Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Latest News

To celebrate the upcoming release of HIGH AND DRY on April 15th (as well as BRUISED coming out in paperback with a brand-new look), my husband Joe Skilton made this graphic. Cool, eh?

  • Kirkus Reviews calls HIGH AND DRY, "A dark, well-constructed mystery with a strong voice."  
  • For more information on Teen Book Festivals happening throughout Southern California this spring and summer, check out my website.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January Calendar

To kick off 2014, I've compiled a list of bookish events in Southern California that I'll be participating in and/or attending.

Hope to see you there!!

Saturday, January 11th, 2 pm - Los Angeles Public Library Teen Read Series, hosted by Cecil Castellucci and featuring YA authors Michelle Gagnon (Don't Look Now), Sonya Sones (To Be Perfectly Honest), Francesca Lia Block (Teen Spirit), Amy Spalding (Ink is Thicker Than Water), and Ann Stampler (Afterparty)

Sunday, January 12th, 3pm - Discussion & Signing for Ann Stampler's AFTERPARTY at Diesel Books in Brentwood

Saturday, January 18th, 10am - 2pm - Local Author Celebration, Panel Discussion, and Book Signing, Jo Ann Darcy Library in Santa Clarita

Saturday, January 18th, 5pm - Reading & Signing for Amy Spalding's INK IS THICKER THAN WATER at Skylight Books

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Interview with Amy Spalding, author of INK IS THICKER THAN WATER

I'm super excited to introduce my guest today, Amy Spalding, whose second YA contemporary book, INK IS THICKER THAN WATER, came out December 3rd.

From Good Reads: For Kellie Brooks, family has always been a tough word to define. Combine her hippie mom and tattooist stepdad, her adopted overachieving sister, her younger half brother, and her tough-love dad, and average Kellie’s the one stuck in the middle, overlooked and impermanent. When Kellie’s sister finally meets her birth mother and her best friend starts hanging with a cooler crowd, the feeling only grows stronger.

But then she reconnects with Oliver, the sweet and sensitive college guy she had a near hookup with last year. Oliver is intense and attractive, and she’s sure he’s totally out of her league. But as she discovers that maybe intensity isn’t always a good thing, it’s yet another relationship she feels is spiraling out of her control.

It’ll take a new role on the school newspaper and a new job at her mom’s tattoo shop for Kellie to realize that defining herself both outside and within her family is what can finally allow her to feel permanent, just like a tattoo.

The Los Angeles release party for INK is in one month at Skylight Books! If you live in Southern California, come join the fun on January 18th at 5pm!

In the meantime, kick back and learn some more about Amy and INK, of which author Trish Doller (WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE) says, "Spalding depicts a blended family with compassion, humor, love, and pitch-perfect authenticity."

Photo by Jesse Weinberg
Q: You recently traveled to your hometown of St. Louis, which also happens to be the setting of INK IS THICKER THAN WATER. Did you make it a point of visiting places the book references or alludes to, and did it feel any different being home now that your book located there is out in the world? How was the launch party? Did you meet up with anyone from your past? (Specifically who knew you as a teen?)

A: I absolutely went to places mentioned in the book, mainly lots of coffee from Mokabe's, but it wasn't so much because I mentioned them in INK but because these are the places I love going anyway. I liked being able to write about the places I love in St. Louis, particularly spots like Fitz's and Vintage Vinyl, where I logged A LOT of hours growing up.

Most of my friends in St. Louis have known me since I was in high school (or earlier, even) so there's a lot of history there. I just had to be careful writing about teenage hangouts and such that I checked my favorite places were all still open (the ones that weren't...HEARTBREAKING!).

Q: You have a beautiful and personal variety of tattoos that reference musical theatre as well as other passions of yours. Are there any tattoos you've seen on other people that stand out for you, in either good or bad ways?

A: Thank you! I love other people's tattoos, so, yes, absolutely, all the time. I usually get really envious when people are more inked than I am, because due to my dayjob, I know there are certain limits I need to hold myself to. So whenever I see amazing hand tattoos, for example, I get pretty dreamy.

Q: I think each of your contemporary YA books, THE REECE MALCOLM LIST and INK IS THICKER THAN WATER, would translate exceptionally well to an ABC Family series. What are your favorite teen-centric or family-centric shows? What makes them great for you? 
A: That's totally my dream! I love ABC Family, and I love teen-centric and family-centric shows. I just watched all of THE FOSTERS that's available on Netflix, and it's completely up my alley. PARENTHOOD is probably my favorite (and the best) of family shows on TV. I also love love love THE CARRIE DIARIES and wish it got more credit for being such a good teen show, considering it has so little to do with SEX & THE CITY.

I was a big fan of The WB back in the day, and loved EVERWOOD, GILMORE GIRLS, and BUFFY. And probably my favorite family show ever is SIX FEET UNDER.

Q: What other TV shows, if any, inspire or teach you about character, setting, dialogue, or tone?
A: Definitely all the above, but I think any serialized TV show can be great for writers to watch (or at least I tell myself that when I'm mainlining shows on Netflix and not actually writing). Novel-writing and TV seasons have a lot in common, and there are lessons to take everywhere. There's hardly a better place to watch expectations pay off than SCANDAL. I'm not sure anyone has been so economical with writing as the BREAKING BAD staff, in that not a damn thing went to waste. PARKS & REC is a good reminder that you can still find comedy and drama in people mainly being good to each other. THE GOOD WIFE does great things like throw characters into interpersonal drama and then quickly remind you, the viewer, that these people still have to attend to other responsibilities like work, which is great for a YA writer because my characters still have school and extracurriculars and chores and such.

Basically I just love TV.

Q: Can you give us a little scoop about your next book, KISSING TED CALLAHAN (AND OTHER GUYS)?

KISSING TED CALLAHAN (AND OTHER GUYS) is a romantic comedy set in L.A.'s eastside. It's about bands, friends, and making out. And it's out in 2015, which is...the future!!

Thanks for stopping by, Amy!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Guest Post: Lisa Gail Green Shares Tips on Writing Short Stories

Hoping to flex your writing skills this month for NaNoWriMo, but intimidated by the prospect of churning out an entire novel? Why not challenge yourself with a short story instead?

Author Lisa Gail Green, whose short stories have been published in all three Journeys of Wonder anthologies, and whose paranormal fantasy novel, THE BINDING STONE, debuted this year, is here to tell you how.

Take it away, Lisa, and thanks for stopping by my blog!


Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Sarah! *Puts feet up on sofa* You’re wondering what it’s like writing short fiction versus a novel length manuscript? The short answer is – not too much.
  • You still have to use a full (albeit probably simple) story arc.
  • You still have to revise like crazy until it’s as perfect as you can get it.
  • You’re still responsible for developing your character as well. No shortcuts just because it’s only a thousand words long. 

What’s different in a short story?
  •         You can’t have more than a few characters. Too many take too much space and you won’t be able to do them justice. It’s best to stick to your main character and one or two extra characters that he/she interacts with. Then you have room to work with.
  •         You have to get to the point. You can’t spend pages going on about the d├ęcor. You really have to pick and choose when it comes to description and use what is important to your character and the story. Don’t forget to filter through your character’s POV.
  •          No place for subplots. Can you do it? Well… yes. BUT it’s really, really tricky and I don’t recommend it when you’re starting out. Practice first like with anything else. And any subplot you use should definitely be intertwined with your main storyline.

Now here’s the trick though. All of these elements can be used to tighten your novel. That’s right; short stories are good for writers. They’re another way to stretch your writing muscles and a great exercise. Plus, if you get one or two publication credits by getting a short story or two accepted somewhere then that can go in your bio and can bolster your self-esteem. It’s a win-win situation.

Take a look at the similarities with all that in mind: 
  • You get to practice making your characters count. In a novel you have to eliminate and combine non-essentials just like in a short story. And no one should be one-dimensional. 
  • You should ALWAYS filter through character and eliminate superfluous description, etc. 
  • Your subplots should reflect the theme at the very least and if you can somehow bring them together with the main plot – even better.
The structure of both short stories and novels are the same, though short stories can be difficult in that they limit your space. But that’s the best reason I can think of to encourage everyone to write them.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


My contemporary YA mystery, HIGH AND DRY, comes out April 15th, 2014 from Amulet Books! I love the gritty cover:

What's HIGH AND DRY about?

Framed for a stranger's near-fatal overdose at a party, blackmailed into finding a mysterious flash drive everyone in school seems anxious to suppress, and pressured by his shady best friend to throw an upcoming game, high school soccer player Charlie Dixon spends a frantic week trying to clear his name, win back the girl of his dreams, and escape a past that may be responsible for all his current problems.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Get Real" Panel & Signing at the West Hollywood Book Fair

Hi all,

This Sunday, 9/29, I'll be at the West Hollywood Book Fair on a panel called "Get Real!" at 3-4pm, with a signing afterward. We'll be chatting about all things young adult contemporary.

With me will be...

 Moderator/author Amy Spalding (THE REECE MALCOLM LIST)

Ann Stampler (WHERE IT BEGAN)
 Carol Tanzman (CIRCLE OF SILENCE)
 Stephanie Kuehn (CHARM & STRANGE)
Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BRUISED playlist, and Updates on Local Author Night

The wonderfully kind Jim of YA Yeah Yeah and The Bookbag interviewed me last week. If you're into playlists, you can find the one I created for BRUISED there.

Secondly, Local Author Night happen this Friday from 4 to 7pm at the Valencia Barnes & Noble.

Featuring popular local authors in fiction, non-fiction, musical novel, teen fiction, inspirational and children’s literary categories, in attendance will be: Jessica Brody, Jane Gates, Dionna Hancock-Johnson, Derek Kent, Joanna Mastopietro, Sarah Maizes, Gretchen McNeil, Dennis Nehamen, Laurisa Reyes, Leighton J. Reynolds, Sarah Skilton, Andrew Smith & Thomas Thorpe!  

Best of all, a percentage of book sales at Barnes & Noble for this event will benefit Canyon High, where author Andrew Smith teaches.

Visit to support us online from 8/23/13 to 8/28/13 by entering Bookfair ID 11158144 at checkout.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Upcoming Summer Events

I'll be signing at two fun YA events this summer with lots of local authors. Hope to see you there!

Summer of YA - Saturday, July 27th, 2 to 4pm 
Barnes & Noble, at the Glendale Americana, Glendale, CA 
From Paranormal Romance to Action Adventure join us for a "speed dating" styled event where you can sit down and meet 11 up and coming YA authors. We will be hosting Jessica Brody (Unremembered), Stacey Jay (Of Beast and Beauty), Kathy McCullough (Who Needs Magic?), Gretchen McNeil (Ten), Lissa Price (Starters), Elizabeth Ross (Belle Epoque), Sarah Skilton (Bruised), Andrew Smith (Winger), Ann Stampler (Where It Began), Carol Tanzman (Circle of Silence) and Allen Zadoff (Boy Nobody). Don't miss this chance to chat with these talented individuals and have them sign your books! All of the authors' books will be available for purchase.


Local Author Night in Valencia, CA - Friday, August 23, 4 to 7 PM 
Please join us in welcoming authors Jessica Brody, Jane Gates, Dionna Hancock-Johnson, Derek Kent, Joanna Mastopietro, Sarah Maizes, Gretchen McNeil, Dennis Nehamen, Laurisa Reyes, Leighton Reynolds, Sarah Skilton, Andrew Smith and Thomas Thorpe!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Super Swag Sunday


The 2nd Annual


When:  June 24th thru July 1st


Why:  For a chance to win lots of cool promotional items signed by 42 of today's best middle grade and young adult authors!

Every day for seven days, Laurisa's blog will spotlight some of the most amazing new books for kids and teens! Monday thru Saturday visitors will be able to enter for chances to win one of 6 swag packs containing everything from signed bookmarks and postcards, to pins, pencils, totebags, stickers, key chains, lip balm, charms and more!

On the last day, SUPER SWAG SUNDAY, one last MEGA SWAG PACK will be given to one very lucky winner! This pack so far includes everything listed above PLUS:

1- hardbound copy of THE UNWANTEDS signed by author Lisa McMann
1- TEST TASTE charm bracelet
1 - LOVE AND LEFTOVERS charm necklace
1 - SEND ME A SIGN guitar pick
1 - paperback copy of EVERTASTER: THE BUTTERSMITH'S GOLD signed by author Adam Sidwell
1- hardbound copy of THE SCORCH TRIALS signed by author James Dashner
1- hardbound copy of THE ALWAYS WARS signed by author Margaret Peterson Haddix
1 - OyMG! T-shirt
1 - Original Artwork Print from FISHTALE signed by author Catherine Masciola
1- LOSING IT water bottle signed by author Erin Fry
1 - hardbound copy of LOSING IT signed by the author

And more prizes are still being added to the pile!

So be sure to stop by every day from June 24th thru July 1st for plenty of chances to win. Stop by now and follow the blog to receive notifications of when the event starts posting.

See you then!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Have you read BRUISED?

Wanna test your knowledge of the book's content?

Some kind soul wrote BRUISED trivia questions over at Goodreads. See how you stack up!

(Embarrassing confession: I wasn't 100% positive about the answer to one of the questions, though my guess turned out to be correct.

I swear I wrote this book, though.)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Brenda Novak Auction: Win a Critique, New Reviews, Giveaways, Interviews, and More

Brenda Novak Auction

Two days left to bid on a critique of 20 pages of a Young Adult novel, offered by me (BRUISED, HIGH AND DRY) and Miranda Kenneally (CATCHING JORDAN, STEALING PARKER, THINGS I CAN'T FORGET, RACING SAVANNAH). All funds benefit diabetes research.

New Reviews of BRUISED

"Poignant and emotionally raw at times and humorous at others, this debut novel adeptly portrays a shattered life...and the road back to normalcy. Fans of realistic fiction will appreciate the multilayered story, Tae Kwon Do action and philosophy, and resilient protagonist." ~ School Library Journal

"Debut author Skilton understands and respects martial arts, and she does a beautiful job presenting the philosophy that drives serious martial artists... Here is a writer to watch who handles complex issues with sensitivity in the vein of Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen." ~ Booklist Online 

"Have you ever seen one of those movies where the unarmed hero valiantly faces off with the trigger-happy shooter, gets help from the police just in the nick of time, and emerges from the entire ordeal a bit shaken but otherwise unharmed? Welcome to real life." ~ Sharon (L.A. County Library Teen Book Review Board)


Win one of two signed hardcopies of BRUISED at Katie McGarry's (PUSHING THE LIMITS, CROSSING THE LINE, DARE YOU TO) blog!

Win a huge prize pack of Lucky 13s debut novels by donating to Red Cross to help Oklahoma

Interviews & Guest Posts

Healing Hamlet - In which we discuss screenwriting and YA novels, motherhood, and mental health

"Girls in Sports" Week at A Backwards Story - Martial arts, baby!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Relief for Oklahoma

The Lucky 13s have joined forces with the Friday the Thirteeners and the Enchanted Inkpot to help those affected by the Oklahoma tornado. To that end, we are offering up a large giveaway. "Kidlit Authors for Oklahoma" is starting today and will run for 2 weeks.  

By donating to Red Cross, you can enter for your chance to win 1 of 5 book prize bundles or a critique from our authors.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Four Places to Win a Free Copy of BRUISED

1. The Nocturnal Library (six more days to win!)

2. Books, Bones & Buffy (two more days to win!)

3. A Thousand Wrongs (one more day to win!)

4. And coming tomorrow... a chance from YA Fresh

Thanks to Maja, Tammy, Laurisa, and Tina for hosting these giveaways.

And if you strike out this time, check back here in April for at least two more chances!

Happy reading.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Happy Book Birthday, Nonuplet Style!

Here's what people are saying about BRUISED, my contemporary YA novel, out today:

"Offering psychological drama and an introduction to martial-arts code of behavior, the book has a meaningful message about power, control, and the internal bruises carried by victims." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Her story is compelling, and readers will stick with her as new insights bring about a believable shift in her behavior…This distinctive debut will be appreciated by fans of contemporary fiction." —Kirkus Reviews 

"This layered first novel explores the aftereffects of the trauma, convincingly depicting why Imogen blames herself for a situation over which she had no control. Skilton also sensitively depicts the bond and tentative romance that develops between Imogen and Ricky. The main story line about Imogen’s struggle to come to terms with what she did (and did not do) is nuanced and honest." —Horn Book

"This is a useful exploration of the difference between fantasy-style omnipotence and the complexity of real-life human strength." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Here are 8 more Young Adult and Middle Grade books in early March I'm celebrating...
  1. Miranda Kenneally's THINGS I CAN'T FORGET
  2. Mindee Arnett's THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR
  4. Tamera Wissinger's GONE FISHING
  5. Steven dos Santos' THE CULLING 
  7. Bridget Zinn's POISON
  8. Jessica Brody's UNREMEMBERED
Happiest of Book Birthdays to all!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Teen Author Reading Night Tomorrow at Downtown Los Angeles Public Library

On Thursday, February 28th (tomorrow!), I'll be participating in the LAPL's Teen Author Reading Night alongside Amy Spalding (THE REECE MALCOLM LIST), Jessica Brody (UNREMEMBERED), and Michelle Gagnon (DONT TURN AROUND), and hosted by Cecil Castellucci.

We'll be reading excerpts from our new novels, chatting about books in general, and answering questions. Tomorrow also marks the one-year anniversary of the downtown library's Teen Author Reading Nights program. Doors open at 6:30; event starts at 7pm.

Thanks to Mary McCoy for helping to organize it!

Click here for more information. Hope you can make it!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Creating Great Dialogue in YA Books

What were you up to in fall of 2011? I apparently did an online video interview with Author Learning Center. It was uploaded this past week, so care to take a trip down memory lane with me?

In the below video, I discuss writing dialogue in YA books.

Fun facts: In late 2011, I was pregnant and had very short hair. I know! Crazy!