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Author Archives: Class of 2k13

Goodbye, Debut Year!

2013 has been behind us for awhile now, and we wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate our debut year! Many of us will continue to have releases in 2014 and years to come, and we remain a close-knit group. You’ll probably see us at conferences (check the bar) and we’ll keep you updated as to our activities and good news here on the site.

However, as we are moving on from 2013, we are also stepping away from blogging as a group. We will still maintain our social media presence on places like Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter – so don’t forget to catch up with us there.

In the meantime, we’d love to introduce you to those carrying on the 2k legacy – The Class of 2k14! They’re a great group of MG and YA authors who are ready to take the stage, and we gladly hand it over to them.

Thanks again everyone for making our debut year a memorable one!

Tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1559

Our most recent subject here at the Class of 2k13 has been “what I’ve learned from teens.” But in all truth, I’ve probably learned more about the teenagers of Elizabethan England than I have about modern teens… even though I know several extraordinary young adults and am meeting more every day.

However, the teenagers in my debut, MAID OF SECRETS, are, well… teenagers in 1559. Which brings with it a whole different host of concerns than those faced by most of today’s young adults. Not more challenging concerns, necessarily, but different ones.

So, what did teens stress about in 1559?

1. Staying Alive

Staying alive was a bigger concern for the youth of Elizabethan England than it is for many contemporary young adults in the US. First, there was the Plague. It’s never good to have a capitalized disease associated with your era. Then, there were the lesser evils of a complete lack of sanitary water (no one drank water with meals… it was wine or ale), and somewhat questionable (at least by our modern standards) levels of personal hygiene. If you were not a member of the merchant class or higher, there was also the ever-present concern of starvation. Life sort of sucked for teen Elizabethans.

2. (Not) Getting Married

In 2013, the average age at marriage in the US is currently 26.8 years for men, and 25.1 years for women. In 1559, it wasn’t so much different. Most individuals not of the nobility did in fact wait until their mid-20s to marry. If you were noble, however, you were not so lucky: arranged marriages were the best way to assure the continuation of your family line, and so teens often found themselves promised in matrimony well before they’d even given much thought to a spouse and kids. Courtship in Elizabethan England was also fairly strict: so the more noble you were, the less likely you were to truly know your future spouse before you walked down the aisle

3. Following the Rules

As for many modern teens, following the rules wasn’t a favorite past-time for Elizabethan teens, but the repercussions then were a bit more strict than they are today. If you were part of the nobility, the most frequent crimes you could be accused of included: High Treason, Blasphemy, Sedition (fomenting disorder against the Queen…never a good idea), Spying, Rebellion, Murder, Witchcraft or… Alchemy.

(and yes, that last crime is totally going to be appearing in a future MAID book.. Actually, quite a few of these crimes make an appearance, if all goes well…)

If you were a commoner, you were more likely to get accused of:  Thievery, begging, poaching, adultery, being in debt, forgery, fraud, or… cheating at dice.  And while yes, most of the lawbreakers were older than your typical teen, the rules still applied to anyone old enough to actually understand the law.

Even worse, you didn’t have to do anything particularly “wrong” to run afoul of the law in 1559: just traveling without the proper license or acting in a public place could get you in trouble.

And if you did break a rule and get caught, life was not good.

Crime was taken very seriously in Elizabethan England. If you stole anything over 5 pence… you could be hanged. If you begged… you were stoned mercilessly until you reached the outskirts of town. If you were a habitual beggar… you could be imprisoned or hung.  If your crime was particularly egregious, you would be hung “partway” and then drawn and quartered (no one wants this).  Other popular forms of punishment included: burning, whipping, branding, pressing (don’t ask), being stretched on a wheel or a rack, being boiled in oil, being maimed, or being forced to wear excruciating devices intended to cause extreme discomfort.

Not awesome.

If you were a member of the nobility, of course, your fate was generally better—punishment for your crimes was either beheading or a slap on the wrist. Sure, that beheading concept was kind of final; but if you could escape that treatment, you would make out okay.

But either way, it paid to walk the straight and narrow.

All of that to say… the next time you are really steamed about how rotten life is, just tip your hat to our intrepid teens of the 1500s. Chances are, they had it worse.

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



We are so excited that the Class of 2K13 Launch is here that we just had to give something away. In fact, our excitement levels are SO HIGH that not only are we having our HUGE LAUNCH DAY GIVEAWAY that starts today, but in the coming weeks we have several more giveaways planned!

We’ll have more details on our future giveaways later, but right now we want to focus on our HUGE LAUNCH DAY GIVEAWAY!

Why is it HUGE? Why we do keep insisting on typing in CAPS? Maybe we’ve always dreamed of being the announcer on a used car commercial. Maybe we’ve had too much caffeine today. Or maybe we haven’t had enough caffeine. Really… why ask why?

Let’s move on to the prizes. The big prize… err, sorry. The HUGE prize consists of (drum roll please):

a $50 Barnes and Noble Giftcard!

Oooooh. Isn’t it pretty?


You will also receive all of the items pictured below…

What is this random assortment of treats and delights? (Go ahead and click on the pic for a better view of the bounty) They are all items inspired by our debut novels.

1. Pretty in Pink Golf Tee Caddy from Liz Fichera’s novel HOOKED, which is the story of a Native American girl golfer.

2. An elephant from GOLDEN BOY by Tara Sullivan. This item was chosen because there are many parallels between the way the main character must run for his life and the way that people poach elephants for ivory.

3a and 3b. Ghirandelli chocolate bar and Listerine Breath Strips from Kate Karyus Quinn’s ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE. Annaliese, the main character, at the beginning of the book finds that chocolate makes her violently ill. To get rid of the terrible chocolate taste, she tries a Listerine Breath Strip and soon becomes addicted to them.

4. In BRIANNA ON THE BRINK by Nicole McInnes one of her characters is obsessed with two things: reruns of Walker, Texas Ranger and Werther’s Original Candies.

5. Dark Chocolate Peanut M&M’s are brought to us by K.A. Barson’s 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS) because customized M&M’s play a role in her story.

6. This pretty little notebook is from OCD LOVE STORY by Corey Ann Haydu because her narrator is always taking notes.

7. There’s gold in Liesl Shurtliff’s RUMP: THE TRUE STORY OF RUMPELSTILTSKIN and that’s why her contribution is Hershey’s Golden Nuggets.

8. In Justina Ireland’s novel VENGEANCE BOUND, her main character has a scene where she enjoys some hot cocoa and chocolate donuts while at a convenience store.

9. You may need to click on the picture to see this one a little better, and it is definitely worth a second look – much like the book it’s brought to you by. That book is Debra Driza’s MILA 2.0 and the item is a robot tea infuser. How does these two things connect? Well in MILA 2.0 the character learns that she is less than human, and soon thereafter ends up in hot water (unlike the tea infuser, not literally).

10. An amazingly bright mini flashlight comes from Tamera Will Wissinger’s GONE FISHING, since the book begins outside after dark with a flashlight.

11. You probably already know the significance of a water bottle by just reading the title of Mindy McGinnis’s novel: NOT A DROP TO DRINK.

12. This adorable Beanie Baby lamb comes from a book that seems less soft and cuddly, Geoffrey Girard’s PROJECT CAIN. So how do these two connect? Well the book is about serial killers that are the result of cloning and the first mammal to ever be cloned… was a sheep named Dolly.

13. Oh don’t those Doritos look delicious? Just imagine if like Cristin Terrill’s main character, Em, in ALL OUR YESTERDAYS you had just escaped a secret military facility, and this was your first non-prison food for months. Like her, I bet you wouldn’t be able to believe how amazing they taste.

14. This item is another one that deserves a close-up. From Polly Holyoke’s THE NEPTUNE PROJECT we have a gorgeous murano glass dolphin and a incredibly delicate mermaid charm both strung on a pretty blue ribbon. As the novel takes place undersea, the connection here is fairly obvious.

15. This adorably tiny four pack of Canada Dry Ginger Ale represents the beverage of choice for Caela Carter’s pregnant teenager in ME, HIM, THEM, AND IT.

16. In MAID OF SECRETS by Jennifer McGowan secrets are a way of life for her main character, Meg Fellowes. Now with this diary – complete with lock and key – you can keep your own secrets safe, too.

17. And FINALLY, a delightful snack food with an even better name comes from IN THE AFTER by Demitria Lunetta. Her main character has a supply of Twinkies and finds they are the perfect food for post-apocalyptic survival. Gotta get those calories somehow!

I think you have to agree that THAT is a huge pile of stuff. BUT that is still not all!

There are three more items that will be added to that pile.

From Lydia Kang’s CONTROL an onyx and silver necklace that her character wears throughout the book.

These dog tags are perfect for the military academy based THE CADET OF TILDOR by Alex Lidell.

And now FINALLY. Really we mean, FINALLY, this time. Stephanie Kuehn is adding to the prize package her own personal copy of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE a book that her own novel CHARM & STRANGE references.

Now the only question left is: What do you need to do to win all of this? It’s easy and there are lots of ways to put your name into the hat and increase your odds of winning. Just head on over to our facebook page or you can go directly to our Rafflecopter to see all the different ways you can maximum your chances of winning!

Corey Ann Haydu


Corey Haydu’s young adult OCD LOVE STORY, in which a girl with OCD bonds with a boy from her group therapy program only to push their budding relationship beyond it limits when her further descent into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder leads her to stalk the objects of her obsession, and she must choose: confront her past or forever be controlled by it.

Mark it as to-read on GOODREADS.

Debra Driza


Mila was living with her mother in a small Minnesota town when she discovered she was also living a lie. She was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was never supposed to remember the past–that she was built in a computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run–from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. Evading her enemies won’t help Mila escape the cruel reality of what she is and cope with everything she has had to leave behind. However, what she’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and that just might save her life.

Mark this book as to-read on Goodreads.


Debra Driza is a member of the YA lit blogging group the Bookanistas and a former physical therapist who finds torturing her characters infinitely more enjoyable. She’s particularly fond of sweets, all that is random, and teen TV, and is pretty sure she wasn’t built in a computer science lab based on her inability to find her keys and master the common calender.
These days you can find her at her (messy) home in California, wrangling one husband, two kids, and an assortment of Rhodesian Ridgebacks (all of which are varying degrees of naughty). MILA 2.0 is her first novel.

Visit her at

Caela Carter


ME: Evelyn, closet good girl turned bad.
HIM: Todd, my supposed Friend with Benefits.
THEM: My cold, distant parents.
IT: The baby that’s growing inside me.

When Evelyn decided to piss off her parents with a bad reputation, she wasn’t planning to ruin her valedictorian status. She also wasn’t planning to fall for Todd. And she definitely wasn’t planning on getting pregnant. When Todd turns his back on her, Evelyn’s not sure where to go. Can a distant mother, a cheating father, and angry best friend, and a (thankfully) loving aunt with adopted daughters of her own help Evelyn make the heart-wrenching decisions that follow?

Mark this as to-read on GOODREADS.


Caela Carter is a graduate of the New School’s MFA program, concentrating in Writing for Children. She spent eight years working in middle and high schools as a teacher and librarian. She also writes for Teen Writers Bloc, a blog on children’s literature. She lives in New York with her husband. This is her first novel.

Visit her at

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