Introducing…The Endangereds!

Posted in The Endangereds with tags , on August 10, 2020 by Austin Aslan
Endangereds_FinalThe wait is over! With enormous excitement I’m proud to announce THE ENDANGEREDS, the first novel in a new adventure series co-authored by myself and Philippe Cousteau Jr., the celebrated environ-mentalist, television host, and grandson of Captain Jacques Cousteau.

At last, the “A-Team” meets the Animal Kingdom! It’s time for endangered species to take matters into their own hands, paws, flippers, and claws!

When I was approached about this project by the executive editor of children’s publishing at HarperCollins two summers ago, I nearly lost my mind. I believed this collaboration was perfectly matched to my creative talents and professional interests. Fortunately, Philippe agreed. I’m so grateful. We’ve been partnering for two years on the first two books in this series, and I’m convinced we’ve crafted characters and stories that are special and meaningful, that will entertain readers of any age, and inspire them to become better environmental stewards.

Book One will publish everywhere books are sold on Sept. 29, 2020. If you’re interested in pre-ordering a copy, please follow the link provided (it will direct you to your favorite retailers.) I’ll post more about this journey as the pub date nears. Thank you all for your interest and support!

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TURBO Racers Series makes list featuring deaf characters!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2020 by Austin Aslan

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From the HarperCollins’ article opening:

“We are always on the lookout for books that celebrate our differences. One of the things we love most about the new middle-grade series TURBO Racers is its diverse cast of characters. They come from many different cultural backgrounds, and the main character, Mace, is fluent in ASL because both of his parents are deaf. In our opinion, we need more books that touch on deaf culture! We did some digging, and here are seven fantastic books that feature characters who are deaf.”

Click here for the full article!

Happy Birthday to #TheEndangereds!

Posted in The Endangereds, The Great Outdoors, Writing on September 30, 2020 by Austin Aslan

Happy Book Birthday, The Endangereds! It’s been a long gestation but you’re finally out in the wild! And we’re hitting the ground at a full gallop! Co-authored by TV host and explorer Philippe Cousteau, with incredible artwork from Jim Madsen, a stellar audiobook performance by actor Ramon de Ocampo, and supplemental education material and back matter provided by the WWF and EarthEcho International, and executive editor David Linker of HarperKids Books piloting this grand safari, we’re swinging for the jungle canopy on this remarkable collaborative effort. I sincerely hope this book inspires the next generation of environmental rescuers to action, and offers plenty of laughs along the way.

Please visit http://www.TheEndangerds.com for links on how to purchase from your favorite retailers, and for educational material to supplement your reading experience.

Farewell Fall 2020 YASH – Team BLUE!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2020 by Austin Aslan

Hi! You found your way over to Austin Aslan during the final farewell Fall 2020 YA Scavenger Hunt! Congratulations. You probably arrived here via Darcy Woods. Awesome. (And my Team Purple #YASH host is Heather L. Reid. Check it out!)

If you happen to not know what the heck I’m talking about, Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. And if you’re experiencing any technical glitches, don’t worry, Glitch Happens. Go here for some tasty medicine.

Now, without further ado…let’s YASH!

144 (ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FOUR)

AND NOW NOW, without further ado-doo, here’s the  MAIN EVENT! I’M HOSTING Paula Stokes.

Paula Stokes is author of Stellar. Fun, funny, and feminist af, Stellar is a story of best friends, first love, and learning to believe in yourself.

Read the book link: https://www.swoonreads.com/a/paulastokes/CU1OHJ/

Book Description: In the unforgiving world of popular video game Project Survival, seventeen-year-old Stella takes no prisoners. Her ability to annihilate both human and computer-generated enemies with the help of her partner Betsy earns the girls a chance to compete in the national championships in Seattle. But claiming victory isn’t the only reason Stella’s excited to head north. It’s also a chance for her to meet Noah, a Project Survival newbie she took under her wing a few months ago who’s become more to her than just another player—a lot more.

When the two finally meet, Noah is even cuter in person than in the pictures he sent Stella, but for some reason the real-world chemistry doesn’t match the intensity of their late-night chats. Is it possible that the boy of her dreams doesn’t exist IRL?

With a huge cash prize on the line, Stella must navigate the dangerous terrain of Project Survival and her own conflicting emotions, even as she discovers that the lines between real life and online are blurrier than she ever imagined.

Paula: Hi YASH-ers! I’m really psyched to be participating in the final YA Scavenger Hunt. I haven’t managed to sell a book to a publisher since my seaside mystery HIDDEN PIECES, but that hasn’t stopped me from maintaining my goal of releasing one book a year. (Can’t stop won’t stop!) Last year I released STRONGER THAN WORDS on Wattpad and the free SwoonReads platform, as well as re-releasing my NA novel THE KEY TO EVERYTHING on Wattpad.

This year I’m thrilled to share the beginning of my girl gamer internet romance, STELLAR, on Wattpad. STELLAR is probably my second favorite out of all my books (behind GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE) because like GATU it hits that balance of being both hopeful and realistic. It’s funny and empowering, and although I am a former gamer, the tournament is mainly the backdrop to Stella’s journey of discovering who she is and what she wants, both in love and in life. You don’t have to know anything about video games to enjoy this novel.

Enough of my blathering. Here’s the cover:

I worked with independent graphic designer Diana Zhang in creating this cover. I wanted to capture the iconic Seattle setting, as well as the romance element. And I think the Neon One font adds a bit of whimsy. I’m thrilled with how it turned out. What do you think of this cover? Share your thoughts in the comments 🙂

Want a sneak peek inside the book? Here’s a glimpse of how Stella and Betsy became best friends:

Mom moved our family into a new district when I was twelve, which means I didn’t know anyone when I started middle school. I spent the first few days observing the different friend groups, trying to figure out where I might eventually fit in. I watched a few kids try to pick on Betsy and saw the smoking craters she left with her verbal missiles. I was afraid of her…and in awe of her.

I ran into her in the bathroom at lunch one day when she was touching up her makeup. We could not have been more different. I was wearing tan capris my mom handed down to me and a T-shirt I got at Target with a beach scene of someplace in Florida I’ve never visited. Betsy had on a flowy black knee-length dress with emerald-green tights. She’d glued rhinestones all over them so she literally sparkled under the fluorescent lights.

I lathered my hands for about two full minutes while I tried to figure out something to say to her, my skin growing pink from the friction.

She looked over at me eventually. “You okay? You’ve been scrubbing for a while.”

“I’m good,” I said timidly. “I just wanted to tell you that I saw those boys harassing you in the hallway before first period, and the way you destroyed them was amazing. I wish I was that brave. I wish I was that…smart.” I shut off the sink and reached for a paper towel. “You’re so fast with the comebacks.”

“I have a lot of practice dealing with punk-ass bitches unfortunately,” she said. “I’m guessing you don’t?”

I shook my head hurriedly. “Mostly I just try to be invisible around people like that.”

She turned and studied me for a few moments. “Nothing wrong with that if it works for you. When you’re as big as me, being invisible isn’t really an option.”

I didn’t know what to say. My instinct was to tell her she wasn’t that big, but I knew those words were going to feel fake as hell coming from someone as skinny as me. And I knew what she meant. Kids could be merciless when it came to picking on people, whether they were four hundred pounds or just a little bigger than everyone else.

“Plus.” Betsy cleared her throat. “And don’t take this the wrong way, but I feel like that strategy lets the terrorists win, you know? No one should have to be invisible to get through the day. You deserve to be seen.”

My cheeks reddened and I looked down at the ground. To this day it’s one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

“I’m Betsy,” she said.

“I know,” I replied. “I mean, my name is Stella. We just moved to this school district. I don’t really know anybody.”

“Well, you can know me,” she said. “If you want.”

I remember thinking again of her bravery. I could have turned away from that offer. After all, I just wanted to coast through school without becoming anyone’s target, and befriending Betsy Castillo did not seem like the way to go.

But instead I said “okay” and we left the bathroom together. Over the next couple months, we became best friends.

Thanks for participating in the YA Scavenger Hunt 😀 Check out the first ten chapters of STELLAR on Wattpad today!)

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Exciting stuff, Paula! All right, fearless hunter, off you go… But before you scurry off to visit the next author on the hunt, Stevie Rae Causey, please feel free to peek around my entire site for a while and follow the links to my two YA survival-disaster sci fi novels, THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD and THE GIRL AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD, and my new TURBO RACER series with HarperCollins, TURBO Racers: Trailblazer, and Book Two: Escape Velocity, which dropped in Feb of 2020.

Please leave a comment below, let me know you stopped by!

And please be sure to follow me on twitter, tumblr, instagram and facebook to follow my adventures in real time!MOVE ALONG FOLKS, YOU’VE ONLY GOT A FEW DAYS TO GET THROUGH THIS!   Please continue your delectable YA Scavenger Hunt by visiting the next lovely author: Stevie Rae Causey Go! Do it! DO IT NOW!!!

Book news around the corner…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 7, 2020 by Austin Aslan

extra-e1433355817597At last! HUGE book news coming! I’m so excited to finally share what I’ve been up to recently over at HarperCollins. This project has been under wraps for quite some time, but the moment of truth is nigh. Please stay tuned. I’ll officially spill the announce-ment beans on MONDAY!

Coconino Voices: An Open Letter to the Parents of Flagstaff

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9, 2020 by Austin Aslan

I thank The Daily Sun for publishing my special editorial today (embedded below), written to parents and families in Flagstaff (and everywhere else) experiencing hardship and sacrifice during this unprecedented time. This was inspired by many things but put into focus by Sunday’s letter to the editor complaining about the closure of our parks and the mental toll it can take on our children.

It’s a hard and scary time to be a parent. Our lives have been disrupted in every imaginable way, and every American is grappling with these changes. But beyond our own disruptions, it is agonizing to watch the disruptions our children are facing and to be unable to protect them and their routines and their daily joys from the uncertainty and loss that are all around us.

The schools are closed. The sports seasons are canceled. The playdates and daycares and birthday parties have vanished. The clubs and lessons and library trips are halted. The playgrounds are barricaded.

My children are 10 and 14, and I watch them face each day with pain in my heart, as they talk wistfully about friends and play practice, basketball and music lessons. They watch holidays and birthdays pass in isolation and ask when they’ll get to see their cousins again and how we will celebrate Easter and whether they’ll get to go swimming at the Aquaplex this summer. It’s hard to have no clear answers, to admit that I don’t know, and to see them wish for so many little joys they can’t have.

I share your pain. I share the feelings of inadequacy when I’m asked to help my kids through their new online school routines while keeping up with my own two jobs and trying to tend to all of our physical and mental health in the face of cabin fever. None of us knows how to do this right, none of us had time to prepare, none of us knows where this is going.

But in the face of all of this change, and in light of our fears for our community and the very real suffering experienced by the ill and by their families and by our healthcare and first-responder heroes, I also find myself watching my children with something more than fear. I am watching them with hope.

Our children have been asked to sacrifice, and their sacrifices are very real. They are experiencing trauma and loss and anxiety. But they are also making important and formative memories.

They are learning that school can mean many things. They are learning that their teachers and principals put them first and that education is essential. They are learning that when all else is disrupted, their homes and families are constant (and yet I do realize there are far too many who do not have this comfort to fall back on). They are learning that healthcare workers are heroes and that healthcare and online connectivity are both essential human rights.

They are learning that Americans and humans make voluntary sacrifices to protect the most vulnerable among us — they are watching us put human lives above our great economic engine. They are watching videos and images of quarantines and isolation and face masks and hospitals in Europe and Africa and South America and Asia and they’re learning that we are one species and that some challenges transcend national boundaries. They are learning that boredom can catalyze creativity.

They are learning how to resolve their own sibling battles, bake bread from scratch, plant an herb garden, and mute themselves on Zoom. They are learning to take the time to reach out — on a screen! — to isolated grandparents. They are learning that Star Trek: The Next Generation is the greatest and most binge-worthy show ever made. They are learning to conserve toilet paper. They are learning to self-motivate in their lessons.

Our children are a little less protected and a little less innocent, and that comes with sorrow and heartache. But these times are bringing lessons that may make them a little more responsible, a little more independent, a little more creative, a little more patient, a little more compassionate, and a little more thankful for what they have. They just may grow up to be more aware of the rest of the world, more considerate of human rights, more thankful for home and family, and more appreciative of the power of education and healthcare than if this crisis had arrived in another generation.

The so-called “Greatest Generation” was given their title not because they were given every opportunity, but because they showed resilience in the face of hardship. They rose to the challenges of their time. I want to protect my children and I want them to resume their lives and to access their neighborhood playgrounds. But I also want them to learn and grow, and I see them doing that before my eyes.

(Austin Aslan is a Flagstaff City Councilmember.)

Spring 2020 YA Scavenger Hunt – Team PURPLE

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2020 by Austin Aslan

PURPLES20Hi! You found your way over to Austin Aslan during the Spring 2020 YA Scavenger Hunt! Congratulations. You probably arrived here via DEBBIE MANBER KUPFER. Awesome. (And my Team Purple #YASH host is JC WELKER. Check it out!)

If you happen to not know what the heck I’m talking about, Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. And if you’re experiencing any technical glitches, don’t worry, Glitch Happens. Go here for some tasty medicine.

Now, without further ado…let’s YASH!

144 (ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FOUR)

 

AND NOW NOW, without further ado-do, here’s the  MAIN EVENT! I’M HOSTING STEPHANY WALLACE.

Stephany Wallace is an International Bestselling Author of Young Adult and New Adult Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance, and Urban Fantasy. She has multiple bestselling series including Dynasty of Blood, The Winter Court Chronicles, and Curse of the Lycan.

Stephany writes about headstrong, quirky, bad-ass heroines, and their swoon worthy, alpha male, sweet, or sexy nerdy heroes. She loves bringing to life extraordinary Vampires, Dragons, Wolf Shifters, Witches, and creating incredibly vivid worlds that capture you from the very first page, and leave you wanting more.

Stephany will be providing me with the following awesome bonus material for this year’s YA Scavenger Hunt, an early look at the cover to her new book…(TO BE UPDATED ASAP)

BLURB HOOK:
Certainty has always been the source of my power.
I knew what I wanted. I knew who I was… until I met Connhor Whyte.
Now, everything has changed.
Lost Little Witch, Witches of Fire & Ice, Grimoire 2
𝑶𝒏𝒆-𝑪𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒌 📚😍http://mybook.to/WitchesofFireIce2 FREE on KU!

 

2. LLW-EBOOK COVER

READ THE FIRST 2 CHAPTERS OF

EVIL LITTLE WITCH, GRIMOIRE 1 FREE!

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Exciting stuff, Stephany! All right, fearless hunter, off you go… But before you scurry off to visit the next author on the hunt, ABIGAIL JOHNSON, please feel free to peek around my entire site for a while and follow the links to my two YA survival-disaster sci fi novels, THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD and THE GIRL AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD, and my new TURBO RACER series with HarperCollins, TURBO Racers: Trailblazer, and Book Two: Escape Velocity, which dropped in Feb of 2020.

Please leave a comment below, let me know you stopped by!

And please be sure to follow me on twitter, tumblr, instagram and facebook to follow my adventures in real time!

MOVE ALONG FOLKS, YOU’VE ONLY GOT A FEW DAYS TO GET THROUGH THIS!
Please continue your delectable YA Scavenger Hunt by visiting the next lovely author: ABIGAIL JOHNSON Go! Do it! DO IT NOW!!!

Review: Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe

Posted in Book Review on February 20, 2020 by Austin Aslan

I just finished Gene Wolfe’s “Book of the New Sun,” a seminal four volume magnum opus in science-fiction’s “Dying Earth” sub-genre, in which we’re flung, headlong, into an inconceivably far-distant future where our sun is a dwindling red presence in the sky and humanity’s last children are bearing witness to the planet’s inevitable natural death.

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The saga slowly and patiently unravels as a presumed fantasy work and reveals itself to be science fiction. Our protagonist, Severian, is a young apprentice in a guild of tortures/executioners. He is exiled from all he knows when he unforgivably shows mercy to a prisoner, allowing her to take her own life rather than be tortured. No spoilers here (because our narrator tells us this much in the opening pages): Severian goes on to wander, fight in a great war, and eventually become the autarch, the supreme ruler of the planet, where he then endeavors to accomplish nothing less ambitious than the resurrection of the dying sun itself.

This story will stick with me for the rest of my life.

I don’t say this lightly: Book of the New Sun is without a doubt the most singular thing I’ve ever read, the most ambitious narrative I’ve ever conceived of, and the most expertly-executed and disciplined work of inspired writing I’ve ever seen. It utterly stands alone and defies any comparison. Truly: a worthy pursuit for anyone who likes to think of themselves as a serious pupil of literature. But don’t take it from me. George RR Martin calls it, “One of the great science fantasy epics of all time.” Niel Gaiman hails it as, “The best SF novel of the last century.” And Ursula K. LeGuinn refers to Wolfe as, “Our Melville.”

BOTNS took me six months to complete. It’s not an easy read, and is best served by affording it more concentration than today’s readers are perhaps accustomed to. You must be willing to pay attention, to delve deep—and to cross examine its own unreliable narrator. Wolfe is never accidental. The most confusing moments are the ones you must scrutinize above all others.

severian-3But I am not trying to discourage you, curios reader! On the contrary! BOTNS is gorgeously written, but it’s also a ton of fun! In fact, it’s downright COOL. It’s a swashbuckling adventure. There are swords and laser guns, aliens, cyborgs, robots, giants and ghosts, sea monsters and gods, spaceships and time travel. Romance and love and deception. It literally features an entire, written-out stage play within. At times it reads as deeply as a Hemingway or Stephen Crane war novel (Wolfe was, after all, himself a soldier who served on the ground in battle during the Korean War). (And he was also, incidentally, the inventor of the Pringle potato chip. Don’t believe me? Look it up. But I digress…)

severian-4BOTNS bleeds the crimson blood of Christian mysticism throughout–particularly Catholic mysticism–but it does so in the most appropriately-subtle and delicious ways. At times it is utterly haunting, or horrific, and genuinely scary. But BOTNS is undeniably at its best (and least challenging and most rewarding) when it slows down and reflects on itself, and the human condition, and the millions of years of future trajectory our species has in store, possibly over and over again, not only within this universe, but beyond the next Big Crunch and Big Bang, and the next one, and so on.

This book is dizzying, and dreamlike, at times confusing and even frustrating. But above all it is singular–and singularly masterful. It is an experience all to itself, something very rare indeed anymore…in these days when it’s generally conceded that there’s no such thing as anything new…under the sun.

Fall 2019 YA Scavenger Hunt! Team BLUE

Posted in Uncategorized on September 30, 2019 by Austin Aslan

BlueF2019(1)Hi! You found your way over to Austin Aslan during the Fall 2019 YA Scavenger Hunt! Congratulations. You probably arrived here via C.M. Boers. Awesome. (And my Team Blue #YASH host is Heather McKenzie. Check it out!) If you happen to not know what the heck I’m talking about, Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. And if you’re experiencing any technical glitches, don’t worry, Glitch Happens. Go here for some tasty medicine.

Now, without further ado…let’s YASH!

144 (ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FOUR)

AND NOW NOW, without further ado-do, here’s the  MAIN EVENT! I’M HOSTING Lori M. Lee!

Lori has provided me with the following awesome bonus material for this year’s YA Scavenger Hunt. She’s featuring the opening page for her short story in COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES. She’ll really excited for people to read it!

 

STARLIGHT AND MOONDUST Excerpt

According to the locals of Little Nova, a witch lived in their woods. They said she brewed potions, cursed trespassers, and grew her garden on the bones of sacrifices.

Hlee Khue knew better, though. Niam Tais wasn’t a witch; she was a shaman.

Every Wednesday and Friday, Hlee took the trail that wound through the woods north of town. The trail eventually led to a small house guarded by lawn sculptures and a brood of chickens, where Hlee delivered a hearty dinner prepared by her mom, with plenty left over for the next day’s lunch. It was the duty of the tiny Hmong community in Little Nova to look out for Niam Tais, as the woman lived alone with no children to care for her.

Niam Tais had lost her father and brother in the war and then her mother to sickness in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The history of tragedy and frantic escape were the shared stories of all refugees. But how Niam Tais came to be here, in Little Nova, was a different kind of story entirely.

When Niam Tais was a young girl, she’d woken from her bed, driven from the sweat-damp sheets by the humidity and the bright face of the moon through the window of her family’s hut. She’d wandered down to the riverbank and fallen asleep at its shore to the gentle shushing of the water. The next morning, she brushed moondust from the creases of her clothes as her thoughts grasped for the vestiges of a dream about a man in shining robes and a string of white stones against his brow.

It was a sign, the village elder decided, that she’d been called by the spirits to the revered duties of a shaman.

Some years later, after the war had displaced her halfway around the world, she fell asleep with the moonlight full against the backs of her eyelids and dreamed again of the Moon Emperor. In the dream, he shot an arrow across the night sky, a streak of brilliant silver, and beckoned her to retrieve it. As in her childhood, she’d obeyed the calling and ended up in the sleepy town of Little Nova.

What Niam Tais did after that wasn’t clear, and Hlee had never been satisfied by the open ending. Instead, she couldn’t help but wonder if the story hadn’t yet found its conclusion.

 

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Exciting stuff, Lori! All right, fearless hunter, off you go… But before you scurry off to visit the next author on the hunt, Tera Lynn Childs, please feel free to peek around my entire site for a while and follow the links to my two YA survival-disaster sci fi novels, THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD and THE GIRL AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD, and my new TURBO RACER series with HarperCollins, TURBO Racers: Trailblazer. Book Two: Escape Velocity, drops in Feb of 2020.

Please leave a comment below, let me know you stopped by!

And please be sure to follow me on twitter, tumblr, instagram and facebook to follow my adventures in real time!

MOVE ALONG FOLKS, YOU’VE ONLY GOT A FEW DAYS TO GET THROUGH THIS!
Please continue your delectable YA Scavenger Hunt by visiting the next lovely author: Tera Lynn Childs Go! Do it! DO IT NOW!!!

Another Checkered Flag!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 4, 2019 by Austin Aslan

When is a book finished? For me: today! I just turned in my final comments on the “first pass” of TURBO 2: Escape Velocity. I probably won’t get another look at it before a physical copy is mailed out to me.

In all honestly, I had a TON of fun writing this book. Getting a fresh look this week at the final, final draft was extremely satisfying. It’s a smash-bang of a sequel, and I may even be more fond of it than the original offering. It’s as close as I’ve come yet to writing, much less publishing, a mystery novel, with fabulous whodunit notes and a great hook and numerous clever twists and turns that’ll keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat throughout. I’m really proud of it.

If you haven’t picked up something of mine yet, I might suggest this book. It’s fast and furious and fun, with more rewards than a typical, forumlaic sporting event tale. Comes out in February, but you can pre-order it now. If you pre-order it through Brightside Books in Flagstaff, you can ask them to have me sign it before it ships to you. Otherwise, there’s always Amazon or your personal favorite brick and mortar retailers…

Meanwhile, I may need to celebrate. Serious question: what’s your favorite SMOOTH, LIGHT-BODIED red wine with lots of surprising NOTES and LAYERS and a nice clean FINISH?

TurboRACER2_HighRez

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