So I’m a little behind, but as some of you know from my posting about it on Twitter, June 1st was my
1 Year Blogiversary!
This is so exciting! I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for a whole year already! I’ve met some really awesome people along the way, read some great books, and had such a fun time talking about books with all of you (and yes, there are giveaways in this post)!
I’ve learned a lot of things along the way, had a couple of blog redesigns, and realized that reading and talking about books really is one of my favorite things.
I’m so glad to be able to share all of this with you, the people who make the blogging/book community awesome. I’m so thankful to the many publishers who have sent ARCs and books over for review, and incredibly grateful for the authors that I have had the chance to work with for interviews and guest posts.
This past year really has been amazing…and I have to say I’m pretty proud of how well Here’s to Happy Endings has been doing over the course of the year since I started it up originally. So I want to thank all of you for being great friends, for being helpful, and loving books so darn much.
I’m giving you all virtual hugs right now!
So I do have some fun stuff…including a guest post from author Lyssa Chiavari (author of Fourth World), and some giveaways (and one of them is international, so yay!).
Let’s get started!
I want to introduce Lyssa Chiavari! She is the author of a science fiction/fantasy novel that sounds out of this world!
Lyssa Chiavari is an author of speculative fiction for young adults, including Fourth World, the first book in a YA sci-fi trilogy set on Mars. Her short fiction has appeared in Ama-Gi magazine, the Wings of Renewal anthology, and Perchance to Dream, a young adult collection of Shakespeare retellings which she also edited. Her first published story, “The Choice,” was named one of Students for Liberty’s Best Fiction of 2014. When she’s not writing—which isn’t often—you can usually find her coding websites or losing an unreasonable number of life balloons on Donkey Kong. Lyssa lives with her family and way too many animals in the woods of Northwest Oregon, which suits her just fine; except it actually doesn’t rain there as much as you’ve been told, and she really could do with more rain, thanks.
About Fourth World:
Author: Lyssa Chiavari
Series: The Iamos Trilogy, #1
Publication Date: December 29th, 2016
Synopsis: IAMOS, S.C.D. 8378
Nadin’s planet is dying. As its atmosphere drains away, her people are forced to live huddled in domed cities for protection. With only enough resources to support the population for one more year, time is running out. Nadin thinks she’s found a way to save Iamos, but it will mean defying the planet’s rulers, the geroi—and betraying the geroi could cost her everything.
When a strange boy from another world appears out of nowhere outside the citidome’s glass walls, Nadin knows for sure that her plan will work. But to build the device that can save her people, Nadin must first find the legendary city of Elytherios. And to do that, she’ll need the help of the mysterious alien boy named Isaak.
MARS, 2073 C.E.
All Isaak wanted was to get through his senior year at the Academy in one piece. Everything would have been fine if he hadn’t found that ancient coin among his missing father’s possessions. The coin seems to have a strange connection not only to Isaak’s family, but to Mars’ ancient past.
But how is that possible, on a planet that was supposed to be dead until just forty years ago?
Now Isaak’s got agents of the Earth’s government on his tail and a deranged factory worker stalking his every move. Everyone is desperate to get their hands on something called the Key. And the only way to escape is to unlock an even bigger secret, one that could change his life—and the fate of Mars—forever.
Guest post with Lyssa Chiavari
“When I grow up, I want to be an astronaut and go to Mars!” José said eagerly.
“I don’t,” his brother Jesús replied, grinning wide. “I want to work for mission control. I want to build the robot, and then help it land on the other planet.”
I tried hard not to laugh at how excited they were, jumping up and down and waving their arms around. But the thing is? I was excited, too. Because I believed they both could get their dream.
The roots of my first novel, Fourth World, I guess can technically be traced to Star Trek. But not in the way that you might think.
Flash back to August of 2012. That’s when NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity touched down in Gale crater. Since then, it’s made some amazing discoveries, including confirmation of the presence of liquid water on the planet in ancient times. But back then, we didn’t know what it was going to find – we could only hope. Everything was a mystery, and I for one was enormously excited about it.
At that time, I was working as an after-school science teacher for elementary students, and I couldn’t wait to share with them the exciting news about Curiosity and its mission. And luckily, NASA made it very easy for me to do so by creating these amazing videos narrated by Star Trek actors William Shatner and Wil Wheaton. The videos explained the whole mission, the building of the rover and the process of its landing in exciting ways, easy for everyone to understand. I knew I had to show them to my students.
And if I thought I was excited when I watched those videos for the first time? I was totally unprepared for how excited the kids were going to be.
From the second they saw these videos, they were completely hooked. Mars mania overtook the school. For a lot of the kids, this was their first exposure to NASA and the space program. So many of them didn’t realize this was something that was real, something that they could do. It wasn’t just kids wanting to become astronauts and go to Mars; there were so many kids who realized they could go work for JPL when they grew up, helping to build robots and rovers and probes. It was like a whole new world opened up to them.
What was supposed to be a week-long unit wound up stretching into a month, as we studied not just Curiosity, but earlier rovers and landers on Mars, what we knew about Mars as a planet, and then what we knew about the solar system as a whole. One group of third graders even started independently researching the Voyager probes, giving me daily status updates on where Voyager 1 was now, giddily informing me when it left the known solar system, wondering what it might encounter out there.
They were so full of excitement and questions, and some of their questions stuck with me for long after I left the school and then teaching altogether. Questions like, “What was Mars like back when it had water? Who lived there? What did they do when the water and the atmosphere started to disappear?”
And, “What would it be like if we lived on Mars?”
Those questions kept running through my mind for months, and eventually they blended together and formed the premise of Fourth World and the rest of the Iamos Trilogy. The books are about two worlds coming together, the past and the future, and both worlds sprang from the ideas these kids put in my head all those years ago.
So in the end, the series is largely written with those kids in mind. I wanted to tell a story where the world was theirs, with action and mystery and science coming together in a world that’s diverse as reality. One where they were the stars, traveling through time and space and saving the world.
As I’ve written the series, it’s grown and evolved and turned into its own living thing. But I hope that it will always be something that my former students – and anyone who loves Mars or space or science fiction – will see themselves in and love.
Since you all stuck around, listened to my goofy comments, and dealt with my ridiculous book rants for the past year, there are three giveaways for you to enter for today!
The first giveaway is from the lovely Lyssa Chiavari herself! She is offering a signed copy of her book, Fourth World, and a bookmark, to one lucky U.S. winner!
The second giveaway is for 1 hardcover copy of A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin! Open to U.S. only.
The third and final giveaway I have to share with you is for a $15 Amazon Giftcard! This one is open to anyone (INTL), as long as you can accept an e-giftcard for Amazon!
Again, thank you so much for being so awesome and following my blog, commenting on reviews, and being great friends. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!