Grimm Pickings

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IB Cover

Infinite Blue — a collaboration between myself and younger brother cum San Francisco Giants tragic, Simon Groth — has now officially hit the shelves. As this little fabulist novella makes its way into readers’ hands, I thought I might provide some insight into the IB inspiration we derived from our brothers-from-another-mother: Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm.

It’s short.
Despite what Disney would have you believe, The Brothers Grimm fairytales were brief affairs. So brief they crammed 86 tales into the first edition collection. We weren’t into that level of abbreviation — IB comes in at just under 180 pages — but we did want to honour the Grimm tradition of concise legend.

It’s archetypal.
Characters in IB, though contemporary in construct, should still call to mind those populating the pages of Grimm lore. The Caregiver, The Hero, The Villain, The Mentor, The Sage, The Jester, The Orphan. Even water — our constant presence and ‘shadow narrator’ — could be tagged as The Ruler, perhaps even The Lover.

It’s oral.
Okay, IB is a book, so strictly speaking it ain’t oral. But it is meant to feel like something shared at bedsides and around campfires. This is very much in the Grimm wheelhouse. The Children’s and Household Tales were passed-down tales gathered from families all over Germany and beyond. In fact, anthropologist Jamie Tehrani has found 35 different versions of Little Red Riding Hood throughout the world.

BG Cover

It’s seamless.
When you read the Grimm Fairytales, can you tell which brother transcribed which story? No? That’s how it should be in a brotherly collaboration. And if the reviews are anything to go by, it appears we achieved that goal. Though I will say this: I haven’t forgotten who wrote what, and my favourite bits are the ones Simon put together.

It’s magical.
What sort of purveyors of Grimm-esque fare would we be if there wasn’t a reasonable dose of the extraordinary in IB? Translucent limbs, freaky drawings, waking nightmares and the mystical, inescapable influence of water are just some of the magical elements present in Infinite Blue. And the biggest fabulist feature of all? You’ll have to read the book to find out. 😉

Infinite Blue can be purchased here in North America and here in Australia.

Teen Fiction Travels: Interview With Amy Mathers

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At the beginning of May, I had the privilege of touring Ottawa, Rideau Lakes and Hamilton as part of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Book Week Tour 2018. Look out for a post or two soon about this mighty adventure.

In the meantime, enjoy this interview I did at the Hamilton Public Library with the incredible Amy Mathers. Amy and I connected up at the end of Book Week and discussed coming to Canada, magic realism, neurodiversity, disability, writing from personal experience, and how I need to stop writing about dodgy mothers.




YA Scavenger Hunt – Spring 2018!

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G’day! I’m Darren Groth.

Darren 1

I’m your host for this corner of the Hunt.

A bit about me. If I’m ever stranded on a desert island and I’m allowed three books, here’s the three I would choose:

I’m Not Scared: The finest YA work I’ve ever read. Brilliant and devastating.
Love in the Time of Cholera: My man-crush on Marquez began when I was seventeen.
Some critically-acclaimed guide to getting off a desert island: Hey, I can’t survive with just three books!

You are currently hunting on:


Looking for my exclusive bonus content? You’ll have to keep searching. Somewhere on this blog hop, I’ve hidden a sneak peak at a deleted scene from my novel MUNRO VS. THE COYOTE. Before you go looking for it, check out the fantastic author I’m hosting.



DIRECTIONS: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on TEAM GOLD, and then add ’em up with your calculator, abacus, fingers, toes, whatever you like.


ENTRY FORM: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

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 8, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each participating YA author, you also get a secret number. Add up the numbers, and enter it for a chance to win a major prize–one lucky winner will receive at least one book from each author on my team in the hunt! But play fast. This contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon PST on Sunday, April 8.

There are SIX contests going on simultaneously as well as a bonus contest and you can enter one or all. I am a part of the GOLD TEAM but there is also a RED TEAM,  BLUE TEAM PURPLE TEAM, GREEN TEAM & PINK TEAM. Check out each team for a chance to win SIX different sets of books.

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.


Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, I’ll introduce the fabulous author I am partnering with on this hunt.

I am honoured to be hosting…

Stacey Kade


The daughter of a minister and a music teacher, Stacey Kade grew up reading Harlequin romances on the sly in the basement. Kade is the author of two young adult series (The Ghost and Goth trilogy and the Project Paper Doll series) as well as two contemporary romances for adults (738 Days and Starlight Nights). Finding Felicity was inspired by Stacey’s love of the television show and the longing she felt as an anxiety-filled high school senior for a book about what to expect from the college experience.

Kade lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, a retired racing greyhound, and one naughty French Pointer puppy.

The book Stacey’s showcasing is:



Felicity meets Fangirl in this contemporary novel about a young woman who must leave behind her fantasy life—inspired by her favorite WB show from the 1990s—and create a real one at college.

Caroline Sands has never been particularly good at making friends. And her parents’ divorce and the move to Arizona three years ago didn’t help. Being the new girl is hard enough without being socially awkward too. So out of desperation and a desire to please her worried mother, Caroline invented a whole life for herself—using characters from Felicity, an old show she discovered online and fell in love with.

But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real. However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home—and a lot of therapy.

Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself.


You can buy the book here!

And you can find Stacey at her website.

Hey, you want some exclusive Stacey Kade content? You got it!

Note from Stacey: This is the earliest draft of chapter one. If you check out the finished version, you’ll see the events in this chapter were moved to be slightly later. However, there are two other significant differences. When I first started this project, Caroline had fictional friends from an assortment of “old” television shows. (Bonus points if you recognize the first names Caroline’s mom mentions.) But as my editor and I worked on the story, we quickly realized that it made more sense for her to be obsessed with one particular show instead: Felicity.

You’ll also notice Caroline’s sarcasm is front and center in this version, but we eventually decided that that had to be something she would grow in to. I still like the sarcasm—I’m fluent in it myself—but toning it way down was definitely the better choice for Caroline!  

Chapter One

Caroline Sands

Graduation night

Everything is perfect. Our backyard has been transformed into something out of a movie. A dozen tall tables—wrapped in white tablecloths and tied off with red ribbons to match our school colors—decorate the brick patio. White tea lights flicker on the mirrored centerpieces. The band is setting up under a tent near the far end of the pool, which is full of red and white floating candles, bobbing gently with the motion of the filtration system. And though the “2” and “0” are already melting, there’s even an ice sculpture in the shape of our graduation year by the bar.

Because Fake Caroline is classy like that.

Unfortunately, I—Real Caroline—am the one attending this shindig. And I’m kind of hoping for a freak tornado to sweep through and end it all.

Any second now.


“I don’t understand,” my mother says with a frown, surveying the empty tables, the untouched platters of hors d’oeuvres. “The invitations asked for regrets only, and we didn’t hear from anyone. Right?” She glances toward Sophie, her admin, who is waiting by the sliding glass doors into the house.

“Right, Dr. Sands.” Sophie gives a brisk nod, like a checkmark on one of her endless lists. Sophie runs my mom’s life and therefore mine. I talk to her more often than I talk to my mom.

Sophie was in charge of implementing every detail for this party. Every detail but the one I fought for, when I couldn’t get my mom to give up on the idea.

“Mom, it’s fine.” I manage a sickly smile and try hard not to pull at the sweaty fabric of my “super cute floral” dress. The skin is the largest organ of the body, and mine is suffocating. “It’s a busy night. People have their own parties, family stuff. I’m sure they’ll be here later.”

Right after that freak tornado plows through the larger Scottsdale area.

“Why don’t you go back inside?” I nod toward the house, where the lit-up windows reveal adults mingling awkwardly in our great room, wine glasses in hand. “Have some more wine with your…” I’m not sure if they count as friends. I’m not entirely sure my mother has anything as messy and imprecise as friends anymore. She has colleagues. Residents. Interns. Acolytes. Devotees.

But my mother’s attention is focused on me. “Did they say anything when you gave out the invitations?”

My smile falters into something closer to a grimace. “No! Of course not.” That is absolutely the truth. It’s also absolutely why I had to be in charge of invitations.

“Did something happen?” She reaches out to smooth my bangs, but pulls her hand back with a moue of distaste when she feels the sweaty dampness. “I know it gets complicated with college looming. It changes the dynamic. Especially when someone is insisting on attending a school so far away.” She levels a pointed look at me.

“It’s fine,” I say quickly. I don’t want college to come up anywhere in this conversation. It’s a pristine box of untouched future, untainted by everything in my present. I have a plan. I’m going to have the life I’m supposed to have here; I’m going to be the Caroline I’m supposed to be. I just need to survive tonight. “We’re fine.”

“I wanted to meet your friends,” she says plaintively. “I know my schedule at the hospital is a little…unforgiving. But you’ve done so well at building a life for yourself here after New York.”

She makes “New York” sound like it encompasses all the evil in the world,  from petty annoyances to mass murder and including, I’m sure, her ex-husband, my dad.

“Uh-huh,” I manage. Why couldn’t someone have a cardio-thoracic surgical emergency that requires the head of the department tonight? Like right now?

“Joey, Willow…what’s the other girl’s name?” My mother stares in her wine glass, trying to remember, even though I have literally said it a dozen times or more every Sunday for the last three and half years. Sunday being the only day that she’s usually home from the hospital long enough to engage in a half-distracted conversation.

“Felicity,” I mumble. “Felicity Porter.”

Behind my mom, Sophie’s head jerks up sharply in recognition, and for a second, I can’t breathe, waiting for her to say something. But then she looks away, studying the ground.


Now, don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Stacey and all the great Gold Team authors. To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is [7]. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the Gold Team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter the contest draw!

YASH Gold Team 2018


To keep going on your hunt, check out the next author:





Fireproof Garage #13 – Jane Aaaaiiiiiiirrrrr

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Fireproof Garage #12 – Made From Coke Cans and Bud Light Bottles

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Rapture in Blue

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IB Cover

Behold the cover for Infinite Blue, a contemporary fable penned by Simon Groth and his dodgy older brother. It’s hitting North American shelves September 11, 2018.

All credit for this beauty goes to the brilliant pair responsible: artist Iveta Karpathyova and Orca Books designer Teresa Bubela. If you’d like a peek inside the creative process, Iveta has posted a couple of cool videos here and here.

Counting the days!

Over The Pond

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Over The Pond

On Saturdays, I bring my wonderful teenage son into downtown Vancouver for speech therapy. While he surrounds himself with words – learning new ones, retrieving old ones – I do the same at the bookstore across the road, Chapters on Granville.

A number of things are on my checklist when I’m there. I look at the new releases and the discounted fiction and, if my gorgeous teen daughter has come along, the ‘Daredevil’ titles in the comics/graphic novels section. I browse the ‘Heather’s Picks’ table (I don’t have the foggiest who Heather is, but she’s probably quite nice. She sure reads a lot). I try to telepathically convince random shoppers to buy my books. And always, always, I look for the Oz YA that has made it over the pond.


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