Authors always talk about how music influences their writing, and some authors even create soundtracks that they write to. Four authors, Quinn Loftis, Amanda Havard, Amy Bartol, and Chelsea Fine took it one step further by creating original music to go with their books.

The UtopYA 2013 Convention took place at the end of June in Nashville, TN. For the UtopYA Awards ceremony, Amanda Havard worked alongside three other young adult authors to write a song for each one of their books, including her own. These songs were performed at the Awards Ceremony at UtopYA by Amanda Havard and Erica Erwin.

There was such a response from the attendees, asking if they could get a copy of the songs that the four authors decided they would get them recorded and available for their readers. Now, we have the finished product and they are available for download, as well as videos to go along with them, up on YouTube.

Along with the music videos to check out we also have interviews with the four authors and a really cool giveaway.

Describe your book in 5 words
Quinn Loftis: Romance, action, werewolves, best friends, victory.
Amy A. Bartol: Wicked, damn, sexy, angel, love.
Amanda Havard: Supernatural, dark, demented, adventurous, addictive.
Chelsea Fine: Fountain of Youth. Forbidden love.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
Quinn Loftis: First.

Amy A. Bartol: For me, the hardest line to write is the first line. It sets the tone of the entire book.  It’s the hook.  You should know if you want to read the story after you read the first sentence, so…no pressure.  I feel like the end always takes care of itself.

Amanda Havard: I’m sure it depends on the book, but I planned the opening sentence of each of the Survivors books in advance, so I guess the last lines are the ones that have taken a bit more effort to select.

Chelsea Fine: The first line! I’m always really nervous and careful about my opening lines.

What about music inspires you to write or what about writing inspires creating music?
Quinn Loftis: Music creates emotions, strong emotions and I’m able to use that emotion and put it into a scene.

Amy A. Bartol: Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.”  If that is true, then to me, music is the razor blade. When I listen to music while I write, I find different worlds between the notes. Each song has a new tale that builds like floodwater. It helps me to abandon the logical part of my mind for a more creative, visceral one.

Amanda Havard: Music is a particularly emotionally-charged form of storytelling, and so it’s a natural pairing to other forms of storytelling. I love that the right song is a soundscape; it’s the soundtrack to the movie scene going in my head when I write, and so it helps me set the tone, get the mood, imagine the faint but important details, and really situate characters in the moment. And when I write music for books, it works in reverse. I’m harnessing the scene and channeling it back into sounds. The whole thing is a cyclical kind of creative magic for me.

Chelsea Fine: When I listen to music, I can “see” my story playing out — kind of like a music video — and it makes my characters and setting come to life in my mind.

Best writing tip you’ve ever received?
Quinn Loftis: Write every scene so that when it ends the reader is thinking I have to know what’s going to happen next, the entire book should be written so that the reader is constantly saying this.

Amy A. Bartol: Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. –Oscar Wilde.  (He didn’t actually tell me that personally, I sort of read into it.)  *wink*

Amanda Havard: Write the story you know you must. (A close second, an ever-important truth: Every debut writer makes the same point three times. Find the one way to say it best, and cut the others.)

Chelsea Fine: Write your heart out and be fearless! Both are hard to do, but incredibly important to my storytelling. I write what I feel, and then I have to trust myself enough to let other people read it — eeek! But it’s SO worth it!

What one young adult novel do you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?
Quinn Loftis: Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout, because it’s an extremely unique and intriguing idea and a wonderful escape with great characters.

Amy A. Bartol: I wish I had the novel I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak when I was a teenager. The story is about Ed Kennedy, an underage cabdriver who has a coffee-drinking dog named The Doorman and a secret crush on his best friend Audrey. Ed has a peaceful routine until the day he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. After that day, Ed becomes the messenger.

The book, written in the first person present tense, is funny and heart pounding and sad and euphoric. It reads like you can step into Ed’s shoes, breathe his air, and see what he is seeing. In short, it’s amazing. There is a message at the end of the story that when I read it, struck me as if it had been written just for me. It says: “Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of…I’m not the messenger at all. I’m the message.”

After reading it, I knew instantly that I had to try to write a book because maybe I was able to live beyond what I always thought I was capable of. If I had read that novel when I was a teenager, maybe I would’ve started writing earlier.

Amanda Havard: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. I doubt anyone marketed that as YA as it’s adult literary fiction, but it’s about a high school girl whose experiences were similar to my own at that age, and when her character was being an idiot, I probably could have used reading about it to realize I was being the same kind of idiot. I read it as an adult, and even then it still hit close to home. I wonder if I wouldn’t have figured out more about myself sooner if I’d had such an honest reflection in text. (Sittenfeld is my favorite author, by the way. If you haven’t read her, then you must. Every now and again, we all ought to reach our hands into the waters of literary fiction and see things through a different lens than we typically do.)

Chelsea Fine: Divergent by Veronica Roth. Growing up, I felt like Tris — like I belonged somewhere else, or could be awesome at something else, I just didn’t know what. When I read Divergent, I was like, “Yes, Tris! You don’t need to be Abnagation. You can be anything you want! Go for Dauntless!” I wish I had experienced that kind of bravery when I was a teenager. But I guess it’s never too late to become who you were meant to be… ;)

From Quinn Loftis’ PRINCE OF WOLVES
A Mate, A Match, A Mark
iTunes Download –
From Amy A. Bartol’s The Premonition Series
Darkness In the Light 
iTunes Download –
From Chelsea Fine’s Archers of Avalon Series
iTunes Download –
From Amanda Havard’s The Survivors: BODY & BLOOD
iTunes Download –

The giveaway includes 1 soundtrack and 1 signed copy of each book, to coincide with the soundtrack, and 1 ticket to UtopYA 2013 which Includes:
-3-day pass for Conference,
-fan admission to Public Book Signing event,
-general admission to Third Annual utopYA Awards & Afterparty,
-admission to Sunday Write-In.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cassandra Clare keeps expanding the Shadowhunters’ universe, with the first adult books of the chronicles just announced!

Clare announced via press release this morning that she’ll publish a trilogy about Magnus Bane, the fan-favorite warlock who’s appeared in every single one of her books and already received a collection of eleven spin-off novellas all about him (The Bane Chronicles). There is no word yet on whether the new books will tie in with the stories told in The Bane Chronicles.

Interestingly, this trilogy will be Clare’s first foray into adult literature, after writing extensively in the YA realm. She always pushed the boundaries of YA, though, with the inclusion of “Dirty Sexy Balcony Scenes” and the like. The first Shadowhunter book, City of Bones, was published in 2007, and the teens who picked it up back then will feel right at home in the adult section of a bookstore today.

Also of note, the series will be co-written with Wesley Chu (author of The Lives of Tao). Clare seems to like having co-writers when dealing with Magnus Bane; The Bane Chronicles are the only other Shadowhunter books that have other authors attached.

The first Magnus Bane book is expected to be published in November 2017. This means that Cassandra Clare will have three Shadowhunters series being published concurrently… The Dark Artifices, The Last Hours, and this Magnus Bane series.

If various sources are to be believed, all three will have an installment published in 2017. The second Dark Artifices book, Lord of Shadows, is expected in April. The Magnus Bane book, as mentioned above, is due in November. And the official site of the Shadowhunter Chronicles still says that the first Last Hours book, Chain of Thorns, is expected in 2017. Clare has a sixth series planned after getting some of these finished, The Wicked Powers, so there’ll be more Shadowhunters coming to a bookstore near you at least through the early 2020s.

Perhaps the decision to publish the Magnus Bane trilogy was based on the character’s success on the Shadowhunters TV show, where the fan favorite is portrayed by Harry Shum Jr. Shadowhunters was renewed for a second season by ABC Family, and it looks like they may have many seasons ahead of them.

Clare said, “Over the years writing the Shadowhunter books, Magnus Bane has emerged as one of the most fun and fascinating characters for me to bring to life… There are so many things we don’t know about Magnus, from the story of his first love to the secrets of his parentage, to the beginning of his relationship with Alec. All those are things I was able to touch on in The Bane Chronicles, but I’m excited to dig in even more deeply in these three volumes devoted to Magnus, his past, his future, and his present.”

Are you excited for three books all about Magnus Bane, or is this Shadowhunter overkill?

The Boxcar Children are heading to the big screen for a new movie series.

Many of us grew up with the wonderful Boxcar Children book series when we were kids. The stories by Gertrude Chandler Warner follow Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, who live in a train boxcar as they search for a home. As kids we all wanted to live in that boxcar (or at least I did — I thought it was so cool to live in a train car with friends!).

According to a press release from Shout! Factory Studios and Legacy Classics, work on a new Boxcar Children animated movie series is well underway, with the first movie aiming for a release in 2017 (which marks the 75th anniversary of Boxcar Children #1). Two more Boxcar Children stories are also in development.

If the animation quality is at the Sunday-morning-cartoon level I probably won’t be very excited about it, but if it’s a more mature animation style (like a Pixar or a Coraline) I can imagine myself loving it.


The Boxcar Children movie series is poised to do well thanks to the overall success of the books they’re based on. The novels have collectively sold over 70 million copies worldwide, with over 160 books (?!) in its arsenal. The two most recent books are titled The Legend of the Irish Castle and The Celebrity Cat Caper, which were both published this year. Looking through the history of the series, roughly four Boxcar Children books have been published annually. The original author, Gertrude Chandler Warner, only wrote the first 19.

A low-budget animated Boxcar Children film debuted two years ago, but today’s announcement marks a reboot with a new studio at the helm.

Arrested Development‘s fourth season aired three years ago today. To celebrate its legacy (and to try to forget how much we’re missing it right now), let’s rank the best recurring Arrested Development jokes!

It’s really no secret that Arrested Development has some of the best recurring jokes and gags of all time. Even people who don’t watch the show are familiar with things like “There’s always money in the banana stand” and “I’ve made a huge mistake.” The jokes in this show are just so understated and catchy that it would’ve been crazy had they not have caught on. Thanks to Arrested Development‘s recurring jokes, pop culture has never been quite the same.

To celebrate our undying love for Arrested Development, we decided to forgo the banner (sorry, everyone) and instead put together a list of all of the gags and jokes that we think are the best ones the show’s ever done. Not only that, but we’re leaving it up to you to rank them!

How to play: Love a certain joke and think that it should be at the top of the list? Upvote it. Really hate another joke and don’t understand how it got on the list in the first place? Hit that little downward-facing arrow. Don’t care either way for some of these gags? Then you can just leave them untouched. It’s all good! We just want to know what YOU think! With everyone participating we’ll be able to build a definitive list of the best Arrested Development jokes!

So, grab your denim cut-offs and hot ham water, and maybe even do a little chicken dance to get yourself pumped up (but not with the hot ham water in your hand, please). If you’re an Arrested Development fan, you’re sure to love ranking these jokes.

(Just be careful about which arrow you hit. You don’t want to hit the wrong one and find yourself saying “I’ve made a huge mistake.”)

Are there any ‘Arrested Development’ jokes missing from the list? Add them below!

Related: Arrested Development season 4 drinking game