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The Omaha Bookworm: My Favorite Indie Bookseller

bookwormoutsideI love the Bookworm in Omaha, NE.

When I moved to Omaha about 7 years ago, we found the Bookworm pretty quickly. It just oozes coziness and warmth.

This is what you’re welcomed with when you first enter:

cookiesCookies, FTW.

You can bring your pets in on a leash (but I will personally be angry if they eat all the cookies. Just saying.)

You can meet super famous authors here at author signings:


Here’s me and Ally Condie at a book signing! Okay, okay. It’s not real. And it’s a little creepy. But I swear, I was at that book signing and I accidentally deleted the photo of both of us from my iPhone. Also, my smile isn’t usually that crooked. Anywho…

You can hang out at the YA display near the front door and drool a little.


And the whole basement level is dedicated to kid lit!


You can discover this little nook of loveliness in the children’s department.


Isn’t it cute? It’s painted on the inside to look exactly like Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown!

And that’s not all. The Bookworm is home to over 100 book clubs. There is free gift wrapping (because let’s be honest–a gift-wrapped book causes way more gift-anticipation-drool than a book in a bag, right?) and there’s the Baker’s Dozen program. For every 12 books you buy, you receive credit for one free book (average price of the 12 books you just bought).

Oh, and this great coffeeshop, The Village Grinder, is actually attached. Caffeine and good books! What could be better?


So that’s my ode to the Bookworm, my favorite indie bookseller. I’ll be having my book launch there in January and I can’t wait. Also, any orders of CONTROL from the Bookworm will be signed. Just a little perk of supporting my favorite indie. 🙂

Don’t forget to check out our giveaway page!

 I’ll be giving away a finished copy of CONTROL sent out from the Bookworm, and the other members of the Class of 2k13 are all honoring their favorite indie bookstores by doing the same with all of our debut books!

Do you have a favorite indie bookstore? Tell me in the comments!

What is WATTPAD and Why You Should Check It Out


Have you heard of Wattpad?

Are you interested in finding an audience for your story? Or getting published somewhere along the way? Enjoy writing YA, sci-fi, or fantasy? (These are the dominant genres on the site). Or maybe just want to read some great, new fiction for free?

Wattpad might be the place for you.

I confess, when I heard about it a year or so ago, I didn’t know much about it. I’ve heard people call Wattpad the “YouTube of Writing.” Basically, you can upload your own writing (often serially, a chapter at a time) and let the readers find you. You can read other people’s work too and the community is uber-supportive of new writers. It’s free for users and free for writers. There’s nothing to buy or sell here. But ultimately, Wattpad is a social media site. The forums are alive and kicking, lots of back and forth conversations start over posted pieces, and the usual follower/followers paradigm exists.

So…how popular is Wattpad?

Wattpad enjoys 10 million readers per month, who collectively spend 2  billion minutes reading and networking on the site. Those numbers blow me away! I know many of my blogger friends from the last few years are enjoying success on Wattpad with hundreds of thousands of views of their books, like February Grace.

Has Wattpad ever led to publisher deals?

Yes. Here’s the story of  author Brittany Geragotelis whose work received 15 million views on Wattpad before getting a deal with Simon and Schuster. And another story of a 17 year-old whose Random House deal followed 17 million views of her work on Wattpad. Wow!

There’s FanFunding!

Need money to make a particular project happen? Check out the vid here. Even with FanFunding, the stories are still free!

There are awards!

The Wattys are an annual award for some of the most popular fiction on the site.

Come read free excerpts of CONTROL on Wattpad!

CONTROL cover book page

So I’m excited to announce that I’ll be posting free sneak peeks of CONTROL on Wattpad! I’ll be posting five pages at a time, and I’ll be uploading more with every 50 reads+comments+votes!  So if you haven’t had a chance to check out Wattpad, here’s some more incentive. 😉 The first pages of CONTROL go up Wednesday, October 16th. Check it out here!

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One Smart Thing I Did to Sell CONTROL

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When I wrote CONTROL, my YA sci-fi/medical thriller/romance novel that sold to Dial Books For Young Readers (Penguin), I did one thing that made a huge difference.

I never assumed another person would come along and make it perfect. 

This was before I had an agent. I knew that many agents would work with their clients to polish up a manuscript. And I knew that books often went through lots of changes at the editorial level, once it had found a publisher.

I could have convinced myself that “I just need to make it good enough, not perfect. An agent and editor will help me whip it into perfection.”

But I didn’t do that. I put my heart and soul in the story, lost countless hours of sleep, and asked my crit partners to be brutal. The revision process happened several times, and each time it was really difficult, but really necessary. I never took the easy route in telling the story. I was super hard on my protagonist and put her through hell. I worked hard to keep the pacing strong and made every chapter count and every scene a revelation in some way.

When I finally got nibbles from agents, I was told that my book was “shelf ready” by several agents. Of course, it still went through a thorough editorial process, but I really do think that it helped me get a publishing deal.

So in other words? Be very, very, VERY hard on yourself when you write your book. No one will ever care as much as you, the author, will. Your story deserves it, and your future readers deserve it too.

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The What Ifs: What I’ve Learned from Kids

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There’s a lot of stuff I love doing with my kids. Reading books. Looking for creepy crawlies under rocks. Searching for wild turkeys in our neighborhood.

It’s so easy to be distracted by emails, work, social media, chores…life stuff. But what I always have to remember is to let my curiosity breathe and live. It needs elbow room, to stretch and just be.  It’s too easily confined by the endlessness of my to-do list.

But children, with their non-stop curiosity, remind me to never stop asking questions. To never stop wondering the whys and what-ifs.

I love what-ifs. It’s how every one of my books began, after all. 🙂

Look. Explore. Imagine. It’s so worth the effort!

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Playlist Excerpts for CONTROL by Lydia Kang

Hey guys!

I always listen to music while I write.  With CONTROL, the playlist changed and morphed, but a few pieces stayed and had a lasting impact on the feel of my story. Needless to say, Chester Bennington was a huge, HUGE inspiration. I tried to refrain from having nothing but LP on this list, so here goes!

Leave Out All The Rest, by Linkin Park

These lyrics made me think of Zelia’s father:

When my time comes

Forget the wrong that I’ve done

Help me leave behind some

Reasons to be missed


Feel, by the House of Love

This is an old college favorite of mine, but that aching feeling of impending loss is incredible. Also, the opening lines are so ominous!

You see a sign

It comes to you

And whatever you say

It was in his eyes


Time, by Sarah McLachlan

Okay, so I *think* this song is really about divorce, but these lyrics made me think of the relationship between Zel and her Dad:

But you send your thieves to me

Silently stalking me

Dragging me into your war


Other Side of the World, by KT Tunstall

These lyrics kind of kill me:

Can you help me?

Can you let me go?

And can you still love me

When you can’t see me anymore?


And finally, more LP!

Waiting for the End, by Linkin Park

An instrumental decision that Zelia has to make is reflected in these lyrics:

I know what it takes to move on

I know how it feels to lie

Thanks for listening! I hope you play some of these songs if you read the book someday!

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If you like ______, then you might like CONTROL

Way back in the querying process, I remember finding comparable titles for my novel. Because my novel isn’t easy to categorize (Sci-fi? Romance? Adventure? Medical thriller?) it was also hard to find books that I could say, “Hey, if you like this, you’ll like CONTROL!”

Are these books just like mine? No, not at all. But it’s funny how one book might lead to another, when you’re thirsting for more.

So first, here’s what CONTROL is about:

After the violent death of her father, 17 year-old Zelia loses her younger sister, Dylia, during an abduction at their foster agency. It turns out her sister Dylia isn’t just pretty and sweet – she’s illegal.

In the year 2150, DNA must be pure by law, and anyone with enhanced genes face death. Zelia’s only allies are the freak-show inhabitants of her new, underground foster home. Along with the unexpected love of a very strange boy, she will need her flaws and their illicit traits to save the only family she has left.

I’d be delighted if any of these led you to find CONTROL in your hands next year, because I really loved these books!

Why Across the Universe? For that sci-fi element, and the mystery that unfolds throughout the book.

Why The Adoration of Jenna Fox? Because it’s fascinating to see parent/child relationships dealing with the issue of genetic manipulation.

Why The Hunger Games? For the world building and that end-of-book action. Will there be a happy ending? Or not?

Okay, at this point, you’re probably like, what the–? But consider the romance. The tension!  If you like Jane Austen, you may want to dip your toes in the sci-fi world of CONTROL.

And finally, Steph Kuehn and I are giving away our mentor’s books. Check out the Giveaway HERE!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Lydia Kang & the Inspiration Behind CONTROL

…or Lydia and her Double Helix Rainbow of Scientific Happiness

I have a major sci-fi/fantasy hang up.

I love books and movies where the characters have weird powers, or mutations. But it always bugged me when the mutation wasn’t explained. Why can this person fly after getting zapped by lightening? What is the cause? What happened to the DNA? Don’t you dare tell me it just “changed.” I will spend the rest of the book wondering why.

So when I conceived of the different characters in CONTROL, I wanted each unusual trait to have a biological reason behind it. But at the same time, I tried to make it accessible to anyone who isn’t a science nut like me.

So when you read CONTROL, don’t expect to see someone flying, because I haven’t discovered a biologic reasons for them to do so.

Sure, some molecular biologists might rip apart the ideas I’ve come up with. If that happens, I’m not going to be disappointed. I’m going to be like, “WOOT! Molecular biologist are reading CONTROL!” 

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