgets and the way in which she recovers her memories – I think – gives the trope a unique spin.

And finally, the last difference I want to discuss is Annaliese’s love interest. He is a nice guy and most definitely NOT an alpha male. Despite that, I think he is a cutie and I hope that readers fall for him the same way that Annaliese and I did.

Release Day for CADET OF TILDOR!

Woohoo! Our first Class of 2k13 Book is being released today!

*throws absurd amount of confetti*

There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown’s inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

The kick-ass trailer:

Some excerpts from a glowing Kirkus Review:

“Every character is complex and multilayered, each with a story beyond just propping up the protagonist.”

“Renee herself is a flawed but sympathetic heroine who capitalizes upon her strengths, learns from her (serious) mistakes and slowly evolves from her rigid judgmental inclination to appreciate ambiguity and nuance while never compromising her essential integrity…”

“Workmanlike prose effectively grounds an energetic plot and solid worldbuilding in earthy descriptions and precise details.”

“… a warts-and-all portrayal of believable characters struggling with realistic conflicts affecting every level of society.”



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