Welcome, Fall’16 YA Scavenger Hunters!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 4, 2016 by Austin Aslan


Blue Team

WOOT! You found your way over to Austin Aslan during the Fall 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt! Congratulations. You may have arrived here via Christina Farley. Awesome. (And my Team Blue #YASH host is J. Keller Ford. 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.

So, here’s the deal. I actually have some very exciting book related news to share. But… I can’t share it yet. This is true! I wish I could say more, but you’re very welcome to check in with me over the next little while to see if I’m able to shed any light on what’s brewing. Meanwhile, instead of slowing down your blog hunt with a fluffy, superfluous blog post (which you’d just skim anyway), I’ll get on with the show.



You’re welcome.


I’m very excited for Mary Elizabeth Sumner, the YA author I’m hosting for this scavenger hunt.

Elizabeth has provided me with some real gems of bonus material for you to study.


MaryElizabethSummer_AuthorPhotoMary Elizabeth Summer contributes to the delinquency of minors by writing books about unruly teenagers with criminal leanings. She has a BA in creative writing from Wells College, and her philosophy on life is “you can never go wrong with sriracha sauce.” She lives in Portland Oregon with her wife, their daughter, their scaredy-dog lab/pitbull mix, and their evil overlor—er, cat. She is represented by the incomparable Laura Bradford of the Bradford Literary Agency.

| Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon


Trust Me, I’m Trouble

In this action-packed sequel to Trust Me, I’m Lying, Julep takes a shady case that requires her to infiltrate a secretive organization that her long-gone mother and the enigmatic blue fairy may be connected to. Her best friend, Sam, isn’t around to help her, and Dani, her one true confidante, is a mob enforcer with a moral compass as questionable as Julep’s. But there’s not much time to worry about right and wrong—or to save your falling heart—when people are trying to kill you.

Buy Links: Amazon | Book Despository | Powell’s | B&N

Trust Me, I'm Trouble (Trust Me, #2)

Annotated Scene from TRUST ME, I’M TROUBLE

For this excerpt, I wanted to pick a scene that gave a good flavor of both the plot and Julep’s character without giving too much of the story away. In the end, I chose this scene, because it was a fun one to write, and because it’s one of the few scenes for which I used something I already knew versus something I had to research.

If you’ve read Trust Me, I’m Lying, then you probably already know that I like to set as many scenes as possible in unusual places. This scene is no exception. You’ll see once you start reading it.

Each page of the excerpt is its own image. Click each thumbnail to read the margin notes. Then click your browser’s back button to return to the post.

Remember…the most dangerous lie is the one you want to believe…






Best of luck, Elizabeth, with the upcoming new novel! And best of luck to you, fearless hunter. Before you scurry off to visit the next author on the hunt, Tobie Easton, 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 please leave a comment below, let me know you stopped by!

And please check out my recent photo essays for Gore-Tex(R) chronicling my epic two-month, 800-mile Arizona Trail thru hike. And be sure to follow me on twitter, tumblr, instagram and facebook to follow my adventures in real time!

Please continue your delectable YA Scavenger Hunt by visiting the next lovely author: Tobie Easton. Go! Do it! DO IT NOW!!!

Let the #PitchWars begin!

Posted in PitchWars, Writing on July 19, 2016 by Austin Aslan


To all you hopeful, prospective #PitchWars contestants out there: welcome! May you find all that you’re looking for—and all that you never knew you needed—through this wonderful platform. I’m excited to participate this year, to pair up with the perfect match through this process, and I’m as eager as you are to find out who that will be!

IMG_7724-Edit-3I am the author of the highly-acclaimed sci-fi eco-thriller The Islands at the End of the World and its sequel, The Girl at the Center of the World, published by the incomparable and preeminent Wendy Lamb at Random House. The Guardian recently ranked my debut novel as a top-ten read in the awakening genre of climate fiction, and Kirkus Reviews hailed the series opener as a “Best Book of 2014.” I earned a master’s degree in tropical conservation biology while living with my wife and two children on the Big Island of Hawai`i. A Northern Arizona native and long-distance backpacker, I can often be found exploring the world’s last wild places while sleeping on a punctured air mattress. Follow my globetrotting and outdoor adventures on both Facebook and Twitter at “Laustinspace,” and PLEASE CHECK OUT MY ESSAYS on the Gore-Tex® “Experience More” blog.

I’m naturally attracted to a wide variety of material. But I think my mentee will best be served if I strive to focus my mentoring in the direction of what I’ve proven to be best at writing myself, namely: YA oriented toward survival/disaster, dystopia, and/or eco-thriller. Your novel can be set in any time period: past, present day, the near future, or the far future—the key is that it feels gritty and grounded and sensual (note: that’s sensual, not sexual). The material should have a redeeming undercurrent to it, without feeling at all preachy or smelling too strongly of an agenda.

I’m going to gravitate toward material that comes with a compelling initial hook (the elevator pitch has to impress me and make me curious). Make sure you have an original idea! The genres I mentioned above all suffer from too much of the same.

I need the author to have a sense of voice. (What does that mean? I don’t know. I know it when I see it. If that doesn’t make any sense to you, you should be concerned. Voice is the DNA of your novel.)

The sample must showcase well-drawn characters who act logically and who pop out at me. I preach that plot is what gets in the way of what characters want. What is happening in a novel should  primarily be a function of who your characters are and how they uniquely effect the world around them. What fingerprint does your main character indelibly leave in your world? The days of books being interesting simply on the merits of their new gimmick are far behind us (ex: (and not to bag on Clarke, but…2001: Space Odyssey, Childhood’s End), and natural disaster-y movie violators which rely only of FX to carry their weight: Transformers, Dante’s Peak, Armageddon, Twister, Day After Tomorrow etc.)

In terms of story and narrative, I’ll forgive a lot as I scan initial pages, but a generally-clean edit is elemental (I don’t have time to fix punctuation and spelling errors–if you’re proud and serious about your material, that will have been taken care of long before your ms reaches the likes of me). A really sloppy voice or little command of sentence structure will quickly earn a pass. The story has to feel anchored immediately. I need to be grounded, know where I am, what’s going on, and why I should care.

I’m an okay copy editor, but I notice trends in errors and understand how grammar is supposed to work. There will likely be repeated errors in any ms, and I’ll address these with a few examples and lessons for how to fix the problem, then expect the author to weed all similar incidents out during the next revision. I’m far more interested in troubleshooting the content of the story, the elements that are lacking or weak, of discussing how to make plot and characters stronger and more vibrant, and how to tighten, tighten, tighten. I suspect there will be room for three rounds of revision in the two months. I personally work fast. You as the author should take more time, really try on what we discuss, and create distance between revisions for the sake of clarity.

I have no favorite child, and the best books I’ve read are all unique enough to defy direct ranking against each other. But for what it’s worth, my best reads have all been somehow transcendental, somewhat epic in form, and illuminate something profound of the Human condition. 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera fit the bill. LOTR does, too. Brothers Karamozov. stephenkingThe Gunslinger and The Shining. Cloud Atlas, for its sheer versatility. And one of the few series I read over and over again: Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea books. Simply sublime. I don’t know what these books do to my own writing, except to humble me, and ignite my love for the written word. I will be most enthusiastic about a match that does the same. Forget the fact that I got published first; I have every reason to hope that your project will humble me and teach me. I firmly believe that I’m likely to get as much out of this collaborative experience as you will!



































































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New Arizona Trail essay published on Gore-Tex®…

Posted in Uncategorized on July 13, 2016 by Austin Aslan

I’m thrilled with the reception my latest Arizona Trail essay is receiving on the Gore-Tex® “Experience More” online platform. Link to it through the Gore-Tex® Facebook page, and if you “like” what you read, let them know! Thanks!


Brexit indigestion

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2016 by Austin Aslan

So, if you’re like me, you probably have been curious about the Brexit but not all that invested in thinking about it, because, let’s face it, the referendum was bound to fail and everyone would stop talking about it the next day, and, really, what they decide to do over there is their business. But I listened to the results coming in on the BBC last night gathering a dawning realization that history was in the works. And not in a good way. Forget the short term drama playing out in the markets. In my opinion, what we’re seeing here is a populist and nativist movement throwing facts aside and celebrating destabilization over stabilization for the sheer gut pleasure of wrecking havoc and chaos, fueled mostly by racism and protectionist tendencies in the wake of a migrant crisis, and also a genuine frustration at always having one’s fringe opinions (BUT ALSO one’s very mainstream kitchen table finances) marginalized and scoffed at. If that sounds familiar, it should. Trump and Bernie have both tapped into that same discontent and attraction to “burn it all down” as response to having your fringe ideas and your real money troubles constantly ignored. This is a dangerous and scary sentiment, and the strength of it out there in the world is cause for great concern. It’s 2016. Really? How disappointing and regrettable. But there it is. That this can go down in the UK is a serious wake up call that it can go down anywhere, even here. Our political system needs to adopt a way to make political minorities feel valued and respected, and quickly. This is a problem we all need to solve, on both sides of the aisle. I remain convinced that Trump is such a buffoon and pathological narcissist as to squander his chance to properly channel this thread in the US into real power, but that’s not going to kill the movement, and we’re in for a series of even scarier, more savvy candidates down the line who will learn how to really harness racial fear and nativism and isolationalism, and create higher and higher stakes for every successive election, until the dominance of ration and reason even in our own nation finally does snap and the high wire act plummets to its tragic and inevitable conclusion. And this is the world my kids will have to raise their kids in. I’m so disappointed in how cyclical our worst societal tendencies are proving to be. 2020 is the new 1930. WTF, world? I can only hope we learn from Britain’s mistake, and we avoid the dog’s temptation to chase down the car and actually catch it. Because, Jesus, you’re a dog and you just caught a car. Congratulations–now what?

Our night sky, and our wonder, are going extinct

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2016 by Austin Aslan

Living in the nation’s proud first-designated “Dark Sky City,” I benefit immensely from enjoying a robust relationship with our planet’s view of the cosmos. I think this issue is deeply important, but so many people are acclimated to no longer having a clue what they’re missing and what’s at stake. And so many fellow Flagstaff residents take our nights for granted and complain when the city council won’t bring in an arena or more shopping malls or car dealerships. The AZ legislature is poised to renege on a promise to ban lighted billboards on our remote highways. The night sky isn’t just a pretty landscape where it’s available, though. Humanity’s very ability to collectively wonder about our place in the universe is compromised. This is a bigger deal than it might first seem. The stars are quickly going extinct from our awareness and our consciousness. We’re content to let wardens like Neil de Grasse Tyson be our gatekeepers to wonder. But each one of us across the globe should be able to be reminded on a nightly basis that we’re indeed small, and yet miraculous. We lose our night through choices, not necessity. We should all be more passionate about bringing it back to our neighborhoods. We really must protect what Dark we have left. Anyway, this is a good article on HuffPost today that glimpses into the issue…

Opal House2

This is what the night sky looks like above my house. Did you even know this was possible? What does it look like where you live?

Writing for Gore-Tex® “Experience More”

Posted in Uncategorized on May 24, 2016 by Austin Aslan

I’m beyond thrilled to announce that GORE-TEX® has asked me to join their “Dream Team” of adventure writers and photographers to collaborate on a major new creative endeavor for the online GORE-TEX® “Experience More” platform. For starters, I’ll be publishing a number of essays and photographs recounting my solo thru-hike of the Arizona Trail last fall. This is an incredible honor and privilege for me. I’m very proud to be partnering with the most amazing line-up of outdoor professionals. This feels like an awesome affirmation of the unique journey I undertook, and it’s a real hoot to officially be labeled a professional adventurer! I can’t wait to watch this project unfold and see where it leads. Please check out the first essay, now live, here. I’d love it if you’d click on the little blue “F” and “Twitter bird” icons that appear to the right margin of the article and post the link to your social media accounts! Traffic is destiny! And then come back here and let me know what you think. http://www.gore-tex.com/blog/hiking-and-backpacking/road-mile-zero-hiking-arizona-trail/


Spring ’16 YA Treasure Hunters! Welcome!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 28, 2016 by Austin Aslan


Orange Team

Far out! You’ve hunted down Austin Aslan during the Spring 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt! Welcome! You may have arrived here via PAULA STOKES. (Or my Team Orange #YASH host ELLE COSIMANO.) Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to learn about the hunt. And if you’re experiencing any technical glitches, don’t worry, Glitch Happens. Pop over here for your pill.

(((Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 3rd at noon Pacific time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.)))

I would love to keep blabbering on and sit down with you over some tea, maybe share an episode of Star Trek: Next Generation with you, but I realize you have, like 144 (ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FOUR) other blogs to visit in the next couple of days before you WIN ALL THE GLORY!!! So, I’ll keep this thing moving along…

Oh, wait, real quick. Do me the ginormous honor of following my twitter feed. I promise, it doesn’t bite. @Laustinspace. Do it. DO IT NOW!

And did you go right ahead and order my novels for the to be reading? Yeah, you might want to do that. Just, um, yeah, click here. Yeah. (*whispers* YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!)



I’m very excited to host Melissa, the YA author of ARROWS which released from Random House / Delacorte Press, January 2016. ARROWS is a modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV’s Teen Mom.

And without further ado, here’s a link to her bonus material!

Follow Melissa Gorzelanczyk’s board ARROWS novel on Pinterest.


Best of luck, Melissa, with all of your authorly success! And best of luck to you, dear treasure seeker. Win, win, win!

Before you scurry off to visit the next author on the hunt, the very frightening and bone-chilling RIN CHUPECO, 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 please leave a comment below, let me know you stopped by!

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